Wednesday, October 19, 2011

REV UP WEDNESDAYS - A weekly booster shot for inspiration... Catching up with ROWENA CHERRY


Hello world,

This REV UP WEDNESDAY gives centre stage to another amazing talent: ROWENA BEAUMONT CHERRY aka ROWENA CHERRY. Rowena has a lyrical, aristocratic sounding name I'd love to give one of my characters! She is a lady with enough class to sell, a full reserve (and a half) of smarts; a cartload of dry and subtly irreverent humor (that can fly right past you if you don't stop and think about it); a few dozen gallons of useful information to share; and a sexy passion for chess. She also has another passion, or perhaps one can call it a mission: to advocate for authors' rights and to use social media to fight book piracy, tooth and nail. She is a stickler for privacy and "doing the right thing", and there is no doubt in my mind that she walks the walk. In fact, she's taken the wrongdoers on with the tenacity of a pit bull, and with the satisfying goal of exposing them to fellow writers and the public. It seems like a thankless, unending job - but some are doing it, and Rowena's one of them. In the meantime, she writes and puts her imagination to work. She has an agent, was published with Dorchester, and has quite a story to tell... but I'll let you be the judge of that.

How long have you been writing?

I've been writing since 1993, but I've only been published since 2004. It took me ten years to convince an acquiring editor to buy my first manuscript, but in that critical tenth year (2003) I sold Forced Mate to two different publishing houses almost simultaneously. Just so you don't start questioning my morals, let me say that they knew about each other; one was e-book and POD only, and the other was mass-market only.

When did you decide that you wanted to write for a living (that "aha" moment)?

I assume that writing for a living is the dream and the goal of everyone who has written a work of fiction. In my case, I didn't consider writing for a living until sometime in the late 1980s when a publisher-friend of my husband's told me that I ought to write. Obviously, the publisher did not mean that I ought to write for his publication!

What did your family say when you told them you wanted to be a writer?

I don't remember telling my family that I wanted to be a writer. I told an aunt that I intended to write Science Fiction Romance about highly sexually motivated aliens, and she promptly suggested that I ought to write a sweet mystery Romance set in Europe during World War II instead. Another family member was also acutely concerned about my subject matter, and would have preferred me to write sweet stories about neutered cats.

I know that I used "sweet" twice. Pardon the monotony, but "Sweet" is an industry term for a story that looks away at the bedroom door.

Perhaps you should have asked what my Tax attorney said....

What is your preferred genre both for reading and writing?

Those who know, advise writers to write what they know, and to write what they like to read. I'm a natural contrarian, so I ignore that advice. I like to write facetious Futuristic Romance, or Science Fiction Romance, or non-traditional Fantasy Romance. However, I like to read Mystery, Regency Romance, accurate Historical Romance ("accurate" is the operative word), and non-fiction scientific magazines.

Did you start by writing full time or did you have a day job?

I'm a kept woman.

Did you take any writing courses or did you just sit and write a book?

I sat (and lay) and wrote. Obviously, the autodidact route is a long and winding road, full of potholes and pratfalls and other perils. I did purchase a few How To Write Romance books, but never bothered to read them. Just as I buy household cleaning things and hope that their very presence in my home will deter dust and mites and skid marks.

I wrote draft after draft, and got to the point of being publishable (eventually) thanks to the judges of numerous Romance Writers Of America contests who critiqued my opening chapters repeatedly and sometimes ruthlessly until I took note, extrapolated what to do with the bulk of the book, and made changes.

Did/do you have a crit group or mentor to guide you?

The trouble with crit groups is that one has to not only receive crit, but also crit back. That is time-consuming and a distraction, particularly if a writer is on a creative roll. I suspect that many crit groups are the blind leading the blind. After all, the only opinions that count are going to be that of a writer's editor and her agent. Not necessarily in that order.

That said, there are excellent on-line, by-genre crit groups and special interest chapters that focus on non-simultaneous critiquing and mentoring. One was Outreach International, and its The Whole Thing program. Their system was that one gave or committed to give a certain number of critiques to other writers in one's own genre, and in return, and at a different time, one received one or two critiques.

Did I have a mentor? Not one. Many.

Romance writers are amazingly generous. At various times, several authors who were higher up the ladder took an interest in my progress and gave me advice, guidance and either a hand up or a much needed kick in the pants.

Did you sell the first story or novel you wrote?

Yes. It was Forced Mate, and possibly, if I'd been smart, I would have written two or three more stories instead of fixating on selling that one. It did not help that when I started writing it, paranormal/futuristic was out of fashion.

How many drafts did you write of your first novel before you felt you got it right? What about now - do you still write several drafts of a story?

I cannot remember how many drafts I wrote, but every time I wrote a draft, I felt that I had got it right!

I probably wrote at least 500 drafts of the first 50 pages. One of my temporary mentors ran a regional RWA contest. I sent in my first 50 pages, and one of the more outspoken judges told me that I ought to ditch the first 60 pages of the book. I had real trouble with that advice. The next year, I entered again having made some revisions and cuts. I did not expect to be blessed with the same judge again. I was blessed. The third year, I started my book at the point where the heroine's life changed, but I dreaded entering and almost didn't in case that same brutal contest coordinator decided to judge my story again.

She did. However, I'd pretty much ditched 50 pages. It was a much better story, and I think the other judges agreed.

Yes, I still write several drafts of a story, but I don't take two years to recognize good advice when I receive it. Let me admit, I envy authors who can plot out a story, write it right first time, and never have to do a second draft... and who are asked for minimal or no revisions by their editor!

Do you read industry or writing related blogs? If so, can you share some useful links?

I share a blog with Jacqueline Lichtenberg. She gives great advice on writing and technique, http://www.aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com

Jacquie Rogers and Ann Charles have a superb website of writers' advice to other writers, mostly on marketing, http://www.1stturningpoint.com

I enjoy agent Kristin Nelson's blog, http;//pubrants.blogspot.com/

Don't forget to check the sidebar for the blogs Kristin follows! Seriously. Kristin lists links to websites that inform and protect writers (3 of them), to blogs she finds cool, to other agents who blog, and to her "Agenting 101" blogs, and her critiques of query letters that she has received, and more!!!

