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Author Topic: Box set scams on Passive Voice  (Read 91426 times)  

Offline Jim Johnson

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #175 on: April 28, 2017, 09:06:07 PM »
Spending money on marketing isn't unethical. Spending money to artificially inflate sales rank is. This ain't rocket science.

Spending money on advertising creates sales, and sales change ranking. I'm missing how that's artificial.

Offline jaehaerys

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #176 on: April 28, 2017, 09:08:10 PM »
I'm aware of that. However, he was grouping -all- marketing into the unethical category. I'm staying out of the gifting/unethical debate and wanted clarification.

Then ask for clarification instead of saying I am grouping "all" marketing into the unethical category. Not my stance. Marketing is necessary, manipulation is not.


Offline Perry Constantine

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #177 on: April 28, 2017, 09:10:37 PM »
Spending money on advertising creates sales, and sales change ranking. I'm missing how that's artificial.

When you buy advertising, you aren't guaranteed sales. What you're guaranteed is eyes on your books. You could spend $10K on advertising and still get zero sales. When you buy your own books in bulk to influence rank, that's artificial manipulation.


Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 11:28:17 AM by Becca Mills »

Offline jaehaerys

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #178 on: April 28, 2017, 09:11:47 PM »
There seems to be a lot of facts being ignored here, but hey, I guess I have my reasons for wanting authors to succeed, and other people have their reasons for ignoring reality. To each their own. Have an awesome night :)

If you want authors to succeed then encourage them to learn craft, write a great story and earn their success honestly.


Offline sela

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #179 on: April 28, 2017, 09:12:47 PM »
There is so much hair-splitting going on this thread.

If a publisher has to buy or gift copies of a book to hit a list, whether it's 50,000 or 5,000 or 500 copies, it's still buying books to hit a list. It's still defeating the purpose of a bestsellers list.

That would be called a bestbuyers list.

Or biggestpockets list.

To have meaning, a bestseller list should be premised on being the best selling books in that time period. As in selling to actual readers. Who choose to buy that book because it is appealing to them.

Not because they are paid to buy it. Or because they are gifted it.

We all know what it's supposed to mean. We know that when the publisher buys those 50,000 copies or 500 copies and it is that which allows them to hit a list, that designation is illegitimate.

It really doesn't matter if the NYTs curates its list. That doesn't justify unethical behaviour.

Offline TheForeverGirlSeries

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #180 on: April 28, 2017, 09:13:42 PM »
Spending money on advertising creates sales, and sales change ranking. I'm missing how that's artificial.
they will just keep moving the goal posts.

First it's that I pocket all the money, ignoring screenshots that show how the money is actually spent.

Then it's that I spend all the money gifting copies, ignoring how long that would take and that gifts only count as sales if that's how reader want to use the gift - not if they exchange for a gift card - and the fact that, considering that there are screenshots on how the money is spent, where is this money coming from to gift thousands of copies, that is somehow happening ALL the time, has been reported to Amazon, and Amazon isn't seeing it on their end.

Then, when that fails, it's that "It shouldn't take that much money and if you're good enough you will list without any marketing at all"

Then it's "It doesn't count if you did it with the help of other authors being in a set with you."

Then it's, "Well, anyone who doesn't agree with me is unethical, and I'm going to quote quotes about ethics while at the same time trying to hide facts from the people I'm intentionally misleading"

And then it just goes back to one of the previous points again.

(PS: Take a look at how the genrecrave marketing group numbers are growing. Despite the vocal few, the majority clearly want to learn the truth for themselves. And don't worry about me. I'm getting more support than I'm getting people buying into this or perpetuating things they know aren't true, and I won't be dissuaded from lifting others up. And think of it this way: if they are busy with me, that's some other author out there who they don't have the time to tear down. I'm taking one for the team and trusting those who don't have malicious intent will look in the group and see the screenshots of the truth. Those are the people I want to be connected with anyway!)

Offline TheForeverGirlSeries

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #181 on: April 28, 2017, 09:15:43 PM »
There is so much hair-splitting going on this thread.

If a publisher has to buy or gift copies of a book to hit a list, whether it's 50,000 or 5,000 or 500 copies, it's still buying books to hit a list. It's still defeating the purpose of a bestsellers list.

That would be called a bestbuyers list.

Or biggestpockets list.

To have meaning, a bestseller list should be premised on being the best selling books in that time period. As in selling to actual readers. Who choose to buy that book because it is appealing to them.

