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Rule claims she is also offended at being called a sloppy storyteller.  I’m guessing Rule loses on this.  


According to the Fox, the Hopper automatically records eight days’ worth of prime time programming on the four major networks that subscribers can play back on request. Beginning a few hours after the broadcast, viewers can choose to watch a program without ads…In November 2012, the district refused to enjoin Dish’s operation. The court found that (1) Dish can’t be held directly liable for the conduct of its customers (according to the volitional conduct doctrine, the person who causes the copy to be made is the direct infringer, not the service that merely facilitates it); and (2) Dish can’t be held indirectly either because time-shifting is a protected fair use and the networks can’t challenge commercial skipping because they don’t have a copyright interest in the commercials. EFF

According to its “Understanding the E-Book Consumer” July report, Nielsen estimates that for next year e-book sales of fiction will amount to 47m units, some 300,000 ahead of the paperback figure and 48% of total fiction sales. However, because the average selling price of an e-book is less than £3, compared to £5.50 for a paperback, the value of e-book sales in 2014 will be only 32% of the fiction total. According to Nielsen, lower revenues from e-books are not the only worry for publishers. Print revenues are declining too. “We predict the value of the overall fiction market will fall 16% this year, and by a further 4% in 2014. Sales of hardback and paperback novels are falling faster than sales of fiction e-books are rising,” Nielsen said.” The Bookseller

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. theo
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 07:41:04

    Isn’t that whole Ann Rule thing just another example of an authorbehavingbadly except in this case, she has the money to pursue it legally rather than just follow the ‘slanderer’ around the net and outing his name, address and phone? *shakes head*

  2. DB Cooper
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 07:45:13

    (bit of a tangent, but…) I keep forgetting to mention this, but I visited a B&N in Little Rock, a couple of a weeks ago. Three of the employees were having a “water cooler” at the back of the service counter (quite loudly, and with no concern to who was walking by or could hear), and discussing the scuttlebutt that their store might be one of the ones going back to 9pm closings.

    Is this significant to anyone else? I haven’t been to B&N as often as I used to, so I don’t know whether this “back to 9pm closing thing” is well known or not, but it struck me as odd because one of B&N’s biggest brick and mortar advantage in my mind is that they’re open late (of course, I understand that cost them more).

    And if it is not such open knowledge, then I’m lead to believe that these employees are ‘disengaged’ and already mentally off the boat if they’re discussing company policy changes so openly around customers (and I wonder if B&N employees are feeling the weight of the store’s rough fortunes).

  3. cecilia
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 08:26:48

    I think that DISH win is great, except that probably what will result is that advertising will more and more be embedded within the television programs. This will not only make the ads inescapable, but the programs themselves will likely lose a lot of quality as the focus shifts entirely to how to make enough ad dollars, away from plot and character. (I realize there’s already a lot of product placement, but as it becomes more the lifeblood, I think things will get a lot worse)

  4. Isobel Carr
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 08:47:34

    @cecilia: Some of the overt product placement (such as cars on Burn Notice) is enough to make me stop watching entirely. Hello, let’s pause in the middle of a high-stakes scene to explain why our car is awesome (fast, great handling, etc.). And the intense placement of the Microsoft Surface EVERYWHERE is starting to irk me in a big way (even though I’m considering buying one!).

  5. cecilia
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 09:02:36

    @Isobel Carr: There’s a great Frontline episode from several years ago that has a talking head who talks about how when a culture becomes totally ad-friendly, it ceases to be a culture. Seems like when shows are depending less on regular ads and more on product placement, or even custom-made storylines like the Absolut Hunk story in Sex and the City, they’re not really shows as much as vehicles (no pun intended) for ads. And when I talk about this kind of thing with students, they’re fine with it. Very depressing.

  6. MaryK
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 10:04:58

    I’ve never been a dedicated ebook reader; I’ve always bought some e and some paper. But, I’m slowly leaning more toward ebooks because of space issues and because nowdays I’m more likely to read e than paper. I still prefer paper for tactile and shelving reasons but e is more practical (assuming the price is right).

  7. Isobel Carr
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 10:11:30

    @MaryK: On the one had, I miss having shelves full of books. But the space I save by not having to fill my house with bookshelves (and the dusting I save by not having to deal with said books) is a real boon. I still buy all my non-fiction research in paper though.

