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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Amazon & Copyright Infringement Claims

It’s been a while since I posted about the technical side of things, but I felt this was important enough to discuss – so people are aware of what can happen and how to deal with it.

So… yesterday, a reader posted a comment to the blog asking about Clarity (Cursed #2). Turned out the book’s product page on all of the Amazon stores was unavailable. I obviously hadn’t noticed, so when it was brought to my attention, I contacted Amazon thinking it was another one of the recent errors that people (including me) have been experiencing when uploading or editing.

Amazon responded that a copyright infringement claim had been made. The email was full of scary terms such as account suspension, compensation, etc., and I had a mini panic attack in my head as I tried to figure out what it meant for me. For one, Clarity was the second in a series, so if someone claimed I didn’t own the copyright, then would that apply to the rest of my series?

There were no real details of the claim in the email. No background, only a demand that I supply proof and documentation stating I owned the rights on Clarity, and also, that I declare I owned copyright on all of my books. In fact, the only real information was that the claim had come from Scholastic UK.

I replied to Amazon, and I sent an email to the person who had contacted Amazon. She contacted me almost immediately and was extremely apologetic, assuring me she had sent out the form to Amazon a week ago in error, but that she had immediately retracted the claim – even forwarding me the email she sent to Amazon. So an accidental claim was made and retracted, but an entire week later, Amazon saw fit to remove my book from all of its stores. They didn’t contact me or warn me. They received no evidence that I was in the wrong. Yet my book was removed, and I had to contact them to find out what was going on. In fact, in the end, I had to contact the third party to really discover what had happened. As of this posting, my book is still unavailable, and I have not received further correspondence from Amazon, but I’m not overly concerned at this point – I don’t expect immediate replies. I’ve had issues with lost cheques and missing books before, but they always sort out the situation in the end – even if it can sometimes take a little time.

The reason I’m posting this is not because I’m annoyed by what happened. I don’t blame anyone at Scholastic at all, and I’m now only slightly irritated by the way Amazon have dealt with it. I’m posting this because I am not the only person this has happened to, and many people are in the same situation as myself – they have to deal with these issues alone and with no previous experience. Agents have come calling before, and I haven’t been receptive for a number of reasons I won’t go into here, but there was a panicked moment this morning when I wished I had someone else to deal with these issues on my behalf. I have a whole social anxiety thing going on that makes it hard for me to deal with people in general, even online, but letting panic make decisions is not a great move. (And sometimes people sign bad contracts in a panic).

If anything, this is a lesson in the danger of exclusivity. I’ve advised against exclusive contracts such as Select before, and in this case, it’s a huge relief not to rely on Amazon. If they decided to flip the switch, the writer is screwed, basically. I’m lucky enough that I’m not relying on Amazon sales, or Clarity sales, to get by. Smashwords distribution has worked out well for me, and I am not dependent on any one retailer or one book. But others are. Others have less books than I do. Others could be hugely affected by this.

My point is this. Amazon has done great things for writers. A whole new world has been opened up for us. But never forget that we are not in total control, we are not the centre of anyone’s universe, and while I commend Amazon for taking quick(ish) action on copyright infringement claims, their system works against us as well. No warning, no information, only a silent removal. They automatically take the other side to protect themselves, but if something like this happens to you, don’t panic. Don’t rant, just calmly state your case, and try to get to the heart of the matter. They will respond, although it may take some time. These kinds of issues, new problems, all sorts of things will pop up in the future, publishing (both trade and self) are changing too rapidly for them not to, so be prepared.

Taken on B&N

Fulfilling promises: Taken’s finally on Barnes & Noble.

Lots and lots of “stuff” has been happening lately.  Trying to keep my head down and ignore most of it. 🙂

School’s back next week, but we had the great misfortune to order all of our schoolbooks and stationery from the ridiculously incompetent months ago. They epically failed at delivering orders this summer (or answering phonecalls and emails, or providing refunds), and I (along with a crapton of other people) am not impressed. The random media announcements/mass emails have been full of unfulfilled promises that only serve to piss me off further. Lesson one on how not to run a business. Watch this space. 😉

We’re all but moved now. Still have to sign some forms and hand back keys, but other than that, we’re gone for good. I’ve been having  a weird mental block about writing in the new house, but I seemed to break through it today. Thank feck, because I was driving myself mental. I’ve been choosing to edit rather than write all month. *Shudders* (May need beta readers next month, but not for any of my series stuff).

