I will avoid naming names, but if you are an author – you already know them. You sign up, as compelled to by dozens of blogs and guides you have read. First rule of conduct? Don’t advertise your book! I’m sorry, wasn’t that the whole point of being here? Second rule of conduct? Don’t talk about your book or say anything that would incite others to do so. So, why am I here again? Oh, right. To pay for advertising so YOU can do these things for me – Aha! I get it now.
What does this advertising get me, I wondered. I check the homepage to find nothing about the latest books or authors. I see a couple of ads for unrelated products, but not much else. Checking the ‘advertise with us’ page, I note a menu of services with prices attached. Posted on their Facebook page, one price. Twitter, separate but equal price. Together? Save a buck. Both of these pages are nothing but one long advertisement. No interaction with people, nothing that isn’t supplying money in some way. Why would anybody subscribe to a never-ending commercial I wondered, despite the large numbers of followers for each.
Another service offered is the inclusion to an email newsletter that is sent out periodically. So, clearly I’m vain enough to pay to see my own book blurb emailed back to me because it’s not like anyone else is reading it – there’s nothing inside that isn’t already on the social media page. Is there a single author out there that doesn’t just scroll though these newsletters solely on the lookout for their own products? This is not a what’s hot list, it’s a who’s-paid-us list.
Like many among you, I’ve tried this route, to zero success. Their answer to this, of course, is to advertise with them longer. Say, long enough to pay your rent perhaps? That would be nice of me, but I need to pay my own – thanks. These sites pray on the authors need to break the surface of daily releases. Promising much, delivering little, and ultimately blaming you for simply not “sticking with it” longer. How about I pay you a percentage of the success you bring me? No? What a surprise.
Throwing up a canned post on social media is not advertising…
In any business, the advertising department is required to do just that. Guess what happens when they fail at that single job? Why would you, as an advertiser, expect any less? Throwing up a canned post on social media is not advertising, it’s lazy. Quoting subscriber and follower numbers is meaningless, you haven’t engaged anybody and that was your job – anybody can copy and paste.
While there are sites that do provide good (paid) advertising, take a good look at what you are getting first. Read their copy; Would you look at what they are selling, or would it just pass by without a second glance? Examine reviews that are posted on other sites, not the ‘testimonials’ that are included on the sales page. Don’t buy into scams and walk away from sites that shovel them. Your product is what drives their traffic, traffic that they make money on – not you. If they’re going to exploit you, they can damn well pay for their own advertising to do so.