Episode 68 – Fisking, Transparency, and the Kindle Underground

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Question of the Week: Do you think the Kindle Gold Rush post was real or fake? What do you think we should take from it either way?

As Bryan fought back sleepiness and Jim teased a new Author Marketing Club tool, the podcasting pals gave episode #68 their all! They tackled tips on ambition, a new Twitter app, and how to treat book reviewers. Bryan and Jim also covered the latest in self-publishing news, including stories on direct Facebook sales, Douglas Preston’s letter to the Department of Justice, Amazon Follow, the underground world of Kindle ebooks, and the transparency of the publishing business. This week’s Question of the Week: “Do you think the Kindle Gold Rush post was real or fake? What do you think we should take from it either way?”
What You’ll Learn: 
  • How to be ambitious like Liliana Hart
  • What app to use to tweet with more than 140 characters
  • Why you should treat book reviewers like the volunteers they are
  • How Facebook plans to make more money
  • What Joe Konrath had to say about the Douglas Preston letter
  • Why that button under your author picture may finally mean something
  • How a scammy author allegedly made five-figures a month
  • Why business sense and transparency are more important than fighting Amazon
Links: 
Question of the Week: Do you think the Kindle Gold Rush post was real or fake? What do you think we should take from it either way?

get show updates

  • Hi guys, I follow myself on Amazon and I’ve now had two emails letting me know that I’ve published two books over the last month.

    It’s not immediate. But it happens.

    • Bryan

      Good to know! Thanks.

    • After my release last month, I had several people tell me they received emails about it.

  • Sam Parr

    Hey hey – this is the guy who runs The Hustle and made the Steve Scott comment. Thanks for talking about us…love the dialogue!

    -Sam

    • Bryan

      Always good to have a dialogue about this kind of stuff. Thanks for commenting on our show!

    • Bryan’s being nice. 🙂 So why did you equate what Steve Scott does with the things in your article? There is no comparison. Steve writes real books, great books. I don’t see the connection. Maybe just an oversight on your part?

      • Sam Parr

        No – it was on purpose. On my phone now, so will holler soon.

        And thanks for the shot out again!

        • Jake Day Williams

          I think you tipped Jim’s sacred cow.

  • Patrick Stemp

    I follow a ton of authors on Amazon and I get emails when they publish something, or put up a pre-order. And I don’t even live in Albemaquirky (don’t know how to spell it, and I ain’t lookin’ it up).

    • Bryan

      Albemaquirky is right.

  • About the follow button on Amazon:

    I get emails when a new book is out from any of the authors I follow, but a rather new feature is that the author can post an actual update about a new release, which will prompt an email immediately, whereas it might take a bit longer if an author is just publishing a book without an update connected to it.

    Or at least, that’s how it seems, since I’ll get emails later if a book is just published, where I’ll get an instant email if there’s an update connected to it. I have no idea how it works behind the scenes of course, but this is my experience from the emails I get.

    I have attached a screenshot of how that feed looks.

    You can check out yours right here:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/timeline

    • Bryan

      Got it! Nice. So that’s what’s rolling out to new authors. I understand now. Thanks!

  • I think the Hustle may be real. Any system can be gamed. Outsourcing is not new, review manipulation is not new.

    There’s a great line in Citizen Kane… “It no trick to make a lot of money… if all you want is to make a lot of money.” It that’s your thing, then you’ll screw people over to do it.

    However, if creating art, expressing yourself and trying to write stories that matter is more important, then you’ll do what everyone else does. Write. Publish. Repeat. 🙂

    • Bryan

      WPP! Yup.

  • QOTW – I don’t care if it’s real. The world is full of ass wipes.

    • Bryan

      Half-full? 🙂

  • QOTW (Part 2) – I’m glad to hear Steve commented and made it a learning experience. He showed his class.

    I’ve read 3-4 of Steve’s books, and while they are simple, they are well worth the price, put together well, and worth recommending. They are the modern day equivalent of the ‘dummys’ book, but not fluffed up to fill a paperback manual sized mold.

    • Bryan

      Great way of describing Steve’s books.

  • Thomas Diehl

    Question of the Week: The first post was about self-help books and indeed, I’ve seen a LOT of badly written self-help books with advice new only to beginners that somehow sported four or five stars and good rankings, so I’ll call this legit. Just browsing offers and requests at sites like fiverr, I’d say there obviously is a thriving scene for that kind of content production and it has to pay off for people to buy these services.
    The second one I’m not sure about. I guess it’s real, but I think doesn’t tell the whole story on promotion and income streams (e.g. sales v KU).

    • Bryan

      It DEFINITELY doesn’t tell the whole story. Thanks, Thomas.

  • Was the Gold Rush post real or fake? Meh. Don’t really buy it, and even if it were, it doesn’t phase me that much. I think this is one of those instances where we should be more concerned about writing more than anything else anyways.

    • Bryan

      “I think this is one of those instances where we should be more concerned about writing more than anything else anyways.”
      Exactly.

  • robertscanlon

    Regardless of “real or fake,” this should prompt us to drill further into any so-called news articles and their veracity.

    There is a practice known as “astroturfing” – creating fake “grass roots movements” used by big business and governments – and while this particular article may or may not be deliberate astroturfing, no doubt the publishing industry has the power to use it as a tactic, whether against independent authors/publishers, or against Amazon.

    Here’s a great video on it (it’s only 10mins; a TED talk, “Astroturf and manipulation of media messages | Sharyl
    Attkisson”) http://youtu.be/-bYAQ-ZZtEU

    • Bryan

      Great point, Robert! Never heard of that term. I better watch that video :).

  • Amar Vyas

    I actually heard a podcast interview a couple of months ago of a gold rusher- her tactics are quite similar Except for the review part… by a coincidence this person earns nearly the same amount every month that was mentioned in the article. So I would give ths post the benefit of the doubt. Review circle on Craigslist – enlightening if true, creative writing if not…

    • Bryan

      Huh. Good to know. Thanks, Amar.

  • Abdullah

    hi, all friends….

  • First off Bryan, I hope you got some sleep in the past few days. You sounded exhausted all the way through the show.

    So early this year I had been looking at expanding my genres to include romance. A product was forwarded to me called the Kindle Romance Tycoon System. This is one of many JVZoo/warrior forum programs. This like so many other programs out there offered huge returns. It also said there would be a section on finding reviewers so I paid the dollar and said no to all the up sells and started in on the program.
    The program is identical to everything spelled out in the article and seems to also lift from Tim Castleman’s work as well. By the way, the promise of finding reviewers included sites to virtual assistants in the Philippines who would “find” reviews for you for a few bucks a review.
    I don’t doubt for a second that this is a real article. If the author is doing it or writing about others who are remains to be seen.
    We know people game the system all the time. The paying for reviewers is so black hat. The paying people to write for you? Eh. If you produce an inferior product it’s going to flop. They can’t keep those books being number one for long. I know the price an author pays for not putting out their best work.

    For me I’d love to have a floor filled with top notch writers creating from all of my story ideas I have. Heaven knows I’ll never be able to get them all out.