KingMidget's Ramblings

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Lesson Learned

I trusted a fellow blogger and writer with a small amount of money.  He’s self published some short stories and novels, primarily for the Kindle.  I downloaded a couple and was impressed enough to keep him on my list of writers I’d keep my eye on.  I followed his blog for a few months.  He started running an Indiegogo fundraising campaign for an on-line literary journal he wanted to start.

I was intrigued.  He offered ad space for donations.  I contributed a small amount of money and, as a result, was entitled to an ad.  But, there was very little information forthcoming from him about just how to go about getting that ad.  The inaugural January issue came out.  I emailed him indicating an interest in getting my ad in the next issue.  Of course, of course, was the response.  Just send me this and it’ll get done.  I emailed him the image and text, as well as a short story for his consideration for inclusion in the journal.

And never heard anything from him again.  And the journal’s website has gone completely silent for the last month.  And he doesn’t really mention it on his blog anymore either, because, well there are new fish to fry apparently.

What I have seen on his blog are repeated pleas for more money for this and for that.  First it was to help pay for a new computer because his broke and he simply could not go on without a new computer and had no money for it.  And he needs funds to publish his 2013 books on CreateSpace. 

This is where I finally had it.  There is virtually no cost to publishing via CreateSpace.  He has published multiple books for the Kindle.  That is also virtually cost free.  If he can do that, he can publish on CreateSpace with very little money out of pocket.  So, what exactly does he need the funds for?

The issue of the literary journal that he published in January?  I’m pretty certain almost all of it was built around pieces he had already published on his blog.  I also realize it was a start-up effort and there were kinks.  Problem is, it seems to have disappeared as an on-going project.

I realize now that I was scammed.  Maybe not intentionally, but this fellow blogger and writer has figured out ways to try to monetize everything he does in the writing space and there’s a strong whiff of dishonesty involved. 

I posted a comment to his blog a day or two ago.  A comment expressing my dissatisfaction.  Checked back to see if he replied.  Well, imagine that, it’s still awaiting moderation, even though plenty of glowing, positive comments that were posted after mine are up and available to everybody.

I learned a lesson.  Cristian Mihai taught it to me.  Funny thing is after I post this, I’m heading over to Amazon to see what he has there that I haven’t read yet.  Decent writer. 


39 responses to “Lesson Learned

  1. oliviaobryon March 30, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I unfollowed him awhile ago. Something about him struck me as disingenuous. He would like posts I put up the second I added them, before he could have possibly read a single word. I noticed he liked hundreds of posts in day. Practically any blog I would be on, he had liked the post. ANY. I was under the impression there was no way he was actually liking the blogs he was reading but rather fishing for followers, (just too many to really be paying any attention).

    However, one of our rules at work is to assume positive intent– so I like that you gave him the benefit of the doubt. I don’t mind that some people’s marketing techniques are to like everything/follow everything, it’s just not my style, so I stopped following him. I almos21t

    • oliviaobryon March 30, 2013 at 9:57 am

      Okay that typo at the end is thanks to Oats the dog nudging me to pet him while I was typing… He caused me to hit reply. Grrr. Hehe. What I was going to say is that I almost wish WordPress had the same feature as Twitter, which allows you to see how many people a blogger is following… When it reaches tens of thousands it just seems silly.

      • kingmidget March 30, 2013 at 10:04 am

        Yep. I can’t possibly read all of the posts from the ones I follow. Every once in awhile, I see something in my reader and I ponder, “who the heck is that? I followed him? Or her? Really? Wonder why I did that.”
        Kind of like one of the many differences between the wife and I … I prefer a few deep friendships, she has many friends but rarely do they talk of things of significance. At least by my definition. 😉

    • kingmidget March 30, 2013 at 10:02 am

      Yes, I wonder at the people who “like” everything on every blog as well. There’s marketing and there’s being honest and it doesn’t seem those are necessarily the same thing for some people.

      • oliviaobryon March 30, 2013 at 10:16 am

        I’m with you. In the beginning I thought it would be cool to have a zillion followers but then I realized what I like about blogging is the connections with people… This balance starts to shift in the other direction when you don’t have time to respond to comments anymore. I wouldn’t complain if having a zillion followers also meant I could depend on my writing for income, but that’s a different story.

        It’s just funny that you mention this guy because I was really turned off by the hero worship I began to observe by people on his site. After I read your post I clicked on your tag of his name and read what is trending for him– it’s much of the same. People think he’s amazing because he has created a celebrity around himself. Maybe it’s deserved, but I doubt it based on what you shared and what we’ve both observed. So interesting!

