A Complete Waste of Time

I received a spam  email asking if I would like a FREE  listing in an artist dictionary. It’s spam because I never opted into their mailing list. Spamming is illegal.  Another artist I know received the email offer as well and forwarded it to me to ask me what I knew about it.
“I’ll find out where they distribute the publication,” I replied. Knowing that would be the most telling aspect of this project.
I found their email addresses on their website and sent an email asking these questions:
I’d like to learn more about your dictionary, how it is distributed and where. Is it sold to libraries?
Is volume one available in bookstores? Or will it be? What stores? What is the retail price?
I represent several artists and more than one has received your offer via email.
Marie Kazalia
Transmedia Artist Marketing

This is the reply I received:

Dear Marie,
The Dictionary is a book where you are offered to  appear for free.
I don’t know why you are asking all these questions and I don’t know why we should anser them.
You want to be in it? Just send the application.
All the best

Judy Adams
Lots of red flags, IMO. Typos happen. Overall does this sound like a person who understands the complexity of dealing with art world professionals? Someone you would want representing your work in their book to galleries and art dealers, or even libraries? Note: She asked why they should answer my questions.

So I replied:
That is an amazing answer. If you are proud of your publication you will want others to talk about it. I write blog articles and review books.
I have been asked by artists what I know about this opportunity. If you refuse to be even the least bit transparent or forthcoming with
important criteria for participation, I will pass this on to those who seek my opinion–which happens to be over one thousand artist and art professionals via my blog, website as well as my LinkedIN group which has over 450 members alone.

Marie Kazalia

Judy replied:

I think this is unbelievable! We offer something to you for free and instead of appreciating it you are threatening us???? Thanks a lot!

I replied:

“threatening!?”         (Note: If someone told me that they could present details of my project to 1K artists, I’d would be eager to share the details).

Judy replied:


My reply:
You spammed me with your original dictionary offer since I never opted-in to your mailing list. Spamming is illegal. I want nothing to do with your dictionary project.


She Replied:


Dear Artist, if you do not understand why these sorts of free offers are to be avoided, then please leave a comment. Your career, your brand is you and who you associate with.

12 thoughts on “A Complete Waste of Time

  1. josh says:

    Why bother spinning your wheels with spammers? Just click “report as spam” or the relevant button for your email service and be done with it. Trying to teach spammers a lesson is game of wack-a-mole… it’ll never end. Pick your battles and redirect your energy elsewhere. Just my two cents.


    • You are right, Josh. But an artists I work with asked me my opinion. I don’t make assumptions. Of course I “knew” that this was a vanity publication. That’s why I asked about distribution and library sales. But rather than give tell others that this is most likely a vanity publication, now I have the absolute positive opinion based on this interaction. Obviously there is no distribution of this book.


  2. ragipe says:

    Marie: I agree with your assessment, this sounds like a “lead generation” and sell the list proposal. Their answers to you are incredible…who, selling a valuable service would not seek your support?

    Let’s talk soon, I want to learn more about what you do and how we can help. Regards, Richard


  3. These books are very common. They abound in a number of different formats. I think that the listing is free, unless you want to add content beyond their usual minimum.

    While it doesn’t hurt if you want to submit your information, I think they generate all their revenue by selling the books to people who are impressed that they are in the book.

    Not much will be gained by being in the books, and purchasing the book is not worth it, in my humble opinion.


    • Yes, Harriete, there is not much value to having a listing in such a book. I was reading information on your blog this morning. Your opinion in such matters is highly regarded. I think these publications are to be avoided. It’s best not to associate and support such projects, with your presence and entry in such a book.


  4. Jaime Haney says:

    I think this is very interesting and valuable information. Thank you all for your comments to Maria’s post as well. I have been contacted from what it sounds like a very similar deal. I was contacted through my Etsy shop though. Plus the person was offering me to have a page in her book for a fee. At first I was flattered but then as I checked out her information I began to become skeptical. I thought to myself after much debate, what good will this do me other than stroke my ego? I am glad I did not participate and from the looks of it here, I did the right thing. There are people wanting to take advantage of unknowing people everywhere. As it’s said “There’s a sucker born every minute”. Thank goodness this sucker didn’t fall for it.

    Thanks for posting all the back and forth emails. Good post.


    • Jaime–so glad you found useful information in this seemingly ridiculous encounter. That’s why I wanted to share, to inform. Best wishes with your etsy shop. Please join my LinkedIN group and talk about your shop and how it works for you. My LinkedIN group is Artist Marketing Resources. Everyone who commented here and who reads this is also welcome to join my group.


  5. In response to its your art, brand & the company you keep, so to speak. Don’t rush into each opportunity. Review, even speak with clients using the product. As an artist seeking new avenues to promote & market your work, you can play both sides of the coin, artist & collector. See the market your art is being presented to. Whom is the buyer, make sure
    it’s a qualified opportunity.

    Pausing is often beneficial in the process. In the art world each year there are numerous opportunities to place your work. Have your vision intact in promoting your work, the vision can be articulated with thoughtful & strategic study. Moving forward. kellyannart.com

    articulating my vision of art in large scale global lobby spaces.


  6. Something similar happened to me when I was in elementary school. As an “exceptional writer” for my 7 years, I was asked to submit a poem to be included in a children’s anthology. Then my parents had the opportunity to pre-order as many copies as they’d like, since it was “likely to sell out”. Well, they took the bait, and ordered a ridiculous number of expensive photocopied books with bad children’s poetry in it! Ugh, so scammy and so spammy. Thanks for sharing your tale!


    • Adriane, Thanks for sharing. The scammers even target children. Well, if nothing else the money spent on the cheap books can be considered an educational expense. The reason I started this blog, more than two years ago, was to pool information so artists don’t each have to pay for such an education, but can learn by reading shared information here.


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