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Chazemataz
08-28-2011, 06:58 AM
I was sort of nervous to ask this question, as it seems like an ethical dilemma in and of itself, but...

Okay. Say I wrote a book that I've been querying for two years but can't find an agent. Fed up, I decided to become an e-publisher. I upload my novel onto Smashwords (for example) and there it sits, totally unknown in the middle of a sea of other unknown e-novels.

What's stopping me from say, buying my own e-novel fifty times to push up sales rankings and hopefully attract more attention? This seems like a good idea, even if it does sound like cheating. Does anyone do this? Is it a big taboo in the e-publishing realm?

I'm honestly asking out of curiosity. I have no current plans to e-publish but I am wondering if this would be a possibility to get your e-novel to stand out since there are so many of them.

Kathleen_
08-28-2011, 07:07 AM
Could you do it? probably. Should you? I wouldn't. I have no idea if people do it but because at least one person has thought about it, there are probably many people doing it. Is it honest? I think the fact you have to ask is telling.
To me this is akin to writing positive reviews pretending to be a reader. Not as bad, but in the same vein.

I think there are far better (and more honest and positive) ways for an author to get their ebook to stand out.

Deirdre
08-28-2011, 11:00 AM
People have been buying attention for millenia (at least), but is that really what you want? Only to have attention you've bought?

mima
08-28-2011, 07:33 PM
hi Chaze,

yes. you can do that, and it isn't unethical for an author to buy tons of copies of a book (i just bought 10 copies of my book at my last signing to do giveaways), it's just not going to work. smash's rankings are such you'd have to buy bulk on a grand scale to get any more attention than any other book. why? because people sell hundreds of copies of a single ebook title A DAY when they are successful.

if it were so easy everyone would do it. to get your book noticed is indeed the golden ticket that all self pubbed (and epubbed, which is different) authors seek. here are some ways: get people to review your book. solicit self pub friendly blogs to review your book. guest blog at authorly blogs to promote your name. join communities and be active, creating a small pool of online friends who will help pr your book. create a paid banner presence on key blogs (see the 3 book covers AW forces us to look at every time we change a page here? like that) if you want to go nuts, pay a PR company to do some of this for you. i'm not sure why i'm going on about this, AW is so huge they must have a thread on this already.

PR is a HUGEHUGEHUGE headache. and generally the rule of publishing is that the very best and very cheapest form is to keep writing. write well, write steadily, and people will find you, pass the word, so you can gather reviews. it's very cool when you find a good book on goodreads and it says 54 rankings put this book at an average of 4.5. that's reassuring in terms of purchase. it's much less assuring to find a book with 2 rankings of 5 stars. so getting some kind of mass behind you is key, and hard.

areteus
08-28-2011, 08:12 PM
And regardless of all the above.... what does it prove? Ok, you get the rating you want? But this does not mean more people are reading your book, just that an abitrary number goes up. And are you going to do this every week, spending hundreds of dollars, just to keep it there? And if you get found out, well then you lose everything and more because any future success is just going to be put down to the same thing...

Ask yourself why you write. Is it to get a ranking on Smashwords? Is it to make money? Is it to let many other people read what you have written?

CaseyMack
08-29-2011, 12:35 AM
What's stopping me from say, buying my own e-novel fifty times to push up sales rankings and hopefully attract more attention? This seems like a good idea, even if it does sound like cheating. Does anyone do this?

The question is what do you intend to do with the fifty copies?

If you intend to send them to fifty people (or organisations) who you think should be interested in the story, in the hope that may lead to orders for more, then that's a legitimate marketing practice.

Old Hack
08-29-2011, 01:02 PM
If I were you I'd put that money and time into real promotion, aimed at getting your work in front of readers.

And I'm sorry, CaseyMack, but I'm not sure that buying copies of your own book in order to give it away is "legitimate marketing practice": sending out press packs and press releases is more common. I've never known trade publishers buy copies of their own books in order to hand them out to reviewers, and I don't think most self-published writers do it either.

tirial
09-21-2011, 05:36 PM
Aside from the ethics issue, there is a practical one that I don't think anyone has mentioned. With Smashwords and many other epublishers once you have bought the book, it remains linked to your account, noted as purchased, and available to re-download. In practice you can download it many times, but you can't buy it more than once unless you create multiple accounts. Many e-book retailers prohibit that.

