Penguin Random House Merger Helps Author Solutions Exploit Writers

Writer beware, indeed! Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve read countless posts warning writers about Author Solutions. It appears that the Penguin-Random House has enabled AS to extend its evil tentacles toward even more unwitting writers. Their activities sound so much like “white collar crime,” I wonder how they get away with it. Then I realize, it is “white collar crime” and that is how they get away with it.

David Gaughran

ASIPRHPenguin and Random House officially merged on July 1 creating the largest trade publisher in the world. This merger has given fresh impetus to one of their subsidiaries to scam unsuspecting writers – Author Solutions, the largest vanity press in the world.

One of my blog readers, who will remain nameless, has forwarded me emails from an AuthorHouse sales rep touting that company as the “self-publishing wing” of Penguin Random House (AuthorHouse is one of the many brands of Author Solutions, a tangled web which is deconstructed here).

When Penguin purchased Author Solutions in July 2012 for $116m, I warned that the Penguin brand would lend legitimacy to Author Solutions – who were already the market leader in author exploitation.

Defenders of the deal claimed that Penguin would clean up Author Solutions – a universally reviled vanity press which has been slammed by every watchdog in the business…

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Publishing with iUniverse — Yea or Nay? (an iUniverse review)

Lessons learned from working with iUniverse.

Before we get into the nitty gritty details of this topic, let’s begin with establishing what exactly iUniverse is, and what makes it different from traditional publishing and self-publishing. In a nutshell, there are three types of publishing:

publishing chartSo there’s the breakdown. iUniverse is an assisted/vanity publisher, meaning you pay them money and they publish your book for you. Assisted/vanity publishers have a God-awful reputation amongst self-published authors, due to their tendency to squeeze authors for every penny they have. There have also been all sorts of lawsuits filed over missed/inaccurate royalty payments, publishing books without the author’s permission, etc. On the other hand, many authors have gone with assisted/vanity publishers and been perfectly satisfied.

So … iUniverse — Yea or Nay?

The Good

  • The friendliness. Every employee I have ever spoken to at iUniverse has been incredibly polite, friendly, and eager to assist me in any way they can…

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Marketing/self publishing with Harry Steinman

Great advice on how to effectively use Kickstarter to fund your self-published book!

readful things blog

Doors & Windows 004When you first begin anything, there is cause to be frightened of the unknown. Searching out unfamiliar territory and trying to get everything you need lined out for a new book project is no exception. Usually, if a door closes a window will open. Harry Steinman is here to give you some ideas about how to bypass the window and the door and knock out a wall instead. Need funding to get that book going? Here are some ideas.

The Kindness of Strangers:

How To Fund a Self-Published Novel With Kickstarter

By Harry Steinman, a One-Hit Wonder

Like it or lump it: self-publishing costs money. Every element of your book must be excellent. You must spend your hard-earned shekels or your book will look amateurish.

Good things are rarely cheap, and cheap things are rarely good. Don’t skimp on buying the expertise you need, and don’t publish unless your writing…

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Success is in the Eye of the Beholder

What is success? Number of sales, size of royalties, the mere act of writing?

Legends of Windemere

So, I’ve gotten into a few ‘debates’ with people on this side of the computer.  This ‘debate’ is about what constitutes success for a self-published author.  Back in the day, you were successful when you got a contract and got your first royalty check.  That doesn’t seem to be the case any more.

I remember reading that 500 eBooks being sold is the sign of a moderate success.  I still don’t know if this is true.  This is only the sales level. It doesn’t mention anything about royalties.  Supposedly, there is a difference between 500 eBooks at .99 cents and 500 eBooks at $2.99.  The later is a sign of more success than the former.

What am I getting at here?  Every person is going to look at an indie author’s progress differently.  Some will look at amount of sales, others at amount of reviews, others at royalties, and any…

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From the Red Room: Reality Check? by Jules Jacob

For anyone looking to self-publish your poetry (or any other writing for that matter), you may want to read the following post by Jules Jacob: Reality Check?

