Dancin’ with the Flim-Flam Man…
No, that is not the title of a book. It is the name of a 1967 movie. A flim-flam is a swindle or con artist trick. It is designed to cheat people out of $$$. Those kinds of swindles are landing in my mailbox with regularity. I opened an email today from a man I suspect is a catfisher. An ebook catfisher is an indie author who hires workers to write his ehow non-fiction books on food or alcohol addiction, or ehow to learn a language in five days or less. The author will tout he has upwards of 50-100 books in print and ALL ARE BEST SELLERS. See this in the Washington Post: How an Industry of ‘Amazon entrepreneurs’ pulled off the Internet’s craftiest catfishing scheme.
These folks bait indie authors with a few articles cribbed from reliable sites and industry gurus…and next tell you they are earning above $5000 dollars every single month on three or four books… And by golly, if you will fork over $299 to attend a virtual conference or buy the video, they will name the books, name the aliases they use on the books and show you how to earn big bucks as an indie author. Before you fork over $$$, ask this: Why the heck do I have to PAY money to learn the title of a best selling book? And the author’s alias? Just so you, know, Amazon skins those catfish schemes. An author is allowed up to three aliases. That is it. Most of the schemes are about hiring a non- native English speaking ghostwriter for pennies on the dollar.
Happens in fiction, too. I accidentally bought one when downloading my first ebooks on my new Kindle. The author’s bio said between books he was climbing Mt. Everest, the highest mountains on the North American Continent in Alaska, diving for treasure in the Caribbean and hiking through a desert in Africa. The book was dreadful, full of typos and grammar non-existent. The story arc also had a character running 100 miles through a jungle in a short amount of time. Oops. I’ve lived in jungles. One can hack one’s way through with a machete, but you ain’t gonna run. I said so, and wondered how a writer could go from one end of the earth to the other in a single lifetime and still find time to write. B.O.L.O. Catfish book.
The drivel that arrives in my mailbox promises $$$ and Glory. Got one today that says if I pay $59 the promoter will put my book in front of 400,000 global readers within a year. Hey! I’m old. I might be dead in a year. I want my books in promotion in front of those readers NOW. The promoter is a 2015 startup. How the heck did the promoter acquire 400,000 subscribers in less than a year? Who are they? What countries? Do they read English? Do they own eReaders? Moreover, the promoter won’t say who he/she is. I keep asking. No name. He is also trying to snag me by offering to review Finding Home. No thank you. The book already has above 300 reviews. I’m good.
Here is another: For $1499 the promoter guarantees 700 downloads of a 99¢ book. I emailed the guy. Told him there’s no return on investment. And the author would be more than $700 in the red, if that slot was purchased. He also sells promo for FREE units. Guarantees thousands of downloads…authors who have bought the free slot say the promo does not generate reviews…and the books don’t snag a nice slot in paid after the promo. The books drop to sucking mud in China once back to paid. Something is skewed.
It is always Author Choice to buy into these schemes. Not telling you not to. I look at it this way. If a guy knocks on my front door and promises me Glory if I hand over $300 cash, right then and there–I’m gonna ask the fool nicely to stand out by my rural mailbox so I can practice shooting my snake gun. I’ve said this before: If these folks are so dang successful, why do they need my $$$ and yours?
Indie authorship is not easy. It is work and time consuming. It is often frustrating. It is an adventure. We must invest in our books. That’s a given. Editors, Cover artists, Formatters, Beta readers. It takes three times as many sales/borrows to recoup a single wasted dollar. Not to mention the angst one suffers knowing we ate Stupid for Breakfast and don’t dare admit it. My best suggestion for an indie author: Think for yourself. You had enough common sense to write a book and publish it, didn’t you? Don’t discard your good sense once you type THE END.
When I’m checking how effective a promoter, I put the books it is promoting in Kindle Nation Daily Book tracker. It is FREE. You can check a book’s sales rank for months in the past up to: Updated hourly–and at what price. Here are the stats for a title I had in a recent promotion:
Start of Promotion: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,631 Paid in Kindle Store.
Three days into Promotion: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #576 Paid in Kindle Store.
I had promo slots with: fkbt. DBT. It’sWriteNow. KBR. Choosy Bookworm. booktastik. So all of those sites performed nicely for the book. In addition I see 97 books moved in crossover sales and above 18,789 KENP pages read [borrows] during three of the 6 day promo.
I’m Jackie Weger. I’m an indie author. I am not a best-selling author day-in and day-out. But when I take time to plan a campaign, large or small, my books sell. Amazon sometimes tags one of my books as #1 Best Selling in its category. That is nice. I enjoy it while it lasts, and move on. Thank you stopping by. Comments and questions always welcome.