Confused Authors: Too Many Services Available?
Guest Post by Irene Watson
I recently received this from an author:
I am not sure what services that I need beyond a review. I have a book signing kit and materials on their way. I have several local events set up. I am pretty sure [subsidy press] is working on a press release. They are making several internal changes within their company and I have literally had 13 different people discuss what stage I am at, what will come next and options for marketing.
Should I begin with the small package and go from there or is it best to invest in the largest package? I am most interested in having one person talk to me that will read my book and advise me from that point. I have been told so many different avenues that I should pursue, based on the special being run at that moment, that I am now thoroughly confused to be honest.
I am willing to invest what I need to, but I do not want to be taken advantage of either. Perhaps, too many options have been tossed at me and I am beginning to feel confused as to what I truly need to do next.
I’ve heard this so many times and I’m sure, you as an author, can relate to these words. There is a saying that goes “get the biggest bang for your buck” but the problem is, there are many options for that designated buck and many people want it.
If you are an author that used a subsidy press you will find that some of them will inundate you with all the promotional packages that they have to offer…and they sure do sound great. But wait, they want how much??? Did she say $2500 for a one minute video that I can get for less than a hundred dollars elsewhere? But wait again…they will distribute the video to 200,000 potential customers. Okay, so that sounds really attractive but is this distribution worth $2400? And, who are these potential customers?
Or should you get a “standard review” for $395 in about 9 weeks, or should you pay an extra $100 and get it in 5 weeks. But wait…all you get is a review. That’s it. They don’t post the review anywhere except on their own site. They do say “[Site removed] critics have written for The New York Times, Washington Post and more; others are editors at publishing houses like Random House. This is why, more than any other source, a [site removed] endorsement is a self publisher’s red hot ticket to reader and industry-wide attention!” Looking over the page where the reviews are posted gives me an indication you don’t get much except a review for your buck. And, not only that, the reviews are done by a “no name” reviewer so we can’t even check if the specific reviewer is as qualified as they say. Further checking I find there is no SEO for the page and it’s a running page of reviews. No cross referencing, no index, nothing. I’m wondering what the attraction is with this offer because I know of several subsidy presses that have contracted this site to give reviews for their authors. I think they have a good sales person that promised the moon for a lot of bucks.
Or should you pay $999 to have 12 press releases sent out to a “customized database”? Or should you pay $1999 to be promoted to 500 venues to “assist you with securing speaking engagements”? Or should you contract a publicist for a three-month period to the tune of $12,000 to $15,000, with no guarantees?
Yes, it is confusing and I can confidently say that each one will give you a good sales pitch as to why their service is so good and you should use it. But, is it really what you need? Deciding what you need is not easy especially with so many telling you what you need. I’ve never been able to understand how someone else can decide for you what you actually need.
You may find this statement from me, shall we say, “interesting,” considering I’m in the business of selling publicity packages. Yes, I am selling them but there is no way I can tell you what you need to purchase. I can certainly make suggestions and offer advice but to tell you what you need would be very highly righteous of me. I don’t know about you but that kind of stuff starts crossing the ethics line for me.
So what do you do? First of all, you need to consider what your budget is for marketing your book. If it’s only $3000 why would you blow the whole enchilada on a video that you wouldn’t have any money left to market it with? The next thing is to research what is available and ask a LOT of questions. Choose someone that has credibility and is an open book (pun intended) by being upfront with their pricing but watch out for red flags. I’m being reminded of an author that was promised all kinds of publicity only to sell 6 books. It ended up it costing him $995.00 per book. If someone promises you results run the opposite way! It ain’t gonna happen. The only thing that can be guaranteed is something physical…like a review, or posting it on sites, or featuring you on a website. Even that becomes iffy and you should always follow up. I know of a site that offers books videos for less than $100 and promises to distribute it to 100 “high-traffic video channels” yet when the authors have asked for the list of links where their trailer shows up some are told it is proprietary information. Others have been told they will get a list but it never appears. Huh? To me it actually means “we didn’t distribute it anywhere.”
Yes, it’s confusing. What do you find most confusing when deciding what marketing you should do? How did you handle it? Comments please!
Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.