Sunday, February 28, 2010

Worst Mistakes Authors Make

Worst Mistakes Authors Make

No one likes "gatecrashers", and it seems that one of the top promo mistakes that authors make is to do the virtual equivalent of gatecrashing someone else's party.

Worse still, authors who've made a Promo blunder go on to compound their initial mistakes, either by attacking the readers who point out that they (the author) or the promo post don't belong, or else by leaving damaging "stuff" lying around for all the reading world to see.

On there is a special area known as "The Spammers Circle In Hell" where readers discuss authors whose misplaced promotion attempts have offended them. Friends of 1stTurningPoint should take note. The "Next Best Book Club" group has a readership of just under 6,000 members strong. Potentially having that many readers vow never to read anything by you could be a very major mistake.

The following lists are posted with permission.

FIONA'S list of Worst Mistakes Authors Make On

1. Trying to slip their own book into group nominations
(to be read by every member of the Book Club Group) especially without even trying to be honest about it.

2. Throwing a hissy fit when they are asked/informed to read/keep to group rules etc
(for instance, about self promotion and spamming the forums.)

3. Creating multiple accounts and pretending to be different people so as to pretend they actually have friends who have read the book.

4. Failing to use paragraphs, punctuation or spelling in their attempts to advertise their 'book'. Obviously these people probably aren't serious authors.

5. Only seeming interested in their book, only ever wanting to talk about their book, trying to twist every other group conversation into something to do with their book…(as in)… "This is an interesting topic... blah blah this is my book"

6. Also, promising to give away £10,000 worth of free stuff if you buy the book probably doesn't work very well either.

7. And people should introduce themselves first. You know, "Hello I am so and so, I like these books…" and try not to mention the fact they are an author for five seconds.

(Here's an example of what NOT to say)

"I am a big fan of James Patterson books and I have written so and so which I think is very good too." It's just SO cheesy and fake. And who are you to say your book is good or as good as some top-named author?

8. GoodReads is first and foremost for readers I think authors on GR should think of themselves as readers first and maybe get to know the group first before posting to it.

Also try to actually pay attention to where
(within a group's topics) they should post such advertisements. Some groups, such as TNBBC (The Next Best Book Club) have special folders. Others of course may not but it doesn't take long, much thought or much intelligence to actually look.

For instance... the Important Messages folder
(on TNBBC) is for group messages/information from Lori (the group owner) not for authors to advertise their books.

People should check out the group rules and with the new group rules feature on GR I don't think there is an excuse not to do so. At least look at the group description before doing anything! Anyone can make a mistake, but it feels very annoying that people can't be bothered to at least think a little bit before acting.

A correspondent on Facebook echoes Fiona's seventh point about authors who try too hard"

"OVER-doing. Driving people crazy because every single thing they say, every workshop they attend, every comment is all about THEM. Their book. Their sales. Their pitch. Until people cringe to see them coming.

Sometimes authors need to remember the best way to make a friend (or a reader) is to be one. Take some interest in what others are doing. Offer something your readers can enjoy and be involved in."

Another GoodReads group member agreed that one of the worst promotion mistakes she has seen is where authors use Amazon and other book discussion forums to promote their own books in really, really irrelevant threads. It happens far too often.

A Facebook friend of mine made a similar point about the importance of being relevant.

"If an author describes the book they have written, and the reader buys it because of the description -- and the book actually does not match the description, the reader will become very reluctant to buy any OTHER author's book because of an author's description."

CINDY from GoodReads spoke about "Friend Spam" also known in some circles as "Author Spam":

"How about authors sending friend requests without any attached note? I'm shocked how many friend requests I get from authors when their books aren't even in a genre I read or participate in. I can only presume they are sending out mass friend requests just for promotion. Blech.

I can't imagine that friend requests or private message solicitations gain authors enough royalties that it's worth their time."

BECKY from GoodReads enlarges on other ways that excessive promotion can backfire.

"There is one author in this group who is not only notorious for talking about her own book in almost every post, but more than that, she's just stuck on one subject: the one her book seems to be about. ( … comments to the author's credit redacted …) She's very earnest about her book, and wants to spread the word, but her method removes all credibility.

And more than that, her posts are all poorly written with run-on fragmentary sentences, little to no punctuation and misspelled words.

