This happened to me a few days ago. For me, on top of writing my next novel, I have a full-time job. I don't have all the time in the world to market my book, yet I want my book to succeed, so I looked up a few marketing agencies.
On the first google search page, I saw a long list of ads before I even found my search results. I came across one ad that sounded convincing, I clicked on it, and it took me to this dark purple moody-looking site. The site claimed to be a full marketing agency and offered editing, ghostwriting, and many more services. It also had a list of all the books it coauthored or had helped in marketing. I was intrigued. Some of the books were very well known and popular.
As I continued scrolling, at the bottom corner of the page, I saw a chat box. The chat box began writing a message and asked if I needed any help. It also claimed it was not a robot but a real human. For convenience, I thought, why not. I messaged and told them I am looking to add some marketing to my book. The chat box was very friendly and happy to give me as much information as I needed.
Then something shifted as I continued messaging. I noticed something felt off. For one, they would make a few grammatical errors, but I brushed it aside. Even skilled writers make mistakes, especially when they are trying to type fast. But then two, something else seemed off. They began making large claims about their success. I asked them if they had any examples of successes. They sent me a link to the author of the Red Queen, Victoria Aveyard. I was impressed yet again. Her site looked amazing, she was a New York Times best-seller, she had many positive reviews.
Still skeptical, I asked them how they marketed her books, and I also asked them the price. They were very general on the marketing details, but they said they had packages, 5000 dollars being the price of the smallest package. Then they said they would guarantee that I would be a best selling author or I would get my money back. I was taken aback. 5000 dollars to be a best seller guaranteed it was almost to good to be true.
Then they asked for my name and number, and time to schedule an appointment. I agreed. I wanted to talk to them and learn more, so we scheduled an appointment for next week. I was filled with bliss, but then I felt that shadowy doubtful feeling. Wait, I thought, if they could make me a best seller without even seeing my book could they make anyone? 5000 while considerable is not a lot in exchange for being a best seller.
After my interaction, I began doing research. I looked up their site name on multiple review platforms and was shocked. It turned out there were numerous glowing reviews but underneath that was many negative. Most saying scam, many saying the books on their site was not affiliated with them, and many more. It was enough for me to realize, not every book marketing agency is real. I still have the appointment phone call with them next week. I will let you know in a part two what happens.