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So I thought I’d post Madris DePasteur’s latest rambling post. Apparently she sent this to all the authors again.

“There are a lot of reasons we’ve abandoned the critiquing phase of editing and now generally accept books `as is’. Foremost among these reasons is a lack of cooperation from the authors whose books we’ve tried to improve who appear to have far more confidence in the pointers they get from friends and family members than people experienced in the business.

Since this actually is a matter of opinion, expert or not, and the authors seem determined to live with their decision, we let them. The only exception to this is when an author has a habit that is so distracting and/or annoying that we feel that it will be impossible for the reader to get any enjoyment out of the book.”

She can’t help herself can she? Although, admittedly, I had to read that paragraph about three times before I finally understood what she was saying.

“We consider if bad policy for any of our authors to annoy our distributor, who is not only very prompt and reliable in paying, but who also sells a high volume of books. If our distributor reports to us that one of our authors has been annoying them we will pull that author’s books from the list to ensure that our authors do not annoy our distributor, and that includes all of the online booksellers who get the books from the distributor, who report to the distributor, who reports to us.

Do not NAG the distributor or booksellers unless you’d just rather not have your work widely available, in which case, you should just tell us not to list your book with the distributor and STILL leave the distributor alone.

Professional to the end isn’t she? *g*

Thanks to you know who for the e-mail.

45 Comments »


  • Another anonymous
    March 28
    12:28 pm

    I’ll repeat that IMHO, this is total nonsense. MOST new NCP authors, whether unpubbed or previously published, come onto the author loop asking eagerly when they can expect their edits to arrive, and are disappointed when they don’t get them– and some are so disappointed and angered that they find another publisher for their next book. Most authors, even new ones, expect to do edits.

    I am certain NCP has dealt with a few prima donnas who won’t edit, just as any other publisher has, but for them to try to shift the blame for their lack of edits onto the authors is insulting, and only makes them look foolish. There are plenty of NCP authors writing for other houses, and those authors somehow manage to get through extensive edits for other editors. Most of them would probably be thrilled to do edits for NCP– IF they were ever asked.

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  • Anon Too
    March 28
    12:31 pm

    The batshit crazy, it just keeps growing…

    *shakes head* Are there still authors supporting these people?!

    ReplyReply

  • I hate to break her bubble, but Steven Pendergrast of FictionWise himself has said that he welcomes questions and will review an account upon proof of identity. They are responsible to the publisher, the reader and the author on different levels. Just because the contract is direct to the publisher does not exclude any one faction.

    Her argument that it is nagging is juvenile and nothing short of self-serving to terrorize her authors yet again.

    The editing information is old news, and that’s getting monotenous since as was said, 99% of writers know to expect edits.

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  • Although not in the business, I just can’t get over the fact that this publisher doesn’t edit books anymore. To me, it seems that should be one of their primary functions!! Every book NEEDS to be edited. Hell, my blog posts could do with editing by someone else a lot of the time!

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  • Another anonymous
    March 28
    12:47 pm

    NCP sent out several notes a couple days ago about “marketing,” which were in large part efforts to intimidate the authors into silence by implying they’d ruin their careers by complaining:

    “This common mistake is almost exclusively committed by epublished authors—scaring the readers that you’re trying to romance, or just giving them a disgust of you as an author. I think it was P.T.Barnum who originally said `even bad publicity is good publicity’. I’m not sure, but I am certain of one thing—this is not true 100% of
    the time, very often, but not always and especially not true when it comes to author promotions. The little display everyone on the net was so recently exposed to is a case in point. It may hurt NCP and our authors. It will CERTAINLY hurt the authors who took part in it and showed their ugly side to the readers out there….

    You were smart and didn’t use your actual name? Good for you! You just made EVERYONE else look bad and gave the readers a distaste for ebook authors in general, so you not only hurt yourself. You hurt
    everyone else, all other epublished authors and all of the epublishers, where you hope to sell your books—in effect, this sort
    of thing, if it continues to be a problem, could eventually destroy the entire market for all epublishers and all epublished authors…”

    ReplyReply

  • Daggone it! I just realized this was a quote from an email sent out by NCP.

