Author Topic: Box set scams on Passive Voice  (Read 131294 times)  

Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
« Reply #425 on: May 01, 2017, 06:18:11 pm »
Mods - does the issue surrounding paying for services as Friends and Family need its own thread or can it be discussed here?

There appears to be a twitter account tweeting screen shots and a discussion with PayPal about the F&F issue but I don't want to post a link and hijack this conversation, although it's kind of tied in as its how some authors are paying to opt in to a boxed set.

Give us a sec to confer and agree. :D
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    Offline ChristinaGarner

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #426 on: May 01, 2017, 06:31:15 pm »

    If you do not have the money to have a contract vetted by a lawyer, then you don't have the money to sign the contract. It's as simple as that. The courts do not consider stupidity a valid defense.


    This is such a great point. If I'd not been so foolish, I'd have saved myself a world of hurt.

    Offline Nicholas Erik

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #427 on: May 01, 2017, 06:57:13 pm »
    I'd like to draw an important distinction here about gifting copies. Gifting them is one thing, and anyone can make a decision what they are comfortable with. Incentivizing people to claim said gifted book (instead of converting it into a gift card) with an entry into a drawing for a higher denomination Amazon gift card is a whole other thing. (This is how GenreCrave's Book Blast works--there is a FB group with 5k+ plus people who do exactly that.) Similarly, promising to add money to the advertising budget of a box set in exchange for buying a copy of a solo title is verboten. (And really tacky.)

    This is a post back from around p.5/6 (probably p.10/11 for those with standard 25 posts per page settings). I understand that most people are discussing the box sets, but a lot of Kboarders use the Book Blast, too (and it's expensive). And as someone who has used the Book Blast/Mega Book Blast six times over the past year or so, this is extremely troubling.

    Can you (or anyone else) expand on how the Book Blast works? Given its popularity, some extra insight would be great. I'm a little unclear as to what's happening with the gifting. The order page talks about how the method is secret (bolding mine):

    Quote
    This is not a newsletter feature. This is a direct marketing campaign. We have various segments of readers on social media who have signed up for us to send them a message if we find a book we think they might like. Our book blast covers a send to the three best-fitting segments of readers we have. We do not give out information about our readers or about our segments, as this is one of the most effective services for new releases and our secret business model...Please note: There is no way to view a Book Blast because that is done via a direct marketing campaign.

    This wording suggests, to me, posting in private Facebook groups, FB ads, maybe some Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram, whatever, stuff. E.g. the secret sauce is just marketing hype - fairly standard promotion, just access to the GenreCrave platform/readers. Whatever, fine - punch up and differentiate your services with great copy. But the gifting thing is an altogether different animal - and while, perhaps "secret" and unique, is not what I signed up for at all.

    To be 100% clear, Rebecca and her staff have always been fair and courteous to me, even rescheduling blasts/waiting on my book link until the wee hours of the morning. But if the Blasts are fueled by gifting, it makes the sales useless for sell-through/also-bought purposes (which is the main reason I booked them - since the upfront ROI has always been highly negative). Looking over the results from each run in light of Christina's post, the sales distribution make a lot more sense (e.g. all in one day and then absolutely zero tail - like 150 to 3). I just had a Mega Blast on 4/29 (scheduled weeks before this whole thing broke) that fit this exact pattern. No other service just totally craters with a 95%+ drop.

    Whether other authors want to play in the gray areas of the TOS isn't my concern. Everyone can choose the level of risk they're comfortable with. This behavior strikes me as something Amazon would raise an eyebrow at, but that doesn't matter - I'm not a lawyer or contract expert. However, I personally have zero interest in risking my account for any reason - especially not for a promo service.

    Nick
    « Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 07:11:18 pm by Nicholas Erik »

    Offline Randall Wood

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #428 on: May 01, 2017, 07:00:27 pm »
    Mods - does the issue surrounding paying for services as Friends and Family need its own thread or can it be discussed here?

    There appears to be a twitter account tweeting screen shots and a discussion with PayPal about the F&F issue but I don't want to post a link and hijack this conversation, although it's kind of tied in as its how some authors are paying to opt in to a boxed set.

