Saturday, March 1, 2008

Airleaf Victims Update March 1, 2008


Dear Airleaf Victims and Friends,

Welcome to our new members. We are now a group of 412 authors who are seeking restitution and retribution for the fraudulence done to us by Airleaf Publishing and members of its staff.

A number of you received a second form at home from the Attorney General's office. I contacted Tom Irons, our representative, and asked him if a third report had to be filled out. The first was on line; the second was a hard copy sent to your home. His response to me was:


On the complaint issue, we need to have a signed copy of the complaint. As long as the author has sent in a “signed” copy, not just a complaint form filled out, they can disregard the yellow form (the signature assures us the author’s claims are true, under penalty of perjury-akin to an affidavit).


This means if you already sent back one form that was sent to your home, you do NOT have to send in this second form.

I appreciate all of the surveys that have been returned to me to date. If you haven't sent yours in or you're having a problem with it, please let me know. This information has been very valuable already in helping me prepare information for the various government agencies which will need them in moving forward with our case.

I am seeking your help with transactions that took place between the time period of November 2007 and December 2007 when Airleaf closed (December 21, 2007). I contend that the remaining staff at Airleaf knew that there was no way they could deliver on any promises because the production staff was gone and the printers were holding our books hostage for non-payment. Some of you were solicited for publishing and promotions throughout this period and paid for work during this time frame. If you were one of these victims, please let me know the circumstances and amount you paid as well as who you were working with. This includes offers of selling back your own books to you at a discount price.

I have no specific news for you this week; however, I feel confident that there is movement in our case. Please be patient. I did ask Captain Buskirk for an update but haven't heard from his this week. I told him that we are frustrated as far as getting back files and books. I'll write to him again on Monday.

Some of you suggested that I write to the Indiana Bar Association asking them for help. This week, I wrote first to the Indiana Legal Services asking them for help with a pro-bono lawyer. This was the response:

Ms. Kaye,
Generally Indiana Legal Services does not take cases that would result in a monetary settlement. However, you can contact your local legal service office and see if there is some way that we could assist. To locate your local legal service office, go to our web site, and click on the "Find Legal Help". Put your county in the search box and all legal service offices that support Martinsville will come up with contact information.
Another option is to contact your local bar association president. She or he could provide a referral to a private attorney. This attorney would not be free but may be willing to take your case. You can find the bar association president on the same list from our web site.

Victoria Deak, Esq., Project Director
Access to Justice Project Indiana Legal Services, Inc.

I then wrote back to Ms. Deak explaining that I am not an Indiana resident and received this response:

Ms. Kaye,

If you use the web site and contact the referrals from the bar association perhaps you could do this by phone. Indiana Legal Services also does phone intake. The listings on the web site have the times and days that phone intake occurs. Your other option is to request someone from Indiana to make the contact.

Victoria Deak, Esq., Project Director

A special thank you goes to Ms. Deak who responded within an hour of my request early on a Sunday morning. This is truly a woman who cares about helping others.

I am still pursuing an attorney to do a class action suit, and I requested help from the Indiana Bar Association with no response as of yet. My friend Patty brought up a good suggestion for some of you who are in Indiana that I researched. If you live in Indiana, you may want to think about filing a claim in the small claims court. You can file a complaint if the value of your claim is up to $6,000.00. You don't need legal representation for this, and the cost of filing the claim is relatively inexpensive. I will try to reach the Morgan County Small Claims Court this week to see what we can do to file out-of-town claims with them. If you have tried this already, please let me know so I can share with others the results. If you live in Indiana and want information on how to do this or who to contact, please write to me and I'll send you the information that I have checked out.

This week, I would like to talk to you about information on what is referred to as a "Bookstore Return Policy."

