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Money-Chasing Burns Bestselling Author...*Poof!* His pen name is gone.

Discussion in 'General Mindset, Motivation, Beliefs' started by ChickenHawk, Jun 13, 2018 at 8:39 PM.

  1. ChickenHawk
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    ChickenHawk Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Imagine yourself a bestselling author on Amazon, raking in fame and fortune as a top romance novelist. Now, imagine your brand is gone in an instant, and why? Because you dedicated your energy to cheating, money-chasing, and skirting the rules rather than building a long-term brand.

    Just this month, this is exactly what happened to a notorious book-stuffer who recently lost his Amazon publishing account in one fell swoop. Will he get it back? Maybe. Maybe not. But no doubt, he's crying now, especially because he was exclusive to Amazon and thus, had all of his eggs in that particular basket. (Commandment of control, anyone?) Based on his author rank, this person was probably grossing six figures a month. Now, he's earning nearly nothing, because all of his print and ebooks are gone from the Amazon store. (His audiobooks remain, because they're not part of the KDP ecosystem.)

    What did this guy do to torpedo his career? It's hard to say what exactly cost him his account, but only because he was engaged in so much questionable activity that we can only guess.

    This guy was reviled by scores of regular authors, not because of his success, but rather because of the questionable things he did to achieve that "success." He stuffed his books to artificially inflate their page counts, in order to trigger obscene Kindle Unlimited borrow-payouts (up to 15 bucks a pop) for books priced at 99 cents. He engaged in questionable practices to get positive reviews. (Rumor is, an illegal Tiffany jewelry giveaway was what finally did him in.) He coached other "authors" on how to exploit the weaknesses of Amazon's Kindle Unlimited system. His assistant coached "readers" on how to flip through these stuffed books to trigger a maximum payout, whether the "books" were actually read or not.

    Want to know the sad thing for this guy? Before he went to the dark side, he was a regular bestselling romance author with a growing, enthusiastic fanbase. He didn't need to cheat to make money, but apparently, the temptation of quick and easy cash was too much for him to resist.

    And while he was raking in his ill-gotten gains, ethical authors were (and still are) paying the price as practically all of the visibility, money, and All Star bonuses were scooped up by him and "authors" like him. Oddly enough, a ton of these stuffers are still operating, obviously betting on the fact that this will never happen to them.

    Maybe they're right. Maybe they're wrong. Either way, they're chasing money at the expense of building a brand that lasts.

    Below are some links that offer more details:
    In summary, money chasing is a glorious thing...until it bites you hard in the ass.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018 at 8:57 PM
    Readerly, Kak, Andy Black and 19 others like this.
  2. ShellShock
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    ShellShock New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    While he certainly violated an essential commandment, in my opinion the most pressing problem he had was that he didn't built a legacy. He just threw mud at a wall and waited to see what sticks. In the end, nothing stuck.
     
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  3. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Wow, money-chasing, bro-marketing in its purest form.
     
  4. abrakamowse
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    abrakamowse Contributor

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    That's crazy @ChickenHawk It makes me sad to see how people with talent ruin their career because they look for the easy money making and cheating.

    So bad.

    :-(
     
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  5. DustinH
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    DustinH Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Interesting. So, the guy in the picture from the first article is not really the guy? No one knows who the person really is?
     
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  6. ApparentHorizon
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    ApparentHorizon Gold Contributor Speedway Pass

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    He didn't have talent (at least no writing talent), just exploited a loophole. (which you could argue is creative problem solving)

    Otherwise, he wouldn't have risen up in the first place.

    While I don't agree with the tactics, it's a great example of taking an opportunity (a luck of the draw) and turning it into something profitable.

    Now he has a couple mil$ stashed away, plenty of connections and a huge email list.

    He'll be fine. Sucks for the authentic authors that got pushed out of the way though.

    And according to the articles, his audiobooks are still up.
     
  7. Azure
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    Azure Perpetual Motion Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    You're right in a sense...and wrong in another. Let me explain;

    You're looking at this from the frame of mind of a person who wants to build a long lasting, successful, multi channel business. For you, diversifying your sales outlets and building a long lasting, ultimately sellable business is your goal.

    Chance - and other "page stuffers" or scammers in other industries -are LOOKING for that cheap buck. They have no intention of putting forth the efforts to build what you are, nor do they want to. They live for the jolt that they get every time they get an influx of fast cash. They had no intention of building a platform off Amazon and vesting control becsuse their scam is KDP exclusive. If it worked elsewhere - and best believe they have tried to find other places - they would be there doing the same thing .