Another industry blog worth following is Richard Curtis's - http://www.ereads.com - blog.

Did you get an agent first or did you submit directly to publishers?

Getting a good agent can be harder than finding an editor. Moreover, if you cannot find an agent, an Intellectual Properties attorney can negotiate a contract for you. You will pay them up-front, which is expensive but tax deductible, but they will not have a claim on 15% of your royalties for that book for the rest of the life of your copyright.

In my opinion, one of the best ways to submit is to become a finalist in a contest that is being judged by an editor or agent of your dreams. The other shortcut is to meet an editor by appointment at a convention, and request permission to send your proposal. Or.... look out for Brenda Novak's Diabetes charity auction next May, and place a bid (this will cost you, too) on a reading by an editor. Be sure that you have your manuscript polished and ready before then, because there is a published time limit for the winning bidder to submit.

My current agent is Robert G Diforio. I signed up with him after I was contracted with Dorchester Publishing.

Did you ever get rejected? If so, how did you handle it?

Did I ever...? Laughing. Of course. Dozens and dozens of times. In fact, I received what I thought was the definitive rejection from one editor at Dorchester a month before I entered the Romantic Times/Dorchester "New Voice In Romance" contest. Winning a place in the finals was how I came to be offered a contract with Dorchester, albeit with a different editor.

I only had the nerve to enter their contest (after said definitive rejection) because Susan Grant told me that I would be an idiot not to enter.

The only writers I know of who haven't been rejected, ever, are those who submitted to a Vanity Publisher.

What, in your opinion, do agents/publishers look for in a new author in the current market? Is it all to do with talent or with trends?

I honestly don't know, but I recommend taking a look at Kristin Nelson's blog, http;//pubrants.blogspot.com/. However, I suspect that talent and trendiness may be two legs of a three-legged stool. I've heard that editors and agents take a look at a candidate's online personality and following. (I intend every one of the implications that you might read into that last comment.)

What do you think of the changes going on in the book industry (e.g., e-books vs. print books, and big publishers getting involved in digital publishing)?

I think the Big Publishers are riding a tiger.

Where do you see the industry going?

I think that the "royalty" method of compensating authors is doomed. With print, there were a given number of copies created at one central printer. Someone knew how many that was, where those books were, and who had them. It was possible to calculate sales and therefore the percentages of sales (royalties) owed to the author.

With e-books, any licensee can sub-license the creation and distribution of perfect copies. Infinitely. The entire royalty system relies upon honesty and scrupulous book-keeping. I don't see how it would be possible for an author to audit it.

I suspect that digital theft, aka piracy, aka forgery is already much more of a problem than most people in the industry want to recognize, and I believe that it will get worse. Huge amounts of money are being made off e-books, music, games, and movies, but the copyright owners are out of the loop. PayPal doesn't pay copyright owners, big business advertisers don't pay authors, search engines don't, file-hosting sites don't, blogsites don't.

Now, if every author could digitally fingerprint her own name, so that every time her name showed up in a Google Search (or any other search engine's search) as part of an url to a download, that author was automatically paid a tiny royalty, that would be progress. However, one would still have to trust the ethics and morality of the search engine, but I see possibilities in Google's Adwords software.

Do you think writers should consider self-publishing?

Now, that is a question. I am considering self-publishing, so are a lot of my colleagues. Most of us are self-publishing "backlist", that is, books that were traditionally published, and to which we have had our rights returned by the publishers (or we never licensed electronic rights in the first place).

Anyone can self-publish and has the right to self-publish, but I confess to a nagging feeling that writers owe paying readers a professional level of quality. There are freelance editors and so forth whom writers can hire to ensure that the book is as polished as possible. That is expensive, of course. One should budget for at least a couple of dollars per page, possibly more.

I have heard that there are readers who automatically assume that any e-book costing less than $1.00 is self-published. I don't know this for a fact. It would probably be very helpful if all publishers (self- and otherwise) developed a system so readers could tell at a glance whether or not an e-book has been professionally edited and professionally proof-read.

How do you feel about so many bookstores closing across the US? Do you think this trend is similar in other countries?

I think that it is a great pity that so many bookstores are closing, and it is certainly happening in other countries, too: Waterstones in Britain, the Borders branches in Britain and Europe. I'm afraid that bookstore browsing is being replaced by online copyright infringement. I'd much rather readers browsed in libraries and bookshops, and either left empty handed or else with a legal loan or purchase, rather than creating unauthorized copies online.

The bookstore model was unsustainable. It was completely illogical that publishers should pay bookstores to shelve new releases, and then pay them to return books, or worse, to return the stripped covers of unsold books while the body of the books got sold to the paper recycling plant.

I felt that bookstores ought to become more like book-related internet cafes, with lots of wifi and computers for browsing online and sampling online, and with POD machines and CD burners so customers could print a trade paperback or copy an ebook onto an mp3 or DVD or CD and check out at the cash register. The technology exists. The will doesn't.


Are your books available in print or in digital format?

At the moment, I have four titles.

MATING NET by Rowena Beaumont Cherry is a very short novella (58 pages) which is available only as an e-book for around $2.50 from New Concepts Publishing. It's not available in print, unless someone sells a print ARC that I once gave away for contest prizes or to reviewers. That's their right. I hope they wouldn't sell such a rarity for less than $20 because that is what it cost me to have a print ARC made up. Obviously, no one would pay anywhere near $20 for 58 pages, so Mating Net will never be available as a stand alone print book.

FORCED MATE by Rowena Beaumont Cherry is a full length e-book that I now sell myself through jexbo.com and occasionally on EBay. It is pirated. It is included in a lot of the EBay-fenced "collections" of multi-thousands of Romance e-books burned onto DVDs and CDs and falsely described as "public domained" or GNU-licensed. It is not in the public domain. It is not legally GNU-licensed.

There are trade paperbacks that occasionally show up on reselling sites, but this version should not be confused with the mass market paperback once published by Dorchester's LoveSpell imprint. The editor was different. The publisher was different. It was aimed at a different demographic.

FORCED MATE by Rowena Cherry ought only to be a full length paperback. I believe that LoveSpell put out 3 print runs. Booksellers around the world still have the right to sell off their old inventory of new copies and also to re-sell any used copies. I also have a stash that I will sell personally once the market clears out all the deeply discounted remainder copies. I would not be surprised to learn that there are some illegally created e-book versions, but I have no official knowledge of them.

