Writing Wrongs

April 14, 2005

You knew it had to happen, didn’t you? I mean, are we really surprised about this?

Book Millionaire

Some of the stringent requirements include:

You don't need to have written your book or manuscript but you have an idea you feel would be a good book.

What do you know? I have at least one of these ideas every single day.

You may have been told by people that you should write a book.

Or they may simply be making polite conversation. You decide.

You have a desire to become published and to live the incredible lifestyle of a rich, famous author.

What exactly is the incredible lifestyle of a rich, famous author? And where can I get one? This is a theme running throughout the ad copy for this “show” (and I’m not really sure it will come to fruition). The tasks for the show do not, surprisingly, revolve around writing, but rather:

You and others will complete a series of tasks which pertain to book promotion and living the lifestyle of a best selling author. You will not need to have your own book finished for the filming. Rather, we will use prominent company products and currently published books for the tasks.

I read somewhere that “best-selling author” has become a fantasy profession, right up there with dreaming about the Oscars (I’d like to thank the Academy . . .). Unfortunately, most people would rather have written a book than actually write one. The copy in the web page taps into that fantasy. Over and over again, they reassure you that you don’t have to have a book written to enter.

From the show’s “host”:

Prokop says, “Books are about fun and business. Ninety-five percent of the success of a book is believing in it, the ability to market it and getting the message out there in front of readers. Five percent of the success is writing. Books still need to be written well. But, this formula shows the importance of having fun promoting books.”

Just five percent? As an aside, I’m not sure her “formula” shows anything.

Granted, there are celebrity “authors” whose books are ghost written. But the real writers all have one thing in common.

They write.

In Stephen King’s On Writing, he talks about how he writes 1,500 words every single day. (I think he did say he took a few days off, but amended that later--apparently he didn’t want to appear too freakish. Uh, Stephen, I respect you, man, but let’s face it, everyone kind of suspects you’re a little freakish.) Woody Allen attributes 80% of his success to simply showing up (at the page, I believe he means in this case). Whatever you think of these two men, or their writing, there’s no doubt they produce and continue to do so.

It should come as no surprise, either, that this venture, such as it is, is sponsored by a Print on Demand (Best Seller Publishing, Inc) publisher somewhere in Wisconsin. Be sure to check out the Preditors & Editors scoop.

When I watch American Idol, I don’t feel sorry for those who audition simply to get their face on television. They know they can’t sing, and they don’t care. It’s the other ones that get to me, the ones who have pinned all their hopes on the audition.

The problem with Book Millionaire, especially with the questionable publishing connection, is it smacks of a vanity publishing scam, and I’ve seen too many writers get conned by those. The new writers, or at least the ones new to the business side of publishing, the frustrated ones, the ones without a support network—they're all vulnerable to this sort of thing. And that’s what worries me and why I’m going on about it here.

There are two rules in writing (and we all know how anti-rule I am):

Rule # 2: Money, no matter how small the amount, flows to the writer, not from. Never pay to be published.

Rule # 1: Writers write. The rest is bullshit.

Charity Tahmaseb wrote at 9:22 a.m.