As you’ve probably already guessed since you’re reading this on my website, I’m the author of two self-published YA novels, The Field and Midnight House.
I had an interesting experience involving one of my novels recently. I’d like to tell you what happened so you can be informed ahead of time if something similar happens to you.
I randomly received a phone call from an unlisted number based in New York. Like most of us do when we get a phone call – whether we know the person or not – I let the call go to voice mail. A 90-second voicemail was left, so I listened.
A man from a book marketing company was very interested in talking to me about my book, Midnight House. He said his company wanted to help me get the book out to more people and that I should call him back as soon as possible.
I didn’t, at first.
I didn’t answer because I could not find any information online or on social media about the company. Needless to say, this was a definite red flag from the start.
But the calls kept coming. Every day for two weeks. Yes, even the weekend. It was the same guy, from the same number, with the same message.
When I attempted to call the number back, I received a recording that the number was out of service. Not a big confidence booster.
Probably around the fifth message, I listened closely to the background noise, and what do you think I heard? Other people were using the same script this guy was using on me. It’s funny that we don’t think about telemarketing scammers targeting niche groups of people like self-published authors. Still, I guess they hook enough people to be lucrative.
Anyway, I finally decided to stop these calls. So, the next time the guy called, I answered.
This man was so excited that I answered. In fact, he was overjoyed and congratulated me for publishing my book and that he had a fantastic opportunity for me.
I said okay, and let him read his script.
His company targeted a select few self-published authors with an excellent opportunity to get the word out about our books. My book, Midnight House, would be placed in bookstores all over New York City, with the potential of up to 13 stores carrying my novel.
They had a close relationship with Netflix, and my book would be made into a film, and I would get $125,000 for the rights (minus their finder’s fee, of course)!
He told me that my book was well-written and had a nice cover. When I asked him what he liked about the book, he paused and repeated the line about my book being well-written and having a nice cover.
I asked him about the first book, The Field, which is the first in the series. He said if the second one was successful, they would plan to market the first one.
And all of this could be mine for an initial start-up fee of $800.
That’s right. I send the company my account information, and they start marketing my book.
But where do they get copies of my book?
From me. Yes. I would have to send the company two copies to put in the marketing package they send out; then, if things went well, I would send them another 100 copies. All at my expense.
Persistent in getting me to jump aboard the marketing train, he wanted my account info right then and there. I told him I needed to see a contract and further info before committing to anything (I had already decided no after the first voice mail).
I gave him an email address. I then asked something I was curious about from the start of this adventure: How did the company get my personal cell phone number? It’s not on my website or on any of my social media. My publisher and the marketing firm I used to publish my book wouldn’t give out that information without asking me first.
He said they have a great team of researchers who find people’s phone numbers for them to call.
We ended the call, and I awaited his email.
Check back for Part Two this Monday!