Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Anthology Scams: Authors Beware

In a newsletter on marketing, I read a call for help from one of that letter’s subscribers. I was appalled because it sounded as if someone had decided to charge authors $595 to contribute their work (what amounts to a freelance article) and their videos (what amounts to a freelance production) to what amounted to a self-published e-book. The would-be author/editor of this book needed help in roping in more authors to pay that hefty fee and admits that the "media typically aren't interested [in contributing]."

Well, if the media aren’t interested in contributing, there may be a reason beyond the fact that this "anthology"  is self-published. What would that be? Here it is: The chapters are paid-for advertorials. That means editors would be complicit in getting their readers to pay to participate in what feels, well, a bit shady to them. At least newspapers’ advertorials are labeled as “advertisements.”

Hint: If you don’t know what an advertorial is, please look it up in your copy of the second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter (http://budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo). It’s in the chapter on why you generally shouldn’t pay for advertising, anyway.

And if the media aren't interested in contributing to this project, will they be any more interested in covering the book with features, reviews or other kinds of exposure for the book when it comes out? I'm afraid I don't see the benefit to the author of a project like this. Sure, they’ll get a credit line and a byline but without much exposure in the media, who will read it?

Giving away free articles in trade for a byline/nice credit/and links is one thing. Paying to have someone to put together a book that may sell very few copies anyway is entirely something else. In fact, if feels scammy to me.

The help I would give the subscriber to this newsletter is: Please find another way to involve experts and cross promote with them. There are ways to do that where everyone benefits and participants don't have to pay more than they'll ever get back in royalties--or prestige.
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:

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