• Report: #8468

Complaint Review: Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum

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  • Submitted: Sun, December 02, 2001
  • Updated: Mon, December 18, 2006

  • Reported By:Tempe Arizona
Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum
609 Main Street -- PO Box 193 Sistersville, West Virginia U.S.A.

Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum ripoff fraud, runaround

*Consumer Comment: Maybe some helpful information

*Consumer Comment: Don't pay to be published

*Consumer Comment: Don't pay to be published

*Consumer Comment: Don't pay to be published

*Consumer Comment: Don't pay to be published

*Consumer Comment: I also was approved!

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I submitted a poem to Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum on ~ 9/2/99. I did so in an attempt to win the $500 prize, mentioned in a flyer obtained at the public library in Nyack, NY. A written reply told me my poem was selected to be published...and may win the prize; they asked if I wanted to buy the book of all poems selected to be published (from this contest) and declined. This reply told me purchase was not required for inclusion in the book, nor to win the prize.

Today, I decided to send them a new poem - if they still conducted the contest - but a search on the internet found your site, a website that could not be "found", http://www.sparrowgrasspoetry.com/; a web-hosting source that no longer has them as a client, http://www.tinplace.com/sparrow/; and others.

The contest flyer and/or other material sent by Sparrowgrass... wrote they would not retain copyright of my poem, I hope they are true to their word. I need to earn money and have a hard time with all that follows the creation of poems, inventions, etc.

Truly,
Anthony Maresco

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/02/2001 12:00 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Sparrowgrass-Poetry-Forum/Sistersville-West-Virginia-26175/Sparrowgrass-Poetry-Forum-ripoff-fraud-runaround-8468. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Maybe some helpful information

AUTHOR: Dave - (U.S.A.)

I have found information regarding the Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum Inc. rip offs. There was a suit against the company filed with the WV States Attorney Generals office on October 11, 2001, in which an agreement was made the company was to refund the money to the affected consumers.

Again this was in 2001, but if requested, I can submit the WV Attorney Generals ofc. contact info to those interested. I looked into the complaints myself since I live close to Sistersville WV area. One of the adresses is a vacant apt and the other is a residence, but since it cannot be determined if the occupants in that residence are the responsible party or not, I will not give out names, adresses, or phone numbers for liability reasons. Here is the letter I found on the WV Att. Gen web site, Dave.

www.wvs.state.wv.us/wvag/press/2001/oct/11.htm

October 11, 2001



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: xx






ATTORNEY GENERAL DARRELL V. McGRAW, JR.
ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT WITH TYLER
COUNTY POETRY PUBLISHING COMPANY



The Attorney General's office announced today that it has signed an agreement with Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum, Inc. of Sistersville, West Virginia, whereby Sparrowgrass promises to pay $4,183.84 in refunds to consumers who ordered poetry books but never received the merchandise.

For a period of more than 10 years, Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum published over 60 collections of poems that were submitted from across the country. Sparrowgrass sponsored poetry contests and advertised in nationally-circulated magazines. According to Sparrowgrass's President, Jerome P. Welch, the publisher experienced an unanticipated decline in business and a series of unfortunate financial circumstances and was unable to fill orders placed early this year.

"It is unfortunate that Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum fell into financial straits. However, when facing financial hardship, Sparrowgrass neglected its most important obligations--its obligations to consumers," said Attorney General McGraw. Mr. Welch and Sparrowgrass have agreed to pay the refunds in three monthly installments with the last installment due on December 31, 2001. The Attorney General's office anticipates forwarding the appropriate refunds to each of the 27 consumers in January, 2002. In addition, Sparrowgrass's parent company, Prospect Publishers of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, has agreed to honor three Sparrowgrass contracts to print individuals' collections of poems.

Consumers who have ordered and paid for books from Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum but never received those books should contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 1-304-558-8986 or 1-800-368-8808.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Don't pay to be published

AUTHOR: Meghann - ()

Good for you both, for not sending these folks any money.

I can almost guarantee that your poems were not published if you didn't send them the $$ to purchase the book. And it's probably for the better - while I haven't seen one of these books in person, my understanding is that the paper & print quality are terrible and the type is tiny.

The scam works like this: you send in a poem to a contest. You get a "personalized" letter saying how great your poem is & that they want to publish it. Everyone gets accepted - which isn't to say your poem isn't great; it might truly be wonderful, but everyone who submits anything gets a similar - if not the same - response. (I have a friend who had his cat walk across the keyboard & submitted it - it was gibberish - it was accepted.)

--So please, John, don't use the "approval" of your poem from this company on your resume, in a clipbook, or whatnot. No matter how good your work is, if you use that as a credit, people will have a hard time taking you seriously.--

Then you are pressured to buy a copy of the book. Also, proofread your work carefully - but if you want to make any changes, it'll cost you. Finally, they'll ask you to go to Florida or California or Vegas or wherever they're holding the "awards" ceremony - at your own expense & at inflated prices.

DON'T FALL FOR IT.

