Motivational Speaker Scam? Insight Publishing – Something is not right in Sevierville, TN

I don’t care what business it is – success is founding on the choices you make.  There are no short cuts or easy ways to finding success, rather success is founded on fundamental principles applied consistently through your life choices.  As a business ethics speaker, I know from personal experience what it takes to create the outcomes you desire.

That said, part of what I do is focus a spotlight on unethical behavior, scams and/or frauds.  I cannot say that what I am reporting on here is a scam, but there are too many issues arising related to the speaking business coming out of little Sevierville, TN to be coincidence.

First – here are two of my most recent posts related to speaker services and issues coming out of that little town in Tennessee:


So today I receive this email that offers me (I’m sure this offer has been made to thousands of speakers) a chance to co-author a book with Deepak Chopra and Ken Blanchard – both of whom I respect and neither of whom I know personally.

Really…I think to myself.  Ken and Deepak want to work with me?  What an appeal to ego huh?  But, let’s look closer.  The offer states:

1 chapter left in our book project Roadmap to Success with chapters by Deepak Chopra and Ken Blanchard. You have been pre-selected to be a co-author, as our research department has recognized you as an expert strategist. We will focus on topics that are necessary for success in your business and or personal life. There will be 15 chapters total in the book. Please see below some topic suggestions.

The book will contain principles and topics applying to everyday lives and careers. Our authors find it easier for their books to be reviewed. Opportunities for media coverage are also greatly increased. Imagine your ideas and your story appearing in newspapers and magazines! Imagine yourself on talk radio! You gain maximum exposure, reinforce your credentials, and build credibility.  It also represents real value for your audience. Your investment in this project is your inventory of books which depending on your package has an ROI of more than $16,000.

Inventory Choices

200 books $ 1144

300 books $ 1716

500 books $ 2540

1,000 books $ 3800

No interest payment plans are also available.

Hum … I can write “my” chapter and have it included along with others with my picture on the cover with Deepak and Ken – making it look like I was “chicken eatin buddies” with these masters.  The only cost to me is a mere approximately $3.5 to $5.5 cost per book.  Looks to me like it is a way to sell books masquerading as co-authorship – when in reality Chopra and Blanchard have no clue (at least I think that is true) who they are lending their name to as co-authors.

Here more though:

Details and benefits:

Interview based book, no heavy writing required

Custom cover with your photo and celebrity authors on your inventory of books

Professional editing done by our staff editor

Book will be listed and ISBN # registered with Baker & Taylor, Bowker, Barnes & Noble and

Newsletter featuring each author will be emailed to 20,000 meeting planners listing their bio , photo and contact information

Custom press release provided to each author for promotion

21 Ways to Market your Book plan

You own the copyright to your chapter and can use it for whatever purpose you wish in the future

E book Rights – Each author will receive the E book upon on completion

To move forward give me a call in the office or email to discuss, prime chapter placement available. Hope you have a great day!

*If you are interested in building your brand/marketing and this title does not fit you. I am also looking for authors in our book project Bootstrap Business with Tom Hopkins, Jack Canfield and John Christensen.


Doors open faster when you walk in with someone famous!


Dona Merritt

Marketing Representative

Insight Publishing

A Division of The Innovator’s Group, Inc.

Sevierville, TN. 37862

Let me be clear … I am an advocate of self-publishing!  The publishing world is being turned upside down and twisted all around with the advent of easy self-publishing, printing on demand and, of course, the elephant in the room – the ebook.  So my question does not center around authors being self published – not at all – rather, the question relates to the method of piggybacking on the names of individuals who you have no contact with – don’t know you or your content – and yet seem to find that the collection approach is a way to use their good name to promote yours.

First there are two firms that represent themselves as Speaker Services companies, both of whom have questionable reputations and have had complaints lodged against them.  Now, another speaker services company emerges in the same little town.  Sorry, but something smells fishy here.

Is what is being offered here ethical?

IF you are a client of Insight Publishing and wish to offer your comments good or bad – we welcome your thoughts.  I cannot express a direct opinion from experience, but would sure like to hear from others.


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25 Responses to Motivational Speaker Scam? Insight Publishing – Something is not right in Sevierville, TN

  1. Justin Cohen says:


    I have been approached by this company, and because I have a little marketing insight, I recognized it for what it is; a vanity publishing situation.

