Friday, April 30, 2010

Who's better at grammar:
Donald the boss or Cyndi the apprentice?

Near the end of last Sunday's episode of The Celebrity Apprentice (which I saw Thursday night via Tivo), fun-loving girl Cyndi Lauper said, "I feel bad."

Creatively coiffed zillionaire Donald Trump corrected her, insisting that Cyndi should have said, "I feel badly."

Cyndi accepted the correction, and no one else on the set -- not the contestants nor the pretty Trump kids -- disagreed with Donald.

And since the scene was not cut out by the show's editors, they must have assumed that Donald was right, too. Or they were afraid to challenge him.

Well, he wasn't right. Cyndi was right.

Donald may be successful in business, but that doesn't mean he speaks proper English.

And despite her heavy Noo Yawk accent, Cyndi's grammar is just fine.

Most kids learn the difference between adjectives and adverbs around fourth grade. Cyndi got famous singing that "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," but she apparently paid more attention to grammar than Donald did.

If you feel bad, you're sad or you're sick. If you feel badly, you have trouble using your hands.

Donald, you're fired!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Warning to sloppy publishers:
Misspelling can lead to arrest

  • English-major Brent Sampson, boss of inept vanity publisher Outskirts Press, has misspelled "importantly" online, and the company's name has been misspelled several times in press releases.
  • Bob Young,  boss of financially troubled, misspelled "misspell."
  • They'd better be more careful if stopped by cops.
A driver pulled over for an improper tail light in Fort Walton Beach, Florida was arrested after she gave a sheriff's deputy a name she couldn't spell. As revenge for the arrest, she peed in the police car.

The woman said her name was Coronica Jackson. When the deputy asked her to spell it for him, she said it was C-o-r-i-c-a. When her passenger nudged her, the driver spelled it C-o-r-n-a-i-c-a. Finally her passenger spelled it C-o-r-o-n-i-c-a. When the deputy asked the driver to sign a piece of paper, she wrote Coninani Junise and laughed about not being able to spell her name.

The deputy noted in his report that he "detected deception" and went back to his car to check the name in his computer.

The photo he found did not match the driver's appearance and her signature was not even close to the one in the computer system. The deputy arrested her and searched her purse, where he found an identification card with her real name on it. He also learned that her license had been revoked in 1997.

He placed her in handcuffs in the back of his patrol car where she began to scream obscenities and attempted to kick out the windows of the car. She also threatened to "pee" and "spit" in the car.

When they arrived at the sheriff's station, the deputy discovered that she had pulled her pants down and peed on the floor of his car and had spit on the windows.

She was charged with driving with a revoked license and giving a false name. (info from


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

After two weeks, what I like and don't like about the iPad

I'll take care of the don't-likes first because there are so few of them. None of these are sufficient reasons not to have an iPad.

  1. There should be stereo sound without using headphones.
  2. The sound without using headphones should be LOUDER.
  3. eNewspapers don't come in plastic bags that can be used to pick up dog crap.
  4. 4.  I have to finish watching a movie rented from iTunes within 24 hours of starting to watch it. Movies should be fun, not an obligation. Yesterday morning I started watching the fantastic 157-minute "American Gangster" and paused it after 45 minutes. I resumed watching this morning, paused it after 60 minutes to answer the phone, and learned I'd have to pay $2.99 to finish the movie. This is not caused by the iPad, but the iPad revealed the problem.

Now for the do-likes:

  1. It's MUCH MORE than an eBook reader
  2. The screen is in color, unlike Kindle, etc.
  3. The screen is beautifully bright and sharp -- much better for viewing photographs than the electronic photo frames I've seen
  4. The screen is big
  5. There is no space wasted on a physical keyboard that is seldom needed, as with the Kindle
  6. The overall size is right
  7. It's easy to use, with seldom any need to check the instructions
  8. Very easy to load photos, music, videos and documents from my PCs
  9. Very fast downloads from web, via wi-fi
  10. Works fine with G-mail
  11. Slide shows with music
  12. Apple's Safari web browser works fine -- I don't miss IE
  13. BestBuy gave me 18 months to pay with no interest
  14. Virtual keyboard is well designed, and very smart
  15. Pre-made links for Youtube, iTunes, App Store
  16. Easy to view from the side so several people can see what's on the screen
  17. Super-fast downloads of eBooks
  18. Cool display of books on shelf, which rotates (like entrance to secret passage) to access Apple's bookstore
  19. Contact manager address book (which can pick up photos already stored)
  20. Amazing maps
  21. Appointment book ("calendar")
  22. Newspapers and magazines look great
  23. eBooks show photos better than pBooks
  24. Pages don't stick together
  25. No globs of glue or smudged ink
  26. Infinitely rotatable
  27. Ability to enlarge text for easier reading
  28. Hyperlinks in magazines, books and newspapers
  29. Fits nicely between my pillow and headboard for in-bed belly-down reading and movies
  30. Unlike pBooks, pMagazines, and pNewspapers, it doesn't get damaged by doggie drool or orange juice
  31. Magazine and book covers can't get wrinkled and pages can't fall out or get torn
  32. eNewspapers and eMagazines are not stuffed with annoying coupons
  33. Newspapers and magazines arrive without my having to go outside to get them in bad weather
  34. Old newspapers and magazines don't have to go into blue recycling bin and schlepped outside in bad weather
  35. I've had it for 15 days and it's not obsolete yet
  36. Long battery life
  37. Free samples of eBooks can be quickly converted into paid-for complete books
  38. My sister is getting my netbook, which I no longer need
  39. iPad is a great geek-chick magnet
  40. My wife doesn't complain about the money spent on it
  1. USB port
  2. Memory card slot
  3. Compatibility with Adobe's Flash
  4. More colorful "home" button
  5. Ability to see screen in bright sunlight
  6. A bit less weight for extended hand-holding


Monday, April 26, 2010

Loser Lulu cancels IPO

I previously told you that Canadian author-services company hoped to do an IPO (initial public offering), selling $50 million in stock to pay off debts. I pointed out that the company's sloppy printing, bad customer service, bad website, high prices and strong competitors were not indicators of future success with either the IPO or business in general.

