The dark side.


I was pecked (!) on twitter last week by a book promotion outfit. They offered help with promoting my book, obviously. It’s the first time I’ve been approached. They said to get in touch if I was interested. I emailed for details because I’m interested in the world of self-publishing and self-promotion. It’s good to know what goes on.

They offered the following:

Amazon, Goodreads or Barnes & Noble Review – £20 / $30 (Verified if the ebook purchase price is included for Amazon reviews) 

Like / Click up to 5 positive Amazon / Goodreads / B&N Reviews as Helpful, and up to 5 Negative Reviews as Unhelpful – £5 / $7.50

Vote your book onto and up on 10 Goodreads Lists – £10 / $15

Vote your book onto and up on 10 Goodreads Shelves – £10 / $15

Get your book rated by 100 separate Goodreads Accounts adding huge credibility to comments of reviewers and your own success as an upcoming Author to look out for – £100 / $150

Have a book review of your choice shared with over 12000 Facebook Followers and over 11000 Twitter Followers – £10 / $15

Multiples of all options are available. It depends only on how far you want your book to go.

There was a good deal of spiel with it. Like I say, it’s nice to know what goes on. And a bit saddening to know that you can quite easily buy yourself some credit, buy your way up the charts. I don’t know why I’m surprised, the principle is nothing new in business – you know: cheating. Maybe because it’s my chosen career path and I’ve just walked round a corner to find it’s strewn with litter.


I’ve learned something new about myself as a writer this week. When I finish the first draft of a book I suddenly become quite exhausted. I hadn’t understood that till this week. I’m the same with teaching. When I get to the first week of the summer holiday I invariably suffer with extreme tiredness. I think it must be to with the handbrake going on on the struggle: the struggle to spoon a story out of my brain on the one hand and the struggle to spoon-feed learning into the brains of young learners on the other. Draining. Yes. Drained is the word I’m looking for. I finish a first draft, I finish a school year and I’m drained. That’s what I learned about me the writer this week.

I finished the first draft of R&M#5 last weekend. Naturally, I’ve felt pretty drained all week. I started back at the beginning almost immediately. But because of my state of drainedness it’s been a tough few days on the grey matter. It’s really not easy to keep a whole book in your mind at once. Jumping backwards and forwards; did İ remember this; did I mention that; x has happened but is the build up there? How can that guy be dead in chapter three and having a phone conversation in chapter six?

But I quite enjoy this phase of writing a story. Things start feeling like they’re coming together. Reading back through I often come up with little asides and comments to drop in – a bit of embroidery. I’m not focussing on where the story is going because I’m already over the line. My mind is free to revel in the detail, to explore the cul-de-sacs of the narrative.

At present the book, Particular Stupidities, is 100,000 words. As I said before, it’s the longest R&M File so far. I’ve read it through once already. I like it. It’s made me laugh a few times, which I always take as a good sign.

I ordered the cover yesterday. Another step along the way.


Last week I mentioned making an enquiry on Goodreads. It evolved into something of a thread as it went off at a tangent with other posters’ thoughts and questions. A few people have weighed in on the direction it’s taken. And then they’ve started weighing in on each other. I nearly got involved (it’s my thread after all) but I’m glad I didn’t. Jeez! These people end up at each other’s throats. I have opinions and experiences to share, I really wanted to, but I’ll be keeping them to myself. I have enough angst in my life.

8 thoughts on “The dark side.

    • Good advice, Neal. Although I’ll have to settle for something less…foreign given the import duties that the Turkish authorities feel the need to slap on overseas alcohol. Turkish vino once again for me. Morning headache here we come!

  1. God that’s depressing. I mean it’s honest – pay us and we’ll like your work or write you a good review. Of course I know this stuff goes on, but as an honest Amazon reviewer it just makes me think: why do I bother giving am honest opinion when the whole review system is so corrupt?

    When I started writing reviews I thought I would see if I could get into the top 10,000. A year and 120 odd reviews layer last week I ranked 10,498. Maybe it’s time to stop.

    • Hi Sarah
      Isn’t it just. But I would say that probably it’s only the honest Amazon reviewers, like yourself, who provide a balance for some titles. It makes me wonder how many authors do take advantage of these ‘opportunities’. Don’t stop reviewing!
      Best wishes.

  2. Oliver,
    What an obstacle course this self-publishing caper is. This past year has been an eye-opener for me, finding out about the lengths some people will go to. Personally if I can’t reach my goal without cheating, then I will pull out of the race. As a writer my integrity is more important to me.
    But, I found it interesting your comments about feeling drained after finishing a book, then perking up a bit when proofing. We appear spookily similar in the way we work, you and I, remember my comments about living two separate lives? Well, when you mentioned about adding bits as you proof, made me think of a poem I wrote a few years ago. I likened the conception of a new book to making a sandwich: you start off with a slice of bread, spread it with butter, then add the filling of your choice, then put another slice of bread on top to keep it together – a start, a middle, and an end. Sounds simple, I know, but it satisfies me to know there are 5 big whoppers sitting on my plate: 4 already on the plate and one about to be put there. My sandwiches, like yours, are not always of the same filling: we give choice, like any other good deli.
    Writing is something I put on the back-burner for so many years whilst teaching, but now I feel I can’t give it up. But rather than buying fame and fortune, I would rather pack away my computer and turn to extreme sports instead.
    Am very much looking forward to picking up an R&M from your next buffet.
    Best wishes.

    • Hi Pat
      As Sarah says, it’s a bit depressing. But we shouldn’t be surprised. Where there’s money and reputations to be made there will always be those who like a short cut. It’s not for me though. Like you, I can’t imagine any satisfaction to be gained by cheating.
      I like your analogy. It describes the process perfectly. (I hope I never get accused of writing the equivalent of a Tesco’s value meal sandwich.)
      Owing to life’s commitments I came to writing pretty late, too. I’m determined to make the best and the most of the time I have at the keyboard now I’m there. Good luck with the new book.
      Best wishes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s