Q & A re: Alinar--veinglory

Sunday, March 16, 2008

For the record here is the sum total of what I posted about Alinar:

Alinar Publishing<--its name

"So, who is Alinar Publishing and what do you do?
Alinar Publishing is a group of independent authors who have got together to sell their work on the internet and aims to provide a place where visitors can find great reads. Alinar Publishing LLP is a non profit-making publishing co-operative and services to our authors are free."<--a quote

By invitation only with the author covering some costs of production and distribution. Authors include: Eve Asbury, Gayle Eden, Angelique Emerson, Lily Graison, Felicity Heaton, F E Heaton, Jane Hill, Jude Johnson, Kallysten, Nia Little, Alexandra Marell and Candy Nicks<--accurate as far as I am aware.

I also added this comment:

I think co-ops are an interesting idea. My feelings is they should be open about their nature--which this one is. I would also think they might be wise to invest in an independent editor able not only to proofread but suggest a work is not good enough.<--hardly pit bull attack material, I think


I received this anonymous comment (excerpted below with my responses attached). It make me wonder whether any change of tack is required. For example a more rapid and summary deletion of any posts containing personal insults to moderate the tone, but not I must add the content, of anonymous comments.

I am comfortable with reasonably robiust debate but think some comments go a little far into name-calling. I am also, however, either working or traveling for fairy extended periods each week and so might require some assistance to carry out any really effective moderation of 'real time' comments and I would hope to avoid holding comments for moderation as it really disrupts the conversational quality good comment-threads have. I believe allowing anonymous comments is important to permit people to speak freely. I also want to keep the tone honest and analytical but civil (and okay, sometimes a bit funny).

"Give an idiot a keyboard to hide behind, and they suddenly grow a backbone the size of their ego. They transform into an expert on everyone and everything, so much so that they do not even need any proof to support their statements. Why? Because they know there are people out their even more idiotic than them, who will believe anything they read as the gospel."

Give a person a blog and they will humbly proffer their opinions so that any potential audience can make of it what they will.

"I try to avoid blogs not controlled by someone I know and trust to be responsible, which is most likely why I'd never even heard of this little slander-fest corner of the world here."

If it was may intent to do anyone harm (which it is not) I must note this would be the inaugural festival of libel, not slander. Beers $5 each, form an orderly queue please, no glass bottles allowed in the arena but tomatoes are okay.

"However, at the urging of a friend, I read this particular blog entry, and felt compelled to respond... mostly out of disgust at the thought there are people who give this place any shred of credibility.

I have been a fan of Gayle Eden's since before most had ever heard of her, and in turn have been a long-standing customer of Alinar Publishing. The innuendo and outright lies published in this blog are downright appalling, and ooze of nothing more than pettiness and jealousy.


I have never heard of Eden Gayle. Feel free to point out specific factual statements that are in error and I will correct them. If there was any innuendo it might be on the side of the one inferring not the one putatively implying.

"Although I have never once received a book I was dissatisfied with, the open communication and customer service at Alinar is second to none. I have purchased books from well-known high-end publishing houses that were edited by so-called "professionals" which looked like they were edited by my four-year-old. If anyone has gotten a book from Alinar they were dissatisfied with due to editing and made no attempt to contact them about it, you really have no right to go around bashing them. Errors will happen in any business as long as their are humans. Customer service is what separates the good from the bad."

So why does this principal not applied to a blog. I don't recall receiving any direct contact questioning the objective quality (e.g. accuracy) of my post and allowing me to correct it. However as it happens I think many things separate the good from the bad, including making fewer mistakes in the first place, especially when providing a product on a professional basis. As it happens Alinar's representative responded with an open invitation for people to converse with her. She was probably not thrilled with the comments but her response to me and the blog readers was highly professional and not emotional or disproportionate. I didn't manage to talk her into sending a review copy of my choice so that I might comment directly on quality issues--but not everyone gives away free books to any weird blogger who asks for one, so perhaps that is beside the point.

"And while I don't know why anyone using two different pen names to separate different styles of books they write is even questioned as being dishonest, Ms. Eden and the other authors are very open, both at Alinar, and on their individual websites, about who they are. Anyone who has a problem with this method of authorship and claims ignorance or a feeling of being misled is just looking for something to complain about, because they obviously made no attempt whatsoever to find out anything about the author(s) in question."

