Category Archives: King of the Roses
I need your help.
On January 11, 2018, I shared a post from Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware about possible copyright infringement by the Internet Archive, which scans books and posts them for free in a “lending library” without notifying authors or receiving permission.
On the Internet Archive site, I found a pdf of the 1989 mass-market paperback of my novel, King of the Roses (originally published by St. Martin’s in 1983). I sent two email notices requesting that the book be taken down, using the free form included in Victoria’s original post.
I have received a response. The response raises several questions for me and I would appreciate feedback from readers. In particular,
1) Have I understood the response correctly?
2) What is the correct and ethical response to the fact that the Internet Archive plans to retain a copy of my book for “blind and print-disabled” readers?
Here’s what I did in order to get a response:
After sending the two notices and receiving no response, I followed a link in Victoria Strauss’s post to the Internet Archive site. There, on the blog page for the site, I discovered a comment box.
Into that box I posted; “I have sent two takedown notices about my book, which is still under my copyright and is available as a self-published Kindle edition, but you have not responded. Please post a link to the “Notice and Takedown” process you reference above on your home page. My next step will be to seek legal advice and, if necessary, take you to court.”
Within 36 hours, I received the following email, which I paste here in full:
Dear Ms. Anderson,
Thank you for your emails.
To help clarify things regarding the item you have identified (https://archive.org/details/kingofroses00virg) – blind and print-disabled patrons (verified by formal institutions including the Library of Congress) may access special electronic versions of the book that can be used with accessible software. They agree not to make copies or distribute materials. Our program to enable blind and print-disabled access has been in operation since 2010 (our original press release w/links to stories in the media can be seen here).
There is no other access available to this item (lending access for general users has been disabled). Please feel free to check the links under “Download Options”. They are all inoperable or include only to metadata (i.e., catalog information about the text, not the text itself).
And of course, the Internet Archive offers these texts on a wholly non-commercial basis. Our project, organization, and mission are entirely charitable and oriented towards broad social benefit.
Again, thank you for getting in touch with us. Hoping this information is helpful.
The Internet Archive Team
Here’s what I think it says:
1) My book is no longer available for free in their lending library.
2) They do post the metadata for my book.
3) A free version of my book is still available to disabled readers who have some kind of “accessible software” and who are somehow bound not to share the book with others.
1) How readers qualify for free access to this book is not well explained.
2) The copy of the book on their site is a pdf of the original 1989 paperback, and is of very poor quality. Is there “accessible software” that can actually read this text?
3) Doesn’t the decision of the Internet Archive to retain this version of my book still constitute copyright infringement, since access is being supplied to these readers without my permission?
Obviously, the appeal is to my sense of pathos. How could I possibly deny disabled readers access to my incredibly wonderful book?
On the one hand, of course I’m vulnerable to such an appeal. On the other, while I do not have an audio version of my book, is there no software that readers with disabilities can use to access a paperback or Kindle version purchased through regular channels? How can authors be sure that the readers who still have access to their books for free through the Internet Archive really need the charitable services of the Internet Archive?
I suspect that my book will not be high on the list of frequently downloaded books, whether by readers with disabilities or others. Some authors, though, may find that their books are likely to be frequently accessed.
The bottom line, in my view, is that the decision to post a book for free, whether for abled readers or readers with disabilities, should be made in conjunction with, and with the permission of, the author/copyright holder. Anything else is still a copyright violation.
What do you think?
Do you have hard-copy books out, in or out of print? See this notice from Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has issued an alert on copyright infringement by the Internet Archive. Other professional writers’ groups taking notice include the UK’s Society of Authors, which has posted an alert on its website, and the USA’s Authors Guild and National Writers Union, which have alerted their members.
Strauss posts the full notice from SFWA. What’s more, SFWA will generate a “takedown notice” for you that you can immediately email if your book is included on the offending site.
You can search the site easily to see if any of your titles are involved. I found that searching for a character’s name within the book text generated the best response.
