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Tuesday Midday Links and Deals: Clarifying City Mom’s Authorial Status; Scholarly...

Yesterday, I referred to City Mom blogger, Kim Strickland, at Chicago Now as a “self published author”. According to Ms. Strickland, that is libelous as she is not a self published author as her work was acquired by traditional publishers.  I’m not sure how calling her “self published” is libelous. I asked for clarification but received no response. I also asked whether she thought it was misleading to attempt to chop up reviews to make it look like a publication was endorsing her work when it was not, but she said that what she thought was not important when I was being “libelous.” Therefore, allow me to correct my error from yesterday. City Mom blogger is an attempted self published author who wanked about the inability to cull quotable pieces from the Publishers’ Weekly reviews of self published books. She never self published.

Let’s recap.  Ms. Strickland is unhappy that she can’t turn a bad review into a disingenuous quote making it seem that PW is actually endorsing works when it is not.  She is also unhappy being referred to as a self published author, as if that is a bad thing.  She is not a self published author. She thought about it, even paid money to be included in a PW issue as a self published author, but she is not one. And clearly doesn’t want to be identified as one.  But she is an author who feels it is perfectly okay to obscure the truth about what  review sites have to say about her book.

“Yet, it remains that Roiphe speaks loudly and carries a big pen. Her views tend to go long because they sync up with existing sexist tropes and limited, gender-biased views on sexuality. Gloria Feldt, author of the book No-Excuses, observes that “co-option is rampant on all sides of this equation. It is so damn hard to change a culture while you’re living in it. The rewards of living within the patriarchal narrative are so high and the benefits of bucking it so low for most people.”

“A word-of-mouth recommendation or warning invariably impacts upon the opinion of the recipient of the information. But it forces the storyteller to reconsider the event in detail, softening the experience. If you’re talking about a great restaurant, for instance, it will make you spot the tiny flaws you didn’t think about at the time. On the flip side, if you’re recalling a bad dining experience, it might make you more likely to give the venue the benefit of the doubt. The concept extends to your love life, too.”

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals judge said he was told by conference organisers [Fordham IP China Conference] to talk about three things: the languishing Google Books litigation he has presided over since 2005, cloud computing and his recent trip to China. Of the Google Books case, Chin said simply: “It does not seem those negotiations have gone anywhere.


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  • The Cabin by Carla Neggers * $3.70 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Uneven Score by Carla Neggers * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Night’s Landing by Carla Neggers * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Carriage House by Carla Neggers * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Groom Who (Almost) Got Away by Carla Neggers * $3.99 * A | BN | K | S

I really liked this series but be warned, the first book ends in a cliffhanger and you have to read all three to get a full flavor. Plus, I really wanted more at the end of the third book.

  • The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S

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. Cara
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 12:42:31

    LMAO Oh, Jane, Jane, you ignorant slut. You’re so awesome.

    Not having read the Gizmodo article yet, my first impression is that I’d kind of agree. I know I’m always hesitant to share my most precious thoughts and memories with others because it seems to lose its “special”ness. Reading now.

    And the rest of it – just… win.

  2. Annette
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 12:51:20

    The last sentence from the ‘Happy Memories…’ article:

    Which might explain why bloggers are by and large such miserable people.


  3. Brian
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 13:03:42

    Here are a couple of really great Kobo codes…

    75% off…

    (each can be used once per account on non-agency books)

  4. Angela
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 13:06:15

    I’d really like to see the original research and numbers on the Happy Memories/Word of Mouth thing. I’m slightly skeptical. Maybe that’s just because it doesn’t work for me that way. Knowing how the research was conducted and the numbers/data gathered would allow me to have a better opinion.

    @Annette: Yeah, I read that and said ‘Oh, really?’ *rolls eyes*

    Books we love are tied to emotion (or at least mine) – do y’all find that you love a book less the more you talk about it? I’m honestly curious. Or that you hate a book less the more you talk about it? Does the emotion fade. If I love a book enough to talk about it a lot, I usually end up loving it more. Same thing with me for hating it.

