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PostPosted: October 22nd, 2004, 1:39 pm 
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Joined: October 22nd, 2004, 1:28 pm
Posts: 1
Location: Minneapolis, MN
I would like to know whether anyone has heard of Writers Universe. I have a novel currently in print and have contracted with them to help get the book into more brick & mortar stores. However, my e-mails have not been returned...

I was sent a list of six references -- all of which had books listed on Amazon.com and other places-- and they had nothing but good things to say about this company. The references seemed legit.

However, since I've been scammed before and cannot get a return e-mail, I'm starting to have my doubts. Please help!

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Jonathan W. Howe
Author of Heroes Don't Run
ISBN: 0-9744339-6-9
www.jonathanhowe.com
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PostPosted: October 22nd, 2004, 3:32 pm 
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Joined: October 8th, 2003, 4:46 pm
Posts: 687
I would definitely ask them to name 10 of their books that are on bookstore shelves, then call the store and confirm, and also check to ensure they are the people who got it there.


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PostPosted: November 12th, 2004, 11:34 am 
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Joined: November 12th, 2004, 11:28 am
Posts: 1
Location: Rockford, IL
I asked a marketing exec at iUniverse (where I published my book) whether she knew anything about WritersUniverse, which has been sending me emails trying to get me to buy its services. This was her response (keep in mind that iUniverse wants its authors to use its own publicists, which come at a relatively hefty cost, so the answer is not completely unbiased; however, this person has seemed credible to me in the past and the answer was specific enough that I give it credence):

"I'm glad you asked me about Writers Universe before doing anything. We actually had an author (who is contracted with one of our personal publicists) use Writers Universe, and he had a very negative experience.

"Writers Universe told him they'd get his book into bookstores, but it turned out that they were just ordering copies of his book from bookstores, and using fictitious names. The premise here is that no one ever comes to pick up the copies that were ordered, and then the bookstore puts the unclaimed books out on the shelf. The problem with this is that the bookstores ended up contacting us here at iUniverse claiming the author was trying to scam us by ordering these books and then not picking them up. When this happens, we contact the author and tell him we are going to cancel his title due to this activity. So in this case, when we contacted the author, he had no idea what was going on. That's how we found out what Writers Universe was up to.

"I can't say that this happens with every author that uses the "services" of Writers Universe, but it did happen in this circumstance."

~ Lorna Collier

_________________
Author, "Tilli's Story: My Thoughts Are Free"
True story of German girl's life under Hitler and Stalin before her thrilling escape to freedom at age 16
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PostPosted: December 7th, 2004, 6:59 pm 
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Joined: December 7th, 2004, 6:47 pm
Posts: 6
Location: Denver
I also had problems with WritersUniverse.net (John Weaver) and I wouldn't recommend him. I tried to work with him last summer. He required $500.00 up-front to get my books into stores. He later sent numerous e-mails saying he had lots of orders for my book. It turns out that many of the orders never appeared, and now many books have come back, although he stated the stores would sell through table displays and that "you shouldn't see many returns" (his exact e-mail quote). I am out the income and all the shipping costs, so I've lost lots of money.

I told him for more than a month that the orders weren't coming. He kept saying he would look into it but never gave me a credible answer. Later he said he doesn't guarantee any orders! This is someone who refuses to be accountable for his claims and statements. He offers no proof or paper work for these "orders." Other posts here and on this site in Whispers and Warnings, indicate his scams and spams to others (see below).

There have been disturbing developments with John Weaver and some of his numerous aliases. After sending me me harassing e-mails for weeks, using fake names and e-mail addresses, he has been posting numerous false and defamatory information against me. I asked him to stop the harassment numerous times but he just used another fake name and e-mail to continue the aggressive campaign (several ISPs closed the accounts because they recognized the harassment). Although sending these harassing and alias e-mails violates state and federal laws, Mr. Weaver, the "upstanding" businessman has kept doing it. (Most states, including NC where John is, Texas, and Colorado have laws against sending these annoying, harassing e-mails. The US Federal Code also speaks to the illegality of this practice).

Mr. Weaver's harassment and taunting has gone on since December, 2004, and includes numerous false reports he filed on a site meant for complaints against business, not clients. He included an urrelevant news story about President Bush and lawsuits, and signed it usling the fake name "Robert" the same as "Robert Harmon," one of Mr. Weaver's numerous aliases. It turns out that John Weaver of WritersUniverse.net used that same lame article and quotes in his deceptive answer to the Attorney General, making it clear that he posted the defamatory claims on the Rip-off Report site using the fake names "Robert" and "Bob" and many others. There's also the recent Fred T Wallace alias that matched Mr. Weaver's AOL IPs---I think I count 20 aliases total. If you think this behavior is professional and adult, then you should give John Weaver and WritersUniverse.net, GetBookOrders@aol, or bookstofilm.com your money.

