Thursday, April 03, 2008

Amazon Stomping on POD Publishers

In case you haven't heard, Amazon is becoming a bully with POD publishers.

(I've provided Tiny URLs for the URLs that break over a line, so if the URL doesn't click properly, use the Tiny URL - it will work!)

In Writer's

And similarly in Publisher's Weekly:

I originally saw these articles on the Hatrack Writers forum. What they're saying is that Amazon is trying to force the POD businesses to use BookSurge, which is Amazon's POD business. I checked into BookSurge when I was researching printers as I worked to upgrade my book business, and as the first article says, BookSurge's deal isn't so good. The publishers mentioned so far are all, as far as I know, "vanity" or "subsidy" presses that will print anything for anybody, and they seem to be Amazon's initial targets. But small independent presses won't be far behind, I suspect.

Whimsy Hill Publishing is a "small independent press" which isn't the same thing as a subsidy press, according to the industry. Should Amazon decide to turn off my "buy" button on Star Sons, there are already resellers listed on the page, AND Barnes and Noble not only has Star Sons but my sculpting book listed (and it's just going through the second proof stage, not really on the market yet!), so those who want to buy my books have options even without the Amazon "Buy" button.

All is not lost even if Amazon decides to get tough with small presses like mine. We can just take our business elsewhere, both selling and buying. can do the same things as Amazon, so why let Amazon have a monopoly?

Amazon is not only trying to force POD publishers to use BookSurge, but they're also trying to force those of us with books on their site to become "Amazon Associates." That sounds so nice and friendly, but in truth, it costs quite a bit of money per month to belong to it. There was a technical glitch on Amazon when "Star Sons" was available for sale (it was fine in the pre-publication days), and every time I tried to get technical help, I was told I should join the Amazon Associates program. I finally found a techie who could help with the problem, but it took a LOT of doing. So Amazon is being a bully in more ways than one.

Feel free to look at the articles llisted above and below and study all the related materials. Those of us who are serious about becoming successful as writers and publishers need to be well-informed about the publishing business. The interesting thing is, even a lot of the big publishers have some books printed via POD technology, so if Amazon escalates to their level, Amazon's going to be stepping on some very large and powerful toes.

I didn't like the BookSurge business model nor their very very VERY pushy salespeople way back last year - I'm SURE I wouldn't like them now! Lightning Source is taking good care of my business and we can set our own discounts and other fees to suit us, not be forced into a specific discount by Amazon. So I'm not gonna worry about Amazon if they get tough - I'll just slam the door on my way out and never buy anything from them again. If enough of us do so, they'll get the message.

More articles have popped up since the initial ones emerged. Here are links to just a few of them: (This one has a response from Ingrams and Lightning Source, the main targets of Amazon's attempted takeover of the Print on Demand business via their BookSurge subsidiary.) And this one has links to TONS of these articles and is kept updated. It would be worthwhile to keep an eye on this site (which belongs to BookLocker.)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Book publicity

Wow, I've been busy, not that you could tell from my blog posts (maybe the lack thereof was a clue!). I've been busy getting business cards and bookmarks made to publicize "Star Sons" as well as working on other things for promotional purposes. Add to that the complete revision of my book, "Sculpting 101: A Primer for the Self-taught Artist" as well as two sculpture commissions I'm racing to finish, and I'm pretty much busy every minute I'm awake! But it's better than being bored! At least the Hollywood writers picked a good time to go on strike (and I'm glad the strike's over!) - I got a lot done all those evenings when I would've normally been watching TV!

I was interviewed about both "Star Sons" and my sculptures in January by Bill Schmidt of the Dayton Daily News. He did a very nice article on me that you can read here:

Helen Ginger, who writes and publishes the "DoingItWrite" newsletter and "StraightfromHel" blog ( has done an interview with me about "Star Sons" that will appear on her blog on March 13 and in her Doing it Write newsletter the same day. I'll post a reminder of the interview's appearance closer to its release date. Many thanks to Helen for giving me this opportunity to promote "Star Sons"!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

My book's on Amazon!!

(sung to the tune, "Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay")

My book's on Amazon! (repeat 3 times then start over LOL!)

"Star Sons" is now available for pre-publication order on It should be on and soon as well. I've gotten word from several of my friends and readers that they've already ordered it, yay!

The ordering page is here:

I'm supposed to get a case of books today, one of which will go to the Copyright Office, another will go to Amazon for their "search inside" program, and the others are for reviewers and marketing the book to local bookstores (and selling to folks face to face, of course). I'm so excited!

