Amazon in Charge, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Mistakes, Publishing Warnings, Scams, self publishing woes

Amazon Meets Scammed Author Halfway

In preceding posts the subject of Amazon and scamming publishers has relevance for many authors, especially new ones.

My long fight has not been resolved to my satisfaction, but Amazon finally met me halfway and took down the Kindle version of my novel.

The issue? Due to a late contract and the initial lies coming to the surface, I backed out of a contract as it stated an author could leave the publishing company at anytime. See, the publisher encouraged me to buy books so I could sell for 100% profit. This profit of course translates into recovering costs for the novel’s production with a self publishing service. I launched my novel and I continue to sell, but I have a ways to go to recover costs—all of it—ISBN numbers, Cover art, editing, fees to put up on Amazon, fees to open an account with Ingram, the printer, printing, delivery—all of it.

Meanwhile, I knew I had sales in Amazon as people sent me their screenshots. I checked my e-mail regularly for PayPal notifications to no avail. I contacted the publisher who evaded my questions and left some messages unanswered. The contract I had received stated he takes fifty percent of Amazon sales.

After pushing the issue, he told me to read my contract about my Amazon sales. I had an editing contract with no information about this. He said he sent it, but I did not receive it. Another author showed her publishing contract to me. After viewing it I became very assertive with the publisher who is also the editor. The scam: If I buy books, he keeps one hundred percent of my Amazon sales—book for book I bought—to recover his losses. His loses? Please, correct me if I am wrong to feel I have been scammed.

When I left, he said he is changing the contract and going for half of book sales. He said he would call it the “Lynn Clause” because I left him without profit. Again, what? Authors pay for every spec of production plus the cost to print and deliver books—and he feels entitled to half? I shake my head.

I have nearly an inch of printouts concerning my correspondence with Amazon. I fought daily as selling my work without my permission is copyright infringement. The Kindle came down, but the print version remains as physical copies are considered to be his to do what he pleases… because I gave him permission to publish.  At this point, Amazon closed my case. I must contact them until they answer. I would like to know how many copies are at this scammer’s disposal.

I am waiting to hear from Ingram regarding my request to transfer the account into my name. The publisher may refuse. At that time, I may open my own account; however, he has the print-ready files and could produce my book and sell it. That would be copyright infringement. I hope he isn’t so greedy he would do this, because I’m not afraid of confrontation. He’ll wish he never sweet-talked me into coming on board with him by cancelling my contract with the publisher I had decided to work things out with. He had me where he wanted me. Edits and begun and there I sat with no publisher. He was able to do this as the traditional publisher knew him well. I contacted her and felt so confused, and believed he lies so much, I let the contract go. They sent me a proper notification of cancellation.

In my world if a contract has no physical or at least an electric signature, it is not valid. I signed nothing with this self publisher, but because I gave him money, Amazon says that’s good enough. And also be aware of this when you are dealing with self publishing and paying: I received no invoices and no receipts. That can actually work in my favour if I pursue this case, but it will go above Amazon if I do.

Do your homework like I did, except don’t let that research crash when you’re being sweet-talked into jumping aboard with a publisher of any kind.

Thanks for reading.

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Editor marriages, Human Behaviour, information, Mistakes, Scams, self publishing woes

Author Fights to Prove Infringement

Amazon is a big deal, we all know it. There are numerous on-line book outlets attached to them, which is good for book sales—until an author has to fight to prove copyright infringement.

One leaves a publisher they had paid to produce and post the book, and unnamed  publisher keeps the book posted on Amazon “to recover losses.” But losses for what? Author pays everything from editing to book cover to ISBN numbers to print and delivery—and whatever happens in between—all expenses, so we must consider this to be self publishing.

