How To Work For A Ghostwriting Novel Client & Julian Taylor of Allaboutbikes.com... And Not Get Paid

Latest Edit: Note the comments below from JA, EBK and others... According to their unsolicited comments it seems that Mr. Julian Taylor of JVH Media owes a fair chunk of change to at least three people + me. It seems that we have a pattern developing here. More as it occurs.

In the Eighties I had a stint cranking out magazines for a notorious New Jersey publisher who had recently gotten out of jail for embezzlement and it didn't stop him from bouncing around $100,000 a week in checks, including about $25,000 to me... until I eventually wisened up. As my faithful readers know, I have since never hesitated to take on publishers and clients who contract writers for work and then fail to pay them. After 35 years in this business I'm still amazed how many clients simply take for granted that writers are not really entitled to fair and timely payment.

I recently finished up a massive ghostwriting job for a client: a 83,492 word novel over four months. All along, the client was extremely happy with my work, as archived in his many gushing emails and the progressive tranches keyed to completion of various chapters which he paid right on time and in full. Of course, that didn't stop him from bouncing the big check for my final payment: $7,153.60.

I'm not going to go into too many details on that novel project as my lawyer has instructed me to leave that particular deadbeat to him. However, I certainly don't mind sharing with my readers my misadventures with Mr. Julian V. Taylor of JVH Media Group / Julian V Holdings, LLC, 438 Division St., Sewickley, PA 15143.

At first glance Mr. Taylor seems to have a reasonable publishing resume, as is witnessed by the verified background of a Julian Taylor with Red Coat Publishing and other magazine ventures. That is why I was not overly concerned about extending myself with his company to the tune of $1,200 of motorcycle articles, as I figured that it was one of the safer clients I'd deal with this year. After all his press releases carry the following credit line:

JVH Media Group is a publishing company consisting of over sixty publications. Based in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, JVH Media Group was founded by Julian V Taylor, a 20+ year publishing veteran. The company's series, "AllAbout", has seen great success, gaining national recognition in the lifestyle industry.

There are dozens of titles for magazines and or websites shown on the JVH Media Group website and listed as of February 24, 2009, but as of 10:30 am EST June 16, 2010:

Allaboutsnow.com is "down for maintenance."
Allaboutthegrape.com is stuck at January 2010.

... and the other 26 magazines listed on the site... well... nothing there. No links. No trace of the existence of those 26 or any of the others to make up the missing 57. Just titles, some without even as much as an image to go with them. Not exactly the publishing megacorporation that the illusory claim to 60 titles would lead you to believe. So Mr. Taylor seems to be at least 58 publications short of his claim of 60, and some (but not me) would say 58.5 short.

Interestingly his AllAboutMotosport.com listed on

http://allaboutbikes.com/component/content/article/143

was available for registry at the time of writing. Maybe I should register it! But then again, it might be a misspelling on his site as shown in the image... or maybe not, considering that AllAboutSatellitetelevison.com is registered to him. I guess nobody else wanted a site that misspelled "television".

Therefore: Outright Lie #1

Now let's look at the "great success, gaining national recognition in the lifestyle industry" claim. It certainly isn't confidence inspiring that Alexa.com not only rates Allaboutbikes.com at 333,199 in the USA. That is so low that not only is there no historical data on Mr. Taylor's site, but that whatever little traffic it is recording was down 40% in the last month. The news over at Quantcast.com is even worse. It shows the traffic down nearly 80% from March! In fairness when traffic is that low, both sites have trouble estimating exactly what is going on, but let's just say that Allaboutbikes.com is not a Hubpages.com, ranked by Alexa as the 126th most visited site in the USA, way ahead of powerhouses like Skype.com, Mashable.com, Tripadvisor.com, Reddit.com, and Reuters.com. The power of Hubpages is the main reason behind my 2.2 million page views to date as it truly is a remarkable platform!

