"Roundheads and Ramblings"
Welcome to Katzenhaus Books, where we tell - the stories behind the history.
RSS Follow Become a Fan

Delivered by FeedBurner


Recent Posts

A Tour of Henrietta's Oxford
Launch Day Is Tuesday, September 19, 2017
What's New and What's Next?
Four Days and Counting
Decisions! Decisions!

Categories

A new contest
Abolition
absurdity
academic myopia
Almost Free
Amazon
ancestors
Announcement
apocalypse
Applications and software
Appomattox
Arnulf of Lisieux
art of speaking
attracting readers
audience
audio books
Author Central
Author Gifts
author's Plea
awards
baseball
basketball
Battle of Port Royal
Battles
biographical
blind artists
blockade
blog chain
Book Club Guides
Book Design
Book Launch
book stores
book trailer
bookstores
Boxed Set
bright ideas
Building a platform
business
Business plan
Busy-ness
butterflies
Career choices
cats
celebrations
cemetery research
Census
challenges
characterization
Characters
Charleston
children
children's books
choosing a publisher
Choosing a Title
Christmas Past
Civil War
commercials
Computer Hacks
Confederates
Conferences
Connections
constitutional amendments
construction
Contract labor
cotton
Countdown Sale
Countdown to Launch
Cover Designs
Cover images
cutting and pasting
Cyber Monday
daily drama
daily events
Dead Mules
decisions
depression
diversions
dogs
Do-Overs
DRM
earthquake
e-book pricing
e-books
editing
elevator speech
elmore leonard
Elves and Holidays
Emancipation
England
English class
evidence
Excerpt
exclusivity
Exercise
Expertise
Facebook
fact and fiction
failures
fame and fortune
family affairs
Favorites
Fear of Failure
Fish
flood waters
flowers
food delights
Formatting
Fort Pulaski
free chapter
Free Days
freebies
Friendship
Frogmore
garden
gardens
genealogy
Getting organized
ghost stories
Giveaway
Goals
good business
good news
grammar cops
gratitude
gray horses
gripes
grocery shopping
guest blogs
Gullah
handicaps
Harriet Tubman
Hiatus
Historical background
Historical Fiction
historical puzzlers
historical thinking
history lessons
Holidays
home office
hope and kindness
horse races
horses
hurricanes
identifying your audience
illustrations
imagination
indie authors
Inspiration
inspirations
internet
internet history
intruders
ISBN
Kalamazoo
karma
Kindle
Kindle links
Kindle rankings
Kindle Serials
kings
Klout
Ku Klux Klan
Lack of co-ordination
landmarks
language
Laughs
launch dates
Laura Towne
Layouts
legal matters
lending library
Lessons learned
lessons unlearned
libraries
literary genres
local news
love story
making choices
Marketing
Matchbooks
medicine
medieval-isms
Meet the Characters
Memorial Day
memories
Milestones
military matters
mind-mapping
Misfis
Monthly Musings
name recognition
NaNoWriMo
Nellie Chase
New Blog
New Book
New England
New Research
New Year
newsletters
nonfiction
non-profits
nostalgia
Nurses
oddities
odds and ends
olympics
omens
opening lines
outrage
Oxford
Papacy
parties
Penn Center
photographs
picture book
Pinterest
Pinterest and copyrights
Pirates
planning ahead
plot
point of view
polite society
politics
portraits
powerful women
Predictions
pre-orders
press release
previews
pricing
Principles
procrastination
productivity
Profiles
Progress Report
Promotions
proofs
pros and cons
publishing
publishing companies
publishing ploys
publishing rights
pure sentimentality
puzzlements
quiz
rain
random thoughts
RBOC
read an ebook
readership
recipes
Reconstruction
Relaxation
research
Resolutions
reviews
road trip
rough draft
Roundhead Reports
royalties
rules
SALE
Sales
scams
schedules
Scoop It
ScoopIt
seasons
Secessionville
second edition
Second Mouse
self-publishing
settings
Shiloh
Short Stories
Silliness
slander
Slavery
small world
Smile of the Day
snow, living in the south
social media
software
software disasters
South Carolina
Speechless!
sports
Spring
story arc
Substitutes
Success
summer
Synopsis
Taking a Break
Taxes
Thank You
the difficulties of blogging
The Gideonites
Theme
Tongue-in-cheek
Traditions
trailer
Travelog
trilogies
trolls
Tweet
Twitter
Upcoming Events
using commas
Vacation
vacation photos
Valentine
video
Visitor
vocabulary
Volunteering
voting
warnings
weather
weather trauma
website
word counts
Word-of-Mouth
Words
Words of Warning
Writer Beware!
Writer's Block
Writing Advice
Writing as Career
writing process