That's the worst thing that authors can do, in my opinion. If I can't read or understand the post you made ABOUT the book, why in the world would I want to read the actual book? An editor can only do so much."

BECKY also points out that some authors seem to regard as a place to make money, and readers resent that.

"I think that they don't see "Goodreads" like we do. They see "Goodread$" instead.

And therefore, they post their "advertising" anywhere and everywhere they can, and then get their feelings hurt when people, like group moderators or vigilant and active members, ask them not to."

Several respondents mentioned authors behaving badly if and when readers object to inappropriate sales pitches.

As LYN M said:

"The one I would like to add is authors who spam a group without being (an established, regularly participating) member AND THEN throw a hissy fit when you call them on it. It's bad enough when they spam, but then if the follow it up with comments like "I thought this would be a fun group, but obviously not" or other demeaning comments about the group and/or its members. Those authors go on my NEVER TO READ list."

Another Facebook friend summed up the mistakes authors make

"Going where you're not wanted and pushing your book, such as lists on another author's day. Posting promos that are too long without a hook. Not maintaining a neat website. Not having a website at all. Misusing Twitter and Facebook by ONLY using them to promote. Doing a huge push on release but then not keeping it up. Expecting the publisher to promote for you. There's a few..."

I'd like to thank my reader friends who gave me permission to quote their powerful words of advice and caution to authors who wish to learn from others' mistakes. I haven't enlarged on the "damaging stuff". It's said that once you post something on the internet, it is there forever, but if you post an ill-advised promo as "News" when it isn't, or to a "Discussion" where it doesn't belong, you usually can return to the site and delete it. Sometimes, discretion is better than ending up on a NEVER TO READ list, or in the modern day pillory for authors in The Spammer's Circle In Hell.

Rowena Cherry

A Blog Tourer’s Guide to the Galaxy (with Apologies to Mr. Doug Adams)

1st Turning Point » A Blog Tourer’s Guide to the Galaxy (with Apologies to Mr. Doug Adams)

The blogosphere is a wild, unregulated place, but if-as some say-you gotta go, then you’ve got to go…blog touring, that is.

JA Konrath aka Jack Kilborn, Emily Bryan aka Diana Groe, Joy Nash, Sandy Lender, and yours truly have found that blog tours can be fun, incredibly time consuming, hard work, and very good for name recognition.

Joy Nash advises :
“I’ve done two extended blog promos-a 50 Day, 50 Books Blog Tour Giveaway for Immortals: The Crossing, and a Countdown to Summer Blog Party for A Little Light Magic. I highly recommend a tour as a fantastic way to get out and meet the readers. A theme adds to the fun. My Summer Countdown had readers posting all kinds of summer-related memories and experiences. If you’re doing a tour, be sure to include giveaways and contests-it can only increase your traffic. Caveat: be sure to allocate a good chunk of your (probably over-taxed) free time to the endeavor. What with the advance planning, writing up content, and interacting with readers, I guarantee it will take waaaay more time than you think.”

So, here’s how to do it.

Finding Tour Guides and Hosts:

Penny Sansevieri
Marianne and Judy of
DIY: email colleagues directly, ask your publisher’s PR department for help, post requests for hosts on your-genre-related author loops…and on Facebook and Twitter.

Know Your Goal:

The goal of a blog tour is to meet and entrance new readers at each blog. A lesser goal might be to make friends with the more established authors who are hosting your visit.

Know Your Limitations:

How long does it take you to write a piece? You will need to write one unique piece for each stop on your blog tour, and you will need to bookmark and return to each stop for at least the day your blog posts, and for two days after that, and then once a week until your tour is over.

Your Ticket: (You need a good hook)

Content is King (but Contest is Queen). Know something about your hostess, her interests, and her audience. Write a good headline, one that will attract readers, even when it is archived. Write an original post for each hostess. Don’t forget to name your book, give a buy link, give the URL to your website.

Some authors treat their blog tour like a scavenger hunt, where anyone who wants a free copy of their book must follow that author from site to site all month long.

Do those authors realize that such followers will probably postpone buying a copy of the book for the entire month? Time your blog tour for the month before your book is released. Then, parsimony makes sense.

If you want comments, you should offer prizes at each stop. The prize does not have to be a copy of the book in question, but it could be, especially if you have ARCs, and want reviews before your book comes out.

