Self-publishing: Warning – There Are Sharks In The Water

General warning: as soon as you decide to self-publish, a certain section of the population decides that you are a cow to be milked. Some will be blatant about it by sending you emails soliciting your business. Usually, it’s to buy into some form of marketing. Mostly, you’ll be marketed at in more subtle ways, where people tug at you with statements like “I went from selling xxx to selling yyyyy using this method/site!”

Especially the latter is very hard to evaluate objectively, because writers get told to treat their writing as a business, and you should therefore invest in that business, right?

Wrong!

Yes, you should invest in your business, but you should invest smartly in that business. You will not make your book sell better by randomly throwing handfuls of money at it.

In order to know how to invest smartly, you first need to know what you need and who offers the best services to give you these things.

It is perfectly OK NOT to invest terribly much while you’re learning the ropes, especially on the side of marketing.

Don’t become that author with the $2000 book trailer without a clue how and where to use that book trailer (hint: book trailers are a luxury that you can spend on when you can afford it. They don’t lead to many sales).

Don’t become that author with a $1000 book cover by a great artist who 1. has never designed a book cover before and 2. didn’t really portray genre cover conventions that help sell the book.

Don’t become the author who bought a marketing plan from a vanity-type press because the people emailed and it “sounded so good”.

If someone emails you about a service and you have to pay for it, it’s not going to be something you want.

Don’t fall in these traps. Educate yourself. Decide what YOU need and then hunt for people to provide the service. Anyone whose service is good will be very busy and won’t spend much time looking for clients.

No, it’s not easy. Yes, it sounds like work. If it sounds easy and too good to be true, then it usually isn’t. Do your homework. Sit on your wallet until you’re convinced that the service is good. Ask other people about it. Google the service. Ask the Kindleboards hivemind about it. Do. Your. Research.

Update on Book Whirl scam

Read this is you’re unfamiliar with this Book Whirl gig

I received another call today. This time, I had my wits with me, and asked the lady (whose English is quite atrocious) how the hell they got my phone number. She started sprouting some bullshit about Whois and that my phone number is listed there. Did I google my domain, the Book Whirl lady asked, and I’m sorry but I don’t spend all day googling myself, so after having told her firmly (without invocation of the f-word) that I did not appreciate this stuff, all the while interrupting her sales spiel, and getting off the phone, I looked up my domain at Whois.

Of course there is no phone number listed there. I would have been really surprised if there was. There isn’t even a country of residence listed there. Not even a domain owner listed there, although the domain name is the same as my name, so that kinda gives it away.

My theory stands: one of their employees used to work for Amazon and scammed the Amazon KDP author database.

The Book Whirl lady was further trying to sell me their author plans, and assured me they signed some “successful” authors. I’d love to know who signs for this kind of pushy tactic. Poor suckers who are clueless and unconnected to places where they can get info for free. Wonder how much they charge.

Really, people, I’m astonished that with the internet, with info at your fingertips, so many people still fall for scams like these, and that so  many people believe and follow the claptrap brought out by so called “marketing” setups that just take your money and do what you could do yourself for a hefty price. Not only that, because you care a lot more about your stuff than they are ever going to, you’re likely to do it much better.

Update on Book Whirl scam was originally published on Must Use Bigger Elephants