If you are embarking on a self publishing journey, do not let a publisher of that nature tell you they are better than self publishing. They “publish for you.” All it means is they are going to have more control over your book than you expect. Like when you pay for ISBN numbers and the publisher puts them in their name, with the Ingram account and Amazon account. Make sure you get a publishing contract to view before getting too excited about getting your first book into the world. It’s worth the money to have it looked at by an intellectual property lawyer. I didn’t, because I thought what I received was the contract. It was simple and straight forward, but it only covered editing. I was not told when encouraged to buy books “for 100% profit” that because I bought books, the publisher would take 100% of my Amazon royalties, book for book. What do you think about that? Is it fair? Is it just me? Me who paid for everything?

When I finally viewed my contract, I was appalled at this. But the contract also stated an author could respectful leave the publisher—so I did. But I went through some uncomfortable and long messages from an extremely angry publisher. Which did not surprise me much as the editing process felt heavy. I endured insults to my writing in edits. Belittling a writer is not simply, “I call ’em as I see ’em.” Is it that difficult for some people to be diplomatic?

After I left, I was accused of not paying for my cover, meaning I couldn’t use it after leaving, and I wouldn’t let this slide. I traced it in my PayPal account. Disappointing for the publisher as I was legally free to use my cover I paid for. I was accused of lying when I said I did not receive a publishing contract. I received an editing contract. Nothing about this process was what it should have been. Stress crowned the days, the weeks, the months.

This keeping my book on Amazon is a form of copyright infringement as the publisher has been asked by me to take my property down. Another author does her best to help me, and she, too, mentioned to the publisher it needed to come down. He lied saying he took it down and I put it back up. How can I do that when the account is in the publisher’s name? And I couldn’t open a new account and post it as the copyright page (technical page) needs to change and there are numerous typos throughout my novel. That involves Ingram, which I am locked out of as well, plus rewriting the book ready file, and I couldn’t. I asked him to send my property to me, he did, but in PDF so I could not edit. Fortunately my son is an IT guy.

I am in the process of proving to Amazon the work is mine. He even put the © in his company name. And it doesn’t mean much as he must have my permission to have my copyright. My work is automatically copyrighted when I write it and put my name on the work, and I have several drafts to prove it, and e-mails from publishers I shopped my MS around to. Keep your drafts and e-mails, you may someday need them.

But I’m left to wonder how publishers are able to open accounts, lock them in their name, and they don’t have to prove who the MS belongs to, they don’t have to prove they have permission to use it, but I fight for many days now, and we are not finished.  I have made an application to transfer the Ingram account to myself. Publisher may refuse, then I will pay (again) to open my own account. Legal complications are draining. Scammers are everywhere, and the police officer I created an incident with said this person has been at this a long time. He is seasoned enough to stay in the grey area of legalities.

I’ll say this:  when a self publisher or any publisher seems to be too good, they are. Take that seriously, because it is. Literature is a cut throat industry. Wear a collar and ask questions. Don’t ever worry you’re insulting a publisher. If they are honest, they will cheerfully answer questions.

Thanks for reading.

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Scams, Uncategorized

How Authors Detect Scams.

I read countless articles about publishing, both traditional houses and self publishing, and educated myself so I could avoid a nightmare. I hoped.

The first traditional contract asked for money in many areas. I moved on to another traditional house after acceptance. The contract was negotiable, and in the end, it served as the dream contract. My publisher claimed my MS to edit herself, as she related to my story. Unfortunately, she fell ill and couldn’t continue.

Now pay attention. This publisher I speak of, let’s call her Jane, happened to be in a Facebook group for writers, and its numbers were about 5,000. Years back, she took a boot camp course with the group with a self publisher. The owner of the group, the self publisher, knew I signed on with her. He came up in chat asked about a month or so into my contract signing how it went so far. I explained my frustration with the editing hold ups. He asked more questions then disappeared from chat for 10 minutes. When he came back he told me I was free. He cancelled my contract and gave her an author  and took me. I felt stunned, contacted Jane and completed termination as self publisher man told me many not good things about Jane’s editing skills.

Notice he played on my emotions.

