Hi, I am Marsha Lynn Wolfla. I’m an author trying to find my audience, and this is my story.
In August 2016, a friend recommended a book promoter to help me sell my books. I did a little research and the reviews were glowing—people seemed to be thrilled with her services. Many of her promoted books hit bestseller lists. Since I had decided 2017 would be my year to invest in my writing, this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
I dug into my savings and signed up for three multi-author box sets, one shared writing collective, private coaching, and several promotions geared at book promotion and newsletter building, all totaling upwards of $4,000. With so many people singing her praises, I felt confident this was money well spent.
I was laying the foundation that would let me write full time in 2017. I had three novels published and three planned for 2017, as well as content for three box sets. I was excited and ready to do whatever it took to get my work out there.
Then things changed.
The promoter had some of her box sets pulled from sale because they violated Amazon’s terms of service. Our contracts were changed dramatically without our consent. We were told “no refunds.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, the tactics used to keep authors quiet were unprofessional. Anyone who asked valid questions was shamed publicly and in the social media groups we were required to join for communications. People were told they would be removed from promotions they had already paid for if they disagreed, their prepaid services “donated” to other authors.
I wrote a private email to the promoter, politely explaining that the projects were no longer a good fit for me and requested refunds. Instead of keeping our business private, as I had done, she took to Facebook, publicly blasting me as unprofessional and going back on my word. She announced that I had let 70 authors down and dozens of others joined in to shame me back into line.
I tried to work with PayPal to get my money back, but because the promoter insisted on “Friends and Family” payments for our business contracts, there was nothing PayPal could do to help me. I should have known better, but I don’t use PayPal much and simply followed her directions for the payments.
I consulted with several attorneys, each of whom agreed I was owed my money back after careful review of the contracts. (They also lectured me about signing one-sided contracts. Lesson learned.) The first attorney I hired sent the promoter a letter I had not reviewed, which was full of mistakes. The promoter sent me a barrage of angry emails followed by more defamatory posts on Facebook.
I found a lawyer who specializes in entertainment law. I have a strong case and the lawyer is confident we can win.
The problem is that the fees for the legal case exceed the amount I paid to this promoter. At that point I, as others before me, considered giving up. I was emotionally exhausted. And while the amount of money I’m owed is substantial, I wasn’t sure it was worth enduring even more attacks.
Truthfully, if it were just about the money, I still might simply walk away.
But now this promoter has falsely accused me of plagiarism twice—publicly. She has rallied her supporters to spread lies about me, claiming I chose to pull out of the box sets and donate my spots. She advised me to break Amazon’s rules about exclusivity, (something I never intended to do) but is now claiming I was the one who suggested breaking the rules.
Now I can’t walk away, because her lies impact my livelihood. She is destroying my reputation simply because I chose not to do business with her once I saw what went on behind the scenes—the bullying, the harassment, the rule-bending.
And I’m not the only one.
This promoter has been bullying people into silence for years. She’s run multiple authors out of her genre and others out of self-publishing altogether. I believe this has to stop. I believe someone has to stand up for the people who are too nice, too overwhelmed, and too afraid to admit they too, have been defrauded, lied to, and harassed.
That’s why I am asking for your help.
I need to set up a legal fund of $10k to litigate these charges against this promoter. It’s more than double the amount I lost to her, which is why she continues to get away with this. She fights people with innuendo and social media attacks, but who can afford to prove that her smear campaigns are all lies? No one can afford to do it alone.
With your help, I want to bring a civil suit against her. I want a public apology. It is my intention not to accept sealed records or no admission of guilt as part of a settlement—this abuse of the writing community needs to stop. People need to know the truth.
I would not have entered into these contracts if there was proof out there of how she does business—her silencing tactics allow her to keep pulling in new clients who don’t know what they are stepping in to. The deafening silence about these tactics means others will end up in the same boat—handing over their savings and being faced with going through with promotions that may endanger their publishing accounts or losing their money and their reputation by trying to walk away.
Thank you for reading my story. I hope you’ll help.
You can also see many screenshots on the Inside Indie website:
While not run by me, it does present compelling evidence.