Last week, Lulu's underwriters stated, “Due to current market conditions, at this time Lulu Ltd. has decided to postpone the financing until further notice.”

According to the Globe and Mail of Toronto, "The decision to pull this IPO shows investors are still leery of unproven small-cap companies. Lulu lost $1.9 million last year on sales of $32.6 million."

In contrast, vanity publishing behemoth Author Solutions had 2009 sales of about $100 million, and apparently made a profit. Author Solutions now owns such former competitors as Author House, Xlibris and Trafford. Don't be surprised if it gobbles up Lulu, too.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

World's worst poem, from world's worst poet, about world's worst publisher

"A Poem About PublishAmerica"
By Luke Easter, PublishAmerica author

WARNING: have barf bag handy while reading.

In the classic, "Still Waters" the Four Tops sing,
To me about happiness and joy others will bring,
The line, "If I don't click my glass and say a toast,"
Goes to Publish America when I needed them most.

Allowing writers to live what was once a distant dream,
Reality's no longer as far away as it would forever seem,
Countless amounts in dollars, they advise in common sense,
Add these two together the total being at their own expense.

Yes, it's not only monetary but plenty of sound advice,
And that's forever not just happenstance once or twice,
A publishing company who not only works with but for,
Greetings with a smile to all when knocking on the door.

For more information go online & check out the web page,
Whether bookmarks or your favorites be sure to hit saved,
Authors with easy names from A to the more difficult Z,
Books on everything from gardening to the likes of poetry.

Titles are in the thousands while genres are good and plenty,
With original process of thought as the ideas flow from many,
Self-help, instructional, comedy, drama, education, history,
Fiction, sports, family, health and many more like mystery.

Dealing with some publishing houses can be a book of grief,
Your experience with Publish America is a welcomed relief,
From manuscript submission to the final draft actually in print,
Seeking an agreement in principle? Well, hope you take the hint.

From Katie and the hard working crew in the department of text,
Denise and the entire support team who will tell you what's next,
Not enough accolades to cover the genius of those in cover design,
There isn't a more sincere Publishing House in the industry to find.

The poet's overpriced $29.95 paperback book had an Amazon sales rank this morning of #5,750,203. It's hard to get worse than that, and the book has received just one review in nearly three years of availability.
The description on Amazon says, "Everyone will be held accountable for his or her actions.... It implores us to think before we act or speak, and never to judge or condemn."

I disagree. I hereby judge and condemn Luke Easter as a really crappy poet. I hope he'll be held accountable for his actions in misusing the English language, and wasting precious trees and bytes.

BTW, the $29.95 book is also available from PublishAmerica for just $4.99, which may be a better indication of its value.

(Photo of man with barf bag from

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tomorrow you can buy a Kindle at Target

Target will start selling the Amazon Kindle eBook reader on Sunday, as the first bricks-and-mortar retailer to carry the product. Target will initially sell Kindles at its downtown Minneapolis store and at over 100 stores in South Florida, and will add more stores later this year. Target has not announced plans to sell Kindles from its website.

Kindle is the bestseller of millions of items available at, even outselling my books. It sells for $259 and has been available for purchase on exclusively until the availability at Target.

This parallels the situation with the Apple iPad, which was initially available only from Apple's website and stores, and at BestBuy stores, but not from other Apple dealers.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Amazon sales nearly doubled for quarter.
Book sales grew less than gadget sales.

Yesterday announced financial results for its first quarter, ending March 31, 2010.

Net sales increased 46% to $7.13 billion in the first quarter, compared with $4.89 billion in first quarter 2009. Excluding the $185 million favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales would have grown 42% compared with first quarter 2009.

Operating income increased 62% to $394 million in the first quarter, compared with $244 million in first quarter 2009. Excluding the $15 million favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, operating income would have grown 56% compared with first quarter 2009.

Net income increased 68% to $299 million in the first quarter, or $0.66 per diluted share, compared with net income of $177 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, in first quarter 2009.

North America were $3.78 billion, up 47% from first quarter 2009.

International sales, representing the Company's U.K., German, Japanese, French and Chinese sites, were $3.35 billion, up 45% from first quarter 2009. Excluding the favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 37%.

Worldwide Media sales grew 26% to $3.43 billion. Excluding the favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 22%.

Worldwide Electronics & Other General Merchandise sales grew 72% to $3.51 billion. Excluding the favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 68%.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

How not to inspire confidence in a business serving writers

AuthorHive is part of vanity publishing behemoth Author Solutions. It's a new venture that provides a la carte marketing services to authors -- even authors who have not published with Author Solutions' brands like AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford and Xlibris.

Services from the Hive include marketing, publicity, website design, book signings and displays at trade shows.

It's my duty to keep up with developments in the book business, so I signed up to receive information.

I got an email from Anthony W. Schrock, a Senior Marketing Consultant.
He said, "I are likely very busy.."

If this comes from a senior consultant, imaging how bad the junior consultants do their jobs.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Publishers Weekly used the "V" word

In the past, Publishers Weekly has called vanity publishers "self-publishing companies" and "subsidy publishers" instead of using the traditional and pejorative term, "vanity publisher" -- possibly to avoid offending advertisers.

In an online article preview shown above, PW used the previously forbidden "V" word.

It was recently announced that PW will be sold to its former publisher George Slowik. It's possible that the use of the "V" word indicates a policy shift to realism and honesty. OTOH, maybe it's just an accidental breach of PW policy that won't happen again.

Unfortunately, trade publications are often whores.

