Welcome to my June edition great collaborated helpful tips for Writers. In this post we have tools for editing, creating QR codes in WordPress, a re-phrasing tool, how to promote our writing using Youtube, getting back to bookwriting after a timeout, tips for making book trailers, and how to create 3D book covers.
Kathy Steinemann, featuring guest writer, Lori Wade with some great tools to aid in writing, editing, with tracking word count and more:
Welcome to my May Writer’s Tips. I have collected some fantastic helpful articles in this past month. So as not to overwhelm, I’m going to break up this post under two different umbrellas. In this edition I’ve tailored this month’s discoveries to tips that specifically pertain to book writing and potential legal snags – how to find your writing voice, what constitutes plagiarism, penalties for using song lyrics in our writing, what to put in front matter of our books, and the importance of designating a social media executor.
The BookDesigner takes us through the definition and meaning of Voice in writing:
Janice Wald of Mostlyblogging.com talks about the 4 types of Plagiarism and the consequences in 2022
This week’s edition of Writer’s Tips features some great info on creating book trailers, how to protect your blogs, writing tips, instructional on downloading fabulous fonts, Writers Beware, and knowing and breaking writing rules.
Fantastic How To on creating videos for our books with Canva
I had a couple of non-fun-filled days chasing down copyright thieves. It seems to be a rampant thing these days as quite a few of us writers share with each other when we spot an author friend’s books for sale – somewhere they shouldn’t be.
Hugh Roberts mentioned in a post last weekabout finding his book on a site KissLibrary dot net and shared that he sent them a DMCA (the old cease and desist letter or further action would follow). No, I’m not going to highlight a link to them and give SEO the pleasure. Hugh informed me he saw all of my books for sale there too. Interestingly enough I could not find my books there and nothing came up when I put my name in the search bar. I commiserated with Hugh through email and he took a screenshot of the page where my books were, yet I couldn’t see them. I FBI’d the site for a contact to send a DMCA, and found it down at the way bottom of the page in small print, filled out the form and sent it off, but not before I did a little more sleuthing.
Their address was proudly listed on their front page – somewhere in Alberta, Canada. Was that why I couldn’t see my books but others could? Because I’m Canadian? I needed to dig a little further. I Googled up Domain Tools and clicked on the WHOIS, to look up the site owner. There I discovered a wealth of information, then copying the IP address and typing that into the IP Addresslookup and found this little setup is actually run from Russia!
It wasn’t so easy to send my notice because we have to include the links to the infringed material we’re accusing of stealing – Links I couldn’t see. So I got my Fey Sister, Colleen, to go to the site and type in my name. Sure enough she saw all my books for sale, but there was no way when I went to that link that I could see them! Well . . . I guess they didn’t know who they were dealing with.
Colleen clicked on each of my books at a time and copied each link to each book and pasted and sent to me. I had my back up evidence! I could see them listed individually. By the next day, my books were removed without even a reply from them.
That event took up half my day, then I proceeded to Google myself and found another site selling my books. That one was Thriftbooks dot com. There they were my books for sale. I’ve been told this is a resale site for our books. I personally, don’t appreciate seeing my books on a thrift resale site. This site was even trickier to find a contact person, but I’d learned from my investigations that if I can’t find the owners, I can send my complaint to the Host of the server. I went through the WHOIS again, which led me to find GoDaddy was their host. I then proceeded to the GoDaddy page and clicked on the bottom of the page “report abuse’ and filled out the form there and sent it off.
Oh, the day didn’t end there. About an hour after sending out notices, Colleen sends me a link to tygpress.com where many of us bloggers have our blogs stolen and displayed in plain day! The site is called tygpress.com.
If you find your blog posts violated on that site, this is where you need to go and report (many of us have already done the WHOIS search on them). Below is the link where anyone can send a DMCA notice to.
BUT . . . before I could get this post out, it seems enough bloggers complained because as of yesterday afternoon . . .
Update: I found this on tygpress – now a 404 page apologizing for harvested content. I guess all the complaints really do work!
About free books
Colleen, Hugh, and myself have come to the conclusion that the way these sites steal our books and sell them on their sites is when we give our books away on free promo. Both Colleen and Hugh found their only books pirated were the ones they ever put on free. As for me, I’ve had all my books on free at some point over the years, hence, all my books have been pirated on various sites.
Stealing an artist’s work is not right, it’s not legal, and it’s quite frankly disgusting. Like everything else in life, if we don’t stand up and speak out and call out the thieves, they will continue to get away with these copyright crimes. It’s important that we take a stand, call out these pirates publicly and send forth DMCA letters to have our work removed from the offending sites. Like I mentioned above, if a site doesn’t offer a link to fill out a DMCA, then we must go investigate the site owner through the WHOIS. It’s also a good idea to fill out Google alerts with our book’s names so that Google can send us alerts when they spot something with our names listed, so we can investigate.
In the meantime, I’m still waiting for replies from the DMCA notice I sent out to the thrift site, but I’m going to share some interesting links you can check out on how we can best try to protect our copyrights:
One blogger even went so far in his post to create an image he began adding to every one of his posts so that when they were infringed and showing on tygpress, this image would display on the post. He kindly offered any bloggers to help themselves to copy and save the image. (I had planned on adding this to each of my posts, but gratefully, the site has been taken down.
