Monday, July 29, 2013

The Trouble With Nanny Author Resource Pages and Why both you the Reader and the Author Should BEWARE

Being both a reader and an author, I like to go to websites that not only will help me to see what authors to look up but how I can help promote my own work as well as weigh in on topics with other authors. I love to go to sites like Author's Den, The Blood Bank, Coffee Time Romance, The Brass Spectacle, Manic Readers, Good Reads, and Writer's Beware. I have sadly come across what I call the "Nanny Author Resource Pages". The format is very much like Writer's Beware but the bad thing is that these places have become places for people who are disgruntled with their publishers, their self publishing companies, and gossip pools where they can say slanderous things about authors they just do not like without any real supporting facts to their statements other than they don't like them. I won't be like Sam I Am and tell you to just try them, to just try them and like them because you will see, oh dear reader you will see that those Green Eyed Monsters are not something you will ever like.

I won't mention any names but I joined this page in the hopes of gleaning the knowledge of others and hoped to give something back. It looked harmless until I saw a certain publisher that I knew for a fact was a legit and honest publishing house being slammed. Now before I go any further I want to impress upon you that if you are an author and if you have a literary agent(yeah if you have one that is a legit agent and is working their butts off for you-that's like having a chunk of gold in your arsenal and you'd be crap out of your mind to toss that away just because you're not at the level of success YOU believe you should be) or publisher, heck or even a good promotions company you've hired-do not blame them if your book is not already a New York Time's Best Seller. If you spit in the faces of these honorable people then you are only causing more problems for yourself and less chances at success. Just like any employer; you do not want a bad reputation of having emotional outbursts and going to these Nanny Author Resource forums and slandering them because they will NOT take you on even if you've written the next best thing since Harry Potter. All that hard work will be for naught. Even small publishing houses have great resources that can provide important stepping stones and if you blow your chances there-you might as well forget it. Seriously, think about that.  You never know WHO is looking at these forums or who is keeping an eye on their clients when you register for these Nanny sites. I call them nanny sites because what is the first thing a child does when it feels he or she has been done wrong? They run to their parents or nannies crying. Still aren't too clear on what I'm talking about?  I'll give you an example.

Joe Doe had spent months writing his novel. When it was finished he pondered where to submit it to and after trying various big name publishers, he landed a small press. Now, this press took a huge chance on Joe Doe's book because they had hoped it would appeal to a certain audience and had anticipated that Joe would work with them to make edits that would make the story pop. When Joe refused, the publisher still hoped that there would be success with Joe's book and decided to help how they could but Joe had already cut them off at the knees. When he wasn't selling as many copies, he blamed the publisher and began making slanderous remarks and went to one of these Nanny Sites to rant and rave to any one who would listen. People already members who like this sort of drama, jumped on his story like a pack of hungry sharks. Before anyone knew it-this small publisher was being listed as a scam publishing agency-and here's the kicker-not one of them had read or even purchased a copy of Joe's book. It could have been nothing but blank pages and yet they were all ready to burn this poor publisher to the ground.

The moral of Joe Doe's story: "Don't cut your publisher or agent's knees off. If they tell you to revise-suck it up and revise. Take their edits and advice to heart because if you're not making money-neither are they."

So what exactly is the responsibilities of a publisher, you might ask? Well unlike a literary agent, they are going to publish your book. They will hold you too a very clear and concise contract that is fair for both you and them. They are going to give you to their team who will help fine tune your manuscript, the cover artist will work with you on a design for your book, and they are going to take all the publishing costs upon themselves for a more than fair commission off your book sales. Again, they want to make money and the only way to do that is for you to make money. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT PROMOTIONS AND ALL THE WORK FALLS ON THEM. YOU THE AUTHOR ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR PROMOTIONS. I am lucky, I have a publisher who offers great resources but in the end, it is up to ME to promote my books. Since all my books so far have been EBooks, it is up to me to write blogs, to saturate the social networks with my book and how to buy it, go on blog tours which also help to promote, and if I can-hire promotion firms like Sensuous Promotions. It also helps to network with other authors. The publisher is not going to blog for me, network for me, or hire promotion firms for me. They won't do it for you-unless you're some one like JK Rowling, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, etc., and if you're reading this-you're probably not at that level of success either. What a publisher will also do for you-or they should will assign an ISBN number or something like it. Those cost money by the way, and they will try to get your book on as many mass market lists as they can. Again I stress, PROMOTIONS ARE UP TO YOU.