Writers Digest carries lots of advertising from vanity publishers including incompetent and dishonest Outskirts Press. Outskirts is both a major advertiser and a WD contest sponsor. WD calls Outskirts and its competitors "self-publishing companies." They're not. WD won't risk offending advertisers by using the "V" word -- even if the publication misleads its readers.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Very expensive typo

As a reader, writer and publisher, I know very well that no book is perfect -- no matter how many times it has been edited, proofread and examined.

When I'm reading books published by others, errors can be annoying or funny or both. When I read my own books, they're never funny. As I get close to a pre-announced "pub date," I have to decide if an error is bad enough to need correcting, which would delay publication. I also know that every time I make a correction, I risk creating more errors.

The first batch of each new books has undesirable but acceptable errors. I usually send them to friends with a sticker to let them know that I know that the books are imperfect (but free).

I've never printed books with an error in information, spelling, grammar or typography that was so bad that a batch of books had to be destroyed.

The publisher of the Pasta Bible in Australia was not so fortunate.

Penguin Group Australia decided to reduce 7,000 copies to paper pulp that will become the main ingredient for other books, and the "Bible" was reprinted.

What was the sin in the "Bible?"

The final proofreader did not notice that a recipe for spelt tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto called for "freshly ground black people."

The ingredient was supposed to be black pepper.

Reprinting will cost Penguin nearly $20,000. Books already in stores will not be recalled because doing so would be "extremely hard," according to a Penguin spokesman. (info from The Sydney Morning Herald)


Monday, April 19, 2010

Can you spell "Stupid?"

The New York Daily News calls itself "New York's Hometown Newspaper" and it's aimed at a blue-collar audience, like joe-da-plumma.

For over 70 years, until 1991, the paper touted itself as "New York's Picture Newspaper" in apparent recognition of its customers' limited literacy.

Its editorials have generally been conservative. Letters-to-the-editor are frequently anti-government, anti-politician, and recently pro-Tea Party.

That's why it seems particularly strange that last week the paper published a collection of signs with bad spelling and bad grammar hoisted by protesting Teabaggers.

OTOH, maybe it's not so strange. Also last week, the largely white-collar New York Times published results of a poll (co-sponsored by CBS) that revealed that Teabaggers are "more well-educated than the general public."

So, maybe the News is engaging in a bit of class warfare by pointing out that even those highly edgimikated protistors kant spel gud.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Say goodbye to "by"

These bad and allegedly "great" covers are shown in a promotional book called 7 Easy Steps for First-Time Authors, from BookPal, an Australian pay-to-publish company.

While the "great" cover is better than the "bad" one,  its design is unlikely to win any graphic arts awards, and it has a really stupid error.

There is no need to put the word "by" next to the author's name. Without the "by," people will still realize that A. M. Green is the author of the book.

Using the superfluous "by" on a book's cover is like the signs in store windows that say, "Help Wanted. Inquire Within."

In the 21st centrury there are probably job-seekers who don't understand the quaint 18th-century phrase, "inquire within."

And even without those two words, people who read "help wanted" are still likely to "inquire within." What else would they do, send a telegram?

And, speaking of superfluousness, a bit of fun from my father.
Q: Why do nuns wear crucifixes?
A: So no one will think they're Jewish.

(Putting a colon after the "by" as on the bottom book is even stupider than a simple "by.")


Friday, April 16, 2010

2009 was second year of huge growth in POD books. Fiction sales dropped 15%. Overall title total was over 1 million for first time.

Bowker, the major source of book information, has released statistics on U.S. book publishing for 2009, compiled from its Books In Print® database.

In contrast to a slight drop of about one-half percent in "traditional" book titles, for the second consecutive year there was extraordinary growth in the number of “non-traditional” books.

These books are largely self-published, micro-press, vanity-press and reprints of public domain titles. Bowker projects that 764,448 titles were produced that fall outside Bowker’s traditional publishing and classification definitions. This number is a 181% increase over 2008 -- which doubled 2007’s output – driving total book production over 1,000,000 units for the first time.

“The data surrounding traditional publishing suggests that the weak economy is still having an adverse effect in what and how much consumers are willing to purchase,” said Kelly Gallagher, vice president of publishing services for New Providence, N.J.-based Bowker. “However, looking at the overall picture, we’re seeing that the face of publishing itself is changing. Non-traditional publishing, especially related to print-on-demand, continues to offer new avenues and opportunities to grow the publishing industry. Given the exponential growth over the past three years, it’s showing no signs of abating.”

Investment in knowledge versus pleasure defines category winners and losers

Changes in major publishing categories indicate that publishers expected the sluggish economy to continue its impact on consumer spending. Categories that grew tended to be in areas that could contribute to workplace knowledge and budgeting. For example, output increased in technology (+11%), science (+9%) and personal finance (+9). The big category losers were in areas impacted by changes in discretionary spending. Cookery and language titles each declined 16% and Travel continued its year over year decline, down 5% in 2009 (it took a 10% loss in 2008). Fiction also saw a second year of decline -- down 15%, significantly greater than its 1% loss in 2008. Fiction’s overall impact on U.S. book production can be seen by looking at the top five categories. Despite expansion in four of the five leading categories, Fiction’s 2009 decline prevented overall growth in production.

Top book production category rankings and sales in 2009 and 2008:

1. Fiction: 45,181, 53,058
2. Juveniles: 32,348, 29,825
3. Sociology/Economics: 25,992, 24,737
4. Religion: 19,310, 18,296
5. Science: 15,428, 14,100

In 2008, the production of print-on-demand books surpassed traditional book publishing for the first time and since then its growth has been staggering. Now more than twice the output of traditional titles, the market is dominated by a handful of publishers. In fact, the top 10 publishers overall accounted for an astounding 74% of total titles produced in 2009. “Today, these companies are opening up new publishing venues by producing titles for very niche markets and also bringing public domain titles back to life. The net effect creates a long-tail that has no end,” said Gallagher.