  8. Lada
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 10:53:40

    …because the average selling price of an e-book is less than £3, compared to £5.50 for a paperback, the value of e-book sales in 2014 will be only 32% of the fiction total.

    But aren’t they including self-published ebooks at this price range which wouldn’t be part of publisher’s revenue stream in any case. Many of the ebooks I buy from the Big 5 aren’t discounted beyond the mmp price ($7.99) or are higher ($9.99-$14.99) when released as hardcover unless I get lucky and stumble across a daily deal (thanks, Jane). Do they really believe that a plateau in ebook sales would mean an increase (or even stabilization) in paper book sales?

  9. hapax
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 11:06:24


    Seems like when shows are depending less on regular ads and more on product placement … they’re not really shows as much as vehicles (no pun intended) for ads.

    Fay Weldon made a big splash ten years or so ago when it was revealed that Bulgari jewellers paid to sponsor her book THE BULGARI CONNECTION. Publishers raved with excitement about the idea, but the reviews fof the book were mixed (it’s a fairly typical lightweight Weldon “woman scorned” romp) and I haven’t heard of any imitators since.

    Of course, there may be, and we’re just not hearing about it.

  10. MrsJoseph
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 13:45:39

    @theo: I would normally agree but it seems that this article is a clear conflict of interest. If the editor had known – it would not have been published without a disclaimer. The author of the article is wrong, wrong, wrong. That is NOT something you publish as a journalist and have that type of conflict of interest. And a wife/fiancee is a conflict of interest.

  11. theo
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 14:53:07

    @MrsJoseph: Disclaimer or no, most of his facts were verifiable. He omitted some things and included others. So too, it seems, did Ms Rule. So in this instance, I still think it’s a huge display of authorbehavingbadly because if you read the article, he has as much of a case as she does, I think, though I’m not a lawyer and don’t profess to know much about the law other than layman’s things. Rather, she rallies her fans, sends out emails about everything and riles them into a bit of a frenzy and where haven’t we heard that before?

    One can either behave badly or be the better of the two and unless it begins to affect one’s livelihood, let it go. I doubt there would have been any serious fallout from it until she brought all the attention to it in the first place. I have to even wonder how many would have been aware of it at all.

    But again, that’s just one opinion, and they’re all like noses…

  12. Maili
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 14:53:09


    (I realize there’s already a lot of product placement, but as it becomes more the lifeblood, I think things will get a lot worse)

    I have to agree. Unlike other British TV channels, BBC isn’t allowed to have product placement anywhere in its programming (they usually remove or block a brand name). Lately, though, a couple of products were shown without the usual screening tactics. Smeg (fridge) showed up in The British Great Bake Show or whatever it’s called, Sony (phone) in The Apprentice, and Coca Cola in a comedy drama. Unsurprisingly, all this attracted complaints.

    As far as I know, most complaints were upheld by Ofcom (a national body that monitors the Broadcasting Code that all broadcasters answer to), which means BBC was fined in each case. But I think there will be a day when a ban on product placement in BBC programming is lifted. Shame, really.

  13. Susan
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 14:57:02

    @MrsJoseph: Totally agree. Unless the news stories I read weren’t correct, Rick Swart is a professional journalist and was acting in that capacity when he reviewed Rule’s book about his (then) fiancee. How is this not a total conflict of interest and against professional ethical standards? Not like he was just an average joe who posted a review on Amazon. Rule may lose in a court of law but morally I think she’s right about this. (But the sloppy storytelling? Yeah, I agree with that in general.)

    Ebook vs. pbook prices? I know I harp on this but, at least on Amazon, the ebook prices are higher than the pbook prices for several major publishers. Not sure what the breakout is for total books sold, tho.

  14. MaryK
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 15:13:20

    @cecilia: This reminds me of one of the Anne of Green Gables books when Anne’s short story wins an advertising contest (to advertise flour, I think?), and she’s not pleased.

  15. carmen webster buxton
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 15:16:17

    Generally, I don’t think an author can ever win complaining about criticism of his/her book, unless the review (or article) contains verifiable errors. Everyone is after all entitled to their own opinion.

