Saturday, January 19, 2008

Zooty & Flappers pt. 2

The other day I blogged about the "World's First Pre-Publisher." For those of you who missed it, here is the basic principle of how this program works.

First, you send him your novel. He sets it up and puts it on his site as a free download. The readers that download it, give it a rating of some kind. If enough readers like it, he pulls it from the "download for free" side of his site, and adds it to his "bookstore" as an e-book or cd and sells it with him paying you 45% of the sale price. Then, once you sell 10,000 copies, he will send a copy of your book along with a sales report and a readers report to "ten real agents."

Naturally, I had some problems with this. I've studied the publishing industry for several years now. I've read agent blogs, websites, numerous books, talked to agents and editors at conferences to learn all I can. This just isn't the way the publishing industry works. You can find the rest of my post on this close by. I encourage you to check it out.

I gave my opinions, what I've learned and put it out there for everyone to see.

Since then, I've been threatened with lawyers, accused of slander/libel, had my character called into question because I'm listed as an instructor at the Long Story Short School of Writing, been called talentless and playing the expert.

What you have printed on this site, to the public, I shall take up with my attorney. If I can hold you and the chat room harmfull, I will.

I will take up with her in a court of law.

I understand why you have never been published by a Standard Publisher. I do believe anyone can go to a writing school, and learn how to write. But there are no schools that can teach talent. It's like learning to sing. Anyone can learn to sing, but they still need talent. And you can't learn talent. You either have it, or you don't.The one thing you do have. You have the power to shut anyone on this chat room down when they won't let you play the expert.

The above in italics are taken directly from Domenic Pappalardo's posts at StoryCrafters.

Not once have I called him names, attacked him, his writing or his character. Nor have I threatened him.

I have offered to change my opinion, reblog and take back everything I've said about his business if he will show me that I'm wrong.

According to Domenic, here's the way to get an agent to read your manuscript. How does one get an Agent to read their manuscript? One could marry and Agent, or give an Agent what they're looking for! A well written manuscript that readers love, that has a sales record of no less than 10,000 books.

Again, from what I have studied of the publishing business, this just isn't going to work. I have said several times, that'd I'd be happy to change my thoughts on this with proof.

Now, I know there are great writers out there who have self-published their books, sold thousands of copies and then gone on to get an agent and major, traditional publisher. Did they do it with the book they self-published? I don't know. From what I've read, Christopher Paolini's Eragon was published by his parent's small press, sold thousands of copies and then was picked up by a major publisher. We have both of his books by the kids love them.

I have no problem with small presses. I have no problem with those who self-publish.

When a writer takes his/her story or article, and posts it on a website, blog or any other place online where it is available to the public to read, it is considered published. Yes, it can be sold again as a reprint for less money but those first rights are gone forever.

The same thing applies to novels. When that novel is put on a website, downloaded and given away, it is considered published. Just because the writer hasn't been paid for that download doesn't make it pre-published. Calling it pre-published doesn't make it not published either.

This is my main problem with Zooty & Flappers. Writers who don't know the industry are going to believe giving away copies of their novel is going to get them an agent and traditional publisher.

I don't believe it will happen that way.

Again, this is just my opinion. I encourage each of you who reads this to go to his website, check it out.

Study the publishing industry and find out how it works.

Consider all your publishing options.

Decide what you want for your novel and go for it.

Today...Domenic posted this on StoryCrafters.

On Jan 20th. Read the true story of Jean Lauzier onwww.zootyandflappers.comThe face behind the Hangmens mask.

More character attacks???

Why not post a rebuttal to my original blog post explaining where I'm wrong?

I believe right will come out on top in the end. If Domenic is right about his way of getting agents and contracts with traditional publishers, then in a few short months he'll have testimonials from happy authors with traditional publishers for their books given away by Zooty & Flappers plastered all over his website. But until then, he's obviously going to attack anyone who doesn't believe as he does.

I hope his way works. I hope he has great success. I just don't believe it will.


Sadie said...

I admire your grace and strength through all of this. You have class, troll-lady. True class.

Snow said...

BRAVA! BRAVA! I tip my snowflake to you.
No one could have handled it any better than you.

It's a shame this had to happen.


Anonymous said...

Does Domenic Pappalardo really think responding to criticism like that will grow his business? He just destroyed his own website. No author will want to do business with a jerk like that.

Deb said...

