My Twitter account has been busy lately. Not on my part; I only set up this account when the previous one was blocked by the BBC (true, long story…) Anyway, the amount of people/organisations/etc that have begun to follow me over the past few weeks took a bit of a jump. And then I noticed something interesting… For one, if I began to follow them in return they would message me directly offering their wares and/or services. If I didn’t follow them within a day or two of them following me, then they would unfollow me. Without the ‘follow’ they can’t message me. If you follow what I’m saying.
It turned out that these people/organisations/etc were all in the business of ‘helping’ independent publishers promote themselves and their ebooks. All good? No, of course not. They want paid. For example, they were offering (and there’s a lot of them out there), in return for cash – and the average quote was $10 – a promise to tweet details of my ebook to their 30k followers. Once. If I wanted a tweet per day for a week it was $50, and $250 for a month. That’s one tweet of 140 characters for $10. How can I possibly refuse? I did because it’s a shitty scam. Give a little, get a little…
But maybe not as bad as those offering reviews for sale (I’ll get to the whole reviews thing at some point). $200 gets five ‘bona fide’ Amazon reviews with at least an average three-and-a-half star rating. If I was stupid enough to pay $200 for five reviews I’d insist on five stars. And plenty of superlatives. Like the pay-per-tweet guys, sites offering pay-per-review appear to be thick on the ground too.
Maybe a move away from the ‘vanity publishing’ services that were plenty in number a few years ago before the rise of proper independent publishing? They promised to print thousands of copies of your book in return for thousands of your pounds (or dollars or whatever hard cash you had). But what they have in common with tweet/review sites is their smell: if it smells like a scam, it most likely is a scam. And like I’ve said before – there’s no quick way to independent publishing success. There are no true overnight rags-to-riches stories and anyone offering a quick fix is only in it for the money. For themselves, obviously.