Company and Product Review: Cometdocs

Are you a blogger or another kind of professional that handles a lot of different file types? Ever received a file that you don’t have a program or an app for on hand? There is an app for that, but where do you find that app? Enter in the frustration of having to look on the internet for a free app to view/copy/edit the file and risk downloading viruses, finding a bait-and-switch scheme that won’t give you what you need for free. The program or premium service is too expensive to have for something you just don’t use that much.

Some of the more common conversions like: Word to PDF, PDF to JPG, the reverse, or a whole other range of combinations each have their own free app that are online and they are frustrating at best or completely useless at the most. To add insult to injury, some of them have file limits per day or a tiny size limit or they email your file to you and it may never come since not all of them let you download right off. They usually don’t play nice with Dropbox or Google Drive.

*headdesk*

Cometdocs

Let me introduce you to Cometdocs. You have all the file conversions you can think of all in one place. You can upload or import from Google Docs or Dropbox. You can sign up for free or look at their pricing plans to see what works for you. They have a table to show you what you don’t get for free so you can weigh in to see if a paid subscription would work better for you or not. They have a one time fee where you don’t have to pay again. That rarely happens and that is probably the best deal ever if you do a lot of conversions!

They have recently created an app that works directly with Google Drive. Read this post on their blog for details and how you can integrate it with Google Drive.

As a blogger, author, publisher, PR specialist, and everything else in between, I do a LOT of file conversions which will only increase as business does. I was excited to be able to check this out as it looked like something that would (finally!) be useful as opposed to a ton of unneeded programs and a bunch of bookmarked free online apps that don’t work half the time. Don’t get me wrong, if someone needs something converted once in a blue moon, then those would be great for them. Not so much for someone like me.

Disclaimer: I was contacted by a member of Cometdocs where I received a free trial offer for the premium service from Cometdocs to try their product for review. This doesn’t affect the honesty of my review. The opinions are are my very own and aren’t in any way influenced by Cometdocs or any of its associates.

Review:

The user interface was very straightforward and very easy to use. Upload and import from both Dropbox and Google Drive were a snap. I personally  have accounts at both Google Drive and Dropbox. The drag and drop method of choosing files was both user-friendly and neat.

Adding the app to Google Drive based on the above step by step instructions (which I did) were straight-forward and simple and spot on. The blog is helpful and customer support is also available if needed. Response time was great.

File conversions are a breeze and download and/or emailing the file is also a very cool feature. This is especially useful for someone who has to use file conversions for their business and can save a step or two with the download/upload conundrum.

I really like how they have thought of just about every file imaginable from the common ones to the not-so-common-didn’t-think-they-used-anymore ones like WordPerfect (I have actually gotten files from this program). So this saves time from having to “go on an app hunt” to both view, copy, or edit from a program you don’t/might not want to buy/download or risk getting viruses or dealing with those pesky bait-and-switch schemes for something you need done quick.

I believe the paid options are very affordable and will pay for itself in no time in time saved, hard drive space saved, missing, hair, and all the unnecessary things that go along with working with files. The one time fee is probably the best deal.

Customer service with my contact was speedy and friendly. They are constantly improving by listening to customer feedback. That’s also great to know.

Case in short, I was very impressed.

The one improvement I could think of would be to have a desktop app (kind of like Primo PDF, but with all the conversion power that Cometdocs has to offer) for use when you aren’t able to get online or don’t need to get online to do something. Offering this with both the paid and free options would great, just the difference in features, but not cost any extra. Just a thought!

Rating: 5/5 Cool B-)

Guest Post: Effective Tips on How to Thrive as a Professional Writer by Anjelina Williams

I would like to welcome Anjelina Williams to NAG today. She is going to share some info and tips about how to thrive as a professional writer. Enjoy!