Readers are generally not investigative in their approach to purchasing, but wish to take things at face value. Like the writer and editor who have different names being different people. This seems a reasonable and sincere complaint from a reader to me. Not exactly a matter of national security, but if a reader bought the book I think they also purchased the right to discuss any aspect of the product with anyone they want to.

"Whoever runs this blog, and a couple of people who have posted on it, should really consider hanging up their blogger hobby until they grow up and attain some semblance of personal responsibility. Messing with people's careers and livelihood because you have no life and nothing better to do than get your jollies off slandering and making uninformed ignorant comments is juvenile, and clearly shows you lack any of the moral fiber or responsibility to contribute and participate in public discussion."

I confess freely to being juvenile, but I deny having the ability to mess with anyone's livelihood. I also invite anyone to read my post on Alinar and find anything with that apparent intent. I would hasten to correct anything unreasonable or inaccurate. But what I did is look at their website and say what I thought. It seems to me that I am best placed to accurately report the content of my own thoughts. Even if my impression proved to be in error, they were what they were.

All I can suggest is that the issue of what is acceptable in comments should be raised. But I doubt I would see being critical or negative about a company's actual practises and their products on sale would ever be a problem here. I might concede that increased civility in the comments to blog posts would be a worthy goal for all parties to pursue.

13 comments:

Anonymous,  6:53 PM  

From what I understand, the issue was not authors using many pen names, but authors editing their own work, not having an objective editor, and using a pen name to do it. To me that's simply...odd.

Now, as for me, when I read a book with poor editing, I don't email customer service about it and complain. I simply don't buy any more books from that publisher and/or author. Such is the case with my personal experiences of Alinar Publishing.

Barbara Sheridan 8:41 PM  

I don't recall anything "OMGSOAWFUL" being said about Alinar. I recall what Anonymous above said.

As for the Anonymous who blasted you. If you and those who commented on the blog post in question were so wrong and behaving so badly why don't they stop hiding behind "Anonymous" and say who they are as well as what their complaints are.

To me it's coming across as one of the Alinar people who is upset and wishes to "fight back".

Mrs Giggles 9:01 PM  

Personally I have no problems with the quality of the sole Alinar Press book I've read. And they have one of the better designed websites and book covers out there, I have to give them that. Some bigger or more high profile epublishers can learn a thing or two from that website.

It's just one negative comment, no? I think the two ladies from Alinar Press did a good job defusing any potential bad PR about their project so I'd hate to see one tactless tool derail the whole discussion.

Dusk Peterson 9:31 PM  

My suggestion would be that you need to be even-handed in moderation. That thread got out of hand because some of the people who were posting were using trigger words like "disgusted" and "idiotic" and "sucks." Drawing specific attention only the post of the final person to write in that manner isn't really fair.

I haven't been following this blog recently, but if this is the general tone of posts here, then I do think that you need to institute a rule against personal attacks. Like you, I don't consider mere criticism of a publishing organization (or, for that matter, a blog) to be a personal attack.

Kayleigh Jamison 10:38 PM  

Well, if you ask me, the person who was the nastiest and most insulting in that thread was the final anonymous poster, the one complaining about anonymous attacks.

I see why you didn't repost that special bit. It clearly falls under your "no personal attacks" rule.

I will say, I have bought and read nearly all of Gayle Eden's books. (Hey, I don't just write Regency, I read it too). The last few I read did have some editing flaws, things that, as a former editor myself, stuck out to me. I can't remember specifics, I read them over the holidays.

To me, customer service is for things like trouble with downloading the books, or problems with an order.

I think your rules are fine, Em. No personal attacks, makes sense to me. Part of the purpose of EREC (and correct me if I'm putting words in your mouth) is to provide objective information about the multitude of publishers out there. If an author (who nine times out of ten will only feel comfortable anonymous) has something negative to say about a publisher, of course that probably means they have had a negative experience with them and are unhappy. And, of course, that's going to upset others. Discussions such as these tend to be heated by their very nature. So long as the discussion doesn't devolve into gratuitous mudslinging, I'd say it's fine.

Maria Morpeth,  5:29 AM  

Oh dearie me, just when you thought it was safe, eh? The commenter isn’t from Alinar. I’m confident all the authors have stuck to our original agreed response. Gayle has addressed the points made to her and I’ve spoken on behalf of Alinar. We’re all open to questions. We’ve cleared up the multiple pen names confusion and are working on the self-editing question. I’ll be only too pleased to refund the poster/s who was disappointed with her books. Please feel free to use our customer contact mail address for any issues you’d like to raise with us, not just technical questions.