Making Friends Along The Way:

Show up early (send your blog post in to your host in good time) and stay late.

Successful guest blogs may get up to 100 comments (including replies by the guest author) on strong, busy sites such as Bitten By Books, all the way down to none at all, not even a public welcome-and-thank you from a hostess.

Take heart. Just because blog visitors don’t comment does not mean that they aren’t reading your guest blog post, and or don’t want to win your book. Moreover, if you have an intriguing headline for each individual post and a few quotable quotes in it, the search engines will pick you up.

Don’t forget to bookmark and go back to the blogs you have visited this month, and to respond to anyone who has commented (this will double the number of comments, giving the impression of success, and will gratify your hostesses, as well as your potential readers.)

Shouting Out The Stops:

Talking of good manners…how and where should an author promote her tour and her destinations?

Status updates (on LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Gather, Ning, Eons, etc.)
Yahoo Groups-Some accept such announcements on certain, designated days, or on Promo Only groups. Others frown on it.

Otherwise, promo is doable if the blogger focuses on a topic of general interest and spins the blog as an excuse for other authors with similar interests to promote themselves to the readers who regularly visit the hostess’s blog. (That’s why so many authors support Barbara Vey’s PW blog.)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Authors Show

Rowena Cherry is interviewed by Don McCauley about "Knight's Fork" on
The Authors Show

Friday, February 19, 2010

Who Moved My Buy Button


Article about the tyranny of Amazon and how it hurts readers and authors. Worth reading!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Yahoo Needs A "Report This Group" Button

"Yahoo respects the intellectual property of others...."

They just don't make it easy for good citizens to alert them to Yahoogroups that massively infringe on copyright. (They require the author to complain herself). They ought to be more proactive and allow readers to be proactive.

There ought to be a "Report This" button in every Footer.

In fact, copyright infringement is such a problem that every auction site, social networking site, blogsite etc ought to be required by law to post this from the Copyright Office:

"Is it legal to download works from peer-to-peer networks and if not, what is the penalty for doing so?

Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner's exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed. In addition, an infringer of a work may also be liable for the attorney's fees incurred by the copyright owner to enforce his or her rights."


As the Indian copyright office says,

"There is an acute lack of awareness on various issues relating to copyright and related rights amongst stakeholders, enforcement agencies, professional users like the scientific and academic communities and members of the public…"

Maharaj Krishen Kaw, Secretary to Government of India,

You can read more here:

Yahoo has a group called "Free Book Club". Gee, you'd think Yahoo could have some kind of filter if they wanted to do so. They do have the technology to prevent a would-be member from registering an obscene or trademark infringing screen name.

To establish that Yahoo does have the technology, I performed an experiment. I tried to register my name as something very scurrilous, resulting in a short sentence with Yahoo as the object of my suggestion.

Yahoo would not allow that. I experimented. Yahoo has the technology to prevent "Yahoo" being used as part of anyone's id and password. They also do not allow the F-word. Amusingly, they do suggest longer synonyms.

Point made. If Yahoo wanted to prevent EBook groups, or Free Book groups, it could do so.

Back to the "freebookclub" yahoo group which has 1109 Members (all of whom, presumably have been offered 480 illegally posted ebooks... and more!), has been in operation since September 2009, and at which the owner has posted approximately 70 notices of giveaways.

You did notice this, didn't you?

Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner's exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed. In addition, an infringer of a work may also be liable for the attorney's fees incurred by the copyright owner to enforce his or her rights."

I've just reminded you of the law. Therefore, if you visit this Yahoo Group and download anything (after having been told that it is illegal, you could, if caught (and Yahoo has your real email address etc and this site posts your photographs!!!) be theoretically liable for a fine of $150,000 per download.

There is a free member bonus that includes 480 ebooks, and invites you to share this page and offer with everyone you know on Twitter, Facebook, everyone on your email list. These books include 17 Jennifer Crusie books,  14 Karen Hawkins books, 27 J D Robb books, 84 Nora Roberts books, 53 Jude Devereaux books.

Readers, please note, if downloaders are caught, and prosecuted, they could be fined $30,000 per book. If I supply a link, it is so that authors, agents, publishers reading this blog may accumulate evidence and send Yahoo and Freebiesave and a cease and desist notice.