I will be developing my own e-book version, but with a different cover.

INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL by Rowena Cherry ought only to be a full length paperback. Booksellers around the world still have the right to sell off their old inventory of new copies and also to re-sell any used copies. I also have a small stash that I will sell personally once the market clears out all the deeply discounted remainder copies, but when the Dorchester warehouse was selling off boxes of old inventory, I was unable to buy any copies of Insufficient Mating Material.

There may be a few illegal e-book versions that were created from scans.

I am working right now on my own, self published e-book version of Insufficient Mating Material, with a cover of my own.

KNIGHT'S FORK by Rowena Cherry has never been anything but print. Some booksellers still have a few copies. I purchased everything that was left in the warehouse. I have no plans to self-publish it as an e-book at this time.

What advice do you think aspiring authors should heed today?

A few years ago, I advised aspiring authors to secure their own name and their pseudonym (if any) and possibly the titles of their books or their genre as .com domain names before they become famous.

For instance, I own RowenaCherry.com ; RowenaBeaumontCherry.com ; aliendjinnromances.com ; SpaceSnark.com (and a few others)

Aspiring authors who plan to write erotica should seriously consider whether or not it is worth it to lock in the new .xxx domains these days. If you don't, a cyber-squatter could grab your name first. Look what happened to the Amy Winehouse Foundation. Look what happened to Dara Joy! (Dara Joy's website is still www.officialdarajoy.com),

These days, I recommend that aspiring authors should also get a Muso account at http://www.muso.com shortly before they start to send out electronic ARCs and promote their debut novel. Muso is an efficient service that costs $15 per author name, per month to locate and (with a click of the author's mouse) take down illegally shared files.

If you decide to self publish, take your time and read every online contract and print off and understand the Terms Of Service statements before clicking "I Agree".

Wherever you go online, remember that you never know who is watching you and reading your posts, ratings, rants, or reviews. Editors and agents have been known to Google the writers who have submitted proposals. You only get one change to make a good first impression.

Enter contests for the advice that the judges will give you, and for the possibility of future cover quotes. They will be volunteer judges (unpaid) and although not all of their observations will be on target, if two or more agree on something they consider a flaw in your work, take it seriously. Usually, the contest coordinator will forward thank-you notes to anonymous judges. It is always worth thanking kind strangers. For instance, the anonymous judge who wrote how much she loved your original premise might turn out to be famous, and one day, with her permission, what she wrote on your manuscript might become your first cover quote.

Above all, persist, network, say "thank you" often.

What are you working on now?

I am working on Grand Fork, which is a spin off from the "Mating" books, but, I am in no hurry. In the past, I've always split my rights, and it looks as if any publisher would probably want digital and print rights. I am also developing Forced Mate and Insufficient Mating Material (as previously mentioned) as e-books.

Do you read when you are plotting or writing a story?

I tend not to do so. I have a horror of plagiarism. It's tricky enough that "great minds think alike", without inviting the possibility of being subconsciously influenced by someone else's solutions to impossible dilemmas. I strive for what one of my English professors used to call "thusness" and which might also be termed "surprising, dramatic inevitability." In other words, the solution to a problem ought to astound the reader, but at the same time be absolutely plausible for that particular character in that particular circumstance.

How do you juggle work, writing, chores and family/personal life? Do you have a secret to time management that you want to share with readers?

NO. LOL Time management is not my forte.

What's your website URL?

I have two...

SPACE SNARK™ http://www.spacesnark.com/

http://www.rowenacherry.com

Are you on Facebook?

http://facebook.com/rowena.cherry.author

My Mission Statement:

My goal as a Romance author is to give good value. I expect to provide my readers with six to eight hours of amusement, at least a couple of really good laughs, a romantic frisson or two from the sensual scenes, a thoroughly satisfying Happy Ever After, and something to think about when the book is finished.

~ Angela ~
No Rules. No Formulas. Just Love.

"Mile High to Heaven" and "Mr. & Mrs. Foster" available at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid.

104 comments:

RowenaBCherry said...

Good morning, Angela.

Thank you for the invitation.

RowenaBCherry said...

Say, Angela,

May I ask you a question? Why is Amazon so prominently featured in your sidebar?

Do you sell your books (or does your publisher sell your books) anywhere else?

Angela Guillaume said...

Yes, my publisher sells my books various places (have to email you about that one day because I had a bit of an issue with royalty cheques). They also sell on Amazon, and I only just noticed that the prices on this site are outrageous for a short. So, I've been thinking about removing this link. I have a link to the publisher's site in my "Books" page, and here the prices are more reasonable.

I've just emailed my publisher with a request to re-edit my books because I feel there's a need. We'll see what they say.

Angela Guillaume said...

And...you're welcome! Good morning to you :)

RowenaBCherry said...

In my opinion, it is a win-win for readers to go directly to the publisher's site (at least in the case of New Concepts Publishing).

The reader may or may not get a better price, because Amazon insists that they have the right to sell a book at the lowest price available on the web.

Does that mean that the publisher has to eat Amazon's commission?

Anyway, publishers make more, and they share a bigger cut of the pie (same royalty, I suppose, but on more money) with the author.

The other virtue of a publisher is that the author has the right to audit the books (if she can afford it). Amazon does not allow anyone as far as I know to audit their books, so I often wonder how anyone knows for sure whether Amazon and its affiliates present accurate royalties to authors.

RowenaBCherry said...

Angela,
Do you have much of a problem with e-book copyright infringement?

Angela Guillaume said...

Yes I do have an issue, Rowena. I've seen my and my husband's books pirated all over the Internet. I used to send messages to all of them, telling them to put the links down, until I realized I couldn't keep up. I had stopped writing, my days were full of these pursuits that weren't going anywhere.

So, I set it out of my mind and continued to write. Is that right? No, I'm sure it's not, but at least I'm still sane.

Those are all great points about Amazon. I have many friends who have Kindle downloads. The thing is, though, that they made more royalties in one statement than they ever made with a publisher over a number of years. Is Amazon stealing? Maybe - but the authors are pocketing some real money with the self-pub option. It's a double edged sword.

