The Great Southern Book Scam
November 12, 2013 § 3 Comments
An important warning from author Constance Adler over at Blackbird. While there are many legitimate contests out there, not all of them are above board, and research is needed. Here is what happened after Adler learned her memoir, My Bayou: New Orleans through the Eyes of a Lover, was a finalist for a prize from The Great Southeast Book Festival:
I went back to the Great Southeast Book Festival website to look again, this time with my shit-detector activated. I found nothing under the link for past winners. Hmm. Also there was no information on the judges or judging process, yet the criteria for submission were wide open to all books in any genre, any format, self-published or unpublished, without limits on region, subject or publication date. More hmm. The deadline for submission was March 1, 2013; my publisher received notification of my prize on March 6, 2013. That’s an awfully short turnaround. How could the judges review all the books in that time? Then I read the last item on the FAQ page: “Q: I’ve never heard of this event. How do I know this is not a scam? A: We have been in business since 1999 and stand by our track record of first-class productions around the world. Please feel free to review past contest winners and events from our large inventory of past success stories.”
There it was, hiding in plain sight. My soul sprang a leak, releasing the helium, angels, and roses.
I didn’t want to learn more, but I couldn’t stop. With a grim sense of fate, I turned to Google. All I had to type in the search field was the name of the company, JM Northern Media—I didn’t even have to include the word “scam”—and there at the top of the hit list was a blog post by the infamous “Miss Snark, the literary agent,” titled “Crock of Shit alert.” …