As if 480 books as a joining bonus was not bad enough, batches of 200 books are offered at intervals
There's much more, it is a symptom of the problem that the publishing industry faces, which is exacerbated by corporate ad executives who either don't know or don't care what demographic they cater to. Advertising to people who steal stuff might not be advertising dollars well spent

OK, authors, agents, publishers. Here's what you have to do. Talk to each other!  CC each other when you email Yahoo here  so you have proof that Yahoo has been advised of repeated and serious infringement by
Check out the links supplied by this Yahoogroup.

Free Kids Books!

Over 200 More Free Fiction Books

45 Free Books on Health & Fitness (part 1)

Extrapolate that there was a fiction1, fiction2, fiction3 ....

Follow this:


Yahoo! respects the intellectual property of others, and we ask our users to do the same. Yahoo! has no responsibility for content on other websites that you may find or access when using Yahoo!’s products or services. Material available on or through other websites may be protected by copyright and the intellectual property laws of the United States and/or other countries. The terms of use of those websites, and not the Yahoo! Terms of Service, govern your use of that material.

It is Yahoo!’s policy, in appropriate circumstances and at its discretion, to disable and/or terminate the accounts of users who may infringe or repeatedly infringe the copyrights or other intellectual property rights of Yahoo! and/or others.

Notice for Claims of Intellectual Property Violations and Agent for Notice

THIS PROCESS IS FOR COPYRIGHT AND OTHER INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY MATTERS ONLY. Correspondence regarding other matters will not be responded to. For reports of abuse and related concerns, please see the links in the left navigation.

If you believe that your work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, or that your intellectual property rights have been otherwise violated, please provide Yahoo!'s Agent for Notice with the following information (your "Notice"):

1. an electronic or physical signature of the person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright or other intellectual property interest;
2. a description of the copyrighted work or other intellectual property that you claim has been infringed;
3. a description of where the material that you claim is infringing is located on the Yahoo! site, with enough detail that we may find it on the website (in most circumstances, we will need a URL);
4. your address, telephone number, and email address;
5. a statement by you that you have a good faith belief that the disputed use is not authorized by the copyright or intellectual property owner, its agent, or the law;
6. a statement by you, made under penalty of perjury, that the above information in your Notice is accurate and that you are the copyright or intellectual property owner or authorized to act on the copyright or intellectual property owner's behalf.

In some circumstances, in order to notify the subscriber, account holder or host who provided the allegedly infringing content to which Yahoo! has disabled access, Yahoo! may forward a copy of a valid Notice including name and email address to the subscriber or account holder, or may forward a copy of a valid Notice (with personally identifiable information removed) to Chilling Effects ( for publication.

Yahoo!'s Agent for Notice of claims of copyright or other intellectual property infringement can be reached as follows:
By mail
Copyright Agent
c/o Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

By phone
(408) 349-5080

By fax
(408) 349-7821

By email

Please note that, due to security concerns, attachments cannot be accepted. Accordingly, any notification of infringement submitted electronically with an attachment will not be received or processed.

Rowena Cherry

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

J A Saare's guest Blog. Getting Into Character

First and foremost, thank you for having me, Rowena.  It’s great to be on the Space Snark blog!

When I received your blog topic of interest, How I research and get into character, the answer didn’t come as readily as I anticipated.  Truth be told, I always allow the muse control and don’t over think the research.  With Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between, the pieces fell into place.  Aside from learning the geography of New York (props to my ever wonderful friend, Ty, who guided me through the mean streets on many a frustrating night) and checking into a couple of things like muti and necromancy, there wasn’t a whole lot involved in the process.
Then, my writing took a drastic turn.
After I wrapped up Dead, I began plotting a paranormal series of books featuring various creatures, races, and realms. I wanted something unique, dark, and appealing, but also something people would recognize and think, “Oh yeah, I know that!” Vampires, werewolves, and shifters have been done.  That meant I had to create my own race of beings.  After a lengthy consideration, I decided it was time to create my own brand of shifter – Draigens: half-men, half-dragons who patrolled the realms to maintain the balance between good and evil.  However, the idea wasn’t enough.  I needed more; fuel for the fire, if you will. 
This resulted in an extended journey into Greek Mythology, heaven and hell, and various other places to stockpile nuggets of wisdom which were stored away until needed.  When I had all of my bases loaded, I sat down and started writing.  I was incredibly excited, and had the first chapter finished in record time.  In my excitement, I dove into chapter two.  As I did, a nagging sensation told me something wasn’t quite right.  Sure, the story was going great and I was very excited, but something was noticeably missing.   Pushing forward, I continued to battle an invisible villain, unaware of why I couldn’t get a grip, focus, and write. 