  5. Kerry
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 13:29:17

    @Angela: I don’t hate a hated book any less, but I do get tired of giving it attention, even enough to tell someone the myriad of ways in which it sucks.

    With loved books that fall into that category because they pack an emotional wallop, I tend not to talk about them much (at least on the internet) because the root of that connection is generally something personal that I don’t care to make a matter of public record.

    Besides, when a personal emotional reaction is involved, no one you recommend the book to will come at it from the same perspective or have the same response. It’s a drag when they miss the “heart-rending” part and instead gripe at you about whatever pet peeve of theirs shows up in Chapter 2, so an empirically well written book I found entertaining is easier to endorse than one that “touched my heart.”

  6. RebeccaJ
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 13:45:31

    I thought this line was interesting, “There’s basically no way to get a useable blurb from any of the reviews, even when they do say very positive things.”

    IF the statement were TRULY positive, there would be no problem finding something ‘usable’ in it, now would there?

  7. LG
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 13:48:26

    @RebeccaJ: I thought the same thing. I would have liked an example of a review that said some positive things and yet couldn’t provide an author with a usable blurb.

  8. Mireya
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 13:54:14

    @RebeccaJ: I am not surprised that she can’t find anything she can use… she doesn’t even know what the definition of the word “libel” is.

  9. azteclady
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 14:03:49

    Therefore, allow me to correct my error from yesterday. City Mom blogger is an attempted self published author who wanked about the inability to cull quotable pieces from the Publishers’ Weekly reviews of self published books. She never self published.

    The essence of awesome. Thank you!

  10. MaryK
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 14:09:24

    @Mireya: When I read her response, I assumed she did know and just thinks being called “self-published” will damage her reputation. It is apparently a false statement, and we all know DA is full of mean girls who like to drag authors down so the question is whether it would damage her reputation. And she seems to think it would.

  11. Linda Hilton
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 15:27:39

    @Mireya: Maybe it’s the “wanker” she finds damaging to her reputation. ;-)

  12. Darlene Marshall
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 15:28:27

    “Therefore, allow me to correct my error from yesterday. City Mom blogger is an attempted self published author who wanked about the inability to cull quotable pieces from the Publishers’ Weekly reviews of self published books. She never self published.”

    Jane, If I wasn’t already married, I think I’d propose to you. Thank you for sharing this.

    Much love,


  13. Mireya
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 15:40:26

    @MaryK: Yeah, because being self-published is such an embarrassment *rolling eyes*

  14. MaryK
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 16:10:37

    @Mireya: It’s pretty funny. I’d be embarrassed to be caught manipulating quotes not to mention complaining about how hard it is.

  15. Cally Beck
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 16:22:54

    The frothing stupidity and awesome smackdown kind of made my day. Thanks :D

  16. Washoo Suze
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 16:52:18

    @Kerry: My first thought was that people in general are a little timid about being too enthusiastic about something in case the cool kids mock us for our unsophisticated taste. It’s emotionally safer to find fault with something than enthuse about it, and then get deluged with commenters telling you your opinions are wrong, ignorant, and didn’t you know about this, and how could you possibly like that, etc.

    I went through a phase in junior high were I only liked music that was 20 years old. Because, you know, everything from the 60’s was WAY cooler than the 80’s, but also because then I wouldn’t be mocked for thinking Milli Vanilli (or something) was the awesomest band EVAH!

  17. Tris
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 17:02:20

    I would have thought that you would have been better served examining whether PW were failing to live up to their side of the bargain and not reviewing self pubbed books fairly rather than taking a pop at a fellow blogger.

  18. Jody W.
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 17:11:13

    Milli Vanilli wasn’t awesome, or authentic, but the vintage Milli Vanilli T-shirt I scored at the Goodwill a couple years ago IS awesome.

  19. Isobel Carr
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 17:42:33

    @Tris: Not sure I see how “Jane” would be better served by anything of the kind. And since Jane has no ability to discover what non-reviewed self-pub books were submitted, I’m not even sure how this goal would be accomplished.