Possibly you may not be concerned at having a pirated version of your book offered for free, but you may want to be informed that it exists.
I found the Bantam paperback edition of King of the Roses on the site. I’ve decided to send the takedown notice. Strauss says that two notices she sent have thus far not received responses.
Please pass this information on to anyone you think will benefit from it.
Some good warnings to take to heart!
I have a couple of things to add. Unless the market has changed drastically, having a good agent and getting an advance is unlikely to guarantee your book visibility or even entry into mainstream bookstores. I was paid $5000 by St. Martin’s in 1983; even though King of the Roses got superb reviews (check them out in the Amazon preview), the book never made it into any of the many stores, local or national, that existed at the time (before Amazon). I was told St. Martin’s would have had to commit to a massive advertising budget before any of the stores would find spine-out space for my book, let alone any kind of display or prominent position. (This despite the fact that my mother wrote many angry letters to bookstores demanding that they put my book on a stand in the doorway!) St. Martin’s did minimal advertising, but did make sure reviewers got copies and paid attention to them, which is a big deal, and something that will be hard for us to do for ourselves.
It’s my understanding (possibly erroneous?) that publishers’ budgets are even tighter today than they were in 1983. So true traditional publishing by one of the major houses doesn’t mean authors don’t still have work to do to get their books out there. But articles like this help us avoid pitfalls that will make our efforts go for naught!
Like many of my posts, this stems from something I saw in an online writer’s group. Essentially, someone who has been traditionally published from a small press was putting down people who self-publish. Personally, I have my own problems with self-publishing that I discuss in my “Why I’ll Never Self-Publish” post, but that is besides the point. At this point, I’d like to formally begin my rant against small presses.
In my opinion, traditional publishing is best done through an agent and then with a professionally recognized publisher. Small presses, unless they are recongized by writing organizations like Codex or SFWA, often give little more than what someone can do through self-publishing but will suck away 40-60% of the author’s share of royalties and then use self-publishing tools (like Createspace) to produce the book. Small Presses get away with this by telling authors lies in order to get them to sign…
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Just what I needed! I was hovering over the Amazon Giveaway screens for King of the Roses and discovered I didn’t know how the odds-setting worked. This post, from February of this year, explains it! This is Nicholas Rossis’s “secondary blog” that shows a reblog button, but you can access the original, with many informative comments, here. Now watch for my Giveaway, coming up next week!
Amazon has recently started offering everyone the opportunity to offer a giveaway. What’s interesting about this is that you can run one for pretty much any item in their inventory – except for ebooks. So, you can run a giveaway for your print edition, but not your Kindle one.
Alternatively, you could go all the way and offer people, say, a Kindle. Or, indeed, an item that is somehow related to your books. For example, if you’ve written a cookbook, you may give away kitchen gadgets or aprons. The key here is to be imaginative and original.
So, how would you go about it? Here’s the complete how-to.
Step 1: Find your book
Right after the reviews, you will see a “Set up an Amazon Giveaway” button. If you can’t find it, press Control-F (for Find) on your browser and enter the word “giveaway”…
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Check out my writer’s interview, now available at Don Massenzio’s site! This was a lot of fun to write.
V. S. Anderson always been a horse nut, and as a young person, was a rabid horse-racing fan. So it’s no surprise that her first novels were about horses: the Kentucky Derby and the glamour of a Thoroughbred breeding farm—but with a little mystery and mayhem thrown in! For King of the Roses and Blood Lies, she drew on her years of working in the horse world, teaching riding, showing hunters, moonlighting on the racetrack, and for a while, owning and galloping her own racehorse.
Since then she has used her doctorate in English to teach writing at a regional campus of a Midwestern university—right across the river from Louisville and the Derby, in fact! She lives in New Salisbury, Indiana, where she gardens, watches birds, writes mystery/suspense (three novels in progress!), and rides Paddy, her sweet, sweet horse.
Visit her at
or follow her…
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