When the realization hit midway into chapter three, it was staggering.  All of my work up to this point had been a first person narrative, but in writing romance, the hero had to be heard.  There was no way around it. I rebelled against it, tried to make it work, but try as I might, it just wasn’t possible.  People prefer third person romances to first person narratives for a reason.  They want to experience the tension from all sides, including the hero’s perspective. 

Getting inside the mind of one character is always easiest.  While you think you know (and more than likely, you do know) the other characters just as well, everything is always altered by the perception of the eyes which guide you.  Allowing all of the characters a venue to speak is another thing entirely, and that meant I had to rethink my strategy. 

With this in mind, I turned to my favorite weapon in the writer’s arsenal – my trusty composition pads.  I already had one stocked full of laws, races, and a small timeline (as it is intended to be a continuing series), so adding a few more for the characters wasn’t that difficult.  I started with the basics – physical descriptions, likes and dislikes, character motivations, etc.  I didn’t delve too deeply, but when something came along, I’d add it to the mix.  Some friends gave advice, all of which was good (but I did not necessarily employ): Do interviews with the characters.  Have them interview you.  Sit down and write out what a day out with the character would be like.  Write a short story involving an event in their past which doesn’t appear in the book. 

Armed once more, I began the tedious task of starting anew, and let me tell you, it was tough!  My brain kept shifting to a first person narrative and, as a result, the MS took much longer to write.   But just when I was ready to cave and say to hay with it, I settled in, found my bearings, and got comfortable.  It took a lot of time, but the end result was more than worth it, and something I was incredibly proud of. 

Strangely enough, I seem to prefer a third person narrative now.  I enjoy getting to know the hero, the secondary characters, and the motivations that drive them.  In giving myself time to become acquainted, it adds to the worldbuilding for future novels, and aids me in deciding where I want to go and how I want to get there.  That’s not to say I won’t write first person any longer, as nothing excites me more than a first person narrative in a dark urban fantasy.   However, when it comes to erotica or romance, it’s pretty much a given.

I’m curious about everyone else out there.  Do you write in both narratives?  Was the transition easy or difficult?  And most importantly, how did it affect your research as a result?

Happy Reading!
Jaime AKA J.A. Saare

Excerpt from Dead, Undead, or Somewhere in Between:

My shoulders drooped in defeat. Of all the shitty luck.
The only way my life could get worse is if I got my throat ripped out.  Coincidentally, I was due to leave my place of employment and enter into a darkened alley to meet up with a vampire. So the odds weren’t stacked in my favor. Not at all.
My boots squeaked on the linoleum as I strode past the coat rack, walked down the hall, and entered the narrow concrete hallway. The big steel door at the end distorted, appearing too close and then too far, invoking images of The Shining. I finally reached it and limply grasped the knob.
I stood there, fingers loose and flaccid. Once I turned the knob, I was sealing my fate. My pride wouldn’t stand for beating on the door and screaming like a pansy to be allowed back inside. I exerted my backbone, grasped the knob, and twisted. The door opened with a protest of metal against metal.
I scanned the area quickly and then sagged in relief. The alley was empty. Thank you God, hallelujah! The door slammed shut behind me as I rushed down the narrow street. I was dodging a bullet, and I knew it.
The moon wasn’t out but the streetlights lit the way decently enough, the circular swells of white shining bright against the darkened concrete. The air was slightly chilly, sending prickles along my skin. I’d have to break out the jeans and sweaters soon.
I hooked a right, keeping my ecstatic pace, until I glanced up.
Disco was propped casually against the wall, his broad back braced against the red bricks. He was standing beneath a nearby street light that shone off his hair, the pale honey blond intense. Pulling out a cigarette and lighting up, he waited as I approached. I watched the red tip brighten as he took a long puff, lifted his head, and exhaled slowly into the darkened night.
So much for dodging a bullet.
Some girls get to be prom queen, others get a perfect SAT score, but not me. I was the biggest winner on The Price Is Right, and Johnny just told me to come on down.