    For someone like myself, this is a good opportunity because I recognize it as what it is and I will not re-sell the books under the guise of anything other than me having contributed a chapter.

    I do not believe that the “co-authors” would be doing business with this company, contributing their writings, and allowing the use of their image and likeness if they knew it was an unethical scam.

    The “co-authors” are in it for the money.
    someone like me is in it for the vanity.

    It is what it is.

    If anyone of us pretends that it is anything other than money and vanity – that is when it becomes unethical.

    • Justin…I agree with all you say but one thing… The co-authors from what I’m told got no money and some of them from direct discussions with them had no idea that their work was being used in this way. When Brian Tracey or Ken Blanchard or others didn’t know this was taking place it raises the ethical question.

    • Pdx says:

      Boy, if it were just a “vanity publishing situation,” I’d be all over it. Unfortunately it’s an invitation to a lawsuit and COMPLETELY unethical. I received the cover offer above last week. Today they asked for my credit card before sending a contract…red flag…did a little research and found many others received the same scam. Bummer. I’d also been of the “I know what it is” ilk. Thankfully, I’m smart enough to know that there are scammers out there smarter than myself and REALLY appreciate all of the info that has been. Posted about these guys. Gotta ask: is Justin Cohen really David Wright…or just a hopeful business person?

  2. Kit says:

    You are right to be wary of Sevierville TN. Very strange events occur here. Sevier county TN is far from ethical or safe. I know. I live here. Should you look closer here, you should be wary.

  3. Anonymous (under litigation) says:

    BEWARE. It actually goes beyond what has already been discussed. It is actually a LEGAL issue. It turns out that ISN has not obtained the rights to use the name & image of many of the “superstars” they say you can be on the cover with. I know because I received LEGAL NOTICE from the lawyers of one of the cover “superstars” stating that ISN had no rights to use the name and image of their client and now demands that I eliminate any books I have. WHAT A WASTE.

    • Insight’s position on this matter is simple. First, we have been helping authors, speakers, trainers, consultants and coaches for over 21 years and we have operated our company with honesty and integrity. Stephen Covey, working through his staff, agreed to be interviewed for our anthology book projects, designed to help professional speakers and authors get their positive messages out to people interested in self improvement.

      His interview was recorded and published just as we agreed. Just last year, we received notice that Mr. Covey’s company decided not to participate in the project. A settlement was reached between Mr. Covey and Insight, in short, that Insight would no longer use our recorded Covey interview in any future publications after a specified date. Within this settlement, no admission of guilt was concluded regarding prior publications such as your book that fell before the specified date.

      Obviously we are disturbed that Covey’s Attorney is now contacting the individual participants that they, by proxy, deemed “immune” due to the publication date of your book falling prior to the settlement agreement.

      Our attorney is reviewing our options and we stand firm in our position, that Mr. Covey voluntarily agreed to be interviewed in a chapter of your titled book and that Insight owns that recording and had the right to publish that interview at the time of publication.

      Thank You,

      David E. Wright

      Insight Publishing
      A division of The Innovators Group, Inc.
      707 West Main St. Suite 5
      Sevierville, TN 37862
      800-987-7771 ext. 17

    • says:

      What ever happened with this case?

  4. SCAMMED says:

    WARNING!!! Do not engage with Insight Publishing, ISN or anything associated with DAVID WRIGHT, company president. Their business is not only unethical, it is downright illegal!!! It’s a scam!!! I fell for it and now the law firms representing the famous folks I appear on the book cover with are threatening legal action. ISN and David Wright totally misrepresented themselves. In speaking with David Wright, the man considers deceit acceptable. He is without remorse and is downright nasty!!!

  5. Jane Kelley says:

    Thank you for this post! I get lot’s of solicitations from these folks-from the “we heard you are a great speaker and want to work with you” (I am not a speaker!) to the co-author offers. I’ve found it suspect-never occurred to me it was downright illegal. Thanks!

    • Jeanne says:

      Hi Jane,

      I do apologize for you being contacted. This must have been by mistake as you would have only have been contacted if you were listed as a speaker so how or somewhere. I searched our database and could not come across your name. Please feel free to contact me directly as I will search again and remove your name from an e-mails and or phone calls.