Adelle Laudan said...

Wavin' hello to a fellow Canuck! Lots of very useful info here. You've given me a few things to think about. Glad I popped in!

Angela Guillaume said...

Hello Adelle, thanks for visiting! Feel free to hang around :-D

RowenaBCherry said...

Angela,
I did not mean to suggest that Amazon is stealing.

It's been revealed that publishers were using an outmoded calculation to estimate e-book sales, instead of reporting actual sales.

Dozens of my colleagues wondered why each of them received royalty statements and each of them were told they'd sold about 230 e-books.

Coincidence? No. A logarithm.

So, it is probable that many publishers weren't reporting and paying royalties based on e-book sales, only on their low expectations and assumptions.

Angela Guillaume said...

Rowena, this is a scary thought. Do you think Amazon uses logarithms? Is there a way for them to be accountable if an author wants answers? Or would there eventually have to be some lawyer, somewhere, who is willing to pose some difficult questions?

All options seem to have their pitfalls...

So far, though, I know people who match an average salary in Amazon sales.

RowenaBCherry said...

Waving back to Adelle.

RowenaBCherry said...

Angela,

You might like to take a look at Muso.com which is a seek and take down service.

To sign up, go via the link on Richard Curtis's ereads.com blog because then you can get a discounted rate of $15 pcm per author name for up to 60 takedowns a month.

I've used Muso.com since the first of September. Two subscriptions, one for each of my dbas.

They've notified me of about 3 files which are simply 5 star reviews written by an Amazon affiliate, and those are obviously not a problem.

Always, if on a pirate hunt, make sure of the file size. If the file is around 51 KB (small) it may be an excerpt or a review. In which case, it's legitimate.

Back to Muso. They focus on cyberlockers, whatever those are. So, they may inform you if your work is on Filesonic or 4shared or Scribd, but they don't track ShareTermPapers (which hosts e-books) and its like.

They've taken down 3 files for me, with my permission. It's not stellar... but I'm not pirated very much.

Tempting the devil, there!

RowenaBCherry said...

I don't think Amazon uses logarithms to calculate direct sales, but I am a tad concerned about the possibilities for issues with some of the third parties to whom Amazon alledgedly subcontracts ebooks.

Have you read their self-publishing contract? It's non-negotiable, so I suppose it might be a moot point if you believe that every self-published author must sell on Amazon.

RowenaBCherry said...

With any enterprise, the early adopters do well. Even with Ponzi schemes.

Amazon's goal is to sell Kindle machines. It cannot market an e-book reader if there are no e-books to read, so it is encouraging content providers to provide content.

For now.

Amazon's other goal is to corner the market. It is making good progress.

What those who tout the brilliance of the 70% royalty may not notice is that for their 70% royalty, they are selling a share of their copyright which they can never get back.

Every sale has the potential to be something like a "Buy one, get 7 free" deal. The author gets paid for one sale.

Does that break down to a real 10% royalty?

I say 7, because at least 6 readers can share a credit card and an Amazon account, and form a club. One person buys an e-book. All 6 can simultaneously download it.

This was first revealed a few years ago by Shayna Englin. Avid booklovers on GoodReads are still boasting about the savings they enjoy to this day.

I wonder whether the Kindle lending program allows just one loan, or whether each of the 6 to loan that book? Hopefully, it is just the one.

From what I have read, if you upload an e-book to Kindle, it will always be there. You may request that it is hidden, and withdrawn from sale, but it is kept in case an Amazon customer who bought a license to read the ebook suffers a misfortune and needs a back-up copy.

Angela Guillaume said...

Wow, so much to digest.

First, I will check out Muso. It sounds like a fair deal. Esp. when I publish the next book (whenever that happens). Just now working on finishing it up.

Second, what's an alternative to Amazon? By that I mean sales. I know there are many companies that provide this service to authors. Jexbo, ebook mall, etc. (there used to be eBay but not any more)...but what about sales figures?

The Amazon contract is a SCARY prospect. The idea of providing 7 downloads and getting paid for one without my specific consent (ok, I'd have signed the contract) - is truly disturbing.

I noticed another Amazon policy point that I didn't like. My husband sells his books on the Kindle. He's sold many so far, but one customer, apparently, wanted his money back. Amazon reimbursed without consulting my husband, and the customer details are to date unknown to us. Basically, we don't know what the issue was, there was no option given to perhaps "fix" that issue, and my husband doesn't know who now owns his download AND got his purchase reimbursed. How does one get money back on a download? This stumps me.

RowenaBCherry said...

Protest about this thief.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ebooklat-by-thy/221559017867780

Facebook has ignored all reports and complaints since Monday noon.

One wonders whether Facebook ought to lose Safe Harbor protection.

Angela Guillaume said...

I actually posted that link on my FB profile this week. I shared from your page. I'm still a bit surprised I got no feedback from that.

RowenaBCherry said...

There aren't many alternatives. Jexbo is very nice, but not in the same league at all.

There's BookLocker run by Angela Hoy, and there are several author-led sites that sell.

Other authors can better answer about the alternatives.

So far, I'm on the sidelines.

RowenaBCherry said...

A good number of authors are posting comments on the pages, where they will do most good.

Try Googling EBookLat. He's making quite a business of this, which is probably why he has not checked his Facebook page recently.

Angela Guillaume said...

Wow. EBookLat...I had never heard of this "business" until last Monday. I see the comments and have added a couple of my own.

Yes, alternatives are few. One must also be careful what publishers to trust one's work with. It's not a pretty picture, and there's always bad to take with the good.

RowenaBCherry said...

On the other hand, every author has the right to make as much as possible of every legal opportunity to sell their own books.

I'm probably too suspicious.

Angela Guillaume said...

Well, it's good to be informed especially well. It's so much better to make an informed decision and say "Mea culpa" than go at it blindly - which makes for dangerous consequences.

RowenaBCherry said...

Angela, if you ever find someone illegally selling your work, or giving it away but asking for PayPal donations, you can report them to PayPal.

The only problem is that PayPal requires proof that the button on the site is functioning, which means that you have to send the person ripping you off a donation in order to prove to PayPal that they are accepting illegal profits.

Which reminds me, I need to go see if there is anything in my authorname mailbox.

