Wednesday, November 15, 2006

There Is A Sucker Born Every Minute

A few days ago I posted on "When Is Being Published NOT Being Published?" In that article I tried to warn all of you about the poetry scams that prey on unseasoned and naive writers. So you just have to love it when I was about to erase my spam mail today, (GMail does a great job with spam mail and I rarely have to check if there was a mistake - but out of habit I still do), when I came across the following email from the infamous Howard Ely - the name on all poetry.com scam emails: (Full text is below)

Help spread the art of poetry by referring your friends! This is a call for all amateur poets to submit their poetry for competition in a monthly contest. All you have to do is send this link (no link - I will be damned if I am going to give these guys any publicity in the form of links) to all the contacts in your address book and encourage them to submit a poem and forward this email to their friends. Poetry.com has given away over $1,000,000 to amateur poets throughout the years. We are always looking for amateur poets and their poems to promote and help keep the art of poetry alive. At the same time, you will be giving your friends an opportunity to win cash prizes up to $10,000.

It's a win-win opportunity! If one of your friends submits a poem, he or she will automatically be entered in our monthly contest for $1,000 with an Annual Grand Prize of $10,000 . . . not to mention you will be helping to increase awareness of poetry throughout the world. Poetry is a wonderful way to express yourself and can be one of the most beautiful forms of communication. Do you think your friends would like the opportunity to express themselves and share in your passion for writing? If so, then forward this e-mail to them.

Keep this email alive and share your passion for poetry by forwarding it to all your friends!

Looks innocuous doesn't it? So you may ask why the hell am I so up in arms about it? Sounds like a good deal. Cause my dear people this is the hook into the scam. First you just have to put your poetry up. Then you do not have to pay them a cent. Then they will spread the wealth. Sounds GREAT! Sounds Incredible! Sounds Wonderful! HAH!

This is what I have to say...Bleh!
  1. Okay - first go to Amazon and B&N and find me a Poetry.com book or a writer that has made it due to a poetry.com entry. Go ahead I dare you.
  2. Next - be wary cause now you are going to start getting emails to publish your poem in a book of theirs. If you want a copy of this book worthy of Byron and Shelley all you have to do is pay them. You can even put it up on your mantelpiece or piano.
  3. You can also purchase T-shirts, mugs and all the rest.
  4. And where oh where are all these winners? Where is their poetry being held? On the net in a server amongst tens of thousands of naive writers who thought this was a way to publish and make money! Oh Lord!
  5. Next you can even be one of the five great winners for their incredible prize.
  6. It goes on and on. It is funny..if it were not so sad.
  7. Poetry.com is the classic business model of "there is a sucker born every minute" - do not be a sucker!
Next submit this poem:

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
This is a scam
Full of shazzam
I love to read jokes
Especially from you blokes

Want to bet me it gets accepted!
(Oh if you do submit - make sure you use an email address you can discard. Cause you are going to be getting lots of email from them afterwards!)

Now as a lark - go and try to get your masterpiece off of the site. Go ahead. Try clicking away. Find a place for "delete my poem"? Go on. Use your glasses, binoculars, telescope. Let me know when it happens.

Stay informed people. Don't fall for this stuff. Legitimate Agents and Publishers will not/do not send out mass emails so you can be found and published. They have enough to do without trying to scam the pants off of you!

And don't forget. Take a look at the post, and put the sites listed there in your Bookmarks. Do your homework. Stay informed. Don't get scammed.

"When Is Being Published NOT Being Published? - see this post for great links to prevent you from being scammed.


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2 comments:

Bk30 said...

As much as it pains me to say this. I once sent them a poem, just to see if I had any talent. Imagine my surprise when they said they liked it and it would be published. I could see my book in print if I bought a copy of the anthology. A few months later they sent me another e-mail, would I consent to read my poem at their convention in Washington DC? I didn't buy the book, because I didn't have the money to spare, and I didn't "reserve" my spot at the convention for the same reason.
Imagine my surprise, when a few years later I found this to be a hoax? I used to feel bad that I didn't have a copy of my poem in print. Now I know the copy I printed when I wrote it has more value. I am actually glad I wasn't able to buy the book at the time.

sp_isme said...

Thank you for posting about this.

Poetry.com is evil. Pure and simple. The crush the dreams the young and naive who take a while to see what they are really about.

Sara