A Note for Team Tesch: Criticism of your video, your website, your public comments, newsletter, and promotional tactics is protected under Fair Use of U.S. copyright law. I have the legal right to use portions of that video and quotations and screencaps from your websites for the purposes of both critique and parody, and I will use that right. However, if you would like to post any sort of response or rebuttal to my comments, you are welcome to do so. In the interest of fairness, I will publish them, complete and unabridged, alongside my own comments. Alternately, you can publish them on your own website and I will happily link to them.
Gloria Tesch, as you are probably aware, wrote Maradonia and the Seven Bridges at age 13. Being blessed with parents even richer than Christopher Paolini’s, her book was promptly self-published, sending her spiraling downward into a tailspin of egotistical narcissism and self-delusion.
And yes – her book is most certainly self-published. The publisher is listed as Liberty’s Book Press. Google it. They’ve published Maradonia, and nothing else.
the Tesch publicity machine of the past was an absolute fiasco
This quote is taken from a comment left on a YouTube video criticizing Gloria Tesch (the video has since been removed due to a copyright claim filed by Team Tesch). One of these comments was signed “AF”, and they mentioned that if you wanted to find out more about him, to follow the link to Tesch’s website. This strongly indicates they were left by Andrew Fisher, who designed Tesch’s website. I have to agree with Fisher’s assessment.
Like Robert Stanek, Tesch began trying to publicize her book through internet sockpuppetry. Unlike Robert Stanek, she wasn’t very successful at it. For awhile, she spammed Yahoo Answers trying to pass herself off as the World’s Youngest Novelist, which is demonstratively untrue. When critics pointed out that other authors had published books at a younger age, Tesch responded by saying she was the youngest “real” novelist because her books were 800 pages long, which in hindsight is rather funny after she re-released the Maradonia trilogy by splitting each of the books in half and turning it into a six-book series. This is also funny because the real reason for the books’ high page count is their enormous font sizes, large margins, random gaps in the text, and short chapters which pad the page count considerably. More importantly, Tesch is not a real novelist because her books were never actually published – they were self-published through a vanity press.
In the past, many critics, and I admit I have been one of them, have cheerfully assigned much of the blame to Gloria Tesch herself. However, I have amended my opinion, now choosing to assign much of the blame to Tesch’s parents. While I’m certainly in favor of parents encouraging their children, I’m also in favor of parents keeping their children honest and helping them improve their writing and maintain humility. If one’s parents proclaim one a child prodigy, and shelter one from all forms of criticism, what motivation does one have to improve one’s writing? Absolutely none. Tesch’s parents have been throwing money at Gloria’s writing since she started. And because of this, Tesch has kept on going under the belief that her writing is brilliant and she has hundreds of fans…although I have not seen any evidence that she has any fans. I have been unable to find a single fan website anywhere on the internet.
Tesch’s reviews are also problematic. The reviews on Amazon are absolutely vicious, and deservedly so. However, Tesch’s website has a number of very good reviews on it. Several of these are from Leah Dallaire.
Leah Dallaire is an editor. She has a website called 911editing, and I strongly suspect that she is one of Tesch’s editors – which, if nothing else, should indicate that you should never, ever hire her. But take a look at some of the reviews that Dallaire has written for Tesch – and I would like to point out that Dallaire has written not one, not two, but THREE of the reviews on this page:
Notice the last line: “humbled to be a part of this” – strong indication that she is not just a reader. She’s on Team Tesch.
For a page on Tesch’s website devoted to reader reviews, why would you put up two different reviews of the exact same book by the exact same person…unless you didn’t have very many good reviews to put up in the first place?
Dallaire’s other review is a copy of the review that she put on Amazon, where it is one of the two five-star reviews of Maradonia and the Seven Bridges. I suspect that a book’s editor putting up a glowing review of a book on Amazon is against the site’s terms and conditions. It’s certainly morally bankrupt.
