Authors Break Laws Without Knowing It

3 marketing mondayThat’s right, there are authors out there breaking laws without knowing it, and you might just be one of them. I’ve been seeing a lot of advertisements by indie authors lately, which is great–but I came to the abrupt realization that some of these authors may be breaking the laws of trademark without knowing it. The reason? I’m seeing more and more authors utilizing the trademark logos of those vendors that currently sell their novels. This struck me because many of these vendors hold strict trademark laws over their logos, and they are even more strict on letting people use these logos. While I am sure some of these authors may have received permission from the companies, I highly doubt many of them have (the advertisements lack the disclosure materially required by the vendors). The process of approval of using a trademark involves a tedious process that just wouldn’t be worth the effort for a two day sale when you can simply use the name of the company. Now, you may be wondering, why do they care so much that I use their logo? They sell my books after all! Yes, they do sell your books, but their logo represents dollar symbols for them, and not only that, it represents an implied endorsement of that trademark. Trademark can be tricky, while you can mention a name of a company in your novel (see THIS article for the specifics) as long as it’s not in a disparaging way, using it in an advertisement is a completely different animal. This is especially true if you have your name next to it. Here are the specific requirements of book vendors you may be using:

AMAZON-

Amazon used to completely forbid the usage of their trademarked logos for Kindle and the Amazon.com website, but they have became a tad bit more lenient. When I say a “tad bit”, I mean it. They allow it, but they sure as hell won’t make it easy. They are “excited” to offer you the ability to do it if you jump through hoops. Now, let me preface this with the fact that I have not personally attempted to do this, as I don’t run sales for long enough that the time involved would be beneficial.  If you’re an author who has contacted Amazon and received permission, please be sure to leave a comment below about the process and the ease or difficulty of it. Amazon’s very specific guidelines are listed below and you can view the entire article by clicking any where within it:

These Guidelines apply to your use of trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. and/or its affiliates (“Amazon“), including AMAZON, KINDLE, KINDLE FIRE, the AMAZON KINDLE logo and the KINDLE FIRE logo (each a “Trademark” and collectively the “Trademarks“). Strict compliance with these Guidelines is required at all times, and any use of a Trademark in violation of these Guidelines will automatically terminate any license related to your use of the Trademarks.

1. You may use the Trademark solely for the purpose expressly authorized by Amazon and your use must: (i) comply with the most up-to-date version of all agreement(s) with Amazon regarding your use of the Trademarks (collectively “Agreements“); (ii) comply with the most up-to-date version of these Guidelines; and (iii) comply with any other terms, conditions, or policies that Amazon may issue from time to time that apply to the use of the Trademark.
2. We will supply an approved Trademark image for you to use. You may not alter the Trademark in any manner, including but not limited to, changing the proportion, color, or font of the Trademark, or adding or removing any element(s) from the Trademark.
3. You may only use the Trademark as specifically authorized under the Agreements.
4. You may not use the Trademark in any manner that implies sponsorship or endorsement by Amazon.
5. You may not use the Trademark to disparage Amazon, its products or services, or in a manner which, in Amazon’s sole discretion, may diminish or otherwise damage or tarnish Amazon’s goodwill in the Trademark.
6. The Trademark must appear by itself, with reasonable spacing between each side of the Trademark and other visual, graphic or textual elements. Under no circumstance should the Trademark be placed on any background which interferes with the readability or display of the Trademark.
7. You must include the following statement in any materials that display the Trademark: “Amazon, Kindle, Kindle Fire, the Amazon Kindle logo and the Kindle Fire logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.”
8. You acknowledge that all rights to the Trademark are the exclusive property of Amazon, and all goodwill generated through your use of the Trademark will inure to the sole benefit of Amazon. You will not take any action that is in conflict with Amazon’s rights in, or ownership of, the Trademark.

 

Amazon reserves the right, exercisable at its sole discretion, to modify these Guidelines and/or the approved Trademarks at any time and to take appropriate action against any use without permission or any use that does not conform to these Guidelines.

If you have questions about these Guidelines, please contact trademarks@amazon.com for assistance, or write to us at: Amazon.com, Inc., Attention: Trademarks, PO Box 81226 Seattle, WA 98108-1226.

Now, number four is where this all becomes very tricky for the author. You want to put their logo on your advertisement and in any way you shake that, it pretty much amounts to an endorsement. Then there’s number five–another key to the fact many of these authors are breaking trademark law–you have to give ample space between other symbols. The fact is, Amazon doesn’t play nice with Barnes & Noble, and for that matter, Kobo, or anyone else. The final nail in the trademark infringement coffin? Number Seven! Each book vendor requires the same disclosure for each of their trademarks with their names disclosed–in a small advertisement where you want to give your novel presence, you would be giving more presence to disclosure for trademark usage. Furthermore, upon more research there are logo guidelines that also must be adhered to and give size, colors, etc that can be used (see HERE). The good news is, as an author selling through their digital media, you become exempt to the written authorization requirement as long as you use their approved logos (see HERE) and use the words Available For or Available From while still adhering to the above quoted usage regulations.

