book promotion, book sales, self-publishing

The power of a newsletter. I hope.

person-writing-letter-with-metal-quill

How can we gain readers? Blogging is approximate, Facebook is fickle and tweets are lost like bubbles that burst as soon as they’re formed. Only one answer, then: a newsletter. Well, that’s what I’ve heard, time and again, from self-publishing marketing gurus, foremost among them Mark Dawson and Nick Stephenson. Build your mailing list!  As Dawson puts it, my mailing list is a crucial – THE crucial – part of my business. It’s my most valuable asset. Because then you have email addresses so you’re sending out regular content to a (more or less) captive audience. So that’s what I’m doing. Last week, GD did me the honour of posting one of my letters, so the least I can do now is explain the mechanics behind it.

First you’ll need an email marketing service. I’m currently using Mailchimp, which has good functionality and is free up to 2000 subscribers. After that, it’s $30 a month, rising to $50 when you hit 3000. Not exactly cheap. As I’m getting close to 2000, I’ve started looking at alternatives. Among the best known is Mailerlite, which is free up to 1000, only rising to $35 a month when you reach 10,000 (by which time, if all goes to plan, you should be generating more than enough revenue to cover the cost). Here’s a more detailed comparison of the two. But they’re not the only ones: here’s a list of several more.

But readers don’t sign up to lists for no reason. In return for giving you their email address, they want something of value to them, such as a free book or a video course. Make your first book free, and if subscribers like it enough, they’ll buy the second, especially if it’s part of a series. Or so the reasoning goes. But with so many free books out there, for that to happen, you’re going to need a lot of subscribers.

Next you want somewhere readers will find you. A landing page on a blog is all very well, but unless you have a huge amount of traffic, the sign-up rate is so low it could take years to build your list to any decent size. Then there’s the call to action placed at the front and back of your permafree book on Amazon, including a reader magnet (e.g. Sign up to my newsletter to join my readers’ group to get another free book / short story / novella and be informed of new releases). Here again, the sign-up rate is tiny. The solution? Shared promotions and giveaways. Since I signed up to Mailchimp almost a year ago, I’ve participated in half a dozen. Results have varied, ranging from barely 20 subscribers to the current one (40 mystery novels), with over 700. Readers sign up to giveaways on one of the two main sites, Instafreebie or Bookfunnel. This video (20 min) explains how both of them work.

Finally, but of course not least, you need content. This is the hardest part – an insipid or uninformative newsletter will lose subscribers fast. But if it’s helpful, fun to read, or offers something of value (more giveaways, a free story), they’ll stay. All of them? That would be nice, wouldn’t it? But with each letter you send out, you can expect a hefty batch of unsubscribes. How many depends on the number of subscribers you have, so it’s best to talk percentages: in my experience, anything from 2% to 8%. Which is fine – lots of people sign up just for the freebies, so they’re unlikely to become your fans in any case.

Those are the ingredients then. What about the stats? How good a strategy is it? And what’s the best measure in any case? The most rewarding (financially) is the number of sales of a second book after readers have downloaded the first. If I include the sales of book two (Perfume Island) at the time of its launch, my conversion rate is 2.3%. Excluding the launch, it’s less than 1%. There are other measures, like the open rate of the newsletter (35% – 40% for mine) or the number of reviews on Amazon (Mark Dawson puts forward a figure of 1 per every 1000 downloads), but the bottom line, of course, is sales.

Am I downhearted? No. Nor even surprised, now that I know what the nature of the game is. For me, it’s way too early to draw conclusions. I’ve only got two books out, and there’s a lot I’ve still got to learn. My expectation is that until I reach at least 5000 subscribers, release a couple more books (and probably start spending on advertising), there won’t be any significant result. But so far this is the only strategy I’ve come across. It’s no doubt getting harder as time goes by, and it requires endless patience and perseverance, but there are plenty of authors who’ve used it satisfactorily. So sometime you can expect another post from me, triumphantly announcing I’m one of them. Maybe. In the meantime, you can always sign up to my newsletter.

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About Writers, blogging, inspiration, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Author’s Voice

An author’s voice is that part of writing style that sets the author apart from other writers, even those writing in the same style.
“It’s your personality coming through on the page, by your language use and word choice. When you read a Dave Barry column, you know it’s his. Why? He’s developed a distinct writing voice.”
– Brian A. Klems, The Writer’s Digest
http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/the-difference-between-voice-and-style-in-writing

Here’s an example of a clear, distinct writer’s voice.

