Marketing Means Don’t Be an Asshole

Over the past few weeks emails like this one have been circling around.

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Subject: Do You Want MORE Reviews For Your Newest Book?

Hello,

I saw on Goodreads that you are interested in getting more reviews for your newly published book. I am offering an inexpensive book review tour service whereby your book will be promoted to

a) 14,000+ book readers, targeted by genre
b) 2,000+ active book bloggers
c) Thousands of readers across social media
d) And much much more

If you are interested, please reply to this email for details (SERIOUS inquiries only, please).

Thanks,

Jim J.

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Now, I didn’t bite on this. It had a bit of a roadkill odor to it. The fact they admit to mining GoodReads for spamming addresses was the first warning. While they may or may not have 2000+ “active book bloggers” I suspect the 14,000+ “book readers, targeted by genre” is some other chunk of software to scour the bookshelves of GoodReads users and spam to them based on genre. Don’t know for certain, but I suspect.

“SERIOUS inquiries only” without any mention of actual pricing and no Web site listed where one could obtain further information gave off the road kill lying seven days in the sun odor.

Why am I bothering to mention any of this? Most of you get spam like this every week, if not every day. Well, they spammed someone I’ve known for many years whose small book promotional service I do use. She does a bit of active promotion and send out a magazine and has a Web site where those who use the service get their titles listed in their author page with links back to our own sites. Ironically, I had already forwarded her the email some time back and she just got it.

Be sure to read the first line of the spam again.

She doesn’t write books and she is a bit religious about nobody ever paying for a book review in any way shape or form. I guess we all have to keep her away from Kirkus. When she finds out those Holy and supposedly sought after and respected Kirkus reviews are available for $425 she just might go spastic. Industry scuttlebutt is the major publishers have been purchasing reviews in bulk there forever.

Oh, you need to see her initial response to begin to understand

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No thank you.

One:
I don’t have a newly published book.
Two:
I don’t pay for reviews.
And three:
I run a small book promotion business for authors.

Obviously you don’t research who you contact first. AND you sent this same message out to several authors. (see highlight below)

Where did you see that I was interested in getting more reviews for my newly published book? You didn’t.

I will warn my authors not to use your service.

There are plenty of readers in the world who will post a review wherever they purchased the book for free AND without asking.
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Ah, now we get to the title of this post. The response from this “service.”

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>>There are plenty of readers in the world who will post a review wherever they purchased the book for free AND without asking.

One: you are blind and hypocrite

Two: This is not a paid review service. Obviously you reply even before reading emails

Three: If authors can get plenty of free promotion like you said then what the fuck are you doing running a PAID promotional service?

Four: I am going to tell my 3,000+ readers and authors to stay away from a mean bitch like you. Bye bye, and dont bother responding coz you cant do shit to me.
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Well, maybe she can and maybe she can’t. I know I can write a post here and put some form of it on my geek blog which has north of 18K subscribers being copies on every post.

I have used many review tour services. Typically they range in price from $1500-$5000. They send your work out for anonymous review and you are given the opportunity to yea/nay whether you wish to continue. Legitimate ones have no promise of a positive review. Then they have several (usually 20-30) blogs which will host the review, excerpt, etc. The next thing they do is either sell the review as evergreen content via Web 2.0 services or post it on EZines or some other content pit where it periodically gets scooped up by new blogs as part of their initial content. If you set up a Google Alerts for your title AND if your title is unique enough, you will see your review popping up at various places for the next 2-5 years.

Some of the more legitimate ones:

http://featheredquill.com

http://readerviews.com

http://www.virtualauthorbooktours.com

http://www.readingaddictionvbt.com

I actually allow Reading Addiction to place some content on logikalblog.com. I’ve used them myself in the past. They actually offer “review tours” where every blogger who signs up receives a (usually electronic) copy of your book, promises to read it and post a review on their own blog. They also have interview tours, blitzes and other things. They do send you a list of the blogs which promise to have your stuff up and the posting dates so you can follow up.

While a great many people dump on such things, I find them a legit method of getting the word out. There are thousands of press releases going out every day which nobody reads. Getting word about your content posted on sites where it will remain for the life of the site and _usually_ contain a link or three back to your own sites is a much better bang for the buck than any other form of advertising.