That should have been enough for me to run; however, I sat in the middle of edits, now with no publisher. He told me of all the wonderful things he could do to make my MS into a book and put it up on Amazon. No matter how much I had read, my emotions at the time were stronger than my logic, and he, let’s call him Ralph, knew it.

Since, They All Wore Black had all production fees poured into it. I paid for all of it, including the ISBN numbers for e-book and paperback, and he never invoiced me or supplied recipes, not even income tax receipts of any kind. If Revenue Canada approaches me, I will send them Ralph’s way.

During the editing process, he never encouraged, but discouraged. I heard al the looked wrong in my MS, but nothing which could view as right. I took insults and nearly lost my confidence in a mS I work on fro  countless hours. He told me I was a storyteller, and storytellers rarely make good writers. Honestly, this things he said were of no value to serve an author with confidence. I actually shed quiet tears while reading some editing comments, yet in the end, I have numerous excellent reviews.

Nonetheless, before my reviews even came from readers. I knew I had money to make back money. Ralph encouraged me to buy books telling me I’d make my money back pretty quick. And long before the late contract arrived after all publishing finished, Ralph never told me if I buy books, he will take 100% of Amazon sales to recover his costs. His costs? 

Also in the contract it stated an author could take their book from Ralph’s company respectfully. After much preparation, I walked away. I wrote him an email, finally got an answer—he doesn’t answer e-mails. But I got a scathing Facebook message about leaving.  When he saw it wouldn’t stop me from succeeding, he sent a message telling me I had to get a new book cover, saying he paid for my cover and it was his property. He forbid me from using it, even went to my author’s page, where I never saw him, to tell me again. I found the proof in PayPal and presented. Another message came to say, “Fine! Keep everything you’ve got and I REALLY, REALLY hope you succeed!” Sarcasm one-O-one as he has been told to take my work down from Amazon, and he has not.

Pay attention: Ralph put the Amazon account and ISBN numbers in his company name. Now not that is matters as the work is mine with my name attached to it, but he also put the © in his company name. The copyright is all I have true ownership of, despite it being on the technical page. Then the  printer, Ingram, same thing, an account in his name. He locked it all up. I paid the start-up fees for Ingram and Amazon, and I bought those ISBN numbers. As a result, I cannot get help from Amazon easily to have my work removed from his name. We have been communications to try and come up with a solution.

The bottom line here is, no matter how educated you are about intellectual property, a scammer who has much experience can do this to you too. Be careful in writers’ groups. Beware of anything sounding too good. Beware of publishers who steps on other publisher’s toes.

You’re welcome to message me.

Thanks for reading.

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1980s, Addictions, Depression, Domestic violence, Dyslexia, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Humanity, Learning disabilities, mental illness, Publishing joys

A Library Refuses to Promote a Novel Launch? Really?

Everyone profits from sales. Church events, yard sales, book sales etcetera.

What exactly is non profit? What is 100 percent profit free? I could sell my books and give all the proceeds from my launch sales to a charity. All of it And that’s just what I would have to do to put up ads for my launch at my local library, despite years of never ending work, education, searches for the right publisher, paying for edits working through daylight and holidays. You write, you know what I’m saying.
Over the phone speaking with someone from the library, I heard this, “I’m sorry, any ad space we have goes to 100% non profit events.”

This reminds me of school when my memories dissect it. Beginning young when I got  a handle on reading and writing while struggling with dyslexia, which had no diagnosis until my adult years, I wrote poetry, the best way I knew how. My soul expressed me. This took the place of math. My entire notebook carried words rather than mathematical equations with worked-out answers. When it came time to hand in the notebook, my parents were called to the office. Long story short, my writing ability was not fostered. No mention of creative writing classes, no mention of a budding talent. Just old-school discipline and I went under the thumb of rules.

So my point is, in my middle age, haunting rules ironically surfaced. A library wouldn’t let me promote my novel. The very place I thought would be the first to help me.

