Publisher All Romance Ebooks: Closing Hits New Low In Stealing From Authors

Author Celia Summers has posted an excellent piece on blogcritics about the sudden closing and less than savory actions of ARe.

The ebook industry has undergone several transitions in the past few years, where authors have become increasingly victimized by e-pirates, vanity presses, and scams designed to keep writers from making money on their intellectual property. Earlier today, December 28, 2016, the industry hit a new low when longtime e-tailer All Romance E-Books (Are), LLC (with its non-romance genre partner Omni Lit) released a surprise notice to its authors and publishers. ARe’s CEO and owner, Lori James, announced that the retailer was closing its doors in three days’ time.

What makes this so terrible is not the fact that they’re closing. What makes this so terrible is how they’re doing it:

We will be unable to remit Q4 2016 commissions in full and are proposing a settlement of 10 cents on the dollar (USD) for payments received through 27 December 2016. We also request the following conditions:
1. That you consider this negotiated settlement to be “paid in full”.
2. That no further legal action be taken with regards to the above referenced commissions owed.

Wait…what?

Link to the full article.

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Torquere Press Is Closing

Writer Beware announces another publisher is closing, like EC for Books (Ellora’s Cave) Torquere Press has spent the last year or so giving part of their authors nothing but problems so this is not exactly a surprise. And like EC even the closing will give their authors nothing but another massive headache.

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

Troubled publisher Torquere Press is closing. Owners Kristi Boulware and Joanna Talbot announced their decision yesterday in an email that will doubtless infuriate many authors, but probably won’t surprise them:

We have thought long and hard about where things are with Torquere and made the very hard decision that we need to begin the process of closing this chapter of our lives….We have done everything we could to turn things around but with the saturation in the industry, the financial hardships we are in, my health in constant decline along with the negativity we have had hurdled our way. We feel like we are currently fighting an uphill battle.

For the complete text see here.

Just getting picky here but shouldn’t that be hurtled not hurdled?

Small Press Storm Warnings: Torquere Press, Caliburn Press, Month9Books

If you’re an author or a reader you really should check out Writer Beware. Strauss has posted an update on the problems various small presses are causing and/or experiencing.

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

A roundup of publishers about which I’ve recently received serious complaints (all of them documented).

TORQUERE PRESS

At the end of 2014, the founders of Torquere Press–a well-regarded small publisher established in 2003–turned the company over to new co-owners: Kristi Boulware and Joanna Talbot.

Before the change in leadership, Torquere had been trouble-free (or at least, not generating author complaints). It didn’t take long for that to change. In early 2016, a little more than a year after the new owners took over, reports began surfacing of royalty payment problems. More reports showed up over the summer, even as Torquere participated in Twitter pitch contests to find new manuscripts. Also during the summer, Kristi Boulware was arrested on a hot check charge, allegedly after payment to one author bounced.

For more see here.

Amazon Modifies Its TOS to Prohibit Incentivized Reviews

On October 3 Amazon posted a notice of an update to their customer reviews. This mainly addressed the problem of incentivized reviews that has been a topic of much sometimes heated discussion lately.

From Amazon’s TOS:

Promotions and Commercial Solicitations
In order to preserve the integrity of Community content, content and activities consisting of advertising, promotion, or solicitation (whether direct or indirect) is not allowed, including:

Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your (or your relative’s, close friend’s, business associate’s, or employer’s) products or services.
Creating, modifying, or posting content regarding your competitors’ products or services.
Creating, modifying, or posting content in exchange for compensation of any kind (including free or discounted products) or on behalf of anyone else.
Offering compensation or requesting compensation (including free or discounted products) in exchange for creating, modifying, or posting content.
Posting advertisements or solicitations, including URLs with referrer tags or affiliate codes.
The only exceptions are:

You may post content requested by Amazon (such as Customer Reviews of products you purchased on Amazon or received through the Vine program, and answers requested through Questions and Answers). In those cases, your content must comply with any additional guidelines specified by Amazon.
You may post an answer to a question asked through the Questions and Answers feature (but not a question itself) regarding products or services for which you have a financial or close personal connection to the brand, seller, author, or artist, but only if you clearly and conspicuously disclose the connection (e.g., “I represent the brand for this product.”). We automatically label some answers from sellers or manufacturers, in which case additional disclosure is not necessary.
You may post content other than Customer Reviews and Questions and Answers regarding products or services for which you have a financial or close personal connection to the brand, seller, author, or artist, but only if you clearly and conspicuously disclose the connection (e.g., “I was paid for this post.”). However, no brand or business may participate in the Community in a way (including by advertising, special offers, or any other “call to action”) that diverts Amazon customers to another non-Amazon website, service, application, or channel for the purpose of conducting marketing or sales transactions. Content posted through brand, seller, author, or artist accounts regarding their own products or services does not require additional labeling.
Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.

For more information and examples, read About Promotional Content.

There is a lot of discussion many places about the disclosure on reviews and, yes, you still need it. Please note that not only will it not save your Amazon reviews but it will make customers distrust any review you post. And any author who encourages this.

Like this one.

screenshot-2373

Then she sort of leaves it up to the reviewer:

screenshot-2372

I know she has been evacuated because of the hurricane so hopefully when she returns home (may it be in one piece) she will find her misplaced good judgement.

Add the disclaimer. If you lose a review on Amazon, it’s just words. If you don’t disclose and people find out you’ve been receiving books you review for free, well, you might lose their trust and that is something  a lot more important than any review.

 

Bills defend consumers’ right to leave bad reviews

Sorry I’ve been neglecting this blog but real life has been keeping me busy. Some days too damn busy. I seem to remember a group of authors and author wannabees yelping in delight when they found any article online about bills or petitions or anything that would curtail the ability of people to leave a critical review.

Here is an article in The Detroit News about just the opposite.

 

How a Self-Published Writer of Gay Erotica Beat Sci-Fi’s Sad Puppies at their Own Game

And What it Taught Me About Pushing through Writer’s Block

Author M. Sophia Newman writes about the Hugos, writer’s block, a whole lotta Puppies, elves, and the wit and wisdom of Chuck Tingle.

When I was a little kid, my mother would come into the bedroom I shared with two of my sisters each night and read us a book before we slept. Inevitably, a minor fight would erupt over whose bed beside which Mom would sit; after the aggression subsided, we’d all settle in for a story. My favorites were Grimm’s Fairytales, that vast compendium of dark forests, glowering wolves, and lost little girls.

Lately, I’ve realized that the story I loved best, “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” is an oddly perfect way to understand the difficulties of my own life—which include a recent, nearly shattering bout of writer’s block—and the difficulties of the lives of other writers. In particular, it’s a key to understanding an emotionally fraught and slightly dirty-minded political battle that has played out among writers of science fiction and fantasy, a band of insanely ineffective far-right protestors, and the author of a unique brand of erotic fiction known as “Tinglers.”

The plot of “The Elves and the Shoemaker” is simple. A poor shoemaker has been having such a rough time that he’s run out of money. One day, he realizes he has enough leather left for just one more pair of shoes. That night, filled with self-recriminations, he lays out the leather in preparation for the next—his very last—day of work. In the morning, as if by a miracle, a fine pair of shoes stands in place of the leather. That day, a girl comes into the shop, tries on the shoes, and finds they are a perfect fit. The money she pays is enough for the shoemaker to help a starving man, and also buy leather for two more pairs of shoes. The next morning, those leather pieces have been turned into shoes as sumptuous as the last pair. Again, they’re perfect for happy customers, and now there is enough money to help out two people in need and buy leather for four more pairs of shoes.

To read more follow this link.