Category Archives: Marketing

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Open Letter to Amazon.com

Re: Amazon Reviews

Dear Mr. Bezos, et al,

I would like to take this opportunity to implore you to reconsider your decision to remove a number of reviews from your web site. I fully acknowledge that you, as the business, have a right to do as you see fit with your company. I would however, like to point out a few things to you regarding this new enforcement of a policy we were unaware existed.

By disallowing authors from posting reviews for books written by other authors, you are eliminating a huge venue for the promotion of the books you sell. As I am sure you are aware, for decades, publishing houses have relied on the “blurbs” of other authors to promote their books. This is common practice and should not play a role in the financial considerations of the “blurbing” author.

I hope you will reconsider your stance that authors are in competition with one another. This goes without saying, but with a few exceptions, authors have learned to co-exist peacefully without raking each other over the coals and trying to ruin one another.

Your determination that an author stands to gain financially in some manner when offering a review of another author’s book is simply befuddling. It’s a big industry and we deserve more credit than to be lumped in with the corporate moguls who are only in it for the money, no matter the cost to those they tromp on. I gain nothing by reviewing a book by Nora Roberts, except perhaps the knowledge that if I loved her latest book and say so, someone else will see my review on your site and buy that book to read.

I would also like to point out that there are by far more effective ways to handle some of the problems you have surely run up against in your review process. Instead of alienating us, why not incorporate some new aspects into the submission process. I would think that by allowing the reviewer to clearly state their relationship to the book (for example, a series of choices with radio buttons indicating this information):

  • Reader
  • Author
  • Publisher
  • Editor
  • Bookseller
  • Librarian

Other readers and potential consumers can decide on their own whether a certain review merits their consideration. I feel compelled to tell you that so many authors feel abused by Amazon.com with this enforcement of the “no competition review” rule. As it stands now, you are not only alienating publishers, editors, and authors, but also booksellers, as they are the ones who truly stand to gain financially by posting favorable or over-exaggerated reviews. How will you weed out their reviews?

On behalf of multi-purpose readers worldwide, please reconsider your actions and give some thought to simply allowing people to say how they feel, no matter who they are.

With respect,
Karen Syed
Multi-purpose reader

I Just Wanna Write

Okay, I am having one of those weeks. If you know me, you know that I am a bit of and overachiever. Have been my whole life. I tend to take on way more than I can handle and then stress out about not getting it done when it needs to be done. I know this, I admit this, and I apologize for this.

I am currently working on several projects that need to be done last week. I am editing three books, four short stories, and an anthology. Am I complaining? No, no, no. I love what I do and can only imagine doing one other thing.

I miss writing horribly. My husband says I need to spend half of my day working for others and half of the day writing and promoting my own books. I simply can’t do this. I have responsibilities and my personal pleasure cannot go before them.

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I was recently accused of focusing too much on my personal writing career and not enough on my authors. Really? REALLY??? A couple Facebook posts a day is too much? Seriously! I woke up this morning with an idea swimming around in my head that is begging to be written, but I plunked myself down in my chair and began working on edits for a client. I have added the idea to my idea file, though that file now takes up about 2 GB on my hard drive…sigh

Not sure why I needed to put this out here. I guess I just needed the people I am working for to know that I am working for them and once I am done with their projects, I might take some time to write. After all, I do think I am pretty good at it. 🙂

 

 

 

Dear Lendink

 

I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs of how this book business works, but I do know that I am offended on your behalf. Recently, your site was shut down because a group of authors decided you were a pirate. I visited your site. I read your FAQ page. I did some research and as far as I could discover you were doing exactly what you said you were doing.

I did NOT see any signs of a wooden leg, a hook where your hand should be, or a skull and crossbones flag hanging anywhere on your site. Nor did I see an eye patch, though you might have looked quite dashing in an eye patch.

I would like to take a moment to say thank you. Perhaps this is too late, perhaps not. I sincerely appreciate what you were trying to do buy leading readers by the virtual hand to the actual buy pages of the books I write and publish. I am constantly looking for new ways to market our books that do not require more time than I have to give. You did that, willingly, and legally, and you were cast out for your efforts.

::hangs head in shame:: I am sorry that not everyone felt the need to give you the benefit of the doubt and to take the time to figure out that you were acting on behalves and in fact doing us a FAVOR.

I would like to let you know that should you get your site back up and running, you have my permission to LEGALLY promote my books on your site. This goes for anyone who wants to LEGALLY introduce readers to the books of Echelon Press. Don’t steal from me, don’t distribute or lend our books without ensuring that the authors and I are being full compensated within our legal rights. But by all means, if you want to post covers and links to where readers can BUY our books LEGALLY, you have my blessing and my supports.

I am certain I am not the only one angered at your mistreatment. You can find another supporter at the blog of April L. Hamilton. http://aprillhamilton.blogspot.com/2012/08/congratulations-you-killed-lendink-and.html

Respectfully,

Karen L. Syed

 

 

 

 

What was Satan Thinking?

 

First, let’s be clear on what I mean when I say POD books. This term has become so misused and misunderstood that it has actually resulted in lost sales for many. This doesn’t need to be the case.

POD stands for PRINT ON DEMAND. You’ll notice the word PRINT. Not publish or promote, PRINT!

