Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Don't Let the Service Preditors Get You

Angry Sheep is about to go on a rampage, so if you don't want to hear the baaa-shit, click away NOW!

Lately, my e-mail and twitter feeds have been inundated with all kinds of "special" offers from cover artists, e-book conversion specialists, writing coaches, you name it. For the record, I have NOT solicited any of these offers.

Now, I totally understand getting help when and where you actually need it. I've got two friend, both of them NYT best-selling self-published authors. In one case, the friend has a chronic condition which severely limits her work-time on the computer. If I gave the laundry list of all the shit that's happened to the other friend, you'd be wondering why she hasn't stuck a barrel in her mouth and pulled the trigger. In both cases, it makes sense to hire out some of the tasks like covers and conversions.

But in both cases, my friends researched (or had their husbands or assistants research) the best available folks at a reasonable price.

For some of these spam ads (and yes, they are spam since they didn't bother to do their research), Angry Sheep is pawing the turf and is about to charge.
I keep getting e-mails from a company called Jenkins Group, Inc.  Their conversion services start at $475. Seriously? Nearly five hundred dollars for a few seconds of work?

Guess what? That does not include formatting for the conversion process to run smoothly.

Also, why send this to someone who's already formatted and uploaded her books?

 After a year and a half, it takes me about a half hour to convert and upload my books to two retailers and one distributor. And that's because--

1) I learned to format as I write to make the process faster.

2) I double-check the book by downloading a copy from the retailer. Something I'll bet Jenkins Group does not do.

Another e-mail I constantly get offers to send my book's title and description to "Showcase your title for nearly 35,000 librarians and 3,200 independent bookstores AND TO OVER 1,000 BOOK REVIEWERS IN THE USA AND CANADA in our monthly Review Direct newsletter" starting at $349 per month.

Oh, wait, Review Direct is owned by Jenkins Group, Inc.

Then I get e-mails touting the Independent Publisher Book Awards ("Ippy"). The entry fee starts at $75. Just one little problem. Guess who owns and controls the Ippy?
While looking through the JGI websites, I started laughing when I read a statement by CEO Jerrold R. Jenkins:

“First, it is important to set a good foundation for your book. Second, you must design the book to be as attractive as possible. Third, we cannot ignore the necessity of using social media. Fourth, don’t overlook specialty markets. Fifth and most importantly, authors must try to create word of mouth. That is one of the best ways to help a book sell.”
If it sounds familiar, it's nothing that folks like Kris Rusch, J.A. Konrath, Bob Mayer and Dean Wesley Smith haven't been saying all along.

And their advice is free.

Angry Sheep signing out.

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