Palimpsest  

Go Back   Palimpsest > User Forums > General Chat

View Poll Results: Is The Olympian Pen a literary scam?
Yes! 4 40.00%
Yes! 1 10.00%
Yes! 1 10.00%
No, erm, wait, er, um, okay, yes! 4 40.00%
Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 30th Jun 2005, 21:05   #1
Stewart
Once known as Blixa
takes it to extremes
 
Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: 26 May 2005
Location: Glasgow
Posts: 6,884
Send a message via MSN to Stewart
Default The Olympian Pen

Ok, so you've probably heard about this in the news......NOT!

On a couple of other forums I lurk on I've seen someone going about subtly bringing up the subject of how they discovered The Olympian Pen while listening to the radio; obviously a poor attempt at viral marketing by the perpetrator.

It involves you bidding at auction on eBay to get 500 words of your own prose presented on a website that will "reach millions". The premise is that a series of auctions is run and each person adds 500 words to the previous person's 500 to create one novel. A novel concept (pun intended) but ultimately flawed and the person involved in this seeming internet scame retains the copyright of everyone else's work; yes, they pay him to take their copyright. It's more brutal and dishonest than vanity publishing.

You can read all about The Olympian Pen at the source, and gaze in awe at the shoddy site that looks like it has just wandered onto the internet from a long vacation in 1996.

Anyway, following a discussion on another forum about whether it was (or, quite unlikely, wasn't) an attempt at scamming people I, undercover internet user ( ) Steve Carella, emailed those responsible for The Olympian Pen to massage my nagging doubts about giving somebody hundreds of my dollars in return fo a measly 500 word to appear on their obscure site. Of course, if you believe the site, then this unique idea will become known worldwide and will be published by one of the big publishers that are just waiting to get it onto the shelves of Barnes and Noble et al.

This was the letter, under the guise of Steve Carella (the main character from Ed McBain's The Conman; never read it, just googled :D )

Quote:
Dear Olympian Pen

I've been tracking The Olympian Pen for a while now and, while I find it to be an interesting concept, I can't help but feel that it is a little dubious in nature

While I have aspirations of publication and found this to be an exciting outlet for my imagination I worry about having to part with so much cash for such a small amount of space.

I have a few questions before I consider getting involved in the upcoming Auction 2. I hope you can help with some answers.

You mention media interest in the project. What sort of media do you expect will be interested? Newspapers, magazines, webzines, local or national radio, local or national television, or some other channel I may have neglected to consider? If national then would this be national as in the US or in another English speaking nation?

I remember there was mention about publishers being notified about this project. What publishers were you referring to? I hope it's one of the big ones.

I anxiously wait for your response in order to allay my fears over this as I believe it could be a good platform for my writing although I'm unsure about parting with so much money in order to have a personal dream realised.

I must admit that my fears were allayed ever so slightly when I saw that the first auction ended successfully and the winning bidder's excellent work did appear on the site as promised.

Best Regards,

Steve Carella
As you can tell, I thought this would be the big break I needed to become a world famous author. I hoped I would be convincing enough and that my investigative email would not end up facing the 'Delete' button of Peter Johnson immediately upon receipt. Incidentally, Peter Johnson, the answer to your literary dreams (are you listening Gary Charles?) can be contacted electronically at peterjohnson76@hotmail.com - I only provided his address on the off chance you may be in the UK and want to go around to his house with great excitement and beat his door down with the sole intent of giving him all your cash.

But, approximately twenty-four hours after my initial enquiry I was greeted with AOL's monotonous you've got email and, to my disbelief, there was an email from peter.johnson@theolympianpen.com - not from enquiries@theolympianpen.com to whom I sent my pleas for reassurance. I guess he had to put a name to this unholy enterprise in order to make it seem more legitimate than a Zorro mask,a striped top, and a bulging sack marked SWAG.

Anyway, I've talked too much so I present for your eager eyes, the reply from Peter Johnson (from the man's very own keyboard) which has put my fears to rest and makes me want to spend every cent I earn on getting my 500 words "published" on his obscure site and, latterly, by som e huge publisher.

Quote:
Dear Steve,

Thanks for your email! We're delighted that you've shown interest in our project and I'll personally pass your compliments on to Therese regarding her work.

The final price is decided by the bidders on eBay, we strive to set the starting bid at a level which is affordable for the majority of people, while at the same time not devaluing the project.

We have an extensive list of media contacts (both local and national), these include: Radio Stations, Newspapers, TV Channels, News Web Sites and Magazines. This list is constantly being extended, and focuses on English speaking countries, such as the USA, the United Kingdom and Australia. For example, Therese Baric (our first winner) is from Largo, Florida, so we have started by contacting her local media, next will be the Floridian media, then the US media and finally media in other English speaking countries. The contacting is a massive process and is the part of the project where most time is spent.

Ideally, our book will be published by one of the following : Penguin, Random House, Faber & Faber, Flambard, Bloomsbury, House of Anansi or Macmillan. For this to happen, we do need to maintain the high standard we have started with, I do reserve the right to reject a writer's work if it does not meet our desired standard.