Wouldn't it be simpler (and cheaper) just to make it free and get legitimate readers?

ColoradoMom
09-26-2011, 05:32 AM
Oh my, I see a real need for a writers marketing class - there are far too many people on here who think the only way you're legitimate is if you don't have to employ standard marketing techniques.

Of COURSE you can buy your own book in order to try and get it ranked. Why not? Ethics? WTF are you guys talking about? This is the same thing as buying a ton of advertising space - there is no difference.

I don't think it is the best use of your money though - and if I were going to do that I'd run a contest and give them away to say the first 50 people who joined my newsletter list (I'd buy them and gift them to people) instead of just buying them myself.

In fact, I'd probably throw a follow up contest and offer a $100 amazon gift card to a random person who leaves a review of the book afterward.

You guys really need to get a little more creative if you want to sell lots of books...

Alwaysinspired
09-26-2011, 05:41 AM
Hey Chaze,

Sorry to hear you can't find an agent, if that's what you're really saying. Look, I've been there, but I got a lucky break and actually found a publisher on my own. Personally, I wouldn't do what you're contemplating doing. The key is to do more promoting of your e-Novel. I was looking at a few websites today and they seem interesting. One was BookDaily and the other one was GoggleBooks. Even though I haven't self-published, I realize I'm going to have to work really hard promoting myself if I want my eBook to reach as many people as possible. I don't just want to rely on a publisher to get the word out.

CaseyMack
10-05-2011, 03:12 AM
If I were you I'd put that money and time into real promotion, aimed at getting your work in front of readers.

And I'm sorry, CaseyMack, but I'm not sure that buying copies of your own book in order to give it away is "legitimate marketing practice"

With respect, sending out 50 books as described is akin to the common marketing practice of "loss leadering." In that sense, and in the sense that there is nothing illegal or fraudulent about it, then it is "legitimate"--strictly speaking.

Whether or not it is advisable is a different matter. I agree that other methods might be preferable.

Old Hack
10-05-2011, 09:26 AM
Sorry, Casey, I see what you were getting at now. I meant that publishers don't go out and buy their books from retail outlets in order to bump sales: they already have stock of their books because they've bought a print run, and those are the books they send out to reviewers.

James D. Macdonald
10-05-2011, 10:18 AM
The question here was about e-books.

I don't know how you'd even go about buying fifty copies, or how you'd go about sending them to folks.

With physical books, sure, you could do that. But e-books?

If I wanted to send fifty copies of my Smashwords book to folks, I'd just send them a coupon for that book.

Heck, here's a coupon for my novel, Bad Blood (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/73129), at Smashwords. Get it free, one week only: XY79H

If you like it, tell a friend.

Old Hack
10-05-2011, 11:01 AM
I've read Bad Blood and happily recommend it to you all. It's a good fast read, and fun too.

Buy it now!

ColoradoMom
10-09-2011, 05:11 AM
The question here was about e-books.

I don't know how you'd even go about buying fifty copies, or how you'd go about sending them to folks.

With physical books, sure, you could do that. But e-books?

If I wanted to send fifty copies of my Smashwords book to folks, I'd just send them a coupon for that book.

Heck, here's a coupon for my novel, Bad Blood (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/73129), at Smashwords. Get it free, one week only: XY79H

If you like it, tell a friend.


A coupon is a good way too - but don't forget the "Gift" option at Amazon. :)

Dix
10-09-2011, 09:19 AM
I've read Bad Blood and happily recommend it to you all. It's a good fast read, and fun too.

Buy it now!


I just did!

James D. Macdonald
10-09-2011, 07:44 PM
Reviews are always welcome. Good reviews, bad reviews, it's all okay. The greatest enemy of the writer is obscurity.

PortableHal
10-12-2011, 06:51 AM
Reviews are always welcome. Good reviews, bad reviews, it's all okay. The greatest enemy of the writer is obscurity.

I've bought a book off a bad review. The reviewer hated the things in the novel that I love (comedy in a tough guy mystery? Bring it on!) and it gave me a solid idea of what I was getting.

James is right. A bad review is still a review. Someone is paying attention.

