Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Independent Authors Beware! (Bad Blogs and Bloggers)

THE LIST IS COMING!

Being an author and the creator of the Goodreads group, “Authors Lounge”, you get to meet a lot of other authors. One of the things that sometimes come up in correspondence is bloggers and their blogs. How often times an author will get a promise from someone to do an interview or review of their book(s) in exchange for a “free read”. This is a quite common occurrence on Goodreads and mostly with independent authors such as myself. And it would probably surprise you how often times those promises get broken. Even after having sent these people a “free read“.

There are many authors out there (here on Goodreads) who have been suckered in by these liars and thieves. Many of these people are teens or young teens who maybe can’t go out and buy a lot of books to read so they use their blog as a tool to get a hold of a book to read for free. And some of them are adults who maybe can’t afford to go out and buy enough books for them to read so yeah, it is a common practice.

For a lot of authors, this hurts. There are plenty of authors on the independent trail who simply can’t afford to give books or “free reads” of their E-book away and get nothing in return for them. And it is especially painful when somebody makes you a promise and then turns around and breaks that promise.

I might be lucky in that respect. However, not even I am immune to these swindlers. I have had more than my share of broken promises. I have also had my share of “excuses” given of why these people suddenly can’t own up to what they promised. At first, I gave benefit of the doubt. But now, after having been a blogger for the past six months, I realize that these “excuses” were nothing more than smoke being blown up my ass.

“But why would somebody promise you something, Carroll, and not see it through?” You may ask. Well, you got me there, I haven’t a clue. Except to refer you back to the top of this post about children, books to read, affordability and so on. But here is the thing, a lot of people think that blogging is just a game. I am not quite sure if a lot of these bloggers realize that independent authors look to these blogs as an outlet to spread the word of their book. For independent authors, blogs and bloggers are a vital part of what they depend on to get their work out to the readers. And to make (then break) a promise does indeed have some kind of small effect. Maybe even a big effect.

And what a lot of these young people don’t realize is, when you start a blog and you go to reviewing books and doing interviews, you are basically doing “business.” Now, it is obvious that there are good business people and bad business people in the world. In the real world, when a business does something bad or unethical, you report them to the Better Business Bureau. But what can you do when it’s nothing more than some teenager and their blog? Basically nothing. They make you a promise, you send them a book, they read it, they break their promise and presto, you just had a book stolen from you. Bad business if you ask me.

Many authors just suck it up and move on, I mean, what can they do? Talk bad about that blogger or blog and maybe risk getting black-listed by that blogger’s friends and their blogs too? Which is why many authors keep silent and just chalk it up to experience. But what happens when you’re already black-listed? Then you don’t have anything to lose, right?

Well, that’s me. LOL

And it is funny how in conversation with these other authors, that the same bloggers and blogs keep popping up. I myself know of several blogs/bloggers who are not good business for authors. I do my best to try and tell them about these blogs and bloggers or warn them ahead of time in so that can make a more educated decision when it comes to handing out “free reads” to potential allies only to get taken and finding out they are axis.

Be that as it may, many authors have asked me why I didn’t warn them about these people sooner. I guess in a way, I just don’t try to think about it much. But then I got to thinking, it would be pretty good to have some kind of way to be able to know of what blogs and bloggers out there are swindling authors out of free books and reads. (hence, authors lounge was formed) And why I decided to make a list of the blogs and bloggers who have swindled me and I will be posting that list right here on my blog next week.

I wanted to put this list out long ago but like I stated already, I gave these people and their excuses benefit of the doubt. And too many times I come across authors who also got swindled. This is why I decided that I should try blogging first hand and see what the big deal is. And sure enough, now I know. Now I know that I was being humored by these liars and thieves. By these children who don’t realize the impact that their blogs can sometimes have on an independent author.

Luckily for me, I was also able to discover something else about blogging, that it helps to get the word out there about my books. It has been a career changing decision for me to start my blog. But with success comes responsibility. A responsibility to let other authors out there know of these bad business blogs and bloggers who have no moral or business ethics and will, at their own accord, not fulfill a promise even if you fulfill your end of the bargain. For whatever reason, they will “steal” a free read from you.

