PRO’s and CON’s of Fighting Book Piracy

The CON in Publishing

The Verge reported a year ago: “Google received just over 75 million DMCA-related takedown requests in the month of MARCH, representing a new high. The rate at which requests to take down these sites have grown is truly staggering. Compare that to 2014, when Google handled 345 million requests for the entire year.”

Scam Sites
This Year, the numbers might be even higher… Alone in the United States, publishers are losing sales in the vicinity of $80 to $100 million thanks to book piracy.  David Kudler wrote in an article:
“It’s amazing how much money some people will risk getting a $2.99 e-book for “free.” Essentially, it’s the Nigerian Oil Scam using “free” e-books as the lure. The scam counts on the scammer knowing that they’re doing something dishonest and therefore taking chances they wouldn’t take on a legitimate site. The site requests a credit card number but assures you that it won’t be used. Then you find out that you not only can’t get the content you wanted to download, but now you can’t stop your credit card from getting charged — sometimes a few dollars a month (so you don’t notice), and sometimes thousands of dollars.”  Or they use the site to spread viruses to the internet.

Fighting, Suing – Or Just Let Go?
There are many “real” piracy sites – unfortunately, there is not much you can do — they are mostly operating out of countries where US and European intellectual property owners are not bound, e.g. China, India, Russia, Vietnam, or some exotic islands.  They can create hundreds of URLs that seem to offer your book, often linking to other sites.
Seeing it as Book Exposure?
Someone downloads your e-book may end up buying one of your other books later on. After all, using Amazon’s KDP Select, allowing people to download your title for 5 days in a 3-months period is technically almost the same as getting your book downloaded via pdf free download. It gives your book and you as an author exposure

David Kudler: “You can take some solace in the thought that your fans are showing enough interest to track down your book. If you’re feeling particularly daring, you can use P2P sharing and file-sharing forums to distribute promotional freebies — free excerpts, prequel stories, etc.  Include links and other promotional calls-to-action in the e-book to drive readers toward your site, where you can give them incentives to sign up for your email list by giving them more freebies.  You’ll turn these erstwhile pirates into fans by creating a relationship with them.  There are some incredibly successful authors doing just this, among them Neil Gaiman, Cory Doctorow and Guy Kawasaki.”
Helen Sedwick,  author and copyright lawyer in California suggests in her article:
“Sooner or later, every writer or blogger will find her work reposted or republished without permission.  Those sites, offering cheap or free PDF’s, are typically scams downloading malware or stealing credit card numbers. Anyone who clicks through on those sites was unlikely to buy your book anyway…
Don’t get caught up in a game of whack-a-mole.  While it’s upsetting to see your work stolen, the theft may have very few economic consequence to you.  You could waste a lot of time chasing these low-lives.  As soon as you deal with one, others may pop up.  Your energy may be better spent creating new work and finding new readers.”

Here Are Some Useful Tips From WikiHow:

Preventative Measures

Encrypt Your eBooks and Manuscript Files
There are encryption programs, such as LockLizzard  or EditionGuard available for e-books that will only allow the file to be read by authorized users.  This can help prevent a transfer of the original file because the file wouldn’t be readable to anyone but the original purchaser.
This method wouldn’t protect your book because anyone can make a screen photo of each page and sell that as a pirated copy.  There may be some e-book retailers that don’t support encryption, which could limit the availability of your book.

Track Your Books, Using Watermarks
Trade publishers are protecting their e-books with invisible watermarks and you may have similar security available as a self-publisher. While the watermark technology doesn’t prevent anyone from pirating your book, it does allow you to track the copy of your book. The watermark isn’t visible and is more like a tracking code embedded in the book code. Anti-piracy services scan the internet for the code and report when a pirated copy of your book is found.
Don’t Allow File Sharing
Readers who purchase your e-book can share it with a friend. If you turn this option at online retailers off, people won’t be able to share your book. Prohibiting file sharing is a double-edged sword because you are losing the opportunity to gain a new reader! Someone who borrows a book from a friend may end up buying one of your other books later on, so if you have numerous titles planned, allow file sharing on your early books.

Here is What You Can Do If Your Book is Pirated:

It’s YOUR Copyright!
As an author, you are responsible for uncovering pirates and enforcing your copyright by filing a lawsuit. Set search alerts for your name and your book’s title, and for unique text strings that appear in the first 10% and last 10% of the book through Google Alerts.

It’s a good idea to search for yourself once a month – not only for your titles but also for significant expressions in your manuscript. And if you find pirated copies of your book, do not click any links or the download page, you might get a virus. These pages can be moved or deleted easily. Gather evidence of the piracy. Type the main page of the seller in a separate search, and try to get as much information as you can about the website, make screen shots, and bookmark the page.

Collect Evidence of the Pirated Work.
Monitor the internet for your work and immediately report pirated copies you see. Pirates also will scan print books to make digital copies. Take screen shots, write down direct web addresses, and get web archive copies if possible. Research the site’s visibility, how much traffic does it get? Run a search for the website’s main URL at
https://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php for Google PageRank, and for Alexa Rank.
These sites will give you information on the site’s traffic and how high up the page would appear in search results and an idea of how many people potentially have downloaded a pirated copy of your work.

Find the owner of the domain through the WHOIS domain registry at https://whois.icann.org/en. It will tell you who has registered that domain. If the owner hasn’t enabled identity-blocking, it will give you their address, phone number, email address, and IP address.
If the domain owner has an identity-blocking service enabled, the information you get will be the address and contact information of the domain registrar, not the individual owner. However, you can still use this information to contact the registrar regarding the pirated copies.

Send a Cease-and-Desist Letter
Here is a template for such a letter:
If you were able to find the owner of the domain, write a polite letter informing them of the pirated copies of your book available on their website. Take the attitude of assuming that they were unaware of the piracy, and will be willing to work with you.