Not because they are paid to buy it. Or because they are gifted it.

We all know what it's supposed to mean. We know that when the publisher buys those 50,000 copies or 500 copies and it is that which allows them to hit a list, that designation is illegitimate.

It really doesn't matter if the NYTs curates its list. That doesn't justify unethical behaviour.

NOTHING justifies unethical behavior. There's a different between creating buzz using free books (same way even trad pubs do) and gifting your way onto a list (which NO ONE has said is ethical.) What's NOT ethical is saying someone who does the former is doing the latter when there's irrefutable evidence that that is not true. But hey, they can take your word for it, take my word for it, or:

1) Call Amazon
2) See screenshots of how those sales are gained for themselves: https://www.facebook.com/groups/976086735798716/


Edited. - Becca

« Last Edit: April 29, 2017, 03:42:17 PM by Betsy the Quilter »

Offline TheForeverGirlSeries

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #182 on: April 28, 2017, 09:19:46 PM »
If you want authors to succeed then encourage them to learn craft, write a great story and earn their success honestly.

PLEASE join my group and see how much I do this. People literally beg me to "just teach me marketing" and time and time again (to their annoyance) I keep saying "No, you need to learn CRAFT *with* that marketing, and I won't teach them just the marketing. I tried recently to start a course like that and was only able to let in about 2-3 people. Take a look around and see for yourself. It actually p*ssed people off that I do this, but I'm super picky about authors learning craft and literally won't take their money if they don't agree to do so. It's ALL OVER THE PLACE in the marketing group.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/976086735798716/

See for yourself :) Or... don't. Your call. But you and I are SO on the same page about the importance of craft!

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #183 on: April 28, 2017, 09:20:30 PM »
All of this is assuming that is what is going on/happening. All we have are unverified rumors that people gifted enough copies to make a list. There's a lot of assumptions in this thread, unfortunately.
Nope. All of that was general musing about how much it helps Author X to be in a giant boxed set.

Offline Holly Dodd

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #184 on: April 28, 2017, 09:20:50 PM »
Then ask for clarification instead of saying I am grouping "all" marketing into the unethical category. Not my stance. Marketing is necessary, manipulation is not.

I did. Your words implied that anyone who doesn't make it big by word of mouth alone was unethical.

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Offline TheForeverGirlSeries

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #185 on: April 28, 2017, 09:21:51 PM »
When you buy advertising, you aren't guaranteed sales. What you're guaranteed is eyes on your books. You could spend $10K on advertising and still get zero sales. When you buy your own books in bulk to influence rank, that's artificial manipulation. You're too smart to play dumb like this, Jim.

First, the money is spent on advertising. Proof is in this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/976086735798716/

Second, gifting copies doesn't guarantee sales. Amazon's own website tells you as much. The reader doesn't have to claim the book. They can get a gift card instead. It doesn't count as a book sale or  toward a bestseller list.

Third, the small number of copies that are SOMETIMES gifted - and not just by sets I run - are not enough to influence rank or sales even if readers DID claim and keep every copy.

Finally, see the first point again. Money is spent on advertising. Proof is in this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/976086735798716/

Offline Jim Johnson

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #186 on: April 28, 2017, 09:23:09 PM »
When you buy advertising, you aren't guaranteed sales. What you're guaranteed is eyes on your books. When you buy your own books in bulk to influence rank, that's artificial manipulation.


Edited. - Becca

But authors buying their own books isn't happening here.

Honestly, I can only speak to the box set I'm in. I haven't seen any of the authors state that they've bought their own book once, much less in bulk. I may have well missed any recent posts, though. I've been writing my ass off lately in between toddler care and day job.

What i have seen are a bunch of passionate writers busting their collective ass promoting the set. They're teaching me a hell of a lot about marketing to the extent that I feel guilty for riding their coattails with my piddly mailing list. I hope I can pay forward what I've learned someday.


Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 11:30:49 AM by Becca Mills »

Offline Perry Constantine

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #187 on: April 28, 2017, 09:24:03 PM »
But authors buying their own books isn't happening here.

Honestly, I can only speak to the box set I'm in. I haven't seen any of the authors state that they've bought their own book once, much less in bulk. I may have well missed any recent posts, though. I've been writing my ass off lately in between toddler care and day job.

