WRITER BEWARE

We welcome, Brian O’Hare as our guest blogger.

Brian O’Hare has written a number of fiction novels. His first was Fallen Men, a contemporary novel set in Ireland, which won Top Medallist Honours in the General Fiction Category of the prestigious New Apple Awards for Excellence in Literature.

Brian is currently writing more books in the award-winning The Inspector Sheehan Mysteries Series, which are detective novels set in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Five books are in the series so far, all having garnishing numerous five, or four, star reviews. The Doom Murders; The 11:05 Murders; The Coven Murders; The Dark Web Murders; and The Trafficking Murders which has recently been released.

Further information can be found on Brian’s Amazon author page


If you are an aspiring writer, a novice writer, an Indie writer, an experienced writer, or even a published writer, you will come to learn that the actual product you have produced, or are about to produce, is only the beginning of a long and complex journey.

Your work is finished, it’s not far from a masterpiece, and you just can’t wait to get it out there to the reading public. You rub your hands in anticipation and wait for the sales you know are inevitable.

And you wait.

And you wait. 

What on earth is happening? I mean, this is great piece of work. Why isn’t it on the New York Times Top Ten already? 

Why indeed?

Have you any idea of the numbers of books out there that your work is competing with? A quick visit to Amazon’s ranking lists on Author Central will reveal that there are some 6 to 8 million books there alone. It’s like a huge warehouse that is about half a mile long, shelved from floor to ceiling on both sides and somewhere in there, occupying about an inch width in that vast space, is your book.

How likely is it that someone browsing that huge cavern of books will happen upon (and actually purchase) yours? 

That’s why marketing and social media work are so essential. You have to do something to get awareness of your book’s existence before the reading public.

And that still doesn’t mean that they will actually purchase and read it. Worse still, hundreds of thousands of kindle books are offered at bargain prices, often even free.

Thousands of kindle readers buy these books. But research has shown that a huge percentage of them end up lying in people’s kindles, never to be read. 

Oh?! Yes, oh! So you decide, “Geez! Unless I start marketing, my book has no chance.”

And that is what brings me to the point of this short article.

The marketing world is huge, and it is full of wolves in sheep’s clothing, snakes with the siren voices of the serpent in Disney’s Jungle book, sharks with more rows of teeth than you can count, all ready to dive on the innocent, naive writer who is seeking help to get his book noticed.

Oh, yes. You WILL have to market your book, you WILL have to accept that there are costs attached to this, you WILL have to rely on the expertise and support of those who know what they are doing. But how does one know who is the shark and who is genuine? 

One vital and important step you must take before you do anything is to visit Writer Beware.

Victoria Strauss and her team have been fighting valiantly for years to identify the scammers – the Vanity publishers who promise the earth and deliver nothing, the contests and awards schemes that only line the pockets of the organisers, the many marketing services that cost the earth but more often than not result in nil sales. 

Writer Beware names and shames the fake publishers, the fake agents, the grasping marketers, and offers pages and pages of advice and information on what signs to watch out for if you are approached by anyone offering to promote your work. 

Writer Beware is operated by an extraordinary group of people who selflessly work prodigious hours to help writers. I don’t know anything about them or why they do what they do, and, by the way, I have no connection with them whatever.

I just happened upon their website and I have been fascinated by the essays and articles they write about all the scams and scammers out there in the literary world. I have learned so much from them and, doubtless, since I tend to spend a bit on marking my own books, have been saved hundreds of pounds that I might otherwise have tossed to the scavengers. 

This is the link to Writer Beware. Check them out.

No writer can afford to live in ignorance of the work they do. https://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/

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