I don’t normally do this sort of thing, but hopeful (and sometimes desperate) authors should be warned when there is someone out there that will try to take advantage of them or promise them things that they don’t deliver. There are enough scams and half-assers out there, but when someone can stop someone else from making a big mistake, this is exactly what should be done.
I want to talk to you about seriousreading.com and the bullshit I just dealt with. Maybe, once you see for yourselves what it is they *actually* deliver, you can avoid making the DUMB mistake I did.
On Feburary 19, I came across a suggested post on FB. I wish I had taken a screenshot of it so I could relay their pitch word-for-word, but you will just have to go onto their FB and read for yourself because they have blocked me. Basically, it offered review and promotion services for $49. You pay the fee, they have “one of their reviewers” take on your book. If they feel the book is something other people would want to read, and meets standards of grammar and so on (I assume that’s what they meant) they publish a review of your book on their site, and then promise to “promote” the book on their site and Facebook page. If they don’t feel it meets their standards, they will not review it and will refund your money.
Yeah, I can hear you cringe all the way over here.
Let me just say that I am one of those “too good to be true”, paranoid, always looking for the other shoe to drop sort of people. I shy away from anything fee-related, even well-known, established, and reputable book promotion sites. When I read through the THOUSANDS of comments, I noticed a trend of positivity. Should be a good thing, right? However, I was concerned about the lack of even ONE person saying “Nah, this place is a scam” or that one person that is always there lurking in the comments saying that they were ripped off (whether legitimate or not, there is always one person like this in EVERY company.) After a little callous back and forth between myself and the admin of the page, regarding this very issue, I figured whatever. $50 isn’t too much and if they refund it then what’s the harm?
On Feb 19th, I made my payment. I received quick confirmation of receipt and shortly after that I was asked for the info on my book. Shortly after I sent that in, they sent me an email asking for me to complete and author interview at my earliest convenience and send in a picture. Sounds good.
At some point in my researching the FB page, I saw the admin answer another potential customer regarding how they would receive their books for review. They were told that they would either purchase the ebook, or would acquire it from a lender. Since I had no knowledge of my book being a part of a lender, I figured that they would be purchasing it and so I watched my sales reports (which were SADLY dismal so it would have been easy to spot the sale, lol. I mean I was looking for them to PROMOTE my book for a reason: I just don’t have the time myself) hoping to see one sale pop up so I could gauge how long til I would have an answer whether I was accepted or rejected. After two weeks-one day shy of two weeks, actually-I got antsy.
Below are screenshots of our interaction.
I know you started reading that last juicy tidbit, but let’s back up just a smidge here. So, after I thanked them again (I realize at times I am bitchy, but c’mon you don’t mess with someone’s money and I felt like I was being chastised for a very LEGITIMATE concern) and that was that for a few hours. Oh, but then I saw my review had been posted. Oh boy, time for the worry to be erased, right? WRONG.
Okay so, I know it’s hard but let’s just ignore the incredibly obvious lack of knowing how to string two sentences together. Let’s even ignore the fact that this is not a review… it’s pretty much just a synopsis. The site promised to “read and publish a review” of your book. I already had a synopsis, thank you, and mine actually pertained to my book and made sense. Theirs, as you can read above, was barely coherent. I am also 95% certain they did not receive a copy “from their lender” as they told me in PM, but instead just went to my Amazon account and created some half-assed thing out of the collective reviews there. Most pointedly, the fact that they called one of my characters a “younger sister”. A legitimate reviewer on Amazon made this same mistake in her review and I went back through the book to make sure I hadn’t goofed. Between that and how fast I was suddenly reviewed after complaining, I can guarantee they did NOT read the book.
But that’s not even the worst of it!
No, they created an “about the author” at the very start of their “review” and suddenly I found myself to have “travelled to various territories” and was a “survivor of a series of murders” and also ended up having a dead uncle. Um… WHAT?! No, I am sorry, as interesting as that would have made me, none of that is the case. When I brought this up, though, I had the blame shifted onto MYSELF.
So, let’s make something clear. There are two authors. Melissa A. Graham- me, author of Deny the Moon. There is also Melissa Graham- not me, author of traveling books. Below is her Amazon bio for ONE of her books.
Now, that explained the traveling around the globe thing but I have YET to come across anything on this author about being the survivor of murder. So I googled the quoted phrase he gave me and you can imagine my surprise when my Createspace page is at the top of the list. I click it and read the author bio and about die.
About the author:
To get down to the nitty-gritty of it, I am a young mother of four, insanely in love and married to my best friend, and looking for my purpose in the world. I work, I keep a not-so-tidy house, I raise kids, and I do every mundane thing that every other person in the world does. The only difference between me and 80% of the population is while I am driving to the store, cooking at work, throwing in yet ANOTHER load of laundry, and even sitting down watching T.V., I am also traveling to uncharted territories, trying to survive a mysterious string of murders following my rich uncle’s passing, being whisked off my feet by a penniless Puerto Rican painter, and concocting diabolical schemes for world domination. Granted, the last few activities are going on in my twisted little brain but it is happening whether I wish it to or not. At any given time, I have dozens of characters, stories, places, and even arguments whirling around in my brain. My goal is to get those creations out of my head (I need some quiet every once in a while!) and into the hands of avid readers everywhere. One day, I will be a known author. Even if it’s only in another one of my stories.
Okay so I can concede to the fact that those words were on my bio… but COME ON. Really? It’s incredibly obvious that I was not being literal. I meant IN MY HEAD. And this clown used it as a dead-serious about the author intro to me- I still use the term loosely- review? A “review” he admitted he uses a template for every single person, and that, after looking at the review and then reading the reviews on Deny the Moon’s Amazon account, you can tell he just pieced something together from those?
So, no, he does not “read and publish reviews” on books as promised. He copies from already written reviews and bios. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what you are giving this guy $49 for.
Do yourself a favor, and save the money. Do a little research (unlike dumb ol’ me) and find a legitimate book promo site. And do other wet-behind-the-ears authors a favor and make sure everyone knows what is it seriousreading.com REALLY does for your money.
If I have to say something good about this place I will say this… at least they refunded me my money promptly.