Something to think about – Rewind – Dodgy Book Promotion sites – The only numbers that are accurate are their prices by Sally Cronin

It is a couple of years since I posted this warning about some book promotions sites that promise the earth and give you nothing but empty promises… and thanks to Barbara Spencer for the reminder. Especially as only recently another so called ‘Mega’ book promotion site contacted me with even more fictitious numbers.

Dodgy Book Promotion sites – The only numbers that are accurate are their prices.

SCAM ALERT: 5 Basic Things You Should Know About Scam

First let me say that I am fully aware that there are established book marketing websites with testimonials as to their effectiveness. Prices will range depending on campaign and Amazon is probably one of the largest of the sites to offer a number of options.

But then there are the dodgy ones who have something phishy about their numbers.

But I am talking about the chancers who send you an email or approach you on social media stating that they can put your book in front of 200,000 potential readers and sell more of your books.

This happened to me the other day when and I was invited to connect with a company offering to promote my books. Before accepting I checked their listing and went to the website on their account. There were about 10 covers on books on their front page, a small menu icon on the left hand side (do dislike that.. give me a visible list so I don’t have to play games to find out what I want.) This offered a number of different categorie, but offered no information on services offered.

In the heading it stated the same promise that they could put my books in front of 200,000 potential readers and for further information to email them directly.. In other words not giving any information about services offered or a breakdown of costs. (POV)… and getting your return email address into the bargain.

I am not planning to email to see how much those prices are because

a) I don’t want them to have my email

2) Whatever they are charging is too much.

3) The website was so poorly constructed that anything they did offer would have to be suspect.

I like to check on numbers for these people since 200,000 followers is impressive. I checked their LinkedIn and they had 136 followers there… not a good start but perhaps they had only just got started. No.. they had been on the site for over three years.

On their website were the icons to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn… guess what they all led to my accounts, not to theirs which were clearly not set up. I would need to do more sleuthing..since I was not going to find those 200,000 followers and readers they promised me that easily! They did claim however to have thousands of visitors to their site each day…but no stats were visible to back up this claim…

I clicked on one of the Book Covers and it opened in another page with the just the cover and the blurb, no author information and a buy link which took you to Amazon…

If you wanted to comment you could leave your name, email address, website information (never miss an opportunity to collect personal information) no reviews, no author details just the cover and blurb… how easy is that.

Anyway by plugging in their website address they popped up on Twitter with another 406 of the 200,000 promised potential readers…wow now up to 542. I did notice however that their last tweet was July 2015.. .perhaps I was missing something? Oh hang on a minute they had another twitter account that was current.. begun in August 2019.. with 457 followers. This indicates to me that they have been outed more than once and they have been at this for some time.

They had a couple of books in their feed that they had posted with one or two retweets. The rest were their own retweets of other authors doing their own promotion.

What concerned me when I clicked into their Twitter account was that 135 of those who follow me make up a quarter of their followers! They had been into my followers and followed more than a few to end up with 135 who followed them back. Usually something I suggest to authors who are starting out.. but not to con artists.

So I plugged in their website address into Facebook and found their account their which seemed to be current with 797 followers…okay now we are cooking 1390 followers.

I really did not know where else to look to be honest to find the remaining 198,610 promised followers.

They offer the following at a price.. I was not prepared to email them or question them online because I do not know who they really are behind their book promotion title since they are not open enough to give you a real name to deal with.

Your checklist

  1. Check out the marketing site offering their paid for services on their social media sites and verify any numbers they are promising to share you books to. If they look dodgy and you don’t want to share your details with them back away!
  2. Ask them for any authors you can contact to check how happy they are. Usually you will find that is confidential!!! Why if they have the author featured on their website! And if they won’t then go ahead and ask the question on Facebook, Twitter or any other author watering hole you frequent.
  3. Ask them how they come up with the numbers which they should be able to do. For example mine are visible on every site that I have a presence and they can be substantiated.
  4. Be very clear about what they are offering with regard to promoting your book – where, how frequently, for how long?
  5. If you decide to do a promotion even with one of the established marketing programmes, do a trial run and see how it goes.
  6. Before you go ahead with a paid promotion, look around for where you can get your book visibility to an established audience for FREE.
  7. If you do go ahead with a trial run, then monitor your sales activity for the following week before committing to any more.

But I hope this post will make you question any firm that is not recommended to you as producing sales for your book at a reasonable cost. And check out their promised numbers before committing your hard earned cash.

Update:  I put a note on Twitter saying that I was looking into a book promotion site offering 200,000 followers and by Thursday morning they had disappeared there and on Facebook.. They still have a website and are on LinkedIn… I took screenshots and I will be following those up and seeing if I can discover who the real person is behind this scam

But be aware there are more out there and they are after your data and your links to others.

Thanks for dropping in and take care out there.. Sally.

 

54 thoughts on “Something to think about – Rewind – Dodgy Book Promotion sites – The only numbers that are accurate are their prices by Sally Cronin

  1. Such comprehensive advice, Sally – thank you so much for all your effort in this. I’m very resistant to those things, and always ignore and delete all those spammy approaches for book marketing. Toni x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is sooo important, Sally. They wanted to be my friend, too, but I’m old and increasingly cynical and very, very suspicous of anyone I’ve never come across before. I’m also increasingly aware of ‘likes’ to my comments from people who I’m certain have something to sell other than books. The other plague is authors who’ve done really poorly themselves but who now market themselves as experts in book writing and promotion. When you’ve poured your soul into a book, it’s easy to succumb to the promise of an audience for it. Grrrr!

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. That was interesting. I’ve gotten this sort of request before but never taken it as far as you. I get them occasionally on Goodreads, asking me to follow them, which I don’t unless I investigate. I like how your mind works, Sally!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is so valuable, Sally. I never respond to unsolicited emails, and would advise others not to, either. I also block them, but they often change their details, so return.
    I received an email from somebody, some time ago, telling me either I’d been short-listed for an award, or actually won it, I can’t quite remember. An award I’d not entered for?
    I also get bombarded with offers to review my books. Often different names, with exactly the same wording.
    There’s so much scam going on at the moment, both online and by phone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good move Viv but despite blocking them and refusing them it still feels like they are intruding not only in our space but in our trust in others. It forces us in to assuming that all are untrustworthy and that is not necessarily true. As some have said.. the larger the organisation such as Amazon, Bookbub or Goodreads the more likely you are to be okay…hugsx

      Like

  6. When this has happened to me from some dodgy company making exaggerated claims, there usually is a mountain of complaints from others simply by Googling them.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks, Sally. I have become very suspicious of anybody who offers to promote your stuff uninvited because the reputable sites don’t usually chase authors but rather the opposite. Thanks for the warning!

    Liked by 1 person

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