A look at the top publishers by title output in 2009 shows who is providing content to the long-tail marketplace through the web.

BiblioBazaar: 272,930
Books LLC: 224,460
Kessinger Publishing: 190,175
CreateSpace: 21,819
General Books: 11,887
Lulu: 10,386
Xlibris: 10,161
AuthorHouse: 9,445
International Business Publications: 8,271
PublishAmerica: 5,698


Thursday, April 15, 2010

McCartney, Virgil, and me

When he was just 16 years old, future Beatle Paul McCartney wrote, "Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?"

Sir James Paul McCartney (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) became 64 back in 2006.

Today I became 64. High School graduation in '64 seems like yesterday, but I remember it better than I remember yesterday. (Paul wrote, "Yesterday, All my troubles seemed so far away, Now it looks as though they're here to stay, Oh, I believe in yesterday.")

Still, living old is better than dying young, and if I and the USA can hang on for another two years, I'll start collecting Social Security. That's a powerful incentive to drive carefully and avoid unsafe sex (especially while driving).

To my Baby Boom buddies: under the new system, middle age lasts until they start shoveling dirt on us. Surviving is the best revenge. Illegitimi non carborundum (Don't let the bastards grind you down).

Over 2,000 years ago, Virgil wrote, "optima dies prima fugit" (basically, "the best days are the first to flee"). Virgil may have been wrong. So far, age-64 is much better than 6 or 12. (But 20 was AMAZING. It's in my book).


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Take me to your leader:
Unprovable claims to fame "the global leader in self-publishing"

Xlibris: "the leading print-on-demand self-publishing services provider"

Infinity Publishing: "the leading innovative print on demand book publisher"

Dorrance Publishing: America's leading author services company since 1920

iUniverse: "the leading book marketing, editorial services, and supported self-publishing company"

AuthorHouse: "the leading provider of self publishing and book marketing services for authors around the globe"

Schiel & Denver Book Publishers: "North America's leading book publishing services company"

Outskirts Press: "the fastest-growing full-service publishing provider"

PublishAmerica: "We publish more new titles than any other traditional book publisher."

InstantPublisher: "Everyone's favorite Book Publishing Company"

Trafford: "by far the easiest, fastest and most dynamic publishing experience," led the independent publishing revolution, publishes more than two percent of all new titles released in North America, best suited for most authors' needs

Wordclay: "by far the easiest, fastest and most dynamic DIY self-publishing experience" (Gee, that sounds familiar.)

Arbor Books: "the world's premier, award-winning ghostwriting and self-publishing company"

Bloodstone Books: "the on-demand publisher at the forefront of self publishing"

And one realistic claim:

CreateSpace: "provides one of the easiest and most economical ways to self-publish and distribute your book on and thousands of other retail and wholesale outlets"

(left) Ad for The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951 original, not the 2008 remake).

In the 1951 movie, friendly alien Klaatu (Michael Rennie) said to earthling Helen Benson (Patricia Neal): "There's no limit to what he can do. He could destroy the earth... If anything should happen to me you must go to Gort, you must say these words, 'Klaatu barada nikto.'"

(top) Cropped from cartoon distributed by Universal Press Syndicate.


Monday, April 12, 2010

What's more useful, an iPad or a garage door opener?

I expect to have a birthday in a few days.

My wife generally favors practical gifts. For our last anniversary, she requested a set of new tires (which even the tire salesman said she didn't need) for her minivan. She's a dog-mom, BTW, not a soccer-mom.

I, OTOH, regard a bunch of McDonald's coupons as the best wedding gift we received. It's easy to spend money. It's harder to make me smile.

Yesterday Marilyn said she thought of "a cool gadget that we both would enjoy."

I've been talking about getting an iPad, had pointed out some of its advantages, and thought that maybe she realized that it would be a sensible addition to our huge hardware collection.

Despite a few golden moments when she mastered and enjoyed Google, Marilyn has refused to touch a computer for a few years. I've kidded her about the iPad being a "computer for dummies" and she didn't throw anything at me when I said it.

She's read a bit about the iPad but there are gaps in her knowledge. Last night I explained to her that "app" is not shorthand for "Apple." Marilyn never reads my books but she has said that she'd like to read my blogs. I doubt that she'll read this one.

I was shocked and disappointed to hear Marilyn suggest buying an automatic garage door opener for my birthday.

We have three garages, and three cars.

Only one of the cars -- my 1978 Fiat Spider "toy" -- is ever in a garage. My PT Cruiser commuting car and her Town & Country van get parked in the driveway. (And of course, ha-ha, they are driven on the parkway.)

The Fiat is kept in the left-hand garage. This car is used only from April through October, maybe going 1,000 miles a year, and I am its only driver. Marilyn would certianly not benefit from a remote control for the Fiat's garage door.

The space behind the right-hand door is used to store my 1964 Vespa motor scooter, my 1962 Raleigh Gran Sport bicycle, the pool cover, snow shovels, and a bunch of gardening crap. We have lots of empty flower pots and pails of dirt and rocks, bags of grass seed that probably died years ago, and chemicals to improve the health of roses that died years ago. I also have a workshop/man cave taking up about 60% of that space.

The center garage has lots of shelving, for things like light bulbs, long extension cords, Halloween decorations, the Poland Spring mini-fridge, and sundry household parts and supplies. It's also where we keep four ladders, three trash barrels, four recycling bins, surplus laundry chemicals, winter boots, barbecue tools, boxes of stuff still unpacked since we moved in nine years ago, and boxes of stuff that's supposed to go to Goodwill. Most of the time there is a pathway through the center of the rubble that leads from the garage door to our "mud room" door and the kitchen beyond. In wet weather or if we're hauling suitcases or heavy packages, we enter the house through the center garage.

I doubt that pressing a button to open that door would save much time or effort -- especially since Marilyn would likely lose or drive over the remote control.

I previously wrote that I thought the iPad would be fun, but I didn't really need it. I also said that, "In my life, wants often out-rank needs."