Hopefully your fears have now been allayed, if so I wish you the best of luck in Auction 2. If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Many thanks

Peter Johnson

Project Manager
From the bottom of my pandimensional heart, Peter Johnson, I thank you! :D
__________________
Reading: Concrete Island, J.G. Ballard| flickr | blog | world lit | beer
Stewart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st Jul 2005, 0:13   #2
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default

Good stuff Blixa! As you know I've been closely following the Olympian Pen scam too and look forward to seeing it collapse in yer man's face...
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st Jul 2005, 10:30   #3
Stewart
Once known as Blixa
takes it to extremes
 
Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: 26 May 2005
Location: Glasgow
Posts: 6,884
Send a message via MSN to Stewart
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Self
look forward to seeing it collapse in yer man's face...
I just want to hear about it in the news....
__________________
Reading: Concrete Island, J.G. Ballard| flickr | blog | world lit | beer
Stewart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Jul 2005, 11:52   #4
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default

And I see that our newest member - unless it's an extraordinary coincidence - is Peter Johnson, aforementioned godfather of the Olympian Pen. So, sir, do you wish to take this opportunity to defend your scheme?
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Jul 2005, 12:18   #5
Peter Johnson
Junior Palimpsestarian
is new to Palimpsest
 
Join Date: 2 Jul 2005
Posts: 4
Default Please can people stop giving out my parents address

This is causing them a lot of distress!
Peter Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Jul 2005, 12:29   #6
Peter Johnson
Junior Palimpsestarian
is new to Palimpsest
 
Join Date: 2 Jul 2005
Posts: 4
Default

Firstly

Please can people stop giving out my parents address, it's causing them a lot of distress.

Secondly

I'm an honest man, with an honest project, with a dream to create an amazing book. As you'll see from the first auction, we're off to a flying start.

Thirdly

With this being a world first and if the quality stays high, The Olympian Pen is bound to snowball in the media. It will have so many different writers, each bringing their own style, skills and experience to the story. My estimate is that this will have happened within three to six months.

Finally

Please stop this hate campaign as I do not deserve it, nor do my parents, and lots of blood, sweat and guts have gone into this project, and still are going in every day, so my project doesn't deserve it either.
Peter Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Jul 2005, 13:51   #7
Stewart
Once known as Blixa
takes it to extremes
 
Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: 26 May 2005
Location: Glasgow
Posts: 6,884
Send a message via MSN to Stewart
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Johnson
Please can people stop giving out my parents address, it's causing them a lot of distress.
You made it available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Johnson
I'm an honest man, with an honest project, with a dream to create an amazing book.
If you want to create an amazing book then get a pen (an Olympian one?) and some paper and start writing.

I wonder how you found this little niche of the internet.
__________________
Reading: Concrete Island, J.G. Ballard| flickr | blog | world lit | beer
Stewart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Jul 2005, 13:55   #8
John Self
Administrator
suffers from smallness of vision
 
John Self's Avatar
 
Join Date: 27 Jun 2003
Location: Belfast
Posts: 15,939
Default

I've removed your/your parents' address from Blixa's message, Peter, but he and we are entitled to comment on The Olympian Pen. Personally I think it's a rotten idea - what you're basically doing is taking people's money to put their contributions into a book which you will then own the rights to! The first entry is of quite a high standard, I'll grant you, but this highest-bidder-wins scenario to creating a work of fiction is unlikely to pay dividends in the end. Also your fairly obvious pseudonymic promotion on the Book Forum has given them the right, I think, to criticise you. I would also say that the Olympian Pen website just looks bad; it's badly designed and amateurish in appearance. You should put some of the money you're getting from the auctions into hiring a professional web designer.
__________________
Reading Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate | Asylum | Book List
John Self is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Jul 2005, 14:15   #9
Peter Johnson
Junior Palimpsestarian
is new to Palimpsest
 
Join Date: 2 Jul 2005
Posts: 4
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blixa
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Johnson
Please can people stop giving out my parents address, it's causing them a lot of distress.
You made it available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Johnson
I'm an honest man, with an honest project, with a dream to create an amazing book.
If you want to create an amazing book then get a pen (an Olympian one?) and some paper and start writing.

I wonder how you found this little niche of the internet.
I could make a knife available (like people in shops do), but it wouldn't be my fault if you stabbed me with it. I'm not capable of writing an amazing book, there are many more talented writers out there than myself, so I'm using other skills which I do have to create one, and it's unfortunate that you have a problem with that.

Why not put your energy into trying to be successful in life yourself rather than trying to prevent others? You'll life will change a lot!
Peter Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Jul 2005, 14:22   #10
Peter Johnson
Junior Palimpsestarian
is new to Palimpsest
 
Join Date: 2 Jul 2005
Posts: 4
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Self
I've removed your/your parents' address from Blixa's message, Peter, but he and we are entitled to comment on The Olympian Pen. Personally I think it's a rotten idea - what you're basically doing is taking people's money to put their contributions into a book which you will then own the rights to! The first entry is of quite a high standard, I'll grant you, but this highest-bidder-wins scenario to creating a work of fiction is unlikely to pay dividends in the end. Also your fairly obvious pseudonymic promotion on the Book Forum has given them the right, I think, to criticise you. I would also say that the Olympian Pen website just looks bad; it's badly designed and amateurish in appearance. You should put some of the money you're getting from the auctions into hiring a professional web designer.
Thank you for removing my parents address, I'm very grateful, that was the only reason I had signed up and replied.

Everyone's entitled to their own opinions and I love that! Your opinion of The Olympian Pen is a cynical one, but that's fine, you've probably become cynical after having your hands burned in the past. The whole idea is that if these writers are good enough, then this will launch their careers and they'll make 1000's of times more money than I ever will. The web site obviously isn't your style, most people have been complimentary, I don't want the web site to look too corporate otherwise it becomes boring, I want it to have character and be individual, like the story so far, and the concept itself!
Peter Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 6:26.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.