♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
Have you ever been duped by a so-called service to authors? And what is the best service you’ve ever used?
Welcome back to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop! If you’re new to the series, the authors included are grateful for your reads and appreciate, even more so, when you share our writings with your friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Be prepared to become a regular reader.
It’s a hard thing to admit, that you’ve been taken advantage of. The truth is that there are predators in every aspect of life. Some snake is always waiting to take advantage of some angle. It’s one of the evils of this world, and it’s always perpetuated by sociopathic narcissists–people without conscience, people who feel entitled to what they take from others, and people who could make a difference in this world if they put that much energy into legitimate work.
I’m not sure what makes these people. Psychology says that sociopaths are born not made, so we can’t address it by trying to teach empathy to all young people It still should be taught, of course, but no one should be surprised that there is a percentage of individuals who will never develop it. If you’re going to teach empathy, then you should teach children and adults how to identify predators, and not accept their gaslighting.
We imagine that as we age, we also become increasingly immune to the pitfalls of abusive adults. Sadly that’s not the case, especially for women, who are disproportionately affected by such life events as domestic violence. Maturity and knowledge isn’t a guarantee of anything.
In my case, the fallout of the dupe is still taking place. Or, at least, it was as of this past spring (March/April 2018). On several occasions, I have had sites take down my articles that review the incident with documentation and full disclosure of what went on. I redacted the names of the other authors to protect them from negative press, or retaliation by the vendor. I’ve since republished the article in other locations, and notified multiple writing groups/guilds about the issue. I wasn’t even the one who opened the contract, just one of the others on the contract. The other authors declined to fight any further because the person was clearly unhinged, volatile, and dangerous. They were scared. They felt threatened.
Me, however, I don’t scare easy, even when I maybe should. So, I carried on.
My research also led me to find links that turn up a not found error, as they have also been forced to take their information down. There is even a rebuttal article that was posted, which targets those articles, posed a young, successful, white male. My guess is that this person had an alright experience with the service, because in order to take advantage on a wide scale, you have to have some turn out alright or you will raise more than suspicion. It’s called a long con. Television, movie, even books, have gone into detail about how this is done. Establish enough of a reputation to keep the facade going, so you can reel in the victims continuously.
To avoid being stalked any further than I have, because this person has called my day job and tried to start trouble for me annually in the spring, not to mention using my own site carrier against me, I will not name names here, or link you to the article. I’ve made it impossible for this bastard to find through simple searches. Every bit of evidence I have is copied in several locations, and has been disseminated to those with a need to know, so that their authors don’t get involved with the service.
It can be a real nightmare when you get involved with a scam. This one is from outside the United States, tracking through Britain and Canada, but definitely from Pakistan, once traced. And, that’s the thing about these services: they’re almost always legally out of reach, so there is little to no recourse for someone who falls victim. My state attorney general was unable to do a thing–because it crosses international borders. I’ve reported the service to the Better Business Bureau, and other consumer affairs bureaus, even the FCC. Unfortunately, not every author is as savvy as I am about how to seek legal recourse (some are far more savvy than I am). So, the scam goes unreported. There is a site in the US where you can report scams, and I suggest it be used. All said, the authors involved in my group lost a total of $200 to this person, which declared that money was theirs, and we were trying to scam him out of it. Brilliant bit of twisted logic there. I’m just glad it was several of us, so that the loss was small for each. I feel terrible for those who did this alone and got hosed. And, the continuing abuse and targeting for trying to get a refund for the service having failed to fulfill its promise is totally insane.
All I can advise is, don’t use the service to advertise your book on social media, because the site takes your money and doesn’t deliver what it promises.
If you’d like to know more about this incident, and what site had done this to me and several other authors, feel free to use my contact points (social media in the top right, or my contact page here on this site). On a side note, the last time I checked, the awesome site Predators & Editors had gone defunct. The owner was trying to get someone to take over, but had not done so in what looks like two years of no updates. This a travesty, as that site provided a warning stop for all authors, listing agents, managers, publishers, and services, while also outing the bad ones. They would have been a great ally in this fight.
Maybe someday, I’ll have the ability to bring this person to justice for all those who have been wrongly abused by him. I definitely would use any power I gain to do so, because it is disgusting what was and done to date.
Before you go, be sure to read the other author posts on the topic, and be better prepared to face the hurdles out there that are in the path of your publishing dreams.