    You were smart and didn’t use your actual name? Good for you! You just made EVERYONE else look bad and gave the readers a distaste for ebook authors in general, so you not only hurt yourself.

    To whomever in marketing at NCP that wrote this…

    I can see where you’re stemming from with this. However, I don’t believe that the actions of these few people make all epubbed authors look bad.

    I can see where it might make people think twice, or more, about buying from NCP, but I also don’t think their actions reflect back on me. I don’t think how NCP has conducted themselves reflects back on Samhain.

    As a whole, yes, the past year has been a spectacle of crash & burn within epublishing. Frankly, that’s sad but I suspect it’s part of the industry’s growth. NCP from what I can understand hasn’t evolved as the industry has grown~that’s going to cause them problems. Some of the start-up/shut-down epubs we’ve seen~people see epub as a ‘make money fast’ and don’t put the thought needed into it, the planning, or the money to be a success and they fold. Some make poor choices and collapse.

    When the shake-down is done, there will still be sucessful epublishers on the net and the ones that are faltering aren’t going to affect that outcome.

    BUT I do wish authors in general would remember when they have public tantrums, whether under their own name or as anon, it doesn’t do them a bit of good. Image matters. There is always a way to address complaints without looking like an ass.

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  • Ellen Ashe
    March 28
    1:18 pm

    Authors are still to blame, right? Every problem this outfit is experiencing- and every future problem the epublishing industry is going to have- is the result of these petty disgusted NCP authors trying to be treated fairly?? Well, who knew?
    I’m sorry, but what the Hell is that lot smoking??

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  • Another anonymous
    March 28
    1:23 pm

    The stuff above in quotes is directly from NCP.

    Amidst the “marketing mistakes” email, this explanation as to why authors should stick with NCP was offered (again, BY NCP):

    “At the risk of thoroughly infuriating everyone all over again, here’s
    another truth that you’ll find unpalatable that goes hand in hand with your name branding. The ebook market differs from the
    traditional market in one very profound way. House hopping, a favorite past time with epublished authors, is detrimental to your
    dreams of making it `big’ in this biz. Why? Simple. The market is limited…

    “The ebook community is somewhat smaller than the traditional community, even though, via the internet, we’re connected to the
    world. New epubs pop up every day and I’ve seen authors dash to them the moment they open their doors, as if by being first they’ll be at the top of the heap. Well, you probably will. Unfortunately, just
    opening the doors doesn’t make customers magically appear. Every publisher has to build their customer base just like the authors do. They’ve got an edge we didn’t have when we started. The market is
    already there. They didn’t have to build it. Nevertheless, they still have to build a customer base and that takes time. Moreover,
    customers like to get comfortable. Just as, in the real world, they have their favorite bookstores, they have favorites on the net and that means your book might not be seen by the same customers that would see your book at publisher X as would see them at publisher Z. That also means that you’ll probably be starting from scratch every
    time you hop from one house to another—unless, of course, you hovered
    long enough at one to build a customer base and most of those customers followed you. Not all of them will, regardless.

    “No one likes to listen to people who tell them truths they don’t want to accept. If they did, there’d be less mistakes in the world because people would listen to their parents when they try to advise
    them based on mistakes they’d made themselves. It will certainly
    give you more exposure, however, and if you hop long enough you’re bound to pick up the readers you lost along the way—somewhere—
    eventually. Personally, I prefer to take the straightest path, but that’s just me and I’ve laid out the straightest path for anyone who wants to follow it instead of wandering around.”

    This is me, another anon speaking: Granted, there is some truth to this. House-hopping can be detrimental when done to extremes. But right now, considering everything that has happened, it comes across as self-serving, as if she’s saying: “Don’t leave NCP, or you won’t get your reader base back.”

