I've been mulling over whether or not to write this post for a couple of weeks. And to be honest even as I am writing it I'm wondering if I should name the website that really got up my nose. I'm still not sure, but as this is another we'll just have to wait and see if I spill all the beans. Before getting to the nitty gritty of this post, I first want to say that I fully understand that websites, and in particular ones that have a great deal of new content, want to make a bit of money, time is money of course. However there are ways and means of doing this. ones that don't just smell of wrongness. So what has got my goat up?
A couple of weeks ago I came across this via a link on twitter
"For a reasonable fee of £20, I will feature your book on my blog, interview you all about your book and share on my extensive social media networks. PLUS: I’ll email you a cool badge for your own blog. This lets your own readers know your book has been featured on this popular blog."
This really really got my back, not because I thought "hey I've missed a trick", but because in my honest opinion this is just wrong on so many levels. This just smells of the same shit that paying review sites for a review. As soon as money becomes directly involved with a service all sense of objectivity is lost. By accepting payment the owner of this site is now obliged to post the interview and promote your book regardless of the quality of the book or even the interview. I as an interviewer take great pride in my interviews, they are done out of passion, the thought of charging any money for the interview just makes me feel sick.
Interviews should be free, a good quality interview will drive traffic to your site, and spread the word of he author. Use this along with adverts on your site and links to Amazon to generate sales.
I've had a look at their interviews, and for £20, I would expect a hell of a lot more than some generic Q and A that show no originality or thought. The ones I read made me weep. I sweat blood and tears over my interviews, hell I was up at 4am this morning just trying to get an interview written before the kids got up.
I also feel that if you are going to charge for this service your site better look professional, and not like the kindergarten mess that the site looks like. Pastel colours, comic sans fonts, and cutesy graphics that even the most girly of girls would cringe at do not make for a professional looking site.
There is also another part of this, this site is wanting you the author to pay for the privilege of filling in a generic interview that will be read by 12,000 followers, but you also get a cool badge to put on your site. A COOL BADGE, wait a minute! Back it up a little bit. I not only have to pay for the interview, but you also expect me to then advertise your site on mine with one of your cutesy artsy crafty badges. I don't think so. You want me to pay you to advertise your site, do I look stupid?
You make it sound as though the badge is a cool thing, it's not. I stopped wearing badges when I left school. And I sure as hell won't be adding your badge to my site?
"Many blogs will ‘feature’ your book with a link to Amazon, which is fabulous, but I believe it is important to give readers a real incentive to buy your book and not just ‘sponsor’ a book for a fee."
Damn right, many blogs will feature your book with links to Amazon, but what they won't do is charge you for the privilege. Stop making it out to sound as though your hard earned £20 is suddenly going to get you more readers. This site is not doing you any favours at all, none whatsoever. All it is doing is making her money.
If you are that desperate I could give you a list of dozens of sites that will do this for free, you do not need to pay for this. The site also states that they are interested in any genre.
I'll let you in on a big secret, 99% of book readers won't pick up a book that is outside of their preferred genre. Especially when it comes to non horror readers, that's why there are no horror books or urban fantasy, and very little fantasy and science fiction on the bookshelves of supermarkets.
The readership of this site will most likely not be interested in your book. If that's the case you may as well just piss the money down the drain.
No I realise that this may sound like sour grapes, it's not I can assure you of that, this is coming from my love of the genre, and I hate to see people getting ripped off. It makes me angry, even angrier than review sites who refuse to cross post onto places like Amazon and Goodreads, but that's a rant for next week.