Back in a while.

Angela Guillaume said...

I agree that PayPal is much more amenable to assist a small business owner or author...but these terms don't make sense. It goes against every principle to pay a pirate just to "get" him/her.

See you soon!

RowenaBCherry said...

There's an Australian on EBay selling a massive collection of Vampire and Horror ebooks.

Contemporary ones. Allegedly, even the Twilight books. He knows that he is infringing copyright, we have exchanged words on EBay.

EBay ignores red flags because the guy posts that "all rights are reserved by the authors" even as he gaily infringes on those very rights by burning hundreds of thousands of copies onto CDs and selling them!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/HUGE-VAMPIRE-HORROR-LIBRARY-OVER-1-000-eBOOKS-/230677685727?pt=US_Fiction_Books&hash=item35b57625df#ht_1931wt_907

Angela Guillaume said...

Apparently, one right is not retained by the authors - the right to get paid from sales of their works. Is there a US office / department / organization that handles cases like these?

RowenaBCherry said...

Oh, dear, you think that is unfair?

At least it only costs $1.01 (unless you want the villain to have the PayPal fee deducted from your donation in which case, save the cent).


"Since your form provides inadequate space for full documentation of proof that PayPal is "actually providing payment services" please notice the Proof below that PayPal is indeed facilitating the transfer of funds for this copyright infringer."

But, I do agree with you. It sticks in my craw, so I am willing to share my transaction screen capture with any other author who needs to prove that this particular button is functioning.

However, there are worse examples.

If you suspect that your work may be included in a collection of 16,000 ebook romances for Kindle in an EBay auction, and the Seller does not supply a list (often they do, and the list is a screen capture from a file sharing site!) you have to buy the CD.

You have to break the law to enforce the law.

Or, if you want to send a DMCA to Filesonic.com which is a pirates' favorite because of the commissions, you may have to give your credit card info to someone you know is a thief in order to become a paid member of this rip off club to obtain the urls to the files stored on Filesonic (without which urls, you cannot send a successful DMCA notice.

The playing field is definitely not level.

RowenaBCherry said...

But, what did you really wish to discuss with me?

Oh, I had my alien worldview spectacles on this morning, and found myself wondering why half the Western world has been brainwashed into believing that they should eat spoonsful of flattened, processed, shaped grains, chemicals and preservatives for breakfast every day.

RowenaBCherry said...

Ic3.gov or IPRCenter@dhs.gov

RowenaBCherry said...

It is always good to complain to your political representative.

Did Adelle Laudan say that you are a Canuck? One of the Canadian authors commenting on EBookLat seemed to suggest that Canada is admirable at protecting the copyrights of its citizens.

Angela Guillaume said...

Yes, a playing field that's not level - such fun!

What I wanted to discuss is....not sure about that - but this is way better. I think it's tear-my-hair-off frustrating, but necessary. It's like being hit in the head with a sackful of tennis balls. Slowly numbing, and so unpleasant, uncomfortable. But it's reality.

I just want to see more people here, giving their two cents. Where's everybody?

Angela Guillaume said...

No I'm not a Canuck. I'm not even in the US. I'm in Malta. I lived in Atlanta for 11 years before dragging my American husband here to have my pup.

So basically, don't know who I would need to complain to. Some commission in the EU? Or still in the US as my books are published there?

I just can't get myself to "pay" a pirate just so I can get some information. And giving him my credit card info? Not sure I could sleep after that. I'd be jittery with worry.

RowenaBCherry said...

Do you know that Eric Schmidt of Google was quoted thus in 2009:

"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place."

How times have changed, when an IP protection act in Congress suggested that people ought to use their real names online.

RowenaBCherry said...

Angela,

Not to worry if our friends are offline. I'm glad they are writing or reading or being productive.

No doubt our conversations will hit a few hot keywords that will turn up in Google searches tomorrow.

:-)

I'll check back. I need to pay some bills.

RowenaBCherry said...

Oh. I have to laugh. A grisly political headline snagged my attention.

"Photo. Bachmann's Nails Caught Our Eye".

Would the subtext be "She Blinded Me with (Political Science)"?

Zee Monodee said...

My goodness, ladies - the amount of information in this interview and the comments is just staggering!

Rowena, I loved reading your take on the world of piracy, and 'expert' opinion that actually makes sense is hard to come by, so hats off!

Angela Guillaume said...

Thanks for such insight, Rowena. Your questions need difficult answers - but this is what makes it interesting.

Bachmann - did see the pictures, and the subtext suggestion is hilarious.

Zee - thanks for hopping over and reading all this AMAZING material!

RowenaBCherry said...

Angela, about your husband. Did he still receive his royalty for the ebook that Amazon allowed to be returned?

Is Amazon your husband's publisher?

Ah, returns are going to be an issue in future. I suppose that when the unhappy reader "returned" the ebook, it disappeared off his Kindle, but the question is, did a copy remain on his desktop?

What would happen if dozens of file-sharers purchased, copied, and then returned ebooks?

Answer, same situation as traditional publishing got into by accepting stripped "returns" on paperbacks.

anny cook said...

Well, I can tell you piracy is alive and well. Like Angela, I found all my time taken up with pursuing pirates.

Rowena, I will surely investigate Musa. Thank you for the link.

RowenaBCherry said...

Hi, Zee.

Thank you for your very kind observations.

Welcome to the chat. BTW, I love your tropical island avatar.

Is it a photo you took yourself? It reminds me a bit of an image AOL had for a while, except that yours has boats.

I wanted an image like that for the background of my new, e-book version of Insufficient Mating Material.

RowenaBCherry said...

Muso.com

But, go via http://www.ereads.com

Richard Curtis gets a small commission, but you get a huge discount for joining through his link.

Otherwise, from the website there does seem to be a free trial membership, but if activated membership if $40 pcm, you quickly don't do as well.

RowenaBCherry said...

Should have said hello to Anny before repeating myself about Muso.com

Authors should also check out Libriot which looks very much like a reincarnation of wiredshelf.com (an unauthorized-by-copyright-owners subscription library).

If your work is on Nakido.com , the Nakido people are very polite and prompt.

Scribd is highly responsible about removing individual files and blocking the re-upping of authors' materials, if the authors contact them.

