It Happened AGAIN! When Friends Lie to Authors About Buying Their Books…

It Happened AGAIN! When Friends Lie to Authors About Buying Their Books…

An author contacted me this week saying a friend had purchased his book, and that the sale wasn’t credited to his author account. I went through my regular checklist, and confirmed that sales were getting credited to his account correctly. In 20+ years of being in business, we have never had any book sales credited to the wrong author’s account, nor have any transactions failed to be credited to each author’s account – ever. But, I still do my checklist…just in case something has gone awry.

As my next step, which is what I always do after determining there was no database error, I asked the author for his friend’s name. He gave it. The friend was not in our customer database. In other words, nobody by that name had ever purchased anything from our website.

I told the author this, and asked him to ask his friend if he’d used his spouse’s credit card. It’s not unusual for someone to purchase a product with his or her spouse’s credit card, meaning the spouse’s name would be on the order.

No, the person had not done that, either.

I explained to the author that I could not chase a ghost – an alleged order from someone who isn’t even in our database. I needed a copy of the customer’s receipt.

The author wrote back saying that the customer never received a receipt. Yeah, I was starting to suspect what you’ve probably already figured out after reading this far.

The author then said that a friend of that friend used the first friend’s credit card to try to place an order. I had a VERY hard time swallowing that. Why would friends be swapping credit cards like that? That second person allegedly reported receiving an “order confirmation” but not an email receipt. We don’t send out one or the other. Every customer receives an instant email receipt. Of course, the customer did not provide a copy of the non-existent “order confirmation.”

As a last resort, I asked for a screenshot of the customer’s credit card charge showing our company’s name.


I sent the author the link to this article:

EMBARRASSING! When Friends and Family Lie About Buying Your Book

I haven’t heard anything since. This author was actually very civil. I have had authors believe their lying relatives and friends, and become irate with me, even when their loved ones can produce zero proof of any purchase (and certainly not a copy of the book!!).

It’s embarrassing when this happens to an author but it’s also extremely time-consuming for the author and the publisher (we exchanged 17 messages about this incident!) who are trying to find a NON-EXISTENT order. I imagine the person most embarrassed of all is the “friend” who lied about purchasing a copy of the author’s book.

I wish the world was a more honest place…


Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.

About The Author


Angela Hoy is the publisher of, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises. - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. - 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. - "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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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE

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2 Responses to "It Happened AGAIN! When Friends Lie to Authors About Buying Their Books…"

  1. Werner Meyer  July 29, 2022 at 11:32 pm

    This is definitely on the author. When I published my first book, I was so proud I sent a copy to my family and friends. Of the 10 copies I sent out, only one of them actually read it. It was on me. I sent a novel out to people who never read or liked that particular genre. I thought they’d read it becuase I wrote it. I was wrong. Lesson learned.

    • By Angela Hoy - Publisher of  July 31, 2022 at 4:57 pm

      Me, too!! I stopped sending out copies of my books to family members more than 20 years ago. None of them are freelance writers. They had no interest in my genre. 😉