Archives

September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010

powered by

"Roundheads and Ramblings"

Writer Beware!

Who Believes This Stuff?

Who Believes This Stuff?
 
For the past week I’ve been keeping track of unbelievable offers arriving in my mailbox.  They’re not rated as spam (YET!) by my reputable mail server, although it manages to find fifty to sixty others a day that it automatically removes for me.  No, these appear to be genuine offers from talented and wise sources – until you read the small print.
 
I received ten offers from printing companies , all of whom seem to think I need business cards, brochures, posters, billboards, newsletters, and postcards to advertise my latest book. OK, I’ve used some of those products in the past, but when a company insists you buy at least 500 business cards at a time, how many times do they expect you to have to re-order?
 
I also received three offers to let me access new collections of genealogical records – free all during the current holiday weekend. Obviously they think their target audience includes lots of people with no place to go and nothing to do while others are partying.  Still, the offer sounds generous, doesn’t it? This was one offer I actually checked out.  It promised to provide wills from millions of people in all 50 states. Did it? Well, I found a couple of listings from my family tree, but that’s all there was – just a listing.  A will exists for John Smith of Anytown.  Can I see it? Well, here’s a picture of the listing.  Now you have to travel to Anytown and have the County Clerk try to find #584938720-138.


Another promises to help readers de-clutter and organize their lives with worksheets.  They’ll even send you the first 17 worksheets for free.  They arrive, fresh and colorful, as downloads you can print off as needed.  For the most part, these worksheets have an interesting title at the top --: “Things To Do,” “Chores,” “Box Contents,” and “Closets” – followed by a page of blank lines. If you want more information, you’ll have to pay to take the whole course.
 
Others are “free” video courses.  Turn up your sound and watch while we tell  you how to:
·             Market Your Book for Free
·             Create Content Everyone Needs
·             Create Your Own Webinar
·             Write a Blog by Filling in the Blanks
·             Automate Your Book to Audio

Every one of then spends over an hour talking about other people’s success stories. And at the end, you’re told to accomplish your goal by ordering an expensive book, a course, or a private coaching session.
 
Here’s the worst one I found this week. The seller is a college drop-out who claims to have written several best-selling books before he was old enough to drink. And he offers to teach you:
·             How to develop an idea for your book in thirty minutes.
·             How to write that book in two hours.
·             Write, publish, and market your book in three easy steps.
·             Go from “no idea” to published author in ninety days.
·             How to write a best-seller, even if you are bad at writing and can’t type.
·             Earn a six-figure income instantly
 

Time to Take Stock. Do You Have What It Takes?

 
Time to Take Stock.
 
I’m going to give you a list of qualities and characteristics you will need if you are going to succeed at this writing business. It won’t be complete, but it will give you an idea of how well-prepared you are for the next steps. So go through this list and check off the items you can claim for yourself. Then we can start talking about them in more detail. And remember, it’s not just important to know what you can do. You also need to understand what you can NOT do.
 