Now, I can’t confirm any of the blogs/bloggers that other authors have revealed to me that has swindled them, I can only account for the ones who swindled me. Which is why I am going to post my list of blogs/bloggers who gave me their word to interview me and or review my book(s) then backed out after I sent them a free copy of said book(s).

Look at it like this, it’s a lesson in business ethics for these young people. Something that they can learn that when you make a promise and then break it for no reason, that there can be consequences behind that. And to know that for authors, especially independent ones, this is not a game. It is food on the table for their family. And if you’re too young or unethical to do the right thing, then you have yourself to blame if you end up on a list. (Or on my list) And perhaps next time, you will keep those promises and do the right thing.

Now, I am not here to ruin anybody’s reputation. I am just simply going to post a list of blogs/bloggers who made me a direct promise, and took something in exchange for it then failed to keep that promise. There may be many authors whom they did not swindle, for whatever reason, or maybe, there are only a few selected authors they have swindled. Either way, I’m not saying that these people make a living out of it, just that they did it to me and could very well do it again to somebody else. And for any other author out there looking to get an interview or a review of their work done by these people and they promise you something in return for a free read, (and if said author is limited on how many free reads they can afford to give) then proceed with caution. This list is a list so that no author can say to me again, “Why didn’t you tell me about that person?”

Well, coming soon, you will know of these people who did me wrong and now, you other authors will have been pre-warned. Of course, in my case, I think it all came down to one person, regardless, a promise is a promise, business is business and since these people chose to do bad business with me, I am going to do bad business in return and “out” them for their unethical behavior. Trust me, it is not a game. You want to play grown up? Welcome to the grown up world of taking responsibility for your actions and choices. Maybe if people feared ending up on somebody’s bad list made public, many of these people would cease their unethical practices. This is why I think so many look to me to lead the way. I can only lead by example. Right is right and wrong is wrong. And anybody who knows me, knows that I am not afraid to go toe to toe in defense of the truth.

Now, I also understand that when this list comes out next week, there are going to be denials left and right, I expect it. Deny all you want, the truth will always be there. And it will be there on my Goodreads blog, my personal blog and my "Authors Lounge" group.

Coming next week …. THE LIST! Who and how many are going to be on it? Find out next week.

20 comments:

  1. Well I haven't been promised any of your books, so I can't be on that list! And I may run behind on my promises (on the time frame)... even REALLY REALLY behind... but I get it done. Stuff happens, kids get sick (of coarse), but I WILL get it done (eventually). Just 2cents from a newbie blogger than does offer those 'services' (or business as you refer to it) but is perpetually behind. I've even managed to make some that I REALLY didn't like look good- without lying. But then again, often they just want reviews which I happily do as well

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    1. I hear ya. And yes, things do come up and people do fall behind but ... a year? LOL I mean, if you knew you were going to be that busy and backed up, why approach somebody to do it and then never even send the questions or anything?

      Plus, I have also talked to some other authors who got an interview and or review to these blogs and found out they were approached well after I was. I thought it was "first come, first served"?

      Plus, there is a connection to one person, the first person, who backed out so .... Insert conspiracy Theory Here ---> (______) LOL

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    2. Oh, and no, you are definately not on the list. LOL I don't think I write in your genre, do I? LOL

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  2. I have alot of genres.... but usually I stick with Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance... sometimes just plain 'ole romance... been branching out lately into more Sci-fi and Dystopian. But a year IS excessive. Even I'm not THAT late. Well, I suppose the fact that my blog isn't even that old has something to do with it, too.

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  3. Carroll, I admire the stand you are taking in publicly displaying such a list. I like a free book as much as the next person, but if an agreement or exchange was made for the book, follow through!

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    1. Thanks Ralph. I just believe that when you approach somebody and ask for something and you get it, the least you can do is what you promised them you would do. It's just good character to do so.

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  4. I just read the rest of the comments on GR and feel that my comment is no longer as... valid as I thought it to be initially. But I will spend some time on your blog (even though I still think the idea of publicly airing frustrations/angers/upsets is never a good idea) to see what else you've got going on.