      Thank you, Jeanne Baach

  6. Pete Szakacs says:


    I am preparing to engage Insight to publish my own book – no “superstars” or endorsements. It is completely my project. Not just for ego, I actually will use the book for marketing.

    My concerns- 1) WILL THEY deliver what they promise?
    2) How can they do it this inexpensively?

    Please share any more insight on Insight!

    • cheryl says:

      If they are using Jack Canfields name without his permission (I called his company myself) then you now know the level of integrity by which you are playing with.

    • Jeanne says:


      I know that you and I have been talking and I welcome a conversation so that I am able to answer any questions you may have. We will deliver on our promise as we always have and I am happy to provide you with clients to contact that have published their books with us.

      On it being inexpensive we are able to offer a low price because our graphic designer, editor and formatter all work in our office under one roof. We do not have to contract anything out.

      Thank you and have a nice day! Jeanne Baach

  7. cheryl says:

    I was googling the phone number for Insight Publishing to ask them a question regarding my chapter in their upcoming book Mastering the Art of Success when I saw your site. I read through your comments and decided that I would call Jack Canfield’s office (who is presented as one of the lead authors for this upcoming book) to find out if this is a scam. They told me that Jack Canfield has NOT signed an agreement to participate in this book with Insight Publishing which is scheduled for release this December. I am assuming the other co-authors they presented have not agreed as well – Mark Victor Hansen and Les Brown. Forget the investment – I am happy to catch this before the printing includes me in it. THANK YOU FOR YOUR EFFORTS!

  8. Jeanne says:

    In your statement above, you are misrepresenting facts surrounding Insight Publishing with your personal opinion(s). Having an opinion is fine, however presenting them as fact is merely unethical.

    Our interviews are scheduled and recorded with each celebrity speaker personally, for some celebrity’s it was scheduled through their staff member(s). They are made aware of the taping and of the intended use of the interview.

    A telephone interview is scheduled and conducted along with a request for a head shot for the cover of the publication. Insight is in possession of and owns the rights to these taped interviews.

    Each celebrity was compensated either by an honorarium or by receiving copies of the completed, published book.

    No one was mislead or scammed as stated above. We have been in business for over 25 years working with speakers, trainers, coaches and consultants on the above books and self-publishing. We have many clients that are currently working with us and have in the past and I am happy to share with you their information and experiences.

    Thank you, Jeanne Baach

    • Jeanne/David,

      This is easily resolved if you guys are bona fide:
      1) Explain why Cheryl got the info that Jack Canfield has NOT signed an agreement to participate in this book with Insight Publishing. And provide the relevant legit contact to refute this.
      2) I received yesterday an invitation for ‘No Winner Ever Got There Without a Coach featuring David Rock and Dr. Pam Brill’ Give me contact details for my ‘co-authors’ and representation for their agreement and I will confirm with them that this whole thing is legit.
      3) I will undertake to publish the results of both on this and similar sites.

  9. psyched4life says:


    I am one of the co-authors you referenced. And, from my lens, Insight is legit and has not deceived anyone, including ‘lead authors’ like myself.

    After careful consideration, I agreed to be a lead author on an Insight book along with David Rock. Each of us harnesses what we know about the brain to enable our clients to change and achieve their goals in our coaching methodologies. Each of us was a published author and speaker- my book The Winner’s Way- A Proven Method for Achieving Your Personal Best- had been published by McGraw-Hill in 2004. And I had many articles and research pieces that had been published during my time as a faculty at Dartmouth Med School and since my leaping into the wild world of consulting with competitors in business and sports.

    I agreed and signed legal documents to contribute a chapter that was published with myself and David Rock as lead authors-published under the title of Coaching for Success. Various authors contributed their chapters in the arrangement outlined above, including Rudy of Notre Dame Football and the “Rudy!” movie fame. Given my respect for Rudy as an incredibly resilient person- and my passion for sports- I was honored that he had a chapter in the book!

    My chapter was based on an interview with David Wright- and he was absolutely wonderful, offering great questions that enabled me to express the concepts and ideas that are integral to my system for coaching yourself- and others- to get into the peak performance zone where engaging with the challenge-at-hand can be a life-saving move. My contribution, then, was the interview, a headshot, the opportunity to edit the interview as desired, and compensation in the form of books or a fee.