Thriving Writer

With the increasing competition and race in the field of professionalism, it is better to adopt certain traits and changes that help in gaining success. In order to cope better with the existing circumstances and scenarios, it is important to revisit yourself and bring about certain personality changes within yourself, so that one can manage and handle well with the professional environment. In the aspect of writing, revisiting is necessary, because it allows and helps you to analyze the flaws and negatives within you and gives you some time to reform them with care. These new developments are a necessary factor for a successful and an efficacious life ahead, people who are young and fresh in the field of writing need to revolutionize themselves more as compared to the others because it is them who will be now looking for the assistance and guidance from the employers. Therefore, personality development is one single factor on which success is dependent, as writing is the reflection of one’s personality. The entire debate revolves around this fact, keep reentering yourself as a writer, meaning reexamining oneself in a professional workplace is significant because it allows you to update yourself, it helps you to see those elements that are helping you move ahead in your workplace and similarly, allow you to filter those elements that are creating certain obstacles and hurdles in the way of success – also known as the writer’s block. Similarly, talk to yourself! Contemplate upon those things that can be the motivating force behind your writing skills, allow your mind to wander to the imaginary world, even sky is not the limit. Imagination allows creativity that helps you to put yourself in the paper. As writing is just the thoughts, perceptions as well as philosophies around which your life revolves, therefore, just create and enhance the relationship between you and your paper, ponder more and allow your mind to float broadly, so that the readers can enjoy them by reading on the paper. Lastly, celebrate your life by expressing yourself with ink! Following are some of the basic guidelines that need to be accepted in order to gain prosperity and success for a writer.

Motivate Yourself

The first step towards expression is to encourage and stimulate yourself; find any sort of inspiration around you that can help you to move faster and in a constructive direction. The act of motivation is described as the act of warming up your mind, hence mental preparation is essential and in this way things are easier and it helps you to move in a continued successful direction. Motivation is not at all a physical act, but it is an activity to broaden one’s mind. Help yourself, watch motivational videos and talk to prosperous people around you. Therefore, motivation is the prerequisite and the first step to get started; if an individual seems motivated and enthused enough, victory and success can be easily interpreted by reading. Have a positive and a right kind of attitude and keep believing yourself.

Break some Cliché’s

The more the novelty is, the more success will be achieved. It is true that experience is one thing that leads towards success, but nowadays people prefer something that is original in nature as well as interesting enough to read. No one wants to read about the same subjects and topic every day, this can easily put the audience off. Bring something new, produce interesting material and allow your fan base to increase. Break the clichés and introduce new standards as well as material to be enjoyed. Gaining new experiences in the field of originality, polishing and refining the old ones, will assist you in moving ahead in the direction leading towards success.

Write short

A good writer is the one who can easily express with the use of non-clichéd and short phrases. This ability and skills within the writers approach, allow them to move forward as it is widely appreciated by the readers. They enjoy how easily and conveniently a writer has put his thoughts into words by using short sentence and phrases that have not taken their time. Hence, write shortly, but do it well!

Stay in the Spotlight

Try to be efficient and well organized in your thoughts, this allows a writer to be highlighted. The more exhausted, lethargic and lazy a writer is in their thoughts, the more difficult their performance will be. Hence, try to be active, lively and dynamic within the mind, organize thoughts as this does now allow confidence and optimism, but staying in the spotlight means a writer should develop the habit of being buoyant enough to interpret their philosophies into the paper.

Author’s Bio:

The author Anjelina Williams is an exceptional worker at Homework services at AssignmentDoer. She is a professional career guide and has received a degree in career progress and development. With her outstanding skills, she is guiding students in their homework and assignment completion.

Guest Post: The Application of Social Media in Business Administration by Katherine William

I would like to welcome Katherine William to NAG today. She is here to share some information about using social media in business administration which authors and writers can glean from since being an author is a business in itself and social media is necessary. Enjoy!

Social Media in Business Administration

Technology has touched every single aspect of human life and picturing life without it is awkward and unmanageable. Social media is a novel and an impressive product of technology, around which our lives are dependent, absolutely and completely.
By saying our lives revolve around social media is actually true in a literal sense. People are more impressed by this new approach rather than any other thing. Social media is defined as online communication through different mediums such as websites and blogs.
This approach is novel in its sense because no other such development has taken place. Social media is used for a variety of purposes that include exchanging information, expressing opinions, defining strategies, sharing photos and manifestation of speech.
This is defined as a vast and huge medium through which one corner of the world is actually connected to the other corner. Initially, used for entertainment purposes and commitments, the scenario has again taken a turn and social media serves purposes other than entertainment as well. Social media, hence is used and adopted by different business oriented folks who are learning and are on the verge of expanding their business and what better and a perfect way could there be other than the social media?

Advertising
Social media has enough space for advertising purpose, these new websites allow young entrepreneurs, financiers as well as other business agencies to promote their work and communicate with other businessmen as well. This result in exchange of information, which is benefiting both sides not only that, but also businessmen can advertise and promote their industries through this forum.

