Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

© 2006-2018 All rights reserved

My Photo
Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, November 04, 2011


Warning: Today's post will be boring to anyone not a writer. And possibly boring to those who are writers. And to anyone who hates the overuse of parentheses.

Today's e-mail coughed up the following ad from a, er, book service that wants to help me Buzz my book. See?

First thing I noticed is that the email wasn't from an actual person—only the staff. Seeking names, I checked the "About Us" page of their website. No names or resumés—only a mention that the "marketing staff consists of two marketing professionals/book lovers, and one professional book reviewer." But they're "excited about what we do" and they enjoy books and "helping authors."

They apparently love exclamation points because they used three of them twice in the e-mail and several times on their website.

So I'm not impressed so far. But what really burns my bacon is the book they want to promote is one that I vanity-PODed back in 2005. (2005!!!) Since then, I vanity-published another book in 2007 and had two more published with a small press in 2010 and 2011. Where There's A Will is old news.

Nevertheless, I was curious about what the nameless "marketing professionals/book lovers" and the "book reviewer" would provide for $99. Hmmm. First thing I spotted was the over-use of exclamation points again: "We focus on Postings, Press, & Reviewers!!!"

Seems like if I cough up $99, they'll put my info about my book on a bunch of online sites (where anyone can put up info about their books themselves—for free), send out press releases (online, of course) through "three different PR portals" (again, authors can do this themselves), and post my book to "online sites," such as this one.

I decided to give that online site (where anyone can list a book for free) a try and see if I could find info about some popular books there: Maybe The Help, Unbroken, and The Book Thief. Searching for The Help yielded three titles that had nothing to do with Kathryn Stockett's book. Only one had any info about the book's contents—and it had no info as to where to actually get the book. There were no results for either Unbroken or The Book Thief. My visit to this site clued me that readers probably don't go there and major publishers don't bother with it. 

But back to the, er, book service site. Another thing they promised for the $99 is to "send information about your book to up to 50 book reviewers (depending on the topic of your book) at major newspapers/magazines." Big red flag flapping here: Book reviewers at "newspapers/magazines" don't—or at least so rarely that it's big news when they do—review self-published or vanity-published books. And they don't review books six years after they're published.

The, er,  book service also promises to register author's websites with search engines (people can do that themselves) and to send info (and what would that be?) "about your book to 100 bookstores and book clubs that might be interested in your book." Even bigger red flag flapping here: Bookstores aren't interested in POD books because those books are not returnable and they don't have a distributor. And how would the, er,  book serviceknow if a book club might be interested or not. Are there lots of book clubs devoted to reading obscure books by unknown authors? Somehow, I don't think so.

The home page of this er, book service, has pictures of books they're promoting. Most of the books seemed to be from self-publishing services (such as CreateSpace) or vanity companies, including some that are on the Writer Beware list of publishers to avoid.

Speaking of avoiding, if you're an author, you really want to avoid spending $99 (or more) to get involved with a company like this.

Back to my book they want to buzz: Where There's A Will was buzzed locally in 2005 when it first came out and for about a year thereafter: See here (for the book's debut), here (for a story in the Roanoke Times Neighbors' section),  here (for a story about an appearance I did) and here (for its listing on the publisher's website).

Now, if you'd like to buy the book, it's available on here and B& here.

Talent, teamwork, everyday miracles, and dreams that do indeed come true—from the 1770s through the 1950s and beyond, the young protagonists in WHERE THERE'S A WILL learn important lessions in life.
With accompanying study guides based on the 6th Grade Virginia Standards of Learning by Kay McGrath and an additional study guide for one story based on the 3rd grade Virginia Standards of Learning by Charlotte Webb.

Edited to add this post by Lynn Price of Behler Publishing: Clearing the air about promotion—POD vs Mainstream, which gives a good explanation of the short-comings of POD.


OpenID Leona said...

I completely agree that this is a company to avoid. I will correct you on one small detail: POD does not determine whether a book is returnable. The publisher makes that decision, not the printer. Self-published novels are generally not returnable, because the authors cannot afford to get hit with returns and fees; POD through a reputable small press (such as Mercury Retrograde Press, my publisher) are generally returnable. Getting off the soapbox now... thanks for a good post! :)

8:15 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

I was going by what a couple of bookstores told me. My last book is POD and non-returnable; the previous book, from the same press, was a press run and returnable.

8:18 PM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

Good post pointing out this item to beware. You're great at figuring these things out!

1:32 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home