Quite frankly, I am sick to death of seeing all these so-called "businesses" springing up that claim to be providing various services for a "reasonable" fee to supposedly help indie authors--everything from tweeting about your book, to book covers, to formatting your book for various e-readers. While the services themselves are legit, the prices are NOT.
Warning: Vulgar language to follow.
I will now rant about all the gouging I see going on out there, plus advice to indie authors to NOT FUCKING FALL FOR IT.
First, we have some businesses that offer to tweet your book to over 100,000 people for a fee, which usually varies depending on how many days you want your book tweeted for. A week costs about $200. Why is this ridiculous? For one, most of the 100,000 "people" these companies are tweeting to are OTHER INDIE AUTHORS. Second, I can't see how setting up Hootsuite (or another 3rd party FREE APP) to automatically send tweets can even possibly be worth TWO HUNDRED FUCKING DOLLARS. I understand that people need to make a living, but really? REALLY?
Indie authors, don't do this. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY on shit like this. You can yourself build substantial followers and set up Hootsuite (or similar app) to do the work for you if you're that determined to spam the fuck out of people. You don't need to pay $200 for someone else to do practically nothing on your behalf.
As a matter of fact, you'd be better off spending your money on Google AdWords and AdSense. You set the price, number of times ad is shown, and so on. Your ad pops up to people most likely to be interested in buying your book. It's a proven advertising method that will give you a much better return for your money than having someone tweet about your book to thousands of disinterested parties.
Second, we have the formatters. They promise to format your book for you so that it's FLAWLESS for any and all e-readers. The last price I checked was from a company who offered to format your manuscript for KINDLE ONLY for around $200 (apparently, $200 is the going price for just about everything). Let me give you a sweet, sweet hint:
Amazon publishes a book on how to format your manuscript for Kindle, with step-by-step instructions, and the manual IS FREE. That's right, FREE. Other sites, like Smashwords and Barnes & Noble, also provide FREE MANUALS for formatting your manuscript. And believe me, it's not difficult--if you can follow step-by-step instructions, you can format your own damn manuscript. You certainly don't need to spend $200 to have someone else do it (RIP OFF!).
Next, we have the book cover designers. One that is fairly popular charges upwards of $300 dollars for covers. This is fucking stupid for a number of reasons:
1. This person wants YOU to hunt down the images on the internet for them to use to make your book cover (price goes up if this person has to hunt for the images themselves).
2. This person then arranges the images YOU'VE DONE ALL THE WORK TO FIND, slaps on some text, and then proceeds to charge you $300 for the work.
Realistically, that doesn't take very long. If you have a look at my Book Covers for Sale, you will see nice, beautiful book covers I made myself. They took me anywhere from half an hour to an hour to do. And, being the nice and REASONABLE person I am, I am NOT about to charge someone $300 for something that fucking simple. If you want me to create art from scratch, that'll cost a lot more, but that's understandable--I'd be doing art from SCRATCH, which takes loads longer. Seriously, DO NOT PAY MORE THAN $100 FOR A BOOK COVER, unless you're requesting original art. These "graphic designers" are ripping you the fuck off with their outrageous prices.
It just pisses me off that these "businesses" are gouging the pockets of indie authors, many of whom can't afford their services but pony up the money anyway in a desperate attempt to generate sales of their books. I'm tired of seeing the gouging, tired of seeing the blatant rip offs, and just tired in general of unscrupulous people preying on the lack of knowledge many first-time authors have regarding these things.