  20. Sunita
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 17:58:52

    @Tris: Do you have evidence they weren’t reviewed fairly? Because I don’t find it at all difficult to believe that out of 100 books submitted, PW found none worth a positive review.

    There are some very good self-published books out there. We’ve reviewed a few of them. There are far, far more truly terrible ones. And many of the authors of these terrible books think they’ve written something terrific, something worthy of a positive review at PW.

    Once the “fellow blogger” has accused Jane of possible libel, I think the fellowship boat has pretty much sailed, don’t you?

  21. LG
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 18:48:03

    I just remembered my library subscribes to Publisher’s Weekly, so I took a look at the reviews for the self-published stuff. I’m not seeing anything where it looks like PW is gleefully bashing the books. Even among their non-starred books, I see a few that might be worthwhile reads, and the reviews makes the strengths and weaknesses of the books pretty clear. And yes, I see some positive comments that could be used for blurbs (with no need for editing!). I think a big part of Strickland’s gripe is the implication that her book wasn’t good enough in PW’s estimation, because it didn’t “merit” a review. I don’t see that it says anywhere how PW selected books to review. Did they read excerpts for everything? Did they read blurbs and then move on to excerpts for whichever blurbs sounded best? There are a lot of points where her book (and other submitted books) could have been cut. There’s really no way to tell how good or bad the stuff that wasn’t reviewed was.

  22. Ann Somerville
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 19:01:20

    He peered at it as he passed, and when a large dark-blue BMW pulled out from the kerb just ahead of him he ran straight into the back of it, and for the second time that day he had to leap out of his car, already shouting.
    “For God’s sake can’t you look where you’re going?” he
    exclaimed, in the hope of bagging his adversary’s best lines
    from the outset. “Stupid people!” he continued, without pausing
    for breath. “Careering all over the place. Driving without due
    care and attention! Reckless assault!” Confuse your enemy, he
    thought. lt was a little like phoning somebody up, and saying
    “Yes? Hello?” in a testy voice when they answered, which was
    one of Dirk’s favourite methods of whiling away long, hot
    summer afternoons. He bent down and examined the palpable dent
    in the rear of the BMW, which was quite obviously, damn it, a
    brand new one. Blast and bugger it, thought Dirk.
    “Look what you’ve done to my bumper!” he cried. “I hope
    you have a good lawyer!”
    “I am a good lawyer,” said a quiet voice which was
    followed by a quiet click. Dirk looked up in momentary

    From “The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul”
    Douglas Adams

    Don’t bring a water pistol to a gun fight, Ms Strickland.

  23. jennifer armintrout
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 19:09:59

    Ha. I hope that lady keeps going, because it’s hilaaaariiiiouuuus…

  24. Muneera N.
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 20:11:56

    and this is why I love DA. go jane!

  25. KKJ
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 21:05:14

    @Ann Somerville:

    You owe me a Diet Coke, because the one I was drinking came out my nose. I hate it when that happens.

  26. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 21:44:42

    I would have thought that you would have been better served examining whether PW were failing to live up to their side of the bargain

    Ah… why? Who made Jane the investigator of anybody?

    For the record, I’m selfpublished, epublished, traditionally published and I’m happy to do all three. I’ll continue to do all three, because all three serve a purpose in my writing career. I’m not worried about a stigma… I’m a professional writer, which means my writing pays my bills and provides for my family and those obligations don’t give a flying fig if my books are traditionally published, self published or through a digital-first house. Money is money and it all spends.

    I’ve had books reviewed by PW… out of the 60 something books I’ve had published, they’ve reviewed three, I think. And most of them would say one thing nice in one sentence and then something harsh in the next. Which is kind of standard for them, from what I’ve seen. It just goes with the territory.

    Writing is a hard business. We’re going to get bad reviews and it doesn’t matter what it is we’re writing or where we are submitting it to. We can HOPE for good reviews all we want. But expecting them is just naive.

  27. Susan
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 22:22:58

    Does a PW review really make or break a book?

    I read PW reviews, mostly because I continue to be perplexed by them. I do think they tend to be more negative than not, with the occasional positive review thrown in. It may say more about me than them, but I rarely totally agree with their reviews regardless of the outcome.

