Hi and Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson Author Blog Post and Podcast. I’m your host, Jean coming to you from the bright and cheery Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada! Today’s podcast and blog post deals with some of the practical and not so fun issues of being an author. In life there are always parts of any job and in life in general there are things that you have to do that aren’t pleasant. You just have to work on them anyway or find a line of work that doesn’t include stuff you entirely hate. Anything can happen in the online e-book world. People don’t often talk about the issues. Some things you need to watch for if you want to protect your online investments. So, fasten your seat belts and get ready to hear about the wild ride that is the world of the no budget Indie e-book author. If you want to find out more, then stay tuned!
Every now and then every author should do a check of their online presence. I’m not saying that because I don’t have something better to do. I’m also not saying it because of some twisted notion that we need to make everyone do a make work project. You know what I mean by make work project, the meaningless projects that you are given to collect information and then they don’t do anything with it, but you were kept busy. It’s not one of those either. If you self-publish, like I do, you have one or two publishers and you need to make sure that your links are live, valid and that you are actually being sold on pages that are associated with your publishers. I was checking links and came across an e-book site that I cannot for the life of me figure out the affiliate and it is also supposed to have been in a different format than I submitted. I have yet to figure out where that came from. It’s still in process at this point and a report has been sent in so follow up has to happen at the same places. On the other hand, I started to check my links on one of my publishers. In short order, I found some of the links were dead as a doornail. It isn’t a secret from the company that one should check their links regularly. One dead link was because they stopped working with the company. The other one was due to the original company moving to a different format (I still had the new link, but also the old dead link). Either way, the links were dead as a doornail and were my responsibility. I had to remove dead links. Then I worked on updating links and found that some links hadn’t ever updated. It’s well worth the time to figure it out. You may or may not have a lot of buyers, but who wants to risk losing buyers due to dead links. I have to admit that lately, I have been remiss on keeping my links updated…and even when I did, might have missed the odd link. After a while, I have to manually add them.
Another issue is the links that I found that don’t seem to belong to any of my publishing companies. So, I have emailed to get the information so that I can add the links. If none is forthcoming, then I have to assume that somehow my e-books are being pirated. It becomes a never ending project because you have to confirm all this. Still wondering how I get anything done for blog posts, podcasts and even how I get e-books done.
I have also seen a suggestion that one keep an eye on their online presence stated in many articles. I would definitely suggest this too. I have added a Google Alert and typed my name. In my case, because I am also part of A & J PEI Treasures, I type it in a search too. Type in your names of your books if you want to ensure catching everything. At least that way you have all bases covered. I admit it might actually be overkill or not…but I have no budget which means it would be good if any of my books do sell, I get the proceeds. It gives one a chance to get notified when your name is used online. There are many different programs available to do this, but at least Google Alert gives me one other method of keeping up on what I’m doing. I also do an odd manual check. I’ve discovered some interesting things over time. You may also find upsetting things. These things, you need to deal with one way or another. Be ready that you may even have to go as far as claiming copyright issues. This is not always a fun task, but you need to keep your name from being misused and your e-books as well.
A little more about the lack of respect for e-book authors. The thing that I realized after being subject to this is that there is always a chance that someone will try to use or misuse your work for their benefit or even by error or accident (give the benefit of a doubt). I had one case where someone took the cover of my e-book and used it to advertise some kind of scam site. I made multiple requests it be removed but it just kept coming back up. Then I made multiple requests to Twitter that it be removed with the same results. Then, I had to make multiple reports to the RCMP scam squad and present the numbers of the cases to Twitter before it disappeared. Even then, who knows if the person just blocked me so I couldn’t see it but Twitter knew I was taking my work seriously even if no one else did. As Vince Lombardi said: “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”
Of course misuse of your intellectual property can affect sales too. So, it’s really important that you protect your intellectual property online. It is horrible to find that you have worked so hard just to have your work used in scam site links. Or find someone has changed your e-book and released it in a different format to a seller you have no idea about. It just shows the lack of respect that people online give. It’s sad, that you have to guard your own works to make sure that you aren’t being used to scam…because that will make your online presence even less respected.
Be realistically unrealistic. Your reputation online and your work that you publish is what people see and it represents you as an artist. Don’t let anyone misuse your work. That said, you also have to understand that accidents can happen and when they do, if it is dealt with in an honest and forthright manner, then it is fixable. When you have to make reports to the RCMP to get your work taken off scam sites or have them dealt with, then it has become a battle and it is not an accident, it is a poor choice by someone else to misuse your intellectual property. A little more on accidents…sometimes people might do something on a wrong format or put a cover up thinking it is ok because they don’t know the difference. But, it is the author’s intellectual property. Unless you have permission to use it, don’t. If you do something accidentally, then stop and clean up the mess you make. You can tell mistakes because when you contact them about it, they either remove it, or give you the link you need for your royalty tracking or they fix the problem. When that isn’t being done, then you have to move toward thinking it is dishonest use of your intellectual property and you have to take action. Accidents are easily fixable. Dishonesty, unfortunately, is not.
Being an author or artist isn’t the world’s easiest thing. I mean you can pop out an e-book and apparently a lot of people did with the beginning of COVID. Sadly some were simply scams or copy and paste jobs which of course caused a lot of distrust for newer authors. Some of us were serious about actually doing e-books and did it because we had been waiting for a chance that would work for us. This was it. We worked on our craft and worked toward being the best we can be. As with anything else out there, some people are dishonest and will try to take what you have done and make it worthless. There isn’t a person out there that is immune from dishonest or unscrupulous people. We read about it every day on the news. Someone scams someone out of money in some way. In the online e-book world, this can really destroy an author or artist’s reputation and create a lot of issues. But, if you keep an eye on your own little corner of the world, you might be able to make it a more honest and artistic place to be.
Remember, you are an author/artist. Be proud that you work hard to get your thoughts out in the world in whatever form it is that you decide to use. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s all fun and that it isn’t work. If you self-publish and have no budget, it is a lot of work, but you do it because you love what you could accomplish and you are willing to do what it takes. It is not something everyone wants to do nor can do. It’s also not something everyone should do. Each person has their own skills, abilities and interests. Don’t let someone else’s disrespect become something that stands in your way of being the best author or artist you can be. However, if accidental, don’t punish someone for making a mistake. Mistakes happen. In the end, it is up to you to keep your reputation intact.
Sorry, I had the podcast done before I found out, so this isn’t in my Podcast…a tidbit for those of you who read my blog posts: A & J PEI Treasures has joined the Miles of Smiles photo contest https://www.shelterchallenge.com/shelterchallenge/contest/match/36392?ContestantID=153890. Sam the Wonder Dog has agreed to smile pretty for the camera so we can help our local Keeping Cats Homed Shelter…if we win. Also gives them publicity like this. They also accept donations. So if you want to help out, their page gives information. https://www.keepingcatshomed.com/
Thanks for listening to my podcast and/or reading my blog posts and for your interest in A & J PEI Treasures!
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