Publicity
With the help of paid services, business companies can advertise on social media through which exposure and publicity is given to their respective companies. Since, social media connects different minds, it helps to promote and publish the work of businessmen and their companies. Moreover, new business strategies are appreciated and acknowledged throughout with the help of social media. In a nutshell, social media is a perfect opportunity for the purpose of business publicity.
Information
Social media is an exceptional way to study and receive information as well. Business related tips are available online and also posted on different social media websites by professional expert businessmen. Hence, to increase business related information one can also pay a visit to social media websites to keep themselves updates and enhance a bit of knowledge relating to the field. Lastly, business related debates can help create a healthy environment that can bring the two poles together for one purpose.
Enhancement of Business
With the help of proper advertising, promotion and exposure many existing settled business companies can post job requests on social media as well, which helps them to gain maximum employees of experienced nature. This is how businesses are improved and enhanced and this is another way to open up different global branches across the world. There are different websites available, created solely for the purpose of professional communication and linkages. These associations are created to enhance professional relationships among people.

Author’s Bio

Katherine William is an employee at Chiefpapers-Academic paper writing. She has been working in the company as a Senior Assignment manger for 5 years. She has received her education in the field of Computer Sciences and has earned a Masters degree in Business Management.

#Infographic: 50 of the World’s Most Translated Books

I would like to welcome Stephen from 7Brands to NAG today. He is here to share an infographic and some brief information about 50 of the world’s most translated books. Hope you Enjoy!

An infographic released by the translation company 7Brands to celebrate World Book Day has shed light on 50 of the World’s Most Translated Books. Other than being a genius and writing a classic work of fiction such as Don Quixote, does the list provide any clues about how to make your book more appealing to translators and foreign audiences?

The good news is all types of books make the list. Commercially successful but critically mauled books like The Da Vinci Code and the Twilight Series sit happily along Nobel prize winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude, while every age is catered for from The Hungry Caterpillar to Catcher in the Rye and Gone With The Wind.

With that said there are trends: a look down the list shows that many of the most translated books provide moral lessons – Pinocchio, Andersen’s Fairy Tales, The Alchemist, To Kill A Mockingbird and Charlotte’s Web are all didactic. The significant thing about these books are the lessons they teach are just as relevant for readers in Australia as they are in Argentina.

But books don’t always need universal themes to make them accessible to a wide audience. People are more adventurous than ever and want to discover more about cultures and places that are alien and little known to them. This is why books like Wolf Totem which takes a close look at the culture of Mongolian nomads and Han Chinese farmers have fared so well outside their country of origin.

This just goes to prove that you don’t need to write a certain way or about a certain thing for it to be of interest to people around the world – write something you love and feel passionate about, because passion is something that doesn’t get lost in translation.

50 Most Translated Books

Guest Post: Four Trends That Will Change in Social Media This Year

I would like to welcome Maxwell George to NAG today. He is here to share some thoughts about what could be changing in social media this year. Seems exciting. Enjoy!

Changes in Social Media

 

 

The secret to staying in the market for all social media networks is to continuously evolve, grow and offer its users something different as well as private. Privacy in social media is something which has recently become a major concern for the users. With the hacks and malicious activities going on, social media users and the experience are going through a kind of turmoil. Recently released news about Face book and Twitter being hacked and the passwords being publicly available to, everyone has taken the social media world with a wave of concern.

Fast forwarding to the New Year and coming future, we still social media are only going to get stronger every passing year. The rising challenges will only help social media networks to strengthen and address all the issues and come stronger. Social media has become such an amazing reality, that now it is next to impossible to think it will start to fade away or eventually cease to exist. Every year, in fact, we will see further changes that will not only improve the overall user experience of social media, but also something different and better in terms of connectivity as well as security. Our blog post is going to focus on various changes that are expected to take place in the social media field this year and how it is going to change the way we use social media networks.

Payment Security and Options

It has been very frequently reported in the news media that the likes of Face book and Gmail are now planning to introduce the facility to transfer money using debit or credit card details of the users. Some users have already reported the availability of this feature on their pages and it is thought all this is under the testing phase. This can be a revolutionary change in the social media networks something which Face book and Google both are known for. Such a change will not only improve user experience, but also offer an amazing new feature to them.

New Networks Mean New Competition

Face book might have countered, it’s competition by taking over Whatsapp and Instagram, but every passing day more and more social media networks is taking up on air. Likes of Tumbler and Snapchat will also invest and see an increase in their user base. So as the new networks take the playing field, competition for already existing giants will increase since users will have many more options to choose from.

E-commerce Integration with Social Media Networks

This year might also see the integration, e-commerce functionality with the big social networks. This means users will be able to do their shopping while browsing through their social network profiles. The likes of Amazon will have increasing competition if users get the opportunity to shop from their social media profiles.

