A trip down Book Scam-mory Lane

If you think I’ve been making all this up about unscrupulous publishers fiddling the Amazon Sales Ranks to create instant Amazon number 1 bestsellers, have a read of the following.

I tripped over this chirpy email the other day while decluttering my old email archives, received from – I’m ashamed to say – a publisher who did three of my own titles (without scams). Here it is, with only the names and date redacted…book publishing scam

A lovely scam-vitation from several years ago

Hi Suze

As the last email stated, we have a plan for making
(book’s title) a bestseller on www.amazon.co.uk

In order to hit number 1 on the bestseller list we need
to get a large chunk of people to buy our book in a SINGLE DAY.

We’re going to achieve this by offering lots of great bonuses
that far exceed the value of the book – but ONLY for a 24
hour period. The day we’ve currently pencilled in for the launch
is (day and date) – so please add it to your diary.


1. GET TESTIMONIALS ON AMAZON.co.uk (optional)
Our book is due to be listed at Amazon within the week.
When it’s live we’ll send you an email with instructions to:

** Add Your Testimonial To Our Product Page **

This step is optional but when the visits start coming
this will help with sales and will also raise your
profile by having your name/business in the credit.

2. THE ONLY “ESSENTIAL” STEP (will take less than 5 minutes)
When everything is set up we will send you an email 1 day
in advance of the launch date. This email is for you to send to
your list of contacts the following day, “LAUNCH DAY”. It
will detail all the bonuses they’ll get and provide information
about the book you’re recommending with a link to
www.amazon.co.uk .

** Send this one email to your list BEFORE MIDDAY **

In case you were wondering… The email will not be a hard sell
for the book. It doesn’t need to be because with the incredible
bonuses we’re offering, your credibility and the excellent
testimonials it will sell itself.
So, just for now, please just let us know you are still keen to
help us and email me back with the number of contacts you’ll
be sending the message to. We’ll be back in touch soon.
(Publisher name)

PS As a “thank you” for helping us with this all the bonuses
will be yours for free

PPS And please buy the book on the day too – it really will
help your business

Don’t fall for tricks like these: few readers believe them nowadays so they’ll just damage your book’s reputation

At the time, publishers like these got away with the scams because non-traditional publishing was fairly new and not many people knew how they worked. Today, though, it’s not just readers who are more savvy; it’s also book reviewers, critics and other commentators.

If you have a business, selfhelp or other nonfiction book to promote, don’t fall for it. And equally don’t fall for it if your book is fiction.

There are no prizes for guessing that the Amazon Sales Rank system has been somewhat discredited recently, because of this. It’s amazing Amazon haven’t done something to correct it, especially considering how antsy they can be about book reviews they reckon are phony … allegedly they’ve been known to research reviewers’ names and pull a review just because the reviewer and author are connected on Facebook.

Make your book good in the first place, promote it properly, honestly and hard.  Remember that these scams make books number 1 bestsellers for a few hours only: their sales rank will drop like a horse potootie within 24 hours and stay there unless the book is being promoted properly elsewhere. Most readers are much more interested in honest reviews – not the pound/dollar store versions bought from review spinners … yet more scams!    


Watch out for Suze’s new title How To Write Your First Nonfiction Book, to be published in 2020 by Better Books Media.




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