AIRLEAF VICTIMS UPDATE 3/15/08
Dear Airleaf Victims and Friends,
As of today, March 15, 2008, we have 421 members in our group. Welcome to our new members.
I have had a number of conversations this week concerning our case. All I can say at this time is that the wheels of justice are turning. In order not to compromise the case, I won't say more. However, for the first time, I am feeling optimistic that there is meaningful action going on.
I am asking for your help. Many of you have sent me back your surveys that have been very helpful. Sadly, due to my very busy season at work, I won't have the time to thoroughly go through all of the files for a few more weeks. In my attempt to help the authorities who are handling our case, I am asking you to send me a note if you were the victims in any of the following fraudulent Airleaf scams:
1. The Carnival Cruise that was never booked
2. The Frankford, Germany book fair
3. The London book fair
4. Kirkus Reviews from the winter of 2007
5. Ads in the NY Times and LA Times
If you paid for any of those promotions, would you be kind enough to email me even if you have sent me the hardcopies? Thank you.
A number of you emailed me that you sent letters to Bob Denton since he offered to return your books. Please keep me posted on how that is going. If you haven't heard back from Bob, feel free to call him at (765) 349-8908. He was very willing to help any Airleaf author retrieve his or her books, disks, and other materials—no strings attached.
Several of you wrote to me that Carl Lau has sent you back your disks and letters stating that your book rights are your own. One author wrote to me saying that Carl was willing to SELL him his books for $1.00 each. If you are getting those letters from Carl, please save them, let me know, and call Bob Denton instead. He is willing to give you your books for just the price of shipping. You can write to Bob at email@example.com.
This is a friendly reminder to those of you who are getting books returned by Bob or who have surplus books to sell. You can take your books and sell them on Amazon and make back almost the entire cover cost. In order to do this, you must first register at www.Amazon.com. Then type in the title of your book. You will see the link for your book come up. When you click into your book title, next to your book, you will see the link that says: "See All Buying Options." In that box it will say, "Have one to sell?" Then you'll see a box under that saying, "Sell yours here." Click into the link and it will take you to the page where you can type in your information. When it states the "Condition of the book," you can put in "Authors Copy – Personally Autographed." I have sold over three dozen of my books that way in the past two months. If you need help with this, just email me and I'll walk you through the process if you are having a problem.
MARKETING TIP OF THE WEEK
Through our nightmare with Airleaf, one thing that we have learned is that it takes a lot of hard work to market your book. Many of us paid for marketing scams that produced nothing but a hole in our bank accounts. I get your notes saying, "I'm an author, not a marketer," which led you to Airleaf to start with. But as I keep trying to hit home, you need to take control of your book marketing, and there are some easy and inexpensive steps to doing so.
Last year, I was conducting free 2-hour workshops in Philadelphia on "How To Get Your Book Into Print" to help aspiring authors learn about the traditional and non-traditional routes of getting published. At one of my workshops, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful young author named Jennifer Gladden. Jennifer has her first children's book, "A Star in the Night" coming out this summer.
Jennifer is an INCREDIBLE marketer. I became part of her mailing list as she announced her progress. I was very impressed on how she is marketing herself and this is before the book is out! I asked her if she would write something for our group on how she does this step by step, and this is what she shared with us:
Network Brule: A Recipe for a Fine Networking Experience
You hear it all the time. Someone tells you that networking is as important to writing as the actual manuscript. You're told it is the key to publicity, which in turn is key to your sales. The message is always the same: "Get your name out there".
Okay. That's great advice. "But how do I do it?" you might ask. Successful networking is like creating that perfect Crème Brule. With one look, it seems impossible to do. Have no fear. A recipe follows that is sure to get you started on your networking experiences.
First, you need all the ingredients: websites, e-mail, blogs, social groups and professional organizations. Handle with care and attention. Then, follow these steps carefully:
Step One: The Base
Start a website and/or blog. Add a page about you, your works and your links. This will help you build a platform and make you more visible. When your book comes out, you've already started a reader base. It also makes it possible for future readers to learn about who you are.