As if that wasn’t enough, two MORE reviews on the exact same page are from Mary F. Dado, who is ALSO one of Tesch’s editors:
Again, note the comment about how she’s on Gloria’s “Team”.
Tesch also claimed, repeatedly, to have her very own television show. As Swankivy and others have noted, Gloria’s television show is public access, meaning it’s available to anyone who can purchase space. If I purchased public access TV, I could spend an hour showing a tape of me knitting a scarf, and no one would care. However, it would still probably be more interesting than The Gloria Tesch Show, which is really just a camera on Tesch sitting there reading stories out of her book.
(from the Sept. 2010 newsletter)
Despite listing the show as being for sale, as far as I know no copies were ever actually produced. At least one person who ordered the television show received a copy of Maradonia and the Law of Blood instead. Even more interesting, several members of Anti-Shurtugal attempted to watch the show during times Tesch claimed it was being broadcast and were not ever able to find it on the air.
Tesch is also very fond of snapping pictures of herself and her book in various locations:
“The Maradonia Novel Stands Out!” (pictures and caption from Tesch’s Myspace.)
You’re right, Tesch. It does stand out. Could that be because every single other book on the shelf has a library tag on it and Maradonia doesn’t? It couldn’t be that you just stuck it there on the shelf and then snapped a quick picture of it, right? After all, what would be the point of that? No, seriously, what would be the point of that?
I’d like to draw your attention to several things. First, notice the bestseller rankings. Notice that #6, #7, and #8 all have different books above each one. And notice that Tesch is apparently trying to claim that Maradonia and the Seven Bridges is the #1, #2, and #3 bestselling books… all at the same time. I’d also like you to note that every one of these books has a 40% off sticker on it, which is a special that this particular chain is running. And, just in case you weren’t already fully convinced that Tesch waltzed into a bookstore, stuck a few copies of her book on a shelf, and had someone take a picture of it, let’s zoom in for a closer look at the book on the left.
The book behind it is a completely different book.
Right….you’re not Douglas Adams and you’re not funny, therefore your six-book trilogy is bullshit. I’d also like to point out that when she was thirteen she “published” ONE novel, not two. The fact that she went back and split the book into two parts does not retcon real life. Although this entire argument is academic because Gloria Tesch has not had any books published
Tesch is currently laboring under the delusion that there will be a Maradonia theme park, which I think it’s best to just ignore, but more interestingly, she and her family are currently trying to secure financing to produce a low-budget Maradonia movie, for which Gloria Tesch has written the script.
I’ll get into the “comic satire” a bit later, but I feel I should point out that “seasoned professionals” makes me laugh. The director is listed as Troy Bowman, who has one IMDB credit to his name. And the script was written by Gloria Tesch. No, seriously… Gloria Tesch.
I’m not exactly an expert on filmmaking, although I do happen to know quite a bit more about it than Gloria Tesch. For instance, I find it odd that film production crews would need to ask fans in a newsletter if they have a van or car they could lend out for their prep crew. Is that really what seasoned professionals do?
Also, you haven’t even announced your cast yet and yet you expect the movie to be finished by the end of of April 2011?
The newsletter also contained a little poster for Maradonia, the movie, which was an improvement on previous posters because it didn’t include stolen copyrighted artwork from Google images, including my favorite stolen image, which was lifted from the trailer from Prince Caspian.
This might be where some of that confusion is coming from, considering that two of the images that are directly under the tag “the movie” are from the book trailer.
However, Team Tesch recently acquired a new PR man in Andrew Fisher, as he noted in his YouTube comment:
I will agree that the Tesch publicity machine of the past was an absolute fiasco, but I’m now on board to move things forward with a bit more dignity, (at least you don’t have my job). The initial books are also being re-edited so that the stories can be enjoyed as they were intended.
I could have sympathized with Fisher, as he has inherited an absolute disaster. Most of the above shenanigans are the fault of Gloria Tesch and her parents. Fisher could have started immediately turning things around. Unfortunately, Fisher doesn’t have a great idea of what “dignity” means. His first few acts were to post spam comments on various YouTube videos that were criticizing the marketing techniques of Team Tesch. Most of these were deleted. Fisher also posted comments on several of these videos thanking them for their interesting feedback, and then, a short while later, the videos were hit with a copyright claim from Team Tesch and removed from YouTube. One of these videos was by the wonderful swankivy (you can read her writeup of the incident here ). Swankivy reposted her video, minus any clips from Tesch’s book trailer or screenshots from Tesch’s website, and I strongly recommend you watch it.
This, as Team Tesch will shortly learn, was a very poor decision. You cannot silence criticism, and the more you try, the more ammunition it gives your critics.
The book trailer itself is work of sheer insanity. Team Tesch is currently trying to move past it (it is now a private video on YouTube), but they cannot even keep their story straight:
Ditch my connection to the old book trailer YES that was horrendous, (I wasn’t around when that was created),
(that book trailer is obviously comic satire)
(also from Fisher)
So first he claims that the book trailer was horrendous and then he tries to pass it off as comic satire. It is horrendous, certainly, but the trailer was not satire (I don’t think Fisher knows what that word means) and it was not intended as satire. Gloria Tesch frequently advertised the trailer in her newsletter and on her website as a book trailer – never as something intended to be humorous or not to be taken seriously. Sorry, Team Tesch. You cannot retcon real life.
So….let’s dig into this book trailer.
Note: The text within the quotation marks is dialogue from the book trailer.
We begin with a poorly designed logo that tells us this show is supposedly called Celebrity Soup. That was the name of a UK comedy series …which ended in 2006. Some quick Googling tells us that there is no such show as Celebrity Soup that currently exists.
We meet our Show Host, Kyle Kendrick. I have several questions. First, why is there a caption telling us that he’s the show host? People who watch television shows know who the show host is. Second, who is Kyle Kendrick? IMDB says his only credit was on ER 12 years ago, which, if it’s the same person, would explain why he’s appearing as a fake show host for a fake news program that’s pimping out a fake published book by an all-too-real girl.
We get some shots of Gloria Tesch signing books, as our Host rambles for a bit:
“Hello, and welcome to Celebrity Soup. Today we’re serving up a hot dish of hysteria. So, what’s on the menu? Two words: Gloria Tesch.”
So….they’re going to eat Gloria Tesch? Works for me! We then move on to the testimonials, starting with an uncredited woman who keeps glancing down to her right, almost as if she’s reading off hidden cue cards.
“My daughter is ten and actually this is one of the only books I can get her to read, she is so excited about this book and author.”
And, of course, her adorable little daughter:
“She signed my book, see?”
We cut back to our host, who continues:
“If you haven’t heard, Gloria Tesch is the world’s youngest novelist. At the age of fifteen, she has already written eight novels. So, how are her books doing, you ask?”
We’ve already gone over how Tesch is not the world’s youngest novelist, not by a long shot. But what I really don’t get is….where the fuck did eight novels come from? Even after Tesch split the series in half, that left her with six. More importantly, Team Tesch is paying this guy to act in this fake television show for them, and they didn’t even bother to re-shoot the scene?
We cut forward to another uncredited person.
“It’s amazing, we can’t even keep the books on the shelves, they’re flying out of here like…nothing.”
You know, real news organizations have this little thing called “accreditation”, otherwise known as citing your sources. Generally speaking, you don’t just throw in quotes from unnamed people without some kind of citation. Why? Because audiences like to know who they’re hearing an opinion from. I find a random guy with white hair in a crowd a lot less credible than someone who is cited as, say, the bookstore manager?
Of course, I’m pretty sure the reason Team Tesch didn’t bother crediting anyone was because they were afraid the people would be tracked down after the fact and asked to back up their statements.
“So, what’s the problem with that? Most people would say that’s a good thing.”