    But I also think a journalist who publishes commentary has an obligation to reveal any personal stake in what he’s writing about, so the reader can take it into account in assessing what they think about what he has written. Not saying that he was engaged to the woman who was the subject of the book he was writing about cut his credibility to zero as far as I am concerned. It’s a cornerstone of journalistic ethics to reveal any conflict of interest. I would vote for journalist behaving badly on this one, regardless of the facts of the case itself.

  16. theo
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 15:41:21

    I’m not denying he has an obligation to report any conflict of interest. I’m looking at her original output where she complains about the article and the supposed slander done to her, then throws the ‘shocker’ in her email after. The conflict of interest is an afterthought for her. She should have never addressed the whole thing to begin with so I have to disagree with journalistbehavingbadly. Rule should have let it go, not said anything at all and I’m guessing the next day, no one would have paid any more attention to it.

    She couldn’t. That’s authorbehavingbadly in my book.

  17. MrsJoseph
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 15:44:32

    @theo: Some of the primary ethics in the journalist code of ethics are:

    “Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
    Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
    Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

    The journalist did not do any of these things. I could and would not trust that he had no bias. If he has bias then he is NOT an effective journalist.

  18. MrsJoseph
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 15:50:25

    @theo: I wouldn’t let it go. He broke ethics and she should let it go? I read the email – she couldn’t say something til she had permission but I would be very pissed. And it is possible that he’s just kissed his career goodbye. Cause every new story he submits now has to be followed by “Are you fucking this one, too??”

  19. theo
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 16:18:23

    @MrsJoseph: His conflict of interest or not is not my issue. Ms Rule’s inability to let it alone and not look like an arse in this whole thing is what my issue is. SHE rallied the troops. SHE brought it before her fans’ attentions, SHE couldn’t let it die a quiet death and take a chance that no one would have noticed it (and I’m guessing no more than a handful would have.) SHE is the one bringing a defamation suit, NOT a conflict of interest suit, and yes, I’m sure that will come up in court, but in this case, I doubt it will influence the suit and don’t see how she will win if she can’t prove it’s cost her livelihood. And has it? I really doubt it. So what does she gain by all of this? She looks like another authorbehavingbadly and the journalist will walk away. Maybe those who choose to carry his stories will have to double check the facts which should have been done in the first place, but that’s not at issue. It’s the way she reacted to the article that is. And she reacted. Period.

  20. MrsJoseph
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 16:37:18


    Well, in my opinion, you are one of the few people who think this is only an author behavior problem. Most of the people I’ve discussed this with – and of course my opinion – is of yellow journalism. Journalists have a lot of power and this person misused his.

    And I have to wonder…how often has he done this. I would never believe him in any circumstance ever again. Credibility? Shot to all hell.

    The author has just as much of a right to a FAIR journalistic piece as you or I. How would you deal if a large newspaper wrote a biased piece against you? Just because she is an author does not mean that a journalist should be able to break the common code of ethics. She has legal rights, too.

    Sorry. I don’t buy it at all. I’m normally always on Team Reviewer but this shit stinks. And it is atrocious. And I hope he gets black balled.

    Two more pieces of the Code of Ethics:

    Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
    Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.

    And THIS is why the Seattle Times is unhappy with his behavior. Low morals are low morals – and he has none. He was all about trashing someone to make his wife look good. Otherwise he would NOT have ventured to send out this piece, he would have contacted a colleague. But he knew it was bunk which is why he did it. As I said before, I hope he gets black balled and now I do feel some sorrow for the newspaper and editor who printed.

    Give me ONE good reason why the author should have walked away? I believe she would have had no problem with an unbiased review. But a review printed in a major newspaper by her subject’s HUSBAND? With no disclaimer????? WTF. I don’t give a shit that it is possible that “no one would have noticed.” Is that any reason NOT to bring ethical violations to light?? I would have preferred if she just had him blackballed but *shrug* whatever.

    What is not cool is giving this ethical violator a pass. He makes journalists look bad.

  21. SAO
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 16:43:47

    20 years ago, all the software companies wanted to move to an annual fee model with subscribers, rather than purchasers. The idea was to extract more revenue from customers in return for offering the latest updates.