In your first communication avoid accusing them of stealing your work, and don’t threaten a lawsuit.  Simply provide information about the piracy you’ve found and ask them to work with you to rectify the situation.  Give the owner a deadline to respond, but remain informal. You may get a response that is less than helpful. They may blatantly refuse or they may ignore your letter.  In that case, you may want to talk to an attorney and send a more formal letter.

Google Can Take-Down the Web Link
Send take-down notices to search engines, such as Google and Bing. Ask them to stop linking to your pirate book on those sites. Include information that proves that you are the copyright owner of the intellectual property in question — and you need to do it for every single pirate link.

Get Help from Social Media
Social media sites like YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Facebook have online forms for reporting infringement and sending takedown notices. Look under links titled Legal, Copyright, Report a Problem, or Help.

Contact Their Web Host
In the U.S., the law requires web hosts, such as WordPress or BlueHost, to have a DMCA agent who can be notified regarding pirated content. Find the link to their copyright page. You’ll find a form you can fill out to notify the site’s DMCA agent. You must provide your name, address, and phone number, along with your copyright information, as well as about the pirated content. The DMCA agent will review your notice and if they agree with you, they’ll remove the content themselves. You’ll typically hear back from them within a day or two.
Contact the domain registrar and hosting company.  If you can find the name of the company that registered the domain or provides hosting services for the website, they also may be obligated to take down pirated content.  Companies located in the United States are required to remove pirated content if they are notified of it.  Send copies of your takedown request to the domain registrar and hosting company.

Amazon Will Compensate You
According to the Kindle Direct Publishing Terms of Service
5.7 Rights Clearances and Rights Dispute Resolution:
“ If you notify us through the procedure we provide on the applicable Amazon Property for making claims of copyright infringement that a third party has made a Digital Book available for distribution through the Program (or for distribution in a particular territory through the Program) that you have the exclusive right to make available under the Program, then, upon your request and after verification of your claim, we will pay you the Royalties due in connection with any sales of the Digital Book through the Program, and will remove the Digital Book from future sale through the Program, as your sole and exclusive remedy.”
But you need to file a notice of copyright infringement through Amazon’s online form or through written communication with Amazon’s legal department. Their rules, addresses, and contacts can be found at their dedicated website for copyright infringement of digital books.
However, their subsidiary company CreateSpace does not!

PayPal Might Help Too
WikiHow: “File a report with the payment processing company.  Some payment processing companies, such as PayPal, will ban or suspend users who receive money for pirated content. If the website you found is taking money for pirated copies of your work, you can potentially take away their ability to make any money off of it while you evaluate your other options.
Look on the website for logos of payment processing companies they use. Go to that company’s website and look for a legal or copyright link that will give you the information you need to file your report.”

Contact Their Advertisers
Jennifer Mattern, a top blogger on freelance issues, suggests you contact the site’s advertisers as well. But you have to be 100% certain the site is actually infringing your work, otherwise it could backfire.

Follow-Up on Your Infringement Reports
Just because a website or host removes a particular link or page, there’s no guarantee that the pirates won’t simply repost your content.  It also won’t stop them from going to another website and uploading the same content there.  Keep up with intense monitoring of the internet and revisit sites periodically to make sure the pirated content doesn’t return.
Without proper protection, work you have created could end up making money for someone else. Photographer Jeremy Nicholl wrote: “Some time ago I began registering all my photographs with the US Copyright Office.  Like all photographers, I have witnessed a massive increase in theft of my work in recent years.  And, like others I have found it difficult, if not impossible, to get reasonable compensation for these infringements, especially if the infringer is in a foreign country.  But one country, the US, provides very hefty penalties for copyright theft – so long as the work has been registered prior to the infringement in question”.

However, this is all theory – if the theft is committed in a country where suing is very difficult and costly – or the criminals cannot be caught, or don’t have the means to pay penalties. Read more about copyright registration here

Register Your Copyright
If you still aren’t able to get rid of pirated copies of your book on the internet, you can sue the pirates for copyright infringement. The registration of your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office has to be before you find out about the criminal actions. Be aware that it can take as long as eight months to process! Better start as soon as your e-book is available in .pdf, .epub or .mobi version – even before it is uploaded to online retailers.

To file your copyright, you can find registration applications and instructions at the Copyright Office website at and you don’t need an attorney to register a copyright. The application is simple and you can complete it online in a few minutes. If you’re the only author of your book, the filing fee is only $35 (by credit or debit card), provided you complete your application online. The copyright registration application must be accompanied by electronic copies of your work, which will be filed with the Library of Congress.

Legal Proceedings
If you’ve exhausted all other options, such as take-downs by Google, Amazon or the web host of the pirate’s site, you may want to consider suing in court. If you lose considerable amounts of book sales, hire an attorney who specializes in filing copyright infringement lawsuits, and get their opinion on your case. K eep in mind: Federal court proceedings are time-consuming, expensive, and stressful.  Think about it: Is it worth the effort, suing pirates for copyright infringement?  It means you could spend thousands of dollars on legal fees before your case even gets a trial date.  Consider it as a last resort, or if they’ve been selling thousands of pirated copies of your work and made a lot of money.
One law firm that is specialized in copyright law is Hoffman in NYC, but you will find them in almost every state. There are websites, such as Findlaw.com that sort them by cities too. Some lawyers will even work for you on a contingency agreement for a percentage of any settlement; as long as you have registered your writing or your image correctly.

How Much Can You Charge:
What’s An Infringement Worth? Attorney Carolyn E. Wright who is a specialist in copyright law has an interesting graphic on her website that shows the average amount of damages the perpetrator has to pay:

  • Actual Damages
  • Statutory Damages
  • Ordinary Licence Fee
  • Profits
  • Fine
  • Attorneys fees & costs

If you are an author in the U.S.A.: copyright laws allow punishment for removal or alteration of copyright information a substantial statutory damage – $2,500 – $25,000 – for each image or text.

