No matter what anybody tells you, there ain’t a road map to Success…
So you read a book or an advert landed in your mailbox that tells you the ten things the most successful authors do. Honey, those authors did not do those ten items overnight. And if the successful author is a man, he ain’t ironing his own shirts, cooking his own dinner, changing diapers or caregiver to his aging parents, one of whom suffers Alzheimer’s. Often as not, he isn’t even typing his own manuscript. Nope, he has paid help–for all of it, and he didn’t make that start up $$$ writing and selling ebooks.
There is a wealth of grand hype all over our digital industry by people who will tell you all about their road to Glory–if only you will pay for the services they sell, buy their non-fiction ehow books, and attend their Webinars that end with: For more, sign up! Only $299. If they are so dang successful, how come they aren’t living in a villa in the South of France? Why do they want your money and mine?
There is an email in my inbox right now offering to sell me the names and email addresses of 20,000 Reader’s Digest subscribers.
It is NOT illegal to sell names and addresses.
The Texas Department of Safety–Driver’s License Division sells the name and address of every single person who owns a license. Most states do. However, there are stringent laws against spamming. Fines up to $17,000 per complaint. Yep. Google the laws–every country has them. When you send an email to those folks, you have to give them a way to instantly unsubscribe. You must have your real name and mailing address in the body of the email–somewhere. Not a post office box. That’s the law. Moreover, Mailchimp and Mad Mimi newsletters services are gonna ask you where those lists came from–and most will refuse to allow you to use them because those names are not organic. And the laws include fines against such services that do not monitor their client’s subscriber lists. Notice the offer to sell me that Reader’s Digest subscriber list doesn’t mention FTC spamming laws. Nope. If I’m dumb enough to buy the list, I’m the only one with a dog in that hunt. And If I use it, I’m in a world of hurt. One complaint is all it takes.
UPDATE: To learn more about the site that sent me the offer to buy those 20,000 Reader’s Digest subscriber’s name and emails, read David Gaughran‘s experience with the guy Here. It is a must read for indie authors. David is the author of Let’s Get Visible, my indie author bible.
Every contract an indie author signs with an online public relations firm that suggests in hype it can take a book to stellar heights has this disclaimer: No Guarantee in some fashion or another. Here is why: Your book may NOT be ready for prime time–but those firms will take your $$$ anyway. Or, there is nothing behind the hype–only a scam. They make their money by feeding your dream–not telling you what your book needs, i.e. editing, a decent cover, or that your book description reads like an 8th grade book report. Why do they care? they are not gonna sell it anyway.
How do you protect yourself?
Read the testimonials and check out the authors and books on Amazon and B&N. Load the book into Kindle Nation Book Tracker. It’s free. You can check the history of the book, its price, and sales stats for a year or more. FREE books in a short promotion often rise to #1 TOP FREE on Amazon. That ain’t a sale. Look at the stats once the book is back to paid. That is the tell. ebook online public relation firms DO NOT pay for promo slots for your book. The author buys those slots. I hate to tell you this, but there is no easy road to best sellerdom. It is work and it is fleeting. A book cover has to capture the essence of the tale. The book description has to be tight: Name the protagonist, the protagonist’s mission, the conflict, the landscape, the era, if it is critical to the story arc. The book description is the hook. That is what snags you a reader, or not.
Once in a while, Amazon will tag a book I have in promotion as a best seller…but that is only when the book is in promotion. Once the sales drop off…so does that cute little BestSeller icon. Nanosecond Glory. It is nice while it lasts and I move on.
It is author choice to buy any kind of promotional package. I’m not suggesting you don’t. But! Know what you are buying and what you are paying for. Educate yourself about our indie industry. Ask the right questions and get the answers in writing. Yes, I know you need reviews. In eNovel Authors at Work we don’t trade reviews. We put this gem right after The End:
Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].
Does it work? Yes, it does. eNovel members have above 400 published ebooks across all sales venues. Organic readers have now posted about 15,000 reviews on our books over the past three years or so. In three promotions over a 20 month period, organic readers have kindly posted above 550 reviews on The House on Persimmon Road.
I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. We share what we learn right here. We don’t offer gossip or rumor–only F.A.C.T. and we check those nine ways to Sunday. We beta test and vet promoters. These promoters are on our Approved List Above the Fold because more than a dozen members using the sites see a Return on Investment on every promotion: Bookbub. ENT. Booksends. fkbt. ebooksoda. Digital Book Today. Fussy Librarian, and Choosy Bookworm. We also promote with: BookZio, booktastik, eBookBooster, Reading Deals, It’s Write Now. Many Books. Book Praiser. We like the latter list because the owners are organically growing their subscriber lists, we know who they are, they answer our questions and work with us. And each sites does move books.
Please note: We have removed The Midlist from our promo lists. It was sold and is no more.
@JackieWeger, eNovel Authors at Work
Comments always Welcome.