To improve your chances of winning a $10 Amazon gift certificate, comment on this guest post by J A Saare, and also on all her other guest posts on this brief tour.

The tour dates and contest information can be found here:

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Perquisites For Shares (in these tough times)

Back in the 1980s, when companies looked for ways to add shareholder value without paying generous cash dividends, some enterprising British companies offered perquisites. Perks. Perks didn't cost the cash strapped corporations very much, they increased business, and they made shareholders happy.

Once upon a time, I bought shares in a brewery chain which at the time supplied taverns with excellent beer, and owned hotels and restaurants solely because the perks were worth more than a dividend or capital appreciation to me.

May I suggest that the time has come for perks again?

Borders Group, for instance, Ticker symbol BGP (with a very nice blog) and an attractive price of around $1.16 per share could and should in my opinion --and with the consent of authors and publishers-- offer free ebooks to shareholders.

How about financial books and How-Tos at at the end of the third quarter, Romance in time for February with the fourth quarter results, Mystery in the summer for beach reads...?

AT&T could send shareholders a phone card. Marriott could offer shareholders a suitable number of "Rewards" points for their next stay at their lovely hotels. Delta could offer bonus air miles to shareholders. BP could offer a gas card. Procter & Gamble  could offer myriad good and useful things... maybe a monster, downloadable coupon book? And the new GM, when it comes about, could offer new shareholders tickets to ride and drive parties.

Yeah. And if I had Mr. Whiteacre's ear, I'd suggest that GM's ride and drive parties for common shareholders should feature drives in Ferraris and Porsches and Countachs (which people really are keen to ride in just once) as long as those luxury cars compare reasonably favorably with Cadillacs, Buicks and Corvettes. Which I think they do.

Respectfully submitted.

Rowena Cherry

Comment on a guest blog for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift

Blog tours. If you are an author, have you hosted one?

If you are a reader, have you followed a blog tour and commented at each stop? If you have, you might like to visit the goddessfish site and check out the tours currently in progress. There appear to be some really good ones.

What do you think of the idea of blog tours? There's been quite a bit of discussion on a "Advertising and Promo Tips" group that I'm on. Some authors have tried DIY tours, others have tried professsionally organized (and compensated) tours, and they report mixed experiences.

My friend Sandy Lender (whom I hosted some months ago as part of her tour) reports a very positive experience with her entire tour. Others... not so much.

My guess is that success depends mostly upon the touring author, and a little bit upon her hostess. But also, success can be perceived in different ways. In my opinion the true measure ought to be a spike in sales the day the post goes live. However, the most obvious measure --the one that gets rewarded-- is how many comments are posted.

I'm going to be a tad snarky here. How many blog surfers are motivated to comment by the chance that they might win a $10 Amazon gift certificate? Are you? Is $10 going to cover something I really want, plus the tax and the postage and packing?

In the interests of full disclosure, the hostess with the mostest comments on a tour can win a $15 Amazon gift certificate. More to the point, a hostess is also entitled to a half price (and the goddessfish prices are outstandingly good value, this has to be said) book trailer or banner.

At the moment, I don't need either, but I am planning to do a teaching article on blog tours for  So, please do comment on your perceptions of the process!

(By the way, on the 22nd February, I've got a snarky teaching article on about the Google Book Settlement. I'd really appreciate some comments and questions.)

Please come back on Tuesday, Feb 9th to help me welcome my guest blogger, J A Saare author of “Dead, Undead, or Something In Between”.
Here's the blurb that was emailed to me by goddessfish. What intrigued me was the idea of vampire blood as a drug... that and the black humor of the first line.

One bad corpse can ruin your whole day. No one knows that better than Rhiannon Murphy.
She’s left behind the flash and sass of Miami for the no-nonsense groove of New York City, eager for a clean slate and a fresh start. A bartender by trade, a loud mouth by choice, and a necromancer by chance; she’s managed to keep her nifty talent hidden from those around her – until now.
The deliciously good-looking vampire Disco knows her secret, and when he strolls into her bar to solicit help investigating the mysterious disappearances of his kind from the city, she discovers he’s not the kind of person that appreciates the significance of the word no.
But in a world where vampires peddle their blood as the latest and greatest drug of choice, it’s only a matter of time before the next big thing hits the market. Someone or something is killing vampires to steal their hearts, and unlike Rhiannon, this isn’t their first stroll around the undead block.

