Last month, I attended a webinar that claimed it would help writers learn how to use Amazon to write, publish, and market their books, with a teaser promising the facilitators knew the secret to making a living as a writer. It was free, so I figured, Why not? This industry, like so many others, evolves constantly, so you have to seek ways to continually educate yourself on the latest changes, processes, and trends. Oh, and if someone has tips to help me sell more books, I’m always game.
Today, I’m sharing with you what I learned at that webinar. Ready? Here is my running commentary:
7:00 p.m., Eastern time zone – The webinar starts. Three guys. Two writers plus a facilitator. By 7:10, I’d learned that I’m wonderful because I joined the webinar, and the two guys bringing us the webinar are also wonderful and here are their best-selling books, in case I want to buy them. I am fading fast, but determined to hang on a little longer, especially when they flash their Amazon earnings on the screen, and the bottom line is a whopping $9,000 – in one month. Okay, you have my attention now.
Quick caveat from these spectacular authors: Don’t tell anyone about this webinar. Keep it confidential. Because, you know, I didn’t find out about it via a tweet that had been tweeted a dozen times? My Scam Alert sensors just went off. But I shall carry on…
7:14 – A bunch of facts about Amazon flash on the screen, including a note that the company has 200 million credit cards on file. I’m now contemplating changing my career path to web hacker.
7:15 – The age-old argument as to why self-publishing is better than traditional. Although they only have one argument to that respect: 70% royalties. Okay, sure, fair argument, except this argument is not why I signed up, dude. How do I make those royalties? At least with my publisher I have guaranteed help with editing, creating gorgeous covers, formatting, uploading, and telling the world about my book. But I digress…
7:16 – Holy shit, Amazon takes care of EVERYTHING?? You just have to write the book, upload it, and then kick back and collect royalties. This is a hands-off industry. Sit back and watch your bank account grow.
There’s the secret, folks. Boom.
Side note: It’s pronounced neesh. Neesh, not nitch. Good God, I can hardly stand to listen, as that mispronounced word is one of this guy’s favorites, and I want to gouge his eyeballs out every third word at this point.
7:21 – Finally, a legitimate piece of advice! Research key words. Figure out which books in your genre are selling, and check out the key words they use. Then apply to your own. Boom. Sales. (Okay, yeah, I don’t really believe it’s that easy, but I will give these yahoos credit for recognizing that one small factor in this never-ending attempt at finding readers.)
7:23 – That bit of advice is immediately followed by this one: If your book isn’t selling, change the title and cover and re-upload. Keep doing this until it affects sales.
This is so utterly ludicrous I cannot even formulate an argument against it. And really, I feel confident you are intelligent enough that I don’t need to.
7:25 – Amazon Marketplace provides something called “Instant Market Research.” This actually sounds like another legitimate bit of information, but my brain has begun to fog (and I’ve started drinking heavily), so I missed it. I make a mental note to investigate this further at a later date. (I still haven’t, FYI. No doubt explains why my bank account is not yet increasing by six figures every single month. Or maybe that’s my wine habit. Hard to say.)
More fucking nitch. I am now fantasizing about reaching through the computer screen and grabbing this guy by the front of his shirt and screaming in his face, “NEESH, goddamn it!”
7:27 – Maybe I should stop fantasizing about doing bodily harm, as I just missed something about reviews. Although I cannot imagine he said anything I haven’t heard before. Reviews are important. We all need them. Commence begging and thanking. Unless of course he said they aren’t important at all. Which wouldn’t surprise me at this point. Thank God this thing is half over. I’ve stopped preparing dinner so I can listen, and while I question my own intelligence to that respect, I am morbidly fascinated and curious to see how this thing is going to end.
7:28 – I knew I kept listening for a reason! Cover. It’s all about covers. Readers are cover whores, and we should all look at the bestselling books in our preferred genre and steal their cover ideas.
7:31 – The “suggested reading” section of Amazon works. Okay, I already know this, dumbass, since I’m one of those readers who endlessly adds to my TBR by one-clicking those awesome covers. What I really want to know is: How do I get my book into that “suggested reading” section??? But of course they aren’t going to tell me that. My dinner is waiting and I’ve had far too much wine, but I’m hanging on. Maybe, just maybe I’ll hear something useful.
7:33 – Amazon is awesome because they buy ads on Facebook and Google. Okay, great, but how do I convince Amazon to use MY book in those ads? What the hell was the purpose of this webinar again?
7:35 – Back to passive publishing. Making money just happens, once you’ve uploaded your books to Amazon. Shit, I’ve been doing it wrong all these years. No wonder I still have a day job. Son of a bitch.