Angela Guillaume said...

Rowena,

I have to ask my husband about the royalties. He self-publishes on Amazon.com. Will definitely look into it. I'm sure returns will be a huge issue if they're not already.

Anny, yes, please check out Muso (Musa is actually a publishing house, so probably that's the reason for the typo :)).

Rowena, Zee is from the island of Mauritius. In other words, from paradise...

Angela Guillaume said...

At least, a few cooperative sites. That still leaves a slew of other, not so pliable, outfits...

Angela Guillaume said...

Rowena, and all - will be offline for a while. Catch you later! xoxo

Cate Masters said...

So discouraged by illegal ebook sharing (I refuse to romanticize it by calling them pirates!). Like you, Angela, I've given up after arguing with a site that felt it had the right to share my work, no matter how it hurt me. Until publishers and the law take definitive steps to curtail them, they'll continue without fear of reprisal.
Great to get to know you Rowena!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

A good interview! Always good to read strong opinions from a fellow author.

Jacqueline Seewald
THE TRUTH SLEUTH
TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS

RowenaBCherry said...

Cate,

Thank you for your support of this discussion.

Often... in fact, more often than not, I feel like the Cassandra of literature. Or like a latter day Canute facing the incoming tide.

Of course, canny old King Canute was illustrating a point about sycophancy in his court. Alas, I've no sycophants around me.

Grinning.

RowenaBCherry said...

Have I ranted about OCILLA (acronym) and Safe Harbor here today?

By the way, I rant a lot on a GoodReads.com outreach group called Authors_Without_A_Yacht which is packed with info about the DMCA, copyright, First Sale Rights, Piracy Horror stories, Successes against pirates, interesting current events and much, much more.

I also moderate a yahoo group called AuthorsAgainstE-BookTheft which was started by Charlee Boyett-Compo.

RowenaBCherry said...

I think that if enough people in our world wrote to our politicians to suggest workable improvements to the DMCA, a lot of progress could be made without alienating honest readers and invading internet users' privacy.

It would help a great deal if everyone with a story contacted their lawmaker.

That's where help could emerge.

RowenaBCherry said...

The other law change that I would recommend, again, would not affect the individual internet user.

I would make advertisers (be they universities or NYSE/NASDAQ members) legally responsible for where their adverts appear.

Right now, well known universities are funding ShareTermPapers with their paid advertisements.

So is/was a major import car company.

It does not happen because the Universities and major companies think that dishonest and impoverished --but computer savvy-- people are likely to be good customers.

The lazy universities and marketing departments are trusting their advertising budgets to Google/Yahoo/Adbrite robots that seek out "keywords".

Suppose major companies' advertising bucks were funding something less sociable and harmless than copyright infringement.

I wonder whether Big Pharma would advertise on a drug lord's website, if a drug lord had a website.

Is there an app to block that?

Then, there could be an app to block advertising on a digital theft site. If not, let them employ real eyeballs with a brain attached to vet the sites.

Or, let them be fined in proportion to how many ebooks are downloaded while their ad is displayed.

RowenaBCherry said...

You argued with a site, Cate?

Was it STP? If so, complain to PayPal
infringementreport@paypal.com

Cite Transaction 9HU805109W1792706 when you get to the part of the form where PayPal demands proof that the Paypal button on the offending website is actually in use and functioning.

RowenaBCherry said...

Hello Jacqueline.

Tarot cards and tea leaves are my favorite method of solving crimes and mysteries,

:-)

RowenaBCherry said...

Link for OCILLA for anyone interested.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_Copyright_Infringement_Liability_Limitation_Act

However, if in doubt, go for the horse's mouth, in this case, loc.gov which is Library of Congress.

RowenaBCherry said...

Well! It looks like Facebook has finally taken down the EBooklat page, so I give belated kudos to Mark Zuckerberg and retract my remarks (unless the page reappears).

Now, to my desktop to see if my screen capture has survived.

RowenaBCherry said...

Heh. It has.

Another interesting tip for passionate friends of authors is that even if someone takes down an objectionable page, Google stores caches.

It is often possible to see what has been hidden, and may not still be there, until the Google bots revisit the scene and photograph whatever it newly upped.

RowenaBCherry said...

Marilynn Byerly has a lot of fantastic (and very well-written) articles about copyright.

http://mbyerly.blogspot.com/search/label/copyright

Angela Guillaume said...

okay, so EBookLat is dead, at least on FB.

Cate, thanks for visiting and sharing your story. Rowena gave you a very good tip for pursuing the matter in a certain case.

Jacqueline - very much appreciate your comment.

Rowena, again, for all these links. I'm going to have to re-read all of these comments tomorrow, and to explore the links you provided. I think that yes, it will behoove authors to try to make a statement with state reps. Do you know if anyone, anywhere, has created an online petition for this? There seem to be petitions for everything these days... Just curious.

Rowena, I'm going to have to get some sleep now as it's 10pm here. However, I'll be back tomorrow. We have all week, should you wish, to discuss the topic with visitors to this page. I will keep promoting this, and would appreciate if you shared it as well. I think this is information all authors should be armed with.

Rowena, you are such a great asset to this blog - thank you for giving me and all the readers your time!

RowenaBCherry said...

But selling the JK Rowling Harry Potter set of ebooks on Multiply.

http://ebooklat2.multiply.com/photos/album/5/Fiction_ebooks

RowenaBCherry said...

I know that I must sound like Poor Johnny One-Note, and if someone asks me about sex, or research, or shaving with a razor shell (disastrous), or the trouble with using moss as toilet paper, I can accommodate you.

However, there is a copyrightalliance
(copyrightalliance.org) meeting in Washington on Friday, so this is a very timely point in time to let Congress know your views and wishes.

It's free to join the copyrightalliance's One Voice team.

Istealbooksfromhardworkingauthors said...

Okay....now I have to ask ...shaving with a razor shell? What's that all about?

Angela Guillaume said...

And the many uses of moss!

Seriously...thanks for the link. Do you know what's on the agenda of this conference on Friday?

It's morning on Wednesday now in my world. Hope you have a good day!

Zee Monodee said...