Sometimes a person needs to vent, so I am doing just that. I wrote my novel, They All Wore Black, during a bleak time. It’s loosely based on truth, and the truth involves many people and four relevant-to-today circumstances: addictions, mental illness, domestic violence, and learning disabilities.  The contemporary drama is heart-wrenching, joyful, humoured with dark splashes, and most of all, realism.

“All families come with skeletons in their closet, but not all family skeletons come with a bottle, bruises, busted fingers, fear, hate, broken spirits and shameful secrets. It’s 1988, the Faddens are left to sort out the father’s death. Brad, Kelly and their mom must come to grips with the horrific impact of his deceptive life.”

Print version is available on Amazon, they’ll send when they’re stocked, ebook is available now.  Just punch in the title if you’re interested.

Visit me here: https//www.facebook.com/PennersPen88/


The library can’t share this, but I can, and you may if you’re so inclined.

Thanks for reading.

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Healthy marriage, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Marital communication, Romance

Romance Shifts

The question often comes up about sex. Is sex the pinnacle of a healthy marriage?

Love moves on in a marriage. The initial stage of having sex on the stairs, in the shower, and in the car doesn’t last forever. The knowing eye contact and secret smile between a couple doesn’t result in disappearing to bed every time. Candles lit, perhaps soft music, and a ‘timeless’ encounter… enjoy it while it lasts, because nothing lasts forever the way it came.

Romance shifts from candles into a quickie, if there’s time.

Kids come along, and that is exhausting for a new mother. Women generally don’t think about sex every few minutes anyway unless the relationship is new. Women don’t drink beers with other women and brag about how many times a week we talk our guy into it. After babies come along, we give and give of ourselves to our child or children. Our partners find themselves waiting, sometimes impatiently.

There can still be romance, though.

Romance is serving in all kinds of ways. It’s playfully giving each other a middle finger greeting for no reason but to laugh. It’s simply telling your partner you see they’ve lost weight when they’ve tried so hard. It’s cooking a favourite meal for our lover. It’s watching a movie and sharing a pizza. It’s sitting and telling your spouse about your stress and getting a hug and advice. It’s breaking the last cookie in half to share. It’s shopping for clothes together for the most honest opinions. Romance is friendship on a deeper level. Friends who keep the fires burning with honesty, compassion, empathy and sympathy. It’s the greeting kisses and those ‘see ya later’ kisses as we part for hours. Love without communication is flat, likely a rough ride.

So the questions: Does sex sustain a marriage? It is the pinnacle of a healthy marriage? Is sex the true meaning of love? This decision remains for individuals to decide; however, my marriage began twenty-two years ago. Romance shifted. Sex didn’t enable all those years. Communication did.

Thanks for reading.

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Editor marriages, Human Behaviour, Human Nature

Those Grown Up Bullies

We learn in school about bullies, but not by the book. We learn when we experience bullying. Back in the day, before the 80s, we fought back. After that, it seems bullies needed special care, rewards. After the 80s, fighting back fell back on bullied kids. Punishment gets handed out to the victim now.

All along, though, through my lifespan thus far, the criminal has more rights than the victim. For instance, a burglar breaks in and the home owner’s dog attacks them. The dog’s owner is at fault in court.

Bullying is everywhere, so hopefully when we lived the kid life, we learned to expect it, protect ourselves. Don’t ever let ’em see you sweat. Block that punch. Verbal punches too.

This goes for the literary industry also. Some editors are kind, friendly and they invest in your manuscript, whether traditional or not. They tell you where you went off the rails, and they push your train upright again without insulting you.

Some editors use their skills to intimidate. A writer may end up feeling inadequate due to the nature of an editor who feels tired of their job, jaded, or one who has no patience. Attitude makes a writer or breaks a writer. Same goes for an editor.

Whether you’re assigned an editor in traditional publishing or smooth-talked into hiring one, they have your project, they have you, because your project exists as you.

My humble advice stands as this: the better it looks in email or a chat box, the better it sounds on the phone, the more work you need to do to verify not only the editor’s work and work habits, but the editor’s overall persona.

