scams

Hurricane Sandy Relief Donations; Also Watch for Scams

Although we still have not had power since Monday because of Hurricane Sandy, we do have a generator and we’ve been getting by a lot better than some of the people who’ve been hit by hurricane Sandy.

It’s not easy. There are people in places like Staten Island and Alphabet City in lower Manhattan that know true devastation now. They are still finding bodies. People are still trying to cope with losing everything they own. They are homeless.

Here in New Hope and the surrounding towns, where there was more wind damage than flood damage, schools have been closed all week because no one has power and many of the roads cannot be used due to fallen trees. One of the biggest challenges is trying to find gasoline, and when you do you wait in lines that go on in some cases for a mile. And we consider ourselves lucky here when we see what’s happened to NY and NJ.

A lot of people have been banning together to help the victims hit hardest, and below I’m posting links to where people can go if they are interested in helping in small ways with donations. In cases like this every small gesture helps. It’s also good Karma. You never know what’s coming your way.

Food Lion Launches In-Store and Online Donation Program for Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief

Fans can donate $10 to the cause by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999.

Coinstar Facilitates Donations To Hurricane Relief Through Its Coinstar Kiosks

These links are associated with the Red Cross and are reputable. I feel safe posting them. You also have to be careful when making donations because there are a few scams going around, too.  

Writer Beware: The Scams Continue

I don’t do a lot of these posts because there are other web sites and blogs for writers where they concentrate on scams and rip-offs. But when I see something I think is important to post about, I do my best to help these things from spreading.

This morning I opened a private message on Facebook. There was a friendly note that I thought was from an author telling me about her new book. I get these messages a lot and I don’t mind reading them. Sometimes, if I have the time, I even check out the book. It’s friendly; no harm done; all is well.

But as I read on, I saw there was something different about this message. It wasn’t a personal message at all. It was a marketing company promoting some author’s book through a private message on Facebook. In fact, they weren’t even promoting the author’s book. They were promoting their own web site and their marketing services. These services, so they claim, are supposed to make writers instant millionaires.

I’m not going to link to these people and I’m not going to name them. There are more like them out there and I’m sure there will be more popping up in the future. Now that e-books have become so popular, more writers are publishing than ever before. Sleazy companies like these know how vulnerable writers can be and they play upon their weakest points. One of which is selling books.

The private message I received began with this, I see you like to read. Anything that begins that way sends off signal right away. Then the message went on to explain the book in a few lines and tell me about the marketing services by this company that are guaranteed to sell books and make writers millionaires.

There is no such thing. Trust me, I know this because I’ve been in publishing for over twenty years. And when you hear someone say something like this, run in the other direction as fast as you can. These companies are only out there to scam you and take your money. If there was a magic secret to promoting a book everyone would be doing it and we’d all be millionaires.

People are paying good money to companies like this and they will never get results. In other words, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is too good to be true. And this is how I replied to this marketing company, verbatim:

Hi,

This is just a suggestion. But I’m not sure these spams on private messages work. If I found out anyone was sending out private messages to other authors or readers about my books, I’d go postal on them. It’s along the lines of telemarketing and it’s intrusive. I really do think there are lines drawn when it comes to promoting books, and when those lines are crossed it hurts the author more than helps him or her. And I hate to see that happen to any author. You might want to rethink your aggressive approach for the sake of the authors you are promoting. It just doesn’t work.

Ryan Field

This happened at nine this morning. I’m still waiting for a reply. If they had been reputable, they would have replied. The scammers never bother.