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Messages - John Van Stry

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Book Ownership and Copyright Issues
« on: May 14, 2020, 02:39:26 pm »
Ask what the book title and author (or website) is that they are accusing you of copying. See which was published first.
Hire a lawyer.
If you ignore them, or refuse to talk to them, they will pull your book, and probably keep the money as well.

You might want to check your Japan store book prices as well. If you autoset it, it often sets your book to sell with no royalty in Japan. If you converted from Createspace, then odds are your book was set with no royalty on sales in Japan.
I've had this problem many times. I've also reported it to Amazon, twice. I do not know if they have fixed it yet.

Okay, just looked it up. 'Specimens' are a part of the filing.

Mind you I am currently suing one of those 'nefarious authors' for copyright infringement on one of my performing series, so I know where he's coming from.

Holy moly, just saw that discussion.
This is the book cover format he is trying to own:

Read the whole trademark submission. Look at the attached samples. He's not trying to trademark that format. Really folks, READ the whole thing, look at the attachments. The title portion on each of the samples is a custom design.

Look at the specimens attached to the file please. The title on each is highly stylistic.

I don't think he's trying to trademark all covers, just ones that use his stylistic font and the cover layout that he uses in each particular case. The basic cover design in the filing isn't what he's trying to trademark, that's just the layout over which he puts the specific fonts and format.

Really people, read the whole thing.

Writers' Cafe / Re: KENPC for June 2018: US Rate 0.0046009 per page
« on: July 18, 2018, 06:29:20 pm »
I don't know who you are referring to, but if you read the other thread it is clear that there were warning signs around those who have been banned. As pointed out on that thread, Amazon appears to have been more focused this time around and has probably gathered sufficient evidence from the sources they have available, to pursue this next course of action.,265071.0.html

I read their books, and I've talked with them quite a lot. There was no stuffing or any of the others things that people go on about. They were a very good (and popular) author with high sales and a huge following.
There were no 'warning' signs, because they were very diligent at trying to avoid anything that could be trouble. That's why a lot of us are now freaking out. This guy did nothing, and they shut him down. No warnings, never been in trouble with Amazon, been publishing for years.

Writers' Cafe / Re: KENPC for June 2018: US Rate 0.0046009 per page
« on: July 17, 2018, 02:44:59 pm »
John, why would you figure that you're on their hit list? If you've been doing everything right, associating with shady operators and not skirting lines or pushing the TOS, I think you'll be fine.

edited quoted post, PM if you have questions -- Ann

Because the last guy they banned was following all the rules and doing nothing shady at all. And I'm like one of the next biggest guy in that genre. They don't tell you what you did wrong, they just ban you and say 'you did something wrong' no warnings, nothing. Hard ban, call a lawyer if you want to get your account back.

I can't deal with that right now. I'm already gearing up to go to court against a plagiarist.

A friend of mine got hit today. Completely out of the blue. This guy is hard working, writes like a maniac, and has a huge following. I've read several of his books and I've never seen him engage in anything questionable. And then Amazon pulled him. No warning, nothing, just gone. With nothing beyond a 'we think you're manipulating KU'

So I wrote Amazon and have asked to have all of my stuff pulled from the KU program. Yeah, half my income is KU and I make well over 6 figures now from my pen name. But there's an obvious witch hunt going on now. I can survive losing half of my income. I can not survive losing all of it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: KENPC for June 2018: US Rate 0.0046009 per page
« on: July 16, 2018, 07:28:59 pm »
I just wrote Bezos and asked to be pulled out of KU immediately.

It's gonna suck, I just signed away a LOT of money, 50 percent of my income was from KU and I was getting top seller monetary awards most months. But I can't risk losing all my income, I'd rather just lose half.

edited, PM if you have questions -- Ann

Writers' Cafe / Re: Should I un-publish and start over?
« on: May 04, 2018, 03:31:30 pm »
No. New covers is good. Finish the next book. MOVE ON. This is a learning experience. The most important thing is to 'write the next book'. Nothing matters more than that.

Wasting your time republishing is just that, wasting it. You could be taking the experience you've gained and write something better.

I have a question are you gaining readers with every book you self-publish in a series or losing them?

The Deposed King

Just an update: As of about 9:30 this morning (when I got back from dropping the car off to have the clutch replaced) the glitch had been fixed and all of my 'Also Bought' had been restored. I went to several books that I knew I'd been on before, and they were all there.

I'd also taken out several Sponsored Product ads a few days ago and dumped a bunch of money into them. So my sales are returning. The new book is number #57 last I looked a few hours ago (overall) the other six are all much higher (numbered, not closer to #1) than that, but they're all in the top 100 for either their main or secondary categories. So I think my social media and advertising kept the word out.

The last seven months have been a hell of a ride, since I launched this series. Last night however was not a very enjoyable one as I started to worry about what my options would be going forward. I'm going to run a few sales now to celebrate the fix - Hell I even sent in an email to the Jeff account at amazon saying I'd buy everyone who worked to fix it lunch! I think once I complete the series (18 books if I can get through it all) I just might write one of those 'how I did it' guides to try and help others.

John, maybe I'm not understanding the situation you're describing, but FWIW, I see volumes of "Portals of Infinity" (other than the newly published Book 8) as also-boughts on this other book of yours and several others too. I found them with the search string "portals of infinity" "john van stry" "champion for hire". Did the problem only affect also-boughts on other authors' books, not your own books?