J A Saare's blog tour starts on Monday 8th. Maybe you'd like to check out how she does right from the start. And, if you comment on every post she makes, you'll certainly improve your chances of winning that $10 Amazon certificate.

The tour dates and contest information can be found here:

Friday, February 05, 2010

Wicked (fun) stuff from Authors Guild

The Authors Guild is pleased to announce the launch of, which is now live in fully-functional beta form.  Who Moved My Buy Button? allows authors to keep track of whether Amazon has removed the "buy buttons" from any of their books.

Simply register the ISBNs of any books you'd like monitored, and our web tool will check daily to make sure your buy buttons are safe and sound.  If there's a problem, we'll e-mail you an alert.

Although we've launched in response to Amazon's wholesale removal of buy buttons from Macmillan titles, we believe Amazon should be monitored for years to come.  Amazon's developed quite a fondness for employing this draconian tactic (there's a chronology at the website); it's only grown bolder with its growing market clout.

Vigilance is called for: sounding off is our best collective defense.  Register your ISBNs today -- it's free and open to all authors, Guild members and not.  (Though we'd prefer you join.)

Here's a screen shot from the new site:

Feel free to forward, post, or tweet.  Here is a short URL for linking:

Also Quoted with permission

Authors Guild:

As you may be reading in today's paper, the Justice Department in its filing regarding our settlement with Google continues to see legal problems with the settlement, focusing on class action law but also continuing to raise some antitrust concerns. We disagree with the Justice Department's reading of the law. At the same time, it's good to see the Department recognizes the settlement's many benefits. In our view, it's best for everyone that out-of-print library books be made available through reasonable, market-based means to readers, students and scholars. Without a settlement, that won't happen. It's also best that authors have direct control of the scans that Google has made, with the power to compel Google to hide, display or remove those scans. Without a settlement, authors have no such control. Google's scanning and use of authors' books would continue until the lawsuit was finally resolved.

Some authors and authors' groups have asked why we didn't press the litigation through to the end. The answer (besides the benefits we saw for authors in creating new markets for out-of-print works), in part, is that copyright litigation is uncertain. Fair use law is complex. One could fill a good-sized law-school classroom with copyright professors who believe that Google's scanning of your books is a fair use. We don't agree with that view, but our opinion may not have prevailed. If we'd lost, it would then be open season on scanning of your out-of-print and in-print books. All one would need is a scanner and a friend with a little bit of technical knowledge to start displaying "snippets" at your science fiction, humor, Civil War, or Harry Potter website. All perfectly legal; all without obligation to authors to properly secure those scans. Nothing gets illegal file-sharing going quite so much as millions of unsecured digital works floating around the Internet.

We also could've won. That would've been sweet. But here's the thing: copyright victories tend to be Pyrrhic in the digital age. Our settlement negotiations went on with full knowledge of what happened to the music industry. The RIAA (the Recording Industry Association of America) won victory after victory, defeating Napster and Grokster with ground-breaking legal rulings. The RIAA also went after countless individuals, chasing down infringement wherever they could track it down.

It didn't work. The infringement just moved elsewhere, in unpredictable ways. Nothing seems to drive innovation among copyright pirates as much as a defeat in the courts. That innovation didn't truly abate until Apple came along with its iPod/iTunes model, making music easily and legally available at a reasonable price. By then, the music industry was devastated.

All that couldn't happen to the book publishing industry? Sure could. The technologies are out there.

The stakes are even higher for authors than they've been for musicians. The ace in the hole for musicians is that they're not as dependent on copyright as book authors are. Music is a performing art: people buy tickets to see musicians. Writing is decidedly not a performing art. Nearly all authors give away their performances, through book tours and readings, and are glad for any audience they can find. For most authors, markets created by copyright are all we've got.

Protecting authors' interests has always been our top priority: in this case a timely harnessing of Google was the best way to do it.

Feel free to forward, post, or tweet.  Here is a short URL for linking:

ecrater Yet another site where ebook pirates sell stolen property

I wonder whether the IRS audits sites like EBay and eCRATER to check that vendors are properly reporting and paying taxes on what they sell?

