Beware of Sharks in Publisher’s Clothing

DO you read The Book Designer? If not, then you should and here is one excellent post why.

 

Tate Publishing bit the dust and formally closed its doors on January 24, 2017. There are millions of dollars in lawsuits including one from Lightning Source (that’s Ingram) for over $1.8 million. In February, a default judgment was entered against Tate when its owners did a no-show in court. I can’t even imagine the number of authors and books who have been damaged.

Why another column on what I call the Publishing Predators?

  1. The self-publishing / indie publishing avenues now publish far more books than the traditional publishing stream from New York.
  2. Whenever there is growth, it identifies opportunity.
  3. Opportunity encourages darker forces to surface. The floodgates opened for self-publishing went into high drive when Amazon introduced BookSurge, the predecessor of CreateSpace in 2007. Scammers paid attention.
  4. In other words, scammers, publishing cons and publishing predators are breeding.

 

Continue reading here.

“We did our part…”

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

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

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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:

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“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.

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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:

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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.

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Short Notice! All Romance Ebooks Closing 12/31/16

As we leave, not soon enough, 2016 behind there comes notice another ebook venue is closing. At very, very short notice. KT Grant posted the following on Babbling About Books, and More!

 

Yesterday at 2pm I received an email in my inbox that most authors like myself, and I assume publishers (both epublished and traditional) received who sold their books at the online book vendor- All Romance Ebooks aka ARe. This email sent shockwaves through the publishing community for not only self-published authors and epublishers, but readers as well who have used ARe’s services for 10 years.

As of midnight on Saturday, December 31, 2016, the All Romance Ebooks site will go dark, aka they’re shutting their doors, and all content there, aka digital books for sale, will no longer be available through their platforms. This means authors and publishers have two days to pull their books off the site, and for readers to download their library of content before midnight on Saturday, or their books they purchased will be lost to them forever.

What has the publishing community raging, including myself is the email All Romance Ebooks, or rather Lori James, the Chief Executive Officer of All Romance Ebooks sent about the sudden closing of ARe. This section below is what has authors, and I assume publishers enraged:

Link to blog.

 

 

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?

Shop Cats of New York – Preorder Now

Screenshot (2410).pngPreorder now for release on November 1, 2016.

Humans of New York meets The French Cat in this carefully cultivated, gorgeous full-color collection featuring New York’s iconic felines and the stories behind them.

They inhabit New York City’s most legendary and coziest spots—the Algonquin Hotel, a whiskey distillery, Bleecker Street Records, and a host of yoga studios, bodegas, bookstores, and bike shops in between. True New Yorkers—masters of people watching—they perch on wine crates, piles of books, and a classic hotel countertop, taking in the activity around them. Depending on their mood, these cats will ignore enthusiastic admirers, offer a few delightful purrs, or occasionally even take a swipe. Some even find a mouse or two to chase.

Shop Cats of New York introduces forty of New York’s favorite felines—all who have an extraordinary story to tell. Popular cat blogger Tamar Arslanian and Instagram pet photographer Andrew Marttila capture these deeply loved and well cared for animals in their city habitat and reveal how they came to reign over their urban kingdoms.

A celebration of some of the city’s most revered citizens and a unique look at New York life, this enchanting illustrated volume is a must for every cat lover, and every Big Apple devotee.- Amazon

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.

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Then she sort of leaves it up to the reviewer:

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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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