Monday, November 24, 2008

One Big Mess of Info - That You Can Use Now!

After reviewing this newsletter I asked Jerry D. Simmons of for permission to re-print. There is an enormous amount of information and wisdom here.

Reader Feedback - A friend of mine sent me this email last week and I had to share with you -- “It is so seldom that people take time to give praise and appreciation where it is due that I am blown over with gratitude when someone makes the effort to bless me with a little. I'm sure most of us do appreciate the worthy acts and efforts of others, but sadly I think we are so caught up in the busyness of our lives we just don't take time to express it. And that is sad.

Also, I think we need to laugh more” . . . I couldn’t agree more!

Something To Make You Smile
- Another friend sent me the following: Investment advice - A little levity in our troubled times:

If you had purchased $1,000 of Delta Air Lines stock one year ago, you would
have $49 left. With Freddie Mac, you would have $2.50 left of the original $1,000.
With AIG, you would have less than $15 left.

But, if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all of
the beer, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling REFUND, you would have $214 cash.

Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily
and recycle. It's called the 401-Keg

Question to Consider -
Q - My publisher wants to price my book well above the market for my category, how can I make them understand this is wrong?

A - Unfortunately you can’t, some publishers who charge a fee to print your book set cover prices based on page count. You can understand why, because they are making money off the services you purchase and not necessarily the number of copies you sell. Certainly they want you to sell copies because they do make money when you are successful. However, the business model for “most” vanity publishers, where you pay a fee to publish, is to sell services. Consider that roughly 90% of all authors who pay to have their book published actually sell less than 200 copies. Now you can understand why some vanity publishers focus on the upfront fees you pay and not the number of copies you sell.

Marketing Wisdom - From New York Times bestselling author and marketing expert Seth Godin, from his blog.

What happens when we organize?

Most power occurs because one side is better organized than the other. Labor is usually less well organized than management, criminals are usually less well organized than the police and customers are always less well organized than producers.

The internet promises to change that. It does it occasionally, sort of randomly. Sometimes, users will rise up and complain (as they did at Facebook). Or voters will organize online and hurt (or help) a politician or candidate.

Wikipedia works because so many contributors figured out how to self-organize into a group that produced something far more useful than a traditionally organized document.

I think we're at the earliest possible beginning of the changes we're going to see because of this sort of grass roots coordination.

Simple example: the Starbucks in Larchmont, NY keeps their thermostat at 64 degrees. And the stores in Breckenridge, Colorado keep their doors wide open all winter. If you're raging mad about energy waste, you could say something. And nothing would happen. But if customers organized and ten people said something or a hundred people said something... boom, new rules.

The system doesn't know what to do with a movement.
If We Organize, the marketplace will hear us. To answer the question how do we sell more books? It’s simple, we market ourselves as a group. That is what Nothing Binding was created to do, bring attention to independently published books. Amazon is not going to do it, sure they’ll gladly sell your book and keep 55% as well as set the cover price. Can we do better? YES! It all starts with an idea followed by organization to create a movement. To learn more just send me an email,, or better yet, sign-up for, it’s free.

TIPS for WRITERS - One of the most important issues for an author, especially if you are independently published. Read all about it by clicking the title below Who Owns the Rights to Your Work? Or cut and paste to your browser .

Book Awards -
If you haven’t tried one your should, I recommend the Indie Excellence Awards, now accepting submissions. Here is the website, check it out

Did You Know? -
The major publishers generate more than 90% of their revenue from less than 10% of the titles they publish. If you are an author in the “other 90% that generate less than 10% of a publishers revenue,” you better understand how the business works and what you can do to separate yourself from all the other authors under contract. For $19.99 you can buy my book and learn all you need to know about publishing from a former insider’s perspective, cut and paste this to your browser .

The Headlines - Issues “WORTH READING” in the publishing business.

Court Rules Print-On-Demand Service Not Liable for Defamation

By Jeffrey D. Neuburger

Book publishers can be sued if they publish a book full of libelous statements because, the reasoning goes, a publisher should know what it prints. The publisher reviews the manuscript, edits and proofreads it, and distributes the finished book to retailers. It is involved in every part of the process.

But the Internet has given rise to a new breed of printing company, a hands-off model that doesn't get involved with the writing process at all. Online print-on-demand companies specialize in printing books exactly as they appear on submission, without any changes. If print-on-demand services don't exercise any oversight over their books, are they still liable when those books are found to contain defamatory statements?

That was the question in a motion recently decided in Sandler v. Calcagni, a defamation action filed in the federal district court in Maine over a book that was printed and distributed by BookSurge, a print-on-demand service that's owned by

Print-on-demand services appear at first blush to be the same as traditional vanity publishers, printing houses where authors can pay to have their work printed. However, the web-based interface of print-on-demand reduces the time and expense involved in getting a book to print and also helps to get the book placed with online retailers. Another key difference is that, while many vanity publishers may insist on an author paying for a set number of copies, many print-on-demand services will only print up as many copies of a book as have been ordered.