Don’t forget: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. And: copyright infringement can even be a source of income for you if you charge the thieves : )



To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing,
please read also “111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free”

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BEHIND CLOSED DOORS Available in Print

Imagine you are a little house fly and you could get access to homes and mansions were celebrities and politician reside – being able to get a peek behind closed doors and spying on them.

Take a peek behind the masks of hypocrisy and the walls of deception that lurk and thrive in the mainstream; the secret, desperate lives of sinners, perverts, and criminals that remain usually well hidden in posh mansions from the wrath and condemnation of our society.

Get now also the print version of the fictional story BEHIND CLOSED DOORS on all Amazon sites around the world.  Such as Amazon for the USA, Australia, NZ, South Africa – or on Amazon.de, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr or at B&N, Kobo, Gardners, Scribd, Story- Tel, OverDrive, Bookmate, just to name a few of the many retailers and distributors that carry her books.

Author Dr. Charlayne Grenci’s purpose was to expose and dramatize the true reality of what goes on in the private lives of people in suburban America.  Watched by a tiny little detective fly – tells you all…

Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: French-Flair Publishing July 21, 2017
ISBN 978-1988664057

Amazon Canada: https://www.amazon.ca/Behind-Closed-Doors-Charlayne-Grenci-ebook/dp/B06Y6DP5JY/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Behind-Closed-Doors-Charlayne-Grenci-ebook/dp/B06Y6DP5JY/

Amazon Germany: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Behind-Closed-Doors-Charlayne-Grenci-ebook/dp/B06Y6DP5JY/

Follow the Author:
Website and Blog
Author Page
Amazon Book Page

Connect with her on social media:
Twitter: @CharlayneGrenci

More books by Dr. Charlayne Grenci:
Queen of Domination: My Secret Life
Marcel Proust EXPOSED
Last Curtain for a Stripper
A Politician EXPOSED


US$40,000 for a Short Story?

You are reading correctly!
The Sunday Times Short Story Award 2018: Entries Now Open for the World’s Richest Short Story Prize July 6, 2017



Writers from around the world are invited to enter the 2018 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. The winner will receive £30,000 (approx US$40,000), making this the most valuable prize in the world for a single short story.

The prize is for stories up to 6,000 words in length and there is no entry fee.  Stories can be either unpublished or published.  If it was published, the work must have first appeared after 31 December 2016.

Writers can enter regardless of their nationality or residency but they must have an existing record of publication in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

The 2017 Sunday Times Short Award was won by Bret Anthony Johnston, Director of Creative Writing at Harvard University. Previous winners include Jonathan Tel (2016), Yiyun Li (2015), Adam Johnson (2014) and Junot Diaz (2013).

Entries for the 2018 award close at 6 pm GMT on Thursday, Sept 28, 2017.  A long list of up to twenty entries will be published in February 2018 and the winner will be announced in April.  Full terms and conditions for the prize can be found here (PDF) and writers can access the entry form via the Short Story Award website.

Good Luck to All Participants!


Who is the Best? Book Distributors Compared


“In my experience, it’s almost always advantageous to go direct where you can.  Benefits include faster payments, up-to-date sales figures (crucial for measuring the effectiveness of any marketing), more direct control of which categories you appear in (important for both discoverability and visibility), and the ability to make changes to your metadata quickly, e.g. to change price for a temporary sales price campaign.  But there are roadblocks: Barnes & Noble only allows US self-publishers to upload books.  Apple famously requires self-publishers to use a Mac to upload,” writes bestselling author David Gaughran.

Are you living outside the USA as an Indie Author / Self-publisher and you don’t want to go through all the hassle with opening a US branch, or US bank account and tax number? The easiest way to circumnavigate this dilemma is to use the help of a book distributor, also called aggregator.
An ebook aggregator deals with ebook authors directly and connects them with ebook retailers such as Apple, Kobo, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  There are two categories of e-book (and often also print) distribution services:

Online Retailer Upload:
These services, typically retailers such as Amazon, distribute and sell your work through only one channel (their own) or their devices, such as Kindle Direct Publishing and PubIt! by Barnes & Noble (for US writers and publishers only), Kobo WritingLife and Google Play.
Apple iTunes allows DIY uploading of your iBooks too, if you’re an Apple Mac user.  Single-channel distributors / online retailers do not offer any assistance in converting your e-book files, although they sometimes accept several file types for upload.  Many other on and off-line book retailers work only through an aggregator / distributor.
Multiple-Channel distribution:
These services, such as eBookPartnership, Draft2Digital, Smashwords and BookBaby, act practically as middlemen and upload your work to a variety of retailers and distributors.  It reduces the amount of work an author must do tremendously.  Instead of dealing with many different single-channel services, accounting systems and payment variations, you deal with only one service and revenues from several online retailers reach you in one amount, which saves writers and small publishers certainly a lot of accounting work.

Quite a few of these distributors also offer basic and advanced conversion services.  Some act as full-service companies, requiring no effort from you, the author – for a hefty fee.  However, in exchange for the services of a multi-channel distributor, you typically have to pay either a yearly upfront fee per book and/or give up a large percentage of your sales.
Book distribution is not a “set and forget” task.  No matter if you self-distribute, or use an aggregator, you need to periodically monitor your book’s presence, out on the digital bookshelves.

Many authors start by using Kindle Direct Publishing, then add on a multi-channel distributor such as eBookPartnership, Draft2Digital, BookBaby, Smashwords (which distributes to all major devices and retailers except Amazon KDP).


When choosing an Aggregator / Distributor: ask, compare and research before you decide which service company you choose.  Are you willing to pay for convenience?  You pay one way or another: either a yearly fee or a commission per book sale.

