Friday, October 28, 2011

Who's Zooming Who?

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It's flattering to receive an interview request, isn't it?  Say from a man claiming to be a well credentialed writer named George LaCroix or David Byron or Sean Killian.  He's got a hot project.  You can be in it.

Let's say it includes a spiel like this:

The book will be an in depth look into their lives and careers, as well as an insight into their profession as an individual genre, and how much the genre has changed over the course of time. I think you would make a wonderful addition to the book, and would be honored if you would agree to let me send you some interview questions via email. I'd simply send you the questions via email attachment, you'd fill in your answers, send it back via email. 

Sounds safe enough, doesn't it?  Kind of flattering in a suck-up sort of way.

You get a few short email questions- which you answer at length and give permission for the interviewer to use what you've written so he can make money.  Where's the harm?  Maybe it will get your name out in public just a little more.

What if the man interviewing you turned out to be the David Boyer- the sleaziest plagiarist in the history of copyright infringement?  How would you like your name to be associated with him?  

He didn't tell you who he really was when he contacted you (because he's cyberstalked and misunderstood).  And sometimes he signs the contract with his pseudonym.  Is it a valid contract?  Sometime he signs his real name because it's too late for you, the writer- you write most of the content, you make nothing, he owns the interview and your named is smeared with his reputation.

So, really- who's zooming who?

Isn't it important to know who is interviewing you?


Christina said...

That makes me nervous. It does sound innocent until you find out the person interviewing you has a bad rep.

Did you find people this happened too?

This guy needs to stop.

Rick said...

You wouldn't believe the number of people he's done this to, Christina. Now that he's getting ever more known as a serial plagiarist, he uses other names to snag interviews from all sorts of writers in a wide variety of genres.

Then he owns those interviews which the writers were hoping would give them favorable publicity. And he keeps using the interviews and builds the perceived association between himself and that writer. Ask Ramsey Campbell whether or not he regrets his Boyer interview.

mafarivar said...

This is not unique to the writing profession as it has also been a form of (dishonest) "activism" where a person (potentially a crook) is actually a journalist, activist, insurance person, private dick...just fill in the title, who is fishing to get you to say something, especially about someone else. They then publish that with all the slant they want and you're left looking like someone or something you're not. As a precaution always check out the person, their claims and if necessary get any contract reviewed and get it the way you want it. It's your career, your reputation and your money. It's really depressing that things have come to this, isn't it?

Rick said...

That it is, Michel. But (fingers crossed) the Attorney General will come down on our side and put this creep out of business.

G said...


Never even thought that someone would try to interview a writer in order to get info to scam them with.

I actually had an interview request from someone earlier this year, and actually gave some serious thought to answering the questions in the e-mail.

But I ultimately decided against it when they called my blog a book and asked how I came up with the title of my "book".

Charles Gramlich said...

Wow. Just insane!

Rick said...

This guy actually has a bizarre practice of going back and plagiarizing the writers he interviews, G.

And I'm so glad you turned down the interview with the person you didn't trust.

Come to think of it, if you can tell me the name of the person, I can tell you if it is one of Boyer's aliases.

Rick said...

It gets even uglier, Charles- wait til you see the next post. It's a Halloween horror.

G said...

It was some YA author/illustrator who goes by the name of Deirdra Eden-Coppel and it was asked of me back in late June of this year, shortly after I had short story published.