Category Archives: business of writing

Friends Don’t Let Friends Fall for Publishing Scams: Look for These Tell-Tale Signs – by Anne R. Allen…

I often see social-media posts from people who want to know how to get their books published. How NOT to get “published,” as explained by Anne R. Allen in this vital post, is where they should start.

So, if you know folks who are working on a book but are new to publishing, send them this article. Now.

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When those “dreams come true” are publishing scams…

Because I have a lot of articles out there on publishing scams, I get frequent messages from writers who fear they’ve been ensnared by a scammer.

I hear even more often from their friends. These friends or relatives see something iffy going on, but don’t want to be the Debbie Downer who brings unnecessary negativity into a hopeful writer’s life.

The friend usually has a reason for being suspicious. Whether the “dream project” is a dodgy anthology, an overpriced no-name contest, a vanity press masquerading as a real publisher, or a junk marketing scheme, a lot of people will have a feeling the project isn’t passing the smell test.

But if they don’t know much about the publishing industry themselves, they hesitate to rain on a newbie writer’s publishing-fantasy parade.

Their writer friend is happy for the first time in forever, floating…

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A New Form of Book Piracy

A cautionary tale from Chris McMullen. My past experience with pirated books echoes his sense that for many of the sites claiming to carry unauthorized copies, tracking them down is a lifelong enterprise. But this looks like something you can spot on Amazon if it happens to you. Thanks, Chris!

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Image licensed from Shutterstock.

BEWARE OF BOOK PIRATES

Earlier this year, after publishing a new book, I visited Amazon to check it out. When I finished inspecting the Amazon detail page for my new book, I clicked the link by my author photo to visit my Author Central page. And, boy, was I surprised by what I found.

(A little background: Author Central now shows only my Kindle eBooks by default. Customers have to click the Paperback tab to find my paperback books.)

I noticed one of my better selling books near the top of the list. What stood out is that book is only available in paperback. (For good reason. With thousands of math problems, this particular workbook would not be ideal for Kindle.) Yet, there it was on the list of my Kindle eBooks.

At first thought, I had hoped that Amazon was finally starting to show all…

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Filed under Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, business of writing, Copyright for writers, indie publishing, Scams and Hoaxes, Self-publishing, writing novels

Five Reasons You Can’t Get Your Novel Published – And Why It’s Not Your Fault

I’ve read articles like this before; this one is clear and useful to remind us all why it’s important to keep doing what we love. As is so often the case these days, it’s an indirect plug for self-publishing. I hope you find it helpful.

A Writer's Path

by Larry Kahaner

             Dear Author:

            Thanks for sending us your manuscript. The plot is unique, the characters are compelling and the writing is top notch. It’s one of the best books we’ve ever read. Unfortunately, it’s not right for us.

            Best Regards, The Publisher

What the…?

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The Key Book Publishing Paths: 2021–2022 – by Jane Friedman…

Here’s a very helpful post from that wizard, Jane Friedman, via Chris the Story Reading Ape (also a wizard). I am not a wizard, but to this comprehensive description of the ways you can publish, I must add this: If you really want to publish, don’t go on Facebook or Twitter and ask, “Can someone tell me how to publish a book?” Your respondents would have to spend the rest of their afternoon telling you what’s available on sites like Friedman’s—she’s an excellent portal. Check through my posts for links to many, many other terrific sites for directions and advice.

My point is, if you really want the answer, it’s out there. Do your research! You can jumpstart your process by following Chris and Jane.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Since 2013, I have been regularly updating this informational chart about the key book publishing paths. It is available as a PDF download (from Jane’s original blog post)—ideal for photocopying and distributing for workshops and classrooms—plus the full text is also below.

One of the biggest questions I hear from authors today: Should I traditionally publish or self-publish?

This is an increasingly complicated question to answer because:

Continue reading HERE

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Filed under Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, business of writing, ebooks publishing and selling, indie publishing, Publishing, Self-publishing, small presses, writing novels

Mysterious Phishing Scam for Authors!

Big dialogue bubble in a blue sky with a red question mark inside.

Via today’s New York Times, there’s an extremely strange phishing epidemic that affects both established, big-name authors and newbies alike—basically anybody involved in a querying and/or publication cycle. Someone is impersonating editors and agents, requesting drafts of manuscripts in progress toward publication, then “disappearing” the manuscripts. No one thus far has an adequate theory as to what happens to the drafts that have been stolen. They’re not being published online; there’ve been no ransom demands, no threatening follow-ups. The perpetrator seems to be someone with extensive expertise and contacts in publishing.

Since I’m not querying at the moment, I’m out of the loop that might be affected by this weird business, but it looks as if those of you who are should be extra vigilant. Confirm with your agents and editors that the requests for your latest draft are legitimate. Inspect email addresses carefully. A tactic appears to be substituting “rn” for “m” in some names.