    I'd say its more than kind-of tied to it. The same Paypal issues in the twitter feed are discussed at the same website that originated this thread. I see several red flags that connect with the current topic of contracts, payment, taxes and business ethics.

    Offline Betsy the Quilter

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #429 on: May 01, 2017, 07:07:24 pm »
    Mods - does the issue surrounding paying for services as Friends and Family need its own thread or can it be discussed here?

    There appears to be a twitter account tweeting screen shots and a discussion with PayPal about the F&F issue but I don't want to post a link and hijack this conversation, although it's kind of tied in as its how some authors are paying to opt in to a boxed set.

    I'd say its more than kind-of tied to it. The same Paypal issues in the twitter feed are discussed at the same website that originated this thread. I see several red flags that connect with the current topic of contracts, payment, taxes and business ethics.

    It depends on whether AliceW wants to have a broader discussion on the issues of using Family & Friends, separate from this thread or specifically wants to address the use of it in the instances described on Passive Voice.  Alice?

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    Offline AllyWho

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #430 on: May 01, 2017, 07:12:59 pm »
    Can you (or anyone else) expand on how the Book Blast works? Given its popularity, some extra insight would be great. I'm a little unclear as to what's happening with the gifting.

    My understanding is that the GenreCave promotions work in a couple of different ways. Disclaimer, I am not Rebecca, I don't run an author services business and I am relaying what I have heard or seen in the groups.

    While Rebecca states she has a newsletter list of over 250,000 subscribers, they don't get notifications of GC promotions (which I find odd, but then I don't run a promotions service so maybe not using such a large newsletter list is common?). Instead there is a top secret group where GC promotions are posted. There is a reason KU titles are preferred, because many people in the secret group have KU subscriptions. Promoted KU titles are easy, group members are incentivised to download the promoted copy. Paste a screen shot that you have downloaded the book and go in the draw to win a prize (usually a gift voucher).
    Non-KU/99 cent titles operate similar, but the promotion price is used to either gift a copy within the group (same deal, gift must be redeemed to affect authors rank, post a screen shot to enter the draw) or the organiser pays people to buy the book and reimburses in some way.

    I have heard anecdotally (from grumbling authors) that for KU titles there is a rank spike (from the download) but very few pages read, since people download to enter a draw, not to actually read the book.

    I no longer belong to those groups, maybe someone who does can provide more information/screen shots if required?

    Offline AllyWho

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #431 on: May 01, 2017, 07:15:07 pm »
    It depends on whether AliceW wants to have a broader discussion on the issues of using Family & Friends, separate from this thread or specifically wants to address the use of it in the instances described on Passive Voice.  Alice?

    I think there is a much broader topic about using F&F to pay for a range of services and it might be a worthwhile discussion about when to use it, tax implications etc that is way past the scope of the boxed set issue. I'm happy to start a new topic to talk about F&F in general terms?

    Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #432 on: May 01, 2017, 07:18:30 pm »
    In the last few days the whole family and friends thing is being talked about in a bunch of places and it has a lot of moving parts beyond just boxed sets. A separate thread might be best so even Ann of Arlington can point us in the direction of good resources.

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    « Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 07:24:23 pm by Betsy the Quilter »


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    Offline Betsy the Quilter

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #433 on: May 01, 2017, 07:19:24 pm »
    I think there is a much broader topic about using F&F to pay for a range of services and it might be a worthwhile discussion about when to use it, tax implications etc that is way past the scope of the boxed set issue. I'm happy to start a new topic to talk about F&F in general terms?

    That would be fine, thanks for checking.

    Folks, this doesn't mean that the Paypal payment issues can't be discussed here in terms of how it was used in these box set contracts, but a broader discussion of how to use Paypal correctly as a consumer and provider is certainly a topic worth having a separate thread here.  If it goes well and stays civil and informative, I could see it being a valuable resource.

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #434 on: May 01, 2017, 07:25:46 pm »
    My understanding is that the GenreCave promotions work in a couple of different ways. Disclaimer, I am not Rebecca, I don't run an author services business and I am relaying what I have heard or seen in the groups.