One of our authors, Willard Gray, received this letter from Xlibris and asked my advice:

I have a very good marketing strategy that will give a greater chance for your book to be available in the physical bookstore, We call this Bookstore Returnability Program wherein your book will be listed under i-page (the latest software that all of the resellers/bookstores are using to check for new and returnable books). 30 biz days once the book is published your book is already listed under i-page so there is a greater chance that bookstores or reseller will just directly acquire or order your book because they can always return the unsold books to us and process a refund without affecting your sales or revenue from those books that they have ordered. Also you can go to any of the bookstore that you want and present this Bookstore Returnability Program for them to acquire your book. This is only $699 that you can pay using installment plan of $243/mo for 3 mos. This is good for 1 year and after a year bookstores/resellers will be given within 6 months for then to return the unsold copies of the book for refund. This is a very good hassle free marketing strategy. Thank you and have a wonderful day.

A number of authors have asked me about this because some of the more prominent book companies including AuthorHouse and Xlibris charge $599.00 or $699.00 for this package—FOR ONE YEAR!! Yikes! That's a lot of money, and especially when you understand what this means.

When I first heard about this return policy a couple of years ago, I found it exciting because it gave authors the ability to go to major bookstores for signings. Most major bookstores don't allow print-on-demand book authors to have book signings because if they order books and the books don't sell, they can't return them to the publisher and they are stuck with them. So a return policy was devised by some of the larger POD companies as a carrot to dangle in the faces of uneducated consumers—like us—to serve as an enticement.

By now, most of you know the reality of how much you can make on a book sale. Let's review the formula. If you have a book that sells for $14.99, book distributors such as get a 55% discount on the retail price. That means $8.24 comes off the book to begin with. That leaves you with $6.75 as your starting point. Take away the cost of printing of an average book of 175 page book of approximately $4.50, and you are now left with $2.24 per book. Even if you are receiving a 50/50 split with your POD company, you are looking at $1.12 for each book. As I warn all of you, it takes a lot of book sales to make back your initial investment of publishing, especially if you are paying big fees for special promotions.

Even if the profit percentage is somewhat higher at a bookstore because the discount ranges at approximately 40% instead of 55%, and even if you make $4.00 a book in profits, how many books do you have to sell to recoup your initial investment? The answer is A LOT. Unless you have a large local fan base or a book that is a hot topic, it will be very difficult to recoup that loss.

After my Airleaf nightmare, as I explored where to go from there for my upcoming book that came out in December, I researched over 40 different POD companies to see which one would meet my personal needs. There is no ONE solution to all of our publishing needs. I found a publisher, CCB Publishing, which met my needs, as well as a number of other Airleaf victims, for publishing. The website is at One of the many selling points for me was that I could buy a return policy for $100.00 a year. This seemed reasonable. It gives me the ability to do book signings and at least feel that I have a chance of recouping any investment.

To be sure that I was on the right track, I asked our expert advisor Victoria Strauss if I was accurate in my assessment. I wrote to her:

Hi Victoria,
I tell my authors who ask me about return policies from companies like AuthorHouse and Xlibris that charge 599.00 or 699.00 that this is a waste of money. It would take the selling of hundreds of books to make up for that each year. Do you think that is correct advice? I don't see where it can pay off for almost any author unless he/she is traveling around the country setting up book signings on a topic that is going to sell that many books. Please let me know if you think I'm right.

Here is Victoria's response:

Hi, Bonnie,
I do think you're right about this service not being worth the expense. Returnability might make some stores more willing to place orders--especially larger stores--but there are no guarantees, and as you say, writers would have to sell a lot of books to make back the extra expense. Given the average sales of books from these companies (less than 200), it is unlikely to be worth it for most authors.

On another note, a number of you have recently written to me about special promotions that you are receiving for book marketing. These packages start at $750.00 and go as high as $3,500.00. Once again, do the math. See how many books you have to sell to make back this money.

Some of these promotions include placement on a POD website. Many of you are excited by that prospect. In reality, the only people who go to those websites are you and the other potential buyers of POD services. Some of you believe that at least your book can be seen on the Internet on a website. So here's a solution to you that is far more cost effective.

