I get some interesting blurbs in my email but this is a new one: an offer (not to me specifically, I'm just on their mailing list, via Publisher's Weekly) to "co-author a book with a New York Times best-selling author." Guess what? we can do this without even writing a word:
- You Don't Need To Have A Manuscript Yet - Work with Wahida's Team to select one of her existing manuscripts in the fiction romance niche.
The best-selling author making this offer is Wahida Clark. I'd never heard of her but her books include Every Thug Needs a Lady, Payback With Ya Life, and Payback is a Mutha. According to her site she has been crowned the queen of street literature. She served nine and a half years in prison and now runs a publishing company.
THE MISSING "CONGLOMERATE" BEHIND HER COMPANY
On Wahida Clark's web site, www.wclarkpublishing.com, it says "W. Clark Publishing is a subsidiary of Green and Company LLC, a publishing conglomerate and literary agency."
Strange, then, that a Google search for this conglomerate turns up only one item: a Better Business Bureau note that the company was located in Ogden, Utah, but that it is no longer in business.
The web site listed for it by the BBB is www.green-company.com.
That url is now for sale.
Isn't is strange that Ms. Clark doesn't mention the disappearance of her parent company? Then again, her site seems not to have been updated since 2012.
A GUARANTEED FIVE-FIGURE CHECK?
The email (emphasis mine) says,
"What if there was a way to guarantee that your book would sell thousands of copies putting your name in the spotlight and earning you a five figure check? Would You Take It? If the answer is YES! Then now you have an opportunity right now to do it! www.nytbestsellerpartner.com"
The lowest five figure amount is $10,000. Let's assume for a moment that they mean the word "guarantee" in the statement above. The royalty split is 50/50, so the book would have to earn $20,000 in royalties.
But wait--if we don't even need to write a word, why should they be looking for partners at all? Why not publish the book themselves and keep 100% of the royalties? Probably because they want us to put up money in advance to cover their services: creating a cover, formatting the book for digital, etc.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST US TO MAKE $10,000...OR WILL WE?
I wonder whether it might cost us more than the guaranteed profit to "co-author" with Ms Clark, assuming that the contract does guarantee that return (which would be unusual--nobody can predict how many copies a book will sell, unless they plan to buy the copies themselves).
Ms. Clark is not ready to tell us about fees until we follow these procedures:
#1: Sign Up Using The Add To Cart Button And Make Your Good Faith Payment. ($99)
#2: You will Receive your Login and Password - Login
#3: Read Through The Confidentiality Agreement - You will need to Accept The Terms and Conditions
#4: Fill in your Contact information page
#5: Schedule a meeting time with Wahida and her Team.
#6: Hang On and Enjoy The Ride!
The question is, will we be taking a ride...or taken for a ride?
SALES STRATEGIES 101
The $99 Good Faith payment is fully refundable, but it means that before you find out how much money they want to charge you, you will already have taken an active step toward working with them (see Robert Cialdini's excellent book, Influence, to read about how getting people to take a small tangible first step increases the liklihood that you will agree to much bigger steps later).
You also will have signed a confidentiality agreement (which, I'm guessing, will say you promise not to reveal the terms and conditions of their offer).
Finally, you'll be talking to Wahinda herself:
- Your $99 Payment is a good faith payment and you will be interviewed by Wahida - if we can work together then awesome if not your payment is immediately refunded.
Salespeople know that it's easier to make a sale when you've got somebody on the phone and I bet Wahida has a good salesperson or two on her Team. I wouldn't be too surprised if you get called by a Team member rather than Wahida--she sounds like a busy lady.
THE BOTTOM LINE
I'm not suggesting that this offer is a scam; there's not enough information in the pitch to evaluate that. However, any "co-authoring" opportunity that doesn't require you to do any writing needs to be looked at very closely.
I'm checking with Victoria Strauss, the "Writer Beware" expert in con tricks that target authors, to find out whether she's heard of this particular offer and give her opinion.
I'm also going to email Publisher's Weekly to ask whether they looked into the details of this offer before allowing their marketing mailing list to be used for it.