“I have an incredible opportunity to share”

Re: Trying to help you sell books. I’ve tried to do this with two other friends in years past. No luck. It’s hard to sell a one-off book profitably on pay-per-click basis – both hardcover or an ebook series. I have not found any way to make it happen. There are some folks out there who prey on new authors and try to get them to sign up for a training series on how to sell their book. The only thing they sell, it seems, is their training series and dashed hopes. Sorry I can’t help you there and don’t know anyone who has succeeded. – Matt Van Wagner, internationally recognized Adwords authority

I received another “incredible opportunity” in my emails a few months back.

Normally I dismiss such offers and let it go at that. This time other authors who received the same offer contacted me asking my opinion.

A few things to note before diving in; the offer deals with Amazon Ads. I have nothing against Amazon Ads, lots against misleading marketing. Especially to vulnerable markets.

The current indie-authorverse is vulnerable because it is a young market. Young markets, like young children, like young animals, are innocent. They don’t appreciate that the nice man offering them candy might hurt them, hence are open to predation. The young, markets or otherwise, don’t have the same filters regarding purchases that experienced purchasers have. Think of it this way; Someone buying their first car looks for different things than someone buying their third or fourth car. Should you be shopping for car #10, you don’t ask lots of questions because you know what you want and what to look for.

The same is true on the marketing side. How you market to a first time buyer is different than how you market to an experienced buyer. Good salespeople and marketers use different buzzwords (think keywords but in commercials, print, and in-person) based on who they’re pitching at the moment and the general maturity of the audience as a whole.

How do I know this? I owned and ran an international marketing advisory company for over 25 years and wrote three books on the subject. How do I know this happens to authors? I talk to authors from everywhere and do research, research, and, umm, oh yes, research.

You can stop reading after this section
Amazon is in the business of selling ads, not books, food, sporting equipment, coffee makers or anything else. Their percentage on any sale is relatively minimal compared to what they make from the ads for that sale.

Some people run successful Amazon Ad campaigns for a while – note “for a while” – because Amazon learned from Google to change the ad-buy algorithms periodically without letting people know, hence any winning Amazon Ads strategy fails given enough time.

Anybody with a repeatable, infallible method for selling products via Amazon Ads (or anything else) will give you a guarantee because they know they have nothing to lose; their method is repeatable and infallible.

Read what follows and let me know if you see any guarantee.

The received email
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Priming, Sleeping Beauty, and the World’s Most Comfortable Couch

Can you fit this couch into your memory?

[This post originally appeared as a four part series on the now many times defunct BizMediaScience blog. I’m reposting here at the request of Joe Della Rosa. Thank him, should you get a chance.]

Priming, Sleeping Beauty, and the World’s Most Comfortable Couch, Part 1
I was told it’s time to buy new furniture by She Who Must Be Obeyed (with respect to Rumpole of the Bailey). I have a strict requirement for furniture, especially couches; they must be long enough for me to stretch out on so I can take a nap without disturbing our dog (he usually takes his position at my feet when I’m lying on the couch) and they must have a significant “cush” factor. I like couches that engulf me in a warm embrace.

Susan, my wife aka She Who Must Be Obeyed, knows this and I trust her to pick out furniture that I’ll be comfortable in. She makes the first pass, I get called in to determine cushiness, and then we go home and wait for the appropriate furniture to be delivered. Imagine my chagrin when she showed me her first choice, a post modern bauhaus piece…
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Professional Authors’ Groups

I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have me as a member
– Groucho Marx

Anybody know if there’s a 12-Step meeting for researchers? I need to get to one. “Hello, my name is Joseph. I’m a researcher.” “Hello, Joseph.”

A few weeks back I polled five-hundred authors with:

I’m looking into authors’ groups and organizations. Do you belong to any? If yes, your thoughts and opinions of it/them? And could you provide a link if you think them worthy?

Two-hundred-eighteen responded (just under half. I can provide percentages/numbers for other Researchers Anonymous members).


  • Most people aren’t part of any author groups. The reasons varied from 1) cost to 2) unclear usefulness to 3) Covid followed by various scatterings. The “cost v usefulness” quadrant was most heavily populated. Most professional groups had upfront costs and that’s where “usefulness” dominated, a “what do I get for my money?” mood. I suspect (no substantial evidence, more based on conversations and email exchanges) as the industry matures (ie, as the gulf between serious authors and “Hey! I got a book published!” writers widens) a similar gulf between “Let’s get work done” and “Let’s have a party!” authors groups will occur.
  • Online groups dominated the responses and most people prefer online groups because nothing is required to participate. Also, few find online groups helpful with Goodreads groups standing out as least helpful (one person offered the discussions were painful). Most people offered they directed messages from these groups are directed to spammish buckets and rarely read them. I asked “What do you use the group for?” The answer usually came down to “To promote my books.” When asked, “Why don’t you do more with the groups?” the answers often came down to “It’s just people promoting their own books.” Budda-boom!
  • The following responses are based on 1) clustered responses (a significant number of responses clustered around a definable (binary) result and/or 2) the results were interesting although not statistically significant. My tendency to go for a binary (YES/NO) is because I can measure neither expectations nor satisfaction level while I can codify positive/negative response regardless of where they are on the positive/negative scale.

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Join EU actress @Sabine_Rossbach and author @JosephCarrabis for Episode 2, “Massively Scarred”, of The Augmented Man Video Series

As in Episode 1 “Good Run, Trailer?”, Sabine and I discuss the book’s meaning and our decision process in creating this new book video trailer format.

Prepare for Episode 2 “Massively Scarred”

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