Thanks Rowena! It's a pic of a beach in the north-east of my island, Mauritius. Not one I shot myself but I worked with an exclusive 5-star resort for material for a book and that's a pic of their beach that they allowed me to use. :)

RowenaBCherry said...

This is absolutely nothing to do with seascapes, just a link to writersweekly which I happened to mention earlier as an alternative to Amazon's DTP.

Angela Hoy formats ebooks for as little as $99.00 apparently.

http://writersweekly.com/ask_the_expert/006995_10192011.html

RowenaBCherry said...

Have you noticed that only villains in Regency Romances have bad breath?

And, no one ever steps on an equine bowel movement in the street?

There appears to be a convention in historical romances, that if the hero's breath must be described, it always smells of either whisky, whiskey, or rum.

I don't believe in stretching my readers' credulity further than necessary.

If it is physically possible and reasonable to investigate/research something, I will do it.

Therefore, when I was plotting my deserted island romance, Insufficient Mating Material, I felt that I ought to deal with such natural problems as going to the bathroom, menstruation, leg hair, armpits, body odour and more.

My editor, by the way, refused to allow me to describe the olfactory delights of the hero's crotch.

In the interests of science, I took myself off, legs unshaven, to a beach where there were plenty of razor shells (and, alas, it did not occur to me to take a tax deduction for the trip!)

The result was bloody scabs with hairs growing through them. Razor shells do not shave hair, only skin.

So, my heroine had to be naturally smoothe.

RowenaBCherry said...

Moss tends to be a habitat for livestock such as red bugs. Or chiggers.

Some of those bugs are not particular about what they bite, and welcome a change of flavours.

I did not take my research to such ends. I took Survivorman, Les Stroud's word for it.

He was my survival consultant for Insufficient Mating Material, btw.

RowenaBCherry said...

Sorry, Angela. I don't know exactly what is on the agenda. An author is testifying.

The trouble with the Senate is that any proposals they make to protect copyright appear to have been blocked in the past by Senator Ron Wyden, who seems to me in my opinion to be the pirates' friend.

Senate Committee Passes PROTECT IP Act But Wyden Issues ...
broadbandbreakfast.com/.../senate-committee-passes-protect-ip-act-b...Cached
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
May 27, 2011 – Ron Wyden (D-OR) put a hold on the bill preventing it from going to the full ... “The impact of copyright piracy and sale of counterfeit goods ...

Donkeylicious: Wyden Holds Up Copyright Bill
www.donkeylicious.com/2010/.../wyden-holds-up-copyright-bill.htm...Cached
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
Nov 20, 2010 – Thanks to Senator Ron Wyden, a bill that would've given the Department of Justice the power to just shut down copyright-infringing websites ...


Oregon Senator Wyden effectively kills Internet censorship bill | The ...
www.rawstory.com/.../oregon-senator-vows-block-internet-censorshi...Cached
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
Nov 19, 2010 – “Deploying this statute to combat online copyright infringement seems .... Maybe Senator Wyden can do something about the Food Safety Bill. ...

Senator Wyden blocks controversial copyright bill : Portland
www.reddit.com/.../senator_wyden_blocks_controversial_copyright_...
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
May 27, 2011 – Here's some comments on the bill from Wyden back on the 12th. As a an academic technology researcher, I really appreciate his efforts at ...

Wyden: PROTECT IP Act Is About Letting The Content Sector Attack ...
www.techdirt.com/.../wyden-protect-ip-act-is-about-letting-content-se...
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
20 hours ago – Wyden: PROTECT IP Act Is About Letting The Content Sector Attack ... Is Now': So Where's The 'Serious Problem' Of Copyright Infringement? ...

Wyden blocks online copyright bill - The Hill's Hillicon Valley
thehill.com/blogs/.../163545-wyden-blocks-online-copyright-billCached
You +1'd this publicly. Undo
May 26, 2011 – The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a controversial bill Thursday that would expand the government's authority to ...

Do we have any Oregon authors among our friends?

Angela Guillaume said...

Sorry for taking so long to respond Rowena. I was out of the house for a while.

You cracked me up with your "research" description! It's just too funny. Vivid picture, indeed :)

So an author is testifying? Wonder who. Don't think I know anyone from Oregon. I wonder what this Senator's motivations were.

RowenaBCherry said...

Very interesting article (or it might be an op-ed) by Mr. Brian DiFiore

http://aardvarknow.us/2011/10/19/really-new-york-times/

'AARdvark is an online forum by the AAR Digital Rights Committee on aspects of and issues surrounding the emerging digital publishing marketplace from the agent's and author's viewpoint.'

RowenaBCherry said...

The event on Capitol Hill is a panel discussion and book signing which will look at the state of American media and culture businesses.

Robert Levine, author of "Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back" will be on the panel.

So will the new Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante (a truly promising voice for IP protections).

Other important spokespersons for creators' rights will be Allan Adler Vice President of the Association of American Publishers

and Steve Bogard who is President, Nashville Songwriters Association International.

The event will be moderated by Sandra Aistars of the Copyright Alliance.

"Digital parasites" is my word of the day!

RowenaBCherry said...

While checking on publishing news this morning, I came across something totally irrelevant, but fun.

http://thenewx1023.radio.com/2011/10/07/a-cell-phone-thief-accidentally-posted-his-photo-on-the-victims-facebook-page/

Why would anyone set their cellphone to automatically upload any photo taken with it to a Facebook page?

Careful with what you sext!

Angela Guillaume said...

Thanks for the lineup...

Yes, I did hear of that cell phone case. I think it was on World's Dumbest Criminals or some such...:).

And you remind me of the gang of 3 who robbed a convenience store. Among the stolen loot, a Polaroid. What fun they had taking silly pictures of each other and dropping the photos along the way. Real smart...

RowenaBCherry said...

And totally useless as inspiration for romance novel villains.

In my opinion, a villain must be competent.

Angela Guillaume said...

Yes, like Guy of Gisborne, preferably...

Angela Guillaume said...

who incidentally will inspire my hero in the second of the Valthrean books...

RowenaBCherry said...

What do you find particularly interesting and inspiring about Guy of Gisborne?

Villains often can be twisted into heroic material. :-)

Angela Guillaume said...

He straddles the fence of good and evil. Mystery is always a good thing...

RowenaBCherry said...