James D. Macdonald
10-13-2011, 02:39 AM
"The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."
-- Oscar Wilde

Quiggs1982
10-14-2011, 05:22 AM
I wouldn't buy copies of my own book just because I look at it as cheating. I want my sales to be legitimate, not because I went on a spending spree.

areteus
10-14-2011, 04:01 PM
One thing to add to this... if we are following Yog's law (which still applies to self publishers...) then you need to be absolutely exhausting all the free options of publicity (social media, blogging etc) before even thinking about spending money in any way. And even then, I think buying 50 (or more) copies of your own book is more expensive and less effective than other methods you could employ. For example, you could spend a few dollars on printing paper leaflets and take them to a book convention or local book shop and ask if you can distribute them (always best to ask - some places don't like it). Maybe stick a discount code on the leaflets so that those who have them can get it for cheap.

James D. Macdonald
10-15-2011, 07:47 PM
The thing about Yog's Law:

Publishers can and do spend money to sell books. Authors never pay to be published.

The publisher and the author are the same physical person when you're self-publishing, but it's very important to separate the roles.

Scammers, vanity presses, and other assorted sleazoids are attempting to appropriate the language of self-publishing in order to confuse the unwary and separate the marks from their money. There's a lot of smoke in the air. You, as a self-publisher, have to be clear on what the words mean, and you have to be very clear on what you're doing and why.

areteus
10-15-2011, 07:56 PM
Good point... but one thing I would still say is that even trad publishers, with a marketing budget behind them, will still look at the free options.

izanobu
10-16-2011, 06:53 PM
There is also the little matter of you can't buy your own book on Smashwords without making another account (so you'd have to make 50 unique accounts to buy 50 copies).

Give-aways and making something free for a limited time can boost sales and give you easy publicity. Of course, it still has to be a book people want to read (I have a Kindle, there are many books free on Kindle, and yet I have only downloaded a few while I've purchased many more un-free books).

The best thing to get noticed? Work on your craft and write more books :)

Angela
10-16-2011, 09:42 PM
Darn, I missed out on the coupon for Bad Blood! :e2bummed: Maybe next time.

As for the original post, I don't think it's a good idea to buy that many copies of your own work. As someone else already mentioned, it would be better to invest that money doing promo work for your book instead.

ColoradoMom
10-18-2011, 05:51 AM
One thing to add to this... if we are following Yog's law (which still applies to self publishers...) then you need to be absolutely exhausting all the free options of publicity (social media, blogging etc) before even thinking about spending money in any way.

I don't know who Yog is, but as someone who self-publishes, sells a lot of books and pays all the bills doing it, this is dumb.

The SECRET is to use your money wisely and in ways that pay off. For example - my website costs me $100 month on a private server because it's huge and the whole $4.95 a month website deal stopped working for me a few years ago. My Constant Contact newsletter list costs me $75 a month based on the number of people I have subscribed to it

But the website easily makes me $1000+ a month and the newsletter list is like free money whenever I need some. I send an e-mail, I make a few hundred dollars within a day or two...comes in handy when the bills are due.

So forget Yog's law - it is SMART to spend money on marketing as long as you're spending it in the right way.

Old Hack
10-18-2011, 10:48 AM
I don't know who Yog is, but as someone who self-publishes, sells a lot of books and pays all the bills doing it, this is dumb.

...

So forget Yog's law - it is SMART to spend money on marketing as long as you're spending it in the right way.

No, Yog's Law is not "dumb"; it applies for writers of all kinds, no matter how they publish.

You do two things: you write your books; and you publish them. You're talking about spending money as a publisher, not as a writer.

I know it's nitpicking, but details are so important when it comes to the difference between publishing badly and publishing well, and this is one of them.

(And by the way, the "Yog" who came up with "Yog's Law" is James Macdonald, who is a member here.)

Terie
10-18-2011, 12:53 PM
So forget Yog's law - it is SMART to spend money on marketing as long as you're spending it in the right way.

Sounds like someone doesn't understand Yog's Law.

When you're self-publishing, you wear two hats: one as writer and one as publisher. To paraphrase James Macdonald (the actual Yog), when both are the same person, the publisher still needs to pay the writer, even if it's moving money from one trouser pocket to the other.