  • Cost: lump sum per year – or percentage of each book sale?
  • Ease of upload, and do they explain it on their website?
  • Sales reporting: how often and how detailed? Ask them for an example
  • Do they let you set up an author page at the online retailer’s site, will you get the password to do it yourself?
  • Payment schedule: monthly or quarterly?
  • Sales channels: how many retailers and which ones?
  • Revenue: is there a deduction per sale?
  • Speed and cost of changes after your book is distributed?
  • Pre-Orders at online retailers possible?
  • Customer Service – can you talk with a life person?
  • Conversion / Formatting quality – VERY important!
  • Formatting / Conversion costs: Formatting is when a designer polishes your manuscript to professional standards for both print and eBook formats. Conversion is just taking the manuscript and turning it, with the help of software, into epub or mobi format.
  • ISBN’s:  An ISBN is not required for e-book distribution to Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook, however Kobo, Apple and other retailers and services do require one.  Authors will need an ISBN for their e-book.  Some services will provide you with an ISBN as part of the fee for their services, however it means THEY are considered the publisher – and you cannot ever reverse it!  Buy your own through ISBN.org!

ISBN’s make you look professional.
ISBN’s get your books into more places, you are considered a publisher.
ISBN’s make your books easier to find – your book gets into a worldwide database


Upfront Cost: $50 per year
Deduction per sale: NONE
Formats accepted: doc, docx, odf, pdf, rtf, mobi, kf8, epub, pages.
Distributes to: Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive, Scribd, Baker & Taylor, Gardners Books, EPSCO, Scribd, GooglePlay, eSentral, Textr, Waterstones, BookMate, Indiebound, BookTopia, Angus & Robertson, BookFoundry, Feedbooks, Goodreads, Ingram, Kalahari, StoryTel, Books-a-Million, Whitcoulls, Askews & Holts, and StoryTel – just to list some of the more than 150 partners and 65,000+ libraries.
What’s more: ebook conversion, cover design and book scanning services

Special Offer until 07/31 from eBookPartnership: Save 25% on Worldwide eBook Distribution.
Sign-up for our eBook distribution service and save 25% on our usual prices! This is a limited time offer for orders of new titles placed on or before July 31, 2016.  Simply place an order for our eBook Distribution service and enter the promo code “save25dist” when prompted.

Upfront Cost: $0
Deduction per sale: 15%
Formats accepted: Word .doc, professionally designed epub
Formatting: By the author with the help of a formatting guide (unless a fee is paid)
Distributes to: Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive, Scribd, Baker & Taylor, mobile phone app vendors and other online venues (must upload to Amazon KDP yourself)
What’s more: Coupon generator for free books

Print Distribution: $199 for any printed book order of 25+ books.
Upfront Cost: $299 (without ebook-formatting $149)
Deduction per sale: 0%
Formats accepted: Word, PDF
Formatting: Included
Distributes to: KDP, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Copia, Gardners Books, Baker & Taylor, eSentral, Scribd, Flipkart, Ciando, EBSCO, ePubDirect,
What’s more: Print-on-demand and book cover services available. However, their site is tricky built, users are constantly lead into their other (high-priced) services, when just looking for distribution.
Upfront Cost: $0
Deduction per sale: 10%
Formats accepted: Word .doc or .docx, RTF
Formatting: Included
Distributes to: Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Scribd, Tolino, Page Foundry (must upload to Amazon KDP yourself)
Giacomo Giammatteo wrote a great article about Timed Promotion and Territory Pricing that is offered by Draft2Digital.

There is no easy way to find out the cost (other than the one-time set up costs) for distribution and what they are deducting per sale – unless you sign up for an account and give your credit card first.
Indie publishing strategist Sellbox wrote: Ingram pays out a flat 40% of NET sales (after they have all their costs covered) when the eBook is sold.
Ingram’s website says: E-book distribution from more than 70 online partners.
*And: If you have provided any e-books to Amazon for the Kindle in the past 12 months we will not be able to provide service to Kindle through the IngramSpark program.
**If you currently have e-book content available on Apple, you will need to remove those e-books from the iBook store prior to uploading those same titles into IngramSpark.  Also note that any reviews or ratings of that content will NOT transfer when your titles reappear in the iBook store!
It seems their main business is more print book POD / combined with availability for distribution…

Knowing the Rules and Terminology:
“Access to over 39,000 retailers, libraries, schools and universities…” for example means only that readers can order your book via any of these suppliers – NOT that your book is automatically delivered to all of those…
Your ebook will be only uploaded to several major online retailers, while for the rest of the retailers, bookstores, libraries etc. your book is listed as “available” if someone orders it.

Don’t expect much in the fine-tune of each online store’s book selling tools, such as categories, keywords and description formatting, for example—and the ability of your distributors to present your book, the author page and the keywords / metadata attractively…
There are also roadblocks in terms of Amazon KDP Select – think book sales campaigns, free days, Matchbox, countdown deals etc. as it would require to take down all your books from your other retailers as Amazon requires exclusivity when you choose KDP Select.
If you think Smashword’s 15% distributor commission is a bit much, then read our next article where an “Agent-Curated Self-Publishing Distributor – Argo Navis – is taking 30% commission!  And where unscrupulous literary agents are getting an additional 15% for not doing anything, other than  just handing over the name and manuscript of authors to this distributor…



How to Double or Triple Your Writers Income


Re-purposing your book manuscript, your research and your articles is a great way to build your expertise and earn more money from your writing.  Most stories fit more than one genre.  

Re-purpose your manuscript and make more out of it than just a book and an e-book: Your book has a secret ingredient that is called “Copyright.”  Every story you write, every novel, is a package of copyright.   What else can you do with your manuscript and your copyright?  Split your manuscript into slices and sell each piece separately!

