Thursday, June 29, 2006


Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, & P.T. Barnum

Yesterday I saw a post on a Craigslist writing forum:

Friends, tonight I was on a conference call with Steven E. and Lee Beard - the compilers of the best selling "Wake Up - Live The Life You Love" books. I have the opportunity to write a 1000-1200 word short story that will be included in their next book on "finding your passion" with well-known authors including Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, and Brian Tracy. My story is guaranteed to be in the book as long as I can come up with about $2500 to pay for my 200 books which will have my name on the cover in between Robbins and Dyer. It is quite an opportunity and could catapult my writing career. These books are the fasting growing book series in the world, and the last 10 books by these guys have been #1 best sellers. My challenge is coming up with the $, as we are in difficult times right now. I can pay for it over 3 months. I cannot get a traditional loan at this time. I'm wondering if any of you know of some creative sources of $ I could borrow to help with this. If so, please share. You could also write me at [e-mail deleted].

I found the "program" this poster was talking about. Here's a bit from the site:

Authors Wanted to be Best Sellers!

You can achieve the ultimate credential that will propel your life and business to new heights by being a best selling co-author in this amazing program!

Wouldn't it be great to get Instant Credibility™ with your clients and customers?

You have an invitation to join some mega-best selling authors, speakers, trainers, mentors and world class business leaders in an amazing book project. You will be included in a book series with coauthors who have appeared around the world on television networks and shows including Oprah, The Tonight Show, The Late Show, BBC, QVC Network, CNBC, PBS, Bravo Network and Good Morning America. You will be associated with authors who have been praised by The New York Times, USA Today, People Magazine, The LA Times, Money Magazine and Success Magazine. We call this Instant Credibility.

You an author? Yes! I mean YOU!! All you need to do is submit a 1,200 word story and we'll do all of the rest. It couldn't be any easier than that.

(If you like, You don’t have to write it yourself, so even if, you’re a poor writer, lousy speller, hate to use a word processor, don’t feel qualified, or are just too busy, you can have our expert editors record, transcribe, "ghost write" and edit your story for a special coauthor additional fee so you would have this powerful book as a tool to grow your business!)

I think this is hybrid of vanity publishing and the scam. They publish anyone who has the green stuff, but at least they're up front about it. But the way they're trumpeting that you can be a "best selling author" is just sleazy. And the way they prey on writers' dreams is sad. That this guy is trying to scrape up $2,500 that he doesn't have to "catapult his writing career" is heartbreaking. I understand that the promoters are selling this as a marketing opportunity for execs and business owners, but the language they use implies that you'll become a "best-selling co-author" -- which of course attracts broke, newbie writers.

When will people realize that writing is work? Not everyone can write, as evidenced by the terrible punctuation and grammar in the last paragraph I quoted above. And can you imagine this poor sucker sending his "book" to an agent or editor and listing it as a credential? Ah, yes, Instant Credibility™. The heart breaks.

What do you say?

Lemme guess -- Tony Robbins and Brian Tracy are not paying for the honor. Their writing gets subsidized by the dozens of poor schmucks who pony up the $2.5K.

Yep, one born every minute. Every *second* in Web time.
Don't forget that you also have the $5,500 VIP option, something this woman quoted on the WakeUpLive website took advantage of: I am one of the co-authors in Passion. My name is on the book and I am going to use the book for promotion.

No writer should ever pay to appear in such a book. My heart, she is also broken at the story of this deluded wannabe that you told us about. I hope he gets a clue...
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