BARNES & NOBLE-

I wasn’t able to find any information relating specifically to advertisements that was outside of their normal terms and conditions. These Terms and Conditions are agreed upon when you sign up for Nook Press. Below is the portion on Trademark (for the full Terms and Condtions see HERE)

II. TRADEMARKS
Barnes & Noble.com, Barnes & Noble, Inc., or their respective parents, subsidiaries, or affiliates, or third parties from whom Barnes & Noble.com has permission, own the trademarks or service marks that are used on the Barnes & Noble.com Site. All rights are reserved. These and other graphics, logos, service marks, trademarks and trade dress of Barnes & Noble.com and its licensors may not be used without prior written consent of Barnes & Noble.com or its licensor, as the case may be. Without limiting the foregoing, no Barnes & Noble.com trademark or trade dress may be used in connection with any product or service that is not Barnes & Noble.com’s, in any manner that is likely to cause confusion among Users, or in any manner that disparages or discredits Barnes & Noble.com.

It’s safe to assume that Barnes and Noble operates it’s logo and trademark usage much like that of Amazon, with the exception that it may be even harder to receive permission to use the logo. It appears that there is no exemptions as is allowed on Amazon on the written agreement requirement.

KOBO-

Unfortunately, the most guidance I found was to look at the Kobo Brand Guidelines, which I found on the ABA, but wasn’t able to open without joining and paying a fee. Again, it’s safe to assume that their business operates under the same guidelines of other major booksellers.

Head spinning yet? Now, if you’ve violated this– you may just get a cease and desist order, or you may never hear anything at all (a lawsuit could occur, but it’s cost-prohibitive, so the most you will probably get is the order). What you do risk is readers, agents or publishers that do know these laws seeing you as being less professional, when you were only attempting to appear more professional. In the end sticking with the simple usage of the company that your books are sold at is easier, and leaves less room for reputation risk for your brand as an author. You can still create a killer advertisement without those logos, and in all honesty, if you sell at more than two retailers, the logos just clutter the advertisement and take away from your goal– intriguing the reader and getting them to “One-Click” your novel.

 

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My Author Ethics

DisclosuresAs a published author it is important to acknowledge that certain ethics come with the job. I pride myself in being professional with a high level of honestly, integrity and passion. I write many of my blog posts from my experience in the publishing and sales world. My publishing background has evolved from my original journey as a self-published author in 2012 to an Indie Amazon Bestseller as of today. My sales background includes ten years in sales, seven of which have been spent in the financial industry, including six years experience as a supervisor and top selling agent for the institution I worked for. I am currently a Retail Banking Operations Manager and Project Manager who develops Sales Campaigns, Initiatives and Training programs for the bank, along with numerous duties involving maintenance of 220+ procedures (writing, editing, creating and monitoring) and marketing projects. I am also studying to receive my degree in Marketing and plan on pursuing a second degree in Graphic Design.

BLOG reviewsAs a published author, my reading has taken a significant hit because of time restrictions, but also ethical issues. It’s much easier to write a review when you aren’t an author. When you are, any criticism is not taken kindly. That being said I would like to disclose the following as my strict policies for reviewing:

  1. I never accept review copies from other authors. If asked I will politely decline and advise that I will look at the book description, and if interested, I will purchase the book and review it in my own time.
  2. I will no longer post reviews of Self-Published or Independent Authors that are three stars and under. I will rate the novel as is such on Goodreads, and post that the author may contact me for a full review if they are interested. I will not rate novels under three stars of authors I personally know or have an acquaintance with. This creates a blackmail situation in which I do not wish to be involved.
  3. I will follow the following format when reviewing novels:
  • Star Ratings can and may have 1/2 Stars
  • Each Review will include an Overall Star Rating
  • Each Review will be broken down into the following individual Star Ratings with explanations for the ratings:

-Book Description: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Cover: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Plot: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Creativity: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Grammar: 1-5 Stars; 5 being error free (this will NEVER happen, not even with major pubbed books)

-Simile Use: 1-5 Stars; 5 stars being the best, meaning no similes were used. 1 meaning similes were used in excess and pulled me out of the novel.

