April 29, 2008


Robert Nedelkoff

Come to think of it - it'd serve these buncopersons right if you made their setup an incident or part of the plot in your next novel. The way I see it, it'd take them a half-century at this scam to raise a sum equivalent to, say, what Publishers Marketplace calls a "very nice" advance.

The story really has a grifters-who-couldn't-scam-straight quality. For one thing, the operation is inherently very limited in scope - for instance, the number of people whose names could plausibly be invoked. Many writers, especially ones living in NY, don't have a car and in some cases have never had a license to drive one. Ergo, the setup is inherently suspicious.

In the shower this morning I wondered what sort of strategies these jokers would use to improve their chances if they did have half a brain. Phoning a bookstore and pretending to be Peggy Selzer aka Margaret P. Jones seeking some impound money? Now, given Selzer/Jones' known history, I don't see why an employee would doubt it was the "Love & Consequences" author. The drawback to this ploy is that it logically follows that the employee would assume Selzer/Jones was fibbing about an impound or whatever, and refuse to pony up. (A few other writers come to mind in this category, but since they variously have reps for lawsuits, flaming, or driving big noisy choppers, I'll refrain from mentioning them.)

Jerry Sticker


I feel downright awful your stolen identity has had it's car impounded. But it shouldn't have had so much to drink in the first place. Gotta show some tough love on this one.


John Shannon

If you're going to impersonate yourself on these calls at least try the new Nigerian strategy of threatening to kill the person all their friends and relatives unless they send money, quick.

Antoine Wilson

We do what we can to get our names on the front page of the calendar section, right?

(Smart move to throw them off the scent with Ray Bradbury, Russell Banks, and Eric Alterman's assistant. Reminds me of that Law & Order where all the random sniper shootings turn out to be a coverup for a regular old murder.)

Seriously, though, Mark, I almost spit up my coffee this morning.


I am surprised this would work if it WAS the real author calling to get money. Do (notoriously strapped) bookstores really hand out emergency money to authors that come to do signings. Shouldn't a call to a bookstore come after, say, a call to your significant other, friends, agent, publisher, publicist or local author? And if all those people stiffed you, maybe you aren't a very good risk.


Sorry for all the trouble, Mark, but I really could use $150.

tod goldberg

I've started calling churches posing as Tim Lahaye, telling them I need $500 to dispose of a hooker I accidently killed, and if I don't get it, well, the Jews will win. It's been working surprisingly well.

Steven Augustine

Meanwhile, Ed is strangely silent on the matter...


Sorry for the silence, Steven. Snorting blow right now off a homeless man's ass crack, courtesy of my impeccable impersonation of Jonathan Lethem. As for Mark, I'm waiting for Novel #2. So he's been warned.

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