Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

IgNoble Scam

Once again, my elderly mixed retriever Jack received another scam email. This time it’s from across the pond:

Office of the Publisher
Poetry Division
London, U.K.
12 April, 2007

Dear Jack,

As you may know, Noble House is one of the foremost publishers of fiction and nonfiction works by new and established authors today. Our international poetry division has had the honour of publishing thousands of poems over the past twelve years.


Doncha love that classy Brit spelling?

Recently, I had the pleasure of reading the poetry that you have had published in the United States. I congratulate you on this grand endeavour, and propose to you that your singular talent and vision deserves appropriate international recognition as well.

Hoo-hah! This is too much! “Singular talent and vision”!

For this reason, I have posted this letter to request your permission to include one of your favourite poems in Centres of Expression - a new poetry edition that is being distributed worldwide by Noble House . . . a collection of poetry that is perhaps unlike any you have ever seen . . . one where each poem is featured on its own page, and one whose quality is reminiscent of the finest 19th century antique poetry books.

There’s the classy spelling with the extra u again. Somehow, the book doesn't look so classy:



Hearken back, if you will, to the days of Emily Dickinson, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and William Wordsworth . . . the age of grand bookmaking. Poetry editions were some of the most highly prized volumes because of their intimate attention to detail - quality typography, fine ivory laid paper, and colourful ornate covers. Jack, for this edition, we've returned to the traditional size, style, and quality of these classic 19th century antique poetry books.

“Harken”? Nobody says “harken” anymore. Try working it into your next conversation and see if anyone is impressed.

Scheduled for release in Winter 2008, Centres of Expression will surely become one of your most treasured keepsakes. Your publication in this edition will establish you as an international author and afford you the respect and admiration attendant to such an honour. International Copyright notice for your poetic artistry will, of course, be in your name, assuring that you will retain worldwide rights to your work of art.

Jack should be honoured, of course. He doesn’t give a rat’s patootie (patoutie?) about worldwide (wourldwide?) rights.

Best of all, should you decide to obtain a copy of the edition for your personal library, or as a wonderful personalised gift (you are, naturally, under no obligation to purchase a copy - notwithstanding the publication of your work in this edition), as you proudly turn its pages you'll find it one of the best values on the book market today. At only £23.14 (U.S. $45.55) for a hardbound, 225-page edition printed in two colours on ivory laid vellum, with a finely crafted and highly detailed laminate cover and a single poem to a page, this edition promises to exceed your expectations, and it will enjoy pride of place in your home. In fact, its quality is guaranteed. If for any reason you are dissatisfied, your money will be completely refunded in U.S. dollars with proper dispatch.

Oh, yeah, Jack is gonna rush to the bank and get a cheque—oh, wait! He doesn’t have a bank account. He’s a dogue, dog, dawg, whatever. If he has no expectations, how can they be exceeded? And how “highly detailed” can laminate be?

Jack, you may also wish to consider giving the public some insight about you and your artistry for this poetic showcase . . . perhaps the meaning behind your poem, or your own philosophical perspective. Because an entire page in the book is devoted to honouring your poetry, we can feature this additional material about you and your poetry (up to 100 words) on the verso leaf opposite your poem . . . you will thus have two full pages devoted to you and your artistry.

Here’s the insight: Jack is scamming the scammers. He’s an elderly mixed retriever. His poem is garbage. It means nothing. It means that this whole Noble House letter is a scam.

Jack, may we have permission to publish your work? Regardless of whether you purchase a copy or not, the international public deserves to see more of your artistic talent. You may Submit Your Poem and biographical information, and give us permission, all within the confines of the next page. And if you are inclined to order a copy of Centres of Expression, you may also do so at the same time.

Sincerely,

Nigel Hillary
Publisher, Poetry Division - Noble House U.K.

P.S. For poets who may wish to obtain supplementary copies for gift-giving, to display, or for merchandising, special case pack discounts are available. Please consult the submission and order form for further details.

. . . and that’s not all, Jack’s membership is desired in yet another scam outfit:

What the heck is an "everyday poet"? Is that better than an "every month poet"?

Dear Jack,

In celebration of National Poetry Month, we would like to invite you to join Poets.com, the premiere online community of poets and writers. Poets.com offers its members the ability to post their poems online where fellow poets can review and critique them, all in an effort to help improve their craft. This April, in recognition of National Poetry Month, we are awarding Special Prize Packages to the top five reviewers of the month. These prizes include signed copies of books by both professional and amateur poets, including Robert Pinsky, W.D. Snodgrass, and David Wagoner, along with a gift card to Barnes & Noble. Official prizes and rules are posted on the site.

Yeah, like Jack can use that!

In addition to all this, Poets.com features informative articles, a message system, a chat room, a comprehensive glossary, poetry challenges, and a place where you can store and display all your poetry... all designed to help both the skilled and recreational writer.

What? Recreational writers can't be skilled?