More Security and Privacy Regulations

It is not a hidden fact that more and more work is being done in terms of managing privacy and security amongst the networking profiles. We will see different policies of passwords, user identification and registrations regarding the registrations of profiles will take place.

Author Bio

Maxwell George is the author of this blog post. Maxwell has worked with different social media agencies and now has one of his own. He likes to talk about social media and technology on various forums like cheap essay help service at IrishEssays.com.

Guest Post: Making Your Content Go Viral- Reach Millions by John Kelly

I would  like to welcome John Kelly to NAG. He is here to share a few ideas about how content can–and usually does–go viral. Please note this is no magic bullet or one-size-fits-all, foolproof thing. But enjoy!

Viral Content

As if the social and digital media weren’t enough, more and more discoveries and concepts are being birthed today.  One has to be a successful planner or a brand has to have great insight with this kind of media, and it is important and essential to not only understand how these concepts work, but also figure out a way to get them working for your own particular brand. Within all those new concepts that have taken place with the growth in social media much of it relates to content and its marketing. There are different schools of thought that tailor to the question as to what makes your content strong? One such school of thought is that your content is strong when it goes viral. Now the next question comes, what exactly do we mean by viral? Viral in its generic definition means something which is contagious and has the ability to affect others just like viral infections. Similarly, content is viral when it is absolutely contagious. Now how do we do that? Well, today, we are going to post exactly about what makes your content contagious and make it so viral that within a few seconds you will reach a million users.

Using Strong Emotional Appeal

Most social media planners focus only on the aesthetics and strong delivery of their own brand message. This is not exactly what works on social media. In order to create strong viral content besides your brand message, you also have to appeal to your users. The best way to achieve that is to create strong emotional content. According to a popular research, most of the content that goes viral has a lot to do with the causes and emotions of the people. So the next time you are working on social media content, keep emotions as your main drawing board.

Content Should Reflect Your Identity

The content that you make should be unique, original and prove your identity. Content that resonates something which has already been done before is never going to be viral, because it has already been done and dusted. Brands that work on creating extremely unique and emotionally strong content like Coke, always get the best viral rate and reach. You should find three key strengths about your brand that perfectly resemble your identity and then it will become easier for you to deliver that across your content and communication.

Assess Your Content Through Your Own Perspective

Once you are done with finalizing your content, do a small case study or focus group session with yourself and your employees. Use the same content and find out if they were the users. Would they actually like the content? And not only that, will they make an effort to share it with their friends and folks to make it viral? If the answer to this is yes, then you can go ahead with it, if it is no, this means you need to rework your strategy.

Try to Capture Moments

The best kind of content which goes viral is related to emotions and with them they are usually moments, memories and situations: everything that resembles something that is faced in reality.

 

Author Bio

John Kelly is the author of this post. He is working for the sake of student who needs tips to create projects over social media. He also joined with a legitimate firm of paper writing service – AOneEssays to to provide customized assistance and guidance to the students.

Guest Post: Four Ways to Find Better ROI and Values on Digital Marketing by Kate Cross

I would like to welcome Kate Cross to NAG today. She is here to share some thoughts about getting a better Return on Investment (ROI) on digital marketing–and this can apply to authors as well. Enjoy!

ROI on Digital Marketing

Since the growth and evolution of the internet world, marketing and branding experts have treated it as a platform to magnify and experiment different approaches to get their brand loyalty and get close to their consumers. They are also busy in trying to establish a direct connection between the digital marketing and sales, something which has been traditionally done with other mediums of communication like Television or Out of Home. It is not a surprise, which most of them have failed in their experiments of connecting sales to the internet. Digital and social media marketing is not something that will generate direct sales for you, it is and should be used for a completely different purpose. Companies, who realize this soon enough, do not fluff their lines and grow as a brand on the internet, while others who stay persistent with this philosophy often face certain failures.

Digital marketing is not about growing your sales revenue, throughout the research and case studies, it is a proven fact that digital and internet marketing is more directly connected to consumers and should be used to leverage the brand to increase its marketing, awareness and loyalty, instead of pushing the audience to buy the product. The more you push your sales to the internet audience, the worst your return on investment will be. If you are aiming to maximize the ROI on your investment and get the best value out of the Digital Marketing, then follow the last four sections of our post.

