Living in Paradise

The Literary Phone Scammers

The Literary Phone Scammers

For the last three years or so a pleasant-voiced woman, with an accent, has been calling to tell me that she wants to market my books. I stopped counting after call 100.

A couple of weeks ago, I answered to hear what I knew would be a familiar sales pitch.

“Why don’t you send me some material that I can review about your company,” I said, knowing full well what her answer would be.

As expected, she dodged my request. “We really don’t have time to do that,” she said.

“Well, if you don’t have time to do that, I certainly don’t have time to send you money to market my books,” I said.

The woman hung up.

But it didn’t stop there. It never does. Yesterday, they called my man, as they often do. He doesn’t answer, and then they call me.

“What do I have to do to get off your list?” I answered the phone. “I’m fully aware that this is a scam. This is harassment. Please stop calling”

She fired back. “This is not a scam. We are a legitimate company.”

“If you were legitimate, you wouldn’t call me three or four times a week. You would take no for an answer.”

The next few minutes were not pleasant as we exchanged barbs. Apparently, she was used to dealing with annoyed authors. When I finally hung up on her, a barrage of phone calls from different area codes began.

“Hello,” I answered, fully prepared to tell her off again.

It was a man with an accent. “Hello.”

“You called me,” I said.

“No, you called me,” he responded.

I hung up. The phone kept ringing until I was able to block the number.

Then my man received a call about “his medicine.” He was waiting to hear from the doctor, but I could tell by his response that it wasn’t a nurse he was speaking with. I grabbed the phone.

“What do you want?”

“I am calling about your husband’s order of Viagra and Cialis,” she said, with her sweet little accent.

I hung up and sent her to the blocked number list. In total, I have blocked 173 calls in the last couple of years. Almost all have been from these so-called publishing/marketing scammers.

I’m hoping Stephen King has also been receiving calls and has decided to put these horrible scam artists through the literary tortures of the damned. If we could do it in person, I’m sure all harassed writers would be happy to participate.

If you have nothing to do in the next couple of days, please feel free to call 619-202-8200 and tell them to cease and desist what they are doing and suggest they get legitimate work. They probably won’t answer. They’ll be too busy calling me.