    “BUT I do wish authors in general would remember when they have public tantrums, whether under their own name or as anon, it doesn’t do them a bit of good.”

    I agree, Shiloh, but I also feel that authors have an OBLIGATION to get this info out there. Calmly, sanely, but it needs to get out there so people know what they’re dealing with. It distresses me to think of the times I’ve recommended NCP to other authors at this point. I feel obliged to make sure people know it’s no longer a solid company, in my estimation. And I don’t like NCP trying to make its authors feel guilty for simply trying to get the facts out.

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  • Nora Roberts
    March 28
    1:27 pm

    Shiloh, I think another anon was still quoting the NCP letter. But I do agree with your response.

    Yes, apparently from their pov, everything is the fault of the authors, who should just be quiet, do what they’re told–and be grateful for whatever they get.

    ~This common mistake is almost exclusively committed by epublished authors—scaring the readers that you’re trying to romance, or just giving them a disgust of you as an author.~

    She may do well to switch publisher for author in this advice. Same goes.

    ReplyReply

  • Guh. I need coffee. Okay, after realizing it was a publisher that wrote the comment another anon posted….

    You were smart and didn’t use your actual name? Good for you! You just made EVERYONE else look bad and gave the readers a distaste for ebook authors in general, so you not only hurt yourself. You hurt
    everyone else, all other epublished authors and all of the epublishers, where you hope to sell your books—in effect, this sort
    of thing, if it continues to be a problem, could eventually destroy the entire market for all epublishers and all epublished authors…”

    I’ve changed my mind. The gist I got when I thought an author had written this was that image counts and the actions of a few can reflect back on others. In some ways, I agree.

    But after realizing this came from a publisher? I suspect this wasn’t written out anything more than damage control and attempts to scare people into shutting up.

    Everything we’ve seen over this mess lately, all I can say is that if anything has left a bad taste in my mouth, it’s the behavior we’ve seen coming from NCP’s management/publishers.

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  • Shiloh, I think another anon was still quoting the NCP letter. But I do agree with your response.

    My caffeine-lacking brain figured that out almost as soon as I posted it and it also changes the light in which I viewed the quote from NCP.

    Another anon, sorry I misunderstood/wasn’t paying attention. :( I need more caffeine.

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  • Another anonymous
    March 28
    1:31 pm

    My fault, Shiloh. I need to learn how to use the “quote” feature!

    But I agree, it’s just damage control, and a rather unpleasant, bullying form of damage control, at that. Basically she’s saying, “Keep quiet or you’ll ruin your career, and the whole industry too!”

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  • Nora Roberts
    March 28
    1:31 pm

    ~No one likes to listen to people who tell them truths they don’t want to accept. If they did, there’d be less mistakes in the world because people would listen to their parents when they try to advise
    them based on mistakes they’d made themselves.~

    Your publisher is not your parent. The author is not a child.

    ReplyReply

  • Your publisher is not your parent. The author is not a child.

    That’s what I read too, that they were reprimanding their authors.

    ReplyReply

  • I agree, Shiloh, but I also feel that authors have an OBLIGATION to get this info out there. Calmly, sanely, but it needs to get out there so people know what they’re dealing with. .

    Another anon, you’re dead-on right. There is almost always a way to voice an opinion/concern without looking like a moron…(especially if people…like, oh say…me) read posts through instead of just skimming. :|

    Nobody has the right to try and intimidate people into silence and that’s exactly what NCP is trying to do. It’s pitiful.

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  • ~No one likes to listen to people who tell them truths they don’t want to accept. If they did, there’d be less mistakes in the world because people would listen to their parents when they try to advise
    them based on mistakes they’d made themselves.~

    Actually… ya know… if the management at NCP would pay attention to the common response to this and LISTEN AND LEARN, they might be able to salvage something. Although I got a feeling they are rapidly approaching the “too little, too late” line.

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  • My fault, Shiloh. I need to learn how to use the “quote” feature!

