Another #scam to waste authors’ precious time

Last week, out of the blue, I had a telephone call telling me I was invited to do a television interview about my book.

The young lady was at great pains to tell me all about the legitimacy of the offer: an interview with Logan Crawford (she seemed quite put out when I said I didn’t know who he was), on SPOTLIGHT TV. She invited me to look it up online while we were on the phone. This meant trudging upstairs to my office, but I was mildly intrigued to know who these people were.

Interesting results. Spotlight TV in its current incarnation (it’s a defunct US Premium channel) seems to be an independant channel that has variously broadcast on Sky, Freesat, Freeview, online, and YouTube, but is really hard to pin down as a current company, and I was somewhat disturbed by the phone call coming from the US, (Wisconsin, to be precise), for what appears to be a UK-based station.

And then there is Logan Crawford, the actor I am supposed to have heard about. Perhaps you know him? It appears he is a legitimate actor/newscaster, but being American, his name was not on my radar.

So, still being unsure about what, exactly, was going on, I asked some questions.

“Which book?” I asked, when I could get a word in. “And where did you get my name?”

The enthusiastic young lady seemed a bit unsure about which book, but told me firmly they had got my name from my publisher’s press release.

Interesting, as I don’t have a publisher, and no recent press releases.

She then told me she could see I had several books to my name and that I should pick the one I was most enthusiastic about.

I told her I was pretty sceptical about the whole thing, given the unexpectedness of the call, so she suggested she send me info and links to where I could watch an interview, and generally check things out, and she would call back the next day. I agreed this was a good idea.

The email arrived promptly, and his is the company she was calling from:

Services

Prime Seven Media turns out to be a publishing and marketing company. Hmm, thinks I.

So when the call came the following day, my first question was: “What do you get out of this? You are from a marketing companym so clearly there is going to be a financial charge somewhere along the line.”

She tried her absolute best to deny this. They were doing this purely to help authors’ careers. They take care of everything: organsing the interview, doing the editing, press releases, broadcasting it on a wide range of media outlets, and then after the event the author owns the interview and can use it anywhere they like.

“But what about money?” I persisted. “You have to be making money somewhere along the line for these services.”

Bless her, she tried so hard not to answer the question, but finally added, “The only thing you pay for is airtime.”

Finally!

So I over-rode her persistent assurances and asked how much that would be. She had to put me on hold, ‘to ask her manager’.

Only $999!!!!

“Thank you very much, you can stop there. Goodbye!”

I would hope that any authors they contact might realise that $999 is an unrealistic figure for an interview that is most unlikely to be seen by their target audience? But of course, some new authors, early in their careers and not yet wise to the schemes and scams out there to trap the innocent, may well fall for it.

I guess that’s what they are hoping for.

How about you? Has this one crossed your path yet?

36 comments

  1. Jane Sturgeon · · Reply

    I signed up with a publishing house (well-known) for help, support and marketing with my first book about six years ago. A complete waste of time and money and I learned a costly lesson. You were right to push for an answer to your straight question. Transparency is key and every scam costs time. I wanted to go into print and ‘out’ them but was advised that their legal muscle was way bigger than mine. ❤ to you, Deb. Good luck with your teaching tour. Xx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Did you move your blog, Jane? I’ve lost track…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jane Sturgeon · ·

        Hello Jacqui, yes, I moved to Ghost (away from WP)….thank you for asking.

        https://www.janesturgeon.com/

        Thanks Debby, for letting us do this on your comments. ❤

        Liked by 3 people

      2. You are most welcome Jane. Did you move away from WP for any particular reason?

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Jane Sturgeon · ·

        Yes. I self hosted through WP.org. WP have stretched way beyond their original remit of a blog site and are now trying to be everything (including web site builders) to everyone. Upgrades come through that mess up existing set-ups, PHP upgrades that end users have to install and they then mess up existing plug-ins. It was adding a time consuming layer into my working life that was beyond frustrating. ‘Happiness Engineers’ is an ironic description. I voted with my feet. ❤

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Good for you, I’m glad I haven’t ventured into self hosted and now I never will!