My eight-year-old is reading everything in sight so he can learn more words so he can write a book so he can earn lots of money. That’s my boy. 😉 My five-year-old, on the other hand, caught a few minutes of Toddlers & Tiaras (which really disturbs me btw) and now wants to win a crown. Can’t win ’em all. 😀

Print stuff is going well. Just waiting on the cover artist for Taken to finish the back cover, and then I’ll be able to order proofs, and hopefully, accept them as is. So aside from schoolbooks drama, this month has gone well. *Don’t jinx self*

Newsflashes and Recommendations

First things first, Taken is now available on Apple. Yay! ETA: I should probably mention my editor nominated it as one of Red Adept Select books.

Will go through release updates now so you don’t have to read through my personal waffle to get to the point. 😉

Okay, so I apparently left it too late to book editing slots for Purity and Taste with my editor because she’s booked up until February. She’s far too popular. 😛 I had originally hoped to get both books sorted this year, but with the way everything’s been going at home lately, it’s probably a good thing I have a bit more time to work with. Honestly, I could have used someone else, but I’ve learned that I prefer to have the same person edit all of the books in the same series.

So right now, my editing slots for Purity (Cursed #3) and Taste (Ava Delaney #5) are in early February and late March 2013 which means the books will likely be ready for release in late March and May BUT if any earlier slots pop up (as in, if someone cancels, which my editor reckons is very possible), I’ll have an option to take one if either book is ready. So… cool beans.

I hate that I can’t publish a book every two months like some other writers, but I can’t let anything go until it’s ready, and I personally can’t get every book ready in two months – editing and cover art takes up quite a bit of time in any case. Besides that, I’ve found each book in a series takes longer naturally because the storyline is more complicated, I have to read through the entire series at least twice to satisfy my soul, and I have to do a lot of fact-checking for continuity errors. Working with two different series has been too hard for me – lesson learned! 🙂

So that’s how things stand with the next books in the Cursed and Ava Delaney series. The good news is that both series will be completed next year. (Ava’s looking likely to end at seven books). And I will likely be publishing a standalone y/a short novel this year. After my series, I hope to focus on editing Soul, (and possibly The Green Witch, an unnamed banshee story, and a book set in Ava Delaney’s world), but we may have another move in store for us next summer, and if it’s anything like this one (which is STILL going on), I might not get the chance to work on anything new. 😦

For the next month, I’ll be working on paperbacks of Clarity (Adversity included), Awakening, and Taken. I plan on publishing paperback versions of Thirst, Taunt, and Tempt individually, too, but I’m aiming for cover updates first.

End of bizniz updates. 😉

Anyway, as I mentioned above, we’re still involved in the moving process, but hopefully, it’ll be sorted next week for good. My genius brother fixed the gank water (after installing a number of various filters) so I can finally drink green tea again without wanting to vomit which has literally been my biggest concern. 😛 If anyone in Ireland needs their water purified, look him up. 😉

The older two kids are going to their new school for the first time at the end of the month, and we still have to figure out a playschool option for the twins, but either way, all of the kids will have extremely early bedtimes again *evil mammy laugh* and I might actually get some real work done. 😀 I’m terrified that they won’t like their new school, but they look freaking adorable in their new uniforms.

My foxy looking pup is determined to play with some cows, but she’s discovered that she gets a treat if she stops escaping when I call her while shaking a box of treats like a lunatic, which is infinitely better than having to run through acres of stranger’s fields screaming her name like a lunatic while she blanks us completely.