Oh, and my note in my previous post about the missing serviceman - he's been found! He isn't home yet, but he's safe. Thanks to those of you who prayed for him!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Star Sons Publication Date is Firm!

I got the proof of Star Sons yesterday and it's GORGEOUS! It will appear on, and by the end of February! If you prefer to shop in a local bookstore and don't find it on the shelves, tell your bookstore it can be ordered via Ingrams, their wholesaler.

In the midst of my excitement, I got word that a cherished friend is missing in a war zone. I'm praying for him to be found, healthy and uninjured, and sent home soon. If you pray, please pray for good news to arrive quickly and for him to be reunited with his family ASAP, safely and happily. Thank you.

While you're at it, please remember all the other friends, husbands, wives, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who serve in the military. Each one hurt is some family suffering. Pray that they all come home safely and soon, and when you see someone in a military uniform, take a moment to thank them for their service to our country, no matter what your opinion of the war. They're putting their lives on the line for us. They deserve our thanks and more. If you want to help them, go to or (the two such sites I visit the most) and get the name and address of some service person who's asked for some supplies. They need socks, energy bars, all kinds of things that are easy for us to find, but hard for them to get over there. Adopt a serviceman or woman today, okay? You'll feel a lot better for it. Thanks.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Fanfiction thieves and Star Sons update

For some reason, I've been the victim of repeated thefts of my story, "The Refiner's Fire." First there was the 13 year old girl who thought it was okay to rewrite my exact plot but with different names for the characters and with Harry working for artists, not as a tile installer. She had his summer job as "cleaning brushes" for these artists. I'm a professional artist. Fine art painters do not allow other people to clean their brushes (or if so, rarely, and then it has to be an apprentice or someone else expert in the artist's methods) because fine art brushes are very expensive and can easily be ruined. I made Harry a mosaic artist because I'm an artist and know how mosaics are done and how the pieces are marketed. I also believe Harry is good at seeing patterns in events and coming to conclusions, so why not put his pattern-seeing ability to artistic use? Anyway, that girl took her story down and hasn't stolen from me since then.

Then there came Griffin23 who stole Refiners and posted it as his own story ("Harry Potter and the Mysterious Ailment" rather than "The Refiner's Fire") on several sites, including My readers always alert me when such a thing is happening, but this clown posted that story to TWICE in less than a month, with no changes to what he'd posted before, not even to his screen name! He changed my chapter titles to synonyms of what I had, and made some other changes in various places, but everyone who read it knew it was my story. It took some doing, but the offending stories were finally removed from the sites where they were posted and Griffin23 faded into the Internet ether. Good riddance!

Then last night, I get a message from a reader that Refiner's was being posted on again, this time as a straight cut-and-paste but with the title changed to "Harry Potter and the Refiner's Fire" (the real title is "The Refiner's Fire"). The idiot posting it ("LFC DJE") said he had "received permission from the original author to upload it" -- HE DID NOT!!!!!!!! To add insult to injury, he misspelled "received" and "author"!!!! It took a couple of hours, but the story has been removed. (The site owners are cooperative about taking the stories down, thank goodness.) But to have the same story posted THREE TIMES on the SAME site in less than two months? ARGH!!!!!!!!!! (Note to LFC DJE and Griffin23 - don't touch my stories again!!!)

For those who've read my fanfiction stories - I'm normally a pretty nice person, but when you steal from me, I don't take it well at all. I have NEVER given ANYONE permission to post my stories ANYWHERE except for two people, one of whom posts my stories to FFA, SIYE and my Yahoo group for me, while the other handles the OWL site. I post to FFN and Schnoogle myself. These "helper elves" of mine have permission to upload my stories, but they're uploading my stories under MY NAME, not their own (bless them!!).

If you ever see one of my stories someplace with someone else's name on it, let me know, okay? I will not stand for this kind of thievery! I use ideas from my HP fanfics in my original novels (the ORIGINAL ideas are NOT JKR's so there's no problem with my reusing them!), and I will not allow anyone to steal my stories.

On a happier note: "Star Sons--Dawn of the Two" has been delayed a bit in publication, but I've seen a proof of it, and it's beautiful! What an amazing feeling to hold a real book in my hands and know that's MY story in there! SO cool! I expect it to be on by the end of January unless there's another glitch in the process!