    Apple was the first computer company to figure out how to do this, with iTunes. They sold the iPod and got a steady stream of revenue from the iTunes store. Had they turned themselves into an App retailer which sells to everyone, maybe the slow-down in iThing sales wouldn’t be an issue, but their hardware sales feed the App and iTunes stores.

  22. theo
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 16:50:06

    @MrsJoseph: But your attitude is exactly what encourages authors to behave badly. Rather than see Ms Rule’s actions for what they are i.e., rallying the troops, etc, you ONLY see what the journalist did. How much better for Ms Rule had she quietly approached this with her attorney rather than make a public spectacle of it? I said his ethics in this are not my issue. It’s how she handled it. Frankly, I don’t care if anyone ever buys another article of his. That’s not what my initial comment was about and it still isn’t. I also said that the Seattle Times who frankly, I hadn’t heard of or perhaps barely until this issue, had the initial responsibility to check the facts, especially when they’re buying from a freelancer since their recourse is much different than if an employee doesn’t disclose. Rather, the Times did their fact checking after and found some inconsistencies as well as the failure to disclose so really, who is as fault here?

    Sorry, you can defend the authorbehavingbadly all you want, but if that’s the kind of author you’re encouraging me to stand behind, you’ll get no support. She’s no better than the authors who out the person who gives a poor review or says the author can’t write and who sends out mass emails to go after that reviewer or criticizer. No different at all. She chose to handle all of this publicly, amassing her fans to help her. Shame on her.

  23. Shelley
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 20:35:02

    “It’s a freelance piece first of all. I’m selling you a product. So it’s not like you’re my boss and you need to know my personal life.” Rick Swart in answer to his editor about why he neglected to disclose his relationship to Liysa

    This quote cracks me up and is very disingenuous to say the least.

    I will say also I agree that Ann Rule, whose books I have enjoyed, really should have reined her temper in and let her attorney deal with it THEN made a public statement if necessary.

  24. Sunita
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 22:14:51

    Wow, Swart gets worse the more you read about him. According to the long editor’s note attached to the original article, the paper trusted him in part because he had been a journalist for 25 years. But as a freelancer he thinks he’s not bound by the usual rules? Really? I wonder if he extended that assumption to the freelancers he hired.

    Given that the woman Rule wrote about sued Rule for defamation (the case was dismissed, and the plaintiff was ordered by the judge to pay Rule’s lawyers’ fees), I can imagine that an article years later, written by the subject of the book’s fiance, reviving old issues and once again accusing *Rule* (not the book, but her as author) of any number of transgressions, was more than she was willing to swallow quietly. I’m sure Jane’s right that she’s unlikely to win the case, but I can sure understand why she did it.

    If this is a circumstance of an author behaving badly, I’d really like to know what an author *is* allowed to do when a hatchet job written by the fiance and soon-to-be husband of the original adversarial party turns up as the cover story of a major city’s weekly paper, and when the most damning evidence in the article comes from the fiancee and her children.

    [ETA for clarity.]

  25. azteclady
    Jul 25, 2013 @ 22:30:54

    I am not a lawyer and all that, but I think that any statements of opinion (i.e., “sloppy writing”) are protected free speech. Regarding facts, it will depend on what proof both parties can provide and, of that, what the court deems admissible (Jane, please correct me if I’m wrong here?).

    I agree that the freelancer didn’t behave ethically, but Ann Rule’s behaviour towards critics is definitely a case of author behaving badly, á la Ann Rice. Rally the rabid fans and point them towards the heathen who dares criticize you.

    If there are factual errors or deliberate untruths in the piece, what you do is contact your lawyer and have him/her do his job. The lawyer will then contact the paper and either get a retraction, a clarification or the article pulled.

    This? A tantrum. With any luck, it’ll will generate some well deserved Streisand effect towards Ms Rule.

    (edited for clarity)

  26. anita
    Jul 26, 2013 @ 01:02:22

    FYI, there is no legal tort for conflict of interest…there is one for defamation though which conflict of interest can play a role in proving, defamation is the unprivileged publication of a factual statement that is untrue and injurious to a person’s reputation. So if she can prove the statement was biased, malicious, untrue, and injurious to her career she stands a fair chance at winning her case.

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