Sign up today for a FREE 15-day Trial Membership. If you decide to upgrade to a Paid Membership, you will have the opportunity to win the prizes that are given away every month, including the special prize packages being awarded for National Poetry Month.

Jack, take a few minutes and check out Poets.com. I am sure you will find it a valuable tool and resource, and the Trial Membership is FREE. Try out the premiere writers' network today!

Jeffrey Harper
Poets.com

P.S. Share your enjoyment of poetry and continue to celebrate National Poetry Month!

Jack decided to pass on Poets.com. Meanwhile, Noble House didn’t give up when Jack didn’t respond. Here’s their latest try (notice that the opening is different from their first try, but much of the rest is merely copy-and-paste):

Office of the Publisher
Poetry Division
London, U.K.
25 April, 2007

Dear Jack,

This memo comes to you with a high degree of urgency. As of today, I have not received your Noble House submission. I recently informed you that Noble House, one of the foremost publishers of fiction and nonfiction works, was interested in your poetry. I had the pleasure of reading the poetry you have submitted in the United States, and I want to congratulate you on this grand endeavour. I also wanted to inform you that your talent and vision deserve appropriate international recognition as well.

High degree of urgency! Grand endeavor? This is too much! The irony is that my old dog is getting more “appropriate international recognition” from this blog than he could ever get from Noble House.

For this reason, I have posted this letter to respectfully request that you send me your submission as soon as possible since I have reserved extensive space to prominently honour your poetic work in this publication. Centres of Expression is a new poetry edition that is being distributed worldwide by Noble House . . . a collection of poetry that is perhaps unlike any you have ever seen . . . one where each poem is featured on its own page, and one whose quality is reminiscent of the finest 19th century antique poetry books.

Hearken back, if you will, to the days of Emily Dickinson, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and William Wordsworth . . . the age of grand bookmaking. Poetry editions were some of the most highly prized volumes because of their intimate attention to detail – quality typography, fine ivory laid paper, and colourful ornate covers. Jack, for this edition, we've returned to the traditional size, style, and quality of these classic 19th century antique poetry books.

Scheduled for release in Winter 2008, Centres of Expression will surely become one of your most treasured keepsakes. Your publication in this edition will establish you as an international author and afford you the respect and admiration attendant to such an honour. International Copyright notice for your poetic artistry will, of course, be in your name, assuring that you will retain worldwide rights to your work of art.


Yeah, looks like a real keepsake, all right. . . .

Best of all, should you decide to obtain a copy of the edition for your personal library, or as a wonderful personalised gift (you are, naturally, under no obligation to purchase a copy - notwithstanding the publication of your work in this edition), as you proudly turn its pages you’ll find it one of the best values on the book market today. At only £23.14 (U.S. $45.55) for a hardbound, 225-page edition printed in two colours on ivory laid vellum, with a finely crafted and highly detailed laminate cover and a single poem to a page, this edition promises to exceed your expectations, and it will enjoy pride of place in your home. In fact, its quality is guaranteed. If for any reason you are dissatisfied, your money will be completely refunded in U.S. dollars with proper dispatch.

Jack, you may also wish to consider giving the public some insight about you and your artistry for this poetic showcase . . . perhaps the meaning behind your poem, or your own philosophical perspective. Because an entire page in the book is devoted to honouring your poetry, we can feature this additional material about you and your poetry (up to 100 words) on the verso leaf opposite your poem . . . you will thus have two full pages devoted to you and your artistry.

Jack, may we have permission to publish your work? Regardless of whether you purchase a copy or not, the international public deserves to see more of your artistic talent. In order to make our publication date, you must submit your new poem as soon as possible! I would hate to see you miss out on this opportunity. To make things easy, you may Submit Your Poem and biographical information, and give us permission, all within the confines of the next page. And if you are inclined to order a copy of Centres of Expression, you may also do so at the same time.

Sincerely,

Nigel Hillary
Publisher, Poetry Division - Noble House U.K.

P.S. For poets who may wish to obtain supplementary copies for gift-giving, to display, or for merchandising, special case pack discounts are available. Please consult the submission and order form for further details.

A case pack discount? Yikes! A full case of 12 copies is $204.40. I suppose that's a bargain compared to the single copy price of $45.55. Oh, but there's shipping: $8 per book for single copies; $32 for the case.

Y'all want a poem? Gnaw on this:

There once was an old dawg named Jack.
Of poetry skills, he did lack.
He uttered some howls
And some igNOBLE growls,
And that’s the best poem which old Jack could hack.

Jack may be a humble old dawg, but he’s too smart to fall for a scheme like the Noble House book or Poets.com.

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1 Comments:

Blogger House on the Glade Hill said...

sOh Becky... this is nothing short of hilarious! I thoroughly enjoyed this show of a scam. It was like Dateline with a punchline. lol - thanks for the laugh. Check out my new post. I am still tenderly pressing the y,h,n, and j. Thanks again for all of the good info. in our group.
Amy H.

10:23 PM  

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