How to get rid of phishing sites that list your book

First of all, to clarify: when I say ‘phishing sites’, I do not mean pirates. Phishing sites don’t have your book, but pretend to have it. They are scammers of the worst kind. They scan the Internet finding products that seem popular, then pretend to make them available on their site, cheating people out of their email addresses and credit card details.

Today, I am here to give you a cool and simple way to fight back, not just for your own good, but for the good of the indie community as a whole.

We’ve all been there, right? I have lost count how many times I’ve seen my books ‘listed’ on sites around the world (more often than not, originating in China or Russia for some reason). And although I used to do nothing about it, thanks to the fabulous author and friend, Amy Vansant, who also happens to be an amazing computer wiz kid, I now know how to fight back. These days, pages that I find listing my book without my permission disappear from existence in just a couple of days. And I don’t even need to bother with WHOIS or to send a DMCA notice!

(If what I just said sounds like advanced Greek to you, fear not: go to this excellent post by Nicholas Rossis that explains all about WHOIS and DMCA notices.)

Now, as I said, my way to get rid of scammers listing books doesn’t bother with any of that. But before I show you how to deliver to them that well deserved virtual punch on the nose, I am going to quickly tell you how to find the scammers in the first place – presuming that if you are a newbie you don’t know how.

Every author needs to set up some kind of alert for their own author name and the titles of their books on the Internet, so that when they are mentioned online they get a nice email notification about it. Sometimes the notifications you get are good news! When a blogger reviews your book but fails to let you know, for example. Or when they generally mention your work or point to one of your blogposts on their own blog. This gives you the chance to comment and share to say thank you!

And when the notification is bad news, meaning it’s about a pirate or phishing site, you can choose to either ignore it or do something about it.

Either way, you need the notifications to hit your mailbox first and I recommend these to make it happen:

Google Alerts is FREE of charge. Very adequate. Set it up in a couple of minutes by quoting your own author name and the titles of your books.

Mention comes with a free trial for a limited time, but after that it has a cost (their plans start at $29 per month). If you can afford it it’s worth having as its search algorithms are much more complex than Google Alerts and it offers way more notifications.

Now that you’re set up to find those nasty buggers who pretend to have your book, let’s go get them – what do you say?

This is what a Google Alert looks like:

I have circled the website that Google Alert tells me lists my book. In this case, it was a phishing site. Obviously, because my novels are in KDP Select, any site other than Amazon that lists my book with a download button is not legitimate. And very seldom will they be pirates (i.e. will they actually have my book). Most of the time they are scammers, aiming to cheat people out of their personal details. To this day, I have never found a pirate listing my books.

As you can see, phising sites can be very cheeky! This one actually pretends to be the legitimate site but of course the actual link says otherwise!

ATTENTION: Do not try to download anything from a phishing site! They don’t always ask for your email address or credit card information first. Sometimes they go right ahead and infect your computer with a virus as soon as you press ‘Download’! When I was still rather wet behind the ears I tried it once and if it weren’t for my nifty antivirus/firewall, I’d have been in a really hard place for a while! I still remember how I shuddered when the antivirus caught the bug and neutralized it for me seconds later.

So be warned! When you get to that darn site, do nothing on there and certainly do not contact them. Instead, do this:


which will get you to this page:

This is a Google page, as you can see, so use it in every confidence that it’s safe. Here is where you copy paste on the top that nasty web page that lists your book.

In the comments, you basically tell Google that the site has no right to list your copyrighted material and that they are a phishing site out to steal people’s personal details. Print your name at the end of your comment.

A couple days later, if you go to that nasty web page, you will find that it’s no longer there. Sometimes it takes Google a couple days more; I expect they must have a lot of work of the sort to deal with, but they always take down the page within a week!


So this is it, peeps! This tactic is simple, quick and effective. I know it’s not a permanent fix, by far. Goodness knows the scammers don’t get deterred and will only create a new site to do this all over again. But hopefully, in time, if enough of us keep reporting them, maybe they’ll find it hard in the long run and decide to do something decent for a change. I am a dreamer, what can I say? In any case, the very thought that someone uses my labors of love to deceive people makes me mad. And since I started using this Google tool, I’ve been feeling a lot better. I hope it helps you too!

Thank you, Amy Vansant, for sharing this awesome tip!

Did you find this useful? Consider giving Amy a few minutes of your valuable time to browse through her website. I am a huge fan of her work and have devoured everything she’s written! If you love reading and laughing out loud, it’s an absolute must!