I have worked with some of you on obtaining your own websites. The best bargain in town can be found at This is where I purchased some of my domain names including For $35.00, you can buy a domain name for a year. For that same $35.00, will give you a FREE one page website where you can advertise your book for no additional hosting fee. This is an excellent deal! If you have any computer savvy, you can design your own website for free. If you are like me, and you don't have that ability, you can find someone to do it for you. My web person for our Airleaf Victims website charges $200.00 for setting up your one page site with a link to your book and where it can be bought. She would be happy to work with any of our Airleaf Victims for that price. If you are interested in doing this, let me know. I can walk you through the steps of getting your own domain name and setting up your account. Then I can refer you to my webmaster if you would like her to do your site.

Talking about websites, I meant to tell you another way that Airleaf made money from authors. I recently found out from an author that he was paying $250.00 a month to be positioned on the first row of the Airleaf website. This was really disturbing to me. If any of you were paying for website positioning, please let me know. I'd like to add that to my research.

A few people have written to me recently about tracking down former Airleaf employee Gayla Swint. Gayla is now working with Fideli Publishing owned by former Airleaf employee Robin Surface. Some of you have written to me about the positive relationships you had with these women as well as other Fideli staff members. You can write to Gayla at She is happy to hear from any of her previous authors that she worked with. If you are seeking other former Airleaf employees, please let me know, and I'll do my best to track them down for you.

Have a good week and feel free to write to me about any questions or issues I can help you with.

With love and hope,



Ken Pullen said...

Bonnie - and to the other 410;

I realize in our culture, with human nature being what it is, people do not want to think or believe anyone offering a service would do so just to take their money and not deliver, or not deliver corresponding to the fee paid.

I also realize I have "dropped off the radar" with regards to all that is going on with Airleaf Publishing, although I have followed through and filled out almost all forms requested, made the requested phone calls, and sent the necessary emails to those dragging their feet and making excuses in positions of elected or appointed office, law enforcement, or in office to help the public.

I just want to say this - and hopefully you can convey this to all 412 people duped, conned, lied to, swindled, and taken advantage of by Airleaf Publishing...


I can be objective about myself, my motivations, and my actions. More of us need to be objective and to the bone honest with ourselves.

I attempted to by-pass the traditional publishing route because of the time frame involved in that process. It takes years unless a person possesses the genius and art of crafting words of a Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Upton, Irving, or Vonnegut.

So in my arrogance - yes arrogance - I deemed myself a writer and was determined to get published. Oh, what I had to write people would want to read I thought to myself. I have written for years, and was even told by some in the movie industry - the REAL movie industry when I lived in Los Angeles, not the pretend movie industry Carl Lau fabricated and lied to everyone about - that I was good, that I had talent, and to keep at it. Well, at that point I'd been writing screenplays for 7 years without getting paid a dime. I might have made it and not be writing this to you today if I'd have stuck it out another 4, 5, 6, or 7 years. I might be in some great house on the beach in Malibu - but after 7 years I was tired. Point is people - nothing of quality or value comes easy or fast. Do not be duped by claims you or your book are so special...please send us $__________________ immediately and we'll provide you with personalized attention and make you a success. It's all bull feces. Huge enormous piles of bull feces. If you want to fall into it, step into it...well keep on the course you are. Fail to be objective about yourself, your situation, or what people are really like in the world.

Yes, there are droves and scores of wonderful, decent people in the world. None of them start self-publishing companies though. Self publishing companies are begun by the same sort that sold colored alcohol from the backs of wagons 130 years ago making all manner of claims to the gullible and naive and overly trusting. They are no different. Good people, honest people do not work in the self publishing business. Don't' be fooled. Don't be so gullible.

I had no grand illusions. I did not imagine myself becoming rich or famous or both, but I was arrogant enough, egotistical enough to believe I could eek out a moderate return.