We’re trying a new ‘net option that is terribly slow and unreliable but at least keeps us in touch with the rest of the world, and I have been reading quite a bit lately. A couple of random (because I keep forgetting to update Goodreads and therefore forget most of the books I’ve read) books I’ve enjoyed have been pretty much anything by Thea Atkinson, but in particular, Throwing Clay Shadows. Now, I don’t always enjoy books written in dialect because there are so many ways it can go wrong, but the dialect was part of the reason why I loved this one. I could hear it as I read, and I enjoyed all of the character’s voices. If you’ve read this blog any length of time then you’ll probably already know I’m a massive fan of Thea’s work. These are books I wish I could write. /Fangurl moment.

A book I was surprised to enjoy was Georgiana Darcy’s Diary by Anna Elliott. Again, I’m not generally big on diary format (although I love me some Adrian Mole), and I keep reading these “classic” sequels that never quite do it for me, but for whatever reason, the voice felt fresh and authentic. It entertained me enough to look for other books by the author, put it that way.

A fun book was Dead People by Edie Ramer. I’ll read pretty much anything with a ghost in it. Just sayin’… But this book (strangely) reminded me of some old Patricia Cornwell books that I used to enjoy: Southern Cross and Hornet’s Nest. They have terrible ratings on Amazon, but I hate those Scarpetta books, and the main complaint seems to be that they aren’t the same, so whatever. Anyway, I’m not sure what it is that reminds me of them, maybe the voice of the ghost reminds me of the animals in Cornwell’s books? Point is, I enjoyed Dead People. Quick, easy, fun read.

And some short stories I’ve enjoyed have included The Beast in the Mirror by Lauralynn Elliott. I’m such a sucker for fairytale retellings, but usually they’re not as close to the story as I’d like. This has a good twist that I enjoyed. Also, a short story collection that I loved (especially because it’s my kind of genre) was Six Scary Tales Vol 3 by Rayne Hall. Ridiculously awesome stories, seriously – I’m still thinking about them. I have to read more by this author.

Also, two books that I can’t really say I enjoyed, but that I wanted to mention. Almost  by Anne Eliot – which is almost perfect for fans of (non-paranormal) y/a romance. I loved the first 50% or so, but it became too saccharine sweet for my black heart, which makes it perfect for pretty much everyone else (just look at the reviews for an idea of popularity). 😉 But I have to say I really enjoyed the way the author handled the trauma of almost rape which can often be glossed over too quickly, and I would recommend the book. And Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall. The writing style was particularly difficult for me to get through, but I am obsessed with these kinds of stories. I’ll read anything to do with polygamy and the FLDS in any case, but I’m especially  fascinated by true life accounts. This one culminated in a trial of Warren Jeffs, which was fascinating in itself (although later overturned, I believe).

I should probably end this ridiculously long post here. One last thing! If you have kids interested in space, the Solar Walk app is extremely cool. I may have erased the damage caused by the day I tried to explain supernovae and red giants to my kids. :/ #BadMammy. Anyway! Have a great week all, and if you’ve read this far, you are my hero. 😀

Taken (Ava Delaney #4) – eBook Release


Taken is now live on Amazon US, Amazon UK, and Smashwords. Hopefully, the book will find it’s way to the rest of the retailers before the month is out, but Smashwords have lots of different types of files anyway. There was a problem with Amazon not creating the product page, but we’re all culabula now.

Anyway, it’s done, and thanks for waiting around so patiently. 😉

Here’s the blurb:

It’s been months since Ava fooled the British vampires and dealt with Becca for good, but although life has been easier, it’s not without its problems. Her deal with the twins is physically harming her, Peter’s grasp on his sanity is tentative to say the least, Carl is struggling, and Esther is losing her edge.

Ava’s been asking too many questions in an attempt to fulfil her various deals, but her persistence turns out to be the biggest problem. She’s not the only one asking questions, but somebody wants her to stop, and finding out who’s in charge is a lot harder than taking care of her new house guest.

To survive, on her own terms, Ava must take control of her own destiny for a change. That might involve swallowing her pride and accepting help from those she doesn’t trust because there are new foes on the horizon, and the number of people needing her protection keeps on increasing.

Next Week


Be ready.


Taken should be available on Amazon and Smashwords by then (sadly not anywhere else yet, but Smashwords have files for every type of ereader), and I’m already having the bad review nightmares. 😀