Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Wonderful World of Kenneth Eng

There's normal grade author-crazy......and then there's Kenneth Eng.  Author of a 2005 book about cyborg dragons (or some such)  which he promoted by:
  • (2005) Giving Eragon a one star review on Amazon and recommending his own book instead. (Ditto Harry Potter, and probably others).
  • (2007) Discussing it on Fox News when he was meant to be explaining why he wrote a newspaper column called "Why I Hate Back People" Then he ended up in jail for a while for threatening to kill his neighbors.
  • (2012) Releasing a new book about a haunted aquarium pretty much the second his sentence ended and he was allowed back online.
  • Spamming everything in sight.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fisking eLectio

Some of you may have received the following missive from eLectio


First, let me assure you that this is the only email you will receive regarding this topic.  You will not receive additional emails with incessant requests for support.  Also, please know that I am not posing as some "ambassador" from a small, non-existent African country whose client has a proposition that will result in untold millions for you and your family.

Now, let's get down to business.

This introduction is about as reassuring as opening the door and finding a large man in a ski mask, who immediately says: "I assure you I am not a mugger"

I want to take a moment and tell you about a company that I have founded:  eLectio Publishing (  eLectio Publishing is a Christian Digital Publishing company that exists to discover and distribute fiction and non-fiction works that ultimately glorify God.  We have stringent decency guidelines on our website (feel free to look through them).  We also have a worldwide distribution agreement with one of the America's premiere digital publishers.  In addition, we have our first signed author with another three authors in contract negotiations.

The "first signed author", by a wild coincidence, has the same name as the author of this letter.

Here is why I am emailing you.  I believe that God will provide everything that we need in order to make this venture operate.  But that is where you come in.
If you are a believer in Christ, there are three things you could do to help us:

1.  Visit our website at  Share the website with friends, especially if they have a talent for writing.  We are absolutely interested in new talent.
2.  Become a fan of our FaceBook page at  Also, if you are twitter, follow us on Twitter (
3.  Please pray about and consider donating to our crowd-funding campaign to help us offset our initial expenses.  We are counting on God to provide us with the donors needed to give us everything that we need (as we do not have any intention of opening this business upon a mountain of debt).  Even a $10 donation will help us get where we need to be (if we get enough $10 donations, we will reach our goal in no time).  Also, you will receive perks and public recognition (should you so desire it) when you donate.  Also, please tell any and all of your friends that may be interested in helping out.

The link to the fundraising campaign is here:

Christ wants you to send me all your money.  No, really. 

Understand that primarily we just want to get the word out about our new business.  However, if you are led to give, we truly appreciate all the support.
And again, there will be no further unsolicited communications from us.
Many blessings to you,
Jesse S. Greever
CEO, eLectio Publishing

Begging and Christ-spolation. This is a new low in the world of digital publishing.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Katie Price

Katie Price knows how to make an impression at a book launch

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Solstice Publishing sent out an email to authors recently including the following statements, which do not really cast them in a very favorable light.

"The existing Solstice business model is a hybrid of traditional and vanity publishing. The company effectively offers light editorial services" [a.k.a. we don't edit very well.]

"Our intention is to start with you and your book, and build a web-based universe around them - allowing you to share your inspirations, processes, and other works with a community that supports and is inspired by you." [a.k.a. we don't really get that most of our readers just want to buy books.]

"Many of you expressed concern about current marketing efforts ... The fact is that most publishing houses are unwilling or unable to really put the resources into marketing all but the barest handful of high profile books and writers." [a.k.a. we are sorry that you expected us to provide marketing support, and we advise you to get over yourself.]

"There have been a handful of books published under our label that really needed significant editing and improvement before being offered to the public." [a.k.a. in case you missed the earlier euphemism: our editing sucks].

As a bonus, from their website: "Solstice does alot of promoting for the books." and "We send all of Solstice Books off for reviews --- We can't make the review sites review the book, But we send every book to review sites." [a.k.a. this is an example of 'lightly edited' text.]

The overall tone is rather similar to when Hearts on Fire was reinvented as Solstice.  Will they be shedding books and authors again?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Amazon and Indy Copyright

It seems that Amazon is finally doing something to prevent people from self-publishing copyright-infringing material through Kindle.

Predictably, they are doing it in a ham fisted way. Specifically, demanding that self-publishers prove their publications are their own, within five day, by posting urls. Because that's how copyright works.  (Not.)

On the positive side they are limiting these notices to authors of works that duplicate online material and so might reasonably fall under suspicion..But it seems like quite a few legit books are also getting caught in the net.

It seems that most users with book/online correspondences can provide this kind of proof--but I wonder what happens when you can't?


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why is Harlequin listing non-fiction as romance? And why is Amazon letting them?