+++The corner of Heinzie’s mouth clenches. “The daughter of my professor made eyes at me. He got wind of it. He expected better for her than – one of no extraordinary expectations is how he put it. He went for the throat. He questioned the quality of my scholarship, accused me of plagiarism, destroyed me.”
+++“Did you plagiarize?”
+++“Please. Water under the bridge.”
+++“We all have skeletons. Beg, borrow and steal is my motto.”
+++“I landed at a lesser university, nowhere near the prestige. There I chanced upon the freifrau, hunting for a tutor to instruct a precocious child with great potential. Precocious! I can think of better words. Pestilential, for one. Worn down from barely getting by, pea soup in a frigid garret – you may know the routine – I jumped on it.”
+++“I lived high during my student days, but I feel your pain.”
+++“You might’s well –” Heinz is beginning to slur his speech “– hear it all. To seduce a fine fortune, I felt it not beyond me. Annette worships scholarship, and I am a pretty fellow, why deny it? I set to work at being the prochain ami, the best friend, at her beck and call, as solicitous as closest kin. My previous dalliance influencing my choice, I fixed my sight on –” he paused to refill his glass – “Sir! To the darling Drusilla.”
+++“Drusilla? Lord Above! I guessed Annette. Drusilla! How do you cope with the brat? She’s driving my poor cat wild.”
+++“Ha! You can say that again!” hoots Sly. Dee kicks his box.
 – Mimi Spieke, Sly / A Rogue, Reconsidered / Book 3: The Rogue Regrets

What other authors  have a notably distinct writer’s voice? What about your own?

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Uncategorized

Newsletters

Newsletters are used by many authors to keep in touch with readers. There are good services available (Mailchimp comes to mind) to easily distribute your newsletter.
If you haven’t done one, or are not satisfied with the one you are doing, consider blending a bit of humor with interesting, and sometimes personal, information.

Here’s a great example of a newsletter.
It’s from Curtis Bausse, author of the Magali Rousseau mystery series.

Bonjour, bienvenue à La Lettre
Today it’s all about…
Victims and villains

Newsletter 6

   And let’s leap straight in with the question:       
Who is the greatest villain of all time?
As you may know, the mystery writer Dashiell Hammett worked for the Pinkerton Detective Agency. What’s less well-known is that Allan Pinkerton, who founded the agency, died after biting his tongue. More precisely, he slipped on the pavement, and his tongue, which he bit in the fall, became infected with gangrene.

Maybe we can put that down to the Moirai – the three fates in Greek mythology. Clotho spins the thread of life, Lachesis measures how much each one of us will get, and at the appointed time, Atropos, known as ‘the inflexible’, comes along and cuts it.

Last year, the French fitness blogger Rebecca Burger died when putting whipped cream on her dessert – the canister exploded, hit her in the chest and gave her a heart attack. Atropos clearly has all manner of tricks up her sleeve. As this list of ironic deaths shows (my favourite is Clement Vallandigham).

Of course, it may not be fair to think of Atropos as a villain. Since we’re all bound to die, she’s only doing her job, after all. But she seems to delight in setting about it in a totally arbitrary fashion.

Her male counterpart, The Grim Reaper, with his long scythe and hooded robe, appeared in the 14th century, decimating a third of Europe’s population by means of the plague. Who survived? Who didn’t? Only he decided.

It’s the same with terror attacks – the villains are easier to identify, and hopefully bring to justice, but for the victims, it’s a matter of wrong place, wrong time. Or serial killers – the villain in One Green Bottle devises an elaborate system for choosing his victims, but for them it might as well be the Grim Reaper.

While death may at times seem arbitrary, it’s a sad fact that all too often, it isn’t: the victims aren’t chosen at random – they live with the person who kills them. And it’s worth bearing in mind, this 8th March, that most of the time, they’re women. In France, on average, a woman is killed by her partner (or ex) every three days.

It isn’t always murder, though; there’s psychological torment too. Magali Rousseau’s husband is a bit of a bully that way – no wonder she finds herself much better off without him. Even if, thankfully, his villainy falls way short of Gregory Anton’s gaslighting in the film which gave its name to such bullying (video, 2 min 30).

