Phony-Baloney Author Promotional Websites
“You’re an independent/self-published author. You’ve written your book. You went through the pains and exacting process of acquiring the talent required to bring it up to standard; editors, book cover designs, typesetters, proofreaders, etc. You publish it. You didn’t do so for vanity or merely to feel a sense of accomplishment having been through what it takes to put it out there. No. You want to sell it. Ideally, you’re one of countless others who’d like to earn a full-time income from your writing. You know the odds of doing that are greater than being struck by lightning if you don’t promote it. If you’re ahead of the game, you began working on your promotion before you put your book out. Now that it is out, little did you know or had reason to consider there are tons of predatory phony-baloney websites and individuals who claim to offer “book promotional services.” Authors beware.
When I say there are a lot of them, I mean a lot, scores of sites and individuals all over the web who for a fee, will take your money to render a useless service. Not only that. I have found there are “author sites” that appear to be trustworthy who feature positive write-ups about some of these phony-baloney author promotional sites too.
What do I mean by phony-baloney author promotional sites? Here is how you can identify. Look for these markers.
They are legit in the sense that:
- The individual(s) behind them do place your book cover and link to your amazon book page, plus your website and social media links, up on their site.
- They may or often have the option for you to fill out a questionnaire they’ll later post as an author interview.
- Supposedly, they have a gazillion subscribers to their newsletter, so when they do issue a mailing, it’s an extra massive email blast, with your book featured in it!
- They have three hundred million Facebook followers, and often no less than one or two trillion twitter supporters. Instagram or Pinterest? No problem, a billion supporters at least.
With a base and social media presence like that, surely handing your hard-earned money over them will guarantee you get a substantial number of downloads or sales, right? I mean not only did you place your money in the right hands, your book is being offered at a basement bargain price of .99 cents or for free. Right. Your forgot to read the disclaimer that says paying for their promotion is no guarantee of downloads or sales.
So, how could this be anything other than what was advertised? Disclaimer? What disclaimer? You ask. Oh, that’s right. Many of them don’t have one. On Fiverr. com the book promoter whose gig you bought has five-star ratings with ringing endorsements and reviews.
The website in which you found out about XYZ Author Promotional site claims during the five days in which they made their book free using Kindle Direct Publishing, they received thousands of downloads. An unanticipated and welcome consequence was, those who downloaded their freebie, loved it so much, that they went back to the web to examine the author’s catalog. This resulted in an uptick in sales.
Consequently, you go and give your money to these promoters, they promote your book alright, but after examining your KDP reports you noted no one downloaded doodly squat from you. Your mailing list didn’t grow by a millimeter, and traffic to your website showed no increase in volume.
This is likely all your fault. You must have one of the most repulsive-looking book covers known to mankind. It must be so bad that it turns all potential readers off. Your blub, check it again, is a travesty, a clear indication that surely your book must not only suck, but suck bad, and it is not worth the digital space it’s allotted.
You refuse to accept it, but the fact is, what you’re doing now at your nine to five job is your calling. Ya? You don’t like to admit it, but if you’re a farm hand or whatever it is you strive to no longer be, IT IS your calling. You’re no writer, that’s why no literary agent or no traditional publishing house wants a manuscript of yours anywhere near their office. Yet, you insist on contaminating their computers with your .doc files.
Your prized work is an abomination that the professional book cover designers, editors, proofreaders, etc. you hired helped you create. You got your just reward. Now you ought to find a convenient rock under which you can crawl and hide.
Bollocks! Truth is you’ve fallen for some serious BS. Don’t let it happen to you again. Recognize the traps I outlined above and STAY CLEAR of them! These “promoters” are all over the web where they know people like you hang out. Even when you’re trying to have some leisurely downtime, say by watching a video on YouTube, an ad pops up and there they are ready to sell you some snake oil provided you foolish enough to buy it.
If you expect to make any gains in this game expect to bust your ass for it. Hopefully, after having spent more than your fair share of your hard-earned money on snake oil, you’re beginning to understand this. DO NOT line these “promoter’s” pockets with your money. You should ask yourself. If they know so much about books and promotions, why aren’t they doing it for themselves and reaping the rewards? Duh. Their business is to make money off of the gullible, or people like you who are simply looking for an honest bang for your buck.
I am speaking from experience. I will write a follow-up article(s) about just what I mean when I say you have to bust your arse to make any gains in this business. That said, it is what it is, a business. You ought to start thinking about it along those lines and for the time being put all of your creative and romanticized notions about being a writer temporarily aside. Git yo’ ass mentally in line, or where it should be because this is no softball game, this is major league stuff.
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