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Thanks, Jane! I checked out your new blog. It looks like I need to join to comment?

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Jane Sturgeon · ·

        Hello Jacqui (and thank you, Debby), you can read without logging in but if you want to comment, you need to have an account, which is free. ❤

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I’ve yet to hear of any authors being financially successful with such an arrangement. I really don’t think it’s worth distinguishing between such houses and vanity publishers. It makes me mad that they take advantage of people so callously – and as you say, we are but the small fry, we’ve no chance if we try to take them on.
      Thanks for the good wishes, I’m anxiously waiting to see how much work the forecast weather will permit me to do!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Jane Sturgeon · ·

        Fingers crossed the weather holds off for you, Debby and thank you for yoru support. You are right. ❤

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Yikes! Thanks for the heads up, Debby. This is terrible. Hugs 💕🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve not heard of this one until they contacted me – the least I can do is warn others!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. HI Deborah, this is rather awful to read. Some people could really get caught out by something like this and the air time is really expensive. Not that many people have a $1000 lying around for television interviews.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’d have to sell a heck of a lot of books to recoup that outlay, and as it’s not targeted to a speciific audience I reckon its unlikely anyone would profit.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ll be ready if I get that call. They sure didn’t vet you well enough!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 🤣🤣 That’ll teach them not to do their research!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I am absolutely gobsmacked! Thanks for sharing this with us Deb. I thought it was bad enough receiving scammy emails offering up similar things. It’s ridiculous already. Our world is full of scams! 😦 xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was gobsmacked enough to investigate it despite the waste of time, as I wanted to get the whole story so as to warn others.
      It’s unbelievably audacious, but I guess some people must fall for it or they wouldn’t persist 😔

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh for sure Deb. That’s how they get by scooping people in. Not too many are investigative like us. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Tarka Strachan · · Reply

    I just had a similar call from a lady. She was seemingly a foreigner but it was a California number. She said the same things about my name/book being submitted for a talk show hosted by Logan Crawford. Apparently I needed to decide quickly since there were only 2 slots left. I asked her how much and she said $2200. I was googling during her pitch… and responded “I don’t even know who Logan Crawford is.” After a deep exhale she said, “okay bye.” She didn’t try hard to convince me at all. I sure hope they aren’t getting anyone with this scam.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 😲 Wow, the price has gone up since they called me!
      I’m glad to hear it isn’t just me who is not impressed by the name Logan Crawford!
      I can’t believe anyone is falling for it, but there might be a newbie author out there who isn’t wise to the pointlessness of paying for something like this, hence why I want to share.
      Thank you for dropping by and confirming its not just me that’s had this call.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Penny Findlow · · Reply

    Yes. Got a call this evening? Dec 22, 2022. Very similar although they did not say about airtime! I was very skeptical from the get go and told them to call back in January. I have now blocked the number. I am in Australia and have three children’s books published.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They won’t tell you about airtime costs until the very last minute, once they’ve made you really eager to do the interview. I had to really push to get them to admit to it, but I’ve worked in direct sales in my past and I know how to get there.
      Don’t waste your time on another call, or if you really want to investigate, ask them directly about costs and push until they answer you.
      My hope in writing this post is to save others from wasting as much time as I did.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Happened to me few days ago,
    Still figuring out are they scam or what’s happening.