Do not tell me none of you fit this profile, or you all had the most benign and innocent of expectations. You publish to sell books. Period. You expect to sell books and to make some money from it.

Well, do not venture into the realm of ANY SELF PUBLISHING ENTERPRISE.

Why to I say this? Because I've been burned and experienced multiple horrendous experiences in the self publishing arena.

Airleaf Publishing is not my only experience with liars, thieves, those with silky buttery tongues making all manner of promises about what they'll do specifically for me because my book is so special...why, it's been chosen they all proclaim!

Of course it has. Because we appear to these vipers like a blind one-legged rodent and they know we are easy prey. Prime for the picking.

Do not say, "Oh the poor cynic, he's had bad experiences and now is bitter as a result."

Open your eyes. Be smart. People are not going to do for you what they claim or promise.

I first went to Xlibris. They are nothing more than a larger con version of Airleaf Publishing. Trust me. I experienced it firsthand. Spent loads of money, way too much money, they do NOTHING...NOTHING for you. Forget about all the website advertising and promotion they promise. It's all bull feces plain and simple.

Will they post you on the web? Sure. You'll end up on some obscure web page all in Japanese and no one ever sees it, no one ever buys a single book. And you're out more money.

It's very simple really.

If you fail to learn you're doomed to repeat your mistakes. Losing and failure should teach us not to go down those paths again, and yet week after week I read nothing but how desperate people are so they turn to more of the same convinced it's going to be better or different.

It won't be. Believe me.

Airleaf Publishing was a con game. Carl Lau was no different than the schister that pulled into the dusty town in a wagon 130 years ago and sold colored alcohol in bottles from the back of that wagon to the clueless clamoring masses. And the next month a different guy pulled into that same town with a different label and the people didn't learn a thing and bought more garbage from a different con man. They didn't learn.

People are no different today.

The "snake oil" being sold now though is in the form of fame and riches and getting your writing published in book form, or on the Internet. Yet it's no different at all from some con man pulling into your present town and trying to sell you colored miracle water from the back of his beat up pickup truck.

Wise up people. Self publishing is a con game. Yes, it's how some of the greatest writers in history began - Charles Dickens for one - but it wasn't done by some con artist soliciting huge amounts of money and delivering hollow promises and nothing but pain and misery and mounting debts. When people like Charles Dickens self-published it was done altogether differently. He didn't pay some schister thousands of dollars - or the equivalent for his era - and wait for the schister to fulfill his word.

Do not be fooled.
Do not be so desperate.
Do not be so arrogant.
Do not be so egotistical - and even the most demure and appearing humble among us is egotistical in thinking what they write is good enough or important enough for others to read. Be honest. Do not be so arrogant though you place your daily life in jeopardy because you can't pay your bills, or you've spent your life savings, or you throw money at these vipers to make them rich while you don't have adequate food, shelter, or what have you.

Be objective. Be ruthlessly honest about yourself and with yourself...and be far less trusting of ANYONE from ANY COMPANY coming to you with promises in return for loads of your money.

Xlibris is a large scale con game. They all are either large or small scale con games.

NO SELF PUBLISHING HOUSE HAS ANY HIGHLY READ HIGH SALES BOOKS IN THEIR STABLE OF BOOKS. NONE HAVE BESTSELLERS OF ANY KIND. THEY NEVER HAVE.Do your research and homework people. Your present financial stability and peace of mind...and your future depends on your becoming attuned, smart, and aware...

or keep on your present course.

Life is nothing but a series of choices. You make yours. I'll make mine...and I'll just end in saying...I'll never again open one piece of mail, open one email, talk more than 10 seconds on the phone, or invest so much as one thin dime of my money into ANY SELF PUBLISHING ENTERPRISE. They all are liars, cheats, scoundrels, and thieves.

If you're rich enough and vain enough and foolish enough to throw your money away that's your choice.

Hopefully we'll all begin making better choices...and choose wisely for a change.

