Friday, July 7, 2017

Another Quickie Before Departure

     (Yeah, yeah, you thought you were rid of me already. It ain’t that easy, bucko.)

     This is for any other indie writers among my Gentle Readers.

     Yesterday afternoon, I found a message on my answering machine from “Kate,” about a book I released quite a long time ago that hasn’t received much attention. The number she left was:


     I had a suspicion it was a marketing ploy, but I returned her call anyway.

     It turned out that “Kate,” who had a fairly pronounced Eastern European accent, wanted to sell me promotional services for my book, to get it “flying off the shelves,” which she assured me would be the case were I to sign up with her outfit. Inasmuch as the background noises were of the boiler-room sort, I knew it was a bilk-the-hopeful-writer scam from the first seconds of the call, so I decided to have some fun with her.

     I told her, roughly in the following order, that:

  1. The book she’d cited was “obsolete;”
  2. I’m unwilling to promote my own works;
  3. I hold “social media” in contempt and will not use them;
  4. I’m a home-bound who hovers at Death’s Door, and have no money;
  5. I write strictly for my own pleasure and don’t care whether anyone buys my stuff.

     In other words, I lied my ass off. Well, except for item #3. (NB: The Eighth Commandment does not forbid lying; it forbids “bearing false witness against thy neighbor.” That’s a rather significant narrowing of the field. It leaves room for lots of deception in the cause of entertainment.) Yet “Kate” persisted. She was certain I’d be willing to pony up for a Kirkus Indie Review -- scroll down to the bottom for the prices – once I was aware of how it could boost my sales.

     Finally I simply said “I’m not the sort of writer you’re interested in, have a nice weekend, good bye,” and hung up. I had to; I was too close to breaking out in hysterics...and I felt bad about it.

     You see, people take jobs like “Kate’s” because all the alternatives available to them are worse.

     That having been said, this is a fresh snare for the hopeful indie writer. The hook being dangled for his wallet is baited with fatuous promises of fame and fortune. Some percentage of indies will be reeled in, to their ultimate disappointment and dismay. I’d advise you not to be one of them.

     Favorable word of mouth from happy readers remains the very best promotion for a work of fiction.


Linda Fox said...

Oh, great! All I was worrying about this morning is whether my book (currently in the revision process) would be laughably bad - which it seems like, at times, or that, when I put it up on Amazon, would get maybe 10 'pity buys' from friends and family.

Now, I have to worry about scammers trying to get money out of me, too.

Francis W. Porretto said...

A simple rule will suffice, Linda: If they want your cash up front, steer clear of them. If they want a percentage of sales, tell them to talk to your agent...because even if you don't have an agent now, the merest hint that someone is willing to publish or promote your book for a piece of the action will bring the agents clustering around you like moths to a flame.

"Avoid cliches like the plague!" -- originator unknown.