    While Rebecca states she has a newsletter list of over 250,000 subscribers, they don't get notifications of GC promotions (which I find odd, but then I don't run a promotions service so maybe not using such a large newsletter list is common?). Instead there is a top secret group where GC promotions are posted. There is a reason KU titles are preferred, because many people in the secret group have KU subscriptions. Promoted KU titles are easy, group members are incentivised to download the promoted copy. Paste a screen shot that you have downloaded the book and go in the draw to win a prize (usually a gift voucher).
    Non-KU/99 cent titles operate similar, but the promotion price is used to either gift a copy within the group (same deal, gift must be redeemed to affect authors rank, post a screen shot to enter the draw) or the organiser pays people to buy the book and reimburses in some way.

    I have heard anecdotally (from grumbling authors) that for KU titles there is a rank spike (from the download) but very few pages read, since people download to enter a draw, not to actually read the book.
    This is how it works, but I was never told how the secret sauce inside her secret group worked. Whether I got KU downloads or not, I don't know. I didn't get any sales. I stacked promos and could see the buys from those. If I had known I was paying $300 for what amounts to a click farm, I never would have got involved.
    This post remains on KBoards over my objections.

    Offline MyraScott

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #435 on: May 01, 2017, 07:27:56 pm »
    This wording suggests, to me, posting in private Facebook groups, FB ads, maybe some Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram, whatever, stuff. E.g. the secret sauce is just marketing hype - fairly standard promotion, just access to the GenreCrave platform/readers. Whatever, fine - punch up and differentiate your services with great copy. But the gifting thing is an altogether different animal - and while, perhaps "secret" and unique, is not what I signed up for at all.

    To be 100% clear, Rebecca and her staff have always been fair and courteous to me, even rescheduling blasts/waiting on my book link until the wee hours of the morning. But if the Blasts are fueled by gifting, it makes the sales useless for sell-through/also-bought purposes (which is the main reason I booked them - since the upfront ROI has always been highly negative). Looking over the results from each run in light of Christina's post, the sales distribution make a lot more sense (e.g. all in one day and then absolutely zero tail - like 150 to 3). I just had a Mega Blast on 4/29 (scheduled weeks before this whole thing broke) that fit this exact pattern. No other service just totally craters with a 95%+ drop.

    Whether other authors want to play in the gray areas of the TOS isn't my concern. Everyone can choose the level of risk they're comfortable with. This behavior strikes me as something Amazon would raise an eyebrow at, but that doesn't matter - I'm not a lawyer or contract expert. However, I personally have zero interest in risking my account for any reason - especially not for a promo service.

    Nick

    I believe those promotions are all about gifting and raffles, not about finding readers for your book.  I don't use the service, but that is my understanding from people who do use it.

    This might be interesting reading:   https://www.docdroid.net/ZPzHGk5/she-tells-all-new-release-plan-for-twitter.pdf.html#page=4
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    Offline jaehaerys

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #436 on: May 01, 2017, 07:29:38 pm »
    The issue is not whether there were 10,000 or 1,000 or 500 copies gifted to hit the NYTs list. The issue is using gift cards or gifting to make enough sales to hit the list.

    Whether it's 500 or 5,000 or 50,000, it's the principle of the thing, not the number.

    It's one thing to run a giveaway to publicize the release, and gift a few copies as a way to spread the word about a new release. That's a normal part of marketing. Free samples and all in Walmart.

    It's an entirely different kettle of fish to buy gift cards or gift copies in bulk / large numbers that are intended to ensure the book or collection qualifies for USAT or NYTs.

    That's not kosher. It's buying your way onto the list vs. getting the designation via actual customers/readers buying it out of their own free will.

    The whole issue of a bestseller's list is to promote or inform people about what books are selling the best in a given week. It's supposed to say "These books are the best selling books this week."

    It is not meant to say "These authors bought enough copies of their own books in order to be the top selling books this week."

    If people can't see the difference, well, I got nothing.


    I just wanted to say, well said, Sela - completely agree. For me, "the principle of the thing" is the crux of this issue.


