I received another one of “Those” emails. The ones that are long on promises and WAY short on delivery. So, to shine a light on the cockroaches that have their hands out, ready to take the unsuspecting “newbie Author’s” money, I now preach the word. The Truth. Here ye, here ye, they will produce ZERO results in the actual “sales/fans gained” departments. Let us discuss this by going over each of the “promises and services” offered by the scammer. The email (three of them posted or emailed to me from three different directions at the same time, from 3 different emails with the exact same wording…I musta made it onto some “might be a chump” list) started:
I saw your ebook. From the synopsis it looks like a high quality ebook. If you are looking for some real promotion and exposure for your book, I have a few offers for you. My book promotion packages are extremely affordable and can be customized to your book. Email me if you are interested in screenshots and samples.
Some of the ways I can help you are (ANY one of the following services you purchase will cost you 15 USD, discounts are available if you purchase more than one service at a time; also note that if you want more than what is offered here, remember that discounted upgrades are available for each and every service mentioned; SPECIAL OFFER: Buy (a), (b) (c), (d), (e) (f) and (h) for just 85 USD instead of 105 USD!):
Okay, that is a great start to their pitch. Now, lets look at what they offer and I’ll tell you how full of crap they are for even asking that YOU pay them a dime.
a) I can post 1 honest, detailed, insightful and helpful review on your book. This review will highlight all the positive aspects of your book and enlighten your future readers regarding the real essence and worth of your book. The book review is written by an avid book reader and Native English speaker so you can be assured of quality. NOTE: You’re NOT paying me for the review but for the amount of time I am investing in reading your book. The rating may range from 3-5 stars. I don’t post negative reviews. For 49 USD, I can also write an editorial review for you. For 25 USD, I can also create a video testimonial for you.
PiR8s reply: NEVER buy reviews. They are crap. And obvious. And dishonest. Swapping for reviews is troublesome enough. If there are three authors (A reviews B, B reviews C and C reviews A) then the revenge review is out and honesty typically prevails. A review CO-OP, that separates the reviewer from the author by one generation of review cycles, is probably safe as well.
But the more important thing to do, as a newly self published author, is STOP GETTING HUNG UP ON REVIEWS!!!!!
Are you going to change the book if you read a bad review? No. Are you going to do some damage by responding to a “trollish review”? YES.
Are you going to take PiR8’s advice and move along from watching and reading every review? Probably not. Hey, it’s your stress level and you can unnecessarily feed into it however you want.
How many fans and readers (not fellow authors) tell you they were 99% to the point of buying a book, but one review on Amazon stopped them? That would be NONE. Reviews are our most visible feedback, so we live and die by them. Scammers know this. They’re the easiest way to separate you from your money, but remember that fake reviews, by fake people that you paid for knowing they are fake, are more likely to be removed in an Amazon algorithm purge. They also read very “canned”, because there is no way the scammer actually reads the work…and the reader of the review can tell. One quick click on the reviewers profile and they can see they review 3, 4,5 or 6 books a day. Everyday. Quick readers, huh?
As far as an editorial review? To post in your book profile? Where else will it appear? What major magazine or blog will carry a paid for editorial review that is barely coherent?
Oh, and a video? Yes, I remember the last time I bought a book based on a review video put on youtube from someone I never even knew existed. Waste of money.
b) I can promote your book on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, etc). You get 100% targeted traffic from book readers located in English speaking countries. I can also create (and maintain) an Instagram account for your author name or book name.
PiR8s Reply: I call Bullshit. Anyplace they can place the “promo post/tweet” is only full of other fake profile “auto-posters” or authors dropping promo bombs by the thousands. The “readers/potential fans” left those groups/feeds LONG ago, under a deluge of promo bombs. 100% targeted traffic? First off…prove it. Show me the list. Show me the tracking links that show they clicked on their post/email and went to Amazon and then show me the sales report of ANY one of the authors they have scammed..I mean “Helped” ..before. In my case, prove to me they are SciFi readers and buyers. The scammers can’t and won’t. Who cares if the target is not your specific genre, or an ACTUAL reader that will purchase the work, at least you have a post out there with your book in it….that you paid for…that will never be seen…by anyone.
The scammers have NO insight into those folks or that fan channel to get to them. As far as creating an instagram account…that is 3 minutes of your life and you can link it to your social media feeds in another 2 minutes.
c) I can promote your book on 10 high quality websites EXCLUSIVELY devoted to promoting free kindle books – on Kindle free days. I can also promote your book if it is on Kindle countdown promotion (please note that it is up to each site’s owner to decide whether to list your book or not. If your book listing is approved, it will be shown ONLY during the promotion period). In addition, I can also offer you GUARANTEED free Kindle ebook downloads or book purchases (in other words, you can ask me to buy/download your ebook for as many times as you want, for a nominal fee). This in turn can boost your Amazon rankings even further!