The article will fill you in with more detail. Let us know if you’ve experienced a version of this.

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Bad Publishing Contracts?

Big word "book" in "letterpress."
Make sure you own your rights!

Here’s an entry in a useful series from The Passive Voice, in this case that “out-of-print” clause that can prevent authors from ever recovering their rights to their own work. The discussion is complicated, but worth storing somewhere when the day arrives that you have this problem. I was able to get my rights back easily, but then, my books had been out of print for a fairly long time. Search this blog for “reversion of rights,” and you’ll find links to several related discussions of the kind of language any contract should contain.

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Filed under business of writing, Copyright for writers, Money issues for writers, Print on Demand for fiction writers, publishing contracts, reversion of rights clauses, writing novels

100 Common Publishing Terms – by Robert Lee Brewer…

I suspect I’m not the only one for whom this list is useful! Thanks to Chris the Story Reading Ape for sharing it!

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on Writers Digest:

Here’s a list of 100 common publishing terms and their definitions, including the meanings of ARC, high concept, simultaneous submissions, and so much more.

Get Full Details HERE

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So-True Post: Some Hard Facts about Publishing

Soooo many books! Why write one more?
Soooo many books out there

Over at Writers in the Storm, guest blogger Tasha Seegmiller writes not to offer a “downer,” but instead, to help people align their expectations of writing a little better.”

This column reminded me how I’m constantly surprised by some of the questions aspiring writers ask on self-help Facebook sites. Yesterday, is grammar important? Today, should an author get a web site? This column offers some advice I think everyone hoping to publish needs.

Me included. Realizing that writing is a business—never a comfortable home territory for me—but also that it really has to be something you just can’t help doing: These are the reminders I need.

A while back, in answer to a post on the pros and cons of self- versus traditional publishing, I wrote “What It Was Like for Me,” an account of my own experiences being traditionally published. Even though my encounter with the realities of publishing happened quite a long time ago, I still found that Seegmiller’s take resonated. It was ever so, and I didn’t know enough then to negotiate this strange and daunting space.

Follow good blogs and wonderful people like @JaneFriedman. As Seegmiller says, educate yourself. So you’ll be more ready than I was.

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Questions to Ask Your Publisher Before You Sign the Contract – by Jane Friedman…

There are a few folks I consider treasures for the #writingcommunity. If you’re not familiar with Jane Friedman, take the time to learn about her. (And make sure you subscribe to Chris the Story Reading Ape, a terrific curator of posts we all can use.)

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Over the weekend, you might have seen a writing-and-money topic trending on Twitter, #PublishingPaidMe, where authors started publicly sharing their advances. Such transparency is long overdue and—in this particular case—is meant to reveal stark differences between what Black and non-Black authors get paid.

Amidst these tweets, I saw a repeated call to action for Black authors: Before you agree to a deal, ask your publisher about their marketing and promotion plans for your book. Ask how they plan to support you.

Ask, ask, ask. (Because their support falls short of where it needs to be, and publishers have to be pushed.)

To assist with that call to action, I’ve collected and expanded information from my past books and articles to help authors ask questions of their potential or existing publisher. I’ve tried to also include indicators that will help you notice and challenge unhelpful answers. If you have an…

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New “Latest”: Internet Archive to End “Emergency Library”

If you haven’t been following this issue of interest to writers, you can catch up with posts on the Internet Archive and its practice of scanning and giving away copyrighted books for free, here and here. Claiming the cover of the pandemic, the IA actually expanded its practices by eliminating limits on the amount of time “borrowers” could keep books they download and other provisions. Last week, major publishers sued the Archive, and this headline on the Internet Archive’s response to the lawsuit popped up in my New York Times feed today.

Pirate ship coming for your books
Book pirates?

Note that the decision to end the “Emergency Library” supposedly designed to increase access during lockdowns does not affect the IA’s usual practices of buying a book, then scanning it and distributing it for free.

You will need to decide on your own to what extent you want to defend your own copyrights. I was able to get my republished ebooks taken off the IA, but I found that fighting the myriad other book pirates who either have or claim to have my books available for free was a losing effort. Is Neil Gaiman right that we might as well embrace the unauthorized distribution of free books?

One wrinkle I discovered is the existence of an international protocol that does authorize the distribution of free resources to print-disabled readers by appropriately designated sites. Whether IA is one of these appropriate sites is debatable.

The Victoria Strauss posts I link to provide takedown-notice templates and other ongoing discussions of this problem. I’ve linked as well to Chuck Wendig’s statement on the IA’s practices.

Use these resources in any way that works for you. Let me know what you decide.

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