You can sell parts of your book to:

  • one publisher
  • other parts to another publisher
  • some parts to overseas markets
  • other parts to audio
  • as e-Books or Singles
  • to game companies
  • maybe even to Hollywood’s film industry
  • use parts of it to submit to contests
  • divide it in chapters and sell to magazines
  • or to web publishers …

The list goes on and on and on. But what you need to do:

  • Self-Publish!  Don’t be on the mercy of a publisher/vanity press!
  • learn all about copyright
  • realize that each piece can be a cash stream for you
  • you don’t even have to use your name, get a pen name or even several

You can sell these manuscript copyrights or uses in several ways:

First Serial Rights
They can be print or electronic and mean that you are selling a publisher the right to publish your article once for the first time.  In the case of print rights – you may immediately sell the piece to an e-publisher before print publication and, after the print magazine containing your article hits the newsstand, you are free to sell it again as a reprint to other print markets.

First Serial Right Electronic
Most Canadian and US freelance authors sell North American first serial rights, reserving the right to sell in other world markets (e.g. Great Britain, Australia or Asia).  Specify what type of rights you are selling: First North American Electronic Rights Only.

Second Serial Right
These are reprint rights and apply to print and electronic markets. Never sell reprint rights, keep them at all costs.  Even you will earn less money for each reprint, yet you can sell your work over and over again.

Subsidiary Rights
Other rights that authors and freelancers hold are subsidiary rights, including, but not limited to movie rights, TV and radio rights, audio and other media rights.

Each story, each novel is a piece of your writing business. If you spread them out over a number of pen names you have a pretty consistent cash flow streams working. You just need to offer them to people who will buy them.

For example: You sold German Translation Rights, and your contract with the German publisher limited your book to trade paper only. Now you can sell:

  • German hardback rights
  • German audio rights
  • German mass market rights
  • German film rights

Your German publisher will pay advances like your Canadian or American publisher, and there will be royalties (against advances).  And then maybe can sell it to Spanish publishing houses. Or Russian, Italian… Dozens and dozens of pieces of your work can be sold.  Each piece is a cash stream.  You just need to sell it.  You create the inventory, your book, just once, but you can sell it for your entire life and even your heirs can keep selling these pieces.

Wring maximum value out of your “book” by spinning off audios, videos, magazine excerpts, foreign-language editions, and more.  Multipurpose your book into downloadable CD’s and e-book versions.

Audio Books:
Why not additionally create an audio-book from your novel or even from non-fiction? Audio-books are becoming more and more popular!  Your readers can listen to your audio-books, which can easily double their book consumption because they are using time that previously was not available and turning it into valuable “reading” time.

They can listen in the car, bus, train, plane… while exercising, walking or hiking, on the beach or while doing mundane tasks around the house or yard.
Special needs readers, such as blind ones will have access to your written words in form of an audio-book.
Audio-books can be listened to on an iPod or iPhone/SmartPhone or other MP3 player, even on most e-readers such as Kindle and Nook.
A membership at www.Audible.com (owned by Amazon.com) is a good deal for your readers. They can choose from various plans, and easily download digital audio-books to their preferred device. Or your readers can go to their local public library to get audio-books for free.


Kindle Singles:
Now it is possible to write 5,000 (better 10,000) to 30,000 word articles, Amazon calls them “Kindle Singles” and sells them online. A prominent author of these Kindle Singles is Stephen King, with his Single “Mile 81” the current top seller (as of this writing).  So, instead of submitting your work for free to content farms, you sell those articles at the internet giant Amazon website and receive 70% royalties, even for Singles priced under Dollar 2.99.  To be precise for Singles priced between 99 cents and $4.99
Other criterias for Amazon Singles are:
• Original work, not previously published in other formats or publications
• Self-contained work, not chapters excerpted from a longer work
• Not published on any public website in its entirety
• But Amazon is are currently not accepting how-to manuals, public domain works, reference books, travel guides, or children’s books!


Split Your Book in Single Articles.
Very few emerging writers realize that they can sell their magazine articles over and over again.  As long as the markets don’t overlap, you can sell exactly the same article as many times as you like and, in this globally connected marketplace, it is easier than you think.

However, you can only sell first rights, either print or electronic, once for the same piece. After that, unless you change the article significantly, you must offer it as a reprint for a lower fee. If you change the article, you can sell it again for first rights.

Then tweak it into an 800 word article for a national US daily. Subsequently, you make some minor changes to slant the piece for a travel magazine. Each time, you are able to sell it for first rights. Continue to sell it, however look out for new markets in other English language markets overseas.

This practice should be your standard operating procedure if you write and sell articles to print periodicals and e-zines. Reselling your work makes good business and time management sense – it reduces the energy you expend and increases your revenue. Unless you routinely sell a single article for several thousands of dollars, and even if you do, you should be squeezing every dollar out of every single piece you write.

Wring maximum value out of your work by creating magazine articles, short e-books, audiotapes, videotapes, magazine excerpts, foreign language editions and more.



To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing, please read also our e-books:


Social Media, the Big Online Party!


Imagine you are invited to a fantastic party. You are entering the room, you say hello to everyone, you small-talk a bit, you participate in a discussion, you listen what others say, you make some compliments or praise someone, you have fun and you show yourself from your best side – or at least that’s what it is supposed to be. However there are some people on social media who do not know or respect the unwritten party rules:

There are these party guests who seem to be very uncomfortable:  They don’t look at you, speak and look into another direction, you see only their back and their hair, or they wear a huge hat, pulled deep into their face or equally strange, they wear big sunglasses, so that you cannot see their eyes.

Now imagine some of the party guests are not introducing themselves, they come in, don’t look at anyone, put up their business sign and tell everyone, who stops by: “This is my book, go get it”, pointing at their sign: Nothing else… buy my book, buy my book, buy my book… and never have a conversation with others.

Then there are these annoying braggers, who are constantly talking about their statistics, how many potential customers they have (followers/un-followers), something no one is interested in or wants to hear.

Some of the guests are not very polite either, they only talk with one person during the whole party, even when they are surrounded with lots of other people, whom they just ignore.

And then there are party guests who are totally involved into their parenting role, they are constantly showing total strangers pictures of their young ones and you can bet, at their social media accounts is not an image of them, but of their kids, or at least having their toddlers included in the photo (same with pets).  Others show anyone they meet (even in their avatars), pictures of their boat, car or motor home…  Folks, no one is interested in your motorhome, potential party guests (readers) want to see YOU or learn about you and not about your gadgets!

