A Tale of Two Empires

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Hello, Dear Readers. You all remember my blog about Chuck Tingle, John Scalzi, and the infamous attention whore, Vox Day (Theodore Beale)? Well, rabid little Voxxie is back doing what he does best- being the biggest puddle of pond scum he can make himself.

John Scalzi has released a new novel, The Collapsing Empire, and Voxxie, who just can’t seem to accept Scalzi is a much better author and person, has also released a new book, The Corroding Empire, with an almost identical cover, title, and author name. (I’m sure it’s just an unfortunate coincidence. Yeah, right.)

Beth Elderkin has more of the story here.

 

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The Return of the Prodigal Publisher (Engler/Black)

It’s been too long, dear readers, since I’ve posted about any sort of bad behavior in the book community. But before we commence, the 28th is rapidly approaching and you all need to download any books purchased from Samhain because they are closing for real on that date.

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Now, let’s talk about another ebook publisher, namely EC for Books, previously known as Ellora’s Cave. It is now dead and gone but still causing problems for authors as I wrote here, but then it seems that there is also:

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And this:

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Somebody asks the pertinent question:

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So, EC is/isn’t sending 1099s to authors that may or may not have received the royalties claimed in the 1099. It also sounds like Torquere isn’t bothering to send any at all. Ah, the glamorous life of the author. Now, I’ve been wondering what Tina Engler/Jaid Black would come up with next because those ill-gotten royalties aren’t going to last forever.

Yesterday:

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Yes, she’s back and selling not one but five ebooks on Amazon, the business she (tried to) blame for her company’s financial woes. Let’s take a look. (Since I started this post she has added three more.)

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Now, do you notice anything? Look closer. Closer.

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Valentina Antonia? Who? What?

 

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Well that’s really not helpful. And Riley Park? I looked up Riley and this popped up:

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Looks like Engler/Black has hidden herself or is trying to hide herself behind a registered agent service. Notice the filing date. Don’t you just love a woman who plans ahead?

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“When you create a Wyoming corporation or Wyoming LLC, you are forming a legal entity that does not have the ability to communicate on its own.” Engler/Black has never had any problem not communicating before. “If your business is ever sued…” Uh, we all know she’s more likely to sue than be sued but there is always a second time (the first being Chris Brashears). Add to that no taxes and the anonymity of not having any member names listed anywhere and it does seem that E/B has found her idea of consequence free heaven.

Engler/Black and her mother, Patty Marks, left quite a mess behind them and now it seems that E/B is trying to shake off the consequences of her own actions and start over with a clean slate while the authors she cheated are still trying to recoup their financial losses, republish their books, and maybe deal with a 1099 for money they never collected.

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Posted from Galit.

 

Letting My Bitch Flag Fly

Self published authors have a hard time finding bloggers that will review them and here is a shining example of why that is.

Dear author, the everyone is talking about,  first I have to address a couple issues with your book. “”What is this?” I asked with in-trepidation.”  In-trepidation?  No. Please see the definitions below and choose wisely (hint:  choose the second).

Simple Definition of intrepid

  • : feeling no fear : very bold or brave

Simple Definition of trepidation

  • : a feeling of fear that causes you to hesitate because you think something bad or unpleasant is going to happen

Then there is this sentence,  “Do I make you feel things you’ve never felt before?” , I am positive that there are a few talented writers out there that could make this line work but I am equally positive that you aren’t one of them. You can’t even write a decent non-apology.

And now let us speak about that non-apology, it starts out innocently enough, “Dear Authors, Readers, and Bloggers alike, I do want to clear up some misconceptions about all of the things that have been circulating around on social media recently:” And then it rapidly slides down Mount Whatthefuck,  ” I’m sorry that you either didn’t enjoy Quinn or simply refuse to read this series due to the latest events that have transpired on social media. I appreciate your true and honest feedback, I truly do.”  I suspect that the honest feedback you’ve been getting since your little FB plea has been far, far too honest and if you really appreciate honest feedback than I wouldn’t be writing this.

People have misconstrued my words on a post that was screen shot and then circulated.First of all,
I did not call this particular blogger a bitch. I said “flag that bitch” – it’s a colloquial term – as in “flag that review” – and it was in NO way shape or form meant to demean that particular blogger. One cannot “flag” a person on Goodreads – they can, however, flag “reviews”. Hence : “Flag that review”” Umm, no. Why no? Let us look at a screenshot.

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You refer to “some blogger”, then “flag that bitch”. then “People LIKE her review”. Blogger, bitch, her, c’mon do you really think anyone believes you meant the review and not the person?

“I absolutely feel horrid that this blogger thought I had called her that name. For that being taken out of context, I apologize. I would never want to take a hurtful jab at anyone or hurt their feelings. I would never call or think to call anyone, let alone a blogger a bitch. Anyone who knows me, has NEVER seen, read, nor heard me call a person a profanity on any public or personal thread, period. So yes – I screwed up – because Flag that bitch sounds bad any which way you spin it.”  Yes, you certainly did screw up and nothing was taken out of context. And here we see the first mention of another problem:  the dreaded “anybody who knows me” denial and innocence excuse.

“People who know me – know my heart and soul – and they know I was not coming from a bad place when I posted my request. Believe me when I say I have had my fair share of poor reviews – and I had never before taken action or offense to them over the past two years that I have been writing.” You weren’t coming from a bad place? So, you were filled with joy and love when you called on your fans to “flag that bitch”?

“Yes – I had disagreed with this bloggers review. Just as it is this bloggers right for her to have her own opinion of my book – I felt I had a right to my opinion about her review. Why is that so wrong? Why must I be afraid to not voice my own opinion when readers so clearly can?” Why, oh why, can’t I call the bitch a bitch, you cry. How about because the bitch, uh, reviewer isn’t trying to sell her opinion. You, however, are trying to sell this piece of crap.

“I felt that one particular blogger was making a mockery of me and of my story – This blogger clearly went out of her way to find (in my eyes) demeaning gif’s to compliment each of her derogatory paragraphs in-between. It was my interpretation – just as it was your interpretation that her review was fantastic.” Bless your heart, you can’t count either. There were three gifs, three. Here is the review, please have someone count the paragraphs for you. I guess demeaning is open to interpretation, be happy that none of them were of a pigeon shitting on a book.

“I want to be as open and candid as possible in this situation, because it is only fair for you to see my intentions, and my mistakes for being a human, as well as my remorse. I am woman enough to admit when I am wrong – I most certainly ran on emotions – and afterwards had a smack me in the head moment – because in that moment of emotionalism, I was NOT thinking. I should have contacted that reviewer.” Got news for you, you still aren’t thinking. Contact the reviewer, are you insane? It’s either insane or jaw-dropping stupid. Remember only one of you is trying to sell something. And the reviewer is entitled to her opinion.

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“All of the comments thereafter that ensued on this bloggers thread both on Facebook and on Goodreads were distasteful, unprofessional, and frankly I was taken aback. It was to my understanding that there were certain guidelines for one to follow when reviewing books with Sullivan + Partners. I was under the impression bloggers were to first and foremost supposed to communicate with them if they felt the book was under a 3 star read before posting a review. This did not happen.” You do realize you are insulting people again? I think your understanding had less to do with reality and more to do with wishful thinking. And I wonder what Sullivan + Partners think of you right now.

“All of the bloggers that have been working with Sullivan + Partners have been so incredible and professional, even the negative reviews had been so professionally crafted. So I was shocked and taken aback by this particular review, because of the cartoonish tone which was full of satire, and snippets that were taken out of context. Again, this was my own interpretation.” I have some bad news for you, even in context your writing is not all that good. And you really need to familiarize yourself with the idiom “out of context”. You don’t seem to know what it means. And you keep subtly and not so subtly harping on the “unprofessionalism” of the reviewer, I thought you were apologizing?

“I had placed all bloggers working with Sullivan on a pedestal, because even the 2 – 3 star reviews were of quality caliber and objective. When I saw this particular review I had thought surely this reviewer didn’t come from Sullivan.” She read your crappy book, she gets to say it is crappy. Her writing is much better than yours. Much better. Light years better. And she uses the correct words, you need to consult a dictionary. Often.

“Yes – I had asked some of my team members to flag that review – because honestly – it was one of the first reviews I felt was malicious, demeaning, and full of derision, and it hurt. I do have feelings, we all have feelings. However, it may not have been the way you would have handled this situation, but at that particular moment in time, it was my way of handling it – right or wrong -” Call me crazy but I’m not really seeing an apology anywhere in this rambling mess  of “it’s everybody’s fault but mine”. Right or wrong? As incredible as it is to me this isn’t your first book  and you claim to have had 2 star reviews before so you just decided that you wanted to be the latest snowflake to meltdown? It’s a pretty mild review.

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“I’m terribly sorry all these bloggers felt “I took the cake” – as well as jumped to the worst conclusions about me and my character. As I said, if you knew the entire story – both sides of the coin – I don’t believe you would be feeling this way toward me. There is nothing I can do to change your view point of me, and for that I am saddened. I truly am.” If there’s another side to the story then let’s hear it but so far all I’m seeing is excuses. Get to the point.

“I strive very hard to keep all drama off my pages – as well avoiding all forms of gossip, calling people names, publicly calling people out, or having malicious intent to down others. I have been nothing but supportive of readers, authors and bloggers alike.” This is my first encounter with you and you are presenting yourself as a whining entitled snowflake. Good first impression.

“We all sin and fall short of the Glory of God, do we not? Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Why is it okay for both readers and bloggers alike to now trash me – publicly circulating only half the story – all the while “judging” me and running me down? The anger and derisiveness those people are exuding has been far worse.”  If there is another side of the story, get to it. But just because you didn’t like that review is not the other side of the story, it is your excuse for very bad behavior. I heard you didn’t just post a call to arms on FB but you also posted this on Goodreads:

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You commented then deleted those comments on reviews on GR you didn’t like,  and you were trying to mess with the book database. That is a very big no-no. GR isn’t going to be forgiving. Then you posted this in response to a fan who tried to talk you off the edge:

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What’s with the whole real life/fiction thing? She didn’t like your writing. Stop trying to make it something else. And, um, “Fuck that”? What happened to striving not to name call? What happened to keeping it drama free? Honey, you are the 600 lb drama llama of the internet right now.

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“I have always taught my children there are 2 sides to every coin and to not make a decision on judging until they know the entire story from both sides. I truly feel that if people knew me  – they would have seen this in a different light. I’m just astounded that others who were NOT involved – have chimed in the way they have – quick to judge, and quick to trash me, and my character when they know nothing about me, or the entire situation. Nor do those people know my heart or just how giving of a person I am, nor do they know how much sleep I have lost over this debacle.” We know that you melted down like any other snowflake, asked your fans to flag a review that did not violate GR’s TOS, called reviewers trolls, reviewed your own book and made snotty remarks about readers/reviewers that didn’t like your book, tried to alter the book database, and made this rambling hot mess of excuses and tried to pass it off as an apology. Your character is thinner than the ones in your book.

BTW, people have the right to rate your book however they like and why would anyone recommend your book now? You’ve attacked one reviewer then proceeded to spew over all the one stars. What will you do to the next person who doesn’t like your book?

“Nobody knows how much another person is going through at any given moment in their live. The things within peoples personal life can sometimes stretch a persons ability to deal with certain matters and situations which would normally have been brushed off with ease. This was one of those cases. It is hard for me to believe that nobody has never been short-tempered before, or reacted to something rashly when their mental and physical limits have been stretched so very thin. I am most certain those people would want to have grace and forgiveness displayed to them, and I’m am doubly certain they wouldn’t want one of their most weakest moments spread to all four corners of social media either.”  Well, if you flop it out there people are gonna talk. Forgiveness is granted to those who ask but you haven’t asked.  It wasn’t a weak moment, once you got started you didn’t seem to know when to quit, or maybe you didn’t want to quit.

“I only wish this person who felt they needed to screen shot a post that was meant for my team – to have come to me personally and had a one on one discussion with me – asking me to explain myself – it would have been the right and professional thing to do, no?” Why is it everybody but you has to be professional? You are the author, sort of, when are you going to be professional? Will it be any time in this decade?

“This entire scenario deeply saddens me, and the outpouring of judgement without asking me my side, is even sadder. I felt I needed to explain my side to you, because I am not “that” author. I am simply not. I may be unfiltered at times, but my heart is genuine, and I would even go so far as to give those who dislike me the shirt off my back.”  What side? Did anybody see her side? “Nobody knows how much another person is going through at any given moment in their live. The things within peoples personal life can sometimes stretch a persons ability to deal with certain matters and situations which would normally have been brushed off with ease.” That isn’t your side and it’s a pretty bad piece of writing.

“Now that you have heard the other side of the coin, there will still be people who will hold no grace or forgiveness in their heart. This saddens me as well. Those people will be content to remain angry and “quick to judge” and I cannot fix that or change their mind about me or my character no matter what I do or say.”  You cannot change their minds because you have done nothing to show you are sorry for your actions.

“I had a new reader contact me last night. Instead of trashing me publicly, she approached me via messenger to clear the air and her conscious. I so very much appreciated that. She wanted to discuss this with me before passing her own judgement on the situation. I gave her the above letter you just read – and this was her response.”  And now you will try to show people the correct, according to you, way to handle their unhappiness with your actions. Here’s the thing, once you put it out in public you don’t have control of the situation anymore.

“READER RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE LETTER

Thank you for responding. And I appreciate you explaining. I see your point; however, it wouldn’t be my way to handle the situation, it was your way and that’s your right.

I certainly understand “things we all go through” as my husband has stage 4 cancer. He is the love of my life and we have been married for 35 years. I am a 54 year old high school registrar, my husband is a teacher. As I said I have always been a reader. It’s my escape to another world and

gives me peace and enjoyment. I had just finished your book this morning and immediately preordered book 2 which I understand to be out on 4/19. I will read it at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital for yet another day of treatment for my husband. For you see even though I didn’t care for your post I am still a fan, a new fan of your work, and I will continue to read your books.

MY RESPONSE:

well, now your making me cry. lol. I am sorry about your husband, and I will most certainly say a prayer for him.

It just saddens me that people just assume I’m calling others a name such as that, and jumping the gun. – when I did not.

Thank you for your kind words – they mean a lot to me right now. Stay strong. xoxo

HER FINAL RESPONSE:

I’m sorry I assumed too much. I saw the post and felt you called the blogger a bitch. I was disappointed because I loved your book so much! If nothing else I got to speak with you and now I know you’re a caring person, a Mom and someone that prays!

Keep writing! You have true talent! God bless”

And we get to see you as a caring, praying mom. Is that reserved only for those that contact you using your approved methods? And what has this to do with making an apology?

“AND  THIS  ABOVE is why I write. This is what moves me.  This brought literal tears to my eyes, because I care about other people, what they are going through, and I care about their pain. I told her I would pray for her and her husband, and I have and will continue to do so. Somewhere inside I am outraged by your using God in your petty and outrageous actions against those reviewers who didn’t like your book and/or your actions.

“It’s not about money for me, it’s about connecting with readers who are needing an escape from the realities of life and their own pain even if it’s for a few hours. This is my character , this is the real me, and this new reader  touched me on a very deep level. THIS is what it’s  all about for me. It’s about connecting with readers and touching their lives in a positive way.” It’s good it’s not about money because I think you tanked this turkey.

“I am only sorry and disheartened your first impression of me was in a negative light. I by no means meant anyone any ill will, harm, or malice. I had acquired all of the participating blogger names to add into the acknowledgement section of both my paperback books and digital books, thank all of you for taking time out of your busy ARC schedule to read for me. All of those blogger names will still remain in my books no matter what you think of me, or my books, because I am still appreciative of the time you took from your busy schedule to even read the first book.”  Ye-ah, you certainly appreciated all over the place. I would hate to see what you do when you aren’t appreciative.

In the book the heroine packed her vibrator when she went on the run in a national park. The author posted this picture on GR along with making remarks 2, 4, and 6 in the conversation that followed.

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For someone who claims to avoid name calling and drama you  certainly couldn’t prove it by your actions. Let’s take one last look at those actions:

You took offense at a 2 star review and asked your followers to flag it.

You left a review of your book which was basically a way to diss any one star review.

You posted some not very drama-free comments in various places.

You tried to alter the GR book database.

You wrote this “apology” wherein you explained how good and righteous you are and all those reviewers who didn’t like your book aren’t. An apology isn’t about you, you, you.

Your “apology” is rated

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A Little More Christine Catlin and Someone Else

Hello, Dear Readers, I hope you all had great holidays and are now ready for the rough and tumble of the book community. Today we have an “author” who found a new tactic to further erode the trust between authors and reviewers/bloggers. I refer, of course, to Christine Catlin. Yeah yeah, I already posted a heads up but little Christine has been a busy little bee.

First off her book seems to no longer be for sale on Amazon, unless you want to spend $33.00 for a hardcopy.

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Like so many other readers today I found the description interesting and would probably have bought it if it had come to my notice almost any other way.

Now, when I was looking on Twitter for links to posts about Catlin I found this.

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Rebecca seems to be doing a lot of reviewing, like for these books.

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You’ll see why I included them in just a bit, have patience. Back to Catlin’s book. And here is Rebecca’s review on GR.

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And on Amazon.

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Here is her reviews for the other two on Amazon, and you can find them on GR also.

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Now, Dear Readers, you might think I am waffling around with no point in sight but would I do that to you? Of course not. Today you get a twofer. Here is Rebecca in all her glory.

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Here are her reviews on GR.

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Here she advertises her services on Twitter.

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“VERIFIED positive reviews”.  Now perhaps Catlin and any or all of those other authors didn’t buy a review from Rebecca, but I’m not inclined to believe that, are you? And I almost forgot this.

So there you have it. A BBA and a fiverr reviewer. Happy New Year from me and

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Practicing My Positivity- Lacey Crowe Style

Yesterday I reblogged K J Charles and linked to Scarlet’s blog on BL wherein an author, Lacey Crowe, blogged about only positive reviews and remarks. Spread the joy around.  Well, I’m gonna give it a shot, just for you Lacey.

Turns out Lacey is an editor and reviewer besides being an author.

 

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This gives me pause because what happens when a total disaster is submitted? Does she say anything relevant or pass it by with a polite but useless to the author thanks-but-no-thanks?

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I applaud the sentiment while wondering how she handles the reality. The reality being most books don’t rise to the lofty heights she seems to be looking for and some books read like they were written by someone who slept through their English classes and dashed off their baby, uh, book while drunk. Then there are those authors who are confident they are the next Dickens or Steinbeck or have written a groundbreaking book like the world has never seen and desperately needs.

How is Lacey going to handle all these authors in a positive manner? And is a positive manner really helpful in some of these cases? These are relevant questions but right now I’m going to practice my positivity.

Let’s look at a review of Lacey’s book, here’s one from Amazon:

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And here is the same review, same reviewer on  Goodreads:

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A glowing review. It just leaves out a couple pertinent details. But first I’m renaming Paul. He is now Paul the Positive Pigeon. Paul is here, and he says:

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“Poo-poo”

Oh-oh. When Paul the Positive Pigeon poos instead of coos there is trouble in River City. What has Paul found? Look at that screenshot that is titled “What We do”.  We. Lacey has a partner. Uh-oh. Could it be?

Why, yes, it positively is.

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Here they are on their BBR&E site.

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Here they are performing together.

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Here they are- married. That’s right, not only business but life partners. Now go back to that review, “This one, however, was well worth my time and money.” Uh, Jason, your  wife made you buy a copy? Somehow I doubt that.

Whoops, that wasn’t so positive. How about this, I’m positive that omitting your business and personal relationship in such a positive review will not be looked on by others with positivity. I’m also positive that Amazon does not allow these reviews. I am further positive that this kind of positivity will arouse feelings of resentment and envy in other authors who have not stooped to doing this because they follow the rules for any number of really positive reasons and they could use another 5 star review but they won’t step over that line like you did. This behavior is neither professional nor positive.

I’m also positive that you can learn something from Lacey and Jason even if it is only what not to do.

Addendum- Guns & Plagiarism

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Because nothing says targeted for the 12-18 yr old category like advising them to send someone to Hawaii.

Forget the discounts.  Everyone gives boring discounts.  Give them something of ‘value’.  Give a free make-over, a free consultation.  make it over-the-top.  Create a contest and the best entry wins a free iPad or a trip to Hawaii.  Make your offer something that really, really stands out and that sets you apart from your competition.6 Tips on How to Advertise More Effectively

Guns & Plagiarism- A YA Story

It’s Friday morning and I’m angry. You remember this piece of crap I reviewed? At the time good ol’ Dennys had only one other “short book” for sale, now he’s got three.

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Here’s the description of his newest book:

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“”Kids Only” is a short book for kids, This book teaches kids how reality actually works.
Kids now days don’t know how to control their actions and by reading this book it could change the way a kid at a young age to see the world in a different perspective. Kids only is a book inspired by my younger brother and how his mind change after i explain what i wrote in this book.” -book description on Amazon.

I can’t even. But this “book” is not why I’m angry (even though it should and normally could make me).

I lied to you, Dennys doesn’t have three “books” for sale, he has four.

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Let’s take a closer look at number four.

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Advertising Weapons, wow,  ol’ Dennys has made a radical departure from the light and fluffy of kiddie books. “Any medium that can take a message from an organization to a potential consumer can be used for advertising. Of course, the most popular media are television, print (newspaper, magazines, etc.), radio, and the Internet. Television is popular because of its large reach, but it is also costly. This Ebook contains wonderful tips on how you can Advertise with success.” –book description from Amazon. Yes, ol’ Dennys is aiming (no pun intended) for adults now.

Or is he? Read that last screenshot again. Better still, let me point it out:

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Because you 12 year old can’t have too many helpful tips on selling his WTS .50 BMG (Browning Machine gun Cartridge) Pistol. Uh-huh. I. Am. Angry. It’s beyond bad enough that this clown can’t write but now a “book” on tips to sell your weapons for the 12-18 age group? No.

Fortunately there is a remedy. If you wander over to this listing on Amazon and scroll down, you’ll find this:

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Content inappropriate. Yes, indeed. I think so.

Any medium that can take a message from an organization to a potential consumer can be used for advertising. Of course, the most popular media are television, print (newspaper, magazines, etc.), radio, and the Internet. Television is popular because of its large reach, but it is also costly.Common Advertising Media and Examples

“Any medium that can take a message from an organization to a potential consumer can be used for advertising. Of course, the most popular media are television, print (newspaper, magazines, etc.), radio, and the Internet. Television is popular because of its large reach, but it is also costly. This Ebook contains wonderful tips on how you can Advertise with success.” –book description from Amazon.

I suspect that the description might not be the only thing Dennys has lifted word for word from someone else.

Don’t Put all of Your Eggs Into one Basket
Spread your advertising dollars around by choosing a variety of suitable media for your audience and budget.DBS Media

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Last two sentences. Despite the weird typos, which I suspect is Dennys way of trying to get around a call of plagiarism his previous shining literary examples have proven that he can’t write a decent, coherent sentence so anything approaching that is immediately suspect.

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. No product or service will appeal to everyone. Many business owners, including corporate executives, try to come up with ways to reach every market. Typically, this does not work. It can spell disaster for small businesses, who cannot afford to spread themselves too thin. Therefore, find your market and be everything you can be to that audience.- Top 10 Tips for an Effective Advertising Campaign

See above screenshot.

Diversify. It is all too common for business owners to choose the best place to advertise based on price and potential rate of returns and then stop. As is the case with investing, you do not want to put all of your eggs in one basket. Spread your advertising dollars around.Top 10 Tips for an Effective Advertising Campaign

See above screenshot again.

Don’t allow your budget to run your advertising campaign. If you budget $5,000 per month for advertising, you’ve made it very easy from a bookkeeping perspective. However, if like most businesses you have seasonal highs and lows, you are spending too much money advertising during down times and not enough when you want to attract customers. Too many entrepreneurs do not budget according to their seasonal advertising needs.Top 10 Tips for an Effective Advertising Campaign

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Establish an image. You can recognize the McDonald’s arches while whizzing by on the highway. Likewise, there are plenty of products that you recognize by their packaging or logo. Image counts when it comes to advertising and promoting your business. Too many advertisers do not work to build a consistent image. Check out Three Brand Identity Myths That Will Bring Your Business Down for additional issues to avoid.Top 10 Tips for an Effective Advertising Campaign

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I think we know enough, and there isn’t that much more book to check.  Strangely, there is not one mention of weapons in the, at most, six pages of plagiarized material.

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But are they your words, Dennys?

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I’m going to hazard a guess that ol’ Dennys didn’t get permission.

So please report him for inappropriate content and hopefully  All Business will take care of the plagiarism (yes, I emailed them).

Should I? Yes, I should.

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Edit:  It has been pointed out to me that Dennys might mean that the tips in this “book” are weapons to use for marketing. If so, he’s reduced them to the level of a spray bottle of water set on “mist”. And they are still other people’s words. (thanks to Tina Nicole)