From our mailbag: a reader forwarded an email she got from a man named Steve Harrison promoting the Quantum Leap Program. Never heard of it? You’re probably lucky. The email acknowledges the many choices an author may face: going the traditional route, choosing a hybrid publisher, or self-publishing, and offers to help you navigate the options. Here are some of the offers he makes:
When you’re in our Quantum Leap program, we’ll help you select the option best for you and connect with the right people.
So let’s parse this out. They’ll help you select the best option between traditional, hybrid, or self-publishing. The thing is, you can select traditional publishing all day long and have absolutely zero control over the outcome. If a publisher doesn’t bite on your book, that option is out the window. Weighing the choices between hybrid publishing (often ranging from expensive to outright scams) and self-publishing is more manageable, but the QL people are going to connect you with the right people to do that — does that mean the QL people are NOT the right people to do that? Sounds like they’re a middleman only.
If you decide to self-publish, we’ll help you do it successfully while ensuring the final product looks on-par with books published by traditional houses.
I think this harkens back to the day when self-published books were not the same quality as traditional, but that is no longer the case. These days, I think anyone would be hard pressed to find a difference between a traditionally published paperback and a KDP paperback.
If you choose to go after a traditional publishing deal, our Quantum coaches will work with you to connect with a good agent and craft an effective book proposal that makes a publisher want to sign you. We can introduce you directly to literary agents.
This sounds like the QL people are setting themselves up to be agents to get an agent. A current edition of Writer’s Market can give you the same information.
On the webpage, the promises get grander:
If you’re accepted into our program, we’ll work with you over the next year to get your book done and sell lots of copies, land a lot more publicity, brand yourself as THE expert in your field, become a highly-paid public speaker, sell your book or information over the Internet, create spin-off passive income streams, build your own mailing list and much, much more!
Gee, that’s all? What’s noticeable here is that they’re obviously talking about non-fiction books only, so I’m not sure what they might do with novelists. But what if you don’t have a field? What if you’re not an expert? Oh, they’ll help you brand yourself as THE expert in your field; notice they don’t say they’ll help you BECOME an expert, but BRAND yourself as the expert. Hmm. Call me crazy, but that sounds like flimflamming to me.
Also on the webpage is a list of no less than 40 benefits you’ll receive from their program, each one valued at super inflated amounts. Here are just a few:
I don’t know where they’re getting these values, but I would bet dollars to doughnuts you can find very effective books to teach yourself all these processes online for $10 or less each, not to mention all the free information we offer right here at IU. Of course none of these — the above offers OR the books online — can promise successful results. Well, okay, they can promise success, but can they actually deliver? That’s the real question.
In any event, the complete QL list of benefits comes to a whopping grand total of $56,587.00. Gulp. Yeah, I don’t know anyone who has that kind of cash lying around. But the good news is, they’ll sell this entire package to you for the bargain price of just under $10,000! What a deal!
Okay, let’s step back. If you were approached by a guy on the street who offered to sell you a Rolex watch that he said retailed for $500, but he was going to give it to you for just $100, would you think that was a good deal? A wise purchase? If that watch could sell for $500, why wouldn’t he sell it for that? Think this just might be a scam? I think you’re right. Selling $56,000 worth of product for just $10,000? What’s your best guess about that?
However, I did find on the webpage that Harrison offers a 30-day money-back guarantee… less a $500 cancellation fee. So think about this: ten or twenty or fifty people take the bait, but once they’re in, they realize it’s a scam so they cancel. Each one of those people is out $500 and Harrison is $5,000 or $10,000 or $25,000 richer — for doing absolutely nothing. Still sound like a good deal?
Here’s another tip-off. I had trouble finding any testimonials about authors’ successes with this program. I finally ran down a handful, and guess what? They are not household names. They are not best-sellers. And they are all get-rich-quick kind of books. One was published in 2013 and has 22 reviews, and averages a 3-star rating. Another was published in 2012, has 31 reviews with a 4-1/2-star average. Another one from 2013 has 16 reviews, 4-1/2 stars. I looked at one that was touted as the second most bestselling gambling book of all time. It was published in 1999, yet only has 32 reviews and a 4-1/2-star average. Call me crazy, but I don’t consider those numbers to be phenomenal. I have several books of my own that were published more recently, have more reviews, and consistently get 4 or 5-star ratings.
So let’s summarize: an unsolicited email that makes no mention of what your book’s about or why it would be a good candidate; wildly tempting but wildly improbable claims; a HUGE discount on impossibly inflated prices; absolutely no track record to prove any success stories. Am I missing anything?
I guess not – the site FranklyCurious.com had this to say about their program: “Steve Harrison and his national publicity summit are a complete fraud aimed at desperate people who think they have brilliant book ideas because someone once told them, hey you should write a book. Awful, expensive and worthless.”
Long story short: don’t fall for it. You’ll save time, money, and anguish by skipping this get-rich-quick scam.