      • kingmidget March 30, 2013 at 11:34 am

        I think you’re right … he’s trying to create a celebrity. Himself. I wonder how many other negative comments he gets that he doesn’t allow through. All you see on his blog are the gushing, congratulatory ones.
        I sent him an email with my comment embedded in it. His reply was that he doesn’t typically reply to snarky, arrogant emails. So, I guess it’s snarky and arrogant to point out he’s not fulfilling his promises and that his latest fundraiser is of questionable validity.

      • oliviaobryon March 30, 2013 at 11:56 am

        Seems like a really grateful guy for that money… Oh the internet. 😉

  2. Carrie Rubin March 30, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Haven’t encountered this blogger, but I’ll be on the lookout now.

  3. Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers) March 30, 2013 at 10:52 am

    I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn. Anyone want to crowdsource to buy it?

  4. Susan L Daniels March 30, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    Oh, I am so sorry. He “Likes” my stuff from time to time, as well. Sorry you had to learn the lesson this way.

  5. Conversations With The Moon March 30, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Good to know, thanks for the heads up…just unfollowed him. This is how it’s supposed to work.

    • kingmidget March 30, 2013 at 8:05 pm

      He blames me for not sending him an email. Ummm. I did. Plus if you take somebody’s money and can’t fulfill your end of the bargain whose responsibility is it to reach put.

  6. Teeny Bikini April 18, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Ew… that’s not cool. Sorry that happened to you and thanks for the heads up.

  7. Bastet April 18, 2013 at 8:44 am

    I knew who you were talking about as soon as you mentioned the computer thing, I mean really, a netbook costs less than 200 euro…and yes, I’ve seen him solicit money in a lot of different ways…I’m presuming he really does come from Romania…Ceausescu left a lot of damage, one being that many of his people, especially the younger generation, had to learn after his fall how to “arrangiare” something Italians know a lot about…it means: any means is ok to survive, it’s not nice and it’s not moral…many of the kids in his generation lived in sort of orfan bands….and a sad story often is a giveaway…he’s a good writer, maybe he’ll move on from scamming people…(especially as word gets round) hope so for him, the kid (I’m thinking though he’s older than the 24 he claims) has talent…too bad about the rest.

    • kingmidget April 18, 2013 at 9:16 am

      Couldn’t agree more with everything you said. He’s trying to figure out how to make a living but his methods end up looking scammy.

      • Bastet April 18, 2013 at 9:31 am

        Yep. He’s got a talent, he’s got a computer…maybe he’s even got a job…for all we know, he might be anywhere in the world…and hs English is perfect, so he’s studied…we’ve got a lot of east Europeans like him here…sometimes nice honest people sometimes not, but every so often there’s someone who will run a scam…word gets around about them, and they dissappear… 😉 by the way…I’ve got a bridge here…couldn’t resist, sorry, lived too long here, when we get taken in, while we’re warning our friends we have a good laugh.

      • kingmidget April 18, 2013 at 9:42 am

        Yes His English is perfect. I had an email exchange with him about my issue with him. He justified his latest fundraising pitch in part to help cover editing and cleaning up his English. Really? He writes in my native language better than me.

  8. butimbeautiful April 21, 2013 at 2:49 am

    He is a decent writer. It’s funny, I saw that ad too – guess I’m naturally stingy so I instantly thought, nah.

  9. butimbeautiful April 21, 2013 at 2:49 am

    He seems a little self-inflating (though that could be useful in accidents at sea I guess)

  10. Pingback: At Least He’s Being Honest Now | KingMidget's Ramblings

  11. Lucky Dolan September 24, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Thank you for your post and the detail you included. CM was my first follower a couple of weeks ago along with several people who help with internet marketing. I am very new at blogging and I enjoyed his style so I started to follow his posts. The marketing aspect seemed to me to be either fishy or savvy, I wasn’t sure. However, when I saw one of his “Sponsored Review Posts” which cost the person $50 from what I could tell, there was really no review or opinion of their work at all. He simply copied and pasted what was on their website. Over the next week he has done some other campaigns which sound quite legitimate crowd-funding style, but I just wanted to ck him out first. This is how I found you. I shall unfollow him and add you. 🙂 Thanks again!

  12. Lucky Dolan September 24, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Now I am curious whether CM actually writes his own stuff. Or is a man or a machine.