    For these sorts of people, the thrill of the con becomes an addiction, and eventually the mantra "every score is a score" falls into place. It's a real addiction, similar to gambling in some regards. You can control the odds to an extent, but the house(be it the law, or Amazon) always ends up winning.

    and then you find another scheme to live through.
     
  8. Mr.Brandtastic
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    Mr.Brandtastic Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I think we're approaching the guru singularity. I swear their differences become fewer by the day.
     
  9. ChickenHawk
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    ChickenHawk Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Probably, he uses a pen name, but as far as the photos, I believe that really is the guy who goes by the name of Chance Carter, only because some authors on the Kindle forums have apparently met him in real life. But one thing's for certain. Once you get a reputation for dishonesty, everything about you becomes suspect.

    With most of the stuffers and scammers, I'd agree 100%, but alas, this wasn't quite true in Chance's case. Before he started scamming, he'd already achieved success as a bestselling romance author. I will agree with you, though, that this generally isn't the case. Most of the scammers have no writing talent and would never succeed as authors outside the warped Kindle Unlmited ecosystem, where they earn money through "clicks" as opposed to gaining a true readership. If (when?) Kindle Unlimited goes away, or if it's significantly modified, most of these scammers will see their income evaporate overnight, even without being banned by Amazon.

    Yup. And really, for most of these "authors," they have very little to lose. Without Kindle Unlimited, they have no writing career anyway, so it's not like they're risking their pen names by scamming. When Kindle Unlimited goes away, they'll just move onto their next scam.

    One thing that's especially frustrating about all the scamming is that genuine authors -- those of us who have actual reputations to lose -- don't dare engage in such activities, because we're in it for the long haul. This puts us at a huge disadvantage compared to the stuffers and scammers. It will be a happy day indeed when they're finally purged from the Amazon store. Personally, I think that day is coming soon due to increased negative publicity for Amazon.
     
  10. ChickenHawk
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    An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos:
    (*Edit to clarify that I didn't write this letter, even if I do agree with every point.)

    (Excerpts from the Letter...)
    "Time and time again, we have proven to our reps and others at Amazon, that these books are breaking Amazon’s TOS. The scammers slap together a 3,000-page book, stuffed to the gills with 10 to 20 other stories they’ve written or bought from ghostwriters on Fiverr. Then they recycle and rearrange those same 10 to 20 stories and shove them into another book with a different cover and title. So in effect, they have 10 to 20 books all with the same 10 to 20 stories stuffed inside, thus the 3,000 page compilations with such titillating titles as Pregnant By My Boss or My Friend’s Dirty Uncle."

    "With their parasitic approach, they also feed on the kind hearts of their readers. These stuffers are notorious for instructing their readers to download the book using their (the reader’s) KU Subscription and “flip to the end of the book” without reading it. After doing that, they then instruct and sometimes demand their readers also purchase the book. That 3,000 page book is worth $13-$14. Far more than the 30 cents they make off any sales at the $.99 listing price."

    "The list of violations, tricks, and ways to game the system is endless, and some of the bolder and more successful offenders are actually teaching others how to do all of them."

    "While we have presented the evidence to our reps and other Amazon employees for over three years now, these scammers are still allowed to feast like kings at the KU table. The rest of us, the legitimate authors, are left like starving urchins to feed off naught more than scraps and crumbs they toss on the floor."

    "If nothing is done to fix the KU program, and soon, you will have nothing left to offer your readers other than books such as, Claiming His Virgin In the Pool, Triple Daddies, and 6 Mountain Men for Christmas. How do you think your readers will react when that happens?"
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018 at 3:23 AM
  11. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Thanks for sharing @ChickenHawk. It must be super frustrating for you. I’m sure that when it hurts Amazon in their wallet they’ll slam the door hard.

    I always wonder at the folks street-smart enough to come up with scams. Why don’t you use those smarts to do it legit?

    I worked for a couple of companies doing grey-hat stuff. If they just stopped seeing people as “traffic”, “clicks”, or “users” then they might still be around today.
     
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  12. DustinH
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    DustinH Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    If that really is his picture then I can tell he is not to be trusted. In all of his photos he doesn't show his teeth in his smile. That sounds weird but it was the first thing I noticed.
     
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  13. Charnell
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    Charnell Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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