Other party guests are literally glued to their partner, like Siamese twins, they adore each other and show the whole world how much they are in love.  They barely have a conversation with someone else, but kiss and touch each other constantly.  Not sure why they came at all, maybe for the free drinks.

Some party guests are telling a lot about their private life: which diseases they survived, single parenthood they master etc. – not a party theme at all.  Would they tell the same if they are invited for an interview or a meeting with a potential publisher?
Shine at the Social Media party!  Be social!  And use the same photo at Social Media sites that you use or would use on your book’s cover: a professional one.  You want to introduce yourself as a serious writer.  Don’t show kids, lovers, gadgets or beer bottles in your photos.

You are at parties to have fun, including the big social media party, so be a good sport, be social with everyone and do represent your book business professionally. It’s a shop window for you and your books, even your business card… which you show there to total strangers, maybe agents, publishers, editors or to influential bloggers.

Which type of party guest / Social Media guests do you like best? Or who do you avoid?


American and British Book Reviewers


A beta reader once commented: “A great book – but some typos are distracting.”  She learned English as a second language in school – British English that is – but the book was written (for a US readership in mind) and edited in American English, using the Chicago Manual of style.  Book Reviewers, authors and editors in New Zealand, South Africa, Australia or Canada for example, have the same issue.
“England and America are two countries
separated by a common language”
~ George Bernard Shaw.

Differences in Vocabulary, Grammar and Spelling.
Wikipedia reports: The English language is the third most common native language in the world, after Mandarin and Spanish.  Despite noticeable variation among the accents and dialects of English used in different countries and regions – in terms of phonetics and phonology, and sometimes also vocabulary, grammar and spelling – English  is categorised (categorized) generally into two groups: British (BrE) and American (AmE).

English is either the official language or an official language in almost 60 sovereign states.  It is the most commonly spoken language in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand, and it is widely spoken in some areas of the Caribbean, Africa, and South Asia.  Have a look at the many verbs that are differently written in this comparison at Spellzone:

… our endings change to or, such as humour (British) into humor (American)
… our endings change to er, such as theatre into theater, or centre into center
… ogue endings change to og, such as catalogue into catalog
L endings do not double in US spellings, such as travelled into traveled……. and the list goes on and on.
How the Language Evolved:
Because North America was settled in the late 17th century, American and Canadian English had time to diverge greatly from other varieties of English during centuries when transoceanic travel was slow.  Australian, New Zealand, and South African English, on the other hand, were settled in the 19th century, shortly before ocean-going steamships became commonplace, so they show close similarities to the English of South East England.  The English spoken in Ireland and Scottish English fall between these two groups.  Among varieties of English, it is especially American English that influences other languages.
Huge Differences in Spelling.
Many readers and writers are surprised to learn that there are huge differences in spelling between English-speaking countries. A book, written and published in the UK, needs almost to be “translated” into American English and vice versa.
Major Grammar Differences are:
Present Perfect
Past Simple/Past Participles
The Verb “get”
There are also some more subtle differences that might surprise visitors to Great Britain, especially those who have learnt American English.  Linguistics lecturer Dr Lynne Murphy rounds up ten of the subtler US/UK mis-communications. 

Add to this the local usage of words, e.g. trousers or pants? Juggernaut or 18-wheeler? Lift or elevator? Tube, underground or subway? Find more eye-opening differences in British / American vocabulary, for example:

autumn – fall
barrister – attorney
bill (restaurant) – check
bookshop – bookstore
biscuit – cookie
caravan – trailer
chemist’s shop – drugstore, pharmacy
chips – fries, French fries
cinema – movies
flat – apartment
coffin – casket
pavement – sidewalk
petrol – gas, gasoline
postbox – mailbox
rubbish – garbage, trash
sweets – candy
So, before you upbraid someone. or point out spelling “errors” have a look if it is not a British, Canadian or other English speaking individual or user of keyboards from these countries.

A person, for example, writing for newspapers in several countries has to adjust the writing for every article/country.  And then there are these not native English speakers…

My solution would be to place a note into each book, which English was used in the manuscript and editing. And also to let book reviewers know about it.
Read more about the differences between US and UK English:





Professional Publishing: How to Master Editorial Reviews

Browsing through print books in libraries, bookstores, or in your own book shelves at home, one thing stands out – compared to digital books in your eReader or on your computer screen: almost all of them have editorial reviews on the inside flap or the back matter.  These are often just excerpts from reviews, but most of the “reviewers” or “endorsers” are household names: bestselling authors or experts in the book’s genre.  You might ask: How can a book already have endorsements and reviews before it is even printed?

Trade publishers are setting up ARC’s (Advance Review Copies)  – often not even edited – and send them out to newspaper and magazine editors, librarians, bestselling authors in the same genre and influencers in the books category. They start 6-8 months before book launch to send out advance copies of the book in order to get reviews before printing and formatting it. Those early reviews are used for the book’s cover, for marketing purposes and certainly for sales pages at all online retailers. This is exactly what self-publishers can do too.

Editorial Reviews on Your Amazon Sales Page.
Let’s assume you have finished your manuscript and edited it. In order to obtain early reviews and endorsements,  just go to a digital printer (or copy studio) and get a couple of book print outs.  Send them out to the most influential writers, bloggers, reviewers, librarians, bestselling authors in your genre, and media people.  Use excerpts from the best reviews and add them to your book’s cover and marketing text – and your online retailer’s sales page under the section EDITORIAL REVIEWS.  In case you don’t have a print version of your book yet, only the e-book or audio-book version: placement of these reviews and endorsements at all sales pages is even more crucial!