I'm straying from my topic. I do that from time to time. Nanny Author Resource Pages are detrimental to readers as well because before one even checks out an author or their book (which again might be the book that defines life), they have been spoiled by all the negativity. I mean had I heard that Stephen King, one of my favorite authors, was published through some scam press and his work was crap on a page, maybe I wouldn't have ever taken a chance on him. Who knows. We live in a time when every dollar and cent count and no one wants to throw their precious book money or entertainment funds on crap, do we? No! So, what I recommend is if you go to an author resource page or something like Good Reads, look at the thread titles. If you see basically Jerry Springer gone wild-DO NOT PASS GO! THEY'RE NOT GIVING YOU THE FREE PARKING OR $200 BUCKS ANYHOW FOR PASSING. Look for sites that may have some unfavorable opinions but those opposing opinions are based on something other than....."SO and So just took my masterpiece and spat upon it!" or "This author, I don't like him/her so don't ever buy their books because I heard they really are nasty critters!" Those are not constructive opinions and any reputable author resource page will not tolerate derogatory or hate speech. I may not like E. L James, and while I think she plagiarized her overly hyped trilogy; I'm going to be constructive about it rather than degrade her like we're still kids in the school yard. I'm definitely not going to bash anyone who disagrees with that. I mean that's what makes us civilized human beings right? That we can disagree yet still do it with dignity, poise, and still be civil at the end of the debate?

So in conclusion-stay away from Nanny Cry Baby Author Resource pages and sites. If you want civilized and informative reviews, books, authors, and publishing information and such-go to legit sites. I write paranormal romance, so most of the ones I go to are ones that follow my genre but Good Reads is kind of a fail safe since they represent all genres of reading. Writer's Beware is a great resource as well when researching publishers but BEWARE of their forums. I am not going to discuss in any great length but they link to a place called The Water Cooler and that is a Jerry Springer even in itself. It used to be a very tight run ship-but now it's just who can tattle on who without the benefit of fact. If you belong there-then fine, good for you but do not use my blog for your venomous spew if that is your intentions. I and others like me, have had a lot of bad experiences. There have been so many that not even my faithful annual NaNoWriMo's will recommend that page. I will say there are still some good people that still go there-why I  don't know but they stay mostly to the threads where they feel safe but even they know that the Cooler has went down hill.  So the word for today class is "EDUCATE". Educate yourself as a reader and an author.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Predator Editors; and I'm not talking about the Aliens who kick some ass

Have you ever been conned into something-even though you're an intelligent being and could probably quote Oscar Wilde or give a dissertation on the genetic structure of an Asian gnat and how it compares to the modernization of world economics? P.T. Barnum said it best, "There's a sucker born every minute" and in the writing game, it's no different. There are predator editors/publishers out there to take your hard earned work and do some serious damage to your wallet. It is hard to know, I'll grant you that dear reader, it is hard to know who is legit and who isn't.


I know when I spent months upon months on my first novel, like everyone else I dreamed about how well it would be received and seeing my book on a shelf at book stores (Yes, Virginia, book stores exist) and doing book signings. Like so many, I've witnessed the instant success of authors like J.K. Rowling, Stephanie Meyers, Dan Brown, and countless others. It is not impossible-but like the lottery, know that it may not happen as quickly to you as it did them. Be ready for rejections. Most well known authors like Sherrilyn Kenyon, Stephen King, Robin Cook, and even Dr. Seuss, went through countless rejections before getting their first books published. For all us Indie writers, it is a long road. Be ready to be in it for the long haul on barefoot. These predator editors/publishers are called Vanity Presses. I'll say it again, V-A-N-I-TY PRESSES. Why are they called vanity presses? The answer is simple: they only care about themselves not YOU.
Vanity Presses will present this carefully crafted offer that sounds too good to be true. They usually have a great looking website and showcase authors who have had hoards of success. Publish America-the one I was taken advantage of, even claimed that one of their authors had their book made into a movie. Twenty-four hours after I sent my manuscript, they had accepted it and sent me a contract. READ ANY AND EVERY CONTRACT CAREFULLY-READ IT MANY TIMES OVER-IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND IT OR THERE IS JUST TOO MUCH SMALL PRINT-THEN THIS IS YOUR FIRST RED FLAG. Usually Vanity Press contracts will be vague, wordy, offer commission on only a certain amount of books-but will not reveal the conditions to which they will pay for. Publish America will not mail you a check until you've gotten at least $500 in sales-but only on books YOU don't buy or books that have been returned or books they deem as "for advertisement purposes only". They will not go over price points. I wrote a book that was under 500 words, paper back, and Publish America sells it for anywhere between $39.95 to 29.99. Contracts through these presses are extensively long. My contract with Publish America is for 7 years. If I want out of my contract I have to pay almost $300 dollars. These presses do not want you to buy out your contract even if your book is not selling or has not sold one copy. I asked for a complete statement of exactly how many copies I had sold and they told me that they do not have such records. They only send statements per quarter. To this date, I have only seen two statements and I signed with them in 2010. A legit publisher will only want to contract a few years at a time for a book. A legit publisher will have a contract that is clear, concise, and to the point. Legit publishing companies no matter how big or small WANT you to make money and sell books because that is the only way THEY make money or recoup on their investment in publishing your book. Know your publisher! 

