Saturday, August 29, 2009

When Book Pirates Go Too Far

Google is very cool in my opinion. I hope they'll be cool with the fact that I'm sharing this information, which I found after clicking a few links on their site until I came to a textlink titled webpage removal request tool.

Here's the url:

Why was I looking?

Because I am a GOOGLE shareholder (in a very small way) and I could not believe that GOOGLE didn't have a mechanism for upholding the law, in this case, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act... and of course, they do.

There's a blog that has been outraging some of my friends. Frankly, it outrages me, too, even though my e-books have not been allegedly bought, duplicated in violation of copyright, uploaded to "file-sharing" sites, and illegally disseminated:

My copyright has not been infringed.

This self described book worm had a comments section, but when authors and their friends posted comments informing the site and its visitors that posting links for ebooks to rapidshare and other such sites (surely never intended for this purpose) might be illegal, the bookworm allegedly removed the comments, and allegedly blocked the IPs of the authors.

The book worm also requested donations so he or she could purchase and then publish more ebooks. Paypal, a division of EBay, much to its credit, removed that convenience, so now, various credit card companies' logos are posted.

Would you give someone you knew or suspected to be thief your credit card info? Incredible! Would you knowingly finance alleged criminal activity? Moreover, the authorities would have all your contact information through your credit card company!

Here's what to do if a blogspot or otherwise Google owned or controlled site appears to be infringing on your copyrights.

Quoted as fair use from the Google site

Remove information from Google: Report copyright infringement

It's Google's policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the text of which can be found at the U.S. Copyright Office website) and other applicable intellectual property laws, which may include removing or disabling access to material claimed to be the subject of infringing activity.

To file a notice of infringement with us, you must provide a written communication (by fax or regular mail -- not by email, except by prior agreement) that sets forth the items specified below. Please note that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys' fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your copyrights. Indeed, in a previous case, a company that sent an infringement notification seeking removal of online materials that were protected by the fair use doctrine was ordered to pay such costs and attorneys fees. The company agreed to pay over $100,000. Accordingly, if you are not sure whether material available online infringes your copyright, we suggest that you first contact an attorney.

To expedite our ability to process your request, please use the following format (including section numbers):

1. Identify in sufficient detail the copyrighted work that you believe has been infringed upon. For example, "The copyrighted work at issue is the text that appears on"
2. Identify the material that you claim is infringing upon the copyrighted work listed in item #1 above. Click the type of search you used to find the material to learn what information you should provide in your request:

Google Web Search

FOR WEB SEARCH, YOU MUST IDENTIFY EACH SEARCH RESULT THAT DIRECTLY LINKS TO A WEBPAGE THAT ALLEGEDLY CONTAINS INFRINGING MATERIAL. This requires you to provide (a) the search query that you used, and (b) the URL for each allegedly infringing search result. Note that the URL for each search result appears in green on the last line of the description for that search result.

For example, suppose (hypothetically) that you conducted a search on using the query [Google], and found that the third and fourth results directly link to a webpage that you believe infringes upon the copyrighted text that you identified in item #1 above. In this case, you would provide the following information:

Search query: Google
Infringing webpages:

Google Images


For example:

To find the exact URL of the image, please follow these steps:
1. Click the image that you locate in the image search results.
2. Click the thumbnail of the image shown in the top frame of the page that appears.
3. Click the URL that displays in your browser's address bar.
4. Right-click and select Copy.
5. In your notice to us, right-click and select Paste to add the URL to your document.

3. Provide information reasonably sufficient to permit Google to contact you (email address is preferred).
4. Provide information, if possible, sufficient to permit Google to notify the owner/administrator of the webpage that allegedly contains infringing material (email address is preferred).
5. Include the following statement: "I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above on the allegedly infringing webpages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law."
6. Include the following statement: "I swear, under penalty of perjury consistent with United States Code Title 17, Section 512, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed."
7. Sign the paper.
8. Send the written communication to the following address:

Google Inc.
Attn: Google Legal Support, DMCA Complaints
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Or fax to:

(650) 963-3255, Attn: Google Legal Support, DMCA Complaints

Please note that a copy of each legal notice we receive is sent to a third-party partner for publication and annotation. As such, your letter will be forwarded to Chilling Effects ( for publication. You can see an example of such a publication at A link to your published letter will be displayed in Google's search results in place of the removed content.