I certainly don't need either a garage door opener or an iPad -- but it's easy to decide which one I want more.

BestBuy, here I come.

UPDATE: I had planned to get the middle model with 32 gigs of memory. It turned out that BestBuy was offering 18 months to pay with no interest, so I invested another hundred bucks and got the 64GB model.

I've only had it a few minutes, so a full report will have to wait a few days. My instant reaction is that it is SUPER-COOL, and Wi-Fi web access is super-fast. The touch keyboard works fine. This is MUCH more fun and much more useful than a garage door opener.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

VERY silly error

(From the Vantage Press website:)

"Most books, even those by successful authors, will benefit from the perspective of an Xlibris editor, and each Vantage title receives a thorough copy editing."

Why is Vantage Press touting the editing ability of competitor Xlibris?

I hope Vantage Press's authors get a more "thorough copy editing" than the Vantage Press website gets.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lightning speed from Lightning Source

Thursday morning, on, I ordered a few copies of a book I recently published through Lightning Source.

I did not request or pay for fast shipping.

The books were printed by Lightning Thursday in Pennsylvania, and delivered by UPS Friday morning in Connnecticut.

I realize that this is the way that print-on-demand is supposed to work, but I've never seen it this fast before.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Life sentence plus 1700 years

A friend of mine just got a credit card statement. He has a balance of $2,175.57. The minimum payment due is $22.92

The helpful statement points out that if he makes only the minimum payment each month, and does not make any new purchases, his balance will be down to zero in just 1,757 years. If he lives long enough, at $22.92 per month, he would pay a total of about $346,650 -- about 160 times the current balance!

If, however, he pays $73 per month, he'll be paid off in just three years, and will save $344,022 over the amount that would be paid in 1,757 years.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wordclay responds to my criticism

Wordclay is part of pay-to-publish behemoth Author Solutions, which also owns former competitors AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford and Xlibris. A few weeks ago, I criticized Wordclay for being "dysfunctional, dishonest and overpriced.

I sent an email to the company with a link to the blog post, and asked, "Is there any reason for me to change my mind about Wordclay?

Here's Wordclay's response:

Thank you for writing. I have reviewed your blog post, and I will be glad to answer any questions you have about Wordclay's services.

Wordclay is a self publishing imprint with years of experience. We employ new technology that allows authors to have total control of the production of their book at no cost. Our goal is to open up more low cost publishing options to allow more writers the chance to become published authors.

As a blogger, you are aware that technology may not function perfectly all of the time. I apologize if you were unable to register. If you have any problems, we are available to help you via LiveChat, email, or at the telephone number listed below. By contacting us through any of these easy methods, we will be able to resolve your problem. Reading your blog post, it appears you may have been trying to register as a new author, instead of logging in to your existing account. (If this is true, the Wordclay website should have told me I already had registered, instead of providing a useless error message that just wasted my time and pissed me off.) To log in to your account, click the "My Account" tab on the Wordclay website.

Looking into your account, I see that you have started the book creation process for two titles (Book IDs 57340 and 57419). This indicates that you are able to access your account. If you are not able to access it, please let us know. Currently, your user name is (deleted) and you should be able to log in using this name.

After logging in, you can complete the book creation process. Wordclay uses a online book creation process for authors who wish to take advantage of our free services. (It's not free if you want any books to be printed!) Using this process, authors have dynamic control over the production process, and you may create a book, cancel it, or leave it on hold as long as you like. We do not wish to rush your creative process, and we are glad to work at your own pace. When you are ready to move forward with publication, you have total control of the production through the website, including the design of the cover and interior. After creating your book interior and cover, you will be prompted to enter pricing and marketing information. Wordclay authors choose their own pricing, and as such, they can set the royalty amount as high or as low as they like. Additionally, Wordclay authors retain absolutely all rights to their work.

After completing the book creation process, your book will become available to purchase through the Wordclay website within two weeks. Typically, however, books become available to purchase within 4 business days, and it may become available to purchase in as little as 24 hours. This is significantly faster than the publication timelines for comparable publishers. (Not faster than CreateSpace.)

We offer all of the services described above at no cost. (Wordclay's publishing is not "no cost" if you want any books to be printed!) By allowing authors to use an online-based book creation process, we provide free,  (It's not free if you want any books to be printed!) do-it-yourself publication services. This is a great option for writers who do not have money to invest in editing, design or other publication-related items, but still wish to produce professional results. (It is extremely unlikely that a writer who does not invest in editing and design will "produce professional results.") Authors earn royalties (again, royalty amounts are set by the author) for every sale, and we send royalty checks four times throughout the year.

If you have a book you wish to publish with us, I encourage you to review the material in our comprehensive FAQs and click through the steps of the book creation process in the “How It Works” tab. Not only do they answer many frequently asked questions, they address many issues that new users haven't even thought of yet. As always, we are glad to answer any questions you may have, and I think that you will find our services to be easy, fast, and free if you choose to publish with us. Additionally, we have an excellent customer service staff that can help you with any issues. We want our authors to be happy with their final product, and you will find that we are glad to "go the extra mile" for authors that need special consideration.

Again, I would like to point out that we offer these services at absolutely no cost. (Wordclay's publishing is not "no cost" if you want any books to be printed!) You are free to publish as many books as you like in this manner through Wordclay. (But, why lie about free publishing?)

We also offer various professional editing, design and marketing services through our Services Store. You can purchase these services to help create a professional and marketable product, (Up above, he said that writers could get "professional results" without paying for editing and design.)  but you are not required to purchase services if you do not wish to do so. Wordclay does not employ salespersons of any kind, so you will never be pressured to purchase any service.

As a do-it-yourself publisher, we find that some people do not require our assistance to register their copyright or apply for a Library of Congress Control Number, among other items. In these cases, we are able to work with their materials, and any services, such as these, which have been purchased for the book, will be applied to the Wordclay publication. (I could not find that stated on the Wordclay website.)

