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From the Author's Inbox

An email I actually received, with commentary:

Dear HL Burke, (that's my name.)

You spend a fortune in publishing your book. (Not really, but nice of you to assume)

What was the amount of the last royalty check that you receive?

Disappointing right? (Again, nice assumption)

Here is the good news…. (Oh goodie)

Readers browsing online their next read will make their purchasing decisions based on several factors. (Seems more like a too vague to verify statement of fact rather than good news.)

The cover has to be attractive. The book description should be compelling. And then there are reader reviews. A book with two reviews will probably be perceived as less interesting than a book with twenty reviews. (It's a good thing almost all my books have 20+ which you'd have known if you actually looked on Amazon. I actually have one with 200+ ... but you know, research is hard)

Reviews make or break you as an author. (Not really. Reviews are mildly helpful, but other factors are far more important in author success)

Why book reviews matter? (WHY?!?!?!)

Because maintaining a steady income of new customer feedback is vital for your book to rise in the rankings. (Huh?) Meaning that if you want your book to continue to sell, you need to get real and fresh book reviews. (oh, well, when you put it that way, I am moved by your compelling proof ... still waiting on the "good news" you promised a bit back)

Customer feedback is one of the defining factors that determine if a potential reader will click the BUY NOW button or not. In fact, if your book has less (fewer) than 10 customer feedback there is a strong chance that your book will get passed over. (I'm sure you've done a ton of research on this)

People want validation before purchasing, and the best way to make that decision is on the front of the product page: reviews.

There’s nothing more painful after going through the blood, sweat, and tears of writing, publishing, and launching your book, to get very little to no sales because of your lack of customer feedback. (how about a nice paper cut with lime juice poured over it? Or reading inane marketing emails that make vague promises and talk in circles without saying anything?)

This service will generate readers like a vacuum. (so it will suck?)

Look, if you aren't willing to invest in yourself and your own book business, how could you expect others to invest in you? (now that's not at all emotionally manipulative)

That's our aspiration, and that's why we're playing with open cards right from the start. (I am pretty sure that is not a saying) Also, how could I teach you how to build your own book business, if I hadn't done it this way myself? (Oh, yeah, I forgot I was dealing with the famous, best selling author ... Mark Richardson? Maybe that's a pen name).

You see, we're being fully transparent here.

We have last 3 spots for this publicity. (Sure you do, but nice attempt at creating a sense of urgency)

Reply to this email right now to learn more.

Let’s get started.

Mark Richardson

Acquisition Executive


244 Fifth Avenue, Suite H246

New York, N.Y. 10001 (which is an address for a virtual office, not a real address because this totally isn't a company based outside of the US or anything)

The very vague services ("Publicity") makes me uncertain they are in fact trying to outright sale Amazon reviews ... but the focus on Amazon reviews makes me think they ARE ... which, you know ... is against Amazon's ToS and if they catch you buying reviews, you can get banned from publishing through them and lose your author career altogether, so that's nice...

But yeah... I get these every so often. This one is a little more annoying because I can very much see a vulnerable author who is struggling to make money on a book falling for some of the language and wishful thinking themselves out of noticing the warning signs, but please please please please please don't get hooked up with "marketing" scams or "publishing" scams. There are reputable businesses to work with, and most of them are doing enough business that they don't need to drum up new clients with random emails sent to writers they didn't even bother to google first.

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