If you Google ‘tygpress dot com’ you will find a slew of blogger’s recent posts writing about and warning of this infringing site. All one had to do was type in their name or blog name and I saw so many of friend’s posts there.
It’s difficult to keep abreast on all the thievery going on in our cyber world, but one thing that’s helpful is making sure your copyright notice stands out on your page. I have moved up my notice on my top side bar and also including at the bottom of my posts now. For the not so daring infringers, these blatant notices may help to deter them – somewhat.
Please be proactive and Google yourselves every once in awhile. If we don’t stop this thievery on infringement one at a time, these infringers will continue to steal our work. And if you come across any suspicious sites, be a buddy and share on your blogs to give others a heads up.
Do you have anything to share with us here about anything suspicious you’ve come across?
For this week’s edition of Writer’s Tips, I found some helpful and informative articles around the web on how to deter copyright thieves from our writing, caveats when signing contracts, and a wonderful article from Andrew Joyce, guest writing at The Story Reading Ape’s blog on why it’s important to have a great book cover.
The ‘cut and paste’ thief and what to do if you find your work being plagiarized
By now I’m sure most of you know how important a book cover is for selling books. I’d say that the three most important things in getting someone to plunk down cold hard cash for one of your books are: 1) word of mouth, 2) your book cover, and 3) your blurb. However, you’re not going to get any word of mouth unless you first sell a few books, and to do that you’ll need to have a dynamite and unique cover … and a great blurb. But the cover has to come first. .
I’ve written a few posts before about how I’ve found a few Apps particularly useful to my writing arsenal. Lately, I’ve noticed people sending me inquiries about the use of some of these Apps, so I’m going to go over them here today, and tell you why Blasty,Dropbox andEvernote are some of my best picks.
Dropbox is a cloud based App that allows you to store copies of anything from documents to photos in a folder for safe keeping and easy access. Sure you may be backing up and/or saving your work on a flash drive or a hard drive, but extra back up with a handy retrieval system is crucial for me. With Dropbox you can access your stored files from anywhere, anytime, even if you aren’t on your own computer. You can pick up a file on your mobile devices as well, all by just signing in to access to access them.
Evernote has become my best pal of all. Evernote is similar to a virtual library where you can add anything to it to be saved in a cloud file. For example, when I come across an article I’ve found in a newsletter pertaining to something I want to have on hand for future use ie: publishing matter, editing tips, etc., I clip it with the Evernote clipper installed on my computer toolbar and the box will open up asking me which file I want to save it to, or give me the option to create a new file. You can also download it to your mobile devices, again, to have handy access to refer to your notes on the go.
Blasty is starting to garner more attention lately, and I’ve previously written 2 posts on how the process works. Blasty is still in beta stages which offers a FREE subscription while still new. I recommend every author sign up for Blasty if you’re concerned about your books being pirated. So far, I’ve ‘Blasted’ almost 300 sites that were pirating free downloads of my books. Don’t ask me how they get there, but Google sure knows how to search out these crafty criminals. And by letting Google do the work of finding these sites, it saves me hours on end of searching myself.
HOW DO THESE SITES WORK?
Dropbox is FREE to sign up to. They will start you off with 2 gigs of free space. If you go over this limit, there are 2 options to obtain more storage. One method is to upgrade to their Pro version and pay a few dollars a month, which I’ve managed to avoid doing. The second option has been working great for me, and here’s the deal. Dropbox will allow you 500 mbs (half a gig) extra space for every person you get to sign up with your invitation link. And not only 500 for the person whose link you join from, but 500 mbs EXTRA for YOU too! It’s a win, win by sharing. I can tell you that I have thousands of files, photos, and even all my book’s manuscripts filed there for safekeeping and easy access. I joined Dropbox 3 years ago at a most opportune time, only weeks before I published my first book and my computer CRASHED! If I hadn’t put everything I write in those files, all my work would have been lost! Flash drives are great, but they can get lost, and you may not always have them handy when you’re somewhere and need to have access to your files or photos. Get Dropbox today by going through My Invitational Link here, and help me add more storage to mine as you build extra storage space for yourself!
Evernote is a FREE App to sign up to. It will give you up to 60 MB of space to save articles per month. Believe me, that’s a lot, and enough for me, and I’m an avid clipper. But for those looking to store mega volumes of files, notes, photos, etc., they also offer a low annual cost to purchase. They’ve recently changed their usage from the ability to sync across all your devices to syncing to up to 2 devices for the free usage, but this hasn’t hindered my ability at all as I can clip articles or photos to save from my desktop and laptop, as that’s where I chose to have access to clip to. You can virtually sign in from anywhere on any device and log in to your account to find things if you’re not on one of your 2 devices you signed up to the App where you’re able to use the Clipper. Now, when you sign up, you’ll also download their WebClipper, which gives you the little elephant icon that represents their site, on your top tool bar. This is where you’ll click when you come across an article you want to save to a folder, which ‘clips’ the article and files it for you. I use this App as my bookmarking system. It’s like a virtual filing cabinet with easy access. Visit Evernote Here and start building your own file finding system.