I find it very funny that when I informed their Executive Editor, Rodney Burrell that I was going to publish this Hub, he replied: "if anything it will send us new readers." Looks like they really need them! I don't know if it's the kind of reader they're looking for, though. But, hey, I guess when you're rated 333,199th, a click is a click!

So: Outright Lie #2

The Outright Lies #3 through X all surround the lack of payment by the company for the articles which were ordered by Mr. Burrell and received by gushing emails: "I’m loving the articles", "very exciting stuff", etc. Although their "standard terms" call for payment 14 days after publication, that's one of the biggest crocks in the industry and I was very clear to Mr. Burrell that I was not going to accept that. Look at it this way: Go to your local supermarket, stock up on everything from frozen pizzas to ice cream, and explain to the cashier that once you eventually take it out of your freezer and eat it, whether the next day or six months later, you'll be happy to pay for it. See how much food you get.

Supermarkets get paid at the checkout counter and freelance writers get paid on acceptance. It's not our problem if a publisher can't manage to figure out how slap them onto HTML. That apparently was Mr. Burrell's claim... they were late putting up my articles since they were having problems with their programmers. Hmm... wonder why...

However, Mr. Burrell wanted many more articles and fully and repeatedly agreed to have me send in an invoice right away and that would result in a payment "in a week or two." That was on May 24. Of course, no money has been forthcoming.

The best part was when I informed the publisher Mr. Taylor that I was going to publish this Hub showing the facts behind his non-payment and "Oz-ian facade" of 58 make-believe periodicals if he didn't cough up the money that was so overdue. His reply was: "Do I know you Hal? I have not seen any of your work so why would I pay for it?"

Well, it's understandable. Mr. Taylor must be so busy gaining success and national recognition with his 58 imaginary titles that he's a very busy man and certainly can't lower himself to actually read articles ankle-biter freelance writers provide his vast publishing conglomerate. Or paying for them, for that matter. Yes, he's far too engaged in "Expanding His Business Model:"

http://www.prlog.org/10738447-jvh-media-group-expands-business-model.html

A ride through Sewickley will also be led by Julian Taylor, CEO of JVH Media Group, and avid roadracer. The ride will finish at The Sewickley Hotel where they will offer drink and food specials.

Whoohooo! First let's find Sewickley, PA on a map (FYI it's between the burgeoning metropolises of Leetsdale and Coraopolis), and then lets get a couple of bikers to chug through town so they can feast on drink and food "specials". Wow! A publishing junket worthy of William Randolph Hearst!

Too bad that the discounts on the beer swilled by whatever bikers that show up in Sewickley will be paid for by money Mr. Taylor owes me.

Well, since almost all of my 1,000 plus official Hub Followers and many other readers are freelance writers, let's see what you think. Would you want to write for Mr. Taylor's massive and glorious publishing megacorporation?

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Comments 36 comments

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

In all fairness, I just did manage to find allaboutboxerdogs.com, although it wasn't from a link on the JVH website, as there isn't one! So it's 57 imaginary titles. :)


nicomp profile image

nicomp 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

My cousin lives in Sewickley.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

I hereby formally and conclusively state that Sewickley, Pennsylvania is on Hal Licino's list of hallowed sacred places, due to one of its inhabitants' relation to one of Hubpages' finest and most fascinating writers: Nicomp! (No sarcasm there, dude... you know I appreciate your work immensely!)

BTW, will you tell your horsehead to stop drooling on my helmet? :)


nicomp profile image

nicomp 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

Horse drool has caused a viable ecosystem to spontaneously generate on the surface of your helmet. PETA declared it a protected wetland.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

That is soooooooooo damn funny I can't even come up with a witty retort. Nicomp rules. Period! :)


aguasilver profile image

aguasilver 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain

"Your cheques in the post"

The second worse lie in the world.