-Description: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best

-Show Not Tell: 1-5 Stars; 5 being the best- dialogue driven without excessive and obtrusive description

Additionally, please keep the following in mind for reviews of my novels:

  1. I do not respond to negative reviews of my own novels, but I may, at my discretion, respond to positive reviews.
  2. I never pay for reviews.
  3. I do directly contact bloggers to request reviews.
  4. I will never ask a reviewer to not post a review because it doesn’t show my novel in the best light. That is their right. If they are a part of the blog tour for the release of the novel that is hosted by myself and or my publisher, I will state that I prefer the review not be posted as a part of the tour–but I do not require/condemn it.
  5. You can contact me if you would like to review any of my novels via Goodreads messaging.
  6. I may share good reviews on Social Media, but will not concentrate on them.
  7. I hold the right to not read each and every review that is written for my novels.
  8. I disclose that I do not read reviews of my novel that are personal attacks (yes, these do happen).
  9. I disclose that I do not tend to read reviews that are 2 stars or under.
  10. I respect a reviewers opinion. I acknowledge that my writing style is not for everyone.
  11. Don’t be surprised if I like a JPEG you created for your review and ask if I can use it in marketing materials, but I will always ask permission and give credit on the materials to your blog or you.
  12. I save all fan art to my Pintrest board.

ARCAny reviews posted before the release date of my novels will be of UNEDITED Advance Reader Copies (hence referred to as ARCs). An ARC is an unedited Galley that is distributed by myself and my publisher before the publication date to solicit early reviewers; this includes both electronic and paperback additions. The novel is disclosed as an ARC with with words “Unedited Advance Reader Copy” on the electronic or paperback cover. The following disclosure is issued to each receiver of the ARC from myself and my publisher:

This is an UNEDITED Advance Reader Copy that will contain grammar and syntax errors. The final version of this novel may appear slightly different in content, but plot and characters will remain the same.

E-ARCS will additionally have the following disclosure:

This novel is a review copy for your use and your use only. This file is not to be shared, forwarded, or otherwise misused under copyright law.

The paperback versions will be used for promotional purposes and will also include the word “PROOF” on the back page. This will never be sold for a profit. Additional information and format changes may occur before the final version is released.

In addition to being used to solicit early reviewers, the electronic version will be utilized as a gift to those that participate in Promotional Events before the release date of the novel, including, but not limited to, cover reveals. If you participate in a Promotional Event and are given an E-ARC, reviews are welcome, but not required.

Reviewers are asked to take into account that any copies (ARCs) given before the publishing date contain such errors.

Feature FridayI do cross promote other authors on my blog. This doesn’t necessarily mean I have read their work, but I do believe in assisting other authors in their goals. I reserve Fridays as promotional days for other authors, but may participate in tours on other days if they cannot or do not fall on a Friday. My release dates (including cover reveals) do fall on Fridays, and I will promote my own novel on Feature Fridays. Feature Friday is open to authors to approach myself for interviews, cover reveals, or other promotional items with the exception of reviews (see the above review policy).

BLOG ratingPG-18

While I have published Young Adult novels, and write/illustrate Children’s Novels, this blog will be utilized to promote my New Adult novel and other novels in the genre. Thus, the rating is PG-18 due to slight to moderate sexual content and language that may be contained in Excerpts or Teasers.

Instalove 101 – Jumping Right In

instalovebanner

Jumping Right In: When Characters are Already in Love

Today, I’m glad to be a part of #InstaLove101 hosted by @ANovelIdea. Last year they hosted the fabulous Love Triangles 101, which was a total hit, so they decided to continue this year. I’m so glad because last year I was not able to participate and this year I am. Insta-love is a topic that is fought about the world over–do we hate it, do we love it? Is it realistic? The most challenging part for me has also been defining insta-love (I talk move about it here on my post, Insta-Wha?). It’s a word that’s spat out as being vile, yet the definitions of it are so diverse. Imagine my disdain when someone uttered the word on a review of Walking in the Shadows. That’s impossible, was the thing that immediately came to mind–why? Because at the opening of the book the characters are already in love. Insta-love has always appeared to be a gray area when I read about it in reviews, because there are many times when it’s mentioned when it’s obviously insta-attraction. There’s no problem with insta-attraction, because it’s a part of love. If you weren’t attracted to a person, you wouldn’t be interested in falling in love with them, would you be? This supposed gray area never fell into the area of already in love, though! It seems to me that insta-love becomes a more complex topic day by day, when it used to simply be the unrealistic utterance of the word at day one. Sometimes an author has to jump right in and have the characters already be in love, why? Sometimes it takes ages to fall in love, and even longer to actually admit it to the person and begin a relationship. Therefore, for the sake of not dragging out a story (not to mention the fact that the waiting for years would actually be boring to read) an author may produce characters already in love. I did it in Walking in the Shadows, and oops, I did it again in Flawed Perfection. It’s a planned measure in the outlining of the story, just like planning the falling in love. So why do I like to jump right in? In the case of Flawed Perfection, I would have ended up with a Harry Potter length series that would have followed my characters from Toddlerdom to Adulthood. As you can imagine, it would have taken years to write, and even more time to actually read it, because it would have been SO boring. Jumping right in can actually add to the potential drama, especially when there are obstacles in the characters way to actually getting to a relationship. This addition of drama could be angsty, just like insta-love, if you wanted it to be as well. I’m not a fan of angsty, though–so I’ll skip that. Conversely, there is an issue with jumping right in, and it’s an issue with every single decision a author makes. The readers may just hate it. That’s a risk that every author makes with every calculated decision, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. So why not just JUMP right in? You may like what you see, but insta-love, it will not be!

