Saturday, June 18, 2011

Kindle and Authors Victimized by Spam Producers

This "In the News" post is from a feature that runs regularly in my Sharing with Writers newsletter. Writers can subscribe by sending me an e-mail with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line at HoJoNews (at) AOL (dot) com. 

In the News:  Oh, my gosh. Could authors be doing this? LA Times reports that spam is clogging Amazon’s Kindle. Here’s what is happening:

Amazon offers Kindle uploads f r ^ ^. That is a wonderful privilege. But it’s being abused. Books that “are not written in the traditional sense” are being uploaded to Kindle. The article from Reuters says they are “built using something known as Private Label Rights or PLR content, which is information that can be bought very cheaply [or stolen] online and then reformatted into a digital book.” There is even a DVD box set available that teaches people to do it so they can write/publish up to twenty books a day! Then they load these pseudo books onto Kindle for 99 cents and after they have enough of them up there, they sit back and reap the profits! It’s all about volume. Enough 99 cent books at 70% royalties equals a nice check each month. Some of these books seem to be copies of others’ work, too!

I just finished writing a piece on authors who take advantage of the benefits offered by certain online entities like Amazon. I’ve seen great benefits come, then get abused, then disappear because the online entities can’t continue to support bad behavior.

Here’s the thing. If something feels dishonest or destructive, it probably is. But new authors often don’t have the experience to effectively analyze a marketing or publishing idea that they read about so they get roped into destructive behavior. I hope my readers will be vigilant. Sometimes the line between ethical behavior and fraud or plagiarism is not as evident as one would like. Avoid anything that feels like ballot stuffing, paying for or demanding payment for services that should be free, or plagiarizing. And continue to do what you are doing—that is producing the best possible manuscripts you can. It’s best for you and best for the publishing industry as a whole. It’s also what will eventually give all self publishers a fighting chance against publishing prejudice.
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:

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