What i have seen are a bunch of passionate writers busting their collective ass promoting the set. They're teaching me a hell of a lot about marketing to the extent that I feel guilty for riding their coattails with my piddly mailing list. I hope I can pay forward what I've learned someday.


Edited. - Becca

I'm not selectively ignoring, I'm considering the source of those comments. I know a lot of ethical authors and I'll take their word over others whose reputations are...let's say less than stellar.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 11:31:21 AM by Becca Mills »

Offline Holly Dodd

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #188 on: April 28, 2017, 09:25:11 PM »
Nope. All of that was general musing about how much it helps Author X to be in a giant boxed set.

I think it's personal. I agree that everyone wants to make the list by themselves without spending a lot of money. However, that requires having a pretty big wide audience. I am exclusively in KU. Right now, being in a boxset would help me achieve a goal. I don't have a problem being in the top 200. All of my books cracked the mid-3 figure ranks and that was at full price. My first book only just now fell out of the top 1,000 after 100 days. I'm on track for my first 6-figure year. By monetary guideposts, and rank, I'm a success.

Should I be penalized and denied my dream because I am strictly KU and don't want to go wide? That is my stance and perspective of the whole thing.

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Offline sela

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #189 on: April 28, 2017, 09:25:48 PM »
Giving away free books is fine and dandy. I do it every day because I have permafree books. I've given away several hundred thousand books, in fact, since I started in 2012.

I've gifted books to people as well, now and then. I offer ARCs.

It's one thing to use free books as loss leaders for a series, or purchase a free Bookbub, or give them away for mailing list signups. It's another to use gift copies to count towards sales in a qualifying week so a book or boxed set can hit the NYTs.

I am fine with running a giveaway and gifting copies during a promotion of a new release or sale but if the intent of the gifting is to make the right number on a particular retailer or make the right overall number, that's unethical.

If someone does, it's unethical, whether it's buying 50,000 copies of a print book or gifting 500 copies of an eBook.

Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #190 on: April 28, 2017, 09:26:15 PM »
Did this literally just turn into one big advertisement for potential clients to join her Facebook group?

Brava.


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Offline TheForeverGirlSeries

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #191 on: April 28, 2017, 09:27:21 PM »
Then ask for clarification instead of saying I am grouping "all" marketing into the unethical category. Not my stance. Marketing is necessary, manipulation is not.

Agreed. It sounds like we ALL agree that:

Marketing is good.
Gaming the system is bad.

Where we disagree:

Some of us think facts and truth are good, and spreading rumors is bad.
Some people think that's fine. Or at least, that's how it seems.

Now, as for whether or not gaming is actually going on, easy enough to find out when you join the group and see for yourself, instead of basing opinion on speculation and rumors.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/976086735798716/

If you want to see facts and decide for yourself, you go here > https://www.facebook.com/groups/976086735798716/

If you want to make opinions based on rumors that don't even attempt to hide their effort to mislead and hurt others, then don't go there, because you can't unsee the facts. And once you see them, you either have to choose to accept the truth, or you have to choose to be one of the people who pretends you didn't see it, while misleading others.

For those who care about ethics, I can't understand CHOOSING to mislead others. But I know my transparency can make people uncomfortable sometimes, so I get it if you don't want to see what's ACTUALLY going on for yourself.


Edited. - Becca

« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 10:42:11 PM by Becca Mills »

Offline Perry Constantine

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #192 on: April 28, 2017, 09:27:46 PM »
Did this literally just turn into one big advertisement for potential clients to join her Facebook group?

Brava.

I noticed that the proof is in the FB group, which you have to join to see. And she also bragged about how the membership numbers have been going up.

Offline jaehaerys

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #193 on: April 28, 2017, 09:28:34 PM »
NOTHING justifies unethical behavior. And there's a lot of that going on from you, too, so maybe put the stones down. There's a different between creating buzz using free books (same way even trad pubs do) and gifting your way onto a list (which NO ONE has said is ethical.) What's NOT ethical is saying someone who does the former is doing the latter when there's irrefutable evidence that that is not true. But hey, they can take your word for it, take my word for it, or:

1) Call Amazon
2) See screenshots of how those sales are gained for themselves: https://www.facebook.com/groups/976086735798716/

In the meantime, knowingly misleading people in the way you are is not cool. But it's not hurting anything, so if you need to do that with your life, go for it. Maybe you need that for reasons I don't understand.