For more information, please see

Be warned, my next post may be about hernia surgery!

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

This time of year (Summer's Almost Gone)

Autumn has always been my favourite time of year. I've thought of myself as an "Autumn" in the colour charts, I have fond memories of Autumn activities and Autumn weather.

One of my favourite poems is the ode to autumn:
"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom friend of the maturing sun,
Conspiring with him how to load and bless with fruit..."

I loved the ballad... I think it was by Justin Heywood
"My life will be forever Autumn..."

And, even more, I loved The Doors' song "Summer's Almost Gone". Was it from the "Waiting For The Sun" album?

My favourite painting -one I actually bid for and won at an auction- is an autumnal scene which makes me think of the Lady of Shallot, or King Arthur's final trip back to Avalon with the queens in the barge.

Autumn is better, but less brilliant in the UK of my childhood memories. The Great American Fall may be more colorful, but it's not the same. The yellow and black striped insects and the ladybugs are more numerous and more aggressive in the USA. I don't like to watch the glorious dragonflies die.

What I remember are the happy hours spend on common land, picking wild blackberries and wild crabapples for pies and crumbles and jams and jellies; gathering wild sloes to make sloe gin... also rosehips for winter medicines, oh, and wild mushrooms in the early mornings.

Of course I also treasure memories of family time in our small orchards picking English apples, pears, greengages, Victoria plums, red- black- and white currants, raspberries, but the hunting and gathering of a free (but legal) harvest is specially delightful.

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

Please support this Romance author's bid to finish honorably in a social networking contest

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Adventures with Acai Berry Supplements

I realized that I'd been suckered the instant the "Guarantee" flashed briefly on the lower left of the screen, just before the page flipped to my receipt... and of course, after I'd left my credit card information.

The back function on the website did not work, of course. So I signed up again under an alphabet soup of characters, and printed the "Guarantee". Then, I called the numbers and cancelled my orders before they shipped.

I don't need guaranteed repeat fulfilment for the guaranteed low price of something in the region of $80 billed automatically every 60 days. I don't believe it is good for a person to take one or two laxatives with lunch and dinner every day ad infinitum.

I also informed my credit card company at once. And, I am keeping on checking every two or three days to be sure that nothing slips through, which it has.

The "free" orders did ship, even though I cancelled, and even though I told a nice woman who telephoned me that I'd cancelled. My credit card was also charged, and wouldn't you believe it, there were also foreign transaction charges.

The website doesn't tell you that this business is run from Kenya! On the UPS packaging, it says it is shipped from a Florida address.... one of the bottles claims to come from a UK address.

Things to be aware of:

These "supplements" have not been evaluated by the FDA. (So says the bottle.)
These "supplements" are NOT (excuse me) to be taken by anyone who is taking any sort of prescription drug. (So says the bottle.)
Listed ingredients include SENNA and GREEN TEA. So much for being a wonder supplement!

If your curiosity is overwhelming, I suggest you use a disposable credit card for internet purchases, or else, one you wouldn't mind cancelling if you had to.

Call your Billing Disputes credit card line often, and be very nice to your best friend in the Billing Disputes department. They can help you... especially if you are able to tell them that you called to cancel your Berry supplement and Bowel Cleanser on a date before the stuff was shipped.

They have extensive experience already with these merchants.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Penny says: 10 Mistakes Authors Make

I've reposted Penny Sansevieri's Featured Article from her newsletter. Attribution is at the bottom of the page. All uses of the first person (or any other pronouns) are Penny's, not Rowena Cherry's.

10 Mistakes Authors Make That Can Cost Them a Fortune (and How to Avoid Them)

When it comes to books, promotion, and book production I know that it can sometimes feel like a minefield of choices. And while I can't address each of these in minutia, there are a number of areas that are keenly tied to a book's success (or lack thereof). Here are ten for you to consider:

1) Not understanding the importance of a book cover
I always find it interesting that an author will sometimes spend years writing their book and then leave the cover design to someone who either isn't a designer, or doesn't have a working knowledge of book design or the publishing industry. Or, worse, they create a design without having done the proper market research. Consider these facts for a minute: shoppers in a bookstore spend an average of 8 seconds looking at the front cover of a book and 15 seconds looking at the back before deciding whether to buy it. Further, a survey of booksellers showed that 75% of them found the book cover to be the most important element of the book. Also, sales teams at book distribution often only take the book cover with them when they shop titles to stores. And finally, please don't attempt to design your own book cover. Much like cutting your own hair, this is never a good idea.