John


drbj profile image

drbj 6 years ago from south Florida

Will you two please stop in the name of sanity? You're giving frivolity a bad name! :)


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

aguasilver... yes, the first worst lie in the world is the one about "I promise not to..." er... so.... nice weather, isn't it? :) Quickly changing the subject... it seems that some publishers do not realize that ordering a custom product creates a full liability under the law to pay for it. It's like going to a jeweller and asking him to engrave your name and other personal information all over a Rolex and then saying you don't want it. The jeweller is not going to get stuck with an expensive paperweight that he can't sell to anyone else. It's exactly the same thing with publishers commissioning AND accepting articles from writers. It is a CUSTOM PRODUCT created on a commission, accepted by the editor in glowing positivity, and specifically intended for that publication. It's not a shoe that you can sell to anyone else who has a size 9 foot. You ordered it, you accepted it, now the law of the land says you damn well pay for it. If you can't get your programmers to figure out how to code around 500 words of ASCII text content that is not the problem of the writer.

drbj: I can't speak for my equine friend but I am unable to stop in the name of sanity as I have none. :)


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Hate rip off merchants


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

I agree with you but not that I would ever say that JVH Media is a rip off merchant. Those were your words not mine. BTW: Notice how carefully I'm treading my lawyer's advice on "just the facts, ma'am" in this case? I'm not going to contaminate the purity of my claim by crossing the line onto any form of derogatory statement about the nice if somewhat imaginative people at JVH Media. :)


Anon E Muss 6 years ago

SO have you gotten paid yet?


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Hi. Judging from your IP of 173.75.53.2 you're accessing from a location surprisingly near Sewickley, Pennsylvania. Remarkable that you wouldn't have known enough to post from a proxy, but... er... I'll stop myself before making a derogatory comment about your intelligence. So I am very happy to inform you that I haven't even begun having fun with you yet. The best is yet to come! The most fun times are ahead! :)


PittPride 6 years ago

I heard through a few friends in the area that this company is moving in the direction of shutting down. Not very surprising...


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

I truly appreciate the comment, but given the "situation" between Mr. Taylor's company and yours truly I have to BITE MY LIP and not state what I really want to state. Thank you, however, and pop a bottle of champagne for me. :)


JA 6 years ago

What is the status of JVH? Are they truly closing? I'm in the same situation re: check, I believe.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

I have information on that company which I cannot share with the public on the advice of my attorney. Fortunately you're not under the same restrictions, so I'd be happy to publish your specific situation to see if I can be of assistance.


JA 6 years ago

Thank you! I am owed approx 2K. I don't expect to get it, and after a communication today with the company and your blog this is sinking in to me. Interesting.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Thank you for the info. I will contact my attorney in the morning and see if we can work together to force the company to provide the compensation it contracted for in both our cases. I will post information here within 24 hours. Thanks again.


EBK 6 years ago

I am also owed salary for the month of August. I just filed an official claim with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor. Keep me updated, Hal.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

It looks like we are building up a really interesting little group here. JA and EBK, please check back tomorrow at about the same time and we'll see what steps my attorney suggests we take. :)


EBK 6 years ago

Just received an e-mail indicating my check is being sent out. Maybe he got scared that i took action with the department of labor? Have you guys considered doing the same thing?


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Given the timing, I think he may have gotten more scared of this page which "he seems" to be checking regularly. I'll still be speaking to the attorney later today at least on behalf of JA. Please keep me informed as to whether you get the check... and of course if it clears the bank! :)


JA 6 years ago

I wouldn't hold your breath on the check arriving. I've been told that twice; then I was told that it was being worked on; then I was told there was a mixup; yesterday I was told that there were budgetary issues.

No offense, but I'd be surprised if your check ever arrived.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Hi, JA and EBK. I've been chatting with my attorney and we have a three step program for either one or (better yet) both of you to follow. My attorney has been working on this for a while and the process he's outlining is going to be very effective in putting serious pressure on JVH Media. The first step is:

Call the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357.