What do you think about insta-love, insta-attraction and jumping right in? Twitter it up by using hashtag #instalove101 and don’t forget to call me out at @cgiovanniauthor!

Promise Me Forever Cover Reveal

We join Grapevine Book Tours in presenting the new cover for:
Cover designed by Okay Creations

Promise Me Forever

by Sarah Ashley Jones

Promise Me Forever #1.5

Publication: March 17th, 2014

New Adult Contemporary Romance | Novella

Charlie Jennings and Jhett Hudson knew that a single moment could change everything.

It took them one song to find each other, one question to give them a chance, one kiss to fall in love, and one night to almost lose it all. But they had one thing other couples lack—pure, unconditional love—and that takes more than a moment to walk away from.

Falling in love is only the beginning. Forever is what happens next.


 


Sarah Ashley Jones

Her Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest | Goodreads

Sarah Ashley Jones was raised in San Diego, California, but currently wrangles her husband and three dogs in Clarksville, Tennessee. When she’s not writing she works in a pottery studio and comes home covered in paint on a daily basis. She has a slightly unhealthy obsession with cupcakes and chapstick. She is an eternal optimist and can often be found dancing and singing to music at any given time. It’s rare to see her not smiling or laughing, but if you do, just bring her a cupcake and it will cheer her up. Her huge imagination was always in overdrive as a child and now she is beyond excited to put it to good use as an adult. She plans to write as long as she has stories that need to be told.


Three (3) eBooks of Promise Me Forever (and book one, Promise Me This) by Sarah Ashley Jones {INT}

Cover reveal organized by

WIP Wednesday

2 wip wednesdayWork in progress includes more than just writing the book–what about everything else: the beta readers, editing, alpha readers, copy editors, revisions, marketing efforts, marketing plans…there’s so much that is involved in publishing a book. This week I have been working on some marketing materials for Flawed Perfection. We have bookmarks done and ready, and a sticker designed to go on the front of individual tissue packs (cause it’s a real tear jerker!).

Bookmark One Front:

Sorry! You can’t see it–because it has a piece of the yet to be revealed cover!

Bookmark One Back:

bm 1 back

Bookmark Two Front:

bm2 frontBookmark Two Back:

bm 2 back darker

Sticker:Series Name

     I.       

 

WIP Wednesday

2 wip wednesdayWork in progress includes more than just writing the book–what about everything else: the beta readers, editing, alpha readers, copy editors, revisions, marketing efforts, marketing plans…there’s so much that is involved in publishing a book. This week I have been working on the edits for Flawed Perfection. Here’s a sneak at the new first chapter–but not the whole thing!

I yawned as I closed my laptop and blinked at the television clock - 10:00 PM - I hadn’t even eaten yet. I began to stand, but dropped back down on the couch when I heard the giggle from across the hall; it was accompanied by a laugh I knew all too well, and the slam of the door. I sank deeper into the cushions as my mind drifted back to another night filled with his laughter…

My eyes open at the sound. Someone was throwing a rock against my bedroom window. I shot up in bed and looked around the pitch black room lit only by the hot pink comforter as the sound hit again. Mom had to take my night light today of all days when there wasn’t even a moon outside. There it was again, and it was definitely a rock. I slipped out of bed and went to the window.

There hanging in the tree next to my window was Adam and in his hand was a glowing jar.

I slowly lifted the window so it wouldn’t squeak. “What the heck are you doing?”

“I heard your mom made you get rid of the night light,” Adam replied, shoving the jar into my hands.

I took it and narrowed my eyes at him as he swung in the window.

“Who told you that?” I asked. I was glad the room was now only dimly lit by the glowing jar so he couldn’t see my pink cheeks.

“Bobby, who else?”

“What a jerk!” I huffed.

Adam shrugged as he pulled two other jars from his backpack. “I couldn’t fit them all in. I didn’t realize how hard it was to climb a tree with one arm.”

“What’s in these?” I asked as Adam set them on the ground and the room began to dance with the light.

“Fireflies,” he replied, and his thin lips turned into that crooked smile.

“You put what in these?” I hissed at him, stepping forward.

Adam’s brow furrowed over his face.

“I spent an hour catching fireflies for you,” he repeated and I watched as his throat rose and fell as he swallowed. “Don’t worry—I poked holes in the top.”