    With Karen’s blog, it’s easy. Just use your mouse to highlight whatever text you want in blockquotes and then click on the little tab that says B-quote. You’ll see the word blockquote come up between at the beginning and between at the end.

    Regardless, you were clear enough~I just wasn’t paying as close attention as I should have.

    Sigh. Daggone it. The code isn’t showing on Karen’s blog.

    The word blockquote should appear between the angle brackets/ greater than-less than signs.

    Now I’ve confused myself.

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  • The only thing I would blame the authors for is if they hang around any longer with the crazy chick. I mean how many more notes of our impending doom do you really need?

    ReplyReply


  • Ellen Ashe
    March 28
    2:07 pm

    Not all authors see these blogs or get warnings. All they’re getting is the fanatical rantings on the NCP author loop to put up and shut up and for the newbies- bless them for they too will learn- it’ll take time for them to realize they sent their manuscripts to the publisher from hell.

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  • Maddie
    March 28
    2:08 pm

    So what she is saying is the authors had control over the editing of their books, she gave them control because they were bitching? Wow I wish I have a boss like her, she is all over the place, blaming the authors. Calling for help from authors in Oh Canada, to sue Ellen Ashe, beliefs that any publicity is better than none, I hate to tell her this put thats not true, if she thinks that people will part with their hard earn cash, to buy ebooks that she gladly admits are not edited, she is as loony as a toon.

    Shiloh Walker I purchased one of your books from Triskelson yrs ago and the editing was so bad that I had to reread some pages because it went from one scene to another, and I was kind of confused as it made no sense that was my last ebook from them because if they can care so less for the consumer who keeping them in business, they will not be getting my money.

    I love reading and books so much that for me they are an investment, even ebooks, to be read and read again, I would hope that I’m not the only one who thinks this way.

    Ps:
    As for the bad editing with the Shiloh Walker book, I had earlier ebooks from Ellora’s cave so I knew you were a great writer but just think if, I didn’t know your work and read that book I would not think to click on your name when I went looking for some more ereads.

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  • sallahdog
    March 28
    2:09 pm

    I am not in the writing business, so I couldn’t understand why an author would be bothering the distributor until it occurred to me that maybe they were trying to find out HOW MANY of their books were actually being sold. Like maybe NCP is underreporting sales, or not bothering to pay royalties altogether…

    If there is another reason to bother a distributor, I would love to hear it. It came off sounding to me that NCP is trying to intimidate people from trying to find out about possible fraud.

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  • Ellen Ashe
    March 28
    2:15 pm

    sallahdog- YES!! There have been rumours about this for years and there is no way authors can check their sales except through an audit. One author, that I know of, bought several copies of her book to distribute amongst friends and family and the royalty she received… well, it didn’t reflect the sales.

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  • Shiloh Walker I purchased one of your books from Triskelson yrs ago and the editing was so bad that I had to reread some pages because it went from one scene to another, and I was kind of confused as it made no sense that was my last ebook from them because if they can care so less for the consumer who keeping them in business, they will not be getting my money.

    And that was why I stopped writing for them. It was a lesson learned, though. That was about the time I decided to start having my books proofed before I even submitted them. I’m a lousy editor, especially when it comes to my stuff. :(

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  • Candy Nicks
    March 28
    2:26 pm

    The best advice I ever heard with regard to running a business is that a company’s worth is measured not in the way they behave when things are going well but in how they respond when people feel they have cause to complain. When that happens the first thing you say is, I’m sorry you have a problem, how can I put that right for you? If you can’t do that, you’re doomed.

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  • Another anonymous
    March 28
    2:58 pm

    The only thing I would blame the authors for is if they hang around any longer with the crazy chick. I mean how many more notes of our impending doom do you really need?

    Alas, Teddypig, when the contract is for three years, the authors have no choice but to “hang around” until their contracts are up. That doesn’t mean they have to support NCP, but it does incline one to keep quiet.

