Saturday, March 14, 2015

Who's Been A Naughty Girl?

A couple of weeks ago, I got into an exchange of words with a self-proclaimed "marketing and social media expert" whose modus operandi was to use her very large friends list on Facebook and Twitter to drum up interest in authors that pay her to promote their e-books and audiobooks. 

Imagine my surprise when she took it upon herself to decide that my Facebook page needed more likes, and started hounding social media groups to visit my page and click the button! 

First of all, I never hired this individual, who is about as expert at SEO and social media as the jar of mayonnaise in my fridge.

Secondly, from what I saw demonstrated as "social media marketing and promotion", no self-respecting industry professional in their right mind would allow this woman within a donkey's roar of their business. 
She also touts herself as a personal assistant. 
Pick one, missy and for God's sake do it right! 

The only way to end the onslaught of drivel about how much I needed the likes of others was to kill it at the source and contact the individual directly with a request to cease and desist. 

This was received with expected waterworks and tales of woe. The author who hired her was fuming at the extent of this and other liberties taken so "the expert" was dismissed, and we left it at that. 
Onwards! - or so we thought. 

Now, I might not be the greatest narrator on the planet, but I do manage to put out good quality audio, and the authors I work with are pretty capable too - NYT and USA Today bestsellers, Booker Prize nominees, Guardian award winners etc.
I'm also an Audible Approved Producer. 

So, when within a few days of the incident above, we found that negative reviews were coming out for audiobooks that until then were all at the four and five star level, we started to wonder if there was any connection. 
Even more surprising was that the negativity was centred on the audio and narration quality. (Did I mention that I am an Audible Approved Producer?)

This connection seemed all the more real when we discovered that the patterns of speech and the common linguistic tics that "the expert" used were showing up again in these negative reviews. 

Couple that with activity on my website being traced back to the home town of this individual and it's really starting to look suspicious. 

I won't name this person for now but there is one major concern. 
Negative reviews are water off a duck's back for me. But I started to think that if this person is writing bad ones for me, is she also writing good ones for her clients and then fobbing them off as genuine reviews and charging them for it? 
"See how great my marketing is?"

A brief check and we can see big similarities across a few different names of "reviewers" for these authors. That is very worrying indeed, especially when you consider Amazon's stance on this.

I have reported my suspicions to Amazon and Audible in the hopes that they can begin to sort out what is real from what is not. 
When we approached the individual herself with our concerns, we were screamed at, and summarily blocked across all social media platforms.

And that, for me, says a lot. 

As Shakespeare wrote: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

Will keep you posted.

Friday, March 13, 2015

"Heroes Of The Sea" - Danelle Harmon

It's been about a year since I met New York Times and USA Today bestselling historical-romance author Danelle Harmon, and what a year it's been! 

Originally, I started out advising her on possible routes to take when putting her highly successful "De Monteforte Brothers" and the "Heroes Of The Sea" series into audiobook format. 

In the end, the former was recorded by the very capable David Stifel who I am sure you know from stellar audiobooks like Douglas Clegg's "Neverland".

One of the books in the latter series had an Irish sailor as the central character which Danelle had hinted at me doing for about three months. 

As I had never narrated a historical romance novel before, I was ambivalent about adding "another string to my bow" as such, and declined. 

In the end, having not found a suitably accented narrator, and with time running on, we came to the agreement that I would do an audition sample and if she liked it, and I liked it, then we would take the plunge and produce an audiobook together. 
A new adventure for Danelle, and a terrifying exploration into a new genre for me! 

Now, several books in and I have to say that if you haven't tried listening to a well-written historical romance novel, then you are missing out on something very special indeed. 

That's as far as I am going to sell this.
I'll let the audiobooks speak for themselves……here!

Monday, March 9, 2015

We've Been Renovating!

Welcome to our new blog! 

It's been a very busy first few months of 2015 and since moving to my new website a few months ago, I ran out of time arranging to have this blog integrated into it all.

Will be blogging regularly here with news of upcoming projects and a photo gallery is on its way too! 

Stay tuned!