Saturday, November 17, 2012

Balancing Act (Or How I Got Scammed By Lifetime TV)

First, let me say that I love Lifetime Television for Women. I’ve spent hours watching movies like Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? Anything starring Tori Spelling, Melissa Gilbert or Shannon Doherty gets an “A” in my book. Even after what happened, I’m still a fan. I’ve seen every episode of Drop Dead Diva. It’s a great show.

 So it makes the sting of betrayal more painful, coming from them. Imagine being tempted by a good friend, only to be slapped in the face when you try to say yes. The heat of the hand that hits you is all the worse when it come from someone you like and trust.

 But I should backtrack and tell the story of what happened.

 I’m an indie author. There are tons of us, and we’re all trying to get our books noticed. One method I’ve used with a bit of success is entering contests. Most recently my second novel, Starring in the Movie of My Life was an award-winning finalist in both the Indie Excellence Awards and the International Book Awards.

Well, last winter I’m visiting my best friend in a remote suburb of Des Moines when I get an email from Gregory Fake, of The Balancing Act, the morning talk show on Lifetime Television. He noticed my book had won this award, and wanted to talk to me about appearing on their show.

 I was beyond thrilled. Me, on a national morning show? On Lifetime? Hadn’t my friends told me my book would make a great Lifetime movie? This was so cool. I emailed him back, and he said he’d call the next day.

The next day when he called I was on the road back to Minneapolis, pulled over at a rest stop. Even though I was on roaming, I took the call because I was so excited and wanted this so much. Twenty minutes into the call, he tells me that I’d have to pay a licensing fee to the tune of seven thousand dollars just to appear. But I could pay it in two installments.

I know. I should have told him where to go. But I said I’d think about it. Of course there was nothing to think about, but I wasn’t ready in that moment to let go.

 Several hours later when I arrived home, I found an email from him, reneging on the offer. It was just a case of the right fit at the wrong time, he said. Again, I should have told him where to go. But I didn’t reply at all.

 A Google search informed me that I was not the first to fall prey to this scam. And in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a big deal. I didn’t lose any money, except for twenty minutes worth of roaming fees. I didn’t lose anything at all, unless you count dashed hopes. But any indie author, or actually anyone who works hard and dreams of success, can tell you that dashed hopes suck.

 I find it ironic that they call their show The Balancing Act. My life is a balancing act – like so many women, I try to balance work, family, responsibilities, and dreams. Sometimes I’m a success and sometimes I’m not, but I’m always up on that tightrope, trying not to fall. I find it insulting that a show that’s a scam presumes to understand this concept. And I can’t believe their representative is actually named Gregory Fake. But hey, what’s in a name?

 So this is my attempt at closure. Thanks for letting me vent and tell the story. And the next time someone tricks you or lets you down, remember that we all experience disappointment, we all occasionally fall for the Gregory Fakes of the world, and we’re all players in the great balancing act of life. If you ever need a break from it all, I recommend watching some television. No, scratch that. Read a book instead. I have some titles I can recommend…

So, it's been over two years, and this by far the most popular blog post I've ever written. I'm happy to say that I'm still writing novels and pursuing my dreams. On that note, my latest book, The Standout currently has a campaign on Kindle Scout. If it's picked,  it will mean increased visibility and the opportunity to reach more readers, and I'm sure you know just how important that is.
Please consider nominating my book! It's easy, free, and you won't get a bunch of spam email.
Thank you for helping me pursue my dream!

To nominate The Standoutclick here.


  1. Thanks for your comment. You saved us a ton of time. We are a start-up company called (it's on-line ID Verification for Face-to-Face meetings; think realtors showing a house to a person they've never met. Think online dating, or craigslist, etc.)
    We were delighted to get a call from TBA and the research we did (looking at *their* website) looked good. ... until I stumbled upon your blog. With deeper research we discovered it's nothing more than a paid infomercial.

  2. I feel very violated by them. I asked them before the first call if they wanted money, and was told no! After involving my client and wasting 1.5 hours of my client's time, they have the nerve to ask for $50K "production" costs!

  3. So glad you posted this. I got a call from them today and something did not seem 100%. So I found your post. I am only a start up and have not even launched my product in the US yet and they some how tracked me down. Wish I know how they came to my info, I think I should just take the call to find out how they got the companies info. Then I at least know that marketing is working.

  4. Thank you so much for the post. We got a call from them today. I work for a very keen lady who started a company called SensaCalm. When I told her about the call I was excited for her, she smelled a rat. and was right. Guess that is why her company is so successful, good intuition and lots of hard work, we don't have time to waste on fake's when we are helping wonderful genuine people!

  5. Thanks to all who posted here. I got my call today and agreed to a phone conversation next Monday. If they say "money", I'm going to reply; "I'm out"

  6. I got the call today. Total scam. Email was from from Linda Cornelius. Notice the brandstar email address. Quick google on that and my hopes were dashed too,. Thanks for the post. You helped a bunch of us.