Tuesday, August 14, 2012

AuthorHouse copycat copied Outskirts Press copycat

Every book needs a title. Many book titles are cliché phrases which seem to be absolutely perfect for a particular book. Unfortunately, many cliché phrases are absolutely perfect for lots of books, and the title of a book can’t be copyrighted. Any writer considering possible titles should check for previous uses.
  • Both Danielle Steel and Queen Noor of Jordan wrote books called Leap of Faith.
  • At least five books are titled Fatal Voyage.
  • At least four books, two songs and a movie are named Continental Drift.
  • At least 24 books are titled Unfinished Business. You can write books with that title, too.
  • More than a dozen different books are titled Caught in the Middle. If you like the title, you can use it. You can even use it for several different books.
An identifying term in a book series can be trademarked. If you publish The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Harry Potter, you’ll probably be sued by two publishing companies, and lose twice.
  • It’s smart to study other books and to seek inspiration from successful authors and designers.
  • It's silly to choose a title without checking for prior use.
  • It's absolutely stupid, and not very nice, to be a deliberate copycat.
The book on the top left has sold millions of copies since 2004. It provides guidance for solving personal and professional problems.

The book in the center, which copied the cover design, typefaces and title style of the bestseller, is a promotional piece from sleazy Outskirts Press.

The book on the right was written by Keith Ogorek. He's the senior marketing VP of the pay-to-publish behemoth Author Solutions, which was recently bought by even-bigger publishing behemoth Pearson for $116 million. Author Solutions is the parent of AuthorHouse and several other brands.

Author Solutions is chasing the same author wannabees as Outskirts Press, so Keith patterned his promotional book on the one that Outskirts copy-catted from Steve. For more impact than the shitty Outskirts book, Keith promises readers "7 Secrets" -- not merely the revelation of 5 habits.

Keith apparently copied the number 7 -- and even its typeface -- from Steve.

As part of my continuing effort to keep up with the ever-changing publishing field, and to keep an eye on the sleazes in the business, and to keep my dear readers informed, I spent 99 cents to buy Keith's e-book.

The book has 16 pages, has been on sale for four months, and has no reviews on Amazon.

As with other books promising to reveal secrets, this book reveals no secrets.

In his copyright notice, Keith tells us that people who write "critical articles and reviews" are allowed to provide "brief quotations" from the book. So... here are Keith's seven 'secrets:'  
  1. have a well-defined target audience
  2. believe in your work
  3. have deadlines
  4. understand publishing options  
  5. use social media 
  6. develop a strong marketing plan
  7. have a launch event
I just saved you 99 cents. You're welcome. If you want to learn something important, read other books. Maybe my books.

Here's a dirty little secret: none of the books promising secrets actually reveal secrets because no secrets are secret after even one person reads the secret.
The book of 'secrets' above on the left has 98 pages, sells for $17.95, and has received ZERO Amazon reviews in 2-1/2 years. The author uses ancient software and doesn't know the difference between "layout" and "lay out."

The similarly titled book on the right has 50 pages and sells for $6.99. Although the author claims to be a publishing consultant, the book is badly formatted and apparently unedited. The author has paid for at least one positive review.

Both authors reveal themselves to be ignorant amateurs by placing the unnecessary "by" ahead of their names.

The author of Secrets of Self Publishing 2 is so proud of his secrecy that he put the title TWICE on the cover of the book. I found exactly one alleged secret in the book: "The secrets of self-publishing are the same as the secrets of success. One must be willing to research all outlets, and find a method which fits your program." That's not much of a secret.

I questioned the author about the apparent lack of secrets. He wrote to me: "In regards to your question (statement). It kind of reminds me of a many centuries old question millions of Christians and Muslims have about life. They read their holy books, go to services weekly. Yet beyond the parables have not been able to extract the simplicity of life that one does not need a book, treatise, big words or to be around others to understand. They go out into the world, and when they're out of their religious houses they're not good people at all. Yet life is very simple, all things are interconnected. All you have to do is Respect all life. This understanding is Love at its highest form. Both books display this. Yet the people don't see b/c its not spelled out to them. In regards to The Secrets of Self Publishing, self publishing as outlined can be done many ways. A business period in order to be a success needs to be built around the individuals personality and initiatives. Self Publishing is no different, the (book)work speaks about stepping outside of the box and developing a program based around the author/publishers abilities. This is so even though authors and publishers run around following and stealing programs and ideas from others. Some find success, most don't, and some of the ones who find early success will run into problems in the longrun. A copy is nothing like the original.  In so many words the work advises people to learn the basics of self publishing, then develop their own program. In this is the Secret. Be Blessed."

It's nice to be blessed, but I'd rather learn some secrets.

Please find some way to attract readers to your book without putting "SECRETS" in the title, and don't copy other titles or cover designs.

1 comment:

  1. I applied to a job at Author Solutions yesterday:


    Don't really want to work for them, but I've been out of work for three months.