Buzz Worthy News
Welcome to this week’s Buzz Worthy News! Books sellers settle with DOJ to compensate consumers, Author Solutions hits out at fraudulent accounts, The BIC pen for women takes over Amazon, and Sue Grafton gets some heat. All this and much, much more. Read on to find out everything that’s been happening in the book world this week.
Buzz Worthy News is Cuddlebuggery’s weekly Monday news post. Bringing you all the most interesting, relevant and fun news from the publishing and book blogging world.
Buzz Worthy News
Publishers Get Ready to Pay Up to Consumers
Hachette, Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster have agreed to settle with 49 US States, The District of Columbia and four US territories. The settled amount reaches the awesome amount of 69 million dollars. Oh yeah, that’s right, baby. 69 million dollars!
The settlement has to be agreed upon by the court. The sum, divided up amongst the three publishing houses also includes fees and and the costs that the publishers have to pay. Consumers who purchased ebooks between 1st April 2010- 21st May 2012 will be refunded based on what kind of book they purchased. Ultimately, consumers won’t see much money.
Macmillan and Penguin refused to settle so the agreement doesn’t seem likely to make it through the court.
Government Says No-No to Navy Seals’ Manifesto
The book, written by the pseudonym Mark Owen, has been threatened with legal action by the Pentagon. The book is a firsthand account of the raid that killed Bin Laden. However, apparently the book is in violation of two non-disclosure agreements that the soldier signed in 2007 regarding the disclosure of classified information.
The book is due for release this week, but was not vetted by any government agencies to ensure that no secrets were revealed.
The Pentagon has sent a strongly worded letter to the author, though has not disclosed the agreements signed in order to protect his identity.
The letter was signed by Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon’s general counsel.
“You are in material breach and violation of the non-disclosure agreements you signed.”
“The department of defence is considering pursuing against you, and all those acting in concert with you, all remedies legally available to us in light of this situation.”
“Further public dissemination of your book will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements.”
Mark Owen released the following statement via his publisher: “with respect for my fellow service members while adhering to my strict desire not to disclose confidential or sensitive information that would compromise national security in any way.”
Author Solutions Kicks Fake Accounts Off
The self-publishing company Author Solutions is removing fake social media accounts under the name “Jared Silverstone” after copywriter and editor Emily Seuss blew that popsicle stand right out of the water. Using an iStock photo and creating a fictional person for PR? Seems legit. The company replied saying:
“At Author Solutions we take our social media activities very seriously, and we are committed to following industry best practices. The manner in which the accounts were set up is not supported by our company-wide social media policy, and in no way is condoned by our company. We are taking appropriate action and we are in the process of removing the content from social media accounts.”
Bic’s Ballpoint Pens “For Her” Inspires Fan Fiction
Just when you thought you’d seen it all in fan fiction, Amazon UK customers responded to Bic’s “for her” Amber Medium Ballpoint Pen by writing up their own short stories, shedding light on the absurdity of the idea of a pen specifically designed for women. Because nothing screams “I’m a woman!” like a pink pen that’s stocked in the tampon isle of your grocery store.
Apparently, it does not come with a warning label for men as seen in this review:
Normally my hand writing is defined and strong, as if chiselled in granite by the Greek gods themselves, however upon signing my name I noticed that my signature was uncharacteristically meandering and looping. More worryingly the dots above the I’s manifested themselves as hearts, and I found myself finishing off the signature with a smiley face and kisses. Obviously I had no choice but to challenge the delivery man to a gun fight on the rim of an erupting volcano in order to reassert my dominance. Had I not won this honourable duel this particular mistake might have resulted in a situation that no amount of expensive single malt whiskey and Cuban cigars could banish. I leave this review here as a warning to all men about the dangers of using this particular device, and suffice-it-to-say will return to signing my name with a nail gun as normal.
Self-Published Authors Speak Up Against Laziness Charge
After bestselling crime novelist Sue Grafton made a few unsavory comments about self-publishing, saying “that’s as good as admitting you’re too lazy to do the hard work” and that they are “often amateurish,” the self-published community was angered.
Self-published thriller author Adam Coft responded:
“Self-publishing means finding your own proofreader, finding your own editor, finding your own cover designer (or designing your own), doing all your own marketing and sales work, etc. Having a publisher is lazy as all you need to do is write a half-acceptable book and allow your publisher’s editor to make it sales-worthy. Self-publishers must do it all – we have no one else to pick up the slack.”
Grafton later apologized for her remarks with the following statement:
“It’s clear to me now that indie writers have taken more than their fair share of hard knocks and that you are actually changing the face of publishing. Who knew?! This is a whole new thrust for publication that apparently everyone has been aware of except yours truly. I still don’t understand how it works, but I can see that a hole has been blasted in the wall, allowing writers to be heard in a new way and on a number of new fronts,” she said. “I will take responsibility for my gaffe and I hope you will understand the spirit in which it was meant. I have always championed both aspiring writers and working professionals. I have been insulated, I grant you, but I am not arrogant or indifferent to the challenges we all face. I am still learning and I hope to keep on learning for as long as I write.”