Create a Care for Your Approach

Consumers online look and seek brands that have a “We care for you” approach. They are more interested in how as a brand you can solve their problems, or add something significant to their lives. This is why more advertisements on the internet are revolving around problem solving approach. For example: Do you wish to lose weight? Or something like: Wear the famous jacket this winter. Consumers want brands to understand them and then tailor their services. This means that letting the consumers feel exclusive and personal, developing a strong connect and an appeal with your consumers.

Be very relevant and specific

What brands do is try to create mass appeal with their products in order to push sales and maximize reach. This way their message becomes highly irrelevant and too public to develop a personal connect. On the internet, you should be very specific as well as highly personal. Filter your target audience and only aim for the spots and websites where a large chunk of consumers is expected.

Create a Holistic Approach

Never use different communication messages on different platforms. Your way of communication and method might be different, but never make your communication speak different things on different platforms. This way not only your audience will get confused, but your brand essence will also get lost in the clutter and difference of the message.

Look to Better the Experience of Your Consumers

Work to improve the experience of your users by having a really good and seamless website or applications that you have.

Author Bio

Kate Cross is a Digital Media expert in the MENA region. She works with various clients, specifically with the technological and B2B ones. Her advice on the digital media front at Online Essay Tigers Services is largely valued and appreciated. Peoples can follow here at Facebook-Twitter.

Guest Post: Simple Tricks to get Book Reviews Fast by Tanisha Williams

I would like to welcome back Tanisha Williams to NAG today. She is going to share a few tips about how to get some reviews. Please note: this doesn’t guarantee positive reviews and reviews are at the discretion of the reviewers themselves.  The goal is to try to get as many honest, positive reviews as possible. Also note positive reviews are not just 5 star reviews–what’s inside is what counts. One the best ways to ensure more positive reviews is to put out quality products and common courtesy.

Enjoy!

getting reviews

 

 

 

 

As many authors know, one great way to improve book sales and attract more views is to receive a large number of positive reviews for the book. The advantage of having reviews demonstrates to potential buyers and readers that they can have confidence in taking a reasonable chance on reading your book. This is especially true for starting out since your name is unknown. Getting book reviews can be a challenge though, so there are a tricks and tips you can use to get good reviews in a short period of time. Use this advice to get started.
Ask Personal Networks Directly
Some authors don’t feel as though they can reach out to friends and family, or social networking acquaintance, but understand that most of the people you’re connected to will want to see you succeed as an author. This is especially true when you release your first book. They’d love to have the opportunity to help get started on sales and promotions, but often don’t know how to do this. If you give them a simple way to support you, there’s a good chance that you’ll get a significant number of free book reviews.
To make this strategy work well, email a group of people and offer free copies to each person who is willing to read the book and post a review. Set a limit on the number of copies you’re giving out to speed up the number of people who take advantage of your offer. If you’re not getting reviews, it’s even appropriate to keep up with people and send a gentle reminder. Also, if you intend to keep writing, make a note of the people you know who have reviewed your book and contact them specifically when you release a book.
Ask for a Review in the Back
This seems fairly obvious, but many authors don’t add a request at the end of the book asking for a review if the reader enjoyed it. This is a great time to share that you’re a new author and tell them that reviews go a long way towards supporting your work. Many readers don’t understand how important a good review can be, but are usually willing to leave a positive review if asked. Be sure to ad a link to make it easy for your readers to find and review your book.
Build a Group with Similar Authors
If you’ve never heard of a mastermind organization or group, this is simply a group or club of people who meet together and support each other with many issues as well as personal growth. These groups share writing ideas, ask for support and advice, and share what’s working for them. Forming a group with other authors is a great way to be successful and form important networks. There are even many author groups available that you can be a part of, either online or in person. While many of these groups focus more on critiques, new ideas, and creative writing, why not also work on assisting each other in the business area of writing? Ask for reviews and ensure that you provide them as well, when their books are released. By creating a group with like-minded authors, you will join forces to create improved results for everyone.
Reach Out to the Top Reviewers
If you’re selling your book through a website, they probably have a list or category of their top reviewers. These are people who have reviewed a large number of products and their reviews have been voted as being helpful. A small set of these people commonly read and review books. One of the advantages of reaching out to this group is that they’re much more likely to write a review than others. Find this list through your site and narrow down the profiles to find those who review books in your genre. Contact them and offer a free copy of your book in exchange for leaving a review. Similarly to asking friends and family, make a note of anyone who follows through and contact them every time you are going to release a new book.
These are some key ways to get great reviews on your books. If you’ve been struggling to get reviews and get noticed, then you can use these tips to start putting your work out there and gaining more attention.