I have learned that many of the fake names Mr. Weaver's used in his ugly harassment campaign of e-mails and posts have the same IP address that he used to send the spam e-mail shown on the "Bogus Legal Threat" posts on this site: 24.172.106.120. He has used many others through aol.

In fact, I've been tracking his IPs for a while and at least 9 of his aliases and harassing e-mails are tied to his own IP addresses and content. Even Vivian TG who harassed many of us on this site used the same IP as Mr. Weaver's spam e-mail posted on the Bogus Legal Threat: http://forums.writersweekly.com/viewtop ... 3273#23273. See also "My name is John Weaver" in Whispers and Warnings for more of John Weaver's dishonest postings. He must think we're all really stupid! If you do business with this man, don't complain later. I've tried to warn you of what can happen, as have others on these Whispers and Warnings postings.

THE ROBERT HARMON POST BELOW IS ANOTHER OF THE MANY ALIAS OF JOHN WEAVER. I RECEIVED A BIZARRE E-MAIL FROM "ROBERT HARMON" USING THAT SAME E-MAIL ADDRESS WEEKS AGO, AND HE HAS THE SAME IP AS VIVIAN TG, JAMES BRADSHAW, NANCY POWELL, KERRY MATHEWS, AND THE SPAM POSTING FROM A JOHN WEAVER COMPANY (BOOKSTOFILM) ON THE "BOGUS LEGAL THREAT" ON THIS SITE. JOHN WEAVER, WE'RE ON TO YOUR SHAMS AND SPAMS!
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 Post subject: WritersUniverse
PostPosted: December 8th, 2004, 10:23 pm 
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Joined: December 8th, 2004, 10:10 pm
Posts: 3
I know and have hired this company. They generated orders and interest in my books and represented me well. I found them to be fair and honest. Authors who they have worked for that I know who they could not help, I know for a fact, they returned their money which is very very very rare in this business.

No one guarantees anything in this business and if a marketing firm generated interest from bookbuyers and booksellers for you that's the best you can expect. If your book was returned maybe it was your book. I don't see how it was the fault of the publicist.

Anyone that needs to know my experiences with writers Universe can email me at robertharmon@walla.com and I will be happy to tell them of my experinces as well as other publicity companies and publishers that have worked for me.

Robert Harmon


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 Post subject: Re: WritersUniverse
PostPosted: December 20th, 2004, 5:22 am 
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Joined: January 25th, 2004, 12:38 am
Posts: 124
Location: California, USA
robertharmon wrote:
I know and have hired this company. They generated orders and interest in my books and represented me well. I found them to be fair and honest. Authors who they have worked for that I know who they could not help, I know for a fact, they returned their money which is very very very rare in this business.

No one guarantees anything in this business and if a marketing firm generated interest from bookbuyers and booksellers for you that's the best you can expect. If your book was returned maybe it was your book. I don't see how it was the fault of the publicist.

Anyone that needs to know my experiences with writers Universe can email me at robertharmon@walla.com and I will be happy to tell them of my experinces as well as other publicity companies and publishers that have worked for me.

Robert Harmon



While this may or may not be true (and I certainly want to give you the benefit of the doubt), it's not uncommon for someone to come out of the woodwork and make such claims. Because you have a grand total of two posts, you can understand why we might wait for you to have a track record around here before determining belief/disbelief.



Tom Nixon
--
The SmallPress Blog
http://www.smallpress.typepad.com
Read this week's interview with book marketing guru John Kremer (1001 Ways to Market Your Book)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 2nd, 2005, 9:18 pm 
This is Angela Hoy,

This post by Rose Desrochers has been deleted.

Rose Desrochers of todays-women.net was using the WritersWeekly.com forum to attack companies she had no business relationship with. While most of the posts represented her opinions, these "opinions" were obviously meant only to upset others and draw them into heated arguments. These "opinions" were also clearly displayed as a way to harm reputations.

You can read more about why this post was deleted and about Rose's reputation for this type of behavior at:
http://forums.writersweekly.com/viewtopic.php?t=4120


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 7th, 2005, 7:53 pm 
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Joined: January 25th, 2004, 12:38 am
Posts: 124
Location: California, USA
I get regular spam from both Writers Universe and Books to Film. It's rather annoying, to say the least. I've certainly never signed up to be sent anything. My guess is that they harvest e-mails from writer's websites.