He moved closer to me so I could smell his cologne—the one I’d bought him for his sixteenth birthday a few days earlier. I tried to hide the deep breath I took of him as he moved my fingers across the metal top so I could feel the holes he’d poked.

He smirked at me again with his fingers still over mine.  I could feel the calluses from playing guitar—ones I’d felt a thousand times before as he leaned over me and tried his best to teach me how to strum. “You know I’d never hurt your precious fairies, Riv.”

COPYRIGHT, 2014 CASSANDRA GIOVANNI

WIP Wednesday

2 wip wednesdayWork in progress includes more than just writing the book–what about everything else: the beta readers, editing, alpha readers, copy editors, revisions, marketing efforts, marketing plans…there’s so much that is involved in publishing a book. This week I have been working on the Marketing Plan for FlawedPerfection.

Flawed Perfection (Beautifully Flawed, #1)

Bobby Beckerson was the American All-Star hockey player–he was the spitting image of perfection to his family. Goofy, sweet and undeniably gorgeous, he had everything but the one girl he wanted: River Ahlers.
River Ahlers is successful in everything but love. She’s been in love with Adam Beckerson since they were kids. Worst of all she’s stuck right in the middle of the brother’s dueling over everything and anything, and she doesn’t even know she’s the ultimate prize.
Adam Beckerson was a boy with a guitar, a smile that sunk girl’s hearts and a stone wall around his own. He was anything but perfect, and no matter how hard he tried he was nothing compared to Bobby. Sweet, damaged, with boyish good-looks, no body thought Adam loved anyone but himself.
Bobby loved River, River loved Adam and Adam only loved himself–or so everyone thought. Then one night everything changes, and as it threatens to destroy everyone involved a tragedy strikes that will break them all…

1.0-Defining Objectives-

Defining objectives means that you decide what you are going to promote, what your goals are, how profits will be measured, and finally how failures will be measured–yes, I just said failures. We won’t be sugar coating anything here. A good marketing plan is unbiased and truthful. You need these two things to ensure your own integrity and success.

1.      What are we going to promote?

 Flawed Perfection- New Adult Contemporary Romance

2.      What are the goals of the promotion and the product?

a.      Release March 7, 2014

b.     Organize Cover Reveal for February 7, 2014

c.       Send Press Release to Norwich Bulleting, and The Day by March 1, 2014

d.     Organize Release Blitz for March 7, 2014

e.      Organize month long blog tour from 3/10/14-4/10/14

f.       Contact Bank Square Books to set up release signing

g.      Hit one blog a day for at least 4 months total

h.     Reach 75 reviewers through blog contacts, tours, and R2R

i.        Sell 5,000 copies

j.        Break the 5,000 rank on Amazon

3.      How will profits be measured?

*Price point: $2.99

Royalty: 70%

Potential Profit/unit: $2.09

Goal: 5,000

Built-in Failure Rate: 75% of goal, equaling 3,500

Reasonable Profit Expectation: $7,315 (I just gagged a little bit)

Paperback Bookstore Price: $14.99 (at B.E.P)

Paperback Amazon: $12.99

Paperback Author-Direct: $12.99

**Paperback Profit: $0.00

*Profit will be reduced to $0.00 when second novel is released in the series. The price will drop to zero effective release week of Pieces of Perfection.

**Paperback profit is reduced to zero due to some pricing being at the B.E.P, and by the paperback giveaways that are incurred throughout the year.

4.      How are we going to measure failures or losses?

Sales at 50% of goal—assess marketing plan, target marketing and implementation specifically

 

1.2-Market Segmentation-Aka Selecting the Target Market

Selecting your target market means you need to consider whom you wrote your book for and what marketing strategies appeal to that particular target. You are taking a homogeneous market and dividing it up into more reasonable target areas. There are several simple ways that regular marketers concentrate on market segmentation:

1.      Geographic Segmentation: Your market will be divided up by the areas in which your clientele live such as states, countries, regions, etc.

2.      Demographic Segmentation: Your market will be divided up by socioeconomic factors such as age, sex,  education, income, occupation, etc.

3.      Psychographic Segmentation: Your market will be divided up by lifestyle, personalities, attitudes, values, interests, etc.

4.      Behavioral Segmentation: Your market will be divided up by the buying behaviors that a certain group exhibits consumption, usage, desired benefits, etc.

I will use demographic, pyschographic and behavioral segmentation to obtain a select market of readers:

My demographic is New Adults in the age range of 17+. The market is mainly 17-35, but there will be others attracted. The novel is a Contemporary romance so I will be looking to attract a mostly female demographic, and as far as pyschographic, the sub-genre will attract those with a personality that has an interest in love stories, stories with love triangles and about grieving. The buying behavior of those reading New Adults seems to be e-books, so the novel should be available on as many e-book platforms as possible. I do not want to miss out on the portion of the population that still craves the smell and feel of paper–so I will also have a paperback available. The paperback will also act as a good incentive for giveaways and promotions.