Though Magali’s resourceful enough not to be victimised by anyone, one skill she doesn’t possess is jiu-jitsu. So if you’re looking for women who kick ass, how about The Arrival, the first (free) book in Nicole McDonald’s Birthright Trilogy, ‘an Epic Fantasy Romance with women who know how to wield a sword and swing a punch.’

And while we’re on the subject, here’s a link to a few more victims in six cosy mysteries for just $7.99.

The Fatal Cloth

Billy was burly, brutish and rough,
Millie so fearful, fragile and weak.
‘This time I’ll tell him I’ve had enough,’
She said to herself – but dared not speak.

All her efforts to placate her man
Only managed to increase his wrath.
Until, demented, Billy began
To strangle Millie with a strip of cloth.

Sobbing, she realised this was the date
Chosen on high for her life to end.
And Millie was ready to meet her fate
When she remembered she had a friend.

‘Billy, this cloth will be your loss!’
She cried as she unravelled a thread,
Then summoning faithful Atropos
She grabbed some scissors and left him…

Finally, episode 6 of the Authorised Biography of Curtis, both as text and in audio, complete with sound effects.

‘Poor me,’ said Curtis to his constant, cuddly companion, Kenny Koala. ‘I am a victim.’

‘Crikey!’ Kenny was surprised. ‘Of what?’

‘That’s just the point. I don’t know. A scam? A cruel joke? A gross miscarriage of justice? Or all of the above combined. Together with an entirely gratuitous act of perversity that has resulted in me being alive. They say that life is a gift, Kenny, but what am I supposed to do with it? There’s no instruction manual. Is it something to be enjoyed? But why, in that case, am I so helpless? Everyone else can walk and talk, but all I can do is crawl, and poorly at that. I simply end up bumping into chairs and falling on my chin. Life hurts, Kenny! Life is an endless succession of cuts and bruises. Not to mention a runny nose, a sore botty and teething pains. A gift? What kind of sadist comes up with a gift like that? And the worst part is I’m not even sure it’s going to get any better. Have you heard what happens in the world beyond our pram? Here, let me switch on the wireless for you.’

Kenny listened for a while, then nodded sagely. ‘Terrible indeed, mate. But let me put things into perspective. Not so long ago I was up a tree in New South Wales, happily munching a cheese and eucalyptus sanger, when along comes some scungy mongrel and throws a net round me. I was devvo, mate, no two ways about it. And before I know it I’m in a cage on some stinking boat bound for the UK. Where I fetch up sharing a pram with a first-class whinger who spits the dummy every two minutes and demands to know what the meaning of life is. Strewth! Call yourself a victim – what about me, mate? But have you heard me complain? Not a bit of it. Life is absurd, Curtis. That’s all there is to it, so you’d better get used to it. Now let’s just twiddle that knob and see if there’s something better.’

Curtis, anxious not to upset his only friend, heaved an existentially calibrated sigh. ‘Ah, well, Kenny, I guess you’re right. There’s nothing for it but to make the best of a bad job.’

‘Good onya, that’s the stuff!’ Kenny gave him a hearty slap on the back. ‘Fair dinkum, mate!’

Sadly, Kenny Koala is no more, but his is an excellent lesson in life, which has stood me in good stead ever since. Much as I disapprove of the scungy mongrel who captured him, I would never otherwise have had the privilege of sharing a pram with such a capital koala.

Bien à vous,

Curtis

Episode 5: A Precautionary Measure (3 min)
Episode 4: Wet and Wetter (3 min 30)
Episode 3: The Middle of Nowhere (3 min30)
Episode 2: Why? The discovery of nothingness(3 mins)
Episode 1: The Vaginal Voyage. (3 mins)

Copyright © 2018 Curtis Bausse, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is:
Chemin du Viaduc, Aix en Provence

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

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About Writers, blogging, book promotion, book reviews, book sales, inspiration, publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

It’s a Community

above: Terry Pratchett 1948-2015 By Artist ‘Sandara’

One of the advantages of joining a community of like-minded people on the ‘Net is the likelihood of meeting someone totally unlike yourself. That is always good for a writer. I can’t draw an expressive crooked line. But Sandara can create a whole world in one image. Her visualization of Terry Pratchett shaking Death’s hand is fresh, striking and memorable. Don’t we writers wish all our stories were that good?