POD is the process used by PRINTERS to eliminate the need for excessive runs of print copies. The printer simply waits until there is an order and then prints the specific number of copies ordered, removing the immediate potential for wasted paper.

I’m not sure why POD books have received such a negative reputation, but most booksellers and librarians, and now due to the overwhelming number of authors arguing about it in public forums, readers equate POD with lower quality books. This simply isn’t the case.

For over a decade, a multitude of publishers, both big and small, have been using the POD method for fulfilling orders.

The quality of the written word is determined well before the actual book ever goes to print, thereby eliminating the misconception that POD books are “bad.” It needs to be understood by all that POD, the method of printing does not account for the number of poorly written and edited books being sold in the market.

The biggest problem with the misunderstanding of POD is the ability for companies and authors to market and promote the books. However, with the proper education within the retail (and library) industries, bookseller and acquisition librarians could not only increase their potential sales and titles available, but could increase the variety of stories available to their readers.

Readers crave originality. They are tired of reading the same recycled stories by the same authors. Yet, they are deprived of any freshness in their choices, because the larger and more traditional publishers are reluctant to take any financial risk on the newer and more exciting stories written by unknown or new authors.

I would encourage everyone in the book industry to educate themselves and to recognize the value of POD books and to acknowledge the potential for increased sales. Give new authors a chance to prove that they have writing skill and the ability to tell a good story, no matter how many copies of their book is printed at one time.

Furthermore, consider the environmental impact of POD books. A traditional publisher may print 5000 copies of a paperback novel by a new author, and only sell 1500 of them. This means that the remaining 3500 unsold copies will be put into waste. Had the publisher used the POD process to print those books, they would have simply printed the 1500 copies as the orders came in and eliminated the waste. If you did this for 10,000 books in one year, imagine how much paper would be saved and thus less trees.

Bottom line, POD is not the work of Satan. It is simply a process used to print books in smaller quantities. Sorry, Dude, you don’t get credit for this one.

My final point refers to the availability and returnability of books produced using the POD process. The status of returns is not determined across the industry, it is determined by the specific publisher or author. This means that it is an unfair assumption for a bookstore not to carry a POD book, without first determining its returnability status.

We all have choices, but when we make a choice, that doesn’t give us the right to complain when that choice cause a problem.

I hope that after reading this post, more people who speak ill of the POD process will reconsider their “choices” and give authors a fair chance to sell books and entertain readers.

Will you?

Originally published at ©Life as a Publisher by Karen L. Syed
This can be reproduced in it’s entirety with no additions or corrections.

 

The Freedom to Type

Warning: This is a Rant.

So, I belong to numerous Yahoo groups that focus on various things. Some of them are just for fun, others I rely on for networking, industry news, and learning. Recently I have discovered that on a couple of them that claim to be for industry professionals, those professionals don’t seem to be able to stay on topic, focus, or acknowledge that someone other than them could know something. There are four in specific that I will not name.

So the first one is a genre group for readers. However, if you are an author and a reader you are not allowed to mention your books or the books of anyone you know personally as it is considered promoting and that is against the rules on the group. Um…WTF? When you go into a readers group and you talk about the books you are reading, you are pretty much promoting that book…just make sure it isn’t anyone you know or you are gonna get yelled at…every time!

The next one is a group for authors to learn about industry news and writing opportunities. However, if you are a publisher, you are not allowed to mention or promote your own company because it is considered biased and is not productive for the other members.

The third group is supposed to be an industry discussion group on a certain aspect of the industry. However, most of the people on this group lurk, another big portion use the group as a place to market their own work, and another large portion only post when they have something to argue about, which seems to be frequently. Now, this is the group I wanted to be most active on because the topic is very important to me. Problem is, my notes only seem to get through every so often. I recently posted something that could have been very helpful to almost everyone in the group at some point, and it managed to incorporate the actual topic that is supposed to be the focus of the group. Why was I censored? I have no idea.

The fourth group, my personal favorite, is a group that focuses on a specific item. However, you can only discuss that item if you don’t mention your direct connection to that item, the connection of anyone you know to that  item, or your actual opinions on that item. This is NOT a moderated group so all the notes go up, but there are people who are moderators who go through and if they think you have stepped over a line they delete the text of your post. I recently had every single thing I posted censored. When I asked why, I was told that it’s because I was blatantly promoting myself. When I explained that I had not written any of the books I had mentioned, I was told that they knew I had published 3 of the 10 books I posted about. Okay…still not my books. I was then told that I had a personal stake in those three books and I was not allowed to post about anything I had a stake in. Huh?

So my question is, why the hell do people start groups where you aren’t allowed to talk about anything that is of any value or relevance to the topic of the group?

That said, I have opened a new forum for authors, publishers, publicists. It is meant to be a place where authors gan go to brainstorm marketing, network, and give and get ideas and help wit marketing books. It is not a readers group, it is not a device group, it is not a genre group. The only rules are that there is no discussion of religion or politics (not the place and it always ends badly) and no flaming of fellow forum members. Simple enough.

If you fit into one of the three categories, feel free to join us. I would love to actually talk about marketing in an open forum. Marketing Masters: http://marketingmasters.proboards.com/index.cgi