1.3-Selecting Promotion Channels-

A. Sales Channels

1.      E-books:

                                                              i.      Amazon

                                                           ii.      Barnes and Noble

                                                         iii.      Kobo

                                                         iv.      Google Play

2.      Paperbacks via Createspace:

                                                              i.      Amazon

                                                           ii.      Bank Square Books

                                                         iii.      Author Direct

B. Media Promotion Channels

     I.        Goodreads- Reach out to NA reading groups for R2R

  II.        Facebook- Promote with excerpts, snippets, sales information etc.

III.        Blog- Teaser Tuesdays

 IV.        Twitter- Post quotes, talk about sales, blog reviews, etc.

   V.        Pintrest- Post fanart and rating stats

C. Marketing Materials and SWAG

     I.        Bookmarks – Two Different Designs that focus on content, not where to get it

  II.        Postcards – Front with quote, back with buying information

III.        Flyers- Poster style flyers with just the cover on them

 IV.        Guitar Picks

   V.        Team Pins

 VI.        Team Stickers

VII.        Team Blog Banners

VIII.        Individual Tissue Packs with cover sticker

 IX.        Cover Stickers

   X.        Wing Charm Necklace

 

1.4-Implement the Plan-

Starting–NOW

Authors Behaving Badly

This seems to be a hot topic on Indie authors. I’m starting to see it all the time–authors calling out authors who they think are behaving badly. Here I am, and I am calling the kettle black. I’ll try my best to not be a giant hypocrite, but I feel I should voice my humble opinion–give you something to think about.

I’m calling out authors behaving badly calling out authors behaving badly. I’ve read quite a few posts lately and they all seem to be like the cartoon above, and not only that they are littered with plenty of what would require censoring. Those authors are that mad about those other authors, that they are screaming blasphemy, fist pounding and swearing–and (IMHO) say what, behaving badly! I’m notorious for hating one thing– people not owning their opinion. Here’s the thing, these posts not only say how horrid these other Indies are, but they also behave like a rule book, stating what Indies can and cannot do. Me, personally, I thought the whole reason to be an Indie was to not play by someone else’s rules. You know what? EVERY SINGLE industry has trolls in it, and guess what? Traditionally pubbed authors aren’t exempt from this either–there are plenty of them giving authors a bad name in general. The virus isn’t Indie Publishing, in my opinion, it’s human nature. Have I had run ins with authors who don’t take publishing seriously? Yes! Have I heard/seen an author say they published a book to get it out there and will just fix those nasty little errors later when enough people call them out on it? Yes! You know what, the only person those Indies are hurting are themselves. There are other Indies who are working to show their professionalism, integrity and drive every day. I see more of those than I do those Indies, because those indies are likely to publish one book, get the review beat up of their life and give up, because they aren’t serious about it. As far as I can see no one wants to put something out there and get it ripped to shreds, and you know what, NO book is perfect! Not yours who is making the Indie rules, not mine, and not traditionally published author’s. I can pretty much guarantee that every single book I’ve ever read has some mistake someone missed. Do Indie books tend to have more than others? It truly depends. Do I think you should get an editor? Sure. Do I think YOU MUST HAVE ONE? No. If you can put out a book people love and you’re proud of without one–go ahead. You aren’t making a bad name for me by publishing something with typos. I make my own name!

Am I an Indie? YES! HELL YES!

Are there some Indies that behave badly? YES!

Are there traditionally pubbed authors that behave badly? YES!

What I am truly getting down to, is this: You and you alone are responsible for your fate. Every industry has its share of trolls! By demonstrating your own integrity you are protecting your brand image, and that is the only image you can control. Let those other Indies drown themselves– and if it bothers you, don’t watch–look for the stars of the industry. The ones the readers love, and in the end publisher’s love–like Colleen Hoover. Oh, and as for those rules– I’m Indie, and I’m fabulous, and bold– I hold these rules for myself and myself only:

meYou can have whatever rules you want for you.

WIP Wednesday

2 wip wednesdayWork in progress includes more than just writing the book–what about everything else: the beta readers, editing, alpha readers, copy editors, revisions, marketing efforts, marketing plans…there’s so much that is involved in publishing a book. This week I have been working on getting enough bloggers to promote the novel. This includes endless hours contacting blogs and researching those blogs and who they support. I aim to contact 50-100 additional blogs a week, and I’ve currently contacted about 450. I still need A TON of help, because I’ve come to realize these blogs are REALLY busy–I am not the only one contacting them. This is way I need to contact at least triple this amount to make this novel successful. That’s right I need to contact well over 1,000 blogs to successfully market this book. Are you a blogger? Facebooker? I could really use your help! Here’s how you can help!