I have every confidence that Emily will deal with the comments question in the best way. She’s blog mistress here and she rules - that’s the bottom line. I know from comments she’s made that she was thinking of moderating before this kerfuffle started. I’ve already thanked her for remaining objective in her previous comments.

It’s my feeling that the points about Alinar have been made and heard and action is being taken. I can only apologise again if we fell short of expectations in any way. Thank you Mrs G for your review of my book and the compliment about the web design, I’ll pass it on to Felicity our techie.

I would urge anyone who wants to make a point to keep it objective, please. For or against, I’m sure Emily will let you have your say if you play nice. Let’s put all this passion into writing great books that help put e publishing firmly on the map. There’s a massive talent pool in this industry and it’s an exciting time for authors and readers. I’ve reached the stage of acceptance over this and would love to move on and finish my next book. Got my hero rushing after his lady love and she’s kind of wondering where he is…

Emily Veinglory 8:15 AM  

Possibly I didn't need to 'go there' just because of one post. Updating the blog from a busy airport seems to make me more impulsive in what I choose to go : /

Hoever I must say bringing Alinar back to my attention and the ongoing professionalism of the staff, not to mention Mrs. G's comments are pushing me towards picking up one of their books myself.

Kayleigh Jamison 1:25 PM  

Maria,

I apologize if I came off overly harsh. I do enjoy Gayle Eden's books, and I enjoyed the one of yours I read too. :)

I'm with Em in thinking your responses here have been very professional. It's a shame your anonymous defender was such an ass.

The best way to prove someone wrong about you is to respond professionally and rationally, exactly as you've done.

KJ

Emily Veinglory 1:36 PM  

I would like to invite any author published with a co-op like Alinar to contact me for an interview. It seems to me that as an author-centric blog it would be great to hear why authors choose co-op and what their experiences are.

Eve Asbury/Gayle Eden,  3:20 PM  

Kayleigh, thank you for buying any Gayle books, I've been in a writing cave so long, I'm not aware of half the writers out there, but I promise I'll go buy yours, too. :) I'm also a Regency fan. Though I read Sci/fic and male Fantasy authors mostly.
Barbara S, don't we share a mutual e-publisher? Or is that someone with a like name? I think I've seen your name around. so I gather we're all authors here? I'm a bit out of the loop as between my real life and my writing life, I don't socialize on line like I used to. I think becoming an INDY author is a big learning experience too. As is anything we take on that puts the responsibility all on ourselves. We have to be prepared to answer for all our shortcomings, even among our peers.
Eh there's a real behind the scenes story about those Christmas shorts and me learning to make HTML and PDF on new software, all the copying of text from file type to the other. I think I drove everyone nuts buying and discarding software and reuploading. However, that's (behind the scenes) also irrelevant in the end. I'll take a new look at it. Which ones did you buy 99cent or 1.99? Please contact Alinar for a full refund and a download of any or all Gayle Eden and Eve Asbury books. The problem with catching the errors or having them brought to my attention after the book goes to Fiction wise- is that I can't call that book (file) back out of a retail store. I can try and fix it and re-upload the ones on Alinar if the errors are glaring. As I said, I'm never going to be perfect and I've never come across a human (editor or proofer) who catches everything either, but that doesn't mean I take it lightly when something we missed is brought to my attention. One reader out of hundreds who bought copies (my humble thanks readers,) did have a problem with an HTML copy because of an extra <> (closed P,) somehow slipped by our code scanner and caused the first para to go haywire on her Sony hand held. We fixed that, and I offered her any and all of my books (Under either pen name, plus a refund) these things are going to happen, but I do take it seriously. Was it Jude Dev or Judith McNaught, who said, "Once it is out there, it's out there, nothing you can do but try and be more diligent. You can ask our techie how obsessive I get when I find the mistake myself later lol. I've had some real cringe moments finding things missed or editor inserted at E-publishing houses too, in my books after I bought a copy. There's not a whole lot I can do or say about those. I can and do request they fix them, but I have been told "sorry, no" I do have some control of the sold-at Alinar, in that I can pull it and fix it. I want perfection too, and strive toward that, though I would be daft to promise it to anyone. :) I was reading one of my fav writers the other day and the one scene had a woman's (logs) around the guy's hips, I thought..."I know she's going to kick herself and wanna' slap the editor when she sees this," :) I sure wish that everything I wrote came out flawless. I know my outside proofer, editor, keeps a running list. Nevertheless, I realize she too is human. All I can do is refund anyone who has issues with finding an error. One of the reasons I went Indy was because I found I could live with my own lack of perfection and duh mistakes, better than I could handle having multiple (in house) editor errors, that they refused to correct. I pay my outside editor $50.00 or 100.00 per manuscript, depending on the page count. I think she is better than some in house I've worked with, so I try not to fall apart if she misses something now and then. I'm prepared to give the customer satisfaction when that is brought to my attention. I think we'd all fight each other for a perfect (Indy) editor, but that creature of perfection seems to elude us:)The group of Indy's at Alinar are always exchanging ideas with each other, and passing along chatter when we hear of some Indy who found a great editor. Sometimes that turns out to be (opinion) rather than fact. We have faith in those we use, and know they there’s going to be those rare occasions that something gets by them no matter how many rounds of edits we do. I'm waiting on the editing machine someone invents that doesn't have human flaws lol.
The important thing you need in an editor is someone who knows both tech and content and how to work with the authors' voice. I think that’s a universal (desire) with authors. I’m sure anyone in various e pubs, knows that's an uphill battle with most in house.