Traditionally, book publishers could be held liable for defamatory statements in their books under the theory that they exercised some form of control over the books' contents. But online print-on-demand companies typically provide printing and distribution services only, and do not perform the traditional editing, fact-checking and marketing functions associated with other publishers. Sandler v. Calcagni appears to be the first case in which someone has argued that a print-on-demand company should face traditional "publisher" liability.

Don't Save the Cheerleader

The case started with a dispute between two high school cheerleaders over (what else?) a boy. According to the court's opinion, one of the cheerleaders, Calcagni, and some of her friends harassed Sandler with religious epithets. Eventually, Calcagni was convicted of a hate crime for allegedly spray-painting a swastika near Sandler's home.

Calcagni's parents decided to tell their side of the story with a tell-all book about the incident. They printed the book through BookSurge, and purchased several hundred copies, which they distributed to friends, family and local bookstores. Several other parties also purchased copies of the book online.

Not surprisingly, Sandler sued Calcagni, her parents, the freelancer and BookSurge. BookSurge made a motion to dismiss the claims against it, arguing that it should not be held liable as a publisher for purposes of defamation law.

What Makes a Publisher?

So far, I've carefully avoided referring to BookSurge as the publisher of the book in question. That's because "publisher" is a word of art in the law, a term that has a specific legal definition. There are specific legal consequences attached to the categorization of publisher -- consequences that BookSurge hoped to avoid. As the court itself noted, confusion can arise in defamation cases because "publisher" has a common business as well as a legal meaning.

Under the common law, whether a participant is deemed to be a publisher for purposes of imposing defamation liability depends on the "extent to which he participates with an author...of the defamatory statement in its publication," according to the court's ruling in this case. Actors who are "more actively involved" in the process may be held liable "because they have the opportunity to know the content of the material being published."

The court effectively viewed the BookSurge service as a giant online copy machine, noting that it had "negligible involvement" with the authors of the book. BookSurge never fact-checked or reviewed the manuscript, and it had no editorial control over the work. Accordingly, the court found that the service did not know, or have reason to know, that the book might be defamatory and thus could not be held liable.

We'll never know whether the ruling would have survived an appeal. On September 4, the remaining parties filed a notice of settlement with the court, ending the case. So the court's ruling on BookSurge's liability will stand for now as persuasive authority for other courts faced with that same issue.


Print-on-demand services are an example of how the Internet enables writers to circumvent the gatekeepers of traditional communications channels. By dramatically lowering the cost and greatly increasing the ease of communication, writers who would previously have been blocked from the market can find an easy way to get their works out to the public. Authors no longer have to send copies of their great American novel to hundreds of publishers, praying for an editor to view it favorably. In fact, in this case, the parents first sought to have their book published by traditional publishing houses, which uniformly rejected the manuscript.

The question prior to Sandler v. Calcagni was whether the law would saddle these kinds of services with potential liability that would force them to vet their authors' works in the same manner as traditional publishers. If print-on-demand services were found not to be liable, they would have less incentive to weed out books that could give rise to legal action, almost certainly allowing more content to make its way into the stream of public discourse -- for good or ill, as this case arguably demonstrates.

Of course, there's an upside and a downside to all things. Freeing print-on-demand services from liability places the entire legal responsibility for content on authors, to the detriment of plaintiffs and defendants alike. Plaintiffs could not hope to recover much without a publisher's deep pockets, while authors would lose the protection of the publisher's attorneys and liability carrier. Such liability could bankrupt some authors, and the threat of legal action could cause authors to self-edit.

Outstanding Issues

Will courts in other states follow the Maine court's decision in Sandler v. Calcagni? That remains to be seen. Defamation liability is controlled by state law, with an overlay of federal law in the form of the First Amendment. Although the broad general principles of defamation law are fairly uniform throughout the U.S., another jurisdiction might take a different view of the liability of print-on-demand services.

Jeffrey D. Neuburger is a partner in the New York office of Proskauer Rose LLP, and co-chair of the Technology, Media and Communications Practice Group. His practice focuses on technology and media-related business transactions and counseling of clients in the utilization of new media. He is an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law teaching E-Commerce Law and the co-author of two books, "Doing Business on the Internet" and "Emerging Technologies and the Law." He also co-writes the New Media & Technology Law Blog

Commentary - The clear legal distinction has been made between traditional publishing and print-on-demand publishers. For authors, be aware, you can be sued for writing about anything that may be taken as libelous be a reader.

Success Story - Cheryl is a frequent contributor to this newsletter.