Amazing, the talents in the writing community: Publishers, editors & marketing people of course. Cover artists, beta readers, blurb writers, personal assistants and reviewers are some more. I’m sure I’ve left out important categories. No writer has all of the talents needed for a successful book. Hence, the usefulness of belonging to a writing community. Want to know the best print-on-demand service out there right now? Ask.

And best of all is the feedback. Excellent services at reasonable prices receive as much publicity on a writers’ forum as do services that waste your time and money. Think you have a really good idea for marketing your book? Ask and see if anyone has already tried that. Not sure of your book cover? Post it for comments.

Finally, always return favors. While I do owe her one, the real reason I recommend Sandara Tang here is her art. Take a look at some. It will surprise your imagination.

The Art Of Sandara
https://sandara.deviantart.com/ (best Hi-Res images)
https://www.facebook.com/ArtofSandara3/

Who have you worked with that you would recommend to other writers?

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About Writers, book promotion, book sales, publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

What Happened

Traditionally, publishers sold books through bookstores, book distributors, mass market retailers, book clubs, even, sometimes, to organizations wanting a promotional tool. (Wells Fargo, for example, might buy 5,000 books on stage coaches.) Sales representatives, working for publishers and independent sales groups, attended industry sales conferences and made calls on retail buyers.
Authors wrote books and received royalty payments on their book sales.

Amazon changed all that. Today, authors list their book on a website with 11 million other books in the hope that individuals will find and buy it.

We have gone from a powerful industry selling books to a website listing.

That’s what happened.

What can we do about it? Obviously, success requires more than one author selling to one reader at a time because readers only buy one book. We ain’t selling Hershey bars. Our reader won’t come back for a box of the same book.

The idea here is to build a list of businesses and organizations which have the potential to buy, or distribute for sale, many copies of the same book. Yes, we still have bookstores, book distributors, mass market retailers, book clubs, even organizations wanting a promotional tool. But without a big publisher’s clout, how does any writer market to them?
And, are there other organized groups that we can target to help sell our book?
Any ideas? Perry Palin 🙂 ? Anybody?

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Uncategorized

Medium – What Is It Good For?

I don’t know, I just don’t know. 

I thought Medium might be a place to post fiction. Fiction is one of their categories, after all. There are many ‘publications’ here that claim to host fiction. But most of them want what one member described as ‘snackable’ content. Poems, short stories, flash fiction, etc. Fiction is almost an afterthought on the site, tucked away. You have to go looking for it.

They have politics. Also current events/art/design, the whole range of topics you find on any general interest news/commentary site. But the big thing seems to be self-improvement.

There’s a lot of discussion about writing. Most of it, same-ol’-same-ol’ regurgitated. This type of post dominates the front page (you land on the front page by getting a lot of reads). The exposure encourages others to go the same route. Mind-numbing!

I’ve found very little useful in any of the following:

> Is This What It Takes To Become A Writer?

> Why You Are Losing Your Best ideas And How Not To

> Use These Three Tools To Overcome Your Scarcity Mindset

> 5 Quality Tips For Growing Your Medium Page

> What’s Stopping You From Writing?

> Writing Is Easy. Quality Writing Is Not.

‘Live Your Best Life’ is another big area. I’d better dig into this. Sly is eventually going to lecture the rats of Hameln on living their best lives. Any of the below could apply.

> You Make Or Break Your Life Between 5-7 AM

> If It Doesn’t Suck, It’s Not Worth Doing – YOUR SUCCESS MANTRA FOR 2018.

> Willpower Doesn’t Work. Here’s How to Actually Change Your Life.

> This Morning Routine will Save You 20+ Hours Per Week

> This Is How You Train Your Brain To Get What You Really Want

> UN-COMMIT Immediately to Everything You’re Not Definite About!!

> Tell Me What You Did Today, And I’ll Tell You Who You Are

I am amused by how many titles incorporate a number, as in snap-your-fingers-easy.

> This One Question Will Make Every Decision In Your Life Easier

> 3 Ways People Become Stuck, Undeveloped, and Unsuccessful

> The 2 Mental Shifts Highly Successful People Make

> 7 Ways To Make Immediate Success Your Only Option

> 8 Things Every Person Should Do Before 8 A.M.