That’s probably because it is a good thing, you idiot.
“You know, despite the demand for her books, the publisher only prints a finite amount, and when they’re sold out, they’re gone, and that’s not just here, that’s all over the country.”
There are so many inaccuracies here it’s difficult to know where to begin. Let’s start with the publishers. It’s true that publishers print a certain amount of books and then distribute them to be sold. However, once those books are gone, they print some more. That’s kind of what publishers do, they sell books to make money. And if a book is selling enough to make them have to go back and print more copies, don’t you think the publishing company would be really happy to do that? Since it will make them more money?
I suppose this idiot might be referring to the fact that Maradonia is self-published, but he’s still completely wrong. Vanity publishers let you choose the amount of books you buy from them. And, on the off chance that the Tesches did, in fact, sell out the first run of their self-published book, all they would need to do is place a new order from the vanity publisher and buy some more.
It’s probably a good thing this guy wasn’t credited, otherwise I would send him a very hostile email.
“So, what’s in the books that makes them so appealing?” our host continues.
“For me it was the characters, my favorite characters were Maya and Joey.”
No, seriously? The two main characters were your favorites? That’s like asking someone who their favorite character in Harry Potter is and them replying “Harry Potter”. I mean, yeah, this kid is about ten, but you’d think they could have found a better clip to include in this video. Or at least written her some new lines.
We cut to a couple of young actors standing in front of a really, really obvious green-screen. Yes, it’s some clips from Maradonia which Team Tesch filmed and spliced into their book trailer, for reasons beyond my comprehension.
I can see the production value here.
“Maya! Crassus, the demon apostle, is following us!”
The kid playing Joey actually has a bit of acting ability, although he doesn’t have much to work with. The girl playing Maya, however, couldn’t act her way out of a cardboard box.
“Joey, I’m afraid!”
Yes. That is an actual line. “Joey, I’m afraid.”
And off they run, as giant fanged bats swoop down after them. Yes, giant fanged bats. Not Crassus the demon apostle. And…we’re back to the uncredited testimonials:
“You fall in love with them. You can’t help it.”
I beg to differ. I myself have written a very, very long sporking of the first book in the Maradonia “Saga”, and I have to say I don’t think I have ever read a story whose heroes were more selfish and unlikable than Maya and Joey.
We cut back to our host, who continues overacting. It’s like he’s trying to see how many bizarre facial expressions he can wedge into this video.
“Some people are even asking for autographs in the most precarious of places.”
I don’t think that word means what you think it means.
Nothing against this guy, as I’m sure he’s just an unemployed college dropout out to make a buck, but seriously? This is the guy you want representing your fanbase? Or was this the only guy who was willing to let you sign his forehead?
“Some people are even coming out dressed as characters from the books,” our host continues.
I don’t recognize either of these characters, but let’s set that aside for a moment. As I have already said, Tesch has no fans. There isn’t a single fan website anywhere on the internet. I have yet to find a single legitimate, positive review. The book itself is an absolute mess. Yeah, I can theoretically see some 10-year-olds enjoying it, but Team Tesch seriously expects us to believe that grown men like her books so much they’re dressing up as characters from the books and standing in line to get autographs?
We cut forward to…another video clip from the book. Ah, it’s starting to make more sense now. The guy who is dressed up as one of the characters in line? He’s actually an actor who is portraying Abbadon. Why an actor who was paid by Team Tesch is also standing in line pretending to be a fan waiting for an autograph, I don’t know. It even makes me wonder if everyone else standing in line might also be paid actors….
Anyway, this guy’s acting is legendarily bad.
“…where ARE you?”
“I am here to kill you, take your land…and your head!”
I swear, those are his lines. I know it looks like he’s singing “The Sound of Music,” but he’s actually trying to be menacing. The actor here is putting on a really ridiculous accent and drawing the words out, so instead of “I am here to kill you!” it is more like “Aye ham here to kuHEEL YEW!!!!1111.”
