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Thread: [Publicity] Substance Books

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
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    [Publicity] Substance Books

    Maybe this should be in Bewares since I'm asking if anybody knows anything about this company.

    www.substancebooks.com

    They sent me an email saying my book could be "accepted" if I subbed it.

    They say they're a book promoter. They cost $120USD per year and claim to get your book publicity.

    Any experience with these people?

  2. #2
    Bizzare in Berkeley blackpen's Avatar
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    i went to the site and happened to see that one of the authors that uses their services happens to be self published. i think should ring some warning bells, altho i am by no means an expert on this.

    as a general rule, i would avoid such online book promoting companies that want you to pay them. if you want to publicize, you should send out press statements, do book signings, make a website, and hold book launch parties. all of these things cost money and effort in some way or the other, but you're not giving a direct sum to a middleman who can't guarantee results.

    i would also ask in the beware forum.

    good luck
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  3. #3
    Attack! imagoodgurl4's Avatar
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    I have no experience with them, but I took a look at the website. The website seems legit. It has proper grammar and spelling and lists authors to whom they've helped. And the $120 fee they charge for a year does not seem unreasonable. And if they wanted to rip someone off, they could do it for a lot more. But, it seems like this service would be more useful for PA books or POD books, which this company does accept, which is also a bit of a concern, because PA books are not usually edited correctly and very often poorly written. Granted, the company has an "acceptance" policy, but who knows how well organized that is. PA claims to have an acceptance policy. Plus, a book published by a legitimate publisher would not need this company, as the publisher would do all the marketing for you.

    My personal advice? Most books are not sold online. People still like to go into a bookstore and flip through the pages, read a few chapters. You're better off spending your $120 on postage to send query letters to legit publishers.

    Of course, I am not an expert on the subject, so if I'm wrong on any of my assumptions, I trust those wiser than me to let me know.
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  4. #4
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Whether if not $120 is a lot depends on

    1) What they actually do and whether you could/would do it yourself

    and

    2) will doing this sell enough extra books to make back at least the $120.

    I would be skeptical.
    Last edited by veinglory; 08-26-2007 at 03:00 AM.
    Emily Veinglory

  5. #5
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    This is a situation in which a very low price is as much a warning as a very high one. You can't buy a whole lot of book marketing for $120 per year.

    From what I can tell, Substance lists your book on a webpage with a bunch of keywords. This is supposed to drive search engines to the webpage, and thus to your book. Substance attempts to show the effectiveness of this on its Publicity Power Report, where the use of various search phrases turns up Substance's webpages in the first page of Google results. However, the search phrases Substance uses are pretty improbable--if you're looking for a historical novel, are you really going to type "historical fiction adventure books" or "historical adventure fiction books?" If you just type in "historical novels" or "historical fiction," Substance's webpages don't show up. I would guess that most people don't look for books this way anyway.

    IMO, this is not a good use of money. If you have a website, you can optimize it yourself with smart use of META tags and keywords.

    - Victoria

  6. #6
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    You're all echoing my thoughts. It doesn't seem to be worthwhile, but for all I know this is the hottest new thing in marketing books.

    I was immediately suspicious because they contacted me, not vice versa. Obviously, they're shopping for candidates. Since I'd never heard of them, I just thought it a good idea to toss their name up here to see if anybody was aware of them. Maybe (stranger things have happened) something like this would be a cost-effective tool for small-press and self-published authors. Everybody can't get a major publishing deal, even if they write a darned good book.

  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW Tsu Dho Nimh's Avatar
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    "Substance Books' objective is to drive the industry's targeted traffic -- the general reading public -- to your book"

    You cannot "DRIVE" traffic! They may get good placement on Google, but that's not how readers find books. They go to bookstores, they talk to their friends, etc. Save your money and find a good publisher that can get your book onto shelves and in front of buyers for bookstores.

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW BarbJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    This is a situation in which a very low price is as much a warning as a very high one. You can't buy a whole lot of book marketing for $120 per year. - Victoria
    Words of wisdom.

  9. #9
    matushka at large matdonna's Avatar
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    Substance Books has recently become active on Facebook. I had to ban a couple of their people from the Canadian SF & Fantasy Group there for not heeding my warnings about spam. I didn't object to any of their authors promoting their own books, but that is not what was going on; they were fishing for clients in the group.
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  10. #10
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matdonna View Post
    Substance Books has recently become active on Facebook. I had to ban a couple of their people from the Canadian SF & Fantasy Group there for not heeding my warnings about spam. I didn't object to any of their authors promoting their own books, but that is not what was going on; they were fishing for clients in the group.
    Yikes! That's hardly a strong advertisement for their social media expertise


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  11. #11
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  12. #12
    matushka at large matdonna's Avatar
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    They're back fishing in my FB group for clients again. A new 'publicist' joined my group and posted a link to their site. I banned her the way I did their previous employees.
    http://raftersscriptorium.blogspot.com/


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  13. #13
    What exactly are these "Publicity Projects" and "Social networking opportunities" (which by the way should say included, not free)?

    Honestly, I think it's interesting that someone is trying to focus on keywords, whether or not it really works remains to be seen. But this looks... eh. And the idea that a 1-year package is only about "Branding" while 2 years is about "Sales" is just... what is that? I guess it's a way to cover their butts when you don't make your money back on a $300 package. But we weren't -supposed- to get you sales, see?

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