How not to promote your crappy self-published book

I’m getting more and more of these types of emails, and they’re really starting to irk me. So, here’s one from yesterday for your mocking pleasure:

I am a history professor and advisor to the local chapter of the Roman Historical Society. The Roman Historical Society is a society focused on preserving roman history by ways of education, living history, and research. I recently read a historical fiction that is detailed and painstakingly accurate regarding Roman genre. The book also details the only recorded gladiatorial fight in the Roman coliseum. I ask you to please make one or more copies of this book available in the library for the benefit of our members. The book is entitled “The Sea Kings of Rome – Champions of the Naumachia” – ISBN 978-0-9825823-2-9.
Thank you in advance,
Dr. Benito Lombardi

Uh huh. First of all, “Dr. Benito Lombardi,” I don’t work in “the library.” (You know — THE library.) In fact, I don’t work in any library. The fact that you can use Google and found my name associated with the word “library” somewhere doesn’t really count. I’m glad that you enjoyed reading “a historical fiction,” but here’s a current fiction: You aren’t “Dr. Benito Lombardi.” In fact, I’m pretty sure that your real name is Sterling Nixon, and that you enjoy writing repetitive 5-star reviews of your own book on Barnes & Noble. (Psst — try Amazon next; more people will see them there.)

And as for Black Rose Writing, there’s a classy vanity publisher. I can’t decide what I like better: The owner’s 5-star reviews of his own books and other Black Rose-related books on Amazon, or their fancy website full of grammatical errors and misspellings.

I’m pleased to see that no WorldCat libraries own this title yet. Here’s one for you, “Dr. Benito Lombardi” — no one buy this. This belongs in no libraries, partially because if it’s written as badly as this email (ooh! and the author’s blog!) it has no place in a library, and partially because liars shouldn’t be rewarded.


  1. Tamara:

    I couldn’t help myself; I Googled “Benito Lombardi.” Result #1: some teenage guy on Facebook. Result #2: a list of publications by professor Benito Lombardi, /microbiologist/. #3 is a record of a donation someone named Benito Lombardi made to a presidential candidate, and #4 is this blog. I too bet my money he doesn’t exist.

  2. rachel:

    Ha! I forgot one of the best parts — Dr. Lombardi’s official email address is “”

  3. Dayna Hester:

    I would be irked as well, and I’m saddened that self-published authors resort to such marketing. It consumes the valuable time of individuals who have NO RESOURCES to move/market a book. I’m in the process of learning how to market my own self-published book… surprisingy, my ingenuity didn’t think of going “Dr. Benito Lombardi’s” route; maybe I’m not the desparate. But I have been researching how traditional publishing houses “market” books (PW, LJ, Kirkus Review, etc.) and these avenues ARE NOT available to self-published/POD authors. For instance, it is “Publisher’s Weekly policy to not review self-published, print-on-demand books.” I learned of this (the inability to have my novel reviewed by influential retail reviewers) and many other obstacles (that seem to be designed to keep the “self-published/POD” authors stigmatized) on my own by putting two-and-two together… I did NOT learn of it when I wrote my check of several thousand dollars for a premier self-publishing package. Maybe this explains why Mr. Lombardi resorts to such annoying measures and sadly continues to weigh down the reputations of solid creative writers who chose the self-publishing route.

  4. Elicia Clegg:

    I would enjoy knowing more about Black Rose Writing, anything good or bad would be wonderful.

  5. Reagan Rothe:

    I am not hear to counter anything that has been said about Black Rose Writing, only update everyone and inform them that our so-called “vanity” press has attended and will be attending:

    -NY Book Expo

    -ALA Show

    -Texas Book Festival with seven authors from the U.S. attending to sign and promote

    -Old-Fashioned Christmas with more authors attending from the U.S. to sign and promote

    We also just donated to Reading is Fundamental, already sent out over 1,000 review copies this year, and have scheduled many book signings and promotional events for our authors.

    All aspects of a “vanity” press. I am very sorry that some of our critics, who have never been published or associated with us, have all this FREE time to continue trying to attack a company who deals with their authors on a personal level, and believes they all deserve their books to be read.

    Never will please everyone. Best of luck writers!

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