Ethical is an individual author "creating buzz" for themselves with a great book that people choose to buy of their own volition.


Offline Jim Johnson

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #194 on: April 28, 2017, 09:28:48 PM »
If you want authors to succeed then encourage them to learn craft, write a great story and earn their success honestly.

I'm guessing you didn't know she teaches a comprehensive master class on writing and marketing with more focus on craft than I've seen in a lot of other classes and workshops.

Offline TheForeverGirlSeries

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #195 on: April 28, 2017, 09:30:14 PM »
I'm not selectively ignoring, I'm considering the source of those comments. I know a lot of ethical authors and I'll take their word over others whose reputations are...let's say less than stellar.

Then definitely DON'T join this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/976086735798716/

If you want to take someone's word over seeing something for yourself and thinking for yourself, that is your right.


Edited. Please, no more accusations of lying, Rebecca. Our forum decorum does not permit this. - Becca

« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 10:44:28 PM by Becca Mills »

Offline fallswriter

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #196 on: April 28, 2017, 09:30:22 PM »
Did this literally just turn into one big advertisement for potential clients to join her Facebook group?

Brava.
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Offline Wayne Stinnett

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #197 on: April 28, 2017, 09:31:42 PM »
In reading many of these posts, it's apparent many don't understand what the word ethics even means. Assume that gifting 1000 copies is in fact allowable under the TOS. It's spelled out in black and white, "You may gift 1000 copies of your book." Doing so isn't unethical. Unethical behavior is intentionally breaking a rule, be that sexual harassment in the workplace, or fart jokes at church. If there's a rule against it and you knowingly ignore the rule, you are unethical. An ethical person knows it isn't right to make an off-color remark to a female coworker about the tightness of her jeans. A moral person wouldn't.

The question then becomes, is buying your way onto one of the BS lists morally acceptable.

My last release, in a new and smaller series debuted at #118 on Amazon. The one before that, in a longer, more popular series, debuted at #96. Before that #183, then the 300s, and 700s, and so on. An email to my subscribers and a Facebook post, plus the new release email from BookBub and Amazon are the only things I use in all my launches. No paid advertising. Only those people who want to pay me for my work get to see it. Period. One day, I will be a New York Times Best Seller. Because people will buy and read my books. Am I jealous of those who took a short-cut? KindleSpy me and find your answer.

In any endeavor there are shortcuts. I once worked in construction and saw first-hand how shortcuts don't work. A ten story condo I was working in pancaked, killing five men and a sixth lost a leg, not diving through a doorway fast enough. There is a right and wrong way to do anything. The right way, and by that, I mean what will give a person like me the most personal satisfaction, the most pride in accomplishment, is to put their shoulder against the wheel and push with everything they have. Even if you come up short, you can hold your head high and say, "I did the best I could."

It is possible to become a top selling author and be an indie. A lot have done so and continue to do so. Starting a marathon, and jumping on the back of the camera motorcycle until it gets a hundred yards from the finish line, then jumping off and running across to garner your accolades can't feel very good. But, that's just the opinion of one man with a very narrow moral compass.
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Offline TheForeverGirlSeries

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #198 on: April 28, 2017, 09:32:06 PM »
Ethical is an individual author "creating buzz" for themselves with a great book that people choose to buy of their own volition.

Got it. You think cross promotion is unethical, but that doesn't apply to say Book Bub promoting your work for you, only if other authors promote work with you. Correct me if I understood that wrong. No one is getting books outside of their own volition, but if your concern is that it's not ethical to cross-promote or collaborate with other authors, then yeah, we're not going to see eye to eye on that, and I'll agree to disagree with you on that one.

Offline Perry Constantine

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #199 on: April 28, 2017, 09:32:24 PM »
Then definitely DON'T join this group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/976086735798716/

If you want to take someone's word over seeing something for yourself and thinking for yourself, that is your right.

Anyone who wants to think for themselves, though, can totally go to that link and SEE the facts. But that may be hard for those who are being misled by authors who they think are ethical, but who are knowingly withholding information from them. I'd feel pretty gutted if I trusted someone like that and then joined a group and saw evidence that those people knew they were lying to me. Some may want to protect themselves from experiencing that feeling. As is their right and completely understandable.

To see that evidence I have to join the group. And you've already used the group's size to justify your actions. So I'd rather not contribute to that. You post that information on a website that can be accessed without joining, I'll gladly view it.

Until then, I'll pass.