    Offline Nicholas Erik

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #437 on: May 01, 2017, 07:58:09 pm »
    I believe those promotions are all about gifting and raffles, not about finding readers for your book.  I don't use the service, but that is my understanding from people who do use it.

    This might be interesting reading:   https://www.docdroid.net/ZPzHGk5/she-tells-all-new-release-plan-for-twitter.pdf.html#page=4
    This is how it works, but I was never told how the secret sauce inside her secret group worked. Whether I got KU downloads or not, I don't know. I didn't get any sales. I stacked promos and could see the buys from those. If I had known I was paying $300 for what amounts to a click farm, I never would have got involved.

    My understanding is that the GenreCave promotions work in a couple of different ways. Disclaimer, I am not Rebecca, I don't run an author services business and I am relaying what I have heard or seen in the groups.

    While Rebecca states she has a newsletter list of over 250,000 subscribers, they don't get notifications of GC promotions (which I find odd, but then I don't run a promotions service so maybe not using such a large newsletter list is common?). Instead there is a top secret group where GC promotions are posted. There is a reason KU titles are preferred, because many people in the secret group have KU subscriptions. Promoted KU titles are easy, group members are incentivised to download the promoted copy. Paste a screen shot that you have downloaded the book and go in the draw to win a prize (usually a gift voucher).
    Non-KU/99 cent titles operate similar, but the promotion price is used to either gift a copy within the group (same deal, gift must be redeemed to affect authors rank, post a screen shot to enter the draw) or the organiser pays people to buy the book and reimburses in some way.

    I have heard anecdotally (from grumbling authors) that for KU titles there is a rank spike (from the download) but very few pages read, since people download to enter a draw, not to actually read the book.

    I no longer belong to those groups, maybe someone who does can provide more information/screen shots if required?

    Thanks for the responses. I'm really at a loss for words. On the one hand, I now fully understand why the tail numbers looked off with the Book Blasts as I got more data. On the other hand, that's super lame to discover after spending $1,500+. The money is one thing, but I'm more concerned about unknowingly being associated with this type of gifting behavior. I am never using any of GenreCrave's services again.

    To anyone who purchased a Book Blast based on my recommendation in my launch services thread, I sincerely apologize. Obviously I had no idea about the "secret" behind them, but that still sucks. That thread has been updated accordingly. Ridiculous.

    Nick

    Offline ChristinaGarner

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #438 on: May 01, 2017, 08:02:29 pm »
    This is a post back from around p.5/6 (probably p.10/11 for those with standard 25 posts per page settings). I understand that most people are discussing the box sets, but a lot of Kboarders use the Book Blast, too (and it's expensive). And as someone who has used the Book Blast/Mega Book Blast six times over the past year or so, this is extremely troubling.

    Can you (or anyone else) expand on how the Book Blast works?

    Hi, Nick.

    Yes, to my understanding, the Genre Crave Book Blast is about incentivizing readers to claim your book as a gift. (Which will then show to you as a sale.)

    The process is outlined on the weebly site others have linked to in this thread but here's the basics:

    There's a private FB group with about 5.6k people in it called Book Giveaways: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1627459970853706/ (there may be others; I don't know.)

    Author pays $200+ for a Genre Crave Book Blast
    On the day, the book is listed as free--available for claiming as a gift--and if they do, they'll be entered to win a gift card. (Rick is brought up that this is against the law in some states, just FYI.)
    Obviously, the more "segments" you pay for your blast, the more money available to buy gifts, the bigger the impact on your rank.

    So, you spend $200. She pays her assistant, say, $25 to handle the giveaway. (I'm guessing the amount--I don't know, I just know she has her assistant do them.) I've been told the gift card is also $25. (Haven't seen proof yet so can't say for sure). For your $200 you'll probably make about $35 in royalties, and b/c folks were incentivized to download the "gifted" book, many are likely not readers, which means little to no sell through.

    I have had 2 blasts and neither led to follow up sales. And, like you said, the drop off is steep--b/c the "giveaway" only runs one day.

    In her "tell all course" (excerpts are on the weebly site) she says this is her super secret way to sky rocket a launch and goes into detail about it.

