Archive for November, 2011

I need to say something. This is an issue near and dear to me because I almost fell for one of these scams myself back in 2005. I did some research and it saved me from throwing a shitload of money away. I’ve moved on from the disappointment (and disillusionment) of that whole fiasco, but this morning I received an email from a reader that brought the whole thing back. This is what it said:

Good morning (at least here in CA),

I have a question for you. I’m helping a friend of mine publish her book and she wrote me back giving me the terms of the deal this company is giving her. It doesn’t sound kosher to me but I wanted to get your opinion. Here is what she wrote:

“the offer is from ——– (small publisher, not one of the “big 6″ or even a medium publishing house). I would have to pay almost $4000 up front (one time). E-book would be available in 6 months and print in about a year. Once 5000 books were sold I’d be completely refunded the $4000. My royalties would be 50%.”

My issue is her paying the $4000 up front. I don’t know of any legitimate publisher asking their author to pay up front first. My question is why not take that $4000 and publish the book yourself and KEEP 100% of the royalties? So unless I’ve completely missed something in my book industry, this sounds wrong.

What do you think?

I would like to note that I did not censor the name of the “publisher” in question. The email had that part blanked out when I read it, so I have no idea which of the many scam “presses” this could be. If I did, I would share it here and bold the name of the company to make sure everyone could see it. Then I’d Facebook it, then I’d tweet about it, and then I’d paste it on my website with a picture of a jackass eating a sack of money. Make no mistake, this is a scam. An expensive and all-too-common one. I emailed him back and told him what I think, but because this is such a serious issue, I figured I would talk about it here on my blog, as well. Too many new writers get taken in by schemes like this, and they shouldn’t. A little research will help determine the truth, which is this:

No legitimate publisher would ask one of their authors to pay $4,000 up front.

Did you get that? I hope so. But even if you did, I want to repeat it.

NO LEGITIMATE PUBLISHER WOULD ASK ONE OF THEIR AUTHORS TO PAY $4,000 UP FRONT.

In fact, no legitimate publisher would ever ask one of their authors to pay $10 up front. Money flows to the author, not from the author. If you are an aspiring author, and you send your work to a publisher, and they expect YOU to pay THEM, run, don’t walk. They are scamming you. It’s that simple.

This includes editing services provided by the publisher. If you get an acceptance from some small press and they tell you that you need to pay for your own editing, run. If they just happen to know an editing service that would be happy to take on your project…RUN!

This scam is as old as publishing itself, and it succeeds because many new writers are not aware that this is not the norm. Well I’m here to tell you that it isn’t. When a publisher decides to take on a new project, they figure the cost of editing and promoting into the decision. Those are expenses the publishers make, not the author. While it’s true that many authors use some of their own money for promotional purposes, they usually do this all on their own, and publishers do not demand that the author pay them for any promotion or marketing or any other services provided by a publishing house. Any such publisher that does ask you to pay them is scamming you.

Period.

This isn’t limited to just publishers, though. There are plenty of fake literary agents out there who do the same thing. They will say something like “We love your book, but we think it could be better. To that end we would like you to have this book edited by XXXXXXX editing. After all, if you aren’t willing to invest in your future, why should we?”

Probably not those exact words, but that’s the gist of it. There are a number of scam “literary agents” that do this. Just keep in mind, folks, that the same thing holds true for agents as it does for publishers. MONEY FLOWS TO THE AUTHOR, NOT AWAY FROM THE AUTHOR. Literary agents are hard to get. It’s true. Believe me, I know it’s true. But they are hard to get for a reason: They only get paid if they sell your book. Thus they are very careful about the books they take on, because no one wants to work for free. Authors don’t. Publishers don’t, and agents don’t, either.

The problem with both of these scenarios is obvious and simple. If you pay an agent or a publisher to publish your book, then what is their incentive to sell it to others? After all, they already made their money. Off you. See how that works?

Now, I’m not talking about vanity presses or self publishing outfits. Those places don’t promise you anything. They tell you up front that they are a printing service and you know what you get going in. That’s different. They offer a legitimate service to self-publishers and to people who only need a few copies of a book printed for whatever reason. They are also pretty inexpensive to set up. CreateSpace, for example, is free unless you opt for their $39 Pro Plan and/or their Expanded Distribution, which is also $39. Your total cost of setup is less than $100, and that’s about the norm for this sort of thing. They don’t ask you for $4,000 and then say shit like “after it sells 5,000 copies, we’ll refund your money.” Bullshit. That’s what that is. Bullshit.

There are some very good resources for spotting scam agencies and publishers. Writer Beware is a great one, and so is Preditors and Editors. But for the most part, you can steer clear of scam agencies and publishers by following that one simple rule. That rule is that Agencies and Publishers pay YOU, not the other way around. Keep that in mind and you should be fine.

The Next Matt Cahill Book Is Out!