PiR8’s Reply: Or you can do it yourself. Want their names? Just google “Free kindle days” or “Free kindle books” (Here is a link that gave me 79 sites you could submit to : Free kindle sites ) Here is another piece of advice….stop giving your work away for free. The days of the “free promo” helping an first time author build a fan base are long gone. There are now Digi-Hoarders. People that get the “free kindle” email lists and prowl the free download sites to download “free stuff”. They have tens of thousands of books on their reader that they’ll never get a chance to read. So, stop going for the easy way/quick fix to gaining fans and build it slow and right. This is an actual conversation I had with a “friend”.
Him: “So, you wrote a book? Why don’t you give me a copy and I’ll tell you if it’s any good?”
Me: “What do you do for a living?”
Him: “I paint houses.”
Me: “Cool. Why don’t you paint my house and I’ll tell you if your work is any good.”
Him: “Hey…that’s different. It takes time, labor and materials to paint a house. I have got costs. You’re paying for my expertise.”
Me: “Exactly. The book costs $2.99 on Amazon. Do you need a link?”
The message? How will anyone else value your work if YOU don’t value your work? A free promotion day to lead people to a body of your work is a great strategy…if you have a body of work. “Get book one free!” so they can read it, like it and buy books 2,3 and 4. Remember, you’re only 3 solid reads of your work away from creating a FAN that will look for your next piece because they’re now a follower of your work.
d) I can post an “author spotlight” for your book on a highly popular blog.
PiR8’s Reply: So what? Show me which one. Then let me look it over for my genre and name authors with quality work that will put me in their league. And show me a click thru rate and get me in contact with the website so I can ask about traffic in and out for my genre. Oh, and let me use tracking link to verify any sort of traffic originating from that post. One more thing…how much traffic or sales will this generate? (Psssst: The answer will be “We don’t know”, “We can’t guarantee” and “Man, you ask a lot of questions (crickets start chirping)”.
e) I can add 30 likes to your positive reviews on Goodreads. All likes come from unique accounts and multiple IPs.
PiR8’s Reply: Wow. So, I will have 30 likes from illegal fake profiles on a site. That will do what exactly? Will the thirty fake people find a way to talk to real people about the work? Since I’m the only REAL person in the conversation that is aware of my book, and I’m the only one capable of driving traffic to the book, how does paying for 30 fake “likes” help me sell the book? What about when I get exposed for “Buying likes” when those profiles are turned in as phony by some other pissed of person that paid for the cheat? ? Let me ask you this…do you want real success or imagined popularity?
f) I can add your book to 35 – 40 popular listopia lists by voting for them. All votes come from unique accounts and multiple IPs.
PiR8’s Reply: See the previous answer. And realize that the other people’s work being “added to listopia” by those fake profiles are dishonest as well. Do you need to deceive people to get them to read your work? That’s your core strength?
g) Do you have a free ebook in PDF format you want to share with the world? I can distribute your free PDF to 15 TOP QUALITY websites. These websites rank high in search engines and are considered to be authority sites for PDF sharing.
PiR8’s Reply: Google for sites. Same diff. AND STOP GIVING AWAY YOUR WORK!!
h) My BESTSELLER SO FAR: I will rate your book with as many stars you want on Goodreads, post 1 honest review, mark your book as ‘read’, become your fan and add your book to the listopia list of your choice.
PiR8’s Reply: IE: I will cement your dishonesty, through my dishonesty, with actions that will be meaningless to a real fan, but will turn people off if it gets exposed.
The scammy email ends with offers for a bunch of other “services” that I would question on the quality, but the price will be high. The take-away? There are no shortcuts. There are a MILLION people out there with their grubby paws out, ready to prey on your dreams. Things you need to pay for?
A) A decent cover (A GOOD ONE)!!(Test: Take ten popular best sellers in your genre. Hold your cover up to them. If it doesn’t kick their ass, and yours looks like you cut and pasted it together in PowerPoint, START OVER!!)
B) A Good editor (They cost money, but are worth it. YOU AND YOUR MOM will miss things.)
C) A legitimate advertising campaign with MEASURED RESULTS (Like Bookbub or even through Amazon)
Keep your head on straight and do the right things, the right way. Keep writing to build your body of work. Engage potential fans one on one. Luck is Preparation meeting opportunity. You really do make your own luck.
Ride safe. Ride Often.