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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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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