Posted: November 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

For those of you who enjoy The Dead Man series, I have good news. The next book is out! Woohoo! Harry Shannon’s Kill Them All is available today, and for a limited time it’s only 99 cents!

Cool cover, huh? :) Here’s the description:

Matt Cahill was an ordinary man leading a simple life until a shocking accident changed everything. Now he can see a nightmarish netherworld that exists within our own. Now he’s on a dangerous quest for the answers to who he is and what he has become…and engaged in an epic battle to save us, and his soul, from the clutches of pure evil.

When Matt wanders into a struggling Nevada tourist trap recreation of an “old west” town, he’s unaware that he’s being trailed by a Special Ops team of professional mercenaries hired by a University desperate to unlock the secret behind his resurrection…and that he’s put everyone around him in dire jeopardy. The mercenaries have no intention of letting Matt escape…or letting any witnesses survive. Matt finds himself in a deadly bind. Somehow he must rally the peaceful citizens into defending themselves against the sadistic, well-armed mercenaries… or sacrifice himself to save them from certain death.

Yeah, you remember those two guys at the end of The Dead Woman? Well, we all knew they weren’t really doctors, didn’t we?

Anyway, for a short time, you can get Kill Them All for only 99 cents. A pittance, really. Very small price to pay to see what happens to our friend Matt Cahill in that dry, dusty Nevada backwater. I’ve read it. It’s good.

Poor Matt. That’s all I’m gonna say.

BISHOP IS OUT!

Posted: November 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s here. My collaboration with Jeremy Robinson is out. Bishop is a novella about Erik Somers, a character from Robinson’s excellent Chess Team series. This was a real challenge for me as I’ve never written a thriller before, but all in all it was a good experience. The book came out great and working with Jeremy was a real pleasure. And how about that cover, eh? Me likes!

And here is the product description:

An Iranian terrorist cell has gotten their hands on weaponized Ergot-B—a compound that causes violent hysteria, madness and death within 24 hours—and plan to unleash the weapon on major cities around the world. Successful deployment would begin a bloodbath as those exposed would kill everyone they encountered before succumbing to the compound’s lethal effects.

Erik Somers—Callsign: Bishop, is called in to investigate, but his first discovery shocks him to the core. Dawoud Abbasi, the terrorist leader planning to unleash Ergot-B, is his biological father.

Bishop, along with an undercover Delta operator known as Callsign: Joker, race across the unforgiving Iranian desert in search of the Ergot-B. Seeking answers, both professional and personal, Bishop must fight against a private army, Iranian Special Forces and men driven mad by Ergot-B. With the life of his biological mother in the balance, and countless more people in cities around the world, Bishop must call on all his strength to not only survive, but also stop the man revealed as his father—even if he has to kill him.
Sounds cool, doesn’t it? You know you want to check it out. Heck, I want to check it out, and I helped write it. Here are the links to purchse Bishop on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.com Go ahead, check it out real fast. Do it now. I’ll wait.

I have more good news, too. Yeah, I know. As if the Bishop thing wasn’t exciting enough. But Take a gander at this picture, here.

Notice anything about that image? Hmmmm? Yup. That is the proof copy of 61 A.D. It arrived in the mail yesterday. I am going to spend some time today going through it, page by page, to make sure all is as it should be. If it passes my quality check, 61 A.D. could be available for purchase in print in a matter of days. How cool is that? I’ve had lots of people ask me why I primarily release books on Kindle or other ebook formats, and the answer is “because it’s easy.” Formatting a print copy takes a lot of time and energy, at least if you want it to look good. If you are okay with slapping the file in and lettting it run, then it takes no time at all. But I want my hard copies to look every bit as good as something that would come out of NYC. And that, my friends, takes time and work. This is why it has taken so long to get 61 A.D. out in print. But for those of you who have been waiting, the time is nearly upon us.

Days. Maybe less. Keep your eyes open. :)

Also, I stopped in to Target yesterday morning to buy a box of Banana Mum Mums for Cole. He loves those things! It’s funny to watch him eat them, too, because he will stick as much as he can in his mouth and then bear down with his gums. (He only has one tooth.) But they soften up pretty quick, so he can eat ‘em just fine.

Anyway, while at Target I stopped by the Electronics section and guess what was there. The new Kinde Fire. I’ve been wanting one of these ever since I heard about them, and I’d been tempted to pre-order but never got around to it. So when I saw them just sitting there, I realized I had to have one. So of course one of them found its way to my house.

And yes, that’s Bishop on the screen. I make it a habit to buy everything that has my name on it so I can see how it looks and reads on the Kindle. I have to say, so far the Fire is fantastic. I played with it for a few hours and haven’t yet explored everything it can do. My initial impression is that Amazon definitely has a winner here. I really need to explore the app store more, though. I’m going to try and do more today while Cole is napping.