Tom Nixon
--
The SmallPress Blog
<http://www.smallpress.typepad.com>
Read this week's interview with typesetting/indexing wizard John Culleton!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 7th, 2005, 8:59 pm 
This is Angela Hoy,

This post by Rose Desrochers has been deleted.

Rose Desrochers of todays-women.net was using the WritersWeekly.com forum to attack companies she had no business relationship with. While most of the posts represented her opinions, these "opinions" were obviously meant only to upset others and draw them into heated arguments. These "opinions" were also clearly displayed as a way to harm reputations.

You can read more about why this post was deleted and about Rose's reputation for this type of behavior at:
http://forums.writersweekly.com/viewtopic.php?t=4120


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 Post subject: Spammers
PostPosted: January 12th, 2005, 5:14 pm 
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Joined: July 8th, 2004, 1:30 am
Posts: 16
I got spammed by writersuniverse.net too. I have my doubts as to any place that spams authors.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 13th, 2005, 2:47 am 
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Joined: January 6th, 2005, 4:37 pm
Posts: 1
I question your definition of SPAM. To me SPAM is not just unsolicited email, but unsolicited email that has no relationship to what you do. How would you define a legitimate sales solicitation?

I also received email from John Weaver last fall. I followed up, because it was something I was interested in persuing. John was prompt in his response -- both by email and phone. He provided references, which I checked and they provided good feedback to specific questions. He described his business fairly and always acted in a professional manner.

I agree with the other poster, no publicist can guanatee to get you book orders. What they can guaranatee is that they will professionally present your product to the appropirate book buyers. The buyers make the decision on what, when and where to order the products for their various stores. John, nor anyone else, can guarantee orders -- or that you won't have returns. You are naive of the book business if you think you won't have returns -- you will! Often for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of your product. It is called inventory balancing.

I have hired John for two campaigns at this point and my sales to the chain bookstores have gone from zero to 50% of my Baker and Taylor sales. If John didn't do it, I have no idea who did! The good fairy?

You also can't expect to suddenly be in every store of every chain -- the business builds slowly, from one success to the next. John and I plot our strategy between each campaign -- just the way you would want any marketing rep to do. What is different about the publicist is he doesn't bring the orders in. This was disconcerting to me at first -- but just another one of the weird kinks of the publishing business that I had to learn to accept. (I've always been in direct sales, so this is very different).

Accountability pretty much has to be based on trust of the person you've hired, and the disjointed relationship to sales. But if more books are leaving your warehouse, then someone is causing the orders to happen! If it isn't you, or the good fairy -- it is probably John's work!

John is a small businessman, just like I am. Our relationship is built on mutual respect and trust. We understand and appreciate how difficult each other's job is. I would not hesitate to recommend John (and have) to anyone who has a quality product that is appropriate for book store sales. My book sells through many channels, John's work is only one of many sales strategies. To be successful in today's cut-throat, razor-thin margin business, you must use multiple strategies to ensure success.

John can help you with your bookstore strategy -- he cannot make your book an overnight success.

Carol White


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 Post subject: My definition of SPAM
PostPosted: January 13th, 2005, 4:12 am 
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Joined: July 8th, 2004, 1:30 am
Posts: 16
cwhite wrote:
I question your definition of SPAM. To me SPAM is not just unsolicited email, but unsolicited email that has no relationship to what you do. How would you define a legitimate sales solicitation?



SPAM is IMO, any unsolicited commercial mass mailing (UCE or Unsolicited Commericial Email). I don't care if it's something I'm interested in or not. (In this case, I don't want it). Check the CAUCE definition if you're not sure.

These mass mailers cost a lot of internet bandwidth and money and are often going to people who have no desire to see them. So much so that we put SPAM filters on and occasionally one or two gets through. There is no business relationship between us nor will there be.

I can't say whether or not his business is legit. I just wouldn't do business with anyone who mass mails like that. Just like I don't like telemarketers and won't buy a thing from them. There are plenty of ways of getting your business out on the net. Take out ads on reputable websites. Get your business mentioned in writers magazines. Market yourself effectively. There are lots of other good ways to attract customers.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 13th, 2005, 12:41 pm 
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Joined: May 17th, 2004, 12:17 pm
Posts: 210
Location: Over here, under the books
Perfectly said, Sky. And like Sky, I would never, never, never do business with anyone who solicited or, worse, spammed me.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 13th, 2005, 12:46 pm 
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Joined: October 24th, 2003, 11:55 am
Posts: 107
I love tossing them into the "blocked sender" list.

:lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 13th, 2005, 12:49 pm 
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Joined: May 17th, 2004, 12:17 pm
Posts: 210
Location: Over here, under the books
Heh. Me, too, St. George.


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