    The problem with offering this as a service is that anyone using the book blast is playing roulette with their Amazon account. I was told in no uncertain terms that they view this as rank manipulation and that the author is solely responsible for choosing providers that say w/in their TOS.

    « Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 08:06:26 pm by ChristinaGarner »

    Offline CABarrett

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #439 on: May 01, 2017, 08:05:58 pm »
    That's not kosher. It's buying your way onto the list vs. getting the designation via actual customers/readers buying it out of their own free will.

    The whole issue of a bestseller's list is to promote or inform people about what books are selling the best in a given week. It's supposed to say "These books are the best selling books this week."

    It is not meant to say "These authors bought enough copies of their own books in order to be the top selling books this week."

    If people can't see the difference, well, I got nothing.

    This reminds me of the 2013 scandal involving ResultsSource and the bestseller lists. No statement is intended about any of the book marketers currently under discussion (I don't have any knowledge other than this thread), but I thought it was interesting that this same argument has occurred about traditionally published print books.
    « Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 08:12:13 pm by CABarrett »

    Offline wheart

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #440 on: May 01, 2017, 08:06:43 pm »
    There was a Google sign up form that required the transaction ID for the money sent. (Again, this is before the contract)

    I would never send payment without getting the contract first. We never know if the contract may state things not discussed that we can't agree to.

    In my case, I never received a contract for the Spellbound set, however I did receive one for Myths and Legends, and I e-signed. Here's where the no refund policy goes awry.

    We all know that in December two of Rebecca's sets got taken down by Amazon for violating the exclusivity rule. At the time she was adamant it was a new rule, however we also know it had been present in the terms since at least 9/30/16. (Possibly before, but my memory fails.) So, either she drafted contracts while ignorant of a standing rule or in defiance of it--you can decide for yourself.

    If it was present in the terms since September, why didn't anyone bring it up in the group? Did everyone else not know about this rule as well? If nobody knew about it, then it's plausible Rebecca was unaware of it too.

    But this is where everyone needs to do their due diligence, and if you know that the project may be violating the TOS, the concerns need to be brought up so the organizer is made aware of them to ensure that the project is in line with the TOS. All concerns should be brought up in the Facebook group before anyone signs the contract.

    She then posted we would either need to completely unpublish our works after the first week wide, swap out our full-length novel for something (anything--novella 5k short) else, or withdraw.

    I'm assuming this was the solution that had to be put in place to fix the Amazon TOS issue? This wasn't something that subsequent boxed set projects went through since she (and all the other authors) should have already known what not to do, right?

    And at that time, did she offer a refund to those who wanted to withdraw?

    A month or so later, she said we would have to sign new contracts. The problem with that was, legally, we didn't need to sign them. All four attorneys I consulted agreed that

    a) because the original contract had no language requiring signing a new contract
    b) and because contract 2 (contrary to her claim) differed substantially from contract 1

    the first contract was voidable and could be rescinded. Once that happens, both parties must be made whole. In this case, that would have required her to return my money, and that of anyone who opted not to sign the 2nd contract. She has refused to do so, erroneously claiming the no refund policy. However, it's not a refund.

    I would agree. If the second contract differed that much, you would have the right to refuse to sign it.

    It went from a set "appropriate for all ages" to allowing "super steamy." For YA authors like myself, that was a problem, even though we were soundly shut down. Still, it's a change in terms that was not agreed to by both parties. Unilaterally changing the terms of a contract is another way it becomes (legally) voidable.

    Oh my. That also I would agree with you on. If the original terms had changed that radically, your argument with not being given the service/product that was agreed to is sound.

    I'm still unwilling to condemn Rebecca because I do feel her intention/motivation is to help people. I do feel she needs to re-evaluate the methods in which to provide these services to authors so that it's a win-win for everyone (the authors and herself) without crossing boundaries, even if Amazon's and PayPal's reps have deemed them to be okay, because as we all know, it's better to be safe than sorry.