Thank you.

I write this with such directness because I allowed myself to be fooled twice. As the adage goes, Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

I have learned from my mistakes. I have always known the best things in life do not come easy or freely, and I've also known that if something sounds to good to be true it usually is - yet I ignored that centuries proved wisdom regarding the human species and I allowed my ego to get in the way of logic and reason.

People like Carl Lau, Brien Jones, whomever you'd speak with at Xlibris or any of the dozens of self publishing parasites in existence please know those people do not have your best interests in mind.

Ask yourself this - will I make a profit from this? Why would any rational, sane person throw money away? For vanity? For ego? Why?

Ask yourself how many books you'd have to sell to not only break even but make a profit when someone is asking you to give them $2,000 - $5,000 - $7,000 - or more in many cases.

Who profits from self publishing? The vipers, con men, liars, and cheats that set their luring businesses up.

Do not be fooled. The government isn't designed to protect you. The Indiana Attorney Generals office is really taking our plight to heart and taking positive action aren't they?

It's up to us. All of us. It's up to you to make the right choices in your life.

I will make you a promise and a guarantee - one that you can take to the bank, only if you don't heed it you won't have anything to take to the bank, or left in the bank... and here is my promise and guarantee:

If you send any money to any self publishing establishment you will lose money. You will not make a profit. You will not sell enough books to make a profit. You will be lied to on a non-stop continual basis. One person will promise you they won't treat you as the other unscrupulous person did, and then they will turn around and do the exact same or worse.

How many books would you have to sell to even break even with Airleaf Publishing if you gave them $7,000? Ever do the math? It's simple math. Addition and subtraction. You add to whomever bank account they subtract hundreds and thousands of dollars from you. They won't and don't sell books. They won't and don't and NEVER WILL FULFILL PROMISES MADE.

P.T. Barnum said it and because he knew human nature so well he was a multi-millionaire - "There's a sucker born every minute."

It may not be pleasant, it may not be what you want to hear or think...but all of us...ALL OF US...have been suckers. Victims of con artists.

And I'm a fool for being dumb enough to fall for it twice in a period of 3 years. Don't fall prey to the vipers just drooling and waiting to fleece you - and that's ALL THAT WILL HAPPEN. You will not sell books!!! These people are not in the business to sell books they are in the business to talk sweetly and make huge amounts of money. Period.

Proceed as you will...but do not say you haven't been properly warned.

If you can't be honest and objective about yourself, and about people in this world, and human nature, and the type of person operating a self publishing business all I can say is woe to have been warned. Wise up or lose plenty.

If you want to throw money away go to Las Vegas where the odds are severely stacked against you and in favor of the casinos...just as the odds are in self publishing. It's your money. Throw it away however you deem necessary.

Me? I'll never consider, listen to, or give the time of day or thought to ANYONE in the self publishing business again. EVER. I've learned my lesson the hard way. Throwing away almost $10,000 of hard earned money.

The only people that benefit from self publishing are the people, the vipers, the con artists and liars that set up their cons just waiting for marks like us to come near and become enticed.

If I'm lying then you tell me who has sold enough books to make a profit from self publishing through Airleaf, Brien Jones and his bogus company, Xlibris, or any of the dozens currently in existence and allowed to continue to operate and steal people's money? You tell me who has sold enough books to make a profit. Even a $1.00 profit from these slithering sweet talking liars.

Wise up people before it's way to late. Please wise up. And finally become honest about and with yourself...and about the people operating in self publishing.


Ken Pullen
Medina, Ohio

Anonymous said...

This whole thing is a waste of time and effort on Bonnie Kaye and many other hopeful authors. What do you think you are going to get from Airleaf or Carl Lau. They are out of business - ie...they RAN OUT OF MONEY! There is no monetary gain to be made. You also can not go after him personally, because again, he has meager personal assetts that aren't mortgaged to a hilt. Just give it up.