Since becoming a self-published author, I have come across a wide range of new challenges. And I don’t mean just the usual publishing and marketing challenges. I mean, what happens afterwards.
I’m not going to pretend that my published book; ‘It’s My Mistake’ is a working masterpiece. I have had a few good reviews, but I’m not letting them get to my head. I’m too much of a perfectionist to believe it. I wrote the book quickly, and I know there are mistakes (no pun intended) in it.
But aside from that, since actually committing to publishing the book, I have had a string of emails through my website, private messages and tweets through twitter from people claiming to want to help you.
Yes, it’s lovely to know I’m being head-hunted (although, I know it’s got nothing to do with my writing, it’s all about them making money) and it’s nice to know there is a wealth of help out there. But I have to admit, it’s a little annoying!
For the time-being, I am not in a position to be able to pay anyone anything, I can barely get my own hair cut lately. I am not in full-time employment, I am a student. I write on the side as a hobby, for now. I am not pushing sales on my book, I am not approaching newspapers, magazines, radio stations, etc, to try to market my book, I am just a woman sat at her computer tweeting and posting blogs every now and then.
Once I finish my degree, I will be taking a year out (at least) to relax, move again (as I had to move in with my parents for a while) and take a holiday that I desperately need (I’m thinking for my 30th birthday this year). Then, and only then, can I really start thinking about making my writing career (if I can call it that) professional.
But while I’ve been just dabbing into the world of an author life, I have noticed that there is an awful lot of people / companies out there that pray on people like myself who are new to the game.
One in particular I will mention, because I want to expose them, is a ‘company’ on Twitter calling themselves ‘Booktasters Authors’ (I think they have a few names on Twitter, this is the one that contacted me though). They approached me back in November with a simple question, “Hi Penny, Do you like to get your book reviewed?” (see pictures at the end of this blog post)
Now, firstly, am I the only one that can see that that question is grammatically incorrect? Or are they asking me if I like the actual act of getting reviews?
Normally I don’t tend to reply to DM messages on Twitter, I get annoyed with the automated messages. Tweets, however, I do try to reply to. But I figured I’d see what these guys wanted. So I responded.
It turns out, this ‘company’ is offering ‘free reviews’ for your book if you sign up your book to their community. The catch is… you have to PAY to sign up.
So… you PAY for REVIEWS!
Apparently not, apparently the community of reviewers aren’t paid themselves, they are reading your book for free, unpaid, and in return are giving you an honest review.
But I was trying to make a point that I am still out of pocket, and then getting reviews in return.
Now, even if I HAD the money to fork out and get my book reviewed and help it’s sales, and that’s if I wanted to do that (as I am in the process of re-writing It’s My Mistake) I wouldn’t do it unmorally. I do not want my name tainted. I don’t want people to see my name, see my books and think ‘she buys her reviews, I don’t want anything to do with her or her books’.
I know, there is a very big possibility that if I get more reviews on Goodreads and/or Amazon, more people will want to buy and read my book. But I do not want to get there by paying a company to give me those reviews. It’s not honest.
Anyway, at first, I figured I’d just ignore the message. I wasn’t going to continue in a conversation and waste mine and their time. So I just ignored it.
Apparently they weren’t taking my silence as a no. A few days later they emailed me again. I knew right away something dodgy was going on when they wrote “We are very passioned to take…” Wait… ‘Passioned’? I’m not entirely convinced this is even a word. Microsoft Word doesn’t register it as a word, but I did find it online. But either way, what was wrong with writing ‘passionate’?
I just figured, if I didn’t reply again, they’d get the message.
Apparently not. If you see in the pictures below, they very unprofessionally sent me two emoticons. Ha!
I figured I needed to shut this down quickly before I got anymore emoticons… who knew what ones they’d send next!
So I replied, rather politely if I say so myself; “Thank you, but I don’t pay for reviews.”
Ooo… they are sneaky buggars. The next message (oh yes, they replied, persistent I’ll give them that) was sent the same day and they were trying to explain that I don’t pay for reviews, the fee is for offering the book to their community, some ‘managing process’ and guaranteeing a posted review on Amazon and Goodreads.
I just laughed when I read that. The way I see it… I pay them > they give me reviews back. Doesn’t matter how fancy you try and make it sound, what I’m getting in exchange of my money is reviews. I’m PAYING for REVIEWS.
So, not only am I out of pocket, but the readers are getting my book for free!
The thing that started to really annoy me though, was their persistence. Bearing in mind that this last message I sent them was the 3rd of December (2017) and their reply was almost instant. I ignored them and they didn’t take the hint… again.
Seven days later, I get another message. Another unprofessional one with one of those emoticons again.
I ignored it and made sure I wasn’t following them. (It turned out I was! I quickly rectified that!)
I got another message on the 13th of January. Clearly they didn’t get the hint when I not only ignored them, but I unfollowed them too.
It was at this point that I realised I wasn’t going to get rid of them politely. So I had to block them.
Now, the reason why I am writing this post is because I am not only annoyed that I was getting harassed by them, but that they are probably harassing other people too. There are a lot of new authors out there that are probably thinking that doing something like this is a good way to make a name for themselves.
DON’T! I am fed up with seeing people who are not genuine. I know it’s a harsh world out there, but do not fall prey to these people. Do not pay for reviews. You worked long and hard on that book, people should be paying YOU not the other way around.
And do not contribute to a world of con!
Here are the screenshots of the messages I received: