Second Chances

I believe in second chances. I think almost everybody deserves one. Contrary to what some people believe I will give someone the benefit of the doubt almost every time and I struggle when it becomes apparent that the second chance looks to be in vain.

I wanted this one to work, I thought it would but it looks like the path traveled before will be the path traveled again. I guess if you can surround yourself with enough people that tell you you did nothing wrong and all those people who “attacked” you, who “harassed” you, who pointed out your missteps and mistakes were just being “mean” and “jealous” then you can move comfortably ahead down that same path towards the inevitable.

I admired your restart, your dedication to what you built, but maybe the red flags were there in the timeline. You have worked hard but for what end? 

No self-awareness, no professional growth, no fucking clue.  

Book review soon.

The Authors Guild and the Trademark Fracas

Author Kevin Kneupper brought this to my attention on Twitter yesterday. This post is an absolute must read for everyone because, sooner or later, we’ll encounter some misguided author who firmly believes s/he can to pull a Faleena over a word or title and we all end up watching another boozy video by someone who thinks eliminating all competition is the pathway to fame and the #1 spot on the NYT best seller list.

And since I invoked her name, Faleena has reluctantly settled and is withdrawing her trademark applications. She made a (mercifully short) video where she plays the martyr (does she ever not ) and wistfully murmurs about trying to protect her family, the Cockers, who are fictional) and how she was brutally attacked for doing so.

Refresh my memory, wasn’t she the one sending out fake cease and desist letters to indie authors using the word “cocky” in their titles? Wasn’t she the one who managed to get Amazon to remove books using “cocky”? Wasn’t she the one that applied for a TM for the word cocky in a specified font that wasn’t hers to TM? But she’s the victim, riiiight.

Anyway, go read it and save the link somewhere for when you encounter the next Faleena or Michael Scott Earle.

 

 

California’s New Law Could Halt Live Author Book Signings

R. Gardner Goldsmith reports on a California law affecting author signings.

 

RPBookSigning

So, I’m a writer. Hopefully, that comes through not only in the fact that I’m setting caveman fingers to keys, and you’re reading the results, but also in the quality of what I write, the idea that it has value. I write non-fiction on political economics and ethics. But what some folks don’t know is that I also write scripts, short stories, novels, and novellas. As a result, I’ve become familiar with how publishing works, and have become friends with a number of terrific authors.

Many of those truly fantastic writers don’t have the backing of big-name publishing houses. Some sign with small “indie” publishers, while others split from the old guard and self-publish. And what every author, even the well known who have the backing of promotional departments, will tell you is that personal, hand-to-hand and word-of-mouth connections are what sells books.
As a consequence of this, making appearances — at conventions and at book signings offered by local booksellers – is not only essential for authors to exist in the pro field, but the crowds these events generate are also important for the bookstores to stay in business.
But, on January 1, an amendment to a California law kicked into effect that makes it virtually impossible for authors and booksellers to conduct “book signings” the way they once did. And only the folks of the Pacific Legal Foundation, hired by an indie bookseller based in San Francisco, are fighting it.

Read more.

“We did our part…”

Let’s file this under “bitch, please”.

On January 2 Jaid Black posted this on her FB page:

Screenshot (12952).png

This was the first time in, well, quite  a while that she has mentioned EC. And when someone posted their regrets for the closing she had this to say:

screenshot-12953

“No longer worth it”? Not enough authors left that she wanted to not pay royalties to, I guess. And on a post about the sudden closing of All Romance Ebooks she offered up another excuse:

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The “Amazon did it” excuse. Amazon did not not pay EC but EC sure as hell did not pay part of their authors. EC/Jaid Black/Patty Marks never seemed to understand that Amazon wasn’t going to roll over and give them special treatment because they thought they deserved it. Black played the victim for years.

And there were, and still are, plenty who think she is. Or maybe just a weak-minded, dull-witted, easily duped fragile flower.

Screenshot (12948).png

Aaaannnnd Kevin Weinberg gets it wrong, so wrong, again. Oh, he never got paid but the reasons why were much different than he wants Redditors to believe. They had a falling out over politics for sure but Weinberg was stupid enough to tell her to her FB face that he knew better than she did about racial discrimination. (My sympathies were totally with Black on this one.)

Not surprised he didn’t get paid. Not surprised that it wasn’t his fault. Really, these two were a match made in denial heaven. And speaking of denial heaven, Black posted this today:

Screenshot (12950).png

So many retorts spring to mind. I do love the “We cannot continue to expend time on an endeavor that provides us with no income” line. Isn’t that what part of your authors were doing? They received no income, EC got the money, the authors got nothing but insults and accusations. I love that Black tries to herself in with the affected authors because we all know that if Amazon doesn’t correct this problem soon that Black/Marks/EC will be receiving money from Amazon and all those other authors won’t.

Screenshot (4483)

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Reviews deleted by Amazon? Here’s why (update)

UPDATE: On October 3, 2016, Amazon announced a change in its policies, eliminating nearly all “incentivized” reviews. According to the new policy, reviews (and certain other content) may no longer be posted on products received for free or at a discount in exchange for a review. Amazon’s own Vine Program is an exception to this new rule, and reviewers also continue to be allowed to post reviews on books they have received for free, so long as the book isn’t given in exchange for the review.

In response to Amazon’s announcement, some sellers and clubs changed to a policy that reviews would now be optional and, therefore, permitted under Amazon’s new rules. They also said that because reviews are optional, no disclosure of the freebie/discount would be required. That is NOT correct. The FTC Guidelines still require a disclosure that the item was received for free or at a discount and who provided it, even if the recipient can choose whether or not to write the review. What’s more, Amazon’s executive customer relations staff have stated that a review “tied to” a free or discounted product is not permitted and that making the review optional doesn’t change that.

The rest of this post was written when incentivized reviews were permitted, provided the sellers and reviewers complied with other rules, including those against manipulation.

For the original post, go here.
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