However, some authors prefer to have the publisher complete this work on their behalf. In this case, we offer Library of Congress Control Number registration, Copyright registration, etc. for a fee. (Very high fees!) Additionally, we offer other services that may be unavailable through other channels that authors may need, such as cover design, interior formatting and professional illustration, just to name a few. (They are all available through many other channels.) As a publisher, we feel it is our responsibility to make these items available to people who may not have access to them otherwise.

Furthermore, if the author wishes to complete any of this work on their own (formatting, illustration, cover design, etc), the author can avoid the need to purchase these services from Wordclay. Typically, we are able to apply these items to the book at no charge; the only exception would be in the case of an author-provided cover, which would require purchase of our DIY Cover Converstion service for $49.00. (CreateSpace and Lulu don't charge for this.) We also offer regular promotions which reduce the cost of certain services for the length of the promotion.

I hope this email helps to clarify your understanding our publication services. We offer free services to any author that wishes to use them, and if you require additional services from us, we are glad to provide them for a fee; this helps us ensure that we can fulfill any publication-related need you may have. Additionally, I hope this email helps to show that our customer service staff is helpful, responsive, and willing to make extra effort to ensure you are satisfied with your book. If you have any other questions, I encourage you to contact us at this email address, via LiveChat, or at the telephone number listed below.

Thank you for your time and interest in Wordclay. We look forward to working with you.

Nathan Brown
Customer Service Supervisor


Wednesday, April 7, 2010


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The initial thing to do if we wish to have your own imitation book is to select the imitation book publisher. Click here check out my reviews of renouned imitation book publishers. You can additionally review a little good imitation book tips as good as ideas as good as get desirous to make your own imitation book!

(from "Welcome to the online Book Publishers Association. Here you will find tips and information on how to publish your own book, how to publish your photo book, Christan Book, Mystery book and more. Full of tips, information and resources, Books Publishers Association is the place to be. Subscribe today!")


Monday, April 5, 2010

Missed opportunity to publish?
A message I won't reply to

Hello all! we am a owners as well as CEO of Durant Literary Agency.We have been actively looking latest submissions from all genres. Please hit me to sense how to contention your work for review.


From the agency's website (or maybe the next Star Wars movie):

Congratulations to Larisa Hunter aka Mist for the sale of her book, FULLTRÚI: Working With Patron Gods & Goddess In the Ásatrú Pantheon, to the Megalithica Imprint of Immanion Press!

Bio: Larisa Hunter aka Mist is a practicing Ásatrú-ar living in Kitchener, Ontario. As the current Gyðja and founder of Kenaz Kindred, she has devoted her time to educating the community about the path of Ásatrú for the last 5 years, prior to that she ran an eclectic heathen group and has dedicated her life to the pursuit of knowledge, mythology, and lore.

She has extensive experience with divination, specializing in Runic Divination. She has previous experience with Tarot as well, but has spent the last six years specializing in studying and practicing runic divination methods. She also teaches an extensive course on runes and provides both public and private rune readings to a diverse client base. Mist has presented at multiple festivals (Wic-Can Fest, Harvest Fest, Midgard, KW Pride Day, Spirits of the Earth as well as smaller presentations at the: KW Temple and local community groups (Guelph Pagan Society, The Circle). She also runs Kenaz Kindred, an Ásatrú kindred located in her home town.

She has recently been published in: Pagan Poems (published by Crow Eagle Press), Cultural Appropriation in the Neo-Pagan Community (published by Imannion Press) and self published: Giants, Not The Enemy(see website).

Book: In her most recent work, FULLTRÚI, Working With Patron Gods & Goddess In the Ásatrú Pantheon, Mist delves into the controversial topic of taking patron gods. The concept of a 'fully trusted' god or goddess has almost disappeared, but thanks to the modern revival of heathenry, the concept of working closely with a patron god is slowly returning. Mist provides both historical references as well as modern day research to show how the concept was and is still relevant. The book contains articles written by people living with patron gods, as well as meditations, devotional poetry and more.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

I'm not making history today.
I can't decide about the iPad

The iPad goes on sale in a few hours. Hardcore geeks and Appleholics have been waiting in the dark in front of Apple Stores and BestBuys since yesterday, but I'm still at home a few minutes after 5 a.m.

Years ago I lined up in front of an Egghead Software store so I could get Windows 95 when it went on sale at one second past midnight on 8/24/95.

Another time I arrived at 3 a.m. -- seven hours before the grand opening -- at a CompUSA so I could get a free 386 PC when I bought a state-of-the-art model with a 486 chip, and a free dot-matrix printer when I bought a pack of paper, and a free VCR when I opened a charge account.

Many years earlier I got one of the first pairs of ski boots that had clips instead of laces.

I also got a Trimline phone installed on the first day it was available in the state of Connecticut.

I was also one of the first customers at the first Taco Bell on Long Island (a disappointment), and the first McDonald's in Connecticut (I didn't know enough to order it without the pickle slices, ketchup and mustard and had to scrape off the crud).

And before that, I was one of the first to get a Davey Crockett coonskin cap.

But today, I will not be making history.

When the iPad goes on sale I'll be doing what I normally do at 10 a.m. on Saturday mornings, listening to "Click and Clack" on NPR with my dog, because I can't make up my mind about the iPad.

Unlike my wife, I seldom have trouble making decisions.

She'll debate, evaluate, re-evauate, consider and reconsider for hours, months or years. Small decisons seem to cause her more trouble than big decisions. She spends more time trying to choose between cole slaw and string beans, than she spent deciding whether or not to marry me.

I usually can make up my mind in seconds or minutes.

My wife's most common phrase is "maybe I shoulda got...." She still has buyer's remorse for purchases made over 40 years ago.