If his paradigm has any merit at all, let time prove it. If he ends up with hundreds of happy authors who've given away 10K copies of their books, that will (would) be his best revenge. Me, I don't think that will happen. What of the publisher who picks up this instant succcess? Will that publisher think, "Oh, it's now in the hands of thousands of readers, so it must be good?" No--she or he will think, "That's ten thousand fewer sales for our version of the book. We'll give this title a pass."

This plan IMO is just a way to make sure authors don't get paid what they're worth.

My thanks again for exposing this as the pie-in-the-sky notion it is. You don't have to be a mazzikin to know a bad idea when you see one.

The Wandering Author said...

The idea is clearly flawed. What it suggests to me is someone who doesn't know the publishing industry, and, who doesn't know social media, applying a distorted application of social media principles and techniques to publishing. The sad thing is, it is possible he may really believe this idea would work; it has just enough elements of ideas taken out of context from social media that I could imagine someone, a frustrated author perhaps, applying those ideas in a genuine, if doomed, effort to create a new avenue for writers to gain recognition.

However, I do know how the publishing business works, and I know a little bit about social media as well. Publishers will never accept his idea, since it offers them nothing of value, and as social media it won't work out, either. As a writer, you'd do better giving away copies of an e-book you wrote, free, hoping to gain publicity and notice for your next book - and I don't recommend that unless you really understand what you're doing and how to make it work for you.

The trouble is, there are many, many content driven sites out there offering opportunities for writers that are far more damaging than the beginning writer might ever suspect. At the very least, read all the fine print in any terms of service or user agreements carefully. If you don't understand even a single sentence, consult a lawyer. And if you don't understand how the idea works, and how it can advance your career plans as a writer, no matter how impressive it sounds - stay away. These sites spring up too quickly to keep track of them all.

Anonymous said...

Don't be scared by the words "lawyer" and "court" until you get an actual letter from an actual lawyer and your actual lawyer says you have something to worry about ... until then, it is just a bully using a threat he himself does not fully understand.

Merry Monteleone said...

Oy, I noticed this as it was posted in a comment by someone who wrote an article about it at fiction wise.

I'm no lawyer, but I don't think slander, liable, or defamation of character can be judged unless you lied. You didn't, you actually quoted him verbatim in the areas you disagreed on, and you never once called him what he appears to be...

I just followed links over at writer's beware and he seems to have pulled down all of the mizzikin? stuff he had up and now his opening pages thank the mizzikins for all of the free advertising. It doesn't actually matter, though, once you post things online there is always a record to be found. I'd say if anything, you might have grounds for a lawsuit against him but I haven't seen anything that leads me to believe he does.

I'm a first time visitor, but bravo!!! It's great that there are writers out there who will speak up and forewarn newer writers... so many get scammed and then lose faith in writing altogether.

groovygrrl said...

Oh. My. Lord.

I just got back from Zootyandwhatever. They are high on drugs if they think their "business model" will work.

1. They are publishing books and ruining first rights. Period.

2. Who makes a business website and writes "open letters" that are defensive and cranky and bash others? That's just tacky. Not good business.

3. He can't write! And I quote his little story about Adolf Hitler:

"The Name of his book was, "Mien Karpt." The writers? "Adolf Hitler."

This is the person authors are supposed to trust with their writing?

Quite laughable.

Anonymous said...

I read his side of the story on his website... this guy is weird.

It isn't just you, Jean dear, who "claims" that publication on the Internet is still publication - it's every legitimate writers resource on Earth.

If your work is distributed to readers who aren't in a closed, password-protected critiquing community, it's published. There go your first publication rights, the most valuable rights your work will ever have.

New writers who want their work to reach real readers, not just readers who want to sift through random novels and get the best of them for free, would do better to get constructive feedback from such a password-protected critiquing community. Then they could improve their work and get it published with first rights intact.

Personally, I don't think his site will hold up. There will be too much random junk written by prima donnas who think they don't have to improve their writing to win readers. The few jewels that end up on his site will be buried by sloppy and annoying garbage.

In short, he's just opened Slush Pile dot com, except with no publisher on the other end.

nony.e.b. said...

I think this guy is calling you Satan now on a page called "Warning" that's addressed to religious groups. And what's up with posting your life so far on that whole battleground page? I think this guy is off his meds...

WriterChick said...

My eyeballs started to bleed when I clicked the link to Zooty... guy is obviously on another planet. Anyone who can write will see that he can't and is in no position judge anything. Groovygrrl nailed it. I'll start laughing when my eyes stop bleeding ;-)