Maybe you're sitting there saying, "Duh!" I know that. But I thought it was important to talk about this for a moment because we authors can be a trusting bunch. In our eagerness to tell the world about our books, we might overlook or try to ignore a little nagging thing.
There are many companies out there who will charge you a great deal of money to help you market your book. Working in online book promotion, I realize that services have their price. People's time is worth something, and you shouldn't be too fast to give away your expertise. That said, I am all for doing as much as you can for free before paying someone else. In addition, if you decide to pay someone to help you market your book, you need to know what you're getting into.
Last week I received an email from a group about their marketing services. They are running a sale on some of their popular services: book reviews (which I never believe in paying for anyway), video trailers, press releases, and website design and promotion. Their prices didn't make me swallow my gum or anything, but I counted a total of 17 typographical and grammar errors in the message. This is who I am going to send almost $150 to so they can write up a press release and submit it?
Before plunking down your hard-earned cash for any service, here are some things to do:
- Print or create a list of the services you're interested in and the fee schedule. Share this with experienced writing friends to get their input.
- Contact the company and ask for recommendations. Don't let them say they have testimonials on their website. You want to talk to or correspond with at least 3 people who have used their services in the past. Questions to ask can range from: "Were you happy with their services?" to "Did you have any problems with them, and if so, were they resolved to your satisfaction?" to " "Would you use them again?"
- Before signing up, be sure you need everything they are selling you. It's easy to be talked into a larger package with a higher price tag. I know it's happened to me with landscaping or other home services.