I seldom regret any decision. I know that a bad decision is better than no decision, because once I realize it's a bad decision, I can make a change and move on with life. If I buy a bargain watch on Yugster and I don't like it, I can sell it on eBay -- and maybe even make a profit.

But I can't decide about the iPad.

When it was first announced, I was certain that I'd be one of the first to own one.

Now, I'm not so sure.

It's undeniably cool. It's worth $599 with 32 gigs. The WiFi version is adequate for me -- no need to wait weeks for the 3G version. But is the iPad really a useful and worthwhile tool?

Would I use it enough to justify its cost, or will it be just another underused multi-hundred-dollar toy?

I thought a netbook would be useful -- but mine turned out to be so pokey that I never use it and instead schlep my huge widescreen HP laptop when I travel.

I've had four generations of iPods. My latest is an iPod touch. It's loaded with music, movies, talking books and TV shows.

But months can go by without my touching it. It usually stays stashed away unless I'm going to be on an airplane or have jury duty.

I'm sure the iPad would be much better for watching movies on a plane, but I probably would not schlep it to read books or magazines in a court house or doctor's office.

I doubt that I'd use it at home. I have no trouble with the present formats of periodicals. The NYTimes fits just fine on my kitchen table, as do the dozens of paper magazines I subscribe to. Other mags, plus the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers, look fine on my PC screen.

I don't care about mobile computing. I'm seldom more than a few minutes away from a real PC.

I don't care much about games or gimmicks. I've discarded nearly as many iPod apps as I've installed. Coolness quickly turns cold, and e-corpses waste valuable bytes.

In my life, wants often outrank needs.

I don't need my 1978 Fiat Spider, but I want it. I don't need both indoor and outdoor phone booths, but I want them. I did not need to violate my rule to never buy first-generation technology and spend $1200 for one of the first Blu-ray players -- but I wanted it and do not regret it.

I'll probably get an iPad eventually. Maybe sooner, not later, even if I don't really need it.

People expect me to have one. For better or for worse, I have a reputation to uphold.


Friday, April 2, 2010

This may contain some great advice, but I can't tell



When we was 5 years old, my kin paid for me a primer typewriter for a Yuletide present. we used each day until we was equates to to sort letters to my grandparents as well as alternative relatives. Although it is protected to contend which we have been a bard given 1963, we didn’t proceed creation income from my essay until we proposed Graphic Publishing in 1988.

Back in those days, Adobe Acrobat Reader (PDF) had never been suspicion of. In fact, a word “internet” was opposite to a infancy of a ubiquitous public. Therefore, we had usually 3 options accessible to me if we was starting to sell my articles as well as books:

1. Submit them to publishers, anticipating they would be published “someday”;

2. Typeset my own books, imitation them upon a copier as well as mail copies to business grouping without delay from me (this additionally meant which we had to marketplace a books myself); or

3. Pay a printer to typeset as well as imitation my books, which meant we had to buy a smallest volume as well as compensate for them upfront (which could price $10,000 or more).

I chose to occupy choice Number 2. we figured which we would not have to outlay any income regulating which choice given as books were ordered, we could imitation them upon my duplicate machine. Besides, my books were not full-length paperbacks. They were 20-page booklets which we could imitation upon letter-size paper, overlay in half as well as saddle stitch. Only until we proposed offering 100s of books would we deposit in to purchasing a smallest volume from a printer. Besides, a thought of not carrying to batch a product was of good significance to me given we was vital in a tiny one-bedroom unit during a time.

However, whilst selecting a Number 2 routine upon top of would save me a lot of money, we was starting to have to sense how to marketplace as well as typeset my books. Learning to typeset was flattering easy. we went to a printer’s supply store as well as picked up books arrangement me opposite styles of fonts as well as we looked during each arrangement announcement we could find. we purchased Roger Parker’s Book, “The Aldus Guide to Basic Design” ( as well as was shortly equates to to proceed conceptualizing my own ads, regulating combinations of examples we schooled from a veteran designers. The complete guidance knowledge was good fun as well as we acquired a ability which we right divided operate upon a each day basis.

Learning to marketplace though, took longer compared to guidance how to typeset. That is given there have been so most variations to marketing. What functions for a single chairman competence not work for another. However, with a immeasurable volume of record accessible during your fingertips today, guidance to marketplace your products as well as services is as elementary as stuffing out forms as well as posting messages to circular play employed by your aim market.

Little did we comprehend during a time which a procession we employed to sell my books by copy copies usually when an sequence was perceived is a same thing as print-on-demand publishing. The usually disproportion is which today, most of a selling as well as typesetting is enclosed in a publisher’s price. Since we already know how to typeset my books, a edition residence routinely gives me a bonus of $100 to $150 for saving them time as well as expense.

I was initial introduced to print-on-demand edition when we wrote my book, “How to Start, Operate as well as Market a Freelance Notary Signing Agent Business” accessible online during . Not meaningful which print-on-demand edition existed we sent my edition to multiform publishers for acceptance. To my surprise, dual publishers supposed a book as well as a single offering me an allege of $2,800.

At initial we was elated. we called all my friends as well as we all yelled as well as screamed together in excitement. The fad was reduced lived when we perceived an email from a edition residence a subsequent day with a list of final they compulsory prior to my book could be published. One of a final was a name of my book indispensable to be altered as well as secondly, we was not accessible to discuss it my commemorative to Jesus Christ in a behind of a book. we rught divided pronounced “no” as well as began looking alternative alternatives for publishing.

To have a prolonged story short, we found Gom Publishing ( by my internal Christian Blue Pages directory. It usually so happened which their bureau was located inside of 10 miles of my house. we called them up, asked if we could come for a revisit as well as perceived a personal debate of their operation. It was a good guidance knowledge as well as we was sole upon a thought of print-on-demand publishing.

