How Today’s Most Common Publishing Scam Works, Step by Step By Neall Ryon

How Today’s Most Common Publishing Scam Works, Step by Step By Neall Ryon

I am fond of the expression; If it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, then there is a possibility it might be a duck.

It started out as a phone call.

Hi, my name is Joe Smith and I am a Project Acquisitions coordinator for the Yada-yada Blah-blah company, and we noticed that the very high quality of your work is not reflected in the level of sales. For $2500 we can introduce you to the right people who will make your book soar.

Thank you, Joe, but I don’t know you from a hole in the ground and I’m never going to give you a dime.

Two weeks later: Hi. Joe here. Out of all poetry books in the world your book “From the Other Side,” is listed as number 17 and, for $US1500, we will make it a best seller.

Thank you, Joe but I’m never going to give you a dime

Two weeks later  Hi. Joe here. Out of all the poetry books in the world, your book has caught the eye of the very famous movie producer Mr. (removed) and I so much love your book that I will pay the registration fee so we can present the book to movie producer Mr. (removed).

Two weeks later, Joe comes to the table with a movie producer whose name I have confirmed has a track record in the movie industry.  But, whose voice is that on the other end of the phone? I have no idea.

Initially, the movie director tells me the short story from my book, The Trial, which I don’t think he has ever read, has potential.

If you hire script writer (name removed), who is not a member of the on-strike writers union, I will pay you $30,000. The screenwriter wants $25,000 so you can’t lose. And, all you have to do is put up $25,000 and you will get $200,000 or more for the story later, plus the promised $30,000.

No, Joe and “Movie Director,” I am never going to give you any money

Joe to me: Don’t you love your work?  Don’t you care about the people who will benefit from your work? 

Then the movie producer sent me an email with similar objections, attempting to seduce my ego, and shaming me on how I would help mankind if I move forward with the project.

Then, two weeks later: Hi, I’m Julia. I will make your book a best seller for only $5,000!

“No thanks, Julia. To make it perfectly clear right from the git-go, I will never give you any money.”

“Are you sure?  This is a great opportunity.”

“Thank you for the great opportunity. Julia. Did you know that ‘Are you sure’ is the dumbest, most insulting response you could possibly ask?”

She hung up on me!

Then, two weeks later, I got an email from miked (his spelling mistake, not mine):  “Greatest book ever written! Great story!” (Remember, it’s a book of POETRY.) Call me if you want to make it into a best seller. Only $2,000!”

Then, most recently, a call from Yasmin at another scam company.  I turned her down with the standard ” I will never give you any money.” A half-hour later, I  got a call from her boss who got the now standard “no money” response as well. One should be able to assume our conversation had ended.  But, nope!

Yasmin calls again. My response was short, but not sweet. “I told both you and your boss, when he called me, that I refuse to give your company any money at any time and I repeat, I will never give you or your company any money at any time so stop annoying me.

At no time was I ever tempted to participate financially. Based on past articles in WritersWeekly, these outfits are all scams.

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you about how I almost got a movie deal for only $25,000.

Oh, and Joe did call me one more time to tell me he finally bought my book and how he was enjoying my poetry.  I laughed out loud, and hung up.

Neall Ryon is the author of From the Other Side: Poetry and short stories about life and love. You can read more of Neall’s words online at Neall’s next book, The Brighton Tarot Card Mystery, will soon be published by


Angela is not only the publisher of She is President & CEO of,
a self-publishing services company that has been in business since 1998. Ask her anything.