I self-published my book for two reasons: 1) I felt I had a message worth sharing with the world through my novel, E-Males. 2) I wanted to make some money!!!! LOL.
Just like me, many of you are having a hard time achieving the second goal. We do everything we can to promote our work, get our message out there, but the experience can be extremely frustrating and downright depressing. And it is at these times when we are most despondent about our prospects for increasing sales, when we think we've run out of ideas, that we are very likely to turn to companies who, for the most part, just see us as prey.
You know who I'm talking about. They routinely send email to you, making all kinds of promises about the myriad of ways they have of marketing your book. They claim to have the inside track to book clubs, bookstores, libraries, etc. They will write you a press release and send it out to newspapers and magazines across the country. Oh, and don't forget, they will design a media kit for you and send it to radio and television stations in all the major markets. Oh, and don't forget this one: Groups who claim their book fair has hundreds of participants who are looking to buy books, so you'll easily make back their high registration fee. Many of these companies and individuals are people of color, so you trust them. As a result, you fail to do your homework. These people offer you the solution to sagging sales for a few hundred dollars. There's just one catch: They never deliver.
Authors, it's time to stop playing the victim. We need to out these companies! I mentioned this idea once before, but I did not want to be accused of "hateration". Therefore, I took a much subtler approach. However, today, after a conversation with a reliable source, I am done being diplomatic. The reasons these companies can continue to run their little scams is because we authors are just beginning to network with each and support each other on sites such as BAS. Yet, we need to step up our game or continued to get played.
If you have contracted with a company to promote your book who took your money and did not give you the promised results, send out an alert to everyone on this site! It doesn't make sense to just bitch and complain to close family and friends while these companies and individuals continue to run their game on even more unsuspecting people.
For example, I would like to warn you all not to use Kulturefirst. Kulturefirst is NOT associated with the Black Writers Guild of America in any way, shape, or form. I wish I had known this earlier. I paid Kulturefirst, run by Martin Johnson-Pratt, to market my book. I have not received anything but promises from him, and it's been almost a year. I now have it from a reliable source that Pratt has taken money from many other struggling authors and not provided them with any of the services listed on his website. Yet, where were these folks before I gave Kulturefirst my money? Nobody wants to be a "snitch", I guess, but this attitude is what allows people like Pratt to continue to run game. I'm glad one person had the courage to just tell the truth, no matter how harsh or negative. Now I will give up trying to work with Pratt and cut my losses.
If you have been dissatisfied with the services of a publishing company or promotion/marketing company or a bookstore or a book fair...send around a message to the members of BAS. Let's stop being so reactionary and think preventative!
I'm sure you've heard the phrase: Ignorance is bliss, but did you know what the rest of the quote says? Knowledge is power! Let's take back our power!