Canadian author Cheryl Kaye Tardif writes a novel titled ‘Finding Bliss’ on the new iPhone 3G

EDMONTON, AB, CANADA ― Apple’s new iPhone 3G hasn’t been available in Canada for very long and already one Canadian has discovered a unique use for it. Critically acclaimed author Cheryl Kaye Tardif plans to use the Notes application to write a novel titled ‘Finding Bliss’.

“I am often ‘blasted’ with an idea for a novel at the least convenient times,” Tardif says. “Two nights ago a novel idea about a teenage girl named Bliss hit me. I had to capture her story right away, so I immediately reached for my iPhone.”

Using the Notes application, Tardif drafted a brief outline for the novel, emailed the note to herself, then later copied the text into a Word document on her PC. It was her husband Marc, a cable installer for Shaw Cablesystems, who actually suggested the idea of writing the entire novel on the iPhone. It’s an idea that excites her.

“I’ve already started Chapter 1,” she says. “I plan to write each chapter on the iPhone, then edit it on my PC. And one of the characters will use an iPhone in the novel.”

Tardif has contacted Apple to let them know what she is doing. She hopes to hear from someone within the corporation. Not only does she want them to know how impressed she is with the iPhone, she wants them to know about ‘Finding Bliss’.

“I believe I’m the first author to attempt to write a complete novel using the iPhone.”

When asked about the plot of the novel, Tardif states, “’Finding Bliss’ will be an emotional, heartwarming story of a teenage girl who must fight to survive in a world of abuse, lies and loss. As she struggles to find herself, Bliss will discover exactly where she belongs and she'll learn that she is worthy of love after all.”

Cheryl Kaye Tardif is the author of three successful novels―Whale Song, The River and Divine Intervention. She recently arranged, with her publisher Kunati Books, to have 125 copies of ‘Whale Song’ added to VIP bags for 125 celebrities and special guests who attend Dallas Rocks 2008, an event that raises funds for Russell Simmons' Diamond Empowerment Fund (D.E.F.) a non-profit international organization that supports education initiatives for disadvantaged people in Africa.

To read more about Cheryl Kaye Tardif, ‘Finding Bliss’ and to read a review of the iPhone 3G, please visit:

To learn more about the iPhone 3G, visit For media enquiries, please contact: Rachel Sentes - Publicist - OutRight Communications Inc
780-406-8045 -

Interesting Fact -
Five of the six largest publishers in the world are foreign owned. Below you will find their names and some of their various imprints.

(1) Random House, Inc., a division of Bertelsmann AG (a German Corporation), is the world's largest English-language general trade book publisher. It publishes some seventy imprints, including Anchor, Ballantine, Bantam, Broadway, Crown, Dell, Del Ray, Dial, Doubleday, Fawcett, Fodor, Dell, Knopf Group, Pantheon, Random House, Villard, and Vintage. It also owns the Literary Guild.

(2) The Penguin Group, which is owned by Pearson (United Kingdom), is the second largest publisher in the United States and Canada and the largest in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and India. Its imprints include Allen Lane, Avery, Berkley Books, Dutton, Hamish Hamilton, Michael Joseph, Plume, Putnam, Riverhead, and Viking. Penguin also publishes children's brands such as Puffin, Ladybird, Dutton and Grosset & Dunlap.

(3) Simon & Schuster, Inc., is the publishing arm of Viacom (United States). It publishes Aladdin Paperbacks, Atheneum, Atria, Fireside, The Free Press, Little Simon, MTV Books, Margaret K. McElderry, Pocket Books, Scribner, Simon & Schuster, Simon Spotlight, Star Trek, Touchstone, Washington Square Press, and Wall Street Journal Books.

(4) Harper Collins
, a subsidiary of the News Corporation Limited (Australia), has annual revenues of over $1 billion. Its imprints include Amistad, Avon, Caedmon, Ecco, Eos, Harper Business, Harper Collins, Harper SanFrancisco, Perennial, Rayo, Regan Books and William Morrow. Its Zondervan unit publishes Bibles and Christian books, and its e-book imprint is Perfect Bound. Also Hyperion, and Miramax.

(5) Hachette Book Group USA
formerly Time Warner Book Group Inc. (French) owns the Book-of-the-Month Club and the imprints Aspect; Back Bay; Bulfinch; Little, Brown and Company; Press Warner Books, The Mysterious Press and Warner Books (Warner Business Books, Warner Faith, and Warner Vision). It also distributes publishing lines for Arcade, Harry Abrams, Time-Life Books, and Microsoft.