If you spend $75 to send out a newsletter, bringing in $200 of which you transfer $125 to your personal bank account, Yog's Law is in effect: the writer got paid $125.

ColoradoMom
10-18-2011, 05:27 PM
No, Yog's Law is not "dumb"; it applies for writers of all kinds, no matter how they publish.

You do two things: you write your books; and you publish them. You're talking about spending money as a publisher, not as a writer.

I know it's nitpicking, but details are so important when it comes to the difference between publishing badly and publishing well, and this is one of them.

(And by the way, the "Yog" who came up with "Yog's Law" is James Macdonald, who is a member here.)

Nope. Sorry - this is book promotion and has nothing to do with writing OR publishing.

Every time I read threads on book promotion here I feel a little sorry for you guys. Times have changed...some people just haven't caught up yet.

James D. Macdonald
10-18-2011, 06:24 PM
Book promotion is part of publishing. A big part.

Terie
10-18-2011, 06:42 PM
Nope. Sorry - this is book promotion and has nothing to do with writing OR publishing.

If that's so, why do publishers spend oodles of money on book promotion?

Every time I read threads on book promotion here I feel a little sorry for you guys. Times have changed...some people just haven't caught up yet.

And yet every time Old Hack has asked you start a thread on the techniques and strategies you've had such excellent success with, you ignore her. Why?

Al Stevens
10-18-2011, 06:49 PM
The question is what do you intend to do with the fifty copies?

If you intend to send them to fifty people (or organisations) who you think should be interested in the story, in the hope that may lead to orders for more, then that's a legitimate marketing practice.

If it's an e-book (assumed, since SW is involved), you already have the digital book (or can make one with Mobipocket Creator and Calibre). You can send those copies to reviewers, etc. You must not sell them, however if you've published through an e-publisher.)

Al Stevens
10-18-2011, 07:02 PM
If it's an e-book (assumed, since SW is involved), you already have the digital book (or can make one with Mobipocket Creator and Calibre). You can send those copies to reviewers, etc.
By the way, I've found that sending e-books to folks usually involves teaching them how to get their e-books into their e-readers. An e-mail attachment does not automatically drop into the device the way an Amazon or iTunes purchase does. Many people don't know how. I wrote a small how-to guide to send along with the e-book. It's not comprehensive, though, because I have only a Kindle and an iPad.

People run into that same wall when they download free e-books from gutenberg.org et al.

Al Stevens
10-18-2011, 07:11 PM
Back to the original question. No, it's not unethical. Nor is it necessary or even very effective. I've talked to some authors who got a bump in their ratings by making the e-book free on SmashWords and then using Amazon's price-matching feature to make it free there. Some do that to build a readership for the next book. Others do it and then raise the price later.

One such writer got umpty-ump thousand downloads when it was free and zero purchases when she raised the price. Go figure.

ColoradoMom
10-18-2011, 08:43 PM
And yet every time Old Hack has asked you start a thread on the techniques and strategies you've had such excellent success with, you ignore her. Why?

Because successful marketing is a skill Terie, a skill that I have and most don't, and a skill that is worth money. Which is why I'm launching a product next year on how to do it. Not specifically for novelists like you guys, more my niche market - but still my experience, success and advice is worth something and isn't free.

But I'll give you one giant head start forward, although most of you will just brush it off as BS, I'll give it to you anyway. You can lead a horse to water and all that...

Start Here (I found this in my e-mail today even though it is a month old now - and it is a nice easy start to seeing things differently) Read the text AND look at the slides:

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/27427/Summary-of-Sold-out-Science-of-Inbound-Marketing-Session-at-Dreamforce-2011.aspx (http://www.slideshare.net/HubSpot/the-science-of-inbound-marketing)

Then go here and read everything the gurus have to say, whether or not you THINK it applies to you or not. I'm a member of the War Room myself, have been for years - it was one of the first things I purchased when I began to make money - they have secrets in there that really do change your numbers immediately. I go check it out every few months when I have a marketing panic-attack and every time I find a new way to market:

http://www.warriorforum.com/

When I first started my internet marketing stuff three years ago I thought this was all BS too. And to be honest, I'm not a big SEO person but I do have one website is totally written from that point of view and is ranked in the top 10 for hundreds of pages - I don't really have time for that anymore and I only keep that website up (http://www.the-simple-homeschool.com/) because it points to the new moneymaker, plus for the AdSense money - which even in my low paying niche still gives me $200 a month. But it was a good way to start. So I'd suggest if you do make a website (NOT A BLOG) you start there (SEO) too. But don't waste too much time on it.