Checking out the Amazon sales pages of one of our book marketing clients – a successful independent multi-book author – I discovered that on each of his book’s pages instead of the “Editorial Review” only a short description “About the author” was placed.  As there is already a section for an author bio on the page, he could have placed either or all of these:

  • Editorial Reviews (or parts of) from authors in the genre
  • Updated Book Description
  • An Author Message
  • Product Detail Page
  • From the Inside Flap
  • From the Back Cover
  • Magazine / Newspaper Reviews

How to Update Editorial Reviews.
The place for editorial reviews at Amazon for example is also a great opportunity to post reviews that are usually not accepted by Amazon “as you are related to the reviewer”, or if the review was an “exchange between colleagues”.  How to add a new editorial review is explained on Amazon’s Author Central help site:

  • Log in to Author Central.
  • Click the Books tab at the top of the page.
  • Click on the book you are updating editorial reviews for and select the applicable edition as each can be updated separately. Under Editorial Reviews, there are three possible links:
    If there is no review yet:
    Click Add and follow the instructions at the top of the Add review window to enter the text of the review.
    If you are entering a Review, you must also enter the review source. This is the name of the person who wrote the review and the name of the publication, website, or forum in which the review appeared.
    If you are entering From the Author, From the Inside Flap, From the Back Cover, you do not need to enter a source.
    Click Preview and review your entry.
    When you’re satisfied, click Save changes.
    If there is a review you can edit:
    Click Edit and make the desired changes to the text.
    Click Preview and review the entry.
    When you’re satisfied, click Save changes.
    If your review has been manually edited by Amazon in the past:
    we may ask you to send us your updates. In these cases, we will make the updates for you, and they will appear on the website within 5 days.
    Got a message that Your Content is Too Long?
    The character counts (including spaces) for Editorial Review fields are:
    Review—600 characters
    Product Description—2400 characters
    Words From the Author, From the Inside Flap, and From the Back Cover—8000 characters

What about Customer Reviews?
Customer Reviews are written by customers about your book. They can be found near the bottom of a product detail page and are NOT editorial reviews.
Pete Nikolai Provides the Following Advice:
“To make edits, you must first claim your Author Page and make sure your book is listed there so that it is clear that Amazon recognizes that you are the author.

_ click the link for the book on which you want to add editorial reviews
_ in the Review section, click the Add button
_ go to the site that has the review to select and copy it into memory
_ go to the Amazon page for editorial reviews of your book and paste as plain text in the text entry box (in Windows: right-click to select “Paste as plain text”)

On a paperback or hardcover: add one review at a time to avoid exceeding the 600 character limit for each review. On an ebook: you must add all reviews at one time and the character limit for all those reviews combined is 1,750 characters
_ edit the review to put the source after the review as per the Amazon Guidelines
_ click the Preview button
_ if review is acceptable then click the Save Changes button
_ if you have another review to add then click the Add button and continue through the steps again

If you have made any edits on the Amazon pages for both the print and ebook editions of your book then you will probably need to add the reviews on both editions too–just repeat the steps above to add each review on both editions. On the rare occasion that Amazon has made changes to a section, a “Request a Correction” button will be shown and you must click it and follow the instructions to have Amazon make the corrections you request.

You can add several “Editorial Reviews” and each one is important in confirming the quality of your book and removing a potential impediment to sales.

How to Set Up Your Amazon Author Central Account:
Amazon explains: once published, expect to receive an email from Kindle Direct Publishing announcing the news and inviting you to create your Amazon Author Central Account.  Note your book’s ASIN enclosed in the email.  You will need this to locate your book later and associate it to you as the author.  Just sign up for free accounts on both sites, and follow the instructions to set up your page:
Use all the Space Amazon Gives You:

  • Add a professional author photo & biography
  • Add all your books
  • Add videos (e.g. trailers for your books)
  • Add up to seven additional photos, e.g. you writing your books or scenes from your book
  • Add images or graphics from your books content
  • Add a biography – make sure to update it frequently
  • List events, such as book readings or book launches
  • Add your Twitter address so people can see your latest Tweet and easily follow you
  • Set up the “Search Inside/Look Inside” feature
  • Add an RSS feed, linking to your blog – a great way to get your blog in front of new people and encourage them to follow you.

View and edit the list of books you have written – the Amazon system doesn’t always get it right.  If you have written more than one book, it will link your titles together, and allow your readers to find all of your work.  Edit your product description and “about the author” section, add any professional reviews you have had.”
You need a separate account, (and also author pages) for each Amazon “country” where you sell your book: USA, Canada, UK, Australia, India, Germany, France, Japan etc. to reach your readers worldwide – and you have to do it separately for each country.
Be aware that the versions vary slightly.  You can also use an English version and one in the language of the country if you speak it or have a professional translation (not Google!).  Beside for Japan I was able to place it in each language on the pages for these countries.

Fazit: Before creating an author page, check out the ones from famous writers / publishers to see how it is professionally done.  There is a lot you can copy.  I am not saying that these sites are always perfect, but it will help you tremendously to avoid rookie errors.

Read more about creating a professional Amazon author page.


9 Tips What to Post on Social Media


Are you struggling to create daily numerous engaging “posts” on your Social Media sites?  Then you are not the only one on the search of great content.  We all want to stand out from our “competition”.  After all, people are on the Internet for one of two reasons: Either to solve a problem, or be entertained.  On the other hand, creating content for Social Media should not end up in stress.

In a former post I explained that blogs do not necessarily need to consist of written content, but also may be among others, videos, images, curated content, reposts etc. The same is true for Social Media content. How can you achieve this is explained in nine suggestions:

Your Blog’s Content.
Connect all your Social Media sites and use a scheduling program to post at the best times of the day.  It enables you to publish your message to all of your social media channels at once.  The time you save frees you to communicate with your followers.  Using your blog’s content lets you stand out among your peers and makes sure you have original content / messages that no one else posts.  Write posts that resonate with the things your audience cares most about.  Create a document or notepad and start listing your tweets and posts out of short sentences or headlines from your blog or website, add the URL – and voila! you just have created an archive that you can copy / paste and use forever.

