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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Uber Blind Deaf And Dumb


Dear Lauren Dane, George Clooney IS MINE! So is Gerard Butler. You can keep your Clive Owen because I'm generous like that, but stay away from my two Gs! George, Gennita and Gerry--that's right! And if you threaten to cut me again, I'll take bad pictures of you at RT next year, photoshop them, and post them on this very blog!
Heh. I love me a crazy running feud.

And let's give a shoutout to the COLORADO ROCKIES, shall we? That's one of my favorite teams although I can never seem to get to see them live whenever I'm in Denver. World Series, woohooo! It'd be so much fun to be in Denver right now, enjoying playoff atmosphere among my baseball buddies.

****WARNING: LONG RANT BELOW****

So in case you think I've been doing nothing but watching TV, I want to assure you that that's not true. So much going on! There's the trainwreck I told you about from a few days back, the one about Lanaia Lee and her ghostwritten "book of her heart" (yes, that's me dripping with sarcasm) with the plagiarized Gemmell prologue. It is still up on her webpage! And she, along with her agent, are now threatening to sue Jane from Dear Author for slander (wrong kind of suit, but hey, you can't teach someone with earplugs stuck deep in their cranium) because apparently, it's wrong to point out the truth.

I keep shaking my head as this story progresses because these two women would NOT listen to anyone trying to give them good advice, including TAKING DOWN the plagiarized material. Instead, they are sending readers from Lanaia's Yahoogroup to "scold" the different sites' posters for being mean people. Yikes.

As a published author, I literally bump into one person almost everyday who has written a book and wants it published. I'm not even surprised any more by strangers approaching me while I eat or shop, or even while I'm on a roof. Not for an autograph ;-), but for one of three things:

1) "I have written a book. Can you read it?"
2) "I have written a book. Can you help me get it published?"
3) "I have a wonderful story. Can you write it for me? I'll share my profits with you."

This tells me that there are many people out there who don't understand how publishing as a business works. And even when they think they do, they don't. This leads to me remembering how I got started.

Have I ever approached anyone on the street asking them to read my manuscript? No. Have I ever asked anyone to write my story? No.

Sure, I've gone down a few wrong paths during those early days, including answering an advertisement by Edit Ink, a notorious agency that scammed eager writers by charging them hundreds (to thousands, from what I heard) of dollars to help them "edit" their manuscript and then find a publisher for them.

But you know what? Even in my naivete then, something didn't smell right to me. I have done a little research by then, and even when I barely knew anything, the first thing I learned was that one DOES NOT pay to have one's work published. Most publishing/editing that charge are little more than vanity presses and unless it's what you want, then avoid them like crazy. I did not take up Edit Ink's offer to take my money, but as the years went by, I've met many an author, some successfully published today, who had admitted to giving a few hundred to a thousand dollars to this company.

I understand. We writers, the ones who want to share our stories with the world anyway, can get rather desperate. The need to see our work printed in a visible and public format haunts us. Being published delights our souls, even validate our self-image in some ways. So when someone offers us a way to get our books out there, it sounds like heaven to us.

However, there is desperation and there is desperation. There seems to be a line between wanting to share with the world and wanting to be famous. Of course I want to be famous too but my first priority has always been to write the story and share it with my readers. The fame is just a by-product, something I have to work for to get more readers with whom to share my stories. Am I making sense?
In other words, I want to be famous so I can reach more readers.

On the other hand, there's people like Lanaia Lee. There are many versions of her, but her basic story is very similar to those who have spent their last dollar just to get published. This is not a putdown on those who go to lulu.com to publish their books and with a few hundred copies, sell them at their leisure. There is a use for vanity presses. Sometimes, it fulfills a private need to see the words in print, to say that you published a book. If that's what you want, and if that's what makes you happy, good for you. And bully for you too, if you manage to be a presence on the web and in newspapers.

However, aside from the above example, as a published author, it pains me to know that there are actually people out there who would not see past their "published" books to understand that they have been scammed.

Lanaia's case has got to be the craziest one I've come across so far, what with an unknown writer hiring a ghostwriter who then plagiarized a famous author, AND then hiring an agent who gets her book published through a vanity press. It's mindboggling, trying to wrap my head around the whole deal, especially when the "author" is reproducing emails between her and this ghostwriter/scammer (just google Lanaia Lee, lots of details everywhere) to prove that she did "nothing wrong," when it's quite apparent that she's oblivious to the fact that the rewritten parts' writing wasn't similar to her own and that her ghostwriter was steering her toward "his" own plot.

In their heart of hearts, these writers have to know that people promising fame and fortune if they'd send them money are artists of a different sort, the same kind that sends those "foreign" emails that claim that they are General Abdoolstupido who has $50,000,000,000 worth of gold coins in some vault and because of some political strife in the make-believe country of Stoopidestan, need people to send them real cash so they can transfer these coins into your hands for safekeeping. Yet, we find people doing exactly that. Contact the "general" to exchange real cash for fool's gold.

The general good advice to follow in every situation is, if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Because, like Heinlein popularized, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. And the more splendid an offer, the more suspicious the whole thing should be.

But we're talking about desperate writers, the ones who aren't about the words but the book. "I have a story. Write it for me so I can see my story in a book" kind of writers. So desperate that they would hire a ghostwriter for $$$ a month, with the end promise that there will be a book at the end of the bridge, when in reality, there is nothing there but a sheer drop.

