GenreCrave/OTOH Books: Indie Author Review - A Powerful Marketing Company With Some Downsides

This service has been around for a while, and it is run by a handful of people who work really hard to make it a reality. However, one of the downsides of this is that they are often more ambitious than they have time for, which means that for every amazing service that they offer, they end up offering two that don't perform very well at all.

They also aren't cheap. In fact, their largest services can run upwards of two-thousand dollars which is a hefty price tag for any author, let alone someone just starting out who will never see a return for those investments.

They aren't necessarily overpriced services, but much like Online Book Club, they tend to be difficult services to justify.

The Mega Book Blast is one of their more interesting services, and they offer many different levels of it. Each is progressively more expensive with, we would be led to believe, progressively larger results. I've used this service three times in the past, and each time I have had diminishing results. The worst one was the second to last, which was also a trial mega book boost which should have had tremendous results. However, my results were lackluster at best, and I lost out significantly on the investment (even with coupons to make it hundreds of dollars cheaper).

This could be attributed to many different factors. First off, the book has been out for over a year (though, it has almost three hundred reviews and an overall positive ranking). Secondly, it doesn't fall into their ideal genres, which seem to be paranormal romance. Since the book wasn't focused on romance and didn't have a young woman with a gun on the front cover, it wasn't quite right for the promotion.

However, it was promoted right before halloween and was an urban fantasy/horror novel, and it was at 99 cents and in kindle unlimited. Based on their recommendations and the overall selling strength of the book, the results were not nearly what they should have been. I can write some of the problems off with the aforementioned problems, but I also have to say that it falls under another problem that I alluded to above.

They bite off more than they can chew. When I scheduled the promotion, they were still GenreCrave, and now they are OTOH books, and my promotion went live right in the middle of that transition. Also, they sent out emails right around the same time talking about cutting back on their commitments and focusing on personal life rather than the business, which leads me to think that the book didn't get the attention it deserved considering the cost. 

I don't blame them for the week results, but in general the transition of their services and the diminishing of their results over time lead me to conclude that they aren't a top tier promotional service anymore. I think that authors in the genres of PNR and books that match their audience might still get decent results, but if you are only tangentially related to those then it isn't worth your time (and, if you fall outside those genres entirely don't waste your money).

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention that they are in the middle of legal battles related to charging for services and not delivering. You can check out kboards for updates about this, and it has created something of a rift in the indie author world. Situations like this are murky and I'd rather steer clear and just see how things play out.

Using the site: OTOH is not a difficult site to navigate. It only takes a couple of minutes to submit a book to one of their services, and they often approve it very quickly. They take payment up front, which isn't a great way to do business. I would rather they take the time to actually approve books before billing, but their method isn't out of the ordinary...it is simply similar to many subpar promotional networks.

They let you list books by genre just like every other Newsletter site, and they do have pretty good coverage of genres, though not as much as other sites. As I mentioned earlier, though, the genres that aren't similar to PNR will not perform well at all. I ran a recent 99 cent book launch promotion through them as well for a mega book boost, and it didn't perform nearly as well as I would have liked.

With the new branding as OTOH, and if they get the legal matters settled and are able to hone their promotional strategy, then they might be a contender as a top promotional site. As it is, though, their results are wildly unpredictable and they tend to try to do too much all at once. Considering how much they are charging for their services, they should really work harder to get the results. 

It's difficult to run a business like that, though, and they certainly do try. If you fit the genre and want to run the risk of paying a lot of money for lackluster results, then give them a try.

My Rating: This one falls low with a 2-star rating but with some caveats. They are expensive, though they do put in a lot of effort. However, the constant rebranding, legal troubles, and diminishing results make it feel like a waste of money. They are off my regular list of go-to promotional companies.

Lincoln Cole

Lincoln Cole is a Columbus-based author who enjoys traveling and has visited many different parts of the world, including Australia and Cambodia, but always returns home to his pugamonster and wife. His love for writing was kindled at an early age through the works of Isaac Asimov and Stephen King and he enjoys telling stories to anyone who will listen.

He has won multiple literary awards for his novels. He has also been a bestseller in multiple different categories.