Earlier this month I saw a note in one of the newsletters I subscribe to. I won’t name names as that’s non-essential. The newsletter is not geared specifically toward writers, but the organization crosses over into a field that authors generally become part of. A section of the newsletter had a call for book marketing tips. They wanted subscribers to submit their #1 top prime absolute best book marketing tip, then promised they would share what was received in the following week’s newsletter.
Something to look forward to, right?
Seemed like a wonderful collaborative opportunity for subscribers with minimal publishing experience to benefit from more skilled folks, as well as for veterans to learn from their peers. I added a note to my calendar to send a blurb in to the mix. However, as I mentioned in my earlier post about finding balance and time management, I’ve been more stringent with how I spend my days. Sending in a tip was not a priority, so not long after I had added my reminder note, I removed it.
Instead, I had looked forward to the following week’s newsletter to see what the rest of the group cooked up.
When I scrolled through the next newsletter edition I came across the “Book Marketing Report” link. Awesome! I clicked the link, ready to learn some publishing tidbits, share the link with my newsletter subscribers, update my author marketing class presentations, and revise publishing plans for my next book…however, when I clicked the link it brought me to a page with a prompt to pay $4.95 to read the report.
PAY to read the report that the group compiled at NO COST with FREE advice from subscribers!
Yes, that is quite an industrious approach to earning a penny, or four hundred and ninety-five of them to be exact. I also think it is deceitful. My gut reaction was disgust, then relief that I had not contributed to such an avaricious business practice. There should have been a disclosure that the newsletter manager intended to sell an eBook with the submissions. Perhaps an offer of a discount or a free copy of the book to those who submitted their expertise. The sour cherry on top? Next to the book link in the newsletter they had a call for your best tips on another topic, which you can guess – they would share in the following week’s newsletter.
I’d love to see a them submit a call for ‘book publishing mistakes’ and I’d love to showcase them as Exhibit A: How to taint your reputation with your followers and turn them off from ever buying any book, product, or service from you.
I will no longer recommend this particular organization to anyone, have no plans on ever being their customer, and also elected not to add them to my Resources for Writers page.
One of the more powerful areas of marketing is transparency. Being forthright, open, honest, upfront about who you are and what you provide builds trust and authenticity. Nothing about what the organization I described above embodied these characteristics – and why would anyone pay them to hear their advice on marketing after their blatant lack of expertise in this area?
Have you had an experience like this?