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Find novels set in your travel destination on Yonndr

reading beach summer

Are you an avid reader? A writer? Or both? Doesn’t matter. Whatever you are, this tip is bound to get you directly to Yonndr looking for books!

Yonndr is a book site with a difference. It won’t list any books, but only the ones based on your selected LOCATION. Say, what? Yes.

Think about it. You’re off to Corfu, Greece for the first time and wondering what books there are out there set on the island. Now, with Yonndr, the perfect reads for you are all in one place. Yonndr doesn’t sell books, but you’ll find on there the links to Amazon.

If you’re an indie author, you’ll be pleased to know I’ve searched various travel destinations and could only find a couple of indie books I recognized. On the contrary, I identified plenty of traditionally published books on there. I wonder if this little gem of a site is a shared secret among the trad publishing world but still waiting to be explored by our fabulous indie universe. So, what are you waiting for? Get there first to add your books, why don’t you?

I just added my books (set on Corfu and Athens in Greece, as well as Brighton, England). Now, it’s your turn!

Get to Yonndr now and don’t forget to spread the word!

Many thanks to my wonderful friend and supporter, Tina Tomlinson, for giving me this tip. You rock, girl!

In this post, I recommend Tripfiction, another site where you can search for books by location! Here, you can even add reviews!

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Valuable resources and tips for your promo

With my KCD promo for The Ebb completed, I feel ready now to concentrate on the big launch of The Flow. Still, as pleased as I am for the completion of my little project that’s been running for the past month, the results weren’t as good as I expected.

The Ebb got only 72 downloads during the promo, as well as 6 borrows.

Not much in terms of revenue as you realize, but at least, the book went up in the ranks one thing fantastic:

Best ranks it hit:

#10,530 Paid in Kindle Store

    #9 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Romance > Historical
    #25 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > British & Irish
    #43 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > Women’s Fiction

Other than that, I also got this amazing lucky break, where Robert Pattinson fans got a whiff of my trilogy, just because I said in an interview that I’d like to cast Rob as the hero in the books. I talk about my weird week with that, here. I believe it granted me a few downloads on the last day of my promo, not to mention, new Twitter followers who now send me RPatz images just to brighten my day.


To plan this promo as best as I could, I started working on it a month in advance, preparing no less than five interviews, submitting to dozens of sites and booking paid ads as well. But KCD’s are not as easy as FREE promos; everyone knows that. So instead of whining, I gave myself a pat in the back and told myself I’ll do better next time.

Today, I am not here to lament about my bad ROI – I am here to share with you three resources that I hope you will find useful: the first one is a list of sites where authors can submit their books at no cost, whether they run a KCD or a FREE promo.  The second one is a list of Facebook pages/groups for your promos and the third is my personal tasklist that I follow for all my promos. I have always been highly organized so making lists comes naturally to me. Other than the sense of achievement I get when I cross tasks out, it also helps even more to write things down these days, as my memory is not what it used to be!


I have been promising my blog followers to share this list for a while now, but I am a perfectionist, and wanted to get it just right. Also, I kept coming across new lists here and there. It took me just over a year to create this one list, and although it’s not significantly beneficial for KCD promos, it is very useful when you give out your book for FREE. I ran FREE promos for both my books last year, without paying a single dime for ads and still got thousands of downloads just by working this list. Get your copy of it right here. I wish you good luck with it!

Download also the list of Facebook pages/groups here.


I divide this in three parts: Before, during, and after the promo:


  • Start working on the list of sites I gave you one month in advance.
  • For paid ads, give priority to Bookbub, Booksends and EreaderNewsToday, then book any others around those.
  • Email: of the site and request an email with 10 links free of charge. These 10 links will grant you 10 free tweets to their thousands of followers.
  • Optional: Consider joining a cross-promotion group via Email Mike Smith at and ask him to be registered for this. Very sparsely, he will send you a one-liner to post on Twitter and Facebook. Just copy paste. That’s it. In return, when you have a free or KCD promo, just email Mike, and he’ll get the people in your group to post for you too. It costs nothing and as I said, it won’t take much of your time.
  • Ask a bunch of your author friends to blog about your promo or to tweet about it. It is thoughtful to send them the content ready (for the blog or the tweets). Always offer reciprocation or do something that’s helpful to them. If you prefer to hire a company to organize your book tour, I recommend Book Partners in Crime Promotions.
  • If you have given your book to any readers and their review on Amazon is pending, ask them to download your book during a FREE promo. This way, when they post the review, it will show as ‘verified purchase’.
  • If you have ample time on your hands, you can run a Thunderclap. After all, every little helps. Join this Facebook group to get 100 supporters in a couple of days. I warn you though, you’ll have to dedicate a few hours supporting others first before you can also reap the benefits. If you’re pressed for time, don’t bother with Thunderclap. I’d do it for a new launch, but not sure if it’s more of a time waster than a substantial help with promos.
  • Add a Goodreads event to inform people of the promo.
  • Prepare the text for the tweets and Facebook posts you’ll be issuing during the promo. Use a scheduling service to schedule the tweets so that they go out every couple of hours (I choose a 3-hour interval). For the scheduling service, consider Socialoomph, Hootsuite or Pluggio. Choose about 10 different tweets and run them in a queue on a loop during your promo days. Use any of these hashtags depending on your type of promo: #free #freebie #freebook #freeEbook #freekindle #free4kindle #kindlepromo #sharethefree #99c #99cents #99centkindle.   Also, use author-related hashtags that’ll get you retweets. Examples: #ASMSG #IAN1 #IARTG #BYNR


  • Post about your promo on your blog. Share the link on the social media. Make this your pinned tweet too.
  • Go to your blog’s or site’s dashboard and change the header to add an image or a text informing your visitors of your promo. I use headers that I create on the site Canva. You can also use it to make Facebook & Twitter banners and a lot more. It is free, and very easy to use. Below you can see the blog header I created on Canva for my last KCD promo. I used the ‘Blog Title’ option on Canva to create it. I also pinned it on Twitter and Facebook.

When she falls in love, Sofia is haunted

  • Start issuing tweets and Facebook posts about your promo 24/7. Or, if you don’t want to schedule them, at least remember to issue a few manually throughout the day.
  • Submit to the sites on the list I gave you (some accept submissions once the promo is underway and not before). Also start submitting on the Facebook pages/groups you’ll find on that list.
  • Keep track of the blog posts your author friends issue for you. Make sure to comment and share on the social media. Say thank you, including to any visitors or friends of theirs who comment or share.
  • Every night during your promo, around 11pm to midnight EST when things tend to peak, you need to check the Amazon rank for your book. Go to your book product page to find it. If you get to number 1 in any category which means your book will gain bestseller status, make sure to do a screen print at once. Then, use a basic program like Windows Paintbrush to paste it, then crop it and save it for your records. Examples:

necklace 161114 bestseller necklace 131114 1_2_2


  • Go to the queue of tweets you had set up, amend them all by taking out the hashtags and put in these: #amazonprime #kindleunlimited. Tweet those a couple of days after your promo ends. This is a way to take advantage of your book’s temporary high rank. Now that it has good visibility, tweeting with these hashtags will get you borrows. Obviously, the more you will have advertized your book during promo and the more downloads you will have had, the more borrows and proper sales you’ll be getting at this point. Tip: If you run your promo to finish at the exact end of a month, you’ll get more borrows after. This is because many subscribers choose books to borrow in the very beginning of each calendar month.
  • Remove the header from your site/blog, pin something else on Twitter, change back your Facebook and Twitter headers if you had updated them also for the promo.
  • Blog about the results of your promo and share your insights. Pay it forward. It’s good to share information. I’ve just done it for you, and it feels great!

I hope you’ll find my resources and various tips useful! Go on, leave a comment and chip in with your own ideas, any tips, anything that you have found useful during promo. Let us all benefit from it!

UPDATE: For an updated and enriched tasklist, download this version right here!

For more author tips and resources, make sure to check out my page FOR AUTHORS on this site!


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So here I am, this time welcoming you to my own home, after the mishap I recently had when WordPress suspended my blog for a couple of days without prior notice. By the way, if you’re an author or a blogger (or both), you may want to check out the relevant post where I shared my scary experience as you may want to know what risks you’re running with a free blog.

So, as I promised to my readers back then, I am announcing here today my self-hosted site along with the details of the super-duper tutorial that made it all possible.

If you like the look of this site that is even customized to include a book table just for authors, all you need to do is follow the 11-video tutorial by Simon Whistler of Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast.