Step Two: The Seasoning
Season with e-mail signatures. Carefully place your links in the bottom of your e-mails. Now, every time an e-mail goes out, so do your links. Many times when you least expect it, someone will see your link and visit your site. If they like it, they may even pass on the link to a friend.
Step Three: The Flavor
Visit other blogs and websites. This helps you get ideas to flavor your own sites. In addition, leave a comment. Often the blog owner will visit your link in return. There you go. One more person knows about you. They may even want to exchange links with you.
Step Four: The Sugar
Sweeten your experience by joining online listservs such as Yahoo Groups or Google Groups. Choose groups with the same writing interests as you. You'll make many friends. Visit their sites. Ask if anyone's interested in a link exchange where you'll put their link on your site and vice versa. In fact, most of my contacts came from social groups.
Step Five: An Added Touch
Enhance the pot with professional writing organizations such as The Author's Guild or if you're a children's author the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. You can meet fellow authors or other important contacts through sites like these. Many organizations have writing conferences where you don't just learn about your craft, you're meeting other writers and editors.
Mix everything together. Garnish by serving business cards, complete with your name and website, at conferences. Keep them handy when you go out. You never know who you may run into.
Like creating that perfect Crème Brule, these steps might not seem like much by themselves. However, together you have a recipe for a fine networking experience.
Here is Jennifer's bio:
Jennifer Gladen lives and writes for children in Philadelphia. Her short stories and articles have appeared in Stories for Children Magazine. Her future publications include three articles to appear in Once Upon a Time Magazine. In addition, her first children's book, A Star in the Night, will be released this summer. To learn more about Jennifer and her work, visit any of her links:
Thank you, Jennifer for sharing with our readers. If you have a chance, please visit her sites to see how networking really works!
Another good idea came from our fellow Airleaf victim, Chris Varga. He wrote:
Thanks for trying to assist me and the others. Unless my books actually sold and I just wasn't told, I don't need to put up a big fight about getting my fee back. I've been learning from publishing mistakes for 5 years.
I guess the image of the reclusive writer sitting alone in his mansion on the mountain is a thing of the past, if it ever really existed. I did not pay as much for "publicity" as some of the other victims, since I already knew that free publicity or in-person connections are the best way to go.
When I got the letters offering a $5000 "bestseller" package, I scoffed. Most traditional published books with publicity paid by the publisher are lucky to earn $5000 in royalties so fast (could be about 5000 books with author receiving $1 per book). Right now, the odds are staggered and I'd advise people to rent a beach house for two weeks with their $2000. They'll get much more enjoyment out of it.
I also, from reading reviews and traveling around the internet, have found that for most American consumers, knowing a book is self-published is an automatic, unconditional disqualification. They won't even read one chapter if you paid them. It's kind of ironic when you think of how the self-publishers praise themselves. If the attitudes of the American public changes, then maybe struggling writers will have a shot. But right now, I don't see things going that way.
If we really want to help each other, one idea is to build a network of struggling writers or former self-published authors. I've already bought over 20 self-published books by authors I never heard of, just to support the cause.
Just an added note, the Authorhouse website claims that over 30,000 authors have published with them. I'm sure the big companies like Infinity, Xlibris, and others have at least 10,000 each. That's a lot of people who probably made little to no money off their hopes. I think the business of self-publishing started out with noble intentions, but then got turned into a bad rap and now it just seems to be getting out of control.
Personally, I would be open to having gatherings of self-published authors by geographical region. Constructive criticism and feedback from people who understand is important, especially since success at writing takes persistence and dealing with rejection from "the mainstream".
Also, the thousands of victims have to each have at least one close family member, friend, or significant other. It seems like a big hurdle to overcome, but I would be willing to assist spread the word and remind the public of the respect creativity and freedom of speech once had.
"A Frightful Move"
I think Chris has a great idea. It's so important for us to support each other. It would be great if we could start a support group for each other where we can buy each other's books and spread the word to our own network. We have such a richly diverse group of writers with so many different genres. If you would be interested in joining me in this venture, let me know. If we have enough of a positive response, I will propose several ways that we can do this to help each other.
Have faith, my fellow victims. All of your hard work to put this case together will pay off in the near future.
With love and great hope,