“How Rude! Who the fuck are you?” is part of an email I received from Ann at Black Sun Book Reviews. Needless to say I will not be using their services. I doubt they work anyway.
This started off earlier today. I have recently received a number of emails from Anne at Blacksun. Email address firstname.lastname@example.org . I read it out of curiosity as I don’t recall ever signing up on their website or for any kind of newsletter. It said:
Facts and Figures about the Turmoil of the Publishing Industry
These are the facts about the modern day publishing industry that other promotional companies will not tell you. 2009 was the first year that the US saw over 1 million books released, more than three times the number that were released four years earlier, and that number has continued to grow ever since.
Despite the number of book releases going ever upwards book sales are far from matching that growth. Printed book sales and eBook sales fluctuate year by year, and as everyone knows sales in bookstores continue to diminish.
Your average book has less that 1% chance at being stocked in a bookstore. That’s the figure available, but the reality seems far, far less than even that, probably closer to 1 in a thousand. Yes bookstore sales are a small part of the market now, but once that avenue is closed to all but a handful of authors it leaves the rest all scrabbling for online sales.
As each year goes by it gets harder and harder to sell books. Not only is a new book competing with the million plus other books released that year, it also has to compete with the other millions and millions released in previous years. And if you have the misfortune to write in a genre that has just had a blockbuster hit you’re even worse off. Yes I said you’re worse off even if your genre is currently red hot. Why is that? Because that hit has just birthed an entire new wave of would-be writers grasping for what they believe will be an easy career and a big pay-day. The problem is that when these terrible books are churned out unsuspecting readers don’t know they’re terrible, and if they do find out it makes it even more challenging for genuine indie authors to make a living at their trade as those books are tarnished by the disasters we’ve all seen out there.
Most book sales only actually occur within the author community, and a slight extension of it (friends, family and associates). Authors group together, they share battle stories, they like each other’s Facebook pages and share each other’s Tweets. Minimal sales take place from this and they all occur within the same logical zone. What is required for any book to have a remote chance of success is for sales to take place outside of that zone. No industry has ever existed, now or in the past, that has continued to churn out so many new products every year, and the only possible solution to drive these sales is innovation, not replication.
There are a number of measures that have to be taken to give a book a fighting chance, a number of platforms where a metaphoric flag has to be staked, and not in a pedestrian way, but a meaningful vibrant and engaging manner.
This is a lot to take onboard, but it doesn’t have to mean bad news for those authors who want to take a proactive stance. We understand how challenging this is, and how difficult it is to find those funds necessary for marketing, so we have put together a package that covers all of those vital platforms, and for a very limited number of authors we will offer it at $299. There is an absolute limit on how many authors we are able to help at that price, so make sure to email now and find out the details before all slots are filled.
We look forward to helping a brand new range of authors reach their target demographic, and begin their journey towards success.
The alarm bells rang so I checked out the website. It’s hopeless. There are no testimonials, no contact details other than an email address. No people named. It was anonymous! My alarm bells rang louder especially when I read the crap about becoming a NY Times Bestseller. Yeah, right!
Curious still, I checked out its Twitter page which I can’t show you because they have blocked me. I Tweeted them to point out an error in one of their Tweets. It said they don’t have a sign-up on their website quoting some baloney reason that they are “choosy.” Whatever that means!
They do have a sign-up offering some dubious free eBook. See below:
That looks like a sign-up to me, and not one I ever signed up to.
I decided to email Ann at Black Sun Reviews. This is what I wrote and her replies:
Me: Please unsubscribe [Email address deleted] and this sending email address [different one than the receiving email address] from your list. There is no unsubscribe button on your marketing emails. Further, I have no recollection of signing up with you.
Please confirm you have removed me, otherwise I will have no option but to report your spam emails to the appropriate bodies.
Black Sun: Spam email? How dare you. If you didn’t sign up for these then somebody did, and yes there is an unsubscribe link on every newsletter, so if you can’t see that it’s down to your browser settings. The information we provide to authors is extensively researched and given away for free. And now I come to look at your author profile it’s information given away in our last few newsletters you desperately need. But don’t worry, we don’t assist anyone who doesn’t want help, so your email is removed.
Okay, even if I did sign up, which I genuinely do not think is the case, there is zero need for her to be so abusive. What is she trying to hide? I replied:
How rude! Who do you think you are?
I then heard from the delightful Ann again:
How rude? Who the fuck do you think you are? You’re the one bandying about terms like spam email. Go fuck yourself! I didn’t ask for your email, so either you signed up for this and forgot or someone signed up on your behalf. Either way I spend my days helping authors who genuinely need and ask for my help, and then I get this abuse from you? I don’t think so. Consider your email address now blocked!
Oh! Wow! I didn’t see that coming 🙂
I advise you to think long and hard before using such a company. If they are genuine, which I doubt, I’m sure they would not email in such a foul-mouthed manner.
I’m sure they would carry testimonials from “real people. I’m sure they would have contact details, location etc They have nothing – just assertions and claims.
There we have it shown above. Meet the Black Sun team! But no details, no names, no photos!
“Very strange,” said Alice.
Last word from someone I don’t know who had this to say about Black Sun on the Kboards forum, a forum Black Sun do not seem to belong. I wonder why?
For a new take on book review scams using Facebook, you may wish to read this post.