> 13 Things That Will Happen When You “Level-Up” As A Person

> 21 Behaviors That Will Make You Brilliant At Creativity & Relationships

> 14 Strategies To Accelerate Your Personal Growth By 1,000%

> 50 Ways To Live On Your Own Terms

> 31 Things That Will Happen When You Finally Decide To Live Your Dreams

How and Why are (apparently) big attention-grabbers:

> Why Keeping a Daily Journal Could Change Your Life

> Why Even Ambitious People Rarely Become Successful

> How to Become the Best in the World at What You Do

> How to Increase the Volume of Your Brain and Make Optimal Decisions

> How to Create the “Moments” that Change Your Life

> How To Go From Successful To Very Successful (and why most people can’t do it)

> How to 1) Get Into Peak States, 2) Make Bold Decisions, 3) Invest In Yourself, 4) …

Here’s a How and a Why. Give this guy a cigar. 

> How to Consistently Act From Your Deepest “Why”

This begins to sound like the ‘We Can Help You Publish Your Book’ / ‘We Can Help You Market Your Invention’ spots I hear driving home from work at 1am.

I’m not ready to give up on Medium.

The best advice I’ve gotten so far is to publish a short excerpt from my book and link it to a web site. Like I didn’t know that already. Duh! 

They have a category called ‘series’. I thought that perfect for me, but was told that ‘series’ is for short pieces. I looked at two and each has only three or four pages, with a few paragraphs and a graphic. The term series is misleading. This is a special format that only takes a certain number of words per page. There may be a limit on number of pages as well. And the pages are the size of a largish cell phone.

If I publish under my own name I can do anything I want to. But the advice is, if you post within a publication you will get more exposure and more reads.

Maybe I’ll just lie, pull a chapter from Sly, call it a short story (like I’ve done with the anthology) and try to slip it past the gatekeepers at The Mad River. “Where Weird Waters Flow” is their subhead. I think I’d fit right in there.

This is like eating potato chips. I can’t stop. I just read a piece – The Brutal Solution To Writer’s Block: You do not have writer’s block. You are lazy.

Excuse me. When I have a problem to solve, I wait for an answer to strike me, an answer that makes real, emotional sense. If I push, it will be a bullshit answer. I’ll know it’s bullshit and my reader will know it’s bullshit. I work on another chapter until I have a eureka! moment.

 

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book promotion, Literary Agents, publishing, scams

Your Publisher May Not Be A Publisher

computer-virus-rev-1-300x200 Each and every day brings an exciting pronouncement that so and so has been published. It’s a thrilling announcement, one which envisions a bright future for the impending literary scion, and one that is, so often the percentages died aborning, wrong.  I’m not going to slam self published authors – at least not today – rather I’m going to help clarify some terms. They are important ones to know if you’re serious about your craft. The word “publisher” dates back to the 1500’s. It originally meant “one who announces in public.” which makes complete sense even today. The more modern interpretation,  “one whose business is bringing out for sale books, periodicals, engravings, etc.” dates back to 1740. Whether or not a publishing company pays an advance to a writer they do, or are supposed to, provide certain services for a fee based on sales, or, to be clear, work on commission. No legitimate publisher charges an author up front monies for anything.

Those services, in a nutshell, are promotion of the work, marketing, licensing (when possible), and distribution. Included in that will be the arrangement of some interviews and other forms of personal publicity which are designed to sell the author just as much as the book.

Should sales, or projected sales, warrant it the publisher may suggest the author ascertain the services of an agent. That person will take over the job of selling you and all your intellectual properties to the unsuspecting world all while trying to get you a better publishing deal than that piece of shit you signed (every agent just laughed here, every author just whimpered).

Good news, no reputable agent will charge an author any upfront fees either. Bad news, like unicorns and South American hockey teams, they are difficult to wrangle. If, as noted in the previous paragraph, you find yourself in need of one many publishers will offer suggestions but no more than that. It’s in their best interest for you to succeed, not to interfere  or micromanage your life. They have other shit to do.

Consider all of the above bullet points to refer to when you’re talking to publishers.

Now, which companies aren’t publishers?