NEVER pay to have your work published! (The exception to this is subsidy publishing - also called "vanity" publishing - in which the author shares the production costs with the publisher. This is done when an author is publishing an entire book, and is agreed upon up-front.)

A legitimate publisher will NEVER ask you to pay to have a piece included in a book. Think about it - if it's legitimate, the publisher stands to profit from using your work. We pay the author for the rights to his or her work - not the other way around.

On the other hand, if it isn't legit, the money you pay to have your work published is the ONLY money the publisher is going to make on the book. (They usually print only enough copies to distribute to the authors who have pre-ordered; these books will never see a bookstore shelf.)

Finally, don't be impressed if you're told that you work has been selected to be included in a book that will be placed in the Library of Congress. Every book that is published in the U.S. is given a catalogue number by the LOC; in return, the publisher sends copies of the book to the LOC. I don't know what they do with all those books...but EVERY book is "placed in the Library of Congress."

So glad to hear that neither of you sent the $$ in, and I'm sorry if some of my comments burst your bubble. Keep submitting your work - to legitimate sources - and eventually you'll find a forum for your work. Remember, it's very difficult to get your work published - there are so many writers & only a limited number of forums - so if someone says they think your work is wonderful & they want money to publish it, they're probably only telling 50% of the truth.
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#3 Consumer Comment

Don't pay to be published

AUTHOR: Meghann - ()

Good for you both, for not sending these folks any money.

I can almost guarantee that your poems were not published if you didn't send them the $$ to purchase the book. And it's probably for the better - while I haven't seen one of these books in person, my understanding is that the paper & print quality are terrible and the type is tiny.

The scam works like this: you send in a poem to a contest. You get a "personalized" letter saying how great your poem is & that they want to publish it. Everyone gets accepted - which isn't to say your poem isn't great; it might truly be wonderful, but everyone who submits anything gets a similar - if not the same - response. (I have a friend who had his cat walk across the keyboard & submitted it - it was gibberish - it was accepted.)

--So please, John, don't use the "approval" of your poem from this company on your resume, in a clipbook, or whatnot. No matter how good your work is, if you use that as a credit, people will have a hard time taking you seriously.--

Then you are pressured to buy a copy of the book. Also, proofread your work carefully - but if you want to make any changes, it'll cost you. Finally, they'll ask you to go to Florida or California or Vegas or wherever they're holding the "awards" ceremony - at your own expense & at inflated prices.

DON'T FALL FOR IT.

NEVER pay to have your work published! (The exception to this is subsidy publishing - also called "vanity" publishing - in which the author shares the production costs with the publisher. This is done when an author is publishing an entire book, and is agreed upon up-front.)

A legitimate publisher will NEVER ask you to pay to have a piece included in a book. Think about it - if it's legitimate, the publisher stands to profit from using your work. We pay the author for the rights to his or her work - not the other way around.

On the other hand, if it isn't legit, the money you pay to have your work published is the ONLY money the publisher is going to make on the book. (They usually print only enough copies to distribute to the authors who have pre-ordered; these books will never see a bookstore shelf.)

Finally, don't be impressed if you're told that you work has been selected to be included in a book that will be placed in the Library of Congress. Every book that is published in the U.S. is given a catalogue number by the LOC; in return, the publisher sends copies of the book to the LOC. I don't know what they do with all those books...but EVERY book is "placed in the Library of Congress."

So glad to hear that neither of you sent the $$ in, and I'm sorry if some of my comments burst your bubble. Keep submitting your work - to legitimate sources - and eventually you'll find a forum for your work. Remember, it's very difficult to get your work published - there are so many writers & only a limited number of forums - so if someone says they think your work is wonderful & they want money to publish it, they're probably only telling 50% of the truth.
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#4 Consumer Comment

Don't pay to be published

AUTHOR: Meghann - ()

Good for you both, for not sending these folks any money.

I can almost guarantee that your poems were not published if you didn't send them the $$ to purchase the book. And it's probably for the better - while I haven't seen one of these books in person, my understanding is that the paper & print quality are terrible and the type is tiny.

The scam works like this: you send in a poem to a contest. You get a "personalized" letter saying how great your poem is & that they want to publish it. Everyone gets accepted - which isn't to say your poem isn't great; it might truly be wonderful, but everyone who submits anything gets a similar - if not the same - response. (I have a friend who had his cat walk across the keyboard & submitted it - it was gibberish - it was accepted.)

--So please, John, don't use the "approval" of your poem from this company on your resume, in a clipbook, or whatnot. No matter how good your work is, if you use that as a credit, people will have a hard time taking you seriously.--

Then you are pressured to buy a copy of the book. Also, proofread your work carefully - but if you want to make any changes, it'll cost you. Finally, they'll ask you to go to Florida or California or Vegas or wherever they're holding the "awards" ceremony - at your own expense & at inflated prices.

DON'T FALL FOR IT.

NEVER pay to have your work published! (The exception to this is subsidy publishing - also called "vanity" publishing - in which the author shares the production costs with the publisher. This is done when an author is publishing an entire book, and is agreed upon up-front.)