7:35 – Can’t help but laugh at the rip off of the Staples Easy Button. Surely that’s trademarked? Next they’re going to tell us it’s okay to use song lyrics in books.
7:36 – “There are billions of ways for readers to find your books.” Um… Okay. Thanks for that.
7:38 – You can double your royalties by using Createspace to create a paperback version of your book. Um, been there, done that, buddy. People are still buying the e-book version because it’s $2.99, and the paperback is $12.99. Any other sage advice? No, I’m sorry, nitch advice. My bad.
7:42 – Just format your book, put together a shitty cover (okay, no, he didn’t say shitty), and press send. Then, once again, kick back and watch your royalties grow. It will only use up about 45 minutes of your life, and presto, your book will instantly start selling. Easy-peasy.
My question: How are these yahoos making six figures a month?
7:43 – Oh, and that new paperback book? It only needs to be ten thousand words. That’s the “perfect size” for a paperback book.
Where’s the fork? I’m going through the screen. Oh wait – and there it is. Nitch. Goddamn it… Okay, seventeen more minutes. I can hang on that long. At this point, I have to know how this shit is gonna end.
7:51 – Expanded distribution. Something Amazon used to charge for, but now offers for free. Apparently this gets your paperbacks into other bookstores and libraries. Sounds cool on the surface, although I have my doubts that Amazon’s competition relishes putting its books on their shelves.
7:56 – I am now full-blown hangry. Self-publishing is a “hands off, low stress” endeavor? I call bullshit. And if he says nitch one more time…
7:57 – “Amazon is bending over backwards to help YOU get your book published.” Of course they are. They make a ton of money on us. Way more than six figures a month. Give me something the entire world doesn’t know, dude.
8:03 – What the hell? Why isn’t this shit over? Oh, wait, now they’re talking about students. Their students. I feel a hard sell coming… Must. Hang. On. And drink more wine.
8:04 – I really hope I get to do a survey. This is the only reason I’m still hanging on. Oh, and curiosity as to what they’re about to sell to me.
8:05 – Here’s the hard sell…
8:06 – EVERY SINGLE BOOK will make profits for you. And you do NOTHING. Hot damn, sign me up!
8:07 – OMG, the buildup is killing me. At least he hasn’t said nitch in the last ten minutes.
8:08 – Still selling themselves.
8:09 – They have secret software! Um…
8:09 – This secret software will help you create BEST SELLING COVERS! (Wait – I thought we were supposed to steal bestselling authors’ covers?)
8:11 – Just get to the price already. That’s all I care about at this point. I want to know how obscene it is. Apparently, even more than I want to eat.
8:12 – They virtually guarantee your books will be top ten best sellers. Every. Single. Book. Stress on virtually. At least he’s saying that word correctly. I’ve momentarily switched from hangry to amused.
8:12 – Maybe I should steal their ideas to make my millions. I mean, they practically invited me to do it.
8:13 – Oh, oh, here we go… It’s like that elusive orgasm… Come on, baby…
8:14 – $497. I feel so let down. Hell, I don’t even know what $497 gets you at this point, and frankly, I don’t care. I’m so done with this fabulous webinar. It is time to eat.
8:14 – Oh wait – THE OFFER GETS BETTER!
8:15 – THE FIRST TWENTY PEOPLE!
8:16 – Oh my God. The first twenty people who sign up get promoted in these guys’ private Facebook group. By the way, they fail to mention how many people are members of said private group, and what sort of people they are (Other authors looking to make a buck? Readers who happen to love every single genre ever written? Their entire extended families? Members purchased through one of those “buy ten million Facebook likes” scams?). Still, I have an urge to pen a 10,000 word dinosaur porn short, pay the money, and then hand it over. The image in my head makes me laugh. Which is good, because the other option is not healthy, for any of us. Even the dinosaur.
8:17 – Another bonus! Guess what else they’ll do for you? Get your book set up on Createspace – free!
Because Createspace isn’t already… free?
8:19 – Don’t take their word for how wonderful they are. Here are some amazingly eloquently written positive reviews. Why am I still listening?
8:23 – Now they are talking about the thousands of book sales we are losing by not signing up. Why am I still here? If this was my day job, they would have had a hard stop at 8:00. The one positive when comparing author scammers to the corporate world, I suppose. Wait, the one positive?
8:26 – These guys are going to be the antagonists in my next book. Which may or may not generate six figures every month.
8:27 – Computer – off. Wine – in hand. Dinner – coming together. Brain cells – slowly returning.
While my initial reaction was to finish with, “That was one hour and twenty-seven minutes of my life that I will never get back,” honestly, I did get something out of it. I wrote this blog post.
Tami Lund blogs. And she writes. Wanna know more? Click HERE. Just don’t tell anybody. No, wait, tell everybody!