Are you going to put your hero in a horse skin (mane, tail and all) or will you go with leathers?

RowenaBCherry said...

Yesterday, I looked into some banner advertisements that are being used to fund the digital parasites on an unabashed copyright infringing site.

This is what ValueClick says of itself:

"Online Behavioral Advertising Keeps the Internet Free - more relevant ads improve revenues for websites which enable such websites to provide diverse and better quality content to consumers for free."

In other words, they fund the digital thieves' websites.

What I'd like to know is, whose online behavior are they tracking? Mine? Yours?

Do they have a useful database that could be subpoenaed by the Feds or a Congressional committee and that would expose who and where the pirates are?

Angela Guillaume said...

My hero will live in modern day, so probably a bit of leather :).

Interesting claim by ValueChick. Have you tried to put all this together and presenting it to your State rep? I know you have, just want to know their reaction.

RowenaBCherry said...

So, your modern Guy of Gisbourne won't have piercings and chains? Nor a Fabio mane?

LOL.

Something rather interesting has happened with the adverts on the page devoted to infringing my work on that digital parasite site.

The spot that I complained about is currently blank.

On the other hand, I have been receiving a number of messages in a foreign language which I assume are not entirely complimentary. Also some quite astonishing porn in the body of an email or two.

So, I assume that someone is not pleased with me.

RowenaBCherry said...

Just refreshed the page. The ripping off of my work is being sponsored by VIRGIN mobile, Samsung Restore, and LIFELOCK.

Oh, the irony. Lifelock will allegedly protect subscribers' identity, but not their livelihood.

(I am a Lifelock subscriber).

RowenaBCherry said...

If you'd like to know how to find a cached page, you could google "Google Cache" but you could also copy your desired page name into the google search bar.

Then, hover your cursor to the right of the colorful writing and on the right side of the blank-seeming page, you will see a preview of what you might be seeking.

Look for the blue textlink "Cache" and that will take you to the stored page.

In this case, I was able to find a saved page from October 5th, when only 6 people had downloaded Forced Mate, and Ford happened to be advertising at the time.

I told you that these robo-ads were a crock.

Since I have never purchased a Ford and never will, I cannot imagine what behavior of mine put Ford's ad on that page.

RowenaBCherry said...

Back to horses. After you mentioned Guy, I went looking around the internet, and there are some interesting legends of horse gods...

Deborah Macgillivray said...

Rowena is a grand spokesperson for romance genre and spec fiction. She is hard working in promoting, seeks ways of thinking out of the box, as well is a leading voice and tireless worker against piracy.

She also give a super story to the readers. I cannot wait for another book!

Gerri Bowen said...

Good to know there will be more books to read, Rowena.

RowenaBCherry said...

Waving to Deborah MacGillivray who has a fabulous new book out with Kensington.

I was thinking of your Riding The Thunder hero earlier today.

Does he owe anything to the enigmatic and dangerous Guy of Gisbourne?

RowenaBCherry said...

Hi, Gerri,

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a kind comment.

RowenaBCherry said...

Gerri,
What are you working on at the moment?

RowenaBCherry said...

I am at the stage of writing where I dream about my latest hero at night.

Then my dh complains the next morning about the strange noises I made in my sleep!

Victoria Bromley said...

Excellent advice from an extremely intelligent and talented woman! You rock, Rowena! And, thank you for all you do to fight piracy in the publishing world. Sincerely, Victoria

RowenaBCherry said...

Thank you, Victoria. Good luck and fine weather for your upcoming sponsored walk to raise funds for the susan g komen charity.

Gerri Bowen said...

Thank you for asking, Rowena! I have a Christmas short coming out with a sunshine vampire heroine entitled, Mind Your Fangs. A Regency Christmas romp with my Wild Blooded characters.
I must tell you, I bow my head in thanks to you for all the time you devote toward stopping book piracy as well as raising awareness.

Candy Thompson said...

I absolutely agree with Deborah! Rowena is very hard working and does so much to fight against piracy. Her books are fantastic and I would highly recommend them to everyone!

Angela Guillaume said...

Rowena, I spend a day "off" and I find more amazing messages from you!

Interesting about the emails you're receiving. Also about Google Cache and the Ford ads. So I wonder, when companies pay for "targeted" ads, what are they really getting? Also makes me think of Google ad cents...

Horse gods? Interesting. My Guy will be simply an immortal who looks like a human. But a horse god merits looking into...

Angela Guillaume said...

Deborah, Gerri, thanks for visiting! Rowena has fast gained my admiration and respect.

Incidentally, I spoke to someone who knows you today, Rowena - Sandy Marshall. She told me what a great lady you are :-D

Angela Guillaume said...

Rowena - strange noises? what type of noises? :-D

Angela Guillaume said...

Hi Victoria! So many fine guests popping up...

Angela Guillaume said...

Candy, thanks for your comment. It is entirely true!

Angela Guillaume said...

Rowena,

For Friday's blog I put together many of the links you provided in one email, so people can easily find them. What do you think?

RowenaBCherry said...

Thank you for the comment and generous words, Candy.

Geri, I'm thoroughly intrigued by the term "sunshine vampire". Thanks for sharing.

Angela, by all means share *most* of the urls I provided in an email or blog, but perhaps not the links to alleged pirate sites or to individual alleged infringements. They may be dead links by now, or, the wrong sort of people might "benefit". Or, the urls won't show what they originally showed.

Besides, for your own protection, it's one thing for me to say that a Ford/Lifelock/Virgin/Samsung ad allegedly helped to fund the digital parasites who are/were infringing my copyright, quite another for you to repeat the allegation.

RowenaBCherry said...

If I haven't posted this before, there is a letter that copyright owners can send to their own representatives.

It's generic, it's titled musicrightsnow (but what's good for musicians is good for us), it only takes a couple of minutes to send and you can add a personal touch.

Click on this URL to take action now
http://capwiz.com/musicrightsnow/utr/2/?a=51278501&i=100926461&c=

If your email program does not recognize the URL as a link,
copy the entire URL and paste it into your Web browser.

Angela Guillaume said...

Don't worry, Rowena. The links I shared are helpful links for writers. No links to pirate sites, and no unsafe allegations.

Thanks for sharing the link to the template x