2) Trusting someone who has limited or no track record
When you hire a team, make sure you ask the service provider for their track record. Often I see an author who successfully marketed their single title now feel they have all the marketing knowledge they need to help you market yours. Unless you are in similar markets, I would avoid this at all costs. You want people who have worked in the industry and know the needs of the market beyond just one title. You also want someone who has some history. Ask for referrals, and success stories. I give references all the time to potential new clients, but when I am the one interviewing a new service provider I will ask for them but never call them. I mean who's going to give you a bad referral? I want to see that they have some names they can give me, then I'll go online and Google them to gain some insight into their history and online reputation.

3) Listening to people who aren't experts

When you ask someone's opinion about your book, direction, or topic, make sure they are either working in your industry or know your consumer. If, for example, you have written a young adult (YA) book, don't give it to your co-workers to read and get feedback (yes, I know some YA books have adult market crossover appeal, but this is different). If you've written a book for teens, then give it to teens to read. Same is true for self-help, diet, romance. Align yourself with your market. You want the book to be right for the reader, in the end that's all that matters.

4) Trusting Oprah to solve all your problems
Getting on Oprah is an article in and of itself, but let me say this: the quickest way to turn off a publicist is to use the "O" word. Why? Because anyone worth their salt knows how tough a road the Oprah pitch can be. Not just that, but sometimes authors will become so myopic and obsessed about this show that they lose sight of other, maybe better opportunities. And trust me on another point: someone (friend, co-worker, family, spouse), somewhere will tell you, "You should go on Oprah," and while you might be 100% perfect Oprah material the only people who can determine if you should be on her show are her producers. Shoot for the stars, dream big, but be realistic about your campaign, otherwise you'll spend a lot of time and a lot of money chasing a potentially elusive target.

5) Planning for the short-term only
There's a real fallacy that exists in publishing and it's this: "instant bestseller." Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the industry knows there is no such thing as "instant," and certainly the words "overnight success" are generally not reserved for books. Book promotion should be viewed as a long runway. Meaning that you should plan for the long term. Don't spend all your marketing dollars in the first few months of a campaign. We find this especially true for self-published titles that need a little more TLC than their traditionally published counterparts. We offer campaigns that last 90-days, but that's not because we think 90 days is all it will take to make your book a success, it's because we find it's a reasonable time to get started, get a foothold and start your progress down the runway of success.

6) Not understanding timing

Timing is a funny issue. First, there's the timing that books follow to get reviewed, lead times as it were. Then there's production timing, and if you're lucky enough to get a distributor there's the time it will take for a distributor to get your book into the proper channels. A book launch should be planned carefully and then leave wiggle room for slipped dates and late deliveries (which will happen). I recommend that you sit down with someone who can help you strategize timing so you can plan appropriately for your book launch. A missed date is akin to a missed opportunity.

7) Hiring people who aren't in the book industry
Let's face it, even to those of us who have been in this industry for a while it still doesn't always make sense. So hiring someone who has no book or publishing experience isn't just a mistake, it could be a costly one. With some vendors like web designers you can get away with that. But someone who has only designed business cards can't, for example, design a book cover. Make sure you hire the right specialist for the right project. Also, you've likely spent years putting together this project, make sure you make choices based on what's right and not what's cheapest. If you shop right you can often find vendors who are perfect for your project and who fit your budget. There's an old saying that goes: You can find a good lawyer, and you can find a cheap lawyer, but it's hard or near impossible to find a good, cheap lawyer. The same applies in the book world.

8) Designing your own website
You should never cut your own hair or design your own site. Period. End of story. But ok, let me elaborate. Let's say you designed your own site and saved a few thousand dollars instead of paying a web designer. Now you're off promoting your book and suddenly you're getting a gazillion hits to your site. The problem is the site is not converting these visitors into sales. How much money did you lose by punting the web designer and doing it yourself? Hard to know. Scary, isn't it?