    (BTW, note to self: don’t tick Jane off.)

  28. Ralphie C
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 23:14:56

    What the? PW? Who cares what those rubes think? Also, who even looks at Kirkus Reviews? I”ve never bought anything based on those (or any big house burn and churn lit experts) worthless blurbs.

    Authors manipulate reviews to mislead readers? Stop the presses! Who knew?

    The real question is, What dummy would pay for a review in the first place?

  29. Jane
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 23:28:19

    @Susan – no, you can piss me off. Just don’t threaten me. Threatening almost never goes well particularly the “you are committing libel” and “Chicago Now may be contacting you.” Those types of emails result in this kind of response.

  30. eggs
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 00:12:23

    Ah, good times. I can see how Ms Strickland would assume all reviews will be good ones when her book on Amazon has 7 reviews and all of them are 5 star, except for the one by that infamously stingy star giver … Harriet Klausner!

  31. rebeccaj
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 09:30:36

    @Ann Somerville, bugger, Ann! Just bugger;)

    @LG, I would have liked to have seen an example too.

  32. MrsJoseph
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 10:31:35

    Let’s recap. Ms. Strickland is unhappy that she can’t turn a bad review into a disingenuous quote making it seem that PW is actually endorsing works when it is not. She is also unhappy being referred to as a self published author, as if that is a bad thing. She is not a self published author. She thought about it, even paid money to be included in a PW issue as a self published author, but she is not one. And clearly doesn’t want to be identified as one. But she is an author who feels it is perfectly okay to obscure the truth about what review sites have to say about her book.

    SO. MUCH. WIN.

  33. Linda Hilton
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 10:32:36


    A brief analysis of Ms. Strickland’s reviews on Amazon:

    With the exception of Ms. Klausner, all the other reviewers have fewer than 10 reviews posted.

    Two of the reviewers have no other reviews posted.

    Three of the reviewers are from Illinois, which I realize is a populous state, but it is Ms. Strickland’s home state.

    Of the three reviewers from IL, two of them are the 1-review only reviewers. The third has reviewed a travel book and two DVDs in addition to Ms. Strickland’s book.

    I mean, this wouldn’t necessarily make me think Ms. Strickland asked friends or relatives to post glowing reviews; she could have relatives in Ohio or Texas or Portland, OR, who posted 5-star reviews, too.

    But it does kinda make you think, y’know?

  34. Jen
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 11:48:12

    Is there some other link to this Strickland thing that I’m not seeing? On the post linked yesterday she says her book did not get reviewed, and her comments are about reviews of other self-published books. What am I missing here?

  35. ralphiec
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 12:12:29

    I went on the Eckhartz Press website, Ms. Strickland’s “publisher”, and found this from their site:

    Eckhartz Press was founded in Chicago in 2011 by Rick Kaempfer and his long time collaborator and friend David Stern. The name “Eckhartz” is a tribute to the men that gave them their creative genes; Kaempfer’s father Eckhard, and Stern’s father Fritz. Eckhartz Press is a boutique Chicago publishing company dedicated to serving the brave new 21st century publishing world; the laughing “E” logo a constant reminder that life is too short–don’t ever lose your sense of humor.

    Couple things I noticed:

    a) Strickland’s book is only their second title. The first book, The Living Wills, was written by one of the owners of the company. The other owner will have a book out later this year. Sounds like they are “self publishing” their works. Not that I’m against that, in fact, I like their spirit. I think they see what’s happening in the industry and have adapted to it. Good for them, wish them well.

    b) Strickland’s publisher has a sense of humor, while she doesn’t. She calls them a “convential publisher”, what does that even mean anymore? If she was worried about being considered a “self published author” why didn’t she again sign with Three Rivers, the “conventional” distributor of her first novel? I imagine the reason is that they didn’t make any money off her the first time. She might not realize this, but she’s probably better of with a small publisher like Eckhartz.

    c) Everyone knows that authors manipulate reviews to suit their blurbs. Who cares? How many people use these to base a purchasing decision? Strickland is using a Kirkus Review (which more than likely she paid to get) to hawk her wares. It means nothing.