Speaking of apps for the incredibly cool Kindle Fire, if you are thinking about getting one, or if you already have one, you should definitely slide on over to the Kindle Fire Department. This is a blog run by Jason Letts, and its purpose is to guide you to free and cheap content. From the site: “Our goal is to bring you quality content for cheap so that you can get the best use of your Kindle Fire. We’ll be offering up useful apps, freebies, fun games, and other deals on a daily basis. If you have comments about how to improve the site, we’d love to hear them. Thanks!”

Sound like a good place to visit if you have a brand new Kindle Fire burning a hole in your hands? Yep. It does to me, too. So pop on over and take a look around. Tell Jason I sent ya.

Okay, that’s about it for now. I’ll pop back in with more news in the next few days, including the status of print versions for Saying Goodbye to the Sun and NASTY LITTLE F!#*ERS, so stay tuned.

Hi All,

Today, I am handing the keys over to fantasy author Ty Johnston. Ty is going to talk about a program called Operation ebook Drop, which delivers free eBooks to our men and women serving in the US Military. I don’t want to spoil his guest post by revealing everything, but I will say it’s one of the best things going on in eBookland right now. In my opinion, anyway.

In any case, here’s Ty:

*********

Hello, there. For those who don’t know me, I’m epic fantasy indie writer Ty Johnston, author of City of Rogues, Bayne’s Climb and More Than Kin, all of which are available for the Kindle, the Nook and online at Smashwords If interested, you can find out more about me at my own blog.

This month I’m traveling around the blogosphere promoting the Nov. 21 release of latest e-book novel, Ghosts of the Asylum, but today I’d like to talk about something other than myself.

I’d like to let writers and readers know about Operation E-Book Drop.

Operation E-Book Drop is a program in which authors can provide their e-books for free to soldiers. The creator of this program is author Edward C. Patterson, along with the cooperation of Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords.

As of this writing, more than 1,000 authors have taken part in this program, including myself and David McAfee, and more than 3 million e-books have been provided to our soldiers.

I’m sure Ed is proud of those numbers. I know I am.

In my only little way, I’ve given back to our men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms. What I’ve done is not enough, and never will be enough, but I’m proud of myself and my fellow authors for what we have accomplished and will continue to accomplish through Operation E-Book Drop. More than that, I’m proud of our soldiers, and I am thankful to them for standing in harm’s way for the rest of us.

So far, I’ve made one novel, City of Rogues, and one novella, Bayne’s Climb, available for free to our soldiers through Operation E-Book Drop. I plan on doing more, including making available my latest e-book novel, Ghosts of the Asylum.

If you are an active member of the military, please contact Edward C. Patterson and let him know if you would like to be added to his growing list of those who receive our e-books.

If you are an author, I ask you to consider taking part in this program.

It is the least we can do for those who serve.

**************

Thank you, Ty. And thanks for letting the folks know about Operation eBook Drop. Our soldiers deserve it.

Someone PLEASE Lock This Guy Up!

Posted: November 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

Oh, my God. Are you kidding me? Seriously, this has got to be a very bad joke, right? A Family Judge is caught beating the crap out of his teenage daughter (who has cerebral palsy, no less!) on video. The article includes a link to the actual video. FAIR WARNING, DON’T watch the video if you can’t stand to see images of a kid getting beaten. I had to turn it off after the wife entered the room and demanded the belt, then told the girl to lay down and “take it like a grown woman.”

Again, I ask: Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME?

This really, REALLY pisses me off. This is not a spanking, this is a beating. Not only should this “man” NOT be a judge, he should be locked up! If it were up to me, I’d lock him in a cell with some of the men he sent to prison. Let him see what a beating feels like on the receiving end. And when the inmates tell HIM to lay down and take it like a woman, they won’t be talking about a spanking. While you’re at it, lock up the wife, too. She’s as bad as the judge. The guy just beat the crap out the girl with a belt-slapping her on the legs, lower back, buttocks, and threatening to hit her in the face-and the wife comes in and wants to give her MORE? After she told the husband that she’d already spanked the girl earlier? Fuck yeah. Lock that bitch up, too.

Sorry for the language in this post, but this sort of thing is inexcusable.

Lock them both up and send the girl to a safe environment.

I Lied

Posted: November 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

Instead of going through the manuscripts for typos or working on the covers, I spent the evening sending out review copies.

I didn’t think it would take long. Oops.

Whew. Glad that’s done. Formatting a manuscript for print is a pain! But once I figured out what I was doing it started to go faster. I formatted the file for 61 A.D. in about an hour and a half this morning, as opposed to the four hours I spent on the file for Saying Goodbye to the Sun. It’s my fault, really. I try to make the printed versions of my books as clean, attractive, and professional as possible. I think I did a great job with 33 A.D., and the files I just finished are of the same caliber, so they should look great in print.

I hope.

Now I have to finish the covers. The digital covers are fine the way they are, but for print I have to add a spine and a back cover. I have NO IDEA how to do that. Looks like I’m going to be doing some surfing this morning.

Anyway, I’ll let you guys know when the print books are ready and available. Hope everyone is having a great day.

See Y’all!