Rumor-Quelling those Splogs and Updating our FAQ

Why is it easier to create new fiction about a situation rather than simply ASK?  If you hear a rumor or have a question about Spilled Candy Books, just ask me.  It’s that simple.  Or start by reading our FAQ—there’s lots of brutally honest info there.  I’m flabbergasted when a publishing blog reports they can’t find anything about Spilled Candy as a publisher.  My immediate question is, “Have you looked?”  followed by, “Have you asked me?”  And it’s easy enough for us to answer our own questions by going to our web traffic logs and finding that the reporter spent less than a two minutes on a site with (currently) over 400 articles and another 100 pages—and never visited the FAQ page or the section that gives the company history.

There’s an annoying form of money-making out there right now that has brought up some inaccurate concerns about Spilled Candy Books, both from splicing bad info together and by making it difficult to find good info without coming directly to us (in case you’re shy).  It’s called splogging.

Splogs are blogs that have spam qualities.  These are usually created by third parties who’ve never been associated in any way with Spilled Candy or The Spiritual Eclectic—as customers, authors, business partners, even a random visit to our websites. They tend to have a bare-bones look to them and create new blog posts by posting parts of our The Spiritual Eclectic feed and feeds from other blogs that mention us.  They cannot re-post entire copyrighted posts from us, so they post bits and pieces, sometimes out of order and sometimes splicing info from different sources.  There are marketing gurus out there who’ll be happy to sell you a how-to package for $99, and we’ve talked to them for a better understanding.  The splogs hit the search engines (Google is choking on them) and when you type in a keyword for a search, you may well be taken to a splog that mentions your keyword but tries to sell you some affiliate product.  That’s how they make their money, if any—on affiliate products.  So far, I’ve not encountered any splog that makes money from a Spilled Candy book or course.

Where this becomes extremely annoying to me is when a former author reports to me that she read somewhere that I’m selling her out-of-print books at the Spilled Candy/Spiritual Eclectic site and references a splog as the source of the info.  The splog mentions a sale on out-of-print books years ago before they went out of print and we were trying to close out that inventory, plus a current sale on in-print books delivered to Florida instead of back to a warehouse, plus lists several current books.  The info is jumbled together and is an incoherent mess because it’s collated information from different source and different time periods.  I know this because I’m intimately familiar with the material, but now I wonder how often this happens to other publishers, bookstores, authors, bloggers, you name it.  Not to mention that as an author, I grimace when I find entire articles fashioned from my copyrighted words but rearranged and claimed by someone else. Sure, I could challenge it, but just contacting splogs would be more than a full-time job.  Until Google changes its algorithms to filter out splogs, it will be substantially less effective.

So to answer a few questions (these will be incorporated into our FAQ) that we’ve received as a result of splogs in the past few days:

–    Are you selling out-of-print books published by Spilled Candy at The Spiritual Eclectic?

No.  Legally, we do have the right to sell them because our contract gives us the right to sell existing inventory (no new books are printed) and pay our former authors royalties for them.  However, I don’t feel comfortable doing that at this point.  We voluntarily and immediately returned publication rights to those books nearly 3 years ago.  However, some bookstores that have years ago reported sales to us—and for which we paid the authors royalties—have since returned books to our wholesalers and distributors for credit (we don’t get to say no to these), so we do occasionally have out-of-print books shipped back to our home office.  I have refused to sell them because 1.  I’m concerned with how that would look to people who wouldn’t understand why these books are back in our possession (neither do we, frankly) and 2. Some of our former authors have taken their out-of-print books to new publishers and given them new life, which is as we’d hoped, and I don’t want to compete with their new editions by offering a cheap price on an older version.  We originally published many of these books at a time when there were hardly any other options for publishing a great book with a tiny pagan audience—that’s changed in recent years and so have we.

–    If you don’t sell out-of-print books that have been returned to you for credit, what do you do with them?

Initially, we offered them at cost (normally, that’s the actual per book printing costs only, plus postage) to the authors whose books were going out of print or to defray bills for additional books they’d purchased direct from us. That way, the authors could use them to shop the books to a new publisher or as promotions for other books they had coming up. We now donate them to a pagan prison ministry.

–    If you’d change your publishing company to do X or look like Y or focus on Z, I’d send you my manuscript to publish.

If you feel we need to make any changes to be the publisher you want, then we’re not the publisher for you.  That is not a rejection of you or your work.  We simply believe that you have to live by your vision and we have to live by ours.  If they’re not the same, then we would not make good partners. We would not ask you to change yourself or your vision to be what we want you to be, and we expect the same level of respect.  You should absolutely find a publisher who matches your vision—you owe it to your writing efforts to do that—and if we’re not it, so be it.  On both a personal and professional basis, any time I have tried to match my vision to someone else’s instead of staying true to mine, I have been miserable and the other person has been never stayed happy, despite my concessions. We stand by our vision and believe that others who share it 100% will find it just as we believe an author who stands by his or her vision will find a publisher who is a 100% perfect match for it.  That’s the Law of Attraction at its finest.