“You have killed many kings….but today is not your day.”
I have to say, the Tesches should demand their money back from whoever put together this piece of shit. You can see the outline of the green-screen around the edge of Astrodoulos’ robe!
In response, Abbadon leaps in the air, spins in a pirouette, swirls his cloak dramatically, growls, and shoots lightning from his fingertips.
Just dance! It’ll be okay…
And…we’re back to the uncredited testimonials.
“It’s a myriad of a modern-day fantasy that completely takes you out of your element.”
I don’t know what that means.
Next, we have a really, really cheap CGI effect with some “spooky” sounding ghosts wailing.
And…we’re back to film clips from the book.
“Why have we been brought into this totally different world?”
“I don’t know Joey, but I believe everything happens for a reason.”
And we’re back to the testimonials:
“It’s a fascinating book, she’s a very creative writer, I wonder where she gets those ideas from.”
The Chronicles of Narnia, for one. I do find it interesting that in many of these “testimonials” don’t actually mention Tesch by name. While it’s certainly plausible that Team Tesch just paid these people off, it’s also possible that they interviewed people about completely different books and just cleverly intercut it.
We’re back to the pudgy white-haired guy:
“These people have been sitting here for almost two and a half hours, and are still in line trying to get their autographs; unbelievable, it’s a great book.”
As he talks, we get a few shots of the crowd:
I might be misreading their expressions, but the guy seems to be thinking “What am I doing with my life?” while the woman is thinking “They seriously published this shit?”
And we’re back to the Host.
“So what’s next for the world’s youngest novelist? You guessed it. Motion pictures. Moguls from New York to Hollywood are already weighing in, and I’m told there are offers already on. the. table.”
Right. “Moguls” are interested in making a film of a book that is self-published, almost universally despised, and doesn’t have any fans. That’s believable. And then, for no apparent reason, we cut to a close-up of some guy lighting a cigar:
Remember, kids, smoking kills.
And then there’s a girl walking in slow motion down a hallway:
Her hair is being blown backward from the intense indoor wind that goes through hallways. She strolls into her cigar-smoking boss’ office. He’s reading Entertainment Weekly, the preferred magazine of all Hollywood and New York moguls. The girl parks herself on her boss’ desk and drops a couple of folders onto his laptop.
“These just came in for you.”
In perhaps the only realistic scene in this entire trailer, Cigar Guy is not happy with getting a handout with pictures of Gloria Tesch’s novels on them.
“This? This is what you bring me? This is garbage! Can’t you see I’m busy?”
And into the trash they go. The girl stalks off, rolling her eyes. Cigar Guy peeks over the top of Entertainment Weekly and then surreptitiously pulls the folders out of the garbage.
“Fifteen years old? Six books? Two screenplays? This kid’s a billion-dollar industry!”
I’m not sure how someone can see that someone is a billion [!!] dollar industry from seeing covers of their self-published novels – which, I should add, isn’t really that impressive. I myself had written six novels by the time that I was fifteen. And like Tesch, all of my novels were pretty shitty. Unlike Tesch, my parents didn’t say I was a genius and throw money at me.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that a person cannot be an industry.
Cigar Guy stands up, whips out a bullhorn, and, – I am dead serious – yells “Action!”
Why would this guy have a bullhorn in his office? Why would he decide to yell “Action” at the ceiling of his empty office? And why does poorly computer-generated fire come out of his nostrils immediately afterward?
You thought I was making that up, didn’t you?
We then cut to an image of the six Maradonia books with flames behind them, and then to an image of a very, very poorly animated creepy guy:
“Let the adventure….begin!”
And finally, we have the final shot of the trailer:
That’s right. Maradonia and the Bridges. They left out the “Seven”.
Several brilliant readers have pointed out that there is a “7” in there, it’s just difficult to see. My mistake. I shall amend my criticism, then. Why would you title your movie Maradonia and the 7 Bridges? That just looks moronic.