Sheesh. I didn't mean to make this post a rant. I guess I'm more perturbed by the idea of blind deaf and dumb to the obvious than I thought! For those too lazy to google or read through the humongous thread from the Absolute Writer and Making Light forums, here is a short version of the art of being blind deaf and dumb, ghostwritten by my dog, Jiggle Low:

Author: I've written a book! Here's the excerpt! Read it! It's the book of my heart! It's going to be the next Harry Potter! It's coming out this October! Buy it!
Reviewer: (after reading) Umm. This excerpt is plagiarized from David Gemmell's introduction of Dark Prince.
Author: What? Are you crazy? I own the copyright! Watch your mouth!
Reviewer: Look, you can read the same excerpt from Barnes and Noble, under David Gemmell's book. You can't sell copyrighted material.
Author: It's my book! I copyrighted it!
Reviewer: if you're going to sell this book, I'm going to have to post it on my site that your excerpt on your website is an exact reproduction of...
Author: Shut up! I'm telling you! Shut up! Don't do it! You will be sorry!
Reviewer posted about this excerpt, with links to the book and to author's website. Many readers and writers post on author's chatbox, telling her to take down excerpt.
Author: You are all mean people! I am an invalid! I have had strokes! My husband is also an invalid!
Reviewer and readers: We're so sorry to hear that but you need to take the excerpt down.
Author: Mean! Mean! I'm going to have a stroke. I have done nothing wrong!
Author's Agent: I hereby curse you mean people! Shut up! Or I curse you over and over!
Author: Why are they so mean to me? Okay, so I didn't write that first part. It was ghostwritten by a scammer, 'kay? See? I told you I did nothing wrong!
Reviewer and readers: But it's still plagiarized. Take down the excerpt before you get into trouble.
Author: Trouble? I'll give you trouble! I'm contacting my lawyer and will sue you for libel! I have done nothing wrong. I'm innocent! Sue you, sue you!
Author's agent: (and I'm quoting straight from her yahoogroup) Diddo.
Reviewer and readers: It's not libel. It's slander.
Author: I'm wheelchair bound! I'm sick. Stress will give me another stroke. Then you'll be sorry. See here--reproductions of emails to my scammer. See how much I paid him? He's the bad guy here!
Reviewer and readers: We know you've been scammed. But you can't leave that excerpt up at your site. Take it down. And also, you can't just rewrite that intro by rephrasing sentences. It's called infringement of...
Author: Shut up! I'm innocent!
Author's agent: My lawyer is calling you right now! Oh yes! And I still curse you!

*****

As you can see, it's amusing and fascinating, in a crane-your-neck-at-a-highway-accident sort of way. This woman is more handicapped than she realizes. I feel sorry for her, but not in the way she wants.

P/S Jiggle Low charged me ten doggie kisses for that little piece of work.



Bear with me while I learn. The first button likes the POST. The second button likes the BLOG site. Please help me by "liking" me. Thanks!

6 comments:

Lola said...

Finally, she has the sense to take down the page AND her attempt to rewrite (Paraphrase) the excerpt! Can we say clueless? from reading her rants and screams at Making Light Forum, she and her scamming agent need to buy a vowel and some grammar.

Lauren Dane said...

Bwahahaha! Don't forget to snap a few pics of me with Gerry in his kilt, he likes to keep a picture of me in his dressing room when he's away on a shoot.

And you know news of this "feud" will hit the blogs - Lauren Dane and Gennita Low came to blows over a man! Lauren broke a beer bottle and threatened her at RT! GASP!

As for that whole mess with Lanaia Lee and her lies and backpedaling along with the wiccan threats, I just sit, mouth agape at the audacity of the entire thing.

sq said...

1st, what post-season? I don't see the Yankees. Therefore, the season MUST be over.

2nd, see what happens when you don't have MTV? Lanala and her agent have too much time on their hands. If they had MTV, they'd be too enthralled with the drama of The Hills and Tila Tequilla to create their own.

Obviously Lanala never took a media ethics class or wrote for her school paper. Because one puts the FEAR of libel in your head. The other tests your ability to withstand the stress of being threatened with libel suits.

Yeah, I went into editing to avoid the lawsuits. Some people just have to learn the hard way.

Gennita said...

Lola,
Lost cause.

Lauren
Sorry, no beer bottle fights. I* will be too busy entertaining Gerry in OUR suite *grin*. But I'll photoshop you with your hand in Dr. Spock's pants.

As for the plagiarized ghostwriting, I sat through the weekend just shaking my head and going, "She What?"

Hi SQ,
Hey, you're just in a bad mood because your boys are OUT OF THE PLAYOFFS. And that's why you missed our date in New York, you bad girl. You must have been drunk with misery.

Anonymous said...

Please swap "slander" and "libel" in the Reader's Digest Condensed Version: the threat was to sue for "slander", when the proper term for written defamation is "libel".

Gennita said...

Anonymous,
I know the difference, but your friend Lanaia didn't. I'm just quoting her threat, which she'd repeated in three websites. My words in parantheses point out that slander is the wrong defamation term).

Readers' Digest Condensed Version stays.

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