    • kingmidget September 24, 2013 at 7:05 pm

      I think he writes his own stuff, but his incessant fundraising on his blog — to do nothing else than put money in his pocket — just became too much for me. I finally unfollowed him earlier this week after yet another fundraising pitch. It’s a marvel that he still has people following him and liking him. I have taken a small amount of pleasure in seeing how he is struggling to make his fundraising goals these days.

  13. FangedInsanity February 22, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    I know that this was posted nearly a year ago, but I came across it after googling the subject of this post with the word “scam.” I ended up following Cristian when I first started my blog because he liked my first post within ten minutes of my posting it. The entire time I’ve followed him, all I have ever seen him do is ask for money through posts. At first I kind of sympathized with it, but then he posted something about being in his early twenties and not wanting to have to get a real job, and it just absolutely blew my mind that anyone so young could be begging for money from people who work for it when he is at an age where he could easily get a job anywhere. I’m about to turn twenty-two myself and I have aspirations of being a writer, but I would never dream of accepting someone else’s money when there is absolutely no reason that I can’t work to support myself. The way I see it, if you really want to write and writing is your passion, you will do it. Even if you’re going to school or working full time, you will find a way to write. I actually decided to Google this today because he just finished some sort of donation campaign and made over a thousand dollars, and now three days later he is posting and talking about horrible pain from a toothache that requires work and medications that he cannot afford. Consequently, he’s asking for more money from people. The entire situation feels wrong to me, and I’m just glad that I’m not alone in assuming that something might be up with him. I’ve actually tried to unfollow him several times, but for some reason he keeps showing up in my feed. Either way, thank you for this enlightening post.

    • kingmidget February 22, 2014 at 5:16 pm

      I unfollowed him and I don’t get his posts in my reader anymore. But I do check his blog out every once in a while and see that he is still doing the same thing. I have posted comments criticizing his practices on his blog and he won’t let them through. That says everything right there for me. It amazes me that he continues to find people willing to send him money.

  14. bcblessing May 10, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    I have been looking for some time for any sign that anyone was suspicious of his posts. The fact that there is so little actual information about the person (except financial woes, health problems, including dental that Had To Be Dealt With Then Or Else) while there being a significant output of writing makes me think it cannot possibly one single person. Great writing, yeah, sure, but there is a lot of great writing out there (including many blogs!) – yet for someone who claims to be as young as he is, I cannot help but wonder how he gets that much writing done while also having so many horrifying woes that he posts eloquent posts that will only help _me_ if I just send some money. Weird that there is not more skepticism about him out there.

    • kingmidget May 10, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      Yes. My favorite is him trying to raise money for publishing costs, including a high-priced editor to help him clean up his English. If you read his blog, he has no problems with the English language. And, yes, I loved his dental work plea. 🙂

    • kingmidget May 24, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      By the way, I noticed you asked him whether the donor could designate what projects the funds go to. His comment was pretty non-specific. I commented in reply to your question — a comment I’m sure will never show up on his blog. I’ll give you an example of what he’s doing. His latest fundraising campaign seeks $1,500 to publish his new novel. Part of that is the $400-500 it costs to produce a cover — he does his own covers. So, basically, he’s looking for donations to pay himself for the work he does on his own covers.

      • bcblessing June 1, 2014 at 6:11 pm

        Yeah I just asked him that to see what he would come up with. It is about what I expected and the only point out of the question would be that maybe someone else will question why he didn’t say “Yes in fact I believe in transparency and find it important that donators have a say in where their money goes” or whatever.

      • kingmidget June 1, 2014 at 7:22 pm

        Yes, you’re much more subtle than I am. My comments point out how disgusting his practice is, so he never approves my comments.

  15. Mary Strong-Spaid August 8, 2015 at 12:56 am

    I definitely agree—something doesn’t feel right. At first, I was impressed with Cristian’s writing. But then I noticed that he seems to have a never-ending amount of problems and he is always asking for money.
    I see that you wrote your post “Lessons Learned” on March 30, 2013. It is now August 8, 2015 (2 1/2 years later), and he is still looking for donations because he doesn’t think he can keep his writing and blog going much longer without more help….
    I also ‘unfollowed’ him.

    • kingmidget August 8, 2015 at 6:28 am

      Although I don’t “follow” him anymore, I check his blog out every once in awhile and he has never stopped asking for money. He goes from one crowdfunding effort to another, and yes there is always a reason for it. Dental work. A broken computer. Dental work again. Editing for his next novel. And on and on.

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