1.     What kind of a writer are you? How’s your grammar? Did you get A’s in English class? When you read a book, do you see other writers’ mistakes?
2.     What about spelling? Can you use a dictionary, or are you one of those people who can’t look up a word because you don’t know how to spell it?
3.     What about punctuation? Do you have a firm opinion about the Oxford comma? Do you even know what an Oxford comma is?
4.     How’s your manual dexterity? Can you type? [I’m assuming you don’t have a private secretary to do your dirty work.] Can you type WELL?
5.     What about other computer skills? Have you mastered Microsoft Word?  [The answer to that is “No” because they just put out a new version and we all get to learn it over again!] Can you convert a document into a PDF file? Do you already have a favorite word-processing program?
6.     Is your computer new enough to run the latest programs? And does it have enough memory to store several versions of a 100,000-word document?
7.     Do you have access to a library? Do you have a library card? Have you ever used it?
8.     Do you have a place to write, a desk you can call your own, not a corner of the dining room table?
9.     Do you have the time to write? Can you look at your day-to-day schedule and identify some time that belongs to you alone?
10.  Do you write because you can’t imagine not writing? Or does the idea of actually having to put words on paper scare you?
 
These are elementary questions, but this is where we need to start. What if your answer to some of these is “No!” That’s OK. You are identifying the areas you need to work on, not receiving a final rejection notice on your qualifications.
 
Take some time this weekend to think about your weaknesses and what you might do to correct them. Then next week, if you’re still around, we’ll tackle some other requirements.

Speaking Different Languages

Have you noticed how many ads there are on Facebook recently for foreign language instruction and translation software? There's also a popular article circulating that argues that when we speak a different language, we become a different personality. Apparently failure to communicate affects even the world's cats.


I've been wondering about the validity of that finding, and it occurs to me that the change may work in the opposite direction. 
Since I started writing full time, I've developed a whole new vocabulary--one that may be fairly meaningless or hopelessly confusing to others.  For example:

  • I talk about arcs and ARCs, but I'm not talking about mathematical curves or geophysical phenomena, or even a biblical boat.
  • Today I've been creating a bookmark, with lots of talk about trim size, which has nothing to do with the way my clothes fit, and bleeding, which does not call for a bandaid.
  • I'm waiting for a proof, but I'm not looking for incontrovertible evidence or a geometrical argument.
  • Spine width has nothing to do with a backbone.
  • Trade paper does not mean I'll check yours and you check mine.
  • Smashwords is not nearly as violent as it sounds. 
  • Twitter can sometimes express profound truths.
  • Cloud computing does not require a bird-like ability to fly.
  • Scapple is not a badly spelled version of a surgeon's knife.

So, the next time you complain that your friends and family do not understand what it is like to be a writer, maybe it's because you now speak a different language.

Can you think of other examples? Feel free to add to this list.

"I Think I Know What's Going On" -- A Follow-Up



by

.  After reading through the discussion on the book's product page on Amazon (here's the link so you can read through it, too), I think I understand what is going on.
This is the copy the customers who bought Beautiful Disaster have reported getting from Amazon (you can read it on the thread I linked to above):
Hello from Amazon.com,
We want to let you know that the edition of Beautiful Disaster that you purchased is no longer available. You can order a new version that is now available here:
Beautiful Disaster
You can also request a refund on your original purchase by responding to this email. After the refund is issued, you will no longer be able to access this item.
Thank you,
The Kindle Team
Here's what I gather from it, and if you take away something different or can shed more light on the thread, feel free.  I read through the thread a couple of times to understand what is happening (but I'm human and might be missing something).

Okay, so from the email I quoted above, it sounds like the self-published version of Beautiful Disaster is no longer available to read.  If I had bought this book when it was self-published, I would assume (from the way this email is worded) that I don't have this on my Kindle anymore.  It sounds like if I were to turn my Kindle on and search for it, the book would be gone.  Since I didn't buy
Beautiful Disaster, I have no way of seeing whether or not this is true, but scrolling down the thread, it sounds like customers do still have access to the self-published version they bought.

So what I think is happening is that the average customer is thinking they have lost the self-published version and are being told the only way they will get the book back on their Kindle is to buy the new edition (provided by the publisher) at a higher price.  This has caused some upset from some of the customers on the thread (I linked to above).  I would be upset, too, if I bought a book at a low price and was told I needed to pay more to keep it on my Kindle.  BUT, this is not the case.  The people still have the original book.

