Strap in for another episode of Chris Reviews a Service. A fellow author who was asking questions in my writing group is who turned me on to Author Platform Rocket/APR. At first, it sounded like something I was very interested in. I think that a perfect service would be something that manages your ad accounts and takes a healthy commission off of the sales for their hard work. You would pay for the ads and they would build/manage them so that the writer can do what they excel at: writing. This sounded like that sort of service! (That led me to the million dollar question… what does that cost?)
SPOILER: This was not that sort of service.
The page, much like so many pages promising services to us authors, is one long-form squeeze page/sales funnels which you are probably familiar with. It’s a simple formula: talk a lot about the service and tout the hyper-successful stories as case studies.
First off, I had to navigate several of those funnel pages to try and find the info I wanted. Eventually I got to a spot to schedule an interview with an agent… to get this far, I had to fill in tons of information about my books, sales figures, etc. By the time I got to the end and discovered that I had to talk to someone to get the info that I wanted (a pricing guide for their service) I had figured that this might not be the kind of service I had hoped it was, even if it billed itself that way… the fine print on each successive funnel page seemed to alter that perception, and so I closed the browser.
I received a message a few days later with a followup from one of their folks, someone named Brenda who sent a video, confused how I got so far without getting the numbers I asked her for in a response. She told me to watch a video. A nineteen freaking minute long video. That’s a lot of time I could be investing in something else… like writing or editing. How bout you just type out the price, okay, Brenda?
Maybe I’ll learn something in the video, right? Nope. Same crap as their sales funnel. Same stuff I’m already familiar with. I just want a price… and then, dear God, they start talking about selling hoodies and other custom merch like this is a vistaprint add-on service or something and how authors are leaving freemoney laying around. I tune out. I sell books. I do sell t-shirts for fun with a screen printing operation in my basement, but come on, Brenda… I’m here for a purpose, and it ain’t shirts.
I thought I’d be honest.
I didn’t see anything regarding the price in the video (aside from a 500 discount.) please be straight with me and tell me the cost. I am currently doing Mark Dawson’s courses and would rather spend my time watching those videos than trying to scour through another 18 minutes of data that I’d already mostly seen already.
Brenda thought this was funny. It’s totally expected that your business management professionals approach your money with a laissez faire attitude right? Brenda says:
LOL. If you saw the $500 you weren’t listening. Missed it by 3 min. Also, your not being pitched. If you were I’d be trying to sell you instead of testing to see if you are paying attention 😉
That’s our first hurdle to working with us: can a prospect pay attention.
To Brenda’s credit, after going back to rewatch it (because I often hurt myself for the education of others,) I did happen to find it. The pricing model was discussed for exactly 14 seconds. That’s about 1% of the mandatory time-suck that is their video author-bait. I blinked and missed it. If you’re wondering, it’s $2,100 per month + the cost of whatever adverts they want to create. (They say you can cancel at any time, but they also say they expect a year-long commitment.)
I did inform Brenda:
…the video really takes a cue after click funnels/squeeze pages with trying to move the data forward and sell someone on an idea before getting the bottom line (I’ve got some training on high-pressure salesmanship psychology and [understand] both how and why it works,) but I clearly asked for an honest answer and got condescension in return … I don’t think we’re gonna be a good fit.
Lucky me, Brenda did have a snarky response (even after I told her I was not interested in working with her company after the attitude she gave me) and she informed me that 1) their sales pitch is still not a sales pitch and 2) asking honest questions disqualifies you from any consideration and a healthy dose of condescension. I got a distinct impression she needed to have the last word. I let her have it and file the email in my folder titled Jackassery.
Initially, this author I spoke with was asking questions about some pretty basic things, which I found odd… after my experience with APR, I’m no longer surprised. It may just be my isolated experience, but it seemed to verify the other writer’s experience: asking questions is apparently frowned on by Author Platform Rocket… under pain of derision and cancellation.
I should probably insert a caveat here: that first author who talked about this service (which has a name suspiciously like KDP Rocket, a different service which I fully endorse) was barely getting any sales and had turned to fellow authors to try and come up with some new ad copy or graphics that might finally start moving some books. Basically, they were flushing money down the toilet and asking for help from others since the “professionals” had managed to accomplish nothing. That’s too much money to stuff down the old crapper.
You’re going to need to be one of the success stories that they brag about in order to make any money at their rates, so it certainly looks like they are selling a pipe dream. And if you’re going to pin all your hopes and dreams on being the exception to the rule, it might be statistically better for you to sink fifty grand into trying to meet and pitch agents and celebrity authors with your story and hold out for a big-time book deal. The math doesn’t look pretty. Some people might actually have success, but you’re going to need a budget of $50,000 (they are going to keep $25k of that) plus a year of patience in order to see if it pans out.
Inside the Inkwell Grade: D-
Feel free to look them up. If you do, pray you don’t get Brenda.
If my blog has helped you in any way, please subscribe, visit my homepage, and consider purchasing my Indie Author’s Bible Books available on Amazon. Let me know if you’ve got any experiences with this company (or if my blog has saved your well-earned bacon) by posting in the comments below.