Writing, publishing, geekdom, and errata.

Authors and Publishers: Paying for Awards is CRAP.

Okay folks, it's award season again.  And while there's all sorts of shenanigans going on with the Sad Puppies and the Hugos (Jim Hines and Chuck Wendig say everything I would say here, though my thoughts from 2014 fit), that also means there's the plethora of other scams going on out there.

Like, for example, the scammy Global eBook Awards.  (And yes, I include the word "scammy" in the link on purpose).  They made the mistake of contacting me directly.

Here's the thing, folks.   Before you think about introducing your book to an award, you want to read Writer Beware's guide to Awards and Contests.  To quote:

Similiar to the contest mills are the awards mills, which also feature high entry fees (anywhere from $60 to $80), and dozens of entry categories. Awards mills tend to focus on small press or self-published authors, who face major challenges in getting their work noticed, and hope that an award will help.
And lo and behold, what does it cost to get involved with this scam?

1-6 entries: $79 USD each (per title, per category); normally authors, the copyright owner.
Special Offer! – Order 7 entries and get 15% off entire order; normally publishers, the ISBN owner.
And what do you get for this honor of paying them almost $80 a title?  A nominated "sticker" and... wait for it... exposure.

Oh sure, there's other "awards".  Let's break them down.

  • Putting an official “sticker” on your ebook cover, pbook cover, blog, website, Amazon page, and promotion materials.
 Otherwise known as "I can use photo editing software."
  • A free listing in Publishing Poynters Marketplace offering review copies for reviews in prestigious ebook dealers’ sites such as Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, and others.
 You mean like you can do for free anyway?
  • Winners will be announced to the media in news releases.
Um, hooray?  If you're a self-published author (or a publisher) you should sure as hell know how to do a press release;  at best they're paying to fax it to people.
  • A chance at a one-year scholarship award for Dan Poynter’s Para Promotion Program.
Oh, you mean you get to take classes with the guy who is running the program?  Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh.
  • Six ebook Promotional “Lessons”
The quotation marks here scare me.
  • Everyone receives an official “sticker” for their ebook cover or for other use.
Wasn't this point #1?  
  • Winners will be listed on the official Global Ebook Awards site.
Oh. My. Goodness.  He'll PUT YOUR NAME ON A WEBSITE.  ::shock::
  • Winners will be eligible to purchase Global Ebook Award certificates attesting to their honor.
PURCHASE?!?!?!?!  When I was in grade school they gave us cheap-ass certificates and didn't make us buy them.

  • Discounts on video trailers for YouTube, Amazon and your website.
  • Discounts on other services for authors and publishers.
In case you haven't figured it out yet, the contact info for this scam award is ParaPublishing.com.  Which offers - you guessed it! - publishing resources.

I mean, folks, there are times I wonder if I'm doing this the wrong way.  It would be so easy to be yet another scammer.  And it would definitely be a lot more profitable.

But no.  I love books.  I love reading.  That's why I am a writer.  That's why I am a publisher. 

And scam artists like this, taking the dreams of other authors and simply profiting off of them show a huge disrespect to the thing I love.

As I've done with others, if you would like to link to the contest, make sure you do so using the term "scam" or "scammer" or "scam artist" as I have here, so that we can make sure that search engines reflect what they're doing effectively.


Marilyn Z. Tomlins said...

Thank you for this. It sure is good to know.

Michael N. Marcus said...

Poynter is the pits.