Here have been usually a little of a advantages to a bard who uses print-on-demand publishing:

1. You have sum carry out over your book. No a single is starting to revise your work as well as take out your personal “style” or replace sections we know to be important. Gom Publishing includes copyediting with probably all of their edition plans, which is something we did not find with most alternative print-on-demand companies.

2. Your book is accessible for sale inside of 90 days or reduction if we support with a design. Compared to a “old time” methods of publishing, even if a edition residence accepts your book, it routinely is not accessible for sale for roughly a year or later. The sum universe could shift in which length of time as well as we would still have to wait for a year or some-more prior to we got paid for your tough work.

3. You can have up to 50% for each book we sell. Compare this to a edition residence who usually pays a bard an 8% to 10% commission. This equates to which we can set up a web page to sell your book, take orders as well as squeeze a volume of books your need to fill a orders during a 50% bonus from a print-on-demand publisher. Gom Publishing offers a 55% discount, which increases your increase even more. This choice is not probable with customary publishers who squeeze a disdainful rights from a writer, to illustrate not permitting a bard to sell their books upon their own.

4. Print-on-demand publishers additionally set up glorious selling benefits in to their simple prices. These selling benefits include: (a) choice of an ISBN number; (b) ISBN club formula printed upon book cover; (c) Library of Congress cataloging as well as registration; as well as (d) involuntary inventory upon a world’s largest bookstores: Amazon, Barnes as well as Noble, Waldenbooks as well as Borders. we found with Gom Publishing which they even have programs to discharge your book by third celebration distributors, sales reps, as well as even suggest publicist services. All we have to do is assistance in a graduation by directing people to we book upon these websites. The credit label orders have been processed for you, a books have been shipped to your business as well as we embrace a monthly elect check.

Of march there have been most some-more benefits to print-on-demand edition than a 4 we listed above, yet we am certain we can proceed to see a benefits for yourself. However, even yet print-on-demand edition has most “pros,” there have been a little “cons” which we competence wish to consider. One of those “cons” is how a determined edition village views print-on-demand books. They perspective them as “vanity” publications as well as booksellers competence be demure to understanding with them. Trade journals similar to Publishers

Weekly as well as Kirks additionally do not similar to to understanding with print-on-demand published books as well as magazines as well as newspapers bashful divided from them also.

Why have been publishers who have been located in a jammed media inequitable opposite print-on-demand publishing? Because they know a bard had sum carry out over a book as well as it did not go by a customary modifying process. So what? In my opinion, a media creates a good understanding of income from writers as well as given print-on-demand record does not yield them with this additional income print-on-demand edition leaves a “bad taste” in their mouths. They discuss it their employees which print-on-demand edition is not veteran behavior, when a law of a make a difference is which print-on-demand edition is receiving income out of their pockets. The “biggies” cannot exhibit their loyal motive, so they do a “human” thing as well as emanate as most bad broadside for a print-on-demand attention which they can afterwards operate a precedence of alternative “biggies” similar to themselves to keep everyone’s pockets padded with a immature stuff.

Or, go to any poke engine as well as sort in a poke difference “print-on-demand publishing” as well as proceed shopping. we chose Gom Publishing to discuss it my book. The sum price was reduction than $600 as well as we done this income behind roughly immediately.

If area initial time bard or even published, we need to check out a benefits for your work by utilizing print-on-demand publishing. At slightest we right divided have some-more options accessible to we as well as maybe a single day, writers will be reduction contingent upon publishers as well as can take a carry out over their own products.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Outskirts Press is suing to stop my book and to collect $5 million for libel.

The shit has finally hit the fan.

Outskirts Press calls itself "the fastest-growing full-service publishing provider."

I have been critical of Outskirts Press both online and in print. Until now, the company has ignored my criticisms and complaints. In fact, no one at Outskirts has ever responded to my emails asking simple questions about the company, like how many people work there.

Outskirts is finally paying attention to me. They're suing to stop the criticism and to collect $5 million for libel. Maybe they got a new lawyer.

I maintain that Outskirts Press is often “stupid, sloppy and sleazy,” in printing and promoting books, and in promoting its own business.

I frequently detail Outskirts’s errors and deliberate distortions in this blog, and have recently published a book about the company: “Stupid, Sloppy, Sleazy: The Strange Story of Vanity Publisher Outskirts Press. How do they stay in business?

Herbert J. Skidmore, of the Skidmore, Appel and Wentworth law firm, is representing both Outskirts Press and Brent Sampson, its founder and CEO.

In a brief filed with the Colorado Supreme Court, Skidmore stated, “While it is extremely unusual for a publisher to seek to halt publication of another company’s book, Plaintiff has been grievously harmed in the past by Defendant’s malicious, unrelenting and unwarranted criticism. If this new book is allowed to circulate, it could mean the end of Outskirts Press, with loss of publishing opportunities for authors, loss of jobs, loss of competition in publishing, and the loss of a substantial investment by the Sampson family.”

The lawsuit asks the court to order termination of book printing, verified destruction of all copies in inventory, surrender of all profits from sold copies, and payment of $50,000 in expenses plus $4,950,000 in punitive damages for libel.

I consider the suit to be groundless, frivolous, vindictive and unconstitutional. I requested a dismissal of the suit, but if the dismissal is denied, I promise a vigorous defense based on the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and several Supreme Court rulings. While courts have recognized some limits to free speech, truth is almost always a defense against libel. I have described Outskirts Press as inept and dishonest, and it will be easy to establish the truth of my claims. The evidence is abundant and overwhelming.

I have been criticizing the company online since 2008 without any contradiction or complaint. While Outskirts Press makes extensive use of online media in promoting itself, it apparently did not feel threatened by online criticism by others. It’s only now, when faced with a permanent bound volume of criticism that could be on a shelf in the Library of Congress for generations to come, that Outskirts – a book publisher – feels it necessary to seek censorship and censure from the courts.

I call upon Outskirts Press to end this foolishness immediately. It is absurd for a book publisher to ask a court to revoke my Freedom of the Press.