Now nobody’s ever accused me of being naive (not since my 20s, anyway), but I swear I’ve learned a couple of things in the past week regarding marketing that not only would not occur to me to EVER do, but I wouldn’t expect others to either. And now that I’ve learned about these marketing tactics, I’m completely offended — both as a reader and a writer.
First, I got an email from someone pretending to be a novice writer and asking for advice. The subject line read “Love Your Book”. (Of course I opened it — the neurotic writer in me would allow nothing less.) The sender wrote that he’d checked out my book and thought I was very talented. He didn’t name the book, nor did he provide any details about why liked my work so much. What he did do, however, was say he’d read a wonderful and helpful book about how to market your work as a writer, and then he embedded a link to a book on amazon, one that I’m assuming he wrote, but under a different name.
The second nasty surprise came when Roslyn Holcomb told me that she’d read on Dear Author about how there’s a site that offers authors an opportunity to pay to get four and five star reviews posted on amazon.com. Yes, my friends, for a mere five bucks, you too can have several five-star reviews placed on amazon.com by someone who might or might not have read your book, therefore garnering reader attention and pushing your book ahead in the queue, so to speak.
Huh? Seriously? That’s all I could say to Ros before my brain got over the shock and started running on all cylinders again. And when I went to the Dear Author site and read that one author who had partaken of the service complained that “this kind of fake review is harmful rather than helpful,” I confess wished she or he had been talking about the service itself rather than the bad results they’d gotten after they’d paid their money.
The very idea of doing this is anathema to me and judging from her reaction, to Ros as well. But perhaps we’re just squeamish. There’s no question that both of the tactics detailed above are ways of gaming the system, but are they okay? Is it a big deal?
Discuss, discuss. I’m off to ponder my squeamishness over a pepper and egg sandwich now that Lent is nearing an end.