Congrats! Your book is finally published! And, within hours or perhaps even minutes of it appearing online, you receive an email from somebody wanting you to pay them to promote your book. You get another one from a fee-based book reviewer. And, another one from someone who wants you to pay them to publish your book all over again. And, another from a woman who claims to want to make your book into a movie. And, another from a guy who claims to be a traditional publisher but who really isn’t. Oh, and let’s not forget about the foreign retailer who wants to buy 1,000 copies of your book on acount, but he needs them yesterday!
How are these folks getting your email address, your website contact form link, your Facebook account, and more? Your first instinct may be to lash out at your publisher, accusing them of selling your contact information. But, not so fast! While some unscrupulous POD publishers do sell their authors’ information, many do not.
Scammers and spammers don’t need to pay for your contact info. They can very easily find you online, with just a few clicks, and often within just a minute or two. They can sort books on Amazon and other sites by publication date. Your publisher’s website may announce new releases. You and/or your publisher may have posted updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and a dozen or more other social media sites. Your contact information is all over the Internet. You’re an easy target!
HERE’S ONE WAY THEY QUICKLY HARVEST YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION:
Many of these scammers and spammers know exactly which large POD publishers to search for on Amazon to find unwary new authors who may fall for their money-wasting pitches. I went to Amazon, used their advanced search option to search for one large POD publisher’s books, sorted them by date, found one published today, Googled the author’s name and book title, and found her website, email address, Facebook account, Twitter account, LinkedIn account, her book page on her publisher’s website, and her contact information in a specific business directory, all in 50 seconds. If I was a scammer/spammer, I’d be able to contact her six different ways in just another couple of minutes. Good scammers pull this information from the Internet, feed it into a database, and not only use it to pitch their services over and over again, but sell the information to others as well. Some are running more than one scam at a time so you may not know it’s the same person contacting you over a period of weeks or months.
Unfortunately, if you are pitching your book online, scammer/spammers will find you. That is inevitable. You can’t hide online and promote your book simultaneously. What you can do is be wary of these types of scams/spams, and filter them into your junk mail folder. If they contact you through your social media accounts, report them to each site as spammers.
There are numerous scams and spams targeting authors. Here are just a few examples:
1. FEE-BASED BOOK PROMOTION!
From worthless press releases, to cheap bumper stickers for your friends, to outright illegal spam services (“targeted email marketing”), there is no shortage of firms wanting you to pay them more money for worthless promotional services than you’re ever likely to recoup in resulting book sales.
Do yourself a favor and learn how to promote your own book online, without ever leaving your laptop, easily and for free. (Note: This book is given to all BookLocker authors as part of each publishing package.)
Remember, if a so-called “marketing firm” must resort to sending illegal spam to promote their own services, they SUCK at what they do! Do NOT hire spammers!
2. PAY ME TO REVIEW YOUR BOOK!
Repeat After Me. Do-Not-Pay-for-Book-Reviews!!! Click HERE to see why!
3. PAY ME TO PUBLISH YOUR BOOK ALL OVER AGAIN – FOR FREE!! (Wink, wink!!)
That’s not what they say but that’s what they’re offering. They claim they’ll publish a better edition of your book, with a more attractive cover, and “better editing services,” etc. They convince you to terminate your current publishing contract first. Then, they send you their contract, which they hope and pray you won’t read (most authors don’t!). Only then do they hit you with ENORMOUS fees that they didn’t tell you about up front. And, you’re stuck because you’ve already lost your previous publishing contract. You’re back to where you were in the beginning, with no book on the market, but you must now pay to get it published…all over again. Don’t fall for this increasingly common scam!
4. YOUR BOOK AS A MOVIE!
Some POD publishers are charging ridiculously high fees for this (almost always worthless) service. They woo authors with dreams of celebrity fame and fortune. Other firms target an author after his or her book is on the market, but use the same sales techniques. They know your book will likely never be made into a movie but that won’t stop them from trying to hoodwink you into paying thousands to convert your manuscript into a screenplay. They’ll likely tell you that format is necessary for them to approach movie producers. B.S. If a producer really likes a manuscript, they’ll pay a professional screenwriter to write the screenplay.
5. WE WANT TO BUY THE RIGHTS TO YOUR BOOK! AND, WE CAN GET IT IN STORES! (More winks!!)
There are a few POD publishers doing business in this crooked fashion. They make you think they’re a traditional publisher but, similar to the #3 scam above, they hope you won’t read the contract. Later, you find out that, not only are their services not free, but that they’ll do nothing you’d normally expect from a traditional publisher. They won’t pay someone to edit the book (you’ll have to pay THEM to do it), they won’t hire a cover designer on your behalf (you’ll have to pay THEM to do it), they certainly won’t do anything to promote your book (unless you pay THEM to do it), etc., etc. Of course, if you want stores to stock your book, you’re going to have to pay THEM to attempt to make that happen. Their contract (which you may not have read) won’t make any guarantees about retail placements. And, somewhere along the line, you gave up all rights to your book to them for several years, or forever. Later, when you read the fine print of the contract, you’ll realize you’ve simply signed on with another POD publisher who scammed you into thinking they were something that they were not.
6. WE WANT TO PLACE AN ORDER FOR 1,000 COPIES OF YOUR BOOK…AND PLEASE SHIP THEM TO THIS FOREIGN COUNTRY ASAP FOR AN EVENT WE’RE HOSTING!
This is a classic, and can involve many different products, not just books. The scammer sends you a purchase order, wanting you to invoice them Net 30, “but go ahead and ship the books.” If you do that, you’re probably never going to get paid.
If you request payment up front, they may overpay you with a check or money order, and ask you to send them a refund. After you refund the money, you find out their original check or money order has bounced. So, you’re out the refund amount you sent them, AND all the copies of your books, AND with the face value of the check you deposited from them. To add insult to injury, if you send them a refund in the form of a check, they might “wash” it, and change the amount, or they might use your account information to attempt to wire funds to themselves. If they pay by credit card, it may be a stolen card and you may not find out about that for up to three months. The money will be deducted from your account and you’ll never get the books back that you shipped.
There are dozens of other examples of scammers and spammers that chase after new, hopeful authors, preying on their vanity, their hopes and dreams, and their lack of knowledge about the industry in general. New and veteran authors should always be wary of these and other scammer/spammer pitches.
If you’re a new author, and you start to receive emails like this, please contact me. I’ll be very happy to tell you if they appear to be legitimate offers or not.
WHO’S SCAMMING GRANNY? Snakes That Prey on Elderly Authors
Possible Scam – Smart Author Avoids Possible Dangerous Situation
Authors Who Have Been Scammed by Publishers
A REVIEWER SCAM AND HOW TO AVOID IT
Is This a Bookstore Scam? Maybe.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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