My guess is, people who make illegal copies (all copies of ebooks are illegal) of books and sell them do not pay taxes on their income. However, they all have PayPal accounts. An audit ought to be relatively easy. Are ill-gotten gains taxable?

They ought to be. At 100%.

I'm sure that most of the 5892 ebooks currently being offered on eCRATER are there legally, because eCRATER complies with the DMCA.

I should think it is highly likely that Kenyon, Evanovich, Hamilton, Nora Roberts, Feehan, Jeffries, Jaid Black, Gena Showalter, Keri Arthur, Jack Higgins et alia are all spending their spare time selling their own books on auction sites, one ebook or collection at a time, and undercutting their own publishers' prices. Not.

ECrater complies with DMCA.

Here's how authors can go about stopping any illegal sales of their own work.

It is eCRATER's policy to (1) block access to or remove material that it believes in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally posted by our sellers (2) remove and discontinue service to repeat offenders.

I. How to report Copyright Infringements

If you believe that material or content residing on or accessible through the eCRATER web site or service infringes a copyright, please send a notice of copyright infringement containing the following information to the Designated Agent listed below:

1. Identification in sufficient detail the copyrighted work that you believe has been infringed.

2. Identification of the material that you claim is infringing the copyrighted work including information regarding the URL of the infringing materials that the copyright owner seeks to have removed.

3. Contact information about the notifier including address, phone number and email if available.

4. The following statement: "I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above on the allegedly infringing web pages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law."

5. The following statement: "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner to make this complaint."

6. A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the copyright that has been allegedly infringed

II. How does eCRATER act when receives DMCA notification

Once proper bonafide infringement notification is received by the Designated Agent, it is eCRATER's policy:

1. To remove or disable access to the infringing material

2. To notify the seller that it has removed or disabled access to the material

3. That repeat offenders will have their infringing material removed from the system and that eCRATER will terminate such sellers' access to the service.

III. How to file a counter notification letter

If the seller believes that the material that was removed or to which access was disabled is either not infringing, or the seller believes that it has the right to post and use such material from the copyright owner, the copyright owner's agent, or pursuant to the law, the seller must send a counter notification pursuant to sections 512(g)(2) and (3) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to the Designated Agent listed below containing the following information:

1. Identification of the material that has been removed or to which access has been disabled and the URL at which the material appeared before it was removed or disabled

2. A statement that the seller has a good faith belief that the material was removed or disabled as a result of mistake or a misidentification of the material

3. Seller's name, address, phone number and email if availbale, and a statement that the seller consent to the jurisdiction of Federal District Court for the judicial district in which seller's address is located (or Orange County, California if seller's address is outside of the United States), and that the seller will accept service of process from the person who provided notification of the alleged infringement.

4. The following statement: "I swear, under penalty of perjury, that I have a good faith belief that each search result or message identified above was removed or disabled as a result of a mistake or misidentification of the material to be removed or disabled."

5. A physical or electronic signature of the seller

Please see a sample counter notification letter.

If a counter-notice is received by the Designated Agent, eCRATER may send a copy of the counter-notice to the original complaining party informing that person that it may replace the removed material or cease disabling it in 10 business days. Unless the copyright owner files an action seeking a court order against the seller, the removed material may be replaced or access to it restored in 10 to 14 business days or more after receipt of the counter-notice, at eCRATER's discretion.

Designated Agent to Receive Notification of Claimed Infringement:

Dimitar Slavov
1340 Spectrum
Irvine, CA 92618
email: dmca (at)

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. In a recent 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're not sure whether material available online infringes your copyright, we suggest that you first contact an attorney.

Note: If you have a question about a particular product or order that you placed, please contact the merchant directly by using the "Ask seller a question" link which can be found on every product page. eCRATER is a marketplace consisted of many merchants and we do not sell anything.

***********************end of quote*****************************************

This is fairly standard.

I'm copying it so the public can see exactly what hurdles authors and their agent have to leap in order to stop theft, and also the potential expenses they may face.

Please note, there is no mention of restitution. The best outcome for an author is that she discovers the theft before many illegal copies are sold, and eCRATER removes the auction before very many more copies are sold.

The worst that can happen to the thief is that they don't manage to sell any illegal copies at all before their listing is taken down, and just possibly, if they are caught often enough, they may have to sign up all over again under a different identity (or go back to EBay, or Blujay or one of the other auction sites that are now springing up).