What’s In It For Me?

As authors, we’re frequently asked to donate our time, give back to our readers, our community, our family, our friends, and can often end up with a sense of complete overload. Learning to say no becomes a challenge.

But what if this opportunity is the one to set my name ablaze in lights? It could happen. : )

I’d recently received an email with the title: Author Opportunity. My skeptical self said, first off, don’t open it. I didn’t recognize the name of the sender, but it sounded vaguely familiar. I did a quick google search and got an actress with the same name. After going back to review the email again I noticed there was no attachment or anything, so I opened the email. At the top however, was a link to fill out information if you didn’t want to fill in the document within the email.

I wondered about Spear Phishing. Or regular fishing. Had I been hooked?

fish hook in water_b&w

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, spear phishing, it’s all about identity theft. What these people want is to target corporate executives.  Small business owners should be aware. Scam artists have begun to send customized emails to their targets, one person at a time, and the email can contain personal information like your name or some reference that makes it seem like they know you, and often it will link to a “spoofed” or fake website that requests personal information. These websites look authentic. Once the person clicks on the link provided the “spear” has found its target.

Never click through a link in a suspect email. 

Secondly, they were asking for money. When I researched the sender’s website, not by clicking the link but doing a search, they were legitimate. However, they were a promotional company. The owner had recently given a workshop at a local writer’s meeting. It could have been authentic. It could have been a spoof.

I thought about contacting them by phone or email to ask if they had sent this request to me. It was for local speaking engagements, an opportunity to reach readers. As authors, we love those things and glom onto them like a chocolate bar. I read it again, very carefully. The document within the email was a survey. It asked if I would be willing to pay $50-$100 to participate in local promotional events. I’d also have the opportunity to sell books to a crowd of from 20-50 people. Sounds enticing, right?

Wait! Let’s do the math.


Assuming it was a legitimate email: half of the people buy a book, let’s say 20 people. I supply my own books, which I purchase at a discount but pay shipping and handling, and they end up costing almost $10 per book.I need to make the reader purchase palatable, so I set the price at $10, which I think makes me about 20 cents on the sale. Then I have to PAY to attend the event?

No way! They should be paying me to attend. I’m the speaker. And I’ve given up a day of my writing time to attend this “event.” I hate to be negative here, but this reminds me of the old saying: What’s in it for me?

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18 Responses to What’s In It For Me?

  1. Nan says:

    Interesting post, Roben. I didn’t realize this was going on… I’ll be wary. Thanks! I think with e-books, book signings are going to be fewer and fewer. Print editions are so costly, and with RNO, I had to order them myself from my publisher and then take them to the book signing and sell them through the indie bookseller…the books were going to get very pricey for both of us to make any money. Not sure what the answer is to personal-touching your books to your print readers.

    And you are trying to sell something here, so “What’s in it for me?” is a perfectly legitimate question.

  2. robena grant says:

    Thanks for coming by, Nan. I like your comments, and yes, getting the print books into our readers hands when not published by one of the Big 6 publishers is tough. I price low, deliberately, because at the moment I’m more interested in getting my name out there. But it is a problem if I want to stay in the black. : )

  3. Abosolutely right.

    Sort of like agents who ask the author to pay a reading fee…

    Send that e-mail to trash.

  4. Nan says:

    Ummmm, there are agents who charge a reading fee? Seriously? That shocks me…I’m such a babe in this business… sheesh!

  5. Sam Beck says:

    My email rule is this…if it didn’t come from Robena Grant, I don’t open it! 😉

  6. Janie Emaus says:

    It’s a scary world out here on the web. You have to be careful of incoming grenades.

  7. robena grant says:

    Yep, Janie. Duck and cover.
    I used to read my email before breakfast, but now I make certain I have food and one cup of coffee before opening anything. I need to be on my toes, or at least half awake. ; )

  8. Sounds like you did a good job reasoning things out.

  9. Totally fishy! It’s amazing what some people will try… And LOL at the no-email-before-coffee rule! 🙂

  10. robena grant says:

    Hi Laura, thanks for dropping in. I’ve been watching with great admiration your latest dance venture with Spamalot. Fun. : )

  11. Julie says:

    Oooo, dishonesty makes me very angry. And sad.
    So I just can’t think about. Must be careful and aware though!

  12. robena grant says:

    Yep. It’s good to know these things, Julie, but I’m like you, I really don’t like knowing about them. ; )

  13. londonmabel says:

    Because I can no longer post a comment on it, I just want to say: I have fond typing memories too!

  14. robena grant says:

    Ha ha. You’re funny LM. : )