So number one if you want to sell anything online:

There is no difference between novelists and the gurus on the Warrior Forum when it comes to selling stuff and some of the people on there are stupid successful at what they do. Ignoring their techniques would be dumb. Employing them would be smart. So even though you're not peddling get rich quick schemes, their methods STILL work.

For those of you who still think the publisher will market your book and you should sit back and wait for it, spend no money, and use no tried and true techniques - I have nothing more to say except I'm heading to the mailbox to pick up my next check...Oh and I'm taking the winter off of my regular job because I don't need the money and have better things to do. ;) Right now I only keep it for the benefits ...

Terie
10-18-2011, 09:06 PM
For those of you who still think the publisher will market your book and you should sit back and wait for it, spend no money, and use no tried and true techniques - I have nothing more to say except I'm heading to the mailbox to pick up my next check.

This is a straw-man argument. No one has said that writers should never spend any money at all. You're misinterpreting Yog's Law. Expenses that result in increased income are not what Yog's Law is talking about. Yog's Law isn't, 'never spend a dime on your writing'. Yog's Law is, 'Money flows to the writer.' If your business is bringing money flowing to you, you're observing the law at work.

And sorry, but writers contracted with commercial houses are not responsible for marketing their books. Promotion, yes, to one degree or another; marketing, no.

Publishers have entire departments and sales forces to do this. Who do you think pays for the catalogues the salespeople hand out to buyers? Who do you think pays the salespeople's (and their support staff's) salaries and expenses? Who do you think pays for end-cap and promotional space in the chains? Writers don't do that; publishers do.

ETA: I didn't have to lift a finger -- or spend a single penny -- as regards marketing, and yet my books appeared in bookstores across North America...even French translations in Canada.

Al Stevens
10-18-2011, 09:21 PM
I don't know who Yog is,
http://tinyurl.com/42hreuh

Old Hack
10-18-2011, 09:46 PM
Nope. Sorry - this is book promotion and has nothing to do with writing OR publishing.

Then what does it have to do with? Please enlighten us.

Every time I read threads on book promotion here I feel a little sorry for you guys. Times have changed...some people just haven't caught up yet.

You're right. Times have changed; many people take time catching up. That's a big part of what AW is for: helping people keep abreast of new developments in writing and publishing, sharing our ideas and knowledge, and working out what does and doesn't work.

Because successful marketing is a skill Terie, a skill that I have and most don't, and a skill that is worth money.

Ah. I wondered why you were ignoring me. And you're underestimating your fellow AW members if you think your marketing skills outshine theirs: I know of several members here who are great at marketing, and I know of at least one person in this thread who was a highly-acclaimed, award-winning marketing director of a major UK company. They all happily share their expertise when asked. As do the many agents, editors, publishers, and writers who also contribute to the forums here.

I thought, seeing as you've made a point of mentioning several times how great your marketing skills are, that you'd also be willing to share. I guess you're just not. At least, not for money. Fair enough.

[/QUOTE] Which is why I'm launching a product next year on how to do it. Not specifically for novelists like you guys, more my niche market - but still my experience, success and advice is worth something and isn't free.[/QUOTE]

I won't be buying your marketing product, not even if it serves a niche I work in: I find your unwillingness to give any real help in order to make money out of your "product" cynical in the extreme--and a pretty poor marketing policy, too. My friends who have written similar books have given generously of their time and expertise and have been rewarded with strong sales and positive reviews: I guess you're going to miss out on those benefits. Perhaps you're not quite as skilled at promotions as you think you are.


But I'll give you one giant head start forward, although most of you will just brush it off as BS, I'll give it to you anyway. You can lead a horse to water and all that...