    Everything went smoothly. Recently, I saw that Insight is recycling our interviews for a second book. From my own point of view, this is not a problem. First, everything in the first book still applies though I have accumulated lots more examples and technology has confirmed the inner workings of the brain that ground my system and explain why breathing is a great strategy to cool down and think straight… And second, all ‘lead authors’ signed an agreement that the intellectual property they shared and the photo became property of Insight. Given that, personally, I am appalled that an attorney would demand that those author contributors must take their books out of circulation.

    The bottom line is this. This offers speakers, consultants and others the opportunity to be published for a very inexpensive cost. Look around and you will see that many professionals claim to have books- and they were published by self-publshing houses for which the author spent 20K$ or more. I know people who have had their chapters published by Insight – and they were satisfied with the quality of the work, the process, and the ability to generate a marketing piece that is professionally done and ‘a book’!

    I chose to respond to this on my own during a time when I really don’t have the time. But I believe that everything Insight has done, in my case, had been legit and that they offer authors the chance to be published for a cost lower than that which many authors you meet invest in their own self-published books.

    Looking forward,
    Pam Brill, Ed.D.

  10. Mary Faktor says:

    I joined ISN years ago as they sold themselves to me as a speakers bureau who would market me and send me monthly leads of conventions and conferences. In three years, they have never gotten me a single gig ( although I am booked 50-60 times a year through my own marketing and other sources.) when they send their occasional “leads” they are always useless non-paying conferences looking for free speakers who pay their own way. They are also constantly sending marketing for their “workshops” and “book publishing” as mentioned in your article. Indeed they are scammers and a waste of time and money for any speaker.

  11. Kristin says:

    I have been contacted several times by Insight to do an interview based chapter. I am not listed as a public speaker anywhere and I have yet to develop any profile, I am simply starting out with a small coaching practice. There is no reason whatsoever for them to ask me to contribute unless they’re trying to rip me off. As far as I’m concerned, if you contact me out of the blue, have no familiarity with my work and then ask me to give you money for some “too good to be true” outcome you are scamming me. End of story.

  12. Pending Author of "Mastering the Art of Success" says:

    In reading through these posts, I am becoming more concerned. I agreed to be a co-author on a book, one of those referenced above. We were to have been in print and shipped August of 2012. It is now Jan 2013 and after my repeated followup (and my assistant’s) calls, emails – you name it – we only get ‘Oh, no – it’s not been printed yet, there was this issue” or “that issue”. Then they committed to a shipping date of Dec 4th. I had a local Postnet agreeing to hold space and take delivery of the 300 books I purchased as part of this program. It never happened. We had marketed the ‘upcoming book’ and now I fear our ‘book credibility’ damaged. I had several speaking engagements lined up and hoped to promote the book from a marketing perspective but have not been able to do so. It is embarrassing and frustrating. Now I wonder if I’ll receive legal notices from the other ‘celebrity’ authors once (IF) the book is ever printed and shipped. I had heard warnings about this organization requiring a lot of follow-up and calmly expressed my concerns to them last year after several things did fall through the cracks. They assured me they were on top of it. I really wanted to believe they were going to meet their commitments as seamlessly as they charged my credit card. However, at this point? . . . cannot get a return call or email for 1 week.

    • Please call me this is Jeanne Baach with Insight Publishing. 800.987.7771 ext. 22 I am happy to help you and give you an update on the project.

      Thank you, Jeanne Baach

      • Pending Author of "Mastering the Art of Success" says:

        The update I just received from you Jeanne is that there is no print or ship date for this book. I’ve receive the “We’ll let you know” response for months now. This is not new information and is not helpful in terms of when this project will complete.

  13. Lana Barnes says:

    I too have not had a wonderful experience with them. I have been waiting 4 years for my book and the other authors and myself were assured LOL that we would have our book within 6 weeks. That was 4 months ago. I was really not concerned with them at the beginning as I know 4 other people that have done these books with them and they had no problems at all.
    Mine however has been the trip from hell. My friend just told me that she will not deal with them ever again because of the problems I have been having even though she needs to re-order some more of her books. I am very disappointed as I have paid them the money for my shipping and they are now saying that all the authors with chapters in the book have to pay their shipping before we can get outs. This is total BS.

    One very unhappy author.

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