I don't do a lot of these posts because there are other web sites and blogs for writers where they concentrate on scams and rip-offs. But when I see something I think is important to post about, I do my best to help these things from spreading.
This morning I opened a private message on Facebook. There was a friendly note that I thought was from an author telling me about her new book. I get these messages a lot and I don't mind reading them. Sometimes, if I have the time, I even check out the book. It's friendly; no harm done; all is well.
But as I read on, I saw there was something different about this message. It wasn't a personal message at all. It was a marketing company promoting some author's book through a private message on Facebook. In fact, they weren't even promoting the author's book. They were promoting their own web site and their marketing services. These services, so they claim, are supposed to make writers instant millionaires.
I'm not going to link to these people and I'm not going to name them. There are more like them out there and I'm sure there will be more popping up in the future. Now that e-books have become so popular, more writers are publishing than ever before. Sleazy companies like these know how vulnerable writers can be and they play upon their weakest points. One of which is selling books.
The private message I received began with this, I see you like to read. Anything that begins that way sends off signal right away. Then the message went on to explain the book in a few lines and tell me about the marketing services by this company that are guaranteed to sell books and make writers millionaires.
There is no such thing. Trust me, I know this because I've been in publishing for over twenty years. And when you hear someone say something like this, run in the other direction as fast as you can. These companies are only out there to scam you and take your money. If there was a magic secret to promoting a book everyone would be doing it and we'd all be millionaires.
People are paying good money to companies like this and they will never get results. In other words, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is too good to be true. And this is how I replied to this marketing company, verbatim:
This is just a suggestion. But I'm not sure these spams on private messages work. If I found out anyone was sending out private messages to other authors or readers about my books, I'd go postal on them. It's along the lines of telemarketing and it's intrusive. I really do think there are lines drawn when it comes to promoting books, and when those lines are crossed it hurts the author more than helps him or her. And I hate to see that happen to any author. You might want to rethink your aggressive approach for the sake of the authors you are promoting. It just doesn't work.
This happened at nine this morning. I'm still waiting for a reply. If they had been reputable, they would have replied. The scammers never bother.