    What amazes me is that a few authors are still posting on the author loop in support of NCP, and even trying to get more participation on the readers loop (which has been deadly quiet of late, I’m pleased to say). But clearly at least a few authors are still happy with NCP. So the discontent is not total, although I imagine that’s always the case– there are always some people who’ll defend a publisher, no matter what it does.

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  • Grace
    March 28
    3:00 pm

    “There are a lot of reasons we’ve abandoned the critiquing phase of editing and now generally accept books `as is’

    If you’re abandoning the “critiquing” phase of editing, what’s left? I always thought editing was supposed to be very thorough critique, covering everything from content to line-editing.

    Your publisher is not your parent. The author is not a child.

    No truer words. That’s exactly what I got from the tone of that rant–an annoyed parent trying to bring a recalcitrant child in line.

    Do not NAG the distributor or booksellers unless you’d just rather not have your work widely available, in which case, you should just tell us not to list your book with the distributor and STILL leave the distributor alone.

    IMO, this smacks of someone with something to hide. Considering the bullying tactics, harassment, wrong 1099s, late royalty payments and other questionable financial practices that seem to proliferate with this publishing house, I’d say it’s in the NCP author’s best interest to independently verify her sales numbers with third party vendors and distributors. Even if I wasn’t so appalled by this publisher’s treatment of its authors on so many levels, I still wouldn’t buy the books they publish. I’d be very reluctant to hand over my credit card information to an outfit like this. If they are ready and willing to screw over their authors, what’s stopping them from doing the same to the readers. If NCP was ever tagged for engaging in deceptive trade practices, I wouldn’t be in the least surprised.

    The unprofessional behavior consistently displayed by this publisher just blows my mind. Reading the various nastiness that keeps coming to light with NCP makes me profoundly happy that my publisher doesn’t try to act like my friend, my parent or aother arm of my extended family. They are simply my publisher, a business partner who has remained very professional, helpful, objective and appropriately distant in their relationship with me.

    The only person I see here making NCP look bad is its owner, and she’s doing an astounding job of it.

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  • “Foremost among these reasons is a lack of cooperation from the authors whose books we’ve tried to improve who appear to have far more confidence in the pointers they get from friends and family members than people experienced in the business.” — NCP letter

    Perhaps the difficult authors in question went by the names Kaitlyn O’Connor, Jaide Fox, Kimberly Zant, Raven Willow-Wood… Puts that whole “pointers from friends and family members” in a different perspective, eh? :)

    ReplyReply


  • Ellen Ashe
    March 28
    3:19 pm

    Contract for three years and having to hang around…. well, it’s 3 years for the author but then again it’s not necessarily three years for NCP. The contract for my book: A Mistress for Marcos is due to expire April 2009. That didn’t stop them from “streamlining it” in January 2008. As Madris said to my lawyer when he wrote to say dropping my books was in breach: “There is no breech. In the first place it doesn’t say any where on the contract that we have to post the books for sale–naturally we do because
    the objective is to sell the books–but there is no REQUIREMENT that we do so..”
    She refuses to return rights for any of my books (all five still have active contracts but are not being sold at NCP) until, she says to my lawyer: “What I’m going to require from Ms. Ellen Ashe at this time is a
    retraction of the lies she told all over the internet–AS PUBLICLY as
    she lied and maligned my company to start with… THEN I will immediately, and very gladly, terminate all association with this woman. Is English her first language?” (Least I can spell breach correctly)
    So, she COULD return the rights but won’t now UNLESS I confess to being the liar and she’s the driven snow. Yet I’m a liar for saying she’s holding my books hostage.

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  • Ellen Ashe
    March 28
    3:28 pm

    I might add also she’s pretty damn touchy about reported sales. She wrote to my lawyer: “…since we’ve not only been selling the books for several years and
    paying Ms. Ashe the royalties on the sales, she can’t say that she hasn’t been paid or the books haven’t been sold.” Not being paid was never an issue. It wasn’t addressed in my lawyer’s letter to her. Maybe it should have been.