    Edited - I was writing this post and see there are tons more after Christine's, so I'll need to catch up :D
    « Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 08:08:50 pm by wheart »

    Offline Pnjw

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #441 on: May 01, 2017, 08:13:27 pm »
    I'll just point out that the exclusivity rule has been the rule since the beginning of KDP-Select. This isn't and never was a new rule. You have never been able to have your book available on another vendor while it's been in KDP Select and that includes preorders.

    Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #442 on: May 01, 2017, 08:15:17 pm »
    This reminds me of the 2013 scandal involving ResultsSource and the bestseller lists. No statement is intended about any of the book marketers currently under discussion, but I thought it was interesting that this same argument has occurred about traditionally published print books.


    I worry that examples from what trad pub books get away with though is dangerous because none of us have the muscle they do to protect them. We can't go toe to toe with Amazon if Amazon decides to close our account.

    Some changes I have noticed since many of the gray hat tactics have been circulating in the last year plus from multiple organizers and promoters is that we are now responsible for the results of promotions we buy. That was never language I saw in emails from the Zon until just the last year or so.

    So by delegating your marketing to a third party in any shape that you don't fully understand is a risk. Marketing isnt magic, so like has been mentioned before, if there's not a mailing list you can join to see and use, run. We all still agree Bookbub is one of the best promotions you can get and any one of us can get our genres email newsletter any day of the week to see how it works. There's no real proprietary secret sauce in marketing unless you need to hide what's really going on.


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    Offline wheart

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #443 on: May 01, 2017, 08:17:38 pm »
    I'll just point out that the exclusivity rule has been the rule since the beginning of KDP-Select. This isn't and never was a new rule. You have never been able to have your book available on another vendor while it's been in KDP Select and that includes preorders.

    I believe the one that's in question is having an individual title published by the author and also in a boxed set published by someone else (both for sale at the same time). Thus the 'swap out' mentioned in Christine's post. Those who are involved, is this correct?

    Offline CassieL

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #444 on: May 01, 2017, 08:19:49 pm »
    There have been various iterations.

    Early on there was the pre-order wide while all the books were in KU scenario.
    Later there was the start the set with one group of titles and then swap them out for other titles scenario.

    8 Pen Names. Genres: Non-fiction, Speculative Fiction, Romance.

    Offline CABarrett

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #445 on: May 01, 2017, 08:23:24 pm »
    I worry that examples from what trad pub books get away with though is dangerous because none of us have the muscle they do to protect them. We can't go toe to toe with Amazon if Amazon decides to close our account...

    I am in complete agreement that this is terrifying stuff.  :o

    Offline Pnjw

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #446 on: May 01, 2017, 08:23:51 pm »
    I believe the one that's in question is having an individual title published by the author and also in a boxed set (both for sale at the same time). Thus the 'swap out' mentioned in Christine's post. Those who are involved, is this correct?

    Ahh, okay. Yes, that is new. I believe Amazon started enforcing that right around Christmas last year.

    Offline ChristinaGarner

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #447 on: May 01, 2017, 08:25:34 pm »

    Also there are many others involved who are affected with us breaking our commitment to the contract/project (ex: the other authors in the project, the book cover designer, the content designer/formatter, etc.), not only the organizer, especially if a certain budget was set for ad expenses and new expenses would be incurred since the book cover would need to be redone, reformatting the book's contents to take out the canceling author's story, etc.


    I forgot to address this in my previous response, and I'd like to. I agree there are a lot of authors involved--each is impacted by the actions and ethics of their fellow authors in the set and the organizer.

    In may case, I was kicked out of the Spellbound box set. I found out when Rebecca posted that I'd dropped out. (I hadn't at that point, but that's beside the point.)

    She announced that she wasn't sure if I was donating the spot or "forcing a refund" with PayPal. (I was doing neither, but that too, is beside the point.) Because of that, she wasn't sure if she'd need to charge someone the $500 buy in to cover my "forced refund" or could offer the spot for free.

    Several people offered to pay the buy in. That would have meant she was free and clear to return my money (money owed to me, not as a refund, but because she was not honoring the terms of our original contract as previously stated) and yet, she chose not to. One might ask themselves why, if her primary interest is the authors in the set.

