Book promoters and book promotion services emails

Book Gargantuans.  Book Promoters Extraordinaire. Book Blimmin' Big Balls Agents.

There are plenty of people (companies, entrepreneurs) out there, willing to promote your book on their site and across their social channels, aren't there? So many in fact, they are running out of names for their businesses that haven't already been taken - the one's above are still available as far as I'm aware.

But how useful are these promoters? I've limited experience, myself. I did something with Ask David a couple of years back and don't remember much of a sales spike as a result.

But an email I got from one such 'business' earlier today irked a little. Here's what it said (I've removed the company details)

Dear Jon Lymon,

I just saw your book "The Diamond Rush". I would love to write a post about it and list it on my website [WEB ADDRESS]

One more thing, if you are running a promotion for "The Diamond Rush" then you can use our service called - Book of the Day to promote "The Diamond Rush" to more than 400,000 readers across the globe. 
Check it out here [WEB ADDRESS]

Thank you & all the best 

My problems with it: First up, there was no name at the bottom. Equals not very personal.

Then the opening line, or is it more of an opening gambit? My reaction to reading 'I would love to write a post about it' is, well, go on then. You don't need my permission. Go ahead, write away. Slate the book if necessary. And while you're at it, yes, you can list it on your own website too. No need to ask me. Go list crazy. Look, you've even included a link to your own web address... ah wait a minute, you want me to click on your website to take a look. So that's what this email's really about.

The next paragraph confirms my suspicions. By 'one more thing' what you really mean is here's the crux of the message, here's the real reason I'm sending this email, but I'll try and disguise it, downplay it, introduce it as an aside. You want to tell me about your Book Of The Day feature, which I have to pay for. Gotcha. Thanks. Next...

Am I just being cynical? I work as a copywriter, so I know a few tricks of the advertising trade, but there is a thing called Passing Off, where you pretend not to be selling when that's really exactly what you're doing. 

Maybe this email just arrived in my inbox when I was a bit grumpy, dunno. But if anyone's ever replied to one of these, and got their book listed and gone on to sell a million, let me know!

Amazon Giveaway

A sparkling gem with The Diamond Rush? A clubbing compilation CD with Last Night At The Stairways? A dead chicken with A Dead Chick And Some Dirty Tricks?

In case you haven't heard yet, Amazon is giving everyone the chance to run their own promotions as a way to attract (bribe) new customers.  It's called Amazon Giveaway.

So if you've got a book to sell, choose a prize, pay for it, then decide how people can win it (i.e. when they buy your book.)

Sounds simple, and interesting, and a good way to attract new readers to your book. I'm going to try it, as long as I can find good prizes that relate to the story I'm trying to sell.

There's millions of Amazon products to choose from as prizes. Which one will go best with your book?

You can find out more details here.

Amazon may have its detractors, but I'm liking their thinking on this one.