(6) Holtzbrinck Publishing Holdings
, (Germany), publishers imprints that include Argon; Bedford; College-Group; Farrar, Straus & Giroux; Freeman; Hanley & Belfus; Henry Holt; Hill & Wang; Macmillan; North Point Press; Picador; St. Martin's; Scientific American; Times Books (partnership with New York Times Group); Urban & Fischer, and Worth.

The Prediction - Big changes are coming in publishing. Not only has the economic meltdown had an impact on Wall Street, book sales are slipping yet again. The time is coming and the biggest publishers are going to recognize the fact that their business model is broken. You can read more at the following:

The Perfect Time

Trust in the Community

Changing The Face of Publishing

Community of Independent Authors

Special Audio Book Production Offer - From now till December 31st, 2008, John Mahoney, owner/producer of Raven Audio Books, a professional experienced audio book recording studio located in Peoria, Arizona is offering authors a special price. Should you be interested in creating an audio book, please feel free to contact me. This is a link to some statistics on audio books that may be of interest. or visit their web site, you can reach John by phone 623.215.8654.

Another Special Offer - For anyone interested in using press releases to spread the word about their book, here‘s a deal between now and December 30th.

If you purchase the $89 video release service from 24-7 and enter the special code below, you'll get $20 off your release. You'll pay only $69. These $89 releases look awesome. And you can include 4 pictures (book covers, yourself, etc.) AND a 2 minute video (book trailer, podcast, etc). If you have an event coming up or news that you want to promote, this is the time.

This code is active now and expires: December 30, 2008. Visit:, select the $89 release and be sure to enter the code: ckt123008

Mark Your Calendars - Scottsdale Society of Women Writers


Who: Scottsdale Society of Women Writers - Books Signing Event - Discuss with them their work and review and purchase books for your reading enjoyment. Several of the authors will be speaking on their writing experience.

Anna Bartowski Value Meals on the Volga

Patricia L. Brooks Gifts of Sisterhood

Kebba Buckley Discover the Secret Energized You

Dana Davis The Mask of Tamirella

Lilia Fallgatter The Most Important Letter you will ever Write

Barbara Levy Mexican Strawberries

Marilyn McGrath All you know on Earth

WHEN: Saturday, November 1st - from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Pages Bookstore – 7100 E. Cave Creek Rd., 480-575-7220

The Scottsdale Society of Women Writers meets the last Wed. night of the month for networking, camaraderie, dinner and a professional speaker in the writing and publishing industry. Café Carumba in Old Scottsdale: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Contact Patricia L. Brooks, president and founder at 480-250-5556 or

Upcoming Book Fair -
Sunday November 16th from noon to 4:00, SSA will be holding a BOOK FAIR at the Sheraton Four Points Conference Center, 1900 E. Speedway, Tucson. Admission is FREE, there will be door prizes and refreshments. In addition to 60 local authors, award-winning authors Rhys Bowen and Virginia Nosky, are featured. Don’t miss it!

Read Books for Free - If you would like to read and review a book for free, please go sign-up for our program. Visit the site and sign up today.

Jerry, What Do You Do? - Interestingly enough I get this question a lot. The short answer is that I help writers make decisions about publishing, marketing and selling books. There is no one set way to publish, there are plenty of options and I help writers choose what’s best for them based on personal goals.

What Is - The web site created to provide writers and authors with credible information on writing, publishing, and marketing books. Touted as the INSIDERS GUIDE to PUBLISHING, all of the information is based on my 25 years of corporate New York experience. It is also the only place where you can buy my book WHAT WRITERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PUBLISHING.

My Services - I have 30 years of publishing experience and offer a complete line-up of professional services. For more details click here. Or cut and paste the following link:

Pass It On! If you find my newsletter helpful, please forward to everyone you think might find it interesting. If my newsletter was forwarded to you and you would like your own copy, send me an email, With your sign-up you’ll receive free an 20-page eBook titled “What Writers Need to Know About Marketing.”

Finally - Your comments and feedback are really important, please tell me what you think and what can be improved. Send me an email .

Free Information – You may quote from or use any of the information, all or in part, under the conditions that: (1) The republication is not resold or used for any other commercial use, and (2) The author, Jerry D. Simmons and website are prominently referenced. All written material 2008ÓJerry D. Simmons.

Acknowledgment – My audience is writers and authors. Please accept the fact that this newsletter and TIPS for WRITERS are not edited. There may on occasion be grammatical, syntax, and spelling errors. I acknowledge the fact and apologize.

Jerry D. Simmons - Author, Publisher, Speaker
Global stage for writers, authors, and readers
Publishing Insider Blog

Author of What Every Writer Needs to Know About Publishing
Also available as an eBook

1 comment:

Juliana & June said...

This is the first-ever year-over-year drop in e-commerce spending in US since the e-commerce category was established, the same study reveals. Such a drop is the result of low consumer confidence in online shopping, as well as a "tight disposable income".