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Marketing Companies - Real or Scam?

Scams are an unfortunate part of our society and undoubtedly your career as an author. There are many companies designed to help you with the writing, publishing, reviewing, marketing, and advertising of your new book. However, not all of the companies are legitimate and that can be a costly lesson to learn. This article is designed to help you discern a scam from a legitimate opportunity.

Tip #1: Trust your gut. If a company seems too good to be true or just seems fishy - it probably is. Don’t sell yourself short by doubting your judgment on a matter as important as your finances. 

Tip #2: Look into it. A legitimate company will be at least somewhat researchable. It is one thing to offer a promotion that can make your book go viral, and another thing to display statistics and data that support their claims. Additionally, be aware of HOW these companies are stating they will follow through with their promises of promoting your book. For instance, having a dedicated reader group that receives emails is much more effective than “blasting” your promotion on social media fifty times per day. Lastly, in many cases, you can research customer reviews of many companies and websites (not just their testimonials), and get honest opinions of people that have used the service in the past.

Tip #3: Watch for warning signs. I received an email from a book promotion company that was unsolicited, a new company, unreviewed, and had grammatical errors in the email. Needless to say, I did not purchase the promotion. Unsolicited emails are generally an indication of something abnormal, the successful services don’t reach out to you - you need to reach out to them. Approximately six months prior to the release of my novel, I received a phone call from a company that wanted to work with me to create a movie option for the book. With only a down-payment of $5,000 they would submit the option to their “contacts in movie production”. Again, there are clear warning signs that this is not going to yield the results I would have hoped for. 

Tip #4: Know the ins and outs. There are many companies, websites, and freelancers that will promise to promote your book. The reality is, they will do exactly what they promise - it's not an issue of fraud or deception, but simply an issue of sounding better than they really are. A method of sales talk is a strategy companies will use to get your business as a customer. For instance, "we will promote your book to one million readers!" can be accomplished with a simple social media post to a group with a million followers. This ties in with Tip #2, focus on HOW they achieve their promise, not solely WHAT they promise.

New authors are excited for the potential their book contains, and many predators will use this to their advantage. Just remember to trust your instincts, do your research, and look for warning signs before you make payment.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Joshua Soule