The Mail I Get

MarchauthorsmallFacebook is quickly becoming over-run by people promoting their books…or at least it seems that way from my mailbox. Every day I get cringe-worthy new examples of how not to promote your book. Here's one that I got today from a self-published author:

I just wanted to send greetings from New Orleans and to thank you for adding me as your friend on Facebook. I am an author with a new suspense thriller,
Time Couriers, recent recipient of AmazonClicks Author's Choice Award for March 2009!

Touting yourself as an "AmazonClicks" award-winner is like screaming "I am pathetic!!" as loudly as you possibly can. 

AmazonClicks is an utterly meaningless and honorless non-accolade that has nothing whatsoever to do with  It's basically a popularity contest among nobodies set-up by a fledgling e-book publisher:

These are the only awards, voted for by ordinary readers and peer authors, where world beating best sellers compete against brand new and often unknown titles from talented writers sometimes struggling to gain recognition for their work.

We also list the winners of all the major literary awards so you can choose from the very best books available. […]
A wide range of thought provoking, amusing, thrilling and heart wrenching works are always nominated. The list shows these initially in the order they are received and then they are rank ordered by votes cast. 

[…]From the hundreds of nominations that can be received each month, only the top titles, most voted for, are listed – an award in itself! 

Participation in the voting and nominations for the AmazonClicks Authors Choice Award is open only to people with an ISBN number of their own. 

The Author's Choice Award is to give peer recognition and so we need to establish the votes for this award are coming from other authors, that is why we ask for an ISBN number of one of your works.

[…]Each person has one vote except authors who can vote once in each category so they get two. A vote will continue to be counted to support a book until that book wins an award in one of the categories (Reader's or Author's Choice) after which is will be removed from that category but may remain in the other if it has also been nominated there.

Well, those were the rules. The response from readers and authors this month has been so low, that AmazonClicks is combining the two "awards" into one. 

After much deliberation, we have decided to merge the Readers and Authors Choice Awards to one monthly 'AmazonClicks Award' for the most popular book. Due to the low votes in April, this will be effective immediately. The good news is that the competition goes on.

That's a relief.  What any of this idoicy has to do with Amazon is beyond me, except that they want to imply a connection where one doesn't exist. 

While this awards hokum isn't a scam in the classic sense — nobody is conning people out of their money — it still preys on the insecurity, naivete and desperation of aspiring authors. 

These self-published authors are so hungry for validation, for acknowledgment of any kind, that they'll jump at anything, no matter how insipid, that offers even the illusion of acclaim and recognition.

Instead, by touting this inane "award," the aspiring authors are humiliating themselves and creating new obstacles to overcome in their quest for publishing success and professional recognition. No reputable agent, editor, or reviewer will ever take an author seriously who considers an AmazonClicks "award" an honor worth touting. 

I feel sorry for this guy.

UPDATE 5-5-09
: Pete, the guy behind the AmazonClicks "awards," isn't too pleased about my comments. He says, in part:

basically he accuses us of trading off Amazon's name and running meaningless awards. I'm guessing he's never won an award and is envious of those of you who have attracted hundreds of votes for your titles. If you come across this sort of vitriol, I suggest you just ignore it because his is only one tiny, unknown voice against the many that have praised your achievements.

What's interesting is that now he's going to change the site's name (to scrap the implied connection to Amazon) and is dropping his plans to start an e-book business.

rather than give fuel to the mindless ramblings of people like the aforementioned, I intend to change the name in the near future. […]After long consideration and polling onions around the Internet, I've decided not to pursue the eBook or any other type of selling on line. The new awards site will be just that, exclusively awards.

This is a sharp detour from just a week ago, when he had very different "onions" to report:

A number of surveys, polls and requests for feedback have been conducted to evaluate the eBook proposition and I'm pleased to report overwhelming support in favour. So wheels are now in motion to set this up

Gee, I wonder what changed. I'm sure that his new awards (WalmartClicks? BarnesandNobleClicks? PetCoClicks?) will be just as meaningful, coveted, respected, and renowned as AmazonClicks was.

6 thoughts on “The Mail I Get”

  1. You are a wealth of information. I’m sure that many aspiring authors who know nothing about the business might assume that an award with the word “Amazon” in it has some validity. When you were first starting out as just some schmuck on the street, were you also baited by these concepts? Not to say that you fell for them, but surely you have learned a few things that you could share with the newbies.

  2. Facebook is rife with the legions of the self-published. I’ve found constraint on who I connect to is the key. Many folks’ profiles are hidden until a connection is made. I am in a mystery and suspense group and that’s the story there too. 99 percent at least.

  3. The winners on this site aren’t just self-published authors (not that there’s anything wrong with that if they were) and there are very clear notices stating that it’s not part of Amazon.
    So what exactly is your beef?
    If hundreds of people vote for a book, that’s good isn’t it? How many vote for the Booker Prize!!
    I find this all a tad sanctimonious.
    Perhaps it’s you who should ‘get a life’!

  4. No surprise, but “Robert,” the commenter who actually compares AmazonClicks to the Booker Prize, is the same guy who runs AmazonClicks. How do I know? The two share the same Channel Islands UK IP address.


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