I have published two books on Amazon, The Boy Who Was Afraid Of The World and Across The Moon. I wrote them to share my story and for the pleasure of writing them, hoping that they might have a positive effect on someone – even one person – and encourage them to try something new. I wrote them, edited them, and published them, then pretty much left it at that. I link to them from my blog, but not excessively, and I make a few sales here and there.
Whilst working in Australia I thought about trying to market them a little bit – but I didn’t want to get involved in it myself. I came across COMPANY X (more on why I don’t name them later) – a seemingly well established author, ghost writer, book promoter, cover designer, and many other ‘bookie industry’ provider of services that were beyond my desires to become. There were references on different sites, many positive testimonials, and all sorts of information that created trust in the brand created and managed by PERSON X. Little did I know that PERSON X and the authors she worked with were catfish, all managed by one person.
MY AGREEMENT WITH PERSON X
I don’t want to go too in depth in this article as it is dealt with very extensively by Kyle Perkins, here, but I am going to give you a brief overview. PERSON X and I arranged a deal in which she would guarantee a minimum of 1,000 sales of my books across all formats in under six months for a fee of $1,295.00 USD. I make different amounts for each book I sell, depending upon the location of the sale and the format of the book (ebook or physical book), but I worked out in a worst case scenario that I would break even. As my aim was to share my book, not make money, I was happy with the deal and that I would be getting my book into the hands of 1,000 new readers. As I was working mad hours in Australia, I could wait a couple of months for the money to come back to me in the form of royalty payments and I wouldn’t be able to spend it whilst it was gone.
When I released my first book, I was able to make hundreds of sales in a short time period using my blog and the sales strategy known as, “Oh look at me, I wrote a book, someone please read it.” If I could do that with no expertise, surely PERSON X and all her contacts would not have a problem shifting 1,000 copies over a period of six months?
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED?
Something about PERSON X didn’t sit quite right with me. Everything seemed to match up on the surface, but with a bit of investigation, I was coming to dead ends. Despite this, I decided to trust her, largely because I would be paying her by PayPal and PayPal has a fraud protection scheme. I told her that I wouldn’t pay her all at once, but that I would split the payments into three instalments as I saw progress through book sales, to which she agreed. To cut a long story short, nothing happened. I granted her access to all of my social media reports and she told me to watch the magic happen as my Twitter ‘blew up’. I don’t really use Twitter for anything other than contacting companies that pee me off and for automatic posts, so I thought ‘sure, do your thing’. After multiple emails, not one thing happened on social media and all I had received was an ‘incredibly amazing 130 point checklist’ about my book marketing with less than 130 points, many of which were wrong as they were generic to any book. I imagine it took her a couple of hours to put together.
I refused to make another payment until I saw something happen and I was fired. Yes, I was fired by PERSON X. She sent me an email saying how intolerable it was to work with people like me, how she had invested all this money into the groundwork for marketing my books, how she had people working for her that wouldn’t get paid, and all sorts of other outlandish claims. And I almost felt bad. In fact, I felt bad enough not to file a claim with PayPal immediately…. which may have been due to PERSON X telling me about her struggle as a single parent in her 20s. Or maybe it was because I felt threatened by this person – things she said suggested she could leave negative feedback on my books, and as she had access to my social media profiles, she could do all sorts of damage which could effect my potential livelihood.
Feeling much aggrieved, and threatened, I wrote the money off and decided I wouldn’t bother marketing the books. If someone reads them, great, if not, I got what I initially wanted from writing them anyway – one person liked them.
WHY HAVEN’T I NAMED THIS PERSON AND WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?
I didn’t name this person or their company because I don’t want to be hit by retaliation. If it was only negative reviews that she hit me with, I wouldn’t care, but I don’t know if she can still access any of my accounts. This person is vindictive, spiteful, a liar, and a criminal. How do I know this? Because a few weeks ago I got an email from Kyle Perkins – I’m not sure how he found me – asking for information. I missed the message, so I didn’t give him information, but I did get a chance to read his article and it is excellent. This woman has been systematically creating imaginary people, imaginary books, imaginary websites, and imaginary reviews to lure people in to her book marketing services. Lots of people. And when she doesn’t perform, she threatens them. She leaves negative reviews, she deletes their social media profiles (cutting off people’s way of making an income in some cases), and she takes as much spiteful action as she can. That person she couldn’t pay? They weren’t real. That kid she has to care for? I doubt they are real. I then filed for fraud under PayPal, but they rejected my claim, saying that I had waited too long, thus the money was lost. There are many others like me who have been hit, but not hit hard enough to take legal action. I hope that a collective case can be brought against this woman as she is a bad person, preying on people’s hope – some people put years of their lives into writing books, hoping to make it as an author – so that she can be stopped. As soon as one set of aliases is discovered, she simply makes more. The internet is funny like that.
If this topic is of interest to you, I strongly suggest you read Kyle’s excellent article on the topic, ‘Why these catfishing accounts are dangerous, and watch out for her. If you ever meet the catfish, give her a good punch in the nose from me. Or send her to prison. Preferably both. Chances are that she has conned so many people for so much money that she won’t even remember who I am.