Author services sites thrive on the newly naive and eternally hopeful


The byzantine behavior of author services sites continues to intrigue and repulse.

Intrigue because of creative ways they come up with to be disingenuous; repluse because they take advantage, both emotionally and financially, of the newly naive and eternally hopeful.

These services can provide manuscript assessment, developmental editing (?) formatting, design, distribution book launch, marketing, PR, social media management – in other words they can do everything for a price except guarantee the success they insinuate or imply.

What’s disconcerting is many of these services are unnecessary and those that are necessary can be accomplished by the author at no charge except in time and patience.

I suppose when you’re chasing a dream, time and patience are not something you’re considering and that’s too bad, because that’s what these services are counting on.

I recently investigated one such service to see what they could offer by way of book distribution.

Not surprising it was less than what I have achieved through my own initiatives and with the considerable assistance of Amazon, Smashwords and Google.

For their distribution service they were asking a ninety-nine dollar membership fee and fifteen percent of royalties from sales generated from Amazon and any other sites. This for something any author can plug into free.

I can understand why these services might intrigue a new, self-published author. Why not to let someone else do the publishing and distribution while they focus on writing best sellers. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely the new author will sell enough books to recover his costs, which to me has always been like adding insult to injury.

Giveaways generate little meaningful response

While we’re on the topic – that being insult to injury, let’s revisit Goodreads site that claims 40,000 of their members enter giveaway contests everyday.

For the month of April I ran a giveaway for one paperback edition of my novels Abandoned Dreams, The Big Picture and Forest. Here’s the results

Abandoned Dreams: 422 requests, 160 added it “to read”

The Big Picture: 381 requests, 129 added it “to read”

Forest: 437 requests, 171 added it “to read”

At the time of writing this, 923 people “want to read” at least one of the six books I have on Goodreads and yet I’m still stuck at twenty-four reviews since March 2016. These people are awfully slow readers. I’m still hopeful that at least the people who won the books will review them.

I gave away forty-six e-books of Forest on LibraryThing month as well but at least it didn’t cost me anything.

New multiple query site draws a blank

Despite claiming to be “the easiest, smartest and most rewarding way for writers, agents and publishers to connect” has yet to make a connection for my books after being on their site a month now.

Inkitt’s offer so simple it’s suspicious

Inkitt in my in-box asking if I was “Interested in having your novel in the spotlight.”

The email went on to say, “We’re featuring six of your novels in upcoming editions of Inkitt’s newsletter to help promote your work and recommend some great summer reads!”

All I have to do is “Send a 200-character catchy teaser and the link to your story”.

The loglines have been sent and I’ll let you know what happens since I’ve only uploaded one of my novels to their site.

The Local Rag up next

My new novel, The Local Rag, a story about what it’s like to be the publisher and editor of a community newspaper in these changing times, of which I know a fair bit, was completed April 9 and is now resting. I plan to resurrect it mid-July for rewrites, beta readers and formatting. The plot also includes infidelity, murder and drug smuggling for good measure.

WIP East Van Saturday Night – anthology of short storys plus a novella

I’m currently doing a rewrite of Hitchhike, a 30,000 word novella and part of a book that includes an additional five short stories. The stories all have the same main character and are a chronological accounting of major life events from the age of five to nineteen. The title of this compilation is East Van Saturday Night, taken from one of the stories.

Stay Calm, Be Brave, Watch for the Signs