I thought I’d heard every common crack on the indie-authors – but lazy? An Indie author takes responsibility for everything to do with their book themselves. In fact, if SOME of them are amateurish, it’s because every element of that book comes from one person
@Fangs4Fantasy I agree that many self published authors work extremely hard and have to be very versatile in their skill set. But traditionally published authors don’t get to sit around on their tuchos either.
That review for the pen is hilarious 🙂
I’m glad that Grafton apologized.
@forestofthedead Read the five-stars reviews too. Some of them are snarky and scathing too.
“This pen is great. I bought it for all my female friends and relatives. It enabled them, finally, to write things (although they may not yet know to do so on paper; but you can only expect so much, really). I thought they were just a bit slow.
My mother, a hard-working woman who raised twelve kids single-handedly whilst doing all the ironing (as nature intended), was furtively abashed by her illiteracy. Long would she gaze upon her husband and sons’ scrawlings and would dedicate five minutes a day (which she really should have spent making sandwiches) to pray that one day she would be granted the ability to create such scribbles of her own. She’s still a little slow on the uptake, but this product has definitely helped start the ball rolling. We tried to give her men’s pens but she used to rip the cartridges out and drink the ink. Typical woman.
Anyway, it’s good that BIC are finally doing something to aid the plight of women. Hopefully a range of ‘for her’ paperclips is on the horizon – my wife has an awful time keeping her recipes together.”
@Experiment BL626 @forestofthedead
Thanks for the link! We should be thankful to whoever invented this pen… It inspired such funny reviews.
@forestofthedead It was, wasn’t it!
I can definitely see where Grafton comes from, as it’s a common conception within the publishing world that self-published works are iffy because they lack the required gatekeepers of agents, editors, publishers, etc. A lot of traditional authors assume self-published works are by people who don’t bother proofreading, formatting, and submitting their work (which is, let’s be fair, a very nerve-wracking and exhausting experience) and just slap a stock photo on a PDF and sell it.
As someone who weathered MANY writing groups, there are a LOT of excellent writers who have terrible luck getting their fantastic work traditionally published – but there are also a LOT of absolutely abysmal writers who have NO IDEA how tenuous their grasp of written English is.
The world of self-publishing does have a LOT of crap in it – just as you’d find anywhere where people are publishing their own works under their own power. Like, say, blogging and internet. But the cream still rises to the top.
I thought Grafton’s apology was timely and classy.
@AnimeJune I generally agree. Though I don’t think it’s okay to generalize about a whole group of people, I’m glad she apologized.
Actually, and there may be many who could disagree, I think there are definitely indie authors who I would consider lazy. I’ve read my fair share of both types and I write indie books, so I think I could be somewhat certain in pointing out that in indie publishing there are those who:
1- Write in a genre of which they have no knowledge for the sole purpose of making a buck. Man, do I see this one often in indie. I will seriously read a book and think, “This is well-written, but it’s obvious the author has never read a YA in their life! (or in a really long time). Why in the world would they have made THIS story with a YA character??” I’ve actually read threads(note the plural) on kindleboards where an author asked what the best money-making genre is. Thankfully, most people of us who frequent KB ignore them, or tell them, “Write the genre you enjoy and nothing else!”
2- Books are either all novellas or all shorter than genre. Novellas are great when you don’t have enough story for a full book (telling the backstory about a series character, etc) or when you want to draw upon the story’s world a little more, but if every single one of your books is a novella that you price at $2.99… I’m sorry, but I’m going to draw the conclusion that you don’t want to put in the time and discipline to write something over 70,000 words.
3- Sue Grafton made the point that there are authors out there that send her vanity type published books, who basically write out a draft and call it good, WITHOUT bothering to put in the time and effort of editing or proofing. (I’m not talking about a few grammar or type errors, either) These are the books that are almost painful to read they are so error ridden. There are plenty of examples, so I won’t be crass enough to point any out, but if you can’t at least BOTHER to ask someone out there to look over your work before you publish it, just judging your work on your OWN opinion, then be prepared for some fallout.
Do I think all indies are lazy? No way in hell! I think most of us treat it as a business. But I would guess that the number is 75% of us work our butts off. 15%ish I would say do the minimum amount of work necessary and 10% will flat out publish ANYTHING. That is my own reading experience.
@Kate C. I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum. I see self published authors who are completely professional, hardworking and have their shit together. Then I get emails from SP authors admitting they haven’t had their novel edited at all before sale, but can I please give it a nice review so that a publisher will pick it up?
PS- Have you guys seen the reviews for the banana slicer? HILARIOUS! I love me some snarky reviews!
I don’t think I’m going to be recovering from that pen review anytime soon. LOL.
I am very glad that Sue Grafton apologized for her “gaffe”(another good word) and the wording was, indeed, classy and it sounded as if she really means it. I’ve read other author statements that just smacked of bogus. She isn’t one of them.