Just when I think I have it all figured out and I'm either licking my wounds because of the hurt I received, or I find that in return, a wave of goodness passes through me. That’s what happened to me this week.
About two weeks ago, I met a promoter of people’s novels on Facebook. He assured that he was looking for only the best emerging novelists to promote at this point. His slogan reads: “Over one million books were published last year, many a result of the explosion of print-on-demand (POD) and electronic books (ebooks). This is great news for readers who can find the gems buried in the mountain of self-published books. Unfortunately, most self-published books are expensive and many are supremely disappointing.”
And that had been my own experience. If one doesn’t have an agent and a resolute publishing company, anxious to help you sell well, you must resort to your own aptitude to market and sell. Unfortunately, most writers I know are not salespeople. They write beautifully and can even put together a brilliant press release, but talking to those who could sell the books directly is not a talent that most of us possess. Such is my problem. I am shy. I love to talk to friends, but strangers concern me. I give book talks, but I’m only relaxed when I’m one on one with people, or signing the books bought at the end. So as an author with books to sell, I am always looking for people or ways to market my work far better than me.
Such was the case two weeks ago when a marketer with a startup indie business claimed to be able to sell well written books in a broad based way. And he'd be willing to market mine, if I sent the names of my writer friends. Sounded good to me! So I spent hours gathering the names of my writer friends from Facebook and other sources—all totaled 962 men and women—and send the names to him.
Needless to say, I sent my own book to him via snail mail and expected the same response I’ve gotten from others I know who read the book. People really love it and some have said it was hard to put down. And what did Mr. Indie Promoter say? The story had its definition, but he didn’t like its style. And what did that mean? You tell me. The bottom line is he wouldn’t promote it. So it came down to dollars and cents in the end, and perhaps more. The book does have an ethnic twist and I wondered how that affected his choice. He also had the names of my contacts--and I had nothing--not even the cost of snail mail to send the book his way.
How would this affect you? I’ll tell you how what it did to me. I got angry, vengeful and ready to retaliate. But wait! That’s not my style; I don’t know how to respond to a common thief. If he somehow hurt a loved one in a dispicable way, I know exactly how I'd retaliate. But this was not the case. He was a common con. So that night, I went to bed in tears. After all, I had been ripped off by the creep who doesn’t even show his face on his website. And my circle of writer friends could now become the recipients of his hustle.
By next morning, before I even thought about what else was required of me that day, I wrote the following on my Facebook page:
“Well, friends, I can tell you that I'm not taking over the world in the business of writing, but I helped a stupid schmuck of a man to bolster his book marketing business by sending him the names of 962 FB friends who are writers to consider his marketing skills. What I didn't know was since I bartered with him for my book to be promoted in exchange for all of those with whom he could connect. I got nothing in return by a cold comment about the book needing a good edit.
”Funny thing is the book sells well as you know and no one complains about its edit. The thing was that I didn't pay him for his "efforts" and he essentially stole the names from me.
”So am a I smart, edgy promoter? NO. I am not. But those of you who know me, already know that. I am, however, honorable, and kept my end of the bargain. So I hope those of my Facebook friends who decide to work with him and spend good money, gain substantially from the experience. So if you are considering his pitch, think twice. I do care about you.”
And that very same day, this is what happened: Over two hundred books were sold from my website and Amazon.com. And every day since then, more people are buying and sending me notes of grace, thanking me for telling them who and what to avoid. They know that I orginally thought I was helping them, but when I found out that his scam might hurt them, they heard the truth straight from me.
I know there are dispicable people out in the world, but fortunately my experience has been to move through life with the best of best.