9) Becoming a media diva
Let's face it, you need the media more than they need you. I know. Ouch. But it's the unfortunate truth. So here's the thing: be grateful. Thank the interviewer, send a follow-up thank you note after the interview. Don't expect the interviewer to read your book and don't get upset if they get some facts wrong. Just gently, but professionally correct them in such a way that they don't look bad or stupid. Never ask for an interview to be done over. Most media people don't have the time. I mention this because it actually happened to a producer friend of mine who did an interview with a guy and he decided he didn't like it and wanted a second shot. Not gonna happen. The thing is, until you get a dressing room with specially designed purple M&M's, don't even think about becoming a diva. The best thing you can do is create relationships. Show up on time, show up prepared, and always, always, always be grateful.

10) Hiring the best and then not trusting their advice.
Here's the thing that's always confused me. You hire me, then don't listen to my advice. And it's not just me, I hear this all the time from other industry professionals. Look, it's not an ego thing, it really isn't. It's just this: if you're paying good money to your vendors, asking them for advice and then not taking it, you might have a disconnect. Perhaps a breakdown in communication, maybe you don't trust the person you hired. If you don't trust them, then you should part ways and find someone you have some chemistry with. Otherwise what's the point? Build your team with people you enjoy working with and respect. Then when they try and guide you or save you some money, take the time to listen.

Reprint permission
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You are welcome to reprint any items from "The Book Marketing Expert Newsletter." However, please credit us as a source with the following paragraph:

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mating Net, the soundtrack

Last Thursday, I drove 40 miles each way to a video recording studio and read every word --all 15,000 of them-- of Mating Net in front of a camera.

If you would like to hear me read this somewhat risque short story to you, please check whether or not these links work.

Part One:

Part Two:

Mating Net is a prequel for my god-Princes of Tigron series (Forced Mate, Insufficient Mating Material, and Knight's Fork).

Set 70 years before the flurry of marriages and murders described in this trilogy, Mating Net shows how the ambitious young Princess Helispeta split a royal family and started a war.

Mating Net can be purchased as an e-book at

By the way, please vote for Insufficient Mating Material's cover art, title, and blurb here: Award-5-Stars

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Making The Most Of A Podcast Radio Show

On the Published Authors group on, I just spend a good half hour addressing some skeptical remarks about talk radio. If only three people read my remarks there, it will not have been good use of my time.

I'm an occasional, but regular, host on Passionate Internet Voices Radio.

PIVTR has only been going for three years, and it is not a full time station. It does not do business commercials, and it is heard all over the world where ever people have computers... from grandmothers on tiny British islands (a friend of my mother's heard my show without even knowing I was a talk show host, and emailed me) to truckers crossing continents to publishers and... who knows, TV scouts, as well as the colleges and universities you mention.

We support three charities by sending them the hosts' theoretical royalties from mp3 downloads (which cost around $2.60 last time I asked).

A royalty on $2.60 isn't much, but yesterday I forwarded a check for $25.00 to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit.

Hey! If only Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh would donate their entire host's proceeds for their shows to the hungry and the homeless, and help former incarcerees who've served their debt to society to learn a useful skill (baking bread or organic gardening).

A good show can turn into sales. It's not guaranteed, of course. For a start, the interviewee has to be prepared, has to be absolutely fascinating as an authority on some subject, has to speak clearly (on a land line), has to entertain, and has to be likeable.

Above all else, be likeable. The hard sell doesn't work. Authors who unintentionally project a sense of entitlement don't do so well. Listeners aren't going to buy a book just because someone has written one and mumbles a title and a url repeatedly on the radio.

Also, an interview on a show is not the end in and of itself. Authors need to understand that. Before the interview, it is a (flimsy) news item... something to post as news to all your sites and groups and to Tweet and Smak, and post on all your Updates. But, you really need to have a decent hook: an elevator pitch to make people want to tune in.

You also ought to have a Google Alert. You can Tweet that. Afterwards, you can blog about your experience, especially mentioning what you did wrong because people love to read about pratfalls. You can purchase the mp3 from Lillian, and post it on your MySpace page etc etc (I don't need to tell you!) and everywhere that allows you to upload a podcast.

It's not the show that will sell books. It's what you do on the show and with the show. Unless, of course, Oprah was listening.

On my next show, Crazy Tuesday, September 1st, I shall be interviewing USA Today best selling author Jade Lee, and international best selling author Susan Kearney. We'll be talking about Dragons.


How To Get Yahoo to Remove Pirated Files

Yahoo, allegedly, ultimately owns AltaVista and Alltheweb!

Here is a fascinating page of helpful advice put out by SEO Logic

Best wishes,
Rowena Cherry