To say thank you anyone who signs up and posts will receive a complimentary e-ARC. If you prefer to respond via email, please do.
NOTE: You do not need to have a sign-up genius account to sign up, nor do you have to sign up for an account. It just makes it easier for me to keep track of things to use it!

 

Cover Reveal Date: 2/7/14

http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0D4FAAA92AA0FC1-flawed

Book Release Date (Blitz Date): 3/7/14
http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0D4FAAA92AA0FC1-flawed1

Giveaway: Yes, International e-book and Paper Swag Pack


Tour Dates: 3/10/14- 4/4/14
http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0D4FAAA92AA0FC1-flawed2

Giveaway: Yes, US Only- Paperback, Ultimate Swag Pack; International e-book and Paper Swag Pack

 

Book: Flawed Perfection

Series #: 1 of 4

Series: Beautifully Flawed

Author: Cassandra Giovanni

Publisher: Show n’ot Tell Publishing

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

HEA: This is a tear jerker, but the series does have a happy ending

Sexual Rating: Moderate–this is not erotica

Language: Moderate

Description:
Bobby Beckerson was the American All-Star hockey player–he was the spitting image of perfection to his family. Goofy, sweet and undeniably gorgeous, he had everything but the one girl he wanted: River Ahlers.
River Ahlers is successful in everything but love. She’s been in love with Adam Beckerson since they were kids. Worst of all she’s stuck right in the middle of the brother’s dueling over everything and anything, and she doesn’t even know she’s the ultimate prize.
Adam Beckerson was a boy with a guitar, a smile that sunk girl’s hearts and a stone wall around his own. He was anything but perfect, and no matter how hard he tried he was nothing compared to Bobby. Sweet, damaged, with boyish good-looks, no body thought Adam loved anyone but himself.
Bobby loved River, River loved Adam and Adam only loved himself–or so everyone thought. Then one night everything changes, and as it threatens to destroy everyone involved a tragedy strikes that will break them all…

 

Boston or Bust?

That would be a big giant:

BUST

I took a few weeks to let the issues that occurred be addressed by the BBF staff before deciding to sit down and write this. Then once they’d “resolved” the issues I took a few more weeks to stew over that. I’m going to be honest and open here, as I always try to be. I’m going to try to be factual as well…Here goes…

So what happened? I was extremely excited when I learned the 5th Annual Boston Book Festival was offering this:

New in 2013! Individual authors and independent literary presses can take out a table along “Indie Alley.” This newly created, author-exclusive exhibitor area is situated in front of the John Hancock Tower at the intersection of St. James Avenue and Clarendon Street. The Boston Magazine even spoke about it…

The independent author and self-published book industries are booming at the moment, and organizers of the annual Boston Book Festival recognize that

So to cater to the demand, for the first time ever, they are offering up space to those who have worked tirelessly to get their name out without the help of a major publishing company to back them up.

“That market is exploding right now. I think one of our goals [at the festival] is to always spark the interest and creativity of aspiring authors, and to have attendees be able to see people who are out there [self-publishing], and getting voices out there, which can be inspirational for them,” said Norah Piehl, deputy director of the Boston Book Festival. “It provides a voice for people at the festival that may not otherwise be heard.”

(Read the Entire Article by clicking on Boston Magazine above).

The key thing here that happened was–we weren’t heard. I really should have known better, as I am from Mass. In fact I was only a twenty minutes from Boston growing up. The thing is, I’m not really all that familiar with Boston. I didn’t realize the place they were putting us was NO WHERE near the event on Copley Square. We were abandoned in a corner; one that no one would even pass through to get to the main event. What do I mean by abandoned? There was absolutely NO signage indicating where we were, and the map…our tiny, miniscule dot was laughable. Many authors had fans and/or family members that came specifically for Indie Alley–and they couldn’t even find it! The event was to last from 10PM to 5PM, and promised to send some of the 25,000 people that attend annually our way. Great in theory! There sure was a huge mass of people on Copley Square–there was live music, booths with books and major published authors, oh and TONS of people…a BLOCK away from us. The attention and traffic to those areas was obvious, and then the other obvious thing was the MASSIVE amount of space that we could have been in. No, I’m not talking about the lawn of Copley Square–it was obvious that was not to be trodden on, and I’ve got no issue with that. I’m talking about the space around the lawn to the right that was empty! The space that to the front and left was filled with those major published authors. In the end I sold some books, one to a fan of another author who I just happened to be talking to when the fan came, and another two to two other authors at the fair. The bill for this day…well, between what I paid for the table, to drive on the Mass Pike, the time spent driving (3 hours total), the time I spent freezing my butt off  and the cost of marketing materials and paperbacks. Well, I’m in a big fat red zone. The BBF pointed out that was a risk we took, because they couldn’t guarantee attendance. The fact is, the BBF gave us plastic tables, with .50 cent plastic table clothes and a sticker with our name on it and an area where no traffic would go through. By 2:00 half of the authors had left in a huff, and by 2:30 I’d left, too. I was sullen, but at the same point, it was a risk. I understand that–I only wished we hadn’t been thrown off in a corner–or that there was SOME sort of signage indicating the hole in the wall that we were in compared to the main event. I didn’t want a refund. I’d just wanted my voice to be heard–a struggle that is evident in being an Indie author; one that the event organizers claimed they understood. They’re attention to the main event (which we should have been included in and it was always alluded to that we would be) and claimed ignorance of us indicated they didn’t understand. So, I decided to write a letter:

I’m not sure if you would be the person to speak about this, but the event really didn’t go the way that I thought it would. I was very disappointed with the set up, as there was no signage indicating where we were, and we were a block away from the actual Festival. Honestly, it really was like being in an alley, but it wasn’t even in direct walking distance of the festival. It truly felt as though we were an after thought. I was excited for the chance to be a part of a major book festival, and was disappointed that we were put off in a corner where no one would, or did, find us. It was even more frustrating to see the plethora of people gathering at the actual festival, and the mass of empty space in which we could have been–actually a part of the festival. I’ve had more exposure at local high school craft fairs, of which I paid much much less to be at. I do thank the organization for attempting to invite independent authors to the event, but in the end it felt like we were being scorned. I appreciate you taking this into consideration for your future events. I’d love to be a part of the Festival next year, but only if cost and the location are considered and changed.

Looking at it now, it does seem a bit harsh, but it was truthful. I did feel scorned and put in a corner. In fact this kept playing in my mind:

I certainly don’t want to sound like a cry baby in this situation. I took the risk. I paid the money, and I realized it really didn’t work. C’est la vie. I was surprised by the BBF’s answer:

Dear Indie Alley Exhibitors,

Many of you have reached out to us after the last week following your time at the Boston Book Festival.  We are disheartened that so many authors had a bad experience at this year’s BBF. Our intention with setting up Indie Alley was to offer independent authors a chance to exhibit at our event and we are sorry that Indie Alley did not draw the audience we had hoped it would. 

To address some of the issues you have raised, you should know first of all that the space that we used for Indie Alley is the only one the city of Boston would allow us to use.  Our request to close Trinity Place to traffic was denied and the grass at Copley Square is off-limits.  In terms of foot traffic, we had planned to have an entire day of poetry readings in the Blue Glass Café in the John Hancock building, which would have brought several hundreds of festival-goers through your exhibitor area.  We were notified less than a month before the BBF that the building’s power would be off for HVAC repairs and that we would have to relocate the poetry.  This was unforeseen.

Indie Alley was an experiment, and apparently one that failed.  We regret that failure and in future years will return to our policy of not offering individual authors exhibitor space.  This is a shame, but we have no other choice given the poor attendance this year.

While we are as disappointed as you are that Indie Alley was not a success, we did invest both time and money in setting it up.  This was a risk that you as exhibitors and we as the event planners took jointly and while your contract states that there are no refunds, in light of the poor attendance we would like to offer to refund each of you half of your fee.  To request a refund, please download the attached document, sign and either fax or mail it back to us, attention <name removed for privacy>.

Please know that we have learned from this year’s experience how better to serve our community in the future, and we hope you are able to attend and enjoy the BBF in future years.

We got a list of excuses, but no explanation for why they didn’t decide to move us to the large area NOT on the lawn, or to the huge sidewalk area that was still in viewing of the main event. No explanation for why there was NO SIGNAGE indicating where we were. No explanation for why we WERE A TINY dot on a map. We got a refund, and an invitation to attend in future years BUT NOT AS EXHIBITORS. This was the part that upset me the most. In future years <we> will return to our policy of not offering individual authors exhibitor space.

WHAT? Really? That was the part that had me sitting rereading the letter over and over again in disbelief. Shunned. Scorned. Abandon. Definitely not understood. This year didn’t work, we can all admit that–but why can’t we work to make this better? I’m sure that many of the authors, including myself, would be willing to meet via conference call with event organizers to talk about how future years could be better organized. I’m a project manager–I do marketing plans–there’s a failure component in both. You fail, you look at why and you revise your plan! You do not abandon it!

So, yet again, New England is left without a Festival or Conference to celebrate Indie authors and what they contribute to the literary world. BBF could have filled that hole, and after one poor attempt they gave up. I don’t plan on giving up, but at this point there isn’t much I can do in the way of Festivals. So, plan on coming out to the bookstores that I do my release signings at, and the high schools I do craft fairs at…I’ll be there with a great novel and a smile!