Tag Archives: Writer Beware

How Should We Think about Book Piracy in the Age of COVID? Wendig’s Take.

Here’s Chuck Wendig’s take on the decision by Internet Archive (as he points out, already on the hook for stealing and distributing copyrighted work) to provide books for free even if they are, indeed, copyrighted because people need books more than ever now. Wendig’s piece provides not only his take, elaborating on a comment that aired in a show on NPR, but also links to a response from the IA, so you can decide what you think. There is also at least one comment that takes a different stance.

Pirate ship coming for your books

I first became aware of IA’s activities through Victoria Strauss’s indispensable Writer Beware. I tracked down one of my books on IA and sent a takedown notice; supposedly they honored my request. I shared my experience on this blog (link below), then subscribed briefly to a service that promised to find all such theft of my work.

Let me tell you, that was a waste of time. The app found instance after instance. In every single case I tried to track, it was impossible to file a takedown notice. There would be no contact information, no claim of ownership, no one to protest to. Possibly, with stronger computer skills and oodles of time, I could have found the culprits. Some of these sites had takedown-notice forms, but when I sent them, they returned error messages. Long story short, I gave up.

However, one notable outcome was an exchange with a poet who is print-disabled (in his case because of vision issues), who told me about the Marrakesh Treaty, which allows “allows authorized non-profit sites to post—without permission—works for “blind and print-disabled” persons.” This was new information for me, as I suspect it will be for others.

This link will take you to the one of the later posts in my sequence about Internet Archive and book piracy, back in early 2018; there’s a link in the post to the Marrakesh Treaty, and you can read the comments from my reader. All the posts are filed under “Copyright for Writers” and can be accessed by searching for “Internet Archive.”

In any case, I also found myself consoled by an argument from Neil Gaiman that book pirates are really just helping you find readers for your work. If that claim raises eyebrows, well, maybe it should. Or not. The post contains links to several back-and-forths on whether we should be up in arms or opening our arms.

This is a fraught issue in this time of the cholera, as Wendig’s discussion shows. I probably will adhere to my non-action process for now.

If only those freebie readers would leave reviews. . . .

 

 

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Filed under business of writing, Copyright for writers, ebooks publishing and selling, Free Books, Money issues for writers, writing novels

More Ways for Authors to Get Scammed

Watch out for literary crocodiles!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware continues to let us know when new scams proliferate—in this case, crooks pretending to be literary agents who just LOVE our books! I have actually talked to people who take such come-ons seriously.

Check out the examples and the advice for recognizing these criminals.

These scams are dead ends! Dead end sign!

Photo by Dustin Tray on Pexels.com

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Filed under business of writing, Finding literary agents for writers, Money issues for writers, Myths and Truths for writers, writing novels, writing scams

“Writer Beware” Tells Us What to Watch Out For in So-called “Publishers”

A story hook is like strange headlights coming at you out of the dark on a lonely road. What lies ahead?

Are You Being Scammed?

Victoria Strauss is a gem. She does our research for us. What’s especially useful about this post is that she not only reviews specific scammers but also lists some specific clues that an author is being scammed. If you’ve been approached by a “company” that is just dying to publish your book—Beware!

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People! RESEARCH “How to Publish.” It’s Not Hard!

Editing tips for writers

Yet again, on a Facebook page for writers of fiction, someone asked about a clear vanity press scam. Page members quickly jumped in with the appropriate answer for such a query: RUN!

But what amazes me is that I see so many of these kinds of questions. I’m not a particularly patient soul myself, so I had to throttle my immediate response: Don’t you have a computer? Don’t you know how to Google? Shouldn’t basic research be the first step for someone thinking about publishing? Doesn’t it occur to folks that in this day and age, How-To is there for the asking? All you have to do is look.

I consider the answer I composed reasonably tactful (for me):

These days, when we all clearly have access to the Internet, it surprises me that people don’t actively search for information on “how to publish a book.” Of course, a search like that will turn up lots of scams and vanity presses, but it will also turn up many useful sites that offer advice. Everyone who is thinking seriously about publishing should be compiling a personal list of the most helpful FREE sites that lay out the ins and outs of today’s publishing options. A search for “best websites for writers” would yield a ton of these. Yes, you will get some conflicting opinions–some people love Amazon, some hate it–but you’ll begin to get the lay of the land. After a while you begin to get a sense of which bloggers know their business and which don’t. In my earlier comment, I listed Jane Friedman and Victoria Strauss (Writer Beware): invaluable. I also recommend The Book Designer (Joel Friedlander). You can buy books by the carload that will walk you through every step; most are cheap enough as ebooks that you can buy more than one and get a wider set of options. Takes a little time, yes, but not nearly as much time as you have devoted to writing your book, and this basic research will save you many hours by helping you make the best choice for you. Chris the Story Reading Ape also offers regular links to excellent advice. I found these people by Googling, attending conferences, and searching Amazon. Don’t put less energy into this than you would in buying a car!

Okay, I get it that posting questions to Facebook groups is a step in this process. But Facebook friends can’t offer the kind of education we writers need. Learning about style and grammar and showing-not-telling are basic skills, but so are the fundamentals of the business you are thinking of entering. For example, one respondent said she couldn’t afford to self-publish! Facebook friends can’t possibly slap up a full explanation of why this comment is unfounded. They basically have to say, “Go look it up!”

So that’s what I’m saying: Want to be a writer? Go look it up.

Am I completely off base here?

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How Can You Tell Legitimate Publishers from the Bad Guys? – by Anne R. Allen…

Via Chris the Story Reading Ape, one of the most comprehensive guides to publishing options I’ve yet seen. I learned a lot. With a new manuscript almost ready to go that won’t fit into a lot of traditional niches, I am hungry for this kind of guidance and thought you might be, too.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

New writers have much to be wary of these days. New publishing scams are landing in writers’ inboxes faster than we can send out warnings.

Probably the most dangerous predators for the newbie writer are phony publishers, because they can shatter dreams as well as drain bank accounts.

Continue reading HERE

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Earn a Salary by Writing Novels? Not So Fast.

Books as stairs to publishing successVictoria Strauss of Writer Beware assesses a start-up, “De Montfort Literature,” that promises to hire writers for $24,000 a year plus royalties just to write novels. Strauss and John Doppler from the Alliance of Independent Authors find that there’s a lot less to DML than meets the eye. If you’ve encountered this kind of proposition and it intrigues you, READ THIS CAREFULLY.

For my own part, I take exception to De Montfort’s claim in an interview with The Guardian that in contrast to his arrangement, “self-publishing is costly and time-consuming.” Not so. Anybody with the time and self-discipline to write a novel will find plenty of excellent how-tos that make it possible to publish online in a matter of an hour or so. My book, You CAN Format Your Print-on-Demand Book! is just one of many that make publishing your own paperback the work of just a few days.

Authors have never had so many options and so much freedom. Don’t sell yourself short!

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Filed under business of writing, Copyright for writers, indie publishing, Money issues for writers, Print on Demand for fiction writers, Publishing, publishing contracts, Self-publishing, Writing, writing novels, writing scams

Don’t Google to Find a Publisher: So Says Victoria Strauss!

So many books!

Here’s another of Victoria Strauss’s valuable words-to-the-wise about the business of becoming a published author: what can go wrong if you type “Find a Publisher” into Google. As always, Strauss provides an excellent Writer Beware list. Her spotlight on the scams writers face is one of the most valuable resources writers can consult.

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Filed under business of writing, indie publishing, Money issues for writers, Myths and Truths for writers, Publishing, publishing contracts, Self-publishing, Writing, writing novels, writing scams