where the writers are
The Irony of Generosity
Laughing with my friends

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. 

Damn! 

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.

 Thanks, gang!

Comments
13 Comment count
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Lesson Learned

Thanks for the insight this provides IF I am ever in a similar situation. I looked at your book on Amazon and read the reviews and it sounds VERY interesting. Congrats on your work, it looks as though you put your heart and soul in it and it paid off. And this blog post is really a story of Karma and if you keep putting your positive intention out there . . . the greater good for you and your book will come to you.
All the best,
Becky

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Thank you Becky

Becky, you fully understood the meaning of this blog. Karma is real and if one is to believe that to do right makes all things right, my experience with the con man made it all the more clear to me this week. Thank you for your kindness. I hope you get to read the book from your local library or from Amazon. It is something I am proud of and will attempt to do the same quality of work with the work in progress that will hopefully be out next year.

Thanks again for your lovely response.

Linda

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BendOver Services

Linda,

Thank you for sharing your experience. Is that con man from pageonelit or readerjack? I come from the music world, where skinning unsuspecting artists keeps a lot of people busy. You were way too nice with that schmuck! But, I'm happy to hear you sold books out of this. I was going to write a post about these "BendOver (if you see what I mean) Services", aka B.S. but you beat me to it.

thierry

PS: I worked on wall street for 5 years too. I learned to detect con men and how to grow thick skin there.

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Thanks, Thierry

This jerk was logo forward on Facebook. I have no idea what he even looks like. Because my book is up on my profile, he contacted me with his con and I believed I could barter with him for free services. I tell you, I'm still simple after all these years.

But Karma changed everything for me and a significant number of the people I mentioned to him have already asked me for his name in order to defriend and ignore him, and in the end, he'll totally lose out anyway.

One learns that you cannot treat people as he treated me and expect a successful outcome. And my friends? All there. I'm the lucky one.

Please write "Bend Over" to reinforce our understanding of what goes around comes around, and I'm glad you are out of Wall Street!

All best to you,

Linda

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Virtual Anger

Hi Linda,
The experience sounds like it smarts, even after taking steps to protect the 932 friends. FB is a strange thing for sure. People are finding out they can be hurt and privacy invaded in very devious ways. I wanted to cheer for you when I read the part about the strong response and support when friends heard about your troubles. Lesson learned in so many ways.
Cheers,
Christine

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It smarts no more!

Thanks for feeling my pain, Christine. It doesn't really smart any more because of the response I got from the people who count. That meant far more to me than the initial hearache of being used. I'm a lucky person in many ways. Sometimes I think that not being so savvy entitles me to be surrounded by those who know this and take the time out to care how it all turns out for me. And that's what happened.

Lucky Linda!

xx

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Wow, talk about a cautionary

Wow, talk about a cautionary tale, Linda! It's wonderful that you were so open on Facebook about what had happened--and that your friends responded with such support.

For me, the red flag was his asking for your contact list. Before I ever had to think about book promotion issues (last year, when my first book came out) I'd already learned some hard lessons as a self-promoting folk musician. I learned how easy it is to innocently "give away" a mailing list. (Just try sending out an announcement about a band gig to a couple hundred people--and forget to protect their addresses by using the "blind copy"/bcc feature in the address! You learn fast :-)

Your book sounds interesting--and boy, 200 sales in a single day? That sounds awfully good to me. And I'm sure it would to my publisher! (Note: even when you are fortunate enough to find a legitimate publisher, so often promotion efforts are very much an author's responsibility, at least for midlist/small press types like so many of us.)
Good luck!

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Thanks, Blair!

A folk signer/musician and a writer....we have a LOT in common. And you are so right about protecting our rights, but I was just an optimistic idiot wh did not think ahead. Fortunately, my friends well understood me and the situation since they really know me. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I'm easy to "read."

And the result? Outstanding kindness and love. I'm the lucky one. That crappy guy will reap his own brand of results which I have already let go.

Thanks, Blair!

Linda

P.S. I'll look for your work on Amazon...looking forward to reading it now that I have met you!

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I will order it

but first I'm going to tell them I'd like to read it on my Kindle (now ipad)! :-)

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I must be one of the few

I must be one of the few people in the world who doesn't yet have an e-reading device!
I was pleased and surprised, though, when I discovered my own book was available on Kindle.

So do you have both Kindle and ipad, Becky? What do you prefer?

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Kindle/iPad

I was gifted with a Kindle my last birthday and then an iPad this past one.

I handed my Kindle back to the giver and I have the Kindle application on my iPad which is what I still download to and read from. The visual quality and sense that you are truly reading a book on the iPad I find well advanced over the Kindle. The graphics are excellent. The font is that of a book, pages are numbered and what might seem trivial but was a big thing for me: I can see the actual book cover in color. It is also backlit so that I can read it in the dark. All of these things were lacking in my Kindle.

It's so difficult giving up the tactile experience of a book but the concept of carrying thousands with me while traveling and they weigh the same as one is a huge benefit.

All in all, the iPad experience feels much more like a book than the Kindle did. Also on the ipad there are free applications for lots of classics, children's books, etc. I believe it is the wave of the future for text books and there are many "note taking" apps out there.

I'll stop now. The answer is: iPad. Hands down. But still love the Kindle application used through iPad.

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Kindle

Becky, Wish my book was on Kindle now, but it's been a long journey to get it there. It's only available on trade paperback now for $14.95. We decided on that mode since a newbie fiction writer would be best sold in that format. But if I get the kindle soon, I'll let you know.

Thanks, Friend!