Amazon KDP
Book Baby
Create Space
Draft2Digital
Ingram Spark
Liberio (recently out of beta testing)
Lulu
Nook
Smashwords

All of the above use the phrase “publish your book” but use it very carefully. They mean the phrase literally. They are all, with a variety of different options available to writers, print on demand services. They do not vet your writing in any manner, other than for formatting or decency standards (if they have those). If you write a book claiming that Iron Sky, my favorite movie series involving space Nazis, is a documentary, and that numerology proves it, no one stops you. You just hit send and off it goes to the Internet. Where it goes after that depends on how much money you want to spend. None of the companies listed above are going to have a single unpaid intern lift a finger on your behalf. That means all of the tasks I noted above are now yours.

Which means, and you need to understand this, you are the publisher. It is now on you, and nobody else, to present your work to the wider world.

Now, for some help. since the majority of writers reading this blog are involved in sci-fi or fantasy, I’m going to share a list of scams sited on the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) website.

As you cringe through the many instances of fraud, all of which have been adjudicated, you’ll note some common themes.

  1. Film deals were based on getting talent signed first, all you need to do is provide a little “seed money.” Just FYI, there is no such animal in the film industry. It’s financing first and then that money attracts names. If an actor or actress likes the author they may “attach” their name to the presentation, but they are under no obligation go appear, support, or otherwise do a damn thing. At least not until they have a contract and money. Not “or” but “and.” That’s important to remember.
  2. Authors were charged fees for services unrelated to, in wildly in excess of, what they needed. Yes, editors charge fees. But agents and publishers are not editors. At least not exclusively. When you’re ready for editing hire someone who does that, and only that, and you’ll save yourself agita and money.
  3. Celebrity endorsements. Be extremely wary of these. The number of faux agents I’ve seen touting them is amazing and, always, a lie. Just last week I reached out to someone I know to ask if she was really “cheering on an amazing author.” Her response, edited for profanity, was “no.” Unless you have evidence, photographic is best, you could end up getting a wonderfully threatening “cease and desist” letter from a lawyer who makes in an hour what you earn in a year. That said, they do happen. I have gotten them from Rosario Dawson and John Fuglesang, for example, but even then I’ve been careful not to use them in advertising or any other commercial venue. You can post them on social media, as I have, but anything else requires a contract. Simply put, “don’t worry about it, they’re friends” is bullshit.
  4. Reading, evaluation, and/or marketing fees. These are where your money goes to die. The SWFA has a litany of reasons why you should run screaming from the room if they’re mentioned. Simply put, they are designed for people to make money no matter what happens to you. And, far more often than not, nothing happens that benefits you in any way.

As a point of reference, all of these publishers have been deemed scams.

  • American Book Publishing (Salt Lake City, UT)
  • Archebooks Publishing (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Helm Publishing (Rockford, IL)
  • Hilliard and Harris (Boonsboro, MD)
  • Oak Tree Press (Taylorville, IL)
  • Park East Press (Dallas TX) (formerly Durban House, formerly Oakley Press)
  • PublishAmerica (Frederick, MD)
  • Royal Fireworks Press/Silk Label Books (Unionville, NY)
  • SterlingHouse Publisher (Pittsburgh, PA–imprints include, among others, Pemberton Mysteries, 8th Crow Books, Cambrian House Books, Blue Imp Books, Caroline House Books, Dove House Books, and PAJA Books)
  • SBPRA/Strategic Book Publishing/Eloquent Books (Boca Raton, FL–formerly known as The Literary Agency Group and AEG Publishing Group)
  • Tate Publishing (Mustang, OK)
  • Whitmore Publishing Company (Pittsburgh, PA)

The list of disreputable agents is too long to recreate here, so click on the list to see if the person who claims you’re the next J. K. Rowling is there.

So what to do? This part is absurdly easy.

  1. Ask for, a minimum of five, references with direct contact information. Make sure you can reach every single one.
  2. If a celebrity is attached contact their management. All that info is listed on any authorized web site.
  3. Use this new fangled Google thing to search for whoever has made you this amazing offer, you need to act on now – NOW! DO YOU HEAR ME?!?!, and add the word “scam” after their name. You’ll be amazed how much time and money that little trick will save you.

Just like having a blind date at an S&M bar, caution is your friend. Be careful out there.

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