 

 About the Author:

Tanisha Williams is the author of two non-profit e-books “501c3 In 12-Steps” and “Simple Internal Controls That Protect Your Assets”.  Her desire for more interaction with readers was the key inspiration behind the development of her latest business venture ChatEbooks (https://www.chatebooks.com/).  ChatEbooks, launched in October 2014, harnesses the strengths of social media in order to help authors and their readers engage and connect within the context of the selling/reading experience.

Guest Post: Defining a Great Social Media Strategy for Your Brand or Company by Jenny Gunn

I would like to welcome Jenny Gunn to NAG today. She is going to share some thoughts with us about developing a social media strategy for you brand or company–which an author is! Enjoy! Defining you Brand on Social Media Social media is the new powerful tool that can either make you or break you. It depends on two things, first your consumers and their behavior on social media and the second is you. The way you use social media depends on how you will progress on the digital footprint. The power of social media is such that it can make a brand last long enough in the minds of consumers in a matter of seconds and overnight. This is the reason, most of the companies, brands and people are now jumping over to take the social media platform and give their brands a great Digital footprint. However, just being on social media means nothing. Consider social media a space with infinite possibilities, so to be effective enough, you need to have a strategy in mind and a map of how will you progress, what will you do and what channels will you use on the social media front to make sure that it is beneficial to you rather than destructing. To define a great social media strategy you need to keep few things in mind which are in the following sections of this article.

Understand your Brand and the Need for Social Media

Going on social media is not just for the sake of it. First, understand your brand and the essence of it, try to learn how can this be translated into the social media communications? Find out the key areas of your brand that you will highlight and use in your pages and channels. It is also important you follow the branding guidelines exactly as they are laid out in the social media. A same company giving out different messages on different channels will never be successful.

Understand your Target Audience

To find the right track on social media, find your target audience and see how they behave, what channels they use and the timings they are online. All this could be found through research very easily. Once you find your brand audience, it becomes very easy to concentrate and focus on the strategy in one direction.

Define Objectives

Once you have the target audience and brand essence set, now is the time to define objectives that you wish to achieve through your social media management. Is it the brand awareness, is it the sales or a promotional campaign. Whatever it is always defining your short and long term goals, to identify what you are trying to monitor and measure your success rate over the period of time.

Use a Holistic Approach

Do not just focus on one channel or platform; make a holistic approach on social media which is perfectly connected with your overall marketing and media campaign. The holistic approach is something that will ensure your brand gives out the same message wherever your target audience goes.

Spend Money

Always get this, that social media is not free. Remove this perception and keep some significant budget for your social media strategy and implications.

Author Bio

Jenny Gunn is a famous social media activist. She runs various page management campaigns for her clients and frequently posts on Assignment Done UK Writing Service website to guide people on the social and digital media front. For more details join her at Facebook|Twitter

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A Buzzard in Eagle’s Clothing: This is Not MY Soaring Eagle Books! #AuthorsBeware

Today’s off-day post came as a surprise, but I thought it should not wait and some of my Mondays are already booked for guests. At any rate we are in a wild ride! In some ways this surprise kind of sucks, but I have some blog material and I have been able to meet some new people and make some connections by a mistake I didn’t catch earlier. So there are silver linings somewhere.

Last night I was contacted on my business page for my new upcoming publishing imprint Soaring Eagle Books about another publishing company by the same name. When I set up the page, I had mistakenly put the website URL I had HOPED to obtain, but forgot to change when I found out the URL was taken. I’m as human as the next person, so mistakes happen. Presently, I don’t have a website, and my company isn’t operational yet–I just have the social media channels built and branded and the logo. Of course, when it is time to go public all of those details will be sorted out, especially when I am open for clients. I am still curious about how they found my page since I haven’t been trying to promote it at all since the company is still in the making. Anyway, I am glad they did, so they have saved me some grief on down the road and helped me fix something that needed to be pronto.

I don’t ever plan on being a big company or a small press of any kind whatsoever. I will be the one to help out with formatting, cover design, and distribution. If the author uses one of my ISBNs and are published under my imprint or their own, the author will own everything I create for them and it will be theirs to do with as they wish, including their accounts which they will be paid directly from the retailers and distributors and they will have direct access to their accounts. I don’t plan on doing all that, but I will help people who want it though, but it won’t be in my own account. I won’t take any royalties and they will print their books for wholesale through their own IngramSpark account or CreateSpace free platform account. Since the authors will have their own accounts, they can continue to upload to these accounts whether or not they use my services again. They will be free to use their files at a local printer and just use IngramSpark or CreateSpace for their distribution. They choose; it’s theirs anyway. They just pay me to package it for them just like they would a formatter or a cover designer, it’s just I help them with all that and since I know where the good ones are and I know the lingo and I hire out what I cannot do. Been around the block a few times ;). I am working on putting together a couple marketing packets, but they will be services that work, and they will guarantee exposure, not sales since no one can guarantee that if they say they can, you might want to reconsider publishing with them. I am still carefully researching that :).