Explain that you want to file an FTC complaint because you replied to an ad on the internet, supplied services as contracted, and the payment has been denied. The agent will ask you some very basic questions, just your name and contact information. Identify the company as JVH Media in Sewickley, PA.

MAKE SURE that you inform the agent that this is in conjunction with the separate filing by Hal Licino: Reference Number 27670792. This will tie our files together and then the investigation will have all of the details at hand about all of us. It's a MUCH stronger case when it can be shown that there are three totally unconnected individuals with the same problem with the company than in a "lone wolf" situation.

I've been told by my attorney that you should do that, and get your own case reference number from the FTC. Once that's done, let me know and we can proceed to the second step. It is also advisable to do all of this completely in the open on this page. That way it's all crystal clear and no one can make any claims that we're doing anything that is not fully legal in pressing our cases against JVH Media.

By all means feel free to ask any questions! :)


Don Simkovich profile image

Don Simkovich 6 years ago from Pasadena, CA

I grew up 50 miles east of Pittsburgh, finished my last 2 yrs of university at Pitt, and enjoyed strolling through Shadyside . . . but I don't think I've ever been through Sewickley . . . btw, I had a client also end up owing me about $21,000 and I went to the Labor Relations board out here . . . don't know if they'll be able to collect or not. It's maddening!


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Hi Don. :) My attorney is not placing too much emphasis on the Labor board situation given that at least two of us claimants seem to be outside PA, and freelancing is not covered quite the same way as an employment onsite contract. However, note that EBK used the word SALARY so that likely indicates that he WAS directly onsite employed, therefore it might be different for him. My attorney is quite adamant that this process he has outlined can place the greatest amount of legal pressure on JVH Media, so I think it's definitely worth following his advice! :)


EBK 6 years ago

Check arrived last week and cleared this morning. It's understandable to go through "growing pains" with a company and have a rough financial situation for a bit. But when you cross the line and aren't able to pay your employees by the agreement in their contract, you are just acting with no concern for others. I wish everyone the best of luck in this situation, including JVH Media. A struggling business does not benefit anyone in this situation.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Great news. I'm glad you saw your money! It gives both JA and me a boost to know that if you apply enough pressure you can see some cash out of it! I assure you that we'll be continuing to apply all possible legal pressure to JVH Media to ensure that they honor all their agreements. Congratulations!


Concerned 6 years ago

I know two people that are owed money from JVH Media. I am going to forward this site to them so hopefully they can contact the FTC.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

In the words of the old '70s song...

Looks like we got us a convoy!

:)

Thanks, Concerned. I appreciate your referral as the more people we can get with similar stories, the stronger our case will be.


PKJ 6 years ago

I am owed money for onsite work by them. What steps do you suggest I take to get my money?


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Yikes, PKJ! This is really amazing. I'm being VERY careful to keep ALL my comments strictly according to the parameters outlined by my attorney to ensure that nothing I state here will compromise the case(s) in any way... so all I can say (again) is... This is really amazing!

Just look up a few comments to the one I posted six days ago and starts with

Hi, JA and EBK. I've been chatting with...

Follow those instructions and let me know. I'll tell you what the next steps are. :)


EBK 6 years ago

PJK, if you were working onsite, file a claim with the department of labor of Pennsylvania. Linked below is the form you will need to fill out. It takes about 5-10 minutes. After filling it out, send a quick e-mail to Julian letting him know you filed a complaint with the PA department of labor. It may help kick things in gear (it did for me).

http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?ope...


Concerned 5 years ago

Any updates on this? I know a few people that still haven't been paid.


JA 5 years ago

Keep fighting; I eventually got paid - five months late. It was apparently unusual that I was annoyed to be paid so late...


JA 5 years ago

By the way, has anyone else noticed that the company's website keeps getting smaller and smaller and smaller? It was originally ten pages, now it's one.

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