I think Amazon is just letting people know a new version is available for purchase if they want it.  However, they are leaving key items out.  Not only do they fail to assure the customers that their book is still on the Kindle, but they aren't telling the customers HOW they will get their refund and extra money to make up for the difference in cost for the new edition of this book.  They are making her pay for their "generous" offer.  The customers assume Amazon is paying for all of this (and I would, too, if I hadn't read Jamie's blog post
).  Some of those customers are saying they won't buy any more of her books because they think they're being ripped off in having to pay more for the same book in order to keep it on their Kindles.  I can only imagine the emails she's getting right now, and this isn't even her fault.  But how many customers will take the time to find out the truth?

I still don't like this tactic that Amazon is using, and I still think we should let others know what is going on here.  In my opinion, Jamie's only crime (and it's not even a "crime") was giving her successful self-published book to a reputable publisher.   Amazon should send another mass email letting her past customers know that the original version they bought will still be available on their Kindles so they haven't lost the book.  If Amazon wants to offer a refund and compensation to buy the new book or a credit if the customers opt to buy the new version, then fine.  But Amazon should be the one to pay it.  They're the ones making the offer, not her.  And I see no need to bother the customers over a version that has nothing wrong with it.  Customers think they are getting ripped off, and this isn't the case.

I feel horrible for Jamie and hope things work out in her favor.  In my opinion, she should be refunded the money Amazon's been taken from her.
| March 3, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Categories:




A Dire Warning for Self-Publishers Hoping for a Contract

If A Publisher Offers You a Contract for Your Self-Published Book, Will You Be Forced (By Amazon) To Refund Past Customers Who Bought It? by Ruth Ann Nordin

The answer just might be yes because this is exactly what is happening to Jamie McGuire.  Jamie originally self-published her book Beautiful Disaster and the sales were so good that a publisher wanted the book.  So now the book is with a publisher.  Cool, right? 

You'd think so except for this thorn that cropped up.  Amazon is sending out mass emails to people who bought Beautiful Disaster when it was self-published.  Amazon is offering a full refund for the $3.99 price it was when it was self-published PLUS the difference in price that the publisher is charging ($7.99).  And Jaime McGuire is the one paying the bill.  So Jaime is now paying every customer who wants a refund about $8.  Amazon's not paying it.  She's made it clear the publisher isn't behind this.


My thoughts on this: So what are we looking out here? Is it now a liability to accept a contract with a publisher who wants your self-published book?  Your book took off and became such a big hit that you got the attention of a publisher.  So you unpublish the self-published edition and sign a contract with the publisher who then gets your rights and republishes the book.  Everything should be roses from there, but I guess it might not be.  Because Amazon might send out mass emails to your previous customers and offer to refund the book + the difference in what the publisher is asking.

At what point do we say, "This is ridiculous?"  It's ridiculous as soon as it happens.  Is this a sign of things to come?  Will there be some other reason we'll end up owing past customers money on books they bought months or years ago?  Where does this end?  At what other job would the person be required to pay back customers for services or goods they received far back to who knows when? 

Can you imagine if your boss came to you and started taking money out of your current paycheck because your boss decided to refund some customers?  Like I said, the whole thing is ridiculous.  And yet, it's happening.  So not only is it ridiculous but it's also a nightmare.

What can we do to help?

1. I think we should spread Jaime McGuire's story as much as possible.  I ask that you Tweet, Facebook, Google + (or do whatever you can to inform other authors about this).  Here's the direct link to her post: http://www.jamiemcguire.com/amazon-beautiful-disaster-emails/.

2. If you bought Beautiful Disaster when it was self-published, please don't ask for a refund.  She's the one who pays the bill, not Amazon.  It's not fair that they're doing this.  I implore you to do what you can to lighten her burden. *If I have misunderstood this situation at all, please correct me.  I tried to get my facts straight before posting this.  

Ruth Ann Nordin | March 3, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Categories: Uncategorized | URL: http://wp.me/pLEbI-1pn