A legitimate publisher will NEVER ask you to pay to have a piece included in a book. Think about it - if it's legitimate, the publisher stands to profit from using your work. We pay the author for the rights to his or her work - not the other way around.

On the other hand, if it isn't legit, the money you pay to have your work published is the ONLY money the publisher is going to make on the book. (They usually print only enough copies to distribute to the authors who have pre-ordered; these books will never see a bookstore shelf.)

Finally, don't be impressed if you're told that you work has been selected to be included in a book that will be placed in the Library of Congress. Every book that is published in the U.S. is given a catalogue number by the LOC; in return, the publisher sends copies of the book to the LOC. I don't know what they do with all those books...but EVERY book is "placed in the Library of Congress."

So glad to hear that neither of you sent the $$ in, and I'm sorry if some of my comments burst your bubble. Keep submitting your work - to legitimate sources - and eventually you'll find a forum for your work. Remember, it's very difficult to get your work published - there are so many writers & only a limited number of forums - so if someone says they think your work is wonderful & they want money to publish it, they're probably only telling 50% of the truth.
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#5 Consumer Comment

Don't pay to be published

AUTHOR: Meghann - ()

Good for you both, for not sending these folks any money.

I can almost guarantee that your poems were not published if you didn't send them the $$ to purchase the book. And it's probably for the better - while I haven't seen one of these books in person, my understanding is that the paper & print quality are terrible and the type is tiny.

The scam works like this: you send in a poem to a contest. You get a "personalized" letter saying how great your poem is & that they want to publish it. Everyone gets accepted - which isn't to say your poem isn't great; it might truly be wonderful, but everyone who submits anything gets a similar - if not the same - response. (I have a friend who had his cat walk across the keyboard & submitted it - it was gibberish - it was accepted.)

--So please, John, don't use the "approval" of your poem from this company on your resume, in a clipbook, or whatnot. No matter how good your work is, if you use that as a credit, people will have a hard time taking you seriously.--

Then you are pressured to buy a copy of the book. Also, proofread your work carefully - but if you want to make any changes, it'll cost you. Finally, they'll ask you to go to Florida or California or Vegas or wherever they're holding the "awards" ceremony - at your own expense & at inflated prices.

DON'T FALL FOR IT.

NEVER pay to have your work published! (The exception to this is subsidy publishing - also called "vanity" publishing - in which the author shares the production costs with the publisher. This is done when an author is publishing an entire book, and is agreed upon up-front.)

A legitimate publisher will NEVER ask you to pay to have a piece included in a book. Think about it - if it's legitimate, the publisher stands to profit from using your work. We pay the author for the rights to his or her work - not the other way around.

On the other hand, if it isn't legit, the money you pay to have your work published is the ONLY money the publisher is going to make on the book. (They usually print only enough copies to distribute to the authors who have pre-ordered; these books will never see a bookstore shelf.)

Finally, don't be impressed if you're told that you work has been selected to be included in a book that will be placed in the Library of Congress. Every book that is published in the U.S. is given a catalogue number by the LOC; in return, the publisher sends copies of the book to the LOC. I don't know what they do with all those books...but EVERY book is "placed in the Library of Congress."

So glad to hear that neither of you sent the $$ in, and I'm sorry if some of my comments burst your bubble. Keep submitting your work - to legitimate sources - and eventually you'll find a forum for your work. Remember, it's very difficult to get your work published - there are so many writers & only a limited number of forums - so if someone says they think your work is wonderful & they want money to publish it, they're probably only telling 50% of the truth.
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#6 Consumer Comment

I also was approved!

AUTHOR: John - ()

Around 1996 or '97 I ran across an ad in a magazine or some other advertising source. I sent in a poem and shortly received it back with a few different markings on it. In the top left corner of the page was the markings, "LT PVA 596" I am now assuming the last numbers were the month and year. A post-it-note was stuck to it stating "A dramatic poem!"

The key item was a sticker placed at the bottom that clearly stated the following. "Approved for publication." In small type was the following phrase. "Proofread carefully. Make any changes you wish, and then return this copy of your poem. To ensure publication send your order and payment along with this poem."

I did NOT send any reply. I have made it an effort to have some of my work Approved, however I have never intended to be published. Especially if I had to pay to have it done.

What I am curious about is whether my poem was published. It seems I don't have much to worry about. However if any one knows of any of these books that were published around this time, I would love to hear from you. I did not authorize publication at any time!

A suggestion to those of you who feel were scammed. If you have to pay to publish your work, a RED FLAG should immediately go up. I was a young 18 years old when this all took place, and even I had the common sense to avoid paying for my own work.

I think you will find that your work will receive much better acknowlegement if you simply receive high marks such as we all did, and leave the rest alone. I don't think Edger Alan Poe had much of his work published while he was alive. He became famous after he died and his works were discovered. "Just a thought."

If my poem was published in any book, I WANT to know immediately! Should I find my work in any book I didn't authorize, I fully intend to prosecute!
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