    Also, once it became clear the terms of the box set were going to change so drastically (Having to UNPUBLISH our books to participate? Swapping out full length novels for shorts? {like that's not gonna tick some readers off--and rightfully so} Not to mention, for those, like me, who were going to pull our books out immediately following the wide week in an effort to avoid the other two options, we were now not going to receive nearly the amount of profit or exposure we would have with 3 months in KU) Rebecca could have offered to reshuffle the set. None of the ones I was involved with had even been put on preorder when this all happened.

    If, as she claims, box sets are done by her for free, and she receives zero profit, why not do the right thing and offer to return the money of those who no longer felt it was a good fit? I suspect she could have filled the spots, because for many it was still a fine trade, but even she couldn't--why not offer? If there's no profit, (and in the case of my 3 sets, ads had not been booked) what's the difference if, for a month or two, only one box set went live?

    One has to wonder.

    Offline Silly Writer

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #448 on: May 01, 2017, 08:26:32 pm »
    Thanks for the responses. I'm really at a loss for words. On the one hand, I now fully understand why the tail numbers looked off with the Book Blasts as I got more data. On the other hand, that's super lame to discover after spending $1,500+. The money is one thing, but I'm more concerned about unknowingly being associated with this type of gifting behavior. I am never using any of GenreCrave's services again.

    To anyone who purchased a Book Blast based on my recommendation in my launch services thread, I sincerely apologize. Obviously I had no idea about the "secret" behind them, but that still sucks. That thread has been updated accordingly. Ridiculous.

    Nick

    To be fair, how could you have known? I didn't know either a year and a half ago when I booked a book-blast through here when it was "Hungry Author" and the description is pretty much the same as it was; and it doesn't mention gifting (excerpt from website taken one minute ago):

    "BOOK BLAST - $299

    Our Book Blast is our best selling service and often books out solid two-three months in advance. This is not a newsletter feature. This is a direct marketing campaign. We have various segments of readers on social media who have signed up for us to send them a message if we find a book we think they might like. Our book blast covers a send to the three best-fitting segments of readers we have. We do not give out information about our readers or about our segments, as this is one of the most effective services for new releases and our secret business model.

    Titles $2.99-$4.99 have the best immediate ROI, but do not move as many copies or have the same ranking effect as titles priced $0.99. If you are looking to boost your book in ranking, we strongly recommend a $0.99 title. Newer titles perform better than older titles, but users have gotten great results even with titles that have been out for years. We will only perform one book blast per title at this time.

    Book Blasts cannot be cancelled or rescheduled as we begin set up as soon as we receive your order. Our employees spend a lot of time setting up your book blast in the weeks leading up to it, and then they dedicate an entire day to getting you as many sales as they can.

    Our records indicate that most of our clients get 80-400* sales with this blast. Many of our readers are reviewers, too. However, we do not guarantee book reviews or results on any of our packages. All we can do is guarantee our best effort to get you as many sales as possible with our readers. As with our other services, we recommend having a stellar cover and blurb for this feature.

    We also offer a MEGA BOOK BLAST. The Mega Book Blast is for authors looking to make 120 700* sales. Although we cannot guarantee results, your book offer will go out to almost twice as many readers.

    * Average sales based on $0.99 price point and are not a results guarantee. Results occur over the course of 1-2 days.

    Please note: There is no way to view a Book Blast because that is done via a direct marketing campaign. Here is an example of the kind of proof we can provide that you blast ran. There is an extra fee for Proof of Delivery same as most companies have if you want to add tracking to a order youve placed. That said, your results will be clearly measurable by your ranking increase and sales."



    Edited to correct special character issue on KB. --Betsy/KB Mod
    « Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 08:30:33 pm by Betsy the Quilter »

    Offline ChristinaGarner

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    Re: Box set scams on Passive Voice
    « Reply #449 on: May 01, 2017, 08:29:35 pm »
    I believe the one that's in question is having an individual title published by the author and also in a boxed set published by someone else (both for sale at the same time). Thus the 'swap out' mentioned in Christine's post. Those who are involved, is this correct?

    Yes, you're correct. It was present before December but that's when it started being enforced that I am aware of.

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