So, there’s this infamous organization out of Maryland, that for years caused a lot of pain and suffering in the world of books. I’ll refrain from mentioning them directly, because I know they’re suing people. Anyway, whether you love them or hate them, I know that lots of people are critical of the organization’s business practices, and I certainly don’t feel any love for their business models in the past. I don’t know what they’re doing these days, but the random e-mail I got left a pretty bad taste in my eyeballs.
I discovered that a very well known operation out of Maryland have actually changed their name into something new, and seem to be sending out lots of e-mails into the world offering to do free promotion at library bookseller events. Personally, free promotion sounds too good to be true. What is in it for the promoter? I suspect that this now renamed organization is trying to build a list of potential clients to milk for promotions that actually cost something. And, since it is coming from a fairly notorious organization, I can’t imagine their promotional activities will be any more effective than the soulless and clueless form letter that seems to be populating itself across the many comment sections and e-mail inboxes of the world of independent publishing. This operation does not have a reputation for effective promotion. Free promotion, done poorly, is worse than no promotion at all. It would attach one’s name and reputation to that organization.
So, let’s review: 1) Is it too good to be true? 2) Why is it free? 3) Does the address or name of anyone or anyplace involved smell fishy, for instance, like the same area that a notorious operation has their roots and lawsuits?
Maryland is an interesting place in the recent history of potentially exploitive, generally widely unliked publishing operations. I am immediately suspicious of anything out of Maryland, period.
I’m certain there are some people who are happy with this organization, and I’m happy for you if you are. But, wow, I don’t see how what I saw meets anyone’s professional needs, and you will not be able to convince me to change my mind on that.
Check everything that you aren’t 100% certain about over at the forums of AbsoluteWrite.com, with Victoria Strauss of WriterBeware, and any number of watchdog groups. People who sue watchdog groups seem to misunderstand how to have a good reputation with watchdog groups: Be fair and just and non-exploitive in such a manner that people can find no fault in what you do.
It’s much easier to do that than lawsuits.
Consider yourself warned.