There’s a saying that we must be careful who we choose as our editor, because we marry who we choose. We do. We marry into a contract relationship as long as our book remains in print.

We have the internet. We can snoop information on potential editors. Some edit with the main objective of getting paid. Perhaps they used to love to edit, but long since ran out of patience for writers’ bloopers. Some love to edit, and they’re thrilled to make an income from it.

Some writers take on a manuscript because it’s a subject that pays well. Others write because the passion for writing lives strong. Which ends up as the better book? The writer who has passion or the one who hopes to merely pay the bills? Which editor ends up to please with both skills and a character that gives the writer confidence?

Spend time “dating” before getting married to your editor. It is and always will be a good idea to feel them out, discover their personality, and ask around about past clients before saying, “I do” trust you with my baby and me. Amazon lists editors on books. That’s a good place to start.

Not all editors bully clients. The publishing journey may go well and result in another book relationship.

I must say, though, to hurry the process could hurry the marriage. Don’t kiss on the first date. Bullies pucker up like anyone else.

Happy dating, fellow writers.

Thanks for reading.

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Bipolar, Depression, encouragement, Human Behaviour, Human Nature

Spreads like Octopus Ink

The blackness under water, the struggling, the suffocating feeling, the panic attacks, head stuffed with racing thoughts, the literal slow down of movements, fighting to not cry in public or at work—or even at home— because the tissue around the eyes is chaffed, and absents of self-esteem. This despair spreads like octopus ink over loved ones, too.

The negativity associated with depression is not wiped away with positive affirmations alone. If it were so easy, medications would be set aside.

It’s November, and here in Canada, daylight is sparse. The claustrophobic days of grey, damp oppression have begun, needing lights on for supper time, skipping the evening walks. And heading out in flip-flops is on hold for months.

Winter for most is enough of a bummer; however, depression is far more than a bummer. It’s deep and unrelenting. A good joke isn’t funny. Food is flavourless. Everything is exhausting. I mean everything. Even taking a shower is too hard.

Misery overflows. The loved ones who try to cheer one with depression to no avail become stymied. Tense. The blackness spreads like octopus ink. The light is somewhere, but obscured by a brain chemical imbalance. Think of it as lopsided. No one walks well when not balanced. Loved ones have an enormous job. I need not explain that.

Depression seems to get attention once it has taken hold. People notice, friends and family wonder what’s wrong with Johnny or Sue who stop posting on social media, they don’t show up for regular activities. If Johnny and Sue tell someone when they feel the pull, doctors, friends, family, early help and support is more efficient than trying to climb out of the pit from the bottom. It is slimy, slippery.

Talk, talk, talk before falling into the pit all the way. Ask friends for an invite tag along for errands. Courage mustered to it in a coffee shop and have a beverage, alone is need be, it actually helps stimulate the mind. The tinkling of cutlery, dishes, cups, voices, and sitting in a different environment than home where you have the corner of the couch staked out, or worse, bed. It helps to get out. Feel the cold penetrate the cheeks. I’m not saying freeze, just feel the sting so the mind has something to process. The most dangerous thing about depression? In my humble opinion of experience: numbness.

It’s November. We sit on the line between holding it together and losing it altogether. Talk about symptoms of depression. Get a thread going. Those are the kinds of online things with potential to help. Memes are too impersonal. Someone wrote it… who are they? Anyone care? Honestly? Seen it a hundred times. Scroll, right, because it doesn’t apply at the moment. Social media is truly moment by moment, but a real conversation sticks longer than a meme.

Those of us who know we’re prone to winter depression, talk about it enough to bring awareness without letting it take over every conversation. There is a balance to bringing awareness.

“I’m not feeling well. Depression is clutching me, I need to be with friends to help get my mind off negative thoughts.” There is not one aspect of shame in this. This doesn’t cause octopus ink, it brings awareness in a real way.

Here’s hoping for a decent winter; empathy for the depressed, recognition for the condition, truthful talks, and recovery.

Thanks for reading.

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