    Like

    1. It’s sales. They will hook you until you are enthusiastic enough, and then present you with the cost. If you consider that cost is worth what you are getting, then that’s up to you. For me, I consider the price tag far too high to be worth it, considering your interview will go out to an untargeted audience, and then sure, you can use it yourself, but will you ever recoup the investment? I think not.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hello Deborah, well well! I received a call yesterday from an enthusiastic and very pleasant representative of Prime Seven Media, Anna Jacobs (with an Asian accent – 14148825319 – the prefix 141 is used to withhold a private number). I received the same information as you with reference to Logan Crawford who I too, have never heard of. However, I later googled and all seemed legit in terms of what I was told about him. She emailed with information and also a couple of sample interviews, one of which was of a rather eccentric UK author chatting about his work with parapsychology and DNA. I did not manage to watch it to the end as the content and presentation was sending me to sleep. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0rPiSTW7iE8) Logan Crawford just let him waffle on and I could tell by his body language it was about as interesting to him as watching a chocolate fireguard melt. I reviewed google for more information about the company because she arranged to call me back today which she did at the precise arranged time. Like you when I asked where she had picked my work up from, there was no specific answer as such. Her next question,
    ‘Tell me about your book?’ my response, ‘Which one?’
    She had no information to give me making me think she knew my work. Anyway, I listened intently and gave her extensive information about my books. The call lasted nearly an hour and right at the end (what I was waiting for happened) – PRICE: 999 USD/833.769. ‘Would I like to pay now?’ My response of course was, ‘I am a pensioner, and no way do I have a disposable income of this nature. I was then assured, ‘Not to worry you can pay in installments, would you like to pay half now?’
    Whatever enthusiasm I had dissipated at this point. I asked her to confirm all in an email. Within a few minutes, it arrived confirming everything I was told. How disappointing and what a waste of my time. I have a few television and radio interviews behind me but never have I been asked for money and always allowed to use the content free across social media. I realize nobody would market our work for nothing, not in this day and age but the initial hook used reeled me in like a trout grabbing a fly. During my research about Prime Seven Media, I came across your review, thank you! Needless to say, the matter is closed and my savings will not be wasted on this. But this representative was very plausible and that is why we get sucked into the diatribe. Thank you, Google, and you. Happy New Year, may your quill never run dry! Lazarus

    Like

    1. Oh dear, I wish you’d come across my post earlier and saved yourself some of that precisous time. I’ve worked in sales in the past, so I’m fairly clued up on how to cut through the bull once I’d done my due diligence checking them out.
      The name Anna Jacobs and the accent sound familiar, so same lady I would say.
      I’m so glad you didn’t succumb – I hate these scammers with a passion.
      Thanks for leaving your comment, it confirms what a complete waste of time this offer is.

      Like

  10. Thanks for the heads up! These scams are terrible and many uniformed people may fall for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Only too happy to save others from wasting their time!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Came across your article as they have contacted me this week so I wanted to see who else was solicited. Sales guy didn’t even know my name, called me really late or early in the morning and obviously knew nothing about me or my book. The real joke is that he said this was a stepping stone to Hollywood. My book is on theology. The last thing Hollywood wants to hear is about theology. Thanks for putting this out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You would really think they would do SOME research before wasting a phone call and everybody’s time, wouldn’t you? Thank for sharing your experience 👍

      Like

      1. Guy called me again at 6:30 this morning (I didn’t answer). I happened to be up but was ticked nonetheless. He says he’s from Colorado which would have made it 4:30am his time. I think he’s actually in the Philippines (his accent) and that they have a boiler room call center. I’ve now had to block him on my cell and ministry phone lines. Do not engage these people. They will stalk you.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Nathalie Korcz · · Reply

    I am a poor shmuck. Maybe you want to change how you name people who do not get that this is a scam and who still believe in the good of people and businesses. I have not only lost money but now I am called stupid for this. That does not help very much.
    Best regards

    Like

    1. Nathalie, I totally take your point, and have edited my post to remove my insensitive wording.
      I’m so sorry you got caught out and lost your money – there are so many scammers out there, which was the main reason behind my post, to act as a warning to those that have not yet encountered this one.
      One good place to check out regularly is Writer Beware, https://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/
      which details and updates regularly as new scams come to light.
      Good luck with avoiding such things in the future.

      Like

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