How Winning Works: 8 Essential Leadership Lessons from the Toughest Teams on Earth
Book - Romance - Contemporary

The Beauty Detox Solution: Eat Your Way to Radiant Skin, Renewed Energy and the Body You've Always Wanted
Book - Romance - Contemporary

The Happy Stepmother: Stay Sane, Empower Yourself, Thrive in Your New Family
Book - Romance - Contemporary

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Scarlet Tie Books

Well, here's another one.

Seeking "quality GLBT fiction with a strong emphasis on plot and characterisation". 

"Our mission is to offer high quality books for readers of m/m fiction" (What happened to L, B & T?)

The people behind it are Zachary Sexton and Meg Leigh.

The tiny gray font on the website put me off really looking much further.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Time and Tide Publishing

Time and Tide are a new publisher with two anthologies for which they are seeking submissions (one of them the inaugural title for their erotica line). 

They are not, however, planning to pay for these submissions.

This might make sense if the profits were going to charity, it was a non-profit fan publisher, or the anthology was in a genre without commercial potential.

But as far as I can see, none of these apply,

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


Twins so identical they can't even have their own light source.

Some People are Easily Shocked

Concerned citizens who complained about the "nearly naked" woman on this billboard presumably do not go to the beach very often.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Fanfic in Microcosm:

I can remember when  first started in the late nineties. It hardly seemed like a viable idea given the inevitable rampant copyright infringement. And yet it prospered. Somehow it seemed to become the norm to tolerate the site (although a number of major authors went on record as not tolerating fanfic and the site respected this) .

Predictably, a lot of the fiction posted was erotic--and this presents something of a double jeopardy (copyright infringement risk, plus obscenity risk). You were meant to be 18 yeas old to join but it was an open secret that the many of the members were younger.

Rather than alienate their core demographic, in 2002 decided to lower the acceptable age to 13, and so lower the acceptable rating to 'M' ("Detailed descriptions of physical interaction of sexual or violent nature" not allowed).However quite a few authors claimed an M rating when their material probably exceeded that category. Given that stories are moderated only if reported, they were likely to slip under the radar. (This is, after all, where 50 Shades first appeared).

The latest development started lat in May and has continued into June.  It seems a lot of stories are getting reported and subsequently removed.  The underlying cause seems to be user-reporting, possibly galvanized by "Critic United".

Is this "bullying"?  I would say: no.  It is simply another, somewhat ironic, example of how being tolerated is not the same as being accepted.

See also:
Dear [June 5]

Monday, June 04, 2012


ISOTUT is not a romance publisher, but they are so inept as to deserve comment.  Here is the content from their website, with a few observations added in brackets:

"We, ISOTUT Publisher, is [singular/plural disagreement] an Independent Book Publisher, as we are not part of a group of publishers that are owned by any Large Publishing Houses (Company[ies]).

We publish all writing genre's [misplaced apostrophe] and we do not turn away any of our writers or their books.[We don't care if you can write, only if you can pay]

Those fees that we will quote you in our publishing proposal is [singular/plural disagreement] for our services to edit / design your book.

We do not [an] pay advance [upon] royalty[ies].

We pay for all the advertising / promoting and setting up your book with our wholesalers worldwide, on our end as we do not charge you for those fees as this keeps your fees down. [Run on sentence]

We set up your book with our wholesalers which are in the US / Canada / UK / Europe / Australia and in Brazil, for all bookstores and booksellers to order and to sell your book worldwide.

For being a new author you will not find a publisher that will pay you upfront (advanced royalty). [bollocks] You need to get your foot in the door first and when your book sells great, then other publisher's [misplaced apostrophe] will contact us [more bollocks]. We will then contact you to let you know that a large publishing company has taken an interest in buying the re-print rights [more bollocks]. They will pay you advance, but not until you get noticed and your book sells great. This will take time, years. [even more pure, unadulterated bollocks]

The main reason that publishers do not pay [an] advance [on] royalty[ies] [bollocks continues], is that there are over 3.5 million plus book titles published worldwide each year. There is no knowing how a book will sell until it is out in the market [sigh], and what the author is willing to do on their own to get noticed as the author of their own book.

To date, there are 30 million plus book titles published and each new book has to compete with those books. New authors also have to compete with authors that have been well known for the past 15 - 30 plus years.

The only way a book will do well is based on what the author of that book wants, on what the author is willing to do to get themselves noticed as the author of their book [Unless, of course, the get published by someone who is in possession of a clue]."

Looking at the introduction to their best-seller I find the statement:

"Neither is this book written with any perfect skillfulness such as in proper sentence structuring, or even correct usage of grammar - as that it not its true purpose."

Since when did publishers take pride in illiteracy?