These people just called me offering services to promote my book on the web. Thing is, the book they mentioned was a work for hire and has been out of print for a decade.
I suspect the call originated from outside of the US. There was no caller ID and the caller couldn't even pronounce my name. I thought he was looking for "Jody" because he just asked for me by my first name.
When I told him the book had been out of print for ten years he asked if I planned to bring it back into print. I explained that it wasn't my decision, that it was up to the studio who held the copyright. The caller seemed totally confused by that concept.
I finally asked who he was with, and he said bookworld.com.
ETA: Apparently it's BookWhirl.com. There are some interesting links below.
Last edited by JulieB; 04-03-2009 at 05:34 PM.
Reason: To reflect accurate information below.
I'd say scam. This reeks of someone trying to get by as a legitimate service in order to get something out of you.
Yes, it all seemed highly suspicious. Am blogging about it now.
practical experience, FTW
Sounds like this company are scouring around for business and checking out books out of print hoping they come across an author in the process of doing a reprint.
Or writers who may not know any better.
Bookworld or Bookwhirl?
If the latter, they are aggressive phone and spam marketers based in Asia, though they claim to be US-located. See this and this.
I'll bet that's it. The caller had a very heavy accent, and I did repeat "book world" back to him and he said that was it. However, he had as tough a time understanding me as I did him. If that's an example of their marketing, I think I'll pass.
Oh, wait. The web site says they're for self-published authors. Definitely a pass.
Thanks for clearing that up. I'll update my blog entry.
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Bookwhirl - spot the fail
This is the very 1st line of their spammed pitch to me
The question is, why would anyone use this service when their command of English is -that- bad?
We are an online marketing company that offers services to authors market their book on their easiest way. I came across a copy your book through the internet and we are very much interested on it to be advertise world wide
(They offer "a range of services" which goes up to thousands of dollars)
They're getting past the language barrier. I received an email this morning from a very American sounding name. (Although God knows when I've heard someone use the words a pleasant day to open a letter.)
Thank God for Absolute Write. I got the email this morning and three minutes later, I know all about it
A pleasant day.
I’m Leigh Anderson, a Marketing Specialist of Bookwhirl.com.
I came across with your book entitled, “Firefly Beach.” We are interested to promote it and we would like to help you reach out up to 5,000,000 targeted book buyers and let them know about you and your work--chances are they will run after to grab a copy of your book, look at it and, ultimately, buy it.
If you are interested, please give me a call at 1 877 207-1679 ext 304 or you may reply to this email. I’d be grateful to give you more information about this.
Hope to hear from you soon and have a nice day.
That beginning is still a little...disjointed though. They may be getting better, but that still makes me wary and hesitant.
I came across with your book
Bzzt! Colloquial English is "I came across your book."
entitled, “Firefly Beach.” We are interested to promote it
Bzzt! Colloquial English is "We are interested in promoting it."
and we would like to help you reach out up to 5,000,000 targeted book buyers
Bzzt! Colloquial English is "help you reach out to up to..."
and let them know about you and your work--chances are they will run after to grab a copy of your book
Bzzt! "Run after" makes no sense here in colloquial English.
As someone who's done her share of ESL teaching, I applaud people who can communicate in more than one language, but I really don't applaud people pretending to be native English speakers with very very English-language names, especially when their English doesn't have native fluency.
And the idea that someone with non-native fluency in English would be able to do a good job of promoting books written in English by and for native speakers of English...
Gack! Here is a snippet about one of their featured authors, which I take it they wrote:
I sure hope he didn't pay too much for that drivel. Very obviously ESL, and not good in any language.
Overcoming mental health problems wasn’t easy, but he did it. Now, (author's name) lives life with a great positive attitude and a look of gratifying rejuvenation. He is fulfilling his dreams and visions – and sharing them to the world.
[quote=IceCreamEmpress;3584795]I came across with your book
Bzzt! Colloquial English is "I came across your book."
I read right over all of those, lol. I can't believe it. I must have just scanned it and ran over here to the Bewares section. Hysterical.
I got my invite from them today. Came straight here to check them out. Jay Smith is my personal contact!
Received the same email as Meira only my 'personal contact' is Hazel Vega and she is "interested to promote" a 10K short story of mine that released digitally over two years ago.
Got my invite a few days ago for my eBook that came out over a year ago. I didn't even need too look it up on AW to know it was a scam.
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I used to get their emails, a week or so ago they left a poorly recorded message on my home machine.
figuring it all out
They're still at it. I got an email invite, plus (supposedly) freephone number listing, from them today for my professionally published supposedly self-published first tome. Here's hoping no-one falls for their scam.
They're still at it! Left a message on my answering machine today. Too bad "Lisa" (or something like that) couldn't correctly pronounce a word in my title. Anyhow, I googled the number she left: 877-207-1679 because caller ID didn't identify the caller or business.
Looks like a lot of authors know they're scammers.
Skulduggery and haberdashery
A few more authors shared their similar experiences here.
Bookwhirl's twitter: http://twitter.com/bookwhirl
Some of the information listed on twitter:
Name: Don Harold
Address: 867 Howard St. 1
Green Bay, WI 54303
Toll Free Number: 1(877) 207 1679
I just received a phone call from a Book Whirl representative. I couldn't quite understand her name because apparently English is not her first language, but her cell phone number is from my county. She wanted me to participate in a marketing conference via phone, and she seemed a bit flustered when I asked her questions. I asked her to give me the names of some of the authors Book Whirl represented. She had a bit of trouble doing that.
Anyhow, she directed me to the website where there's a "featured author" here. I went to the author's amazon page here.
The 72-page book, published by this, er, press, has been out since 2006 and has NO Amazon ranking, no reviews, etc. I can conclude that this poor author paid to publish and then paid big money to (allegedly) promote. And it resulted in no Amazon sales. (However, she has vanity-published several other books and some of them do have Amazon rankings.)
The Book Whirl caller wanted me to check their testimonials. I did, and wasn't impressed. The testimonials don't exactly address how well the authors' books did after paying Book Whirl to, um, help with marketing.
Speaking of which, from their tips checklist:
Yeah, nothing like "getting the public involve."
. When you let your readers get involve, you don't only get
attention, but you get the opportunity to generate ideas from them. Crowdsourcing can be in many forms. Get the public involve by letting them help you out on creating a video trailer for your book. Offer appealing rewards to entice a lot of participants. You'd be surprised to see how much ideas can be generated to your advantage.
Wow, I feel special! I got a voicemail from Book Whirl today, too. I could not understand the callers name nor the company name nor the name of the book I supposedly wrote. I could hear the phone number and reverse search brought up Book Whirl in Green Bay. I came here to search for advice and now I know not to return this call. (well, I had an inkling before I got here)
It's time to use the big hammer
This may be a daft question, but how are they getting people's phone numbers in the first place? emails I can understand, but do all you guys have your phone numbers searchable online?
Presumably they've purchased lists of phone numbers. If you've ever filled out a warranty card and included your phone number, you're instantly on any number of lists. It's another way companies "monetize the consumer base."
Originally Posted by nkkingston
Or, they could simply be auto-dialing every possible number, from (000) 000-0000 to (999) 999-9999.