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  5. Thanks ashley. But you don't have to delete your comments. I accept all opinions on any subject matter as long as it doesn't resort to fowl language, death threats or calling names. LOL I would always welcome to hear your voice. Even if it disagrees with me. Especially if it disagrees with me.

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  6. Thank you for this list (whenever it comes out). Calling unethical people on the carpet is *always* the right thing to do. As an author myself I would like to avoid the freeloaders and stick with the reviewers who actually want to review books.

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  7. Well put, Victoria. I am karma's tool. LOL

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  8. As a book blogger , I found myself after 6 months having to create a review policy as found myself over-run by emails. I also do work 40hrs a week and am full-time studying, all this is stipulated in my review policy. I also try and review books as fast as I can and have it written that if the book requires a deadline to be reviewed for , then let me know and I try and do those first. It can be hard to get everything done and the other thing I have in my policy is due to the fact that I get alot of books to review, if I don't think the book qualifies for a more than 3 star rating then I won't review it, but to help the author along I will run a synopsis on the book. and I do have to say most of us have famailies and drama and tragedies etc can sneak up on you when you least expect and unfortunately it can go on and on. There are also authors though that if for some reason they think you are being slack in reviewing their book, god they can hound you and even to the extent of written abuse on e.g facebook etc

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    1. I hear ya, Paula. I certainly understand all that you said. Life sometimes does come a calling. I know for myself, I am a patient guy when it comes to reviews and such. I have no problems waiting, but man, it would be nice if the reviewers didn't come to me asking for a free read because I am always too trusting. I give it because they promise to do the review and or interview and then they back out. One always has to wonder, "Did they just con me?" And of course, in my case, the answer is a resounding YES! LOL

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  9. One of the things about being a professional reviewer (worked for Authorlink for 9 years) is that people approach me all the time to review their books and I mostly decline, and still they will send them.

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    1. I never really understood that, J.M. LOL I know that the last thing I would ever want to be is pushy.

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  10. Carroll & other authors - my suggestion would be to request an upfront fee to cover the book & postage value for books provided, that is then refunded when the review is completed. At least when approached by any reviewers that are new or unknown to you. Because in my experience once someone has something in their hand the urge to complete the deal (by paying for it, writing about it, or whatever they're supposed to be doing to keep up their end of the bargain) is gone. They'll have an incentive to complete the review if a refund for the cost of purchase is waiting in the wings.

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  11. Good idea, Fiona. Thank you for the post.

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  12. I admit to running behind on my reading. Okay I give, really far behind like 6 months. However I try and get to books as fast as I can. since I am now working 7 days a week 10-12 hours a day my reading as been cut back to less than an hour a day. If I have forgotten an author then just send me an email to remind me. Sometimes people forget, things get moved around or lost. I am sorry that you have had this happen however if I am one of the people that promised you a review then as I stated send me an email. I wish you and your books great success.

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  13. Thanks Bunny. I needed that. All the best to you and yours.

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  14. Be careful. People can have valid reasons for not wanting to review your book after reading it so you can't be sure. If you blacklist the someone without good reason - even if you didn't know at the time - you end up on the wrong side of a law suit for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Besides it's better not to make enemies: Either keep the list private with friendly authors or don't publish it at all.

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    1. I hear ya. However, that ship has already sailed. Anyhow, I don't care if people liked it or if they didn't, I of all people know not everybody is going to like everything I write be it books or songs.

      As for defamation, it isn't defamation if it's true (and if you have evidence to back it up) plus, what would be the damages? It would probably cost more to sue than what you could get back in return. Now I would have damages from all the things that were said because those who defamed me could cost book sales. But that didn't quite happen either, in fact, it was the opposite.

      But in hindsight, that might have been better. (What you said) However, I wasn't really trying to black list anyone, just get the word out for other authors to be careful with some folks. That's all. It really didn't affect me either way. Except it being just a little disappointing that we live in a time when a persons word doesn't mean anything anymore. So sad.

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