News Content.
Ask questions and tease new stories to encourage people to comment and like.  Try to find news in your field that is interesting for your followers.  Avoid political and religious topics, as well as gossip.  Bookmark the best news sites and comb through them, using their sharing buttons to post on your Social Media sites to save time.  Then spend this time to interact with your followers on a personal level.  Relevant News provide something that is shareable, conversational, and engaging for Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social platforms.

Motivational Quotes.
One of the most popular forms of inspirational content are quotes.  Nearly everyone loves quotes!  And especially quotes with images.  Pinterest has helped to make them extremely popular.  Bestselling author Sean Gardner took it a step further: “I searched online for inspirational content from my supporters, and then started making image quotes with what they wrote and said.  I believe this is a powerful way for people to connect online.  The greater the diversity of positive, empowering statements, the greater the diversity of people sharing those points of views. ”

Interact with Followers.
Are you a good party guest at the big Social Media party?  Are you commenting or asking questions?  Are you thanking your followers?  Invite conversation by asking your followers’ opinions on topics, or asking them to tell you what sorts of content they would appreciate.  Everybody likes being asked, and fans and followers feel extra-appreciated when you fulfill these desires. It’s all about conversation, that’s why it is called Social Media networking.

Videos and Slide Shows.
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and creating a short video is very easy these days.  Load it up to YouTube or any other video sharing site and post the URL for your video frequently on your Social Media sites.  On most of them visitors can click it directly to watch your content – and generates almost double the amount of visitors / views and attracts more content and likes or plusses on Google+.  The same is true for slideshares.

When you are scrolling through the feeds on any social network, what’s the first thing to catch your eye?  I bet images!  No question, photos are THE most popular Social Media tool, and more appealing than text only.  Even if you are not a professional photographer you can use fantastic photos on Social Media – for free.  We listed several sources for free photos you can use on Social Media in former blog posts.  Photos generate more re-tweets and likes, but keep in mind that attaching an image to a Twitter post takes up approximately 11 of your characters.

Promote or Re-Blog other Posts.
Retweets are a great way to get more followers.  By retweeting something that links to a website or blog, you are doing a service to the website mentioned and the person who originally tweeted the article!  Social Media is all about networking.  Re-tweeting is a very important part of this.

Polls and Surveys.
Most Social Media sites offer this option automatically.  What could be a question for a poll or survey?  You could ask your readers for example which one of the book covers for your next thriller or non-fiction book they like best.  Survey Monkey offers a free program that allows you to create a survey in minutes with our intuitive web based tool.  PollSnack offers a similar program.
Wepolls.com shows in a YouTube video how it works on their site.

For a photo contest, you can encourage users to submit their own photos and videos in order to win a really attractive prize. Another possibility would be to organize a “pay with a tweet’ contest to win a free book.  In an earlier blog we explained how fast and easy it is to set it up.  Don’t forget to highlight your contest winners in several posts later on.



How does Google Adwords Work?

Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches / year worldwide. There is barely a better place to advertise one might assume.
What is Google AdWords?
It is a pay per click (PPC) advertising on Google – or just paid advertising. The way it works is simple:

  • People use keywords (or search terms) to search for specific products and services.
  • If the keywords you have chosen matches what people search for, your paid ad appears next to or above organic Google search results.
  • When people click on your ad, they will go to your website to learn more or they will order your product or service.

Keywords and Other Ad Rank Factors:
Every time a search term, phrase or keyword is put into Google’s search engine, a virtual ad auction takes place in a millisecond. This ad auction determines the order of how the most relevant ads will be organized on the search results page.
For example, if you are bidding US$10 for the keyword “Richmond Nurseries” and your competitor is bidding US$20 for the same keyword, your competitor’s ad wouldn’t necessarily be ranked above yours.

You can test your keywords and phrases with WordTracker, Overture Keyword Selector or Google AdWords Keyword – tools that can help you understand the relative traffic you can expect from a phrase, as well as related phrases that might be used.

Google takes into account several factors
when determining the ad rank:

If your Google AdWord campaigns generally have a higher click-through-rate than your competitor’s, the probability of your ad being clicked is higher, and accordingly, your ad would be placed above the competitor’s.

Google takes into account – or better said, their algorithm is judging the quality of your website and the landing page to which you are directing the paid traffic. If your sites are more relevant to the search query than your competitor’s, the user experience would be much higher for your ad than your competitor’s, and your ad would be placed above theirs.  See, how important a professional platform and web presence is!

Lots of Targeting Choices.
Google AdWords allows you to target specific geographic locations. For each ad campaign, you can select locations where your ad can be shown, such as entire countries, areas within a country, cities, territories, or even a radius around a location. But there is more:

  • AdWords has over 40 language options for campaign targeting.
  • AdWords allows advertisers to select specific hours during the day for optimal targeting.
  • Enhanced campaigns allow advertisers to target mobile device users. Mobile consumption of information and mobile search queries are growing exponentially each month.

Benefits of Google AdWords.
It’s very easy to measure your return on investment (ROI).  You only pay when someone clicks on your ad (i.e. you pay per click), visits your website, calls you, and you decide how much you want to spend: $5 or $5,000…

No visitors, no clicks – no fee, you pay only for results!
In other words, when your advertising is working.  You set your own budget, so your costs will depend on what you are trying to accomplish with advertising.

Google AdWords are a measurable, accountable, and flexible way to advertise. You can see how your ads are doing at any time by logging into your Google AdWords account. You can tweak your ads, try new search terms, pause your campaign and re-start whenever you like, for free.  Your business gets found by people on Google precisely when they are searching for the things that you offer.

AdWords campaigns might also give you interesting insights into your competition.  Set up Google Alerts, not only for yourself, but also for all of our competitors to know what they are up to.  Other resources you can use to dig up information on your competitors: Compete.com, or KeywordSpy.com.


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