Blasty is FREE while in beta stages now. It works with Google to search your content on the web that flags suspicious postings. When you sign up and become accepted, Blasty will offer you a place to add your content to be flagged. You can add each of your books, and you can also add your website. When your membership becomes accepted you will be notified and a little ‘B; icon will be available on your toolbar for easy access to their site to check on updates of your work found that seeks approval to be blasted or not. The site explains the procedure well with numerous short videos. Because this App is still in beta, their sign up procedure goes as follows: Once you sign up, your information has to be verified through them and Google, to make sure you’re legitimate copyright holder of your own materials (makes good sense!) The process can take from 3 days up to 2 weeks until your accepted OR if you can share your join up link with others, and once you get 3 others to sign up, you will be approved the same day! When I joined, I wrote 2 posts about this site and had many sign up immediately, so my books were listed the same day once approved. I’m still getting people signing up through my link, and although I’m already a member, I’ve been getting frequent correspondence from the CEO of Blasty, asking my opinion on certain features. It’s a great tool and time saver for authors to check up on their book’s piracy activity as often as you like. Just visit the site and you will have notifications of suspicious activity and be given the opportunity to ‘blast’ the site off Google completely, or to approve that a site is okay to promote your work.
Here are my invitational links again. Join through using these links to get your extra storage space on Dropbox and your quick approval on Blasty.
I’d like to thank the first three people here who must have signed up to Blasty, because they accepted me yesterday instead of the 12 day waiting period. And I’m willing to bet several more of you have also signed up. And if you haven’t, you may want to after reading this. And if you’re wondering what Blasty is, please see yesterday’s post Here.
I received my confirmation today, allowing me to add my other books to the site, as well as my blog. When I first signed up, they allowed me to enter only one of my books. So I entered my first book Conflicted Hearts, and WHAT DID I FIND?
I found 165 suspicious postings on Google about that book, and after going through the list, 135 of them were pirate sites offering free downloads on my book! I BLASTED them right off Google! Now I’m afraid to go back later and find how many more are pirating my other books. Sheesh! One would think I should be a famous author by now, lol.
But here’s the thing, I’ve read many articles by some well established Indie authors about piracy who say we can’t control all the thievery going on, so we can hope that those who are downloading our books for free are giving us FREE exposure. I certainly don’t have the time to send cease and desist letters to hundreds of sites. I can be grateful now that Google has banned them from being allowed to promote on the world wide web and now they will be small potatoes promoting to whoever happens to read.
Blasty is now just one more job for me to keep check on, but at least by Blasting them off Google, they are being punished. The site is easy to navigate. When you sign in, it will show you a list of suspicious Google posts and you will then have the choice to ‘Blast’ them away, or ignore. Note: Don’t just Blast away without checking the sites because there are legitimate posts from sites you may have advertised with, or a fellow writer or blogger may have featured you and your books on. If you ‘Blast‘ a site in error, you can go back and ‘Unblast’. The rules are simple but must be adhered to because you don’t want to blacklist a legit post in error.
Now, I suggest you take another look at this helpful site and start Blasting away the pirates! Blasty
I’d love to know what you guys who are using it think about it. I know I’m happy to have a free babysitting service with ‘Blasty’.
Hi people! I know, so unlike me to post twice in one day, but I just wanted to share something of interest I came across last night while reading a post from a fellow blogger, Damyanti’s blog.
She mentioned a new site called Blasty . This is a new site still in beta. It’s created for writers and artists to enroll their books and anything copyrighted to be flagged to your account if any suspicious ‘BUY’ links are found from pirates on Google. When suspicious links are found WE are then given the right to ‘blast‘ the link right off Google ourself! Imagine that, we don’t have to go through the ringers to submit our findings, begging them to take them off, we have the power to blast them ourselves!
Natch I joined! Once you’ve joined and submitted your own copyrighted content, it takes 12 days until you’re accepted because they have to verify you are holder of copyright and that takes time. BUT if you share and get 3 people to sign up, they will push the registration to 1 business day! They will send you an invitational link by email to share with others in case they want to join. And not only that, if you join now while it’s in beta stages, they waive the fee!
As a published author, it’s a no-brainer for me to have Google babysit the pirates, so I’m in. The site has a great FAQ section and little videos demonstrating how to use Blasty correctly and efficiently. You can even ‘unblast’ if you’ve blasted something in error.
Anyhoo, I suggest you check it out. And I’m leaving the link here with my invitational code to their site for you to visit, so if you sign up from my link, they’ll know you were invited there, and I’ll get to add the rest of my books in one day instead of 12.
You know me, always glad to pass on great info after doing the investigations. So if you decide to sign up who wouldn’t, please go in through this link https://www.blasty.co/invitation/bituzNcZ so I can get my books up by tomorrow. Then you will be emailed your own ‘invite’ link and you can ask the same of others.
Note: I already have a follow up post to this Read Here to see how many books of mine are being pirated.