I will not own any rights to the author’s work except the limited rights to print and distribute should they use my ISBN. The agreement is still a work in progress, but I plan on it being easy to read, no legalese (since this is not my 3rd language, and it makes me twitch), and no author unfriendly clauses. No unpleasant surprises or fees. Everything will be discussed up front.

I do all this since I have dealt with the dark side of publishers and self publishing. That’s one of the reasons why I have this blog. There are some nuances of even the best pay-to-publish companies that are beginning to bug me, so I plan on doing things differently. Maybe for some authors the things about these companies will be okay–they were when I was trying to get back on track and learn the ropes. Some things may work for some people, but I will be for the authors that going that route may not be quite right and going at it totally alone is not either, so I am providing the middle road as it were or just what they need. But now I have outgrown them and I know there are others who want that helping hand that are getting slaughtered out there, which also the other point of today’s post.

Buzzard in Eagle's Clothing

Penelope “Penny” Fletcher’s Soaring Eagle Books

The individuals in question that visited my page were a former partner and a former author who parted on some very unpleasant terms which I will share in a moment. To visit the site of this publisher to poke around Click HerePlease note before clicking: This is not my publishing company! At the time of this writing there is no website for my company, nor do I recommend or am affiliated with this publisher. More on that in a moment.

Here are some links for your viewing pleasure to the author’s website where she has quite an array of posts with screenshots about her ordeal with this publisher–so scroll through and look for yourself as well as a post on a forum (also read the comments). I will summarize it all in a nice little bow for you and what I think about it. The former assistant in question is a guest on her blog, so check it out.

Author Gen Griffin’s Blog/Website

Forum Post on Absolute Write

This company tries to come off as a traditional small press. Please note, a  traditional small press in any shape or form, new or old, doesn’t charge you money up front for editing, formatting, cover design, or marketing. Some hybrid presses, pay-to-publish companies, or vanity presses do this though, so what do we have here?

From what I have gathered from the website and from the posts and proof by Gen Griffin, and my own harrowing experience with Xlibris, I have drawn the conclusion that this publisher is a vanity publisher masquerading as a small traditional publisher, and when this happens, run away as fast as your proverbial feet will carry you. It is not a hybrid press, and it is not what I call a reputable pay-to-publish company either. The term “self-publishing company” is going out of style, and the term has since became tarnished because of publishers like this and Author Solutions and Publish America. To be sure, I’m sure that Author Solutions companies masquerade as traditional publishers ever since they partnered with Penguin.

As per Rachel Thompson’s quote of the hour, “Let’s deconstruct.”

On the website there is the talk of “services for fees”, but as you can see here and here there is no fee structure, so the author doesn’t know the risk thereof or has any indication to know what to expect here or any means for planning. From the forum post above and the posts on Gen Griffin’s blog, she had been approached with a contract as if this company was a traditional publisher, plus this publisher retains exclusive rights to the work for X amount of time like a trade publisher–from what I ascertain from the posts it is 3 years for this company. Not bad, well… at least it isn’t for the length of thecopyright (that’s the rest of the author’s life+ 70 years–which is BAD by the way–AKA “forever” in publishing). I also see that the publisher takes a 50/50 split from the royalties while the author is still paying for marketing services from what I can guess from the website and from the posts. Total vanity press tactic. Then there is the age old tactic from the posts that the author has to buy X amount of books for the initial print run and X amount of books yearly if the book doesn’t sell to “make up some sort of difference”.

Mark Levine would wonder why this publisher is entitled to 50% of the royalties when they aren’t REALLY doing anything to promote your book, and you still have to buy services or left to do it on your own? He would also advise to dodge any evasive or vague terms or language about the things in the former paragraph or in regards to fees. Again, traditional small presses don’t charge fees for publishing or marketing. They just give tiny advances or none at all and their budgets are small, so the marketing would be up to you–it’s just that you wouldn’t be paying the publisher so to speak.