Another trick these so called publishers use is that they will send you endless promotions on how to better get your book out there if you buy so many copies of your own book or pay some sort of charge. A legit publisher when you submit your manuscript and they accept it will go through it with a fine toothed comb before even publishing it. They will then format it for either E-Book or book format with a cover that has been approved by yourself and the publisher. Most vanity presses will charge or want to charge for E-Book formats, translations, and to "put your book out in the book market". Go to any book store and look on the back or in the front cover and see how many of these Vanity Presses actually have books listed with a store's merchandise. Chances are you will never find a book published by Publish America, Children's Literacy Agency, The Abacus Literacy Agency, The New York Literacy Agency, and countless others. Their business model is NOT to get you out into the mass markets but to simply get the money from you-the author. They feed you more and more promises, packages, and "opportunities" for X amount of dollars. How can they do it and it not be illegal? That is the question, isn't it. Most of these scam publishers find loop holes in the law and squeak through or they simply change names. Talk about a pyramid scheme, right? Again, while promotion is not the ultimate responsibility of the publisher-they are going to get your book anywhere and everywhere they possibly can and they're not going to ask you for a dime.

When I signed with Publish America, the first offer I got was if I paid $199, my book would be showcased at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany. I almost sent that money-I was dying to do anything to get my book out there, yet there was a nagging inner voice that told me to do some homework. I was glad that I did because after much online research AND six international calls to Germany (which I took only three years of basic French-and not all Germans understand English) I found that Publish America was not even listed as a sponsor nor did they even have a booth. This was only the first of "offers" to different book events. What I found that they do-they simply have someone to stand out and identify themselves as Publish America and they are considered as being "part of the event". It's kind of like when you go to sporting events and you have people that stand outside selling tickets or something with a team's logo-it doesn't make them part of the team or even an employee of the event but it notes that their presence was there. Now there are some that buy into these offers and show up. They get a small little space and probably sell a few books. Keep in mind these books are bought by the author and very seldom do these authors recoup their investment. Many times they don't even break even. Publishers like Publish America are NOT going to send books to these events UNLESS the author(s) have not bought them at full or at a small discount including shipping first and none of these books are going to be considered "royalty eligible". 

I could go on and on about these blights on writers and the publishing world but I think you get the picture. At least, I hope you are getting the picture. Being a victim of one of these vanity press predators is no fun and it can gut you as an author, but don't lose hope or faith. DO NOT LOSE YOUR PASSION FOR WRITING! Keep on writing because all it takes is for one legit publisher to publish your book to get your foot in the door. Make sure you edit your manuscript and when you submit to publishing companies, FOLLOW THEIR SUBMISSION GUIDELINES TO THE LETTER! Publishers will not even give you a second thought or even put you in their slush pile if you have not went by their guidelines. Those guidelines are there for a reason. It's often been said, "Less is more" and in the publishing game, that is true. Don't make the mistake of sending more than what those guidelines ask for. Most legit publishers do not need for you to write them your life's story or for you to send them more of your manuscript than they ask for. In truth, most publishers only will read just a few sentences to the first few pages. If you can't hook them in that amount-they're not going to keep reading. Remember, most legit publishers are getting submissions by the hundreds every day of writers just like you who want to get that golden ticket. Remember, it took Thomas Edison over 10,000 tries before he got the light bulb right and he said, "I have not failed. I found 10,000 ways that won't work."  So while you make go through countless rejections-do not give up. Keep writing, keep dreaming, and keep working hard.


American Book Publishing, ABP

Desert Rose Literacy Agency

The Novel Literacy Agency

Publish America LLC

Oak Tree Press

Johnson-Warren Agency Library of Poetry

The Robins Agency

University Press of the South

The Writers Literacy Agency aka The Children's Literacy Agency aka WL Poetry Agency

Global Book Agency

Publish On Demand

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sensuous Promotions: Book Spotlight ~ Cursed Awakening

Sensuous Promotions: Book Spotlight ~ Cursed Awakening: Cursed Awakening Published By: XoXo Publishing(TM) Word Count: 65,580 Ivy Morgan has re-invented herself and is looking forward to th...