Adventures in publishing

By Evangeline Jennings

The following is a true story. None of the names have been changed, because no one is innocent.

Last week a person calling himself “John wisniewski” used our Submissions page to leave us the following message.

Hi Evangeline
Interested in speaking about “Cars and Girls” in an email interview for a magazine?
thank you
John wisniewski

Now obviously I am interested in getting coverage for our book. It’s fucking good and people should hear about it. But equally, I’m not an idiot and I’ve had more than my fair share of dealings with interweb stalkers and weirdos, and there were several red flags here.

  • John wisniewski gave his second name a lower case W twice
  • He didn’t mention the name of the magazine
  • He used the Submissions form to contact me

But publicity is publicity, so I replied:

Hi John

Sure, and thanks for asking.

Which magazine are we talking about?

Please use this email address – <redacted>- and I will get back to you much more promptly.



There then followed a rapid fire exchange of emails. Almost as if “John wisniewski” had been sitting there waiting to hear from me, or other suckers.

Hi Evangeline
The magazine would be “For Book’s Sake”? Have you done an interview with
thank you Evangeline

Um. Just a thought, but if he was interviewing me for For Books’ Sake wouldn’t he a) be able to spell the name correctly and b) know whether I had already been interviewed by them or not? But publicity is publicity, so I replied:


No, I haven’t done an interview with FBS. They did review the book, however.


John’s messages were now arriving more quickly than I was responding

Hi Evangeline

OK to send  me a copy of “Cars and Girls” to read before the interview,if you wish to do it?

thank you

John wisniewski

Is PANK your magazine?

Is “PANK” my magazine? At this point I was pretty sure I knew what was going on.  But publicity is publicity, so I replied:

Which format would you like?

When I hit the SEND button, this note was already waiting for me.

My address is John wisniewski

<address redacted>


And then:

Is a physical copy OK with you? thanks Evangeline

Actually no. I’m broke. Electronic copies cost me nothing to send. Paperbacks cost real money. And I am already sure you’re a phoney and a chancer. But what the fuck, let’s play along.

I’m out of stock at present, but can order one up. Where should they send it?

Hi Evangeline

My address is John wisniewski

<address redacted>


At which point, in the kindest possible interpretation, “John wisniewski” thinks he’s getting:

  • a free book
  • a shot at using me and our book to get an in at For Books’ Sake
  • a shot at submitting work to my magazine “PANK”.

And I go off to do some research.

First, I tracked down the very lovely Jane Bradley, founding editor of For Books’ Sake, who happened to be at a wedding at the time. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey Jane, a guy called John Wisniewski is telling me he wants to interview me for FBS and asking me to send him a copy of the book to an address in New York. All my spidey senses tell me he’s trying it on. Is he by any chance legit?

Jane: No, I’ve never heard of John Wotsit so feel free to send him packing or send him my way and I will!

Me: Thanks, Jane. I can deal with it. He seemed an obvious chancer but I just wanted to check with you before I fucked him off. Have a lovely time.

Jane: OK. thanks love!

Me: No problemo

And then I have a chat with my friend Google, who tells me that there is a freelance writer called John Wisniewski who has contributed to the LA Review of Books, Grey Lodge Review, Horror Garage, Paraphilia Magazine, and Sensitive Skin Magazine. Is this the same “John wisniewski” who is trying it on with me? I don’t know. But my “John wisniewski” is definitely the same guy who has sent the following requests for interviews via the medium of Twitter.

Hi werner interested in an interview for a Film magazine?thanks john wisniewski (Yes, that’s Werner Herzog)

hi how are you alejandro. john wisniewski (Yes, that’s Alejandro Jodorowsky)

hi albert interested in an email interview for a magazine? thank you John wisniewski (Veteran award winning documentary maker, Albert Maysles)

So at least I am in august company. Well, that or “John wisniewski” is now desperate and slumming.

Anyhoo, after I spoke with Jane, I sent John a further message:

I spoke with the owner and founding editor of For Books’ Sake and she tells me categorically that she has never heard of you and has not commissioned any such interview.

Therefore I must decline both your kind invitation to send you a free book and the opportunity to waste my time answering your questions.


That was four days ago and I haven’t heard from him since. Still, on the bright side, publicity is publicity and “John wisniewski” did indeed make it into “PANK” magazine.


6 thoughts on “Adventures in publishing

  1. I just got a message from John wiesiewski asking to interview me for Greylodge Review. The email sounds a lot like yours except J.W. did give the name of the magazine. Really, though, interviewers often don’t know who they’ll sell an interview to until they do the interview. I write under a different name for a ‘true facts’ magazine, but if they don’t want something I write I can submit it to someone else. Although for that mag the interviews I do are made up.

    I sent back this to J.w.:

    ‘If you’re the John Wisniewski who investigated Bridgegate, sure. If you’re the John Wisniewski who writes for Paraphilia and Sensitive Skin, sure.

    ‘But if you’re this John Wisniewski (I linked to this page), don’t know

    ‘Reverend Loveshade’

  2. The same person sent me an email in May asking to interview me about (and review) my Barbara Payton biography for The Los Angeles Book of Reviews. He asked for a free copy of the book and I sent it to him. Since then, he has been sending me questions for the interview — ONE or TWO questions at a time — and when I asked him today when the material would appear in The Los Angeles Review of Books, he responded that they have declined to run both the interview and the review of my book.

    I feel like I have been shafted by this person, and I am PISSED!!

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