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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