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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