Marie is the more eloquent speaker of the two of us (grin) as I'm sure you can tell, I'm a plain speaking southern woman now (moved here about 10 years ago) and I tend to be blunt speaking in informal situations. I'd be Indy with or without the Alinar banner I'm under, so I speak as an Author, I don't really (own) a business per se, Alinar is a website more like a store, where instead of selling Indy just on my site (as I intended with the out- of contract reissues) I hooked up with other Indies to all sell from one place. Just so happens Marie is an ex e pub founder and Felicity is a tech (code) genus :), so I have the good fortune to join in with people like that and the co-op was born. I've had many years in the e pub cycle, been at houses that no longer exist. :) I can't speak for the other authors, but I know they were eying the landscape too after their contracts were up at e pubs. You always want the best for your work, so you make decisions based on (experience) in what we may call "Traditional" e publishing, and like I say, I've had more than most, lol. I made the decision not to go back to aiming for NY because I had committed so many books, so much time and money into e books, and was under so many contracts. I think E-publishing, despite its growing pains, is worth being a part of. I haven't written off Trad print, and may go that route with my non romance UF. (I know my print author pals are urging me to come back .)It's all a bit like my writing I suppose, the more books or genres I write, the more I learn and improve. I love what I do, and I care greatly about my readers. I'm an avid reader myself. I know that my integrity is on the line with every book that carries my name, and I have to take the criticism regardless if it's my goof up or someone in house. I don't want anyone to assume it's a careless disregard for readers. There’s no point in writing IMHO unless you care about the people you want to enjoy your books.
As Marie said, much better than I could have, we're open for questions and we are prompt to address reader issues. Any Indy author out there, and there are hundreds, knows the importance of giving readers a good story for their money. As we're a business in a basic sense, because of the Alinar banner, we realize that we are viewed as one via the (market) (our product being books by various authors there. ) Thus we want to conduct that and ourselves professionally at all times. I add my apologies to hers, if we have fallen short on either. Books are products, no matter how personal they are to the individual author. The consumer, reader's, satisfaction with them and us, is a top priority.
The best to all of you, and Thanks for allowing me to "ramble on" as Marie and the others accuse me of. (Wink) BD Addair aka Gayle Eden, Eve Asbury.

Teddy Pig 4:45 PM  

I have been talking to Maria Morpeth from Alinar and she has been professional.

I still believe a list of writers using multiple pen names on the same Publisher and hiding self editing behind the use of yet another pen name is in poor taste.

Maria indicated they would address that and seems concerned about maintaining trust with their customers and that is great. I wish more companies did that.

I honestly do not address every flaming post though but I also do not allow anonymous posts. They have to at least provide a valid email. That way I can warn them when my patience grows thin and they might want to run for it.

Kayleigh Jamison 10:07 PM  

Ok, gonna rehash this one for a sec.
I have been talking to Gayle Eden via email since this discussion cropped up and I mentioned some errors in the books I'd purchased. We eventually deduced it was most likely formatting flubs as a result of me using a handheld reader, and there having been conversion issues.

Gayle graciously offered to replace all of the books I'd had trouble with. I told her it wasn't necessary. She emailed me replacements anyway.

She's proven to be not only professional, but a cool ass lady. :) Conclusion: Alinar seems to really care about their readers. I'm impressed.

KJ

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