Then there is the question about pricing of a so-called “trade paperback”. Here is the paperback listing for Gen Griffin’s Book on Amazon and the pricing (do not buy–the author will not see a dime). If the pricing was for the regular paperback that we indie authors usually produce the pricing might be okay, but since this is supposedly a “trade paperback” or a mass market paperback, this price quite high. Why? Trade paperbacks are usually printed offset, a smaller trim size, with a cheaper paper quality, and in large quantity. All of these things drive down the printing cost per book, and that’s why you can get a 600 page book for $4.99 as opposed to ~$18. Usually, when a small press has a paperback and/or a trade paperback they have a hardcover edition available which is not too hard since the press should have the cache of ISBNs available as well as making the necessary tweaks to the cover to create the hardcover edition. Just a thought :/.

From the posts, we can see that the marketing tactics used by this publisher breaks social media rules and annoys people since it’s spam. Vanity press violations! All of the vanity presses that I know of use tactics like these that don’t work, and they just annoy people. They simply spam people and call it marketing which you pay them for. #faceplant Then there is the sad tale of missing sales reports, missing royalties, yadda yadda. When reading all this I had terrible flashbacks and memories like I did when I had my experience with Xlibris.

What makes Gen’s story even worse is that she can’t get the rights back to her book, so it had to be left to die, and she had to redo the entire series because this woman wouldn’t do the right thing and give the money owed or her rights back. I became physically ill reading about all this. Penny Fletcher has enough stuff against her to be sued by people. I would almost guess she learned from Kevin Weiss of Author Solutions or from whoever runs Publish America. They would be proud.

After looking at the website, I was not all that impressed. It was barebones at best. Not forthcoming on information and a lot of information is just plain wrong. Traditional publishing still works for some people and there are still some good small presses both old and new that would be great to work with. Evolved Publishing is one of them. Some hybrids like Booktrope are also good, so check them out. Of course there is no contract and I hope to see one soon. If I ever do, I will post about it!

Amanda Taylor’s Soaring Eagle Books

 Amanda Taylor's Soaring Eagle Books

Above is the logo for my company, and you can go to the above site to see Penny Fletcher’s logo. I have purchased the domain for the company, but there won’t be anything there since I have no site. It will be soaringeaglebooks.org I will eventually have a kick butt site and I have a designer in mind. I have rectified the blunder on my associated social media sites with my publishing imprint and removed the links from Penny Fletcher’s company. MY URL will be crosslinked on all my sites and social media channels for Soaring Eagle Publicity and my author stuff. This URL will be on the copyright pages of any book that is published there as well as the logo. All roads will travel back to the above URL.

MY Soaring Eagle Books will not masquerade as anything. I will not be pretending to be a small traditional press. This is my own independent imprint that will be open to clients where I will be the go-between or provider of cover design, file formatting, and upload, and more all fees included for all work entailed by me or anyone I work with. If the author wants me to create their stuff and use their own ISBNs, no problem. My imprint will be on the book only if the author doesn’t have their own, and they use one of the ISBNs that is registered under my imprint. The books are still theirs though. I talked a bit about how things will work earlier.

My purpose of opening up to clients in the future is to not be the next big thing, the next big publisher, or any kind of traditional press or whatever. I don’t guarantee any bestsellers, but I will try to do my best to provide the best service and quality as possible at a reasonable price without all the hassles or nasty surprises. Been there, done that, so you don’t have to. I hate it when publishers say they understand what authors go through and they turn around and do the exact same thing. Another definition of insanity. Practice what you preach, people. Somebody please slap me if I don’t; I will try my best as humanly possible to NOT do crap like the aforementioned publisher or any of the other rogues that are out there.

Of course you might be wondering why don’t I just start over after this discovery? I have too much time and money invested to turn back now. I’ve spent time on branding and accounts of more than just social media. Why do I have to sacrifice my dream and hope because someone else didn’t want to do the right thing? Since this other company is not that old, it would seem that it should fall by the wayside and reputation and word of mouth should prevail. So should doing the right thing as well as faith and trying to do good by people in a world that a good name and a good reputation are hard to come by. I will keep people updated on this blog on how things progress as well as on my author and sister company streams. Amanda Taylor’s Soaring Eagle Books will be safe. I am not going to grade my own company. That’s not fair. I will let other people like clients do that for me.

Penny Fletcher’s Soaring Eagle books is not. Stay away. STAY FAR AWAY. If I was grading this company for a company review it would get a Sucks :( rating. An F. Mark Levine would give it an F. Anyone I know would give it a thumbs down. Rachel Thompson would nail it for social media violations.

Point and clarification made. The end.