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  • M
    March 28
    4:20 pm

    I know this may be off topic, but maybe it isn’t. Does anyone know what’s happened to Ms. Giggles?

    Rumors are she was shut down by NCP, but I refuse to believe that.

    ReplyReply

  • Oh no! Say it isn’t so!

    ReplyReply

  • …however, and if you hop long enough you’re bound to pick up the readers you lost along the way—somewhere—eventually. Personally, I prefer to take the straightest path, but that’s just me and I’ve laid out the straightest path for anyone who wants to follow it instead of wandering around.”

    A straight path out the effing door is where I’d be headed, as soon as possible. Were I an NCP author, the moment I read that email, that woman wouldn’t be getting another one of my books.

    And after the one and only NCP book I bought–obviously a casualty of their new, streamlined, no-edit policy–she never got another dime from me as a customer, either.

    Why can’t this company just die already and put us all out of our misery?

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  • Jenns
    March 28
    4:49 pm

    Wow. Just … Words fail me.
    The contempt for authors is disgusting.
    I think Nora had a huge point when she mentioned (a little while back, I think) that it was too bad that the e-authors couldn’t – or haven’t – set up an organization like RWA. I can’t believe the abuse and lack of professionalism in this woman’s post (and others like them). It’s horrible.

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  • Her blog is down for “violating terms of service”
    ???

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  • Exactly, Bernita. Does anyone know what is going on?

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  • I think her blog is down because she posted content of an email that clearly stated “Do Not Reprint”.
    This violated Bravenet’s content rules.
    *shrugs* That’s just speculation.

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  • BTW, that’s not MY speculation. I’m on another forum that stated this may have happened because of the email from NCP being reprinted.

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  • Anon Too
    March 28
    10:00 pm

    I’ve heard somebody spoke to Mrs. G and it has nothing to do with NCP…I hope not, that’d be screwed. Besides, if that were the case, wouldn’t they have targeted Karen first, since she’s posted way more about it than Mrs. G?

    ReplyReply

  • I am on the floor. I can not believe, the crap coming out of this woman’s company. Wow. Is she in the throws of loosing her mind?

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  • Ellen Ashe
    March 29
    2:23 am

    Mrs Giggles is back! It was an adult content issue.
    http://mrsgiggles.blogspot.com/

    ReplyReply

  • Who is she kidding? I just wanted to comment on her insane remark about why they don’t edit anymore. Her statement is crap! What author in their right mind would want their book released to the world, and it NOT be up to the best quality it can be? Does she believe what she’s saying?

    Also, it’s their company. They’re the ones who make the rules. It’s their fault and poor judgement to let their authors tell them what to do with regard to editing. I think that’s a lame excuse to justify why they don’t edit anymore.

    Lord am I glad I’m in them for only 3 books!

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  • This is deja vu all over again for me. The former publisher of Triskelion used similar tactics, and I’ll bet the result will be the same. Threaten, intimidate, patronize, chastise, and then blacklist. And this does not give publishers like Samhain a bad name, it highlights the differences in business practices and ethics.

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  • Laura K
    March 30
    1:08 am

    Karen and other ladies, I am new to the blog scene (only been doing them for about 8 months). Just heard of you a month ago. WOW, all I can say is that my mind is WAYYYYY open now. I don’t know if will ever be possible, but can you give us a brief intel lesson on these epubs? I’m trying to figure out all the stuff from before, who I should be mistrusting now, and what is for the future. I cannot believe that places such as these continue to enjoy good business! I agree with Ciar, this only makes the “good” pubs look better- but which ones are they?

    ReplyReply

  • Laura K, all you gotta do it search the blog archives–take a gander at the categories.

    Also there’s erecsite, Dear Author, etc.

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  • Laura K
    March 30
    5:28 am

    Thanks AztecLady for the advice and where to let my fingers do the walking! The last few weeks have been quite an education for me.

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