Ms. Jacob’s essay is a response to an article posted in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers magazine by poet and critic Reagan Upshaw.  She contends that the “advice” offered by Upshaw is more like “put-downs” and then offers her own suggestions for publishing one’s poetry.  It’s an interesting read.

Help make it happen! Indie Gogo Campaign

There are great perks to be had if you choose to help fund this writer’s project!

C.N. Faust

Hello my darlings,

So in the span of a few hours, I decided not to go with a Kickstarter campaign. For several reasons I began an Indie Gogo campaign instead (which is the hipster version of Kickstarter). It works the same way, and I switched my goal from $1,000 to $2,000 (because after they and Paypal take their cut I will have just the amount I need).

But here is a link to the campaign: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-age-of-waking-death-an-epic-fantasy-gothic-horror-book-series/x/3512153?c=home Even if you cannot donate, please spread the word! I am ready to make this series happen in a big way!

cover4

Perks for donating:

$20 – a poster of “The Dragon’s Disciples” signed by the author!

$35 – the poster, plus an eBook copy of “The Dragon’s Disciples”!

$50 – the poster, plus a signed paperback copy of “The Dragon’s Disciples”!

$100 – the poster, plus signed paperback copies of “The Dragon’s Disciples” AND…

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Guest Blog: Do’s and Dont’s of Indie Authoring by Ionia Martin

Great (and funny) list of do’s and dont’s by Ionia Martin!

Legends of Windemere

This week’s guest blog is brought to us by the delightful, funny, and hard-working Ionia Martin of Readful Things.  She also is the mastermind behind The Community Storyboard where writers and readers from all walks of life can gather for some fun.  Did I mention she’s hard-working?  If you haven’t had the joy of checking out both of Ionia’s blogs then I suggest you take the time to do so.

Now, I asked Ionia to make a list of Do’s and Donts’ for the Indie Authors.  I thank her for taking up the challenge and having fun with it.  Enjoy.

So you have decided to be an indie author, huh?

I can always count on Charles Yallowitz, the owner of this here excellent blog for two things. Number 1: He writes great books.

Number 2: He is always entertaining and ensures that his posts far outweigh any other responsibilities…

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Services Offered

Check out C.N. Faust’s services for authors!

C.N. Faust

Hello my darlings,

This is me creating a post for easier re-blogging because the last one was kind of crammed with too much personal information. So from my other services page, this is a list of what I have to offer. Please feel free to contact me via my Contact page or my email address cnfaust@outlook.com 🙂

Formatting

eBook: For $10 an hour I will format your eBook for Amazon KDP (or various other eBook distributors, including Lulu and Nook). This usually takes me between 2 – 4 straight hours depending on what kind of shape the book is in when I get it. Work hours can be considerably less.

Print: For $12 an hour I will format your book for Amazon Createspace (or various other print distributors, including Lulu). This usually takes me between 4 – 6 hours depending on the shape the book is in when I get it…

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Book Review: Twelve Days–The Beginning by Jade Reyner

In exchange for an honest review, Ms. Reyner provided me with a copy of her debut novel, Twelve Days–The Beginning.  My intent in reviewing her book was mainly to provide feedback regarding a particular chapter that she had softened out of concern that detailed content might be too brutal.  So I read her novel in the space of two days (including the wee hours of one morning) and provided her with the following review.  Ms. Reyner gave a kind review of my review so I’ve since posted it on Goodreads and Amazon, and now here:

Twelve Days – The Beginning is an emotional whirlwind of a novel.  At first, Elise Grayson seems to have it all:  great marriage, great job, great friends, great looks.  But author Jade Reyner doesn’t take long to start peeling back the layers of deception in Elise’s life, as she tries and fails to keep her secrets.  First, her best friend and favorite “eye candy,” Cole Andrews, sees through all her lies; ironically, he is the one she confides in, not her best girlfriends who are left in the dark until the truth refuses to be hidden.  Then Elise meets Vaughn Granger, a tall, dark, and handsome, and highly sexed man who serves as Elise’s boss.  Initially she fights her attraction to him, and initially I wanted her to because I was afraid he would be no better than her husband, that he would be just another man to dominate and control Elise.