I have another series that I write under a pen name. It has been hugely successful.
You can no longer find it on Amazon, unless you know the name of it and do a search for it.
Up until I published the most recent book, it was showing in the 'Also Bought' on about a hundred other books.

Basically, anyone who published between 4/20 and 4/23 had their book nixed from the 'Also Bought' promotion that Amazon lists on the page (they have fixed that, as of today).

HOWEVER, if that book was part of a series, the entire series was also removed from the 'Also Bought' banner. They haven't fixed that yet at all. I know several other authors caught by this, two of them have already stated to their fans that they are abandoning the series and moving on to something else (can't blame them really when your sales for a series suddenly drops to a third or less of what it was on the new book and sales on existing books drop almost to 0).

For me, enough of my fans found out about the new book by other means, however I'm not picking up new fans like I was prior to this disaster. As I'm only 7 books into an 18 book series, I'm not terribly thrilled with the idea of dumping it and walking away, but I may be forced to, even if Amazon ever does fix the issue.

Anyone else here get caught in this glitch?

Edit: This hit me on a series that I write under a pen name. A series that has been hugely successful. Like Michael Anderle successful (or was on that track at least). Now it's dying because it doesn't show up anymore.

Did you end up getting a bonus?  And when you get the notification, is it for the month they're paying for or the month that just happened (ie, what happened 2 months prior or the same month?) 
Yes I did get a bonus. I was notified at the end of the month, but honestly I don't know when it was paid to me. It was never clearly marked anywhere. I really need to go back and figure out how and where I got it.

Michael Anderle doesn't hire ghost writers is because he would have to pay them. Michael is a marketing genius (and I mean that, the man is brilliant) whose goal is to make money. Paying people isn't making money. Sharing credit is making money.
By sharing his world with others, he's increased his share of the market, and he is able to control the quality while helping others make money too. Win-win situation all the way around, and everyone is happy.

Have I mentioned that he's a marketing genius?

If you study him, and others who have been as successful as him, and then try to emulate what they did right, you have a chance to be successful to. Trying to just copy them however won't work. Emulating is not copying. You have to understand how they got there, it's not just a simple formula.

Working with another writer who has been successful is a good step, because you'll learn from them what they did, and how they got there. That will make it easier to look at people like Michael and understand just what he's doing. I do think you're on the right track.

You had books in Top 100 Overall in Amazon and still made less than your day job?!!!?  :o Is this right? I thought you had to sell thousands of copies a day to get in the Top 100 overall

Last year, I did not make more than my old day job. Understand that my day job was six figures. I was at the top of my field and often hired for the most difficult tasks out there.

This year, -if- I can maintain the sales I've had for the last five months, I will make more than I used to. You can take nothing for granted in this business. Part of what has helped me here is that I brought the work ethic that got me to the top in my old field with me.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Do you advertise on Facebook?
« on: January 27, 2018, 12:11:08 am »
No. But then that's because my demographic doesn't buy from there. Know where your demographic is, if it's on FB, then by all means, advertise there.

You missed one thing in your initial post: Write an engaging story.

Since September I've published five number one bestsellers on Amazon (all in the top 100 overall) the book I'm launching next week I suspect will also hit the same level in a couple of days. So that's six books in five months. (This is all under a pen name btw). I know from a fan that I am now a 'topic of discussion' over at the 20books site, and that I was also one of the 'topics of conversation' at their last convention. Everyone was like 'I'm going to copy what he does and make millions'

Yeah, right. I've been writing for a while (see my tag line). I have a fairly good idea of what sells, and I'm finally learning how to sell it. I work longer hours than I did when I was a consultant (where I made a much higher salary for a lot less effort). Writing and being successful at it is hard work. My day starts at 8am and usually runs to 9 or 10pm. Weekends I at least only work four hour days (usually).

But all of that doesn't matter if you can't write an engaging story that people want to give you their money for.
That's both the hardest and most important step of all, and which so many people don't seem to understand.

Good Luck, it's a tough job.

Writers' Cafe / How many page reads to get into KU All Stars this month?
« on: November 15, 2017, 05:52:57 pm »
I'm just kind of curious as to how many page reads you needed to get into KU All Stars this month.
Do they post what the low end is anywhere? I had 4.8 million this month and didn't make it, so I'm curious as to where the bar is. Not that I think I'll ever pass it.


Writers' Cafe / Re: Author Central and pen names
« on: October 26, 2017, 11:04:24 am »
you're going to have to create a new account. Amazon deletes nothing :-( I have a pen name I haven't touched in years and I can't get rid of it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Hershman Rights Management
« on: October 10, 2017, 11:06:25 am »
I was just recently contacts by someone at Hershman Rights Management company about doing audiobooks on my pen name. Now I already have lined up a company / person, but I haven't signed anything yet, we're still in the negotiation stages.

So, from those of you who have signed with them, how successfully was the relationship fiscally?

So how do you get the physical option? Or are you saying they only do it for folks who are published by one of the major houses?

Writers' Cafe / Re: What % of Readers Leave Reviews for You?
« on: September 11, 2017, 10:42:23 pm »
Any where from 1 in a hundred to 1 in eighty. That's on paid books.
On free books you have to understand that readership is very low. If 1 in a hundred who download your book actually read it, you're doing very well. Most people who download free books, unless it's the first book in a popular pay for series, never read them.

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