Editor marriages, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Humanity, information, Publishing Warnings, Self-publishing Scams, SUCCESS

Copyright Infringement Under our Noses

It happens daily—right under our noses. It’s on social media, it’s on Amazon, and unless they’re told about it, IngramSpark prints for scamming publishers.

I’ve worked hard to stop my former publisher from collecting 100% of my Amazon royalties. In a contract I didn’t receive until I my novel hit the Amazon shelf, it stated if I buy books from IngramSpark, the publisher keeps 100 per cent of Amazon. I had a contract, read it, found it to be sound, and sent in my manuscript. Knew nothing of a second contract.

This is an independent publisher who is actually a self publishing venue in the way the authors pay every dime toward publishing. When I asked about my royalties, it took two times asking before I received a spreadsheet with two sales. Hey, this doesn’t line up, I  have screenshots from at least nine buyers! This s when I hit the Amazon venue in November of 2018.

The contract also stated an author could pull out of the company, so I did and I began my fight to get my novel back under my control. The copyright was put under his company name, so I had a hell of a fight with Amazon to prove my novel was mine, my work, my efforts. And I’ll likely never see any of those royalties. I wrote Amazon nearly every day, fighting for my rights. They got frustrated with me and took down the Kindle, considered the case closed, but my print copy still excited, giving this publisher more royalties. I eventually succeeded in getting it off .com while .ca continued to sell it. This has gone on since the middle of April. In the meantime, I received many emails from third party sellers who were horrified they’d sold my novel under copyright infringement. Amazon warned them, but continued to sell themselves. Calling them on that seemed to be what moved things. But not enough. They kept sending different forms for me to fill out, basically taking back to the first of the forms they directed me to fill out. Circles, circles.

Something inside me said to tell IngramSpark. One e-mail and they understood the seriousness of my quest and they cancelled the ISBN. There are two copies available, and once they’re sold, that’s it. No more of that ISBN can be printed and sold.

If I had done nothing, my work would appear as copyright owned by the publisher.  It’s a rare incident for a publisher to put the copyright symbol under their company rather than the author’s name. That leads to nothing good for the author.

Make sure before seeking a publisher you investigate their books, their reviews, their websites, and their track record on Writer Beware and Independent Author’s Association.  Those two at least. Check the technical page to see who copyrights are listed under.

I actually had two traditions publishers accept me. The fist contract and editing were unacceptable, so no signature. The next offered a negotiable contract, and when we  finished, the contract was excellent; however, my publisher worked on edits, but she felt too ill to keep up  and continue. The publisher who did me wrong actually knew this publisher and ‘did me a favour’ by cancelling the contract by giving her an author and taking me. This shocked me, yet there I sat in edits with no publisher. Against my gut, I accepted anyway—because the contract I had been given looks fair, it felt good. Too good perhaps….

I will survive. I’m selling copies I purchased before I left, and when the they are gone, I have a new ISBN and will have the novel reprinted with a new technical page, copyright under my own company name. My novel is getting a buzz now, I look forward to enjoying the rest of this journey. Will I get rich and famous? Not expected, but my reviews are outstanding, and I have it in a unique store; 916 Galleria Artisans & Crafters in St. Thomas, Ontario. It’s selling—and it’s me getting the royalties so I can recover from publishing costs.

Best to you and your publishing journey. Stick up for yourself. Don’t buckle under a narcissist.

Thanks for reading.

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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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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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Cat lovers, Dying, Human Behaviour, Human Nature, Spiritual

Animals Understand Death

We are all born, and when we are, we’re already dying. No matter how, no matter when.

We humans, even after scientific discoveries, ghostly encounters, reading about Near Death Experiences, we don’t fully grasp it. Does the human spirit really weigh about two pounds? Are the stories true about NDE? Do children really claim to know their previous life, tell us how they died, and insist on pointing out photos of themselves in albums or online?

Who can say? It’s perspective, and much of that depends on our believes, religion, our education. What did our parents teach our about it?

Our loved ones… we fear abandonment by our loved ones, even when we’re by their side to say a final good-bye. They’re leaving us. They don’t return from this trip, do they? Do they all collect in a place above, or its that belief mythology? Maybe we see them when we die, maybe we don’t. We all have these questions, and it feels even more intense when we’re not there when their body becomes just a body. Did they know we meant to be with them? Were they looking for us to convey a final word, something we should know about? Will they not rest in peace? Will they? Anxiety.

We fear dying ourselves. What are we leaving behind? Are our affairs in order, have we talked to those who’re important to us? Is out plot picked out? Casket or cremation? Who will attend our funeral. What are the thoughts of people we know—are we liked and loved, will we be missed? This is all anxiety. Human behaviour, the human condition. Rarely do any of us truly understand death—our own or another’s.

Animals understand death. They know when they’re dying. They make no plans. They know they will move on from the physical body, and they are only afraid if they were threatened while it happened. But they were afraid of the threat, the pain more the death. This is my humble opinion.

When our pets are not well, and it’s the end, if they go naturally, we find they hid away to be alone.  They didn’t scurry in their last days to gather other pets to their side. If we take them to a veterinarian and stay with them, still, they don’t protest their death. They’re sick, they know. They had no anxiety about this life they lived, heaven or hell as a final place, they just let it go. Maybe it’s painful, and we as pet parents plainly discern that. We cry, we mourn. Yet they accept it as a part of life and how it ends. The transition is difficult, the end result is expected.

Perhaps animals know they’re on a timer when they’re born.

Thanks for reading.

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