Just published? Shark-infested waters lie ahead


I’m new at this. Maybe I’m too sensitive, maybe I’ve been reading the self-publishing blogs too long, but it bothers me that I’m being circled by sharks before the ink is dry on my copyright notice (which led to a flurry of emails from a company offering to ‘publish me’) and the fifth and sixth ‘friend request’ on Goodreads come from 1) an ad agency wanting to ‘talk books’ pretending to be an actual person, and 2) someone offering me a long list of paid review services (for the uninitiated reader, paid reviews are unethical. Period).

I believe people who have used paid commercial reviewers (Kirkus, if I recall correctly, offers such a service to indies: we’ll review your book for $495, but won’t guarantee we’ll print it or that it will be positive) have been unhappy with the results: expensive, and not resulting in sales. If you have any interest in those kinds of reviews, read a bunch of them and compare to the book/book sample – see if you agree with the reviewers – before you cough up cash.

Other places advertise books – BookBub is one – and claim great results for additional readers AND reviews. Supposedly they’re worth the money – but they don’t solicit the writer; the writer goes to them.

Readers and reviews have to be EARNED – it is a frustrating and time-consuming proposition.

Here you thought writing a book was hard!

12 thoughts on “Just published? Shark-infested waters lie ahead

  1. Janna G. Noelle

    I don’t doubt it. My default response whenever people try to sell you on the surefireness of their products and methods is usually, “If it’s so great, how come I’ve never heard of you or any of your clients?” That and, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. polsygol

    It’s like when you buy a house–all of a sudden you’re on a million mailing lists! I agree that the best approach is to ignore anything sent to you–if you want or need a service, find an appropriate one yourself. The reputable and effective places don’t need to spam you.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Exactly. I feel bad for advertisers, but when they go from making you aware of their product to trying to lure you into a shady ‘deal’ that you know is wrong somehow, they cross the line.

      The blatant offer at Goodreads led me to report the account, and send them a copy of the solicitation – which was long and detailed. I hope they remove that person. No way was she a reader. And it is against their Terms of Service – but someone has to report these things.

      Was I tempted? Not with that one. It was so blatant I figured the execution would be just as clumsy.

      Would I be tempted by a more subtle one? I hope not – I do have some principles and a conscience. And the cynics might say: it always comes out, though I doubt ALWAYS.

      Best not to get involved with them. Hope I can do that without setting them AGAINST me.


  3. Nita Dozer Thatcher

    I am sorry you must deal with this! In the news: Amazon has cracked down on “paid reviews” and has brought charges and sued over 1000 of them. I have been waiting for a bit better health to read Pride’s Children. I have waited so long to read it and am “chomping at the bit”!


  4. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

    Sharks are the only ones who sense the blood in the water on such a minute presence.

    Maybe that’s why they survive. I remember the end of A Canticle for Leibowitz: the sharks were very hungry that season. It has always chilled me.



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