But Granger is different and he shows Elise what it means and how it feels to be truly loved and worshiped.  Although married for ten years, Elise has had limited sexual experience.  Granger not only opens a new sensual and sexual world for her, but Elise also experiences a sexual awakening, the kind of awakening that, at least in our dreams, can only happen with someone who truly, truly loves us.  The sex scenes are explicit but not gratuitous:  there’s a context for every touch, every kiss, every caress.  The same is true of the physical and sexual violence that occurs: the detail provides a searing look at Elise’s reality and an unforgiving portrayal of the monster that is her husband.

I did find myself frequently arguing with the characters–usually Elise–as I read along, a good sign that I was hooked, that I was invested in their exploits and decisions.  Admittedly, Elise and her sermons on the sanctity of marriage and her stubbornness often drove me up the wall.  She makes some, what I can only call, stupid decisions, but  she makes them because she really thinks she is doing the right thing.  I’ve worked with survivors of domestic violence, and it never ceased to amaze me how desperately some of the women I worked with wanted to believe that only if they acted rationally, then all would be OK.  They needed to believe that their lives were not the nightmare that everyone else told them it was.  I see Elise going through this, wanting to believe that there still some rational part of her husband that she could reason with.  So, while I was sometimes angry with her, I also understood her need, her desire that everything turn out OK.

Of course, in real life, things don’t turn out quite OK and the novel has a hell of a cliffhanger.  Fortunately, Ms. Reyner provides her readers with a taste of the sequel, Twelve Days – The Future, and we can at least be assured that there is indeed a future for Elise and a future for us as Ms. Reyner’s readers.

Self-doubt, self-publishing, and other selfish writer-isms

Self-doubt, self-publishing, and other selfish writer-isms.  This blog post by Eric John Baker is worth a read not just for the post itself, but also for the comments.  The debate of traditional vs self-publishing is still raging, only now I think with more nuance.  Not only is it easier to produce hard copies of our novels, poems, and stories, but there are also more venues for selling your work than there were just a few years ago (think:  Amazon, Smashwords).  Writers aren’t stuck with the old vanity presses that took your $$$ and gave you a printout with a cardboard cover in return.  Each route has its downside, though, and deciding which way to go is tricky.  Getting picked up by a traditional publisher can take years, even with an agent.  Sending out submissions can be time-consuming, costly (postal fees), and deflating (as when the number of rejections you get equal the number of submissions you’ve sent).  Self-publishing might be less expensive (relative to postal fees of submissions) and quicker, but then who is going to market your book, who is going to make it sell?  Then again, even in traditional publishing, writers are expected to go on book tours.  They might have help with their itineraries, perhaps some of their travel expenses are reimbursed.  But they are the ones selling their books, they are the ones doing the hawking.  Getting published by a traditional press might give a writer a bit more “legitimacy,” but the writer still has to put as much if not more work into the process, especially post-publication when the book is suppose to sell and make the publisher a lot of money.

I suspect that eventually I will self-publish.  I’m not a patient person generally, and I’m getting less patient as I get older.  I am easily dismayed by rejection letters (especially form letters).  And I’m an introvert, a shy, sensitive introvert.  Not the person you want to send on a book tour.  I won’t give up entirely on traditional publishing.  I can still keep submitting and hope that the rejection letters eventually become more personalized.  But given the short time-frame I have before me, the best I can hope for is to bring a novel or collection of short stories to a point where it is ready for prime-time (meaning I will employ a professional editor) and then self-publish and, in my own quiet way, spread the news and hope for the best.  And the best might be the two or three total strangers who pay to read my book.  And that will be okay.

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