This afternoon I got the most bogglesome piece of spam I’ve ever received in my life–and the first attempt I’ve ever had flung at me to take advantage of my being an indie author.
The service pitched to me was based around the entire idea of posting your work to their cloud system, that your book would be stored as encrypted data in their proprietary system, and that readers would only be able to get at it via a web browser or via their apps. They would be able to sync content down to be read offline, and the system would be able to keep track of what chapters in the book had been read. All of which sounds like tech that’s already in play for the major ebook vendors.
But the first yellow alert went off when I saw that their first big pitch in the mail was all about putting ads in your ebook, in front of every chapter. That they could be static ads, or even videos!
And yellow alert went straight up to RED ALERT ACTION STATIONS SET CONDITION ONE THROUGHOUT THE SHIP when, upon closer inspection of their email, I saw that they were also trying to pitch the idea of how you could channel your earnings into putting ads about your book in other authors’ books on the system.
I am whomperjawed by this. Because 1) let me assure you, people, My Very First Writing Scam Email is NOT a Writing Milestone I particularly wanted to reach, and 2) the really sad thing here is that I can in fact see that there are people who might try to buy into this service. I can absolutely see the train of thought that might lead an ill-informed writer to making that decision.
But I’m here to tell you, fellow writers, if you ever get flung an email like this, run away. Because you know what I didn’t see in that email pitch? Anything about actually selling your book to readers, or what the royalties earned on those sales would be, or anything of the sort. The emphasis is all on what you would in theory make off the viewing of ads–and on encouraging you to channel earnings into buying ads in other people’s books.
And now, I think I’ll fire off some tweets at Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware and see if she knows about this. ‘Cause I mean, damn.