Start Here (I found this in my e-mail today even though it is a month old now - and it is a nice easy start to seeing things differently) Read the text AND look at the slides:

http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/27427/Summary-of-Sold-out-Science-of-Inbound-Marketing-Session-at-Dreamforce-2011.aspx (http://www.slideshare.net/HubSpot/the-science-of-inbound-marketing)


That link leads to a list of barely comprehensible notes. I know of several different sources which are more useful to writers promoting their work, both online and off. If this is the quality of advice given in your forthcoming "product" then I wish you luck with it.

Then go here and read everything the gurus have to say, whether or not you THINK it applies to you or not. I'm a member of the War Room myself, have been for years - it was one of the first things I purchased when I began to make money - they have secrets in there that really do change your numbers immediately. I go check it out every few months when I have a marketing panic-attack and every time I find a new way to market:

http://www.warriorforum.com/

Yep, that's a really helpful link. When I try to load it I get this message:

The page isn't redirecting properly

Firefox has detected that the server is redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete.

I'm not sure what that teaches me about marketing. But it shows me that you need to check your facts a little more carefully, and to improve your copyediting skills.

For those of you who still think the publisher will market your book and you should sit back and wait for it, spend no money, and use no tried and true techniques - I have nothing more to say except I'm heading to the mailbox to pick up my next check...Oh and I'm taking the winter off of my regular job because I don't need the money and have better things to do. ;) Right now I only keep it for the benefits ...

Bully for you.

You don't seem to have any compassion at all for other writers who might not be as successful as you; you seem to think that it's ok to sneer at writers who don't follow your leads, and who don't manage to sell many books. Showing off about how much you earn is tacky in the extreme when there are people here who can barely manage to feed their kids right now.

Grow up, stop showing off, and if you can't contribute to the conversations here in a helpful, positive and polite manner then don't contribute at all.

MacAllister
10-18-2011, 10:06 PM
Because successful marketing is a skill Terie, a skill that I have and most don't, and a skill that is worth money. Which is why I'm launching a product next year on how to do it. Not specifically for novelists like you guys, more my niche market - but still my experience, success and advice is worth something and isn't free.
Yet you're perfectly willing to suck up the knowledge, experience, and insight of the many, many generous, successful, and helpful members here...for free...and then sneer at us, as well as explain that you plan to turn around and sell anything YOU might happen to know, as if we're recalcitrant and slightly stupid toddlers?

You're willing to attempt to mine the forums here to drive traffic to your pages, but then curl your lip and hold your nose regarding your association with AW and the members here?

How special.

With that clarification of your perspective and utterly transparent motives for participation in this community, I've completely run out of patience for your obvious contempt for anyone and everyone around you.

You're no longer welcome here, ColoradoMom. Best of luck elsewhere on the internets.

Cyia
10-18-2011, 10:28 PM
There was a thread about this something like 6 months ago. Someone posting about "a friend" who had gotten sucked into a vanity outfit that touted this method as a great way to get to the top of the seller lists, quickly. (The idea being that if an author bought multiple copies every day, it would bump the ranking of the book.)

However, each purchase required a separate account, the author lost beaucoups of cash (thousands, IIRC), and it violated TOS of the major online sellers.(Fake reviews and market manipulation are a no-no.) Yet, the "friend" clung stubbornly to his belief that this method would make him a best-seller... if.. he.. could... just... buy *enough* copies.

Marian Perera
10-19-2011, 02:21 PM
There was a thread about this something like 6 months ago.

Any link to this would be greatly appreciated. I'm planning a blog post about the kinds of promotion which don't work.

jaksen
10-19-2011, 03:28 PM
I heard a certain pres. candidate was buying up many copies of his latest tome, so as to push it to the forefront.

I heard this, doesn't mean 'tis true.

amergina
10-19-2011, 08:31 PM
I heard a certain pres. candidate was buying up many copies of his latest tome, so as to push it to the forefront.

I heard this, doesn't mean 'tis true.

That story is in today's Publisher's Lunch (http://lunch.publishersmarketplace.com/2011/10/cain-campaign-buys-the-book). (Full story requires a PM membership)

iRock
10-19-2011, 08:41 PM
I heard a certain pres. candidate was buying up many copies of his latest tome, so as to push it to the forefront.

Ha. I just read this at Publishers Marketplace. I can't take Cain seriously anyway (he reminds me of Al Sharpton on Ritalin), but it's just sad when you buy 36,511 bucks worth of your own book to manipulate its popularity - and from your own company at that.

