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.

Standard
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.

Standard