When The Hustle published an editorial by a Kindle Store content farmer last Friday, they promised to follow up that post with one that details just how easy it is to game the Kindle Store.
That follow up was published yesterday, and I'm not sure it's worth reading.
While the first (and possibly fake) post focused on an author who was using a ghostwriter to pump out low-quality books, The Hustle's second post went in a different and much lazier direction. Rather than hire a ghost writer to crank out a few books, The Hustle instead decided to pirate an existing romance novel, plagiarise author bios, and then try to pass it off as a necessary part of the investigation.
Naturally this has authors pissed off. BookThingo has a good take on the author view, which is good because that lets me focus on the fact that the piracy was unnecessary and was also pointless because it did not actually prove the point that they were trying to make.
There was no need to pirate a book; ghost writers can be found cheap online if you know where to look. All it would have cost was a couple hundred dollars and a little extra time. Instead, they took the quick and lazy approach.
And while we're on the topic, you should also know that The Hustle later rewrote the piece to de-emphasize their piracy. (Dear Author also reports that when they pointed out the piracy on Twitter, The Hustle blocked them. ) Here's a webcache of the original piece, should you want to test your blood pressure medication. (Thanks, Lea!)
More importantly, they failed to prove the original point, that one can make money with crappy ebooks. The Hustle put a week into promoting their pirated ebook, and the best they could do was hit #897 on the free best seller list.
They only sold 9 copies.
In all honesty, I'm not sure that one could prove the original premise without investing more time and money than it is worth. But even if you could successfully game the Kindle Store, it would be wrong to extrapolate from one example to the entire store.
The Hustle ends their piece with an erroneous conclusion:
Call me a skeptic now, but until Amazon fixes the process and standards, I won’t be buying any self-published books (other than for entertainment purposes, of course). My life’s too short to waste reading content from busch-league “experts” so New York Times and Reddit, you have my attention. That said, stay tuned for Amber Ward’s highly anticipated next novel. Critics are already raving.
Way to smear an entire group based on your own actions, dude.
image by Ted Drake