Simon is a great guy. Not only has he had the inclination to guide fellow authors, having invested his time in creating this FREE tutorial for everyone, but he’s also very friendly and helpful should you contact him directly. I had a question at some point and he was more than happy to point me in the right direction. If you follow this tutorial at any time, I kindly suggest that in order to buy the web hosting from Hostgator, that you get there from Simon’s site as he prompts you on the tutorial. This way he gets to have a little commission which in my eyes was the least I could have done to say thank you.

You will find the tutorial, as set out by Simon on his site, here.

Once you’ve watched the introductory video on his site and seen how the tutorial is set out, you may want to watch the other videos straight on Youtube where Simon has made them all available in his channel, here.



  • SPAMMERS/SECURITY: When you run a self-hosted site, keeping away spammers becomes a bit of a feat. In my free blog, I have the use of the plugin Akismet free of charge which keeps the spammers in check but here, it is a paid option. To protect my new site I chose the free plugin Wordfence. A friend recommended it and it’s great for security. You run an initial check after installation and you’re protected for life. The program notifies you by email whenever someone tries to hack you, if plugins need updating and in other situations that demand your attention. Spam messages still come to your comments for you to trash  manually but, it’s a Free plugin, and I have peace of mind for the most important stuff. Highly recommended. On the subject of hackers, I can’t stress enough the importance of strong passwords. You can learn how to choose one here. Also, make sure your admin user name is not ‘admin’ as this is what the hackers use to get in.

  • FADE OUT EFFECT ON IMAGES: There’s an extra video link which you won’t find in the above URLs but Simon has added it in a comment under one of his tutorial videos. For your convenience, you’ll find it here. This is optional, and only if you wish to get rid of the fade out effect on your book covers as they appear on the right sidebar. As you can see, I’ve taken this option too so that my covers are fully visible at all times; not only when the mouse pointer hovers over them.

  • HOSTGATOR: If you’re planning to follow Simon’s tutorial, take your time first and check Hostgator’s site regularly (or simply their Twitter page) as they periodically do huge discounts. I did that and opted to buy the hosting service on a day when they had a 55% discount! The previous day, they had run a 75% discount that was valid only for an hour! You get the idea. It’s worth choosing the right time if you want to get an extra saving. If you do pick a day that has a big discount, use the coupon code that Hostgator prompts you for and not Simon’s as his would be only for 25% discount.

  • RSS FEED: There’s one aspect that’s not covered in the tutorial, and this was actually a big surprise for me because it’s a rather tricky one that many people (including me) know nothing about. I refer to the dreaded ‘RSS feed’. Upon finishing the course, I felt rather lost because I knew I had to prompt people to follow my new blog somehow but I didn’t know how. WP doesn’t provide a ‘follow’ button here like it does on my free blog.

Thankfully, with a bit of surfing, I was lucky to come across some useful advice and so, I tried my hand at it and managed to set up two relevant widgets that you can see on the right sidebar now. One prompts the reader to subscribe to the blog on this site by email, while the other (the black one), prompts visitors to subscribe directly to the feed. Don’t worry if this sounds daunting! You couldn’t possibly know less than I did yesterday when I set this up and it was a lot easier than I’d thought. UPDATE: I have now blogged these instructions too. You can find them here.

SECOND UPDATE: This tutorial will leave you with two more problems, both minor, but they proved very annoying to me and I’ve now found adequate fixes which I’m happy to share: Check out the plugins ‘Postmatic’ and ‘Better Click to Tweet’. The former now allows my visitors to subscribe to follow up comments (before, they were never notified their comments had received replies). The latter plugin now allows me to set up scripts for people to share my posts on Twitter (like the one you see at the bottom of this post). If you follow the tutorial you will wind up with a set up that won’t allow custom scripts when sharing a post. With the ‘Better Click to Tweet’ plugin I can create the tweet of my choice so people can share it.

So, here it is. I’ve treaded the path and found it relatively easy. One can build the site as fast or as slowly as they want. I’m pleased with what I’ve managed to make single-handedly and hopefully you like it too; I hope you will let it be one of your favorite hangouts!

Are you an author needing help with promotion? Check out my FREE, cracking good tips and resources:

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Do you love Greece? Check out our guide to Corfu! For delicious Greek recipes, go here. Sign up to the newsletter for Effrosyni’s news and special offers (sparse emails) NEW: To read Effrosyni’s books for FREE (yes, free!), sign up to her team of loyal readers here. It’s free to join!