    Strickland thinks being referred to as a “self published” author is libel. I would love to know why she thinks that. Obviously, she doesn’t have a grasp of what this business has become.

    I usually don’t post here, but for some reason, this whole thing has made me angry. Sounds like she’s one of those bitter authors that can’t bear the fact that she’s not in every book store nationwide or on the best seller list. I wish her well, just hope she starts to understand how things work nowadays. If she doesn’t, she’ll likely grow old and mean.

    Funny thing, I just read some of her past blogs and kinda liked ’em. Hope she checks her ego at the door and concentrates on writing. The other stuff is just a bunch of crap.

  36. LMNO
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 12:32:24

    I just stumbled on your site, good stuff. I love Kim Strickland she’s one of my favorite authors. I’ve read Wish Club and loved it.

    Just thought I’d share.

  37. MaryK
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 13:47:48

    @Jen: In her blog post, she implied (or maybe actually stated I can’t remember) that Publishers Weekly is bashing self pub’d books by deliberately reviewing bad ones and wording their reviews so that authors have nothing good to pull out as a quote. That PW is “poisonous” toward self pub’d books.

    Jane pointed out that pulling out good phrases to quote in isolation can misrepresent reviews – making it seem like the review was positive when in reality the reviewer didn’t like the book. She mistakenly called Strickland a self pub’d author. Apparently, Strickland then emailed Jane accusing her of libel (committing libel?) and threatening things. Which resulted in a much clearer and precise description by Jane of Strickland’s blog post.

  38. KZoeT
    Apr 18, 2012 @ 16:08:35

    If you want fake, meaningless, but-oh-so quotable reviews for a fee there’s always Fiverr, right? (But don’t get the guy that doesn’t deliver on the fake reviews you’ve hired him to do…)

  39. Author on Vacation
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 10:25:21


    I’m not sure how an author or a publisher utilizing a snippet from a review, good or bad, to promote books qualifies as misleading. When I review books I usually have compliments and criticism regardless of whether or not I personally liked the work.

    Regarding Kim Strickland’s request that DA acknowledge she is not a self-published author … I don’t see a problem with that and I’m unclear why it became a source of confrontation between Strickland and DA or why DA would use the request to ridicule the author. However, DA already acknowledges itself as an amateur, non-professional entity, so it’s understandable DA does not hold itself to particular standards of professionalism.

    My above statement is not intended to disrespect DA or to offend any of its contributors and the important work they do. It simply is what it is.

  40. MaryK
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 14:11:45

    @Author on Vacation: “utilizing a snippet from a review, good or bad, to promote books qualifies as misleading”

    “I personally liked the work.”

    “I don’t see a problem with … [using] the request to ridicule the author.”

    “[DA] acknowledges … particular standards of professionalism.”

  41. azteclady
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 14:23:16

    @MaryK wins at the internet!

  42. Author on Vacation
    Apr 19, 2012 @ 15:21:51


    Okay, I see what you’re saying. I see a big difference in taking a statement out of context, though.

    When I review a book, I comment on the good and bad qualities of the book. I might say I thought characterization was quite good, but that overall execution of the storyline was poor and ineffective.

    If an author or a publisher chooses to use my positive statements about a book’s characters to promote the book, that’s not a problem for me. I liked their characters and I said so.

    Also, I thought misrepresentation referred to assertion via words or conduct not in accordance with fact. Misrepresentation also qualifies as a civil liability if A) the listener/reader of the alleged misrepresentation must rely on the alleged misrepresentation, and 2) the speaker (of the alleged misrepresentation) must know the listener/reader relies upon the factual correctness of the statement, and 3) the listener/reader’s reliance on the statement is reasonable and justified, and 4) the misrepresentation results in pecuniary loss to the listener/reader.

    I’m still unclear how an author/publisher citing my positive opinion of a book or specific elements in a book qualifies as misrepresentation simply because, overall, I disliked the book.

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