From PM:


The campaign bought the books from Cain's own independent company, THE New Voice, Inc., which sells the books at list price of $25. The $36,511 reported spent on books would buy roughly 1,450 undiscounted copies--though the amounts are a little fuzzy, since the campaign paid Cain's company for other booklets and services as well, and keeps revising the total amounts paid.

Cyia
10-20-2011, 08:45 AM
Any link to this would be greatly appreciated. I'm planning a blog post about the kinds of promotion which don't work.

Sorry, QoS. I didn't see your answer. I went back through and found it: The Dark Side of Kindle Publishing (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=200622)

He was told that it was less about talent and more about making money and using the system loopholes to work to his advantage he was told the best prices to put on his books was those that would get him a 70% return from amazon thus if a 1000 dollars was spent on his books he would get 700 dollars so if he brought 1000 dollars worth of his own books he would only be losing 300 dollars. But what he was doing or told to do would be able to make up that 300 dollar lose and them so he spent days setting up fake email accounts and fake amazon accounts to push his own books and review then always giving a 4 or 5 star reveiws sometimes a 3 star to make it look legit. He also felt that he needed to support the various pied pipers of this “scam” for the lack of a better word, for as he felt a need to be within the click and it worked. He saw his books get higher rankings then many of the well known authors and his books started to show up as amazon recomends and other people boght his titles on all his books.

There's a link included in the opening post, but I can't vouch for it, as I didn't click it.


Here is a link to one such story that backs up his http://consumerist.com/2010/12/author-claims-to-manipulate-amazon-rankings-by-buying-own-book-every-day.html (http://consumerist.com/2010/12/author-claims-to-manipulate-amazon-rankings-by-buying-own-book-every-day.html)

Marian Perera
10-20-2011, 01:41 PM
Thanks, Cyia, that completes my post!

Al Stevens
10-20-2011, 06:15 PM
If it's an e-book (assumed, since SW is involved), you already have the digital book (or can make one with Mobipocket Creator and Calibre). You can send those copies to reviewers, etc. You must not sell them, however if you've published through an e-publisher.)
I'll add that some e-publishers prefer to manage review submissions for their own titles and ask authors not to go around that process, so what I suggest here would not be a good practice.

Donna Brown
11-02-2011, 02:26 AM
The question here was about e-books.

I don't know how you'd even go about buying fifty copies, or how you'd go about sending them to folks.

With physical books, sure, you could do that. But e-books?

If I wanted to send fifty copies of my Smashwords book to folks, I'd just send them a coupon for that book.

Heck, here's a coupon for my novel, Bad Blood (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/73129), at Smashwords. Get it free, one week only: XY79H

If you like it, tell a friend.

Oh! I want to play this game! You can download a free copy of my book, Butterfly Season at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/93421

Use code CS93H, which is good for 24 hours.

A review (good or not-s0-good) on Smashwords, Amazon, or BN would be awesome.

Donna Brown
11-03-2011, 06:48 AM
Oh! I want to play this game! You can download a free copy of my book, Butterfly Season at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/93421

Use code CS93H, which is good for 24 hours.

A review (good or not-s0-good) on Smashwords, Amazon, or BN would be awesome.

So this netted me 25 downloads and a book signing . . . not a bad day's work.

chongjasmine
11-21-2011, 01:35 PM
I don't think such tactic works. And I think that the money that you spent on buying your own book could have been better spent, elsewhere.

brianjanuary
11-21-2011, 08:56 PM
I think I read on the KDP forums that one self-publisher tried this tactic, was found out by Amazon, and was banned.

As others have said, I would put my efforts elsewhere.

Brian January
http://amzn.com/B005WM0HN6 (http://amzn.com/B005WM0HN6)
http://amzn.com/B006QCZF3S (http://amzn.com/B006QCZF3S)

DG Sandru
12-07-2011, 05:06 AM
Regardless if it is ethical or not, at least with Kindle you cannot buy the same book more than once in the same account. However, you can promote your e-book by giving it away for free. You start on Smashwords with zero pricing, and Amazon will offer it for free too. Just a note about that, people who will get your e-book for free may never read it.