scam11[1]On his blog,, self-publishing writer Larry Brooks recently revealed a brush with a rather fancy self-publishing grift. He was approached, Brooks writes, by a Lifetime talk show to appear on the show to discuss his latest small-publisher novel.

So Brooks flew down to Florida to shoot the interview—at which point he was informed that to appear on the show, he would have to pony up a $5,900 “licensing fee.” When he ran this by his publisher, his publicist, a number of published authors, and his wife, the consensus was that it was a scam.

It seems that this is a new take on an old self-publishing business model, in which the author is charged for services of dubious value. As Brooks points out, it takes an awful lot of sales to cover this sort of publicity cost—and just how many sales is one likely to make from a talk show on Lifetime?

Apparently a lot of authors are willing to pay this much money all the same. Perhaps they’re the ones who fall more into the category of “vanity” publishing—paying out the money to stoke their own egos rather than out of expectation of a commensurate return. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn there are plenty of that sort out there.


  1. Any author with this in mind would probably be better off creating a small video, perhaps by a local videotaping concern, as a school project, or just using webcams and video editing SW, and finding places to publicize and show it online. They’d probably get better exposure online than on Lifetime, as a program like that would probably air during the pre-dawn “infomercial” hours and not get much notice.

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