The Journal, Thursday, October 17

In today’s Journal

* Quote of the Day
* Topic: On “IP Accelerators” and Other Ridiculous Notions
* Chances are
* Of Interest
* The Numbers

Quote of the Day

First, some preparatory remarks.

Back on October 8, I came across an article titled “Amazon Intellectual Property Accelerator.”  I listed it in the “Of Interest” section that day.

When I mentioned the article to a knowledgeable friend, he shook his head. “Yup. Lawyers now making money off of baby writers. Go figure.”

His comment stuck with me, so I figured it was time to write a topic on the subject.

Topic: On “IP Accelerators” and Other Ridiculous Notions

As I wrote below the “Of Interest” section back on October 8,

One, remember that your IP is protected by copyright the moment it’s in fixed form. You license Amazon or whomever to sell your stories or novels, but the IP remains yours. [And if you’re smart, you license to Amazon and whomever else to sell your stories and novels and create multiple cash streams. And you don’t need a lawyer for any of that.]

Two, remember that you don’t have to register trademarks to protect them. Trademark law exists only to make money for lawyers. The truth is, first (and continued) use in business always wins in court whether or not the trademark is registered. [So again, no “IP accelerator” or lawyer is required.]

Then I offered up my own publishing company trademark as an example.

Even at the most basic, beginner level, those two things are all you need to know to protect your IP. If you cling to those two precepts from the beginning, you’ll be all right. By which I mean you’ll have time to learn more and make more-informed choices regarding your IP as you move through your career as a writer.

But difficult as it is to believe, many writers won’t.

That’s where the other ridiculous notions come in. Despite having been warned off by people like me and by the actual documented actions of the bad actors themselves, writers will continue to

* seek out agents to whom they will give 15% of their IP for the life of that IP (the writer’s life plus 70 years)

* seek out traditional publishers and sign away their IP (copyright), again for the life of that IP

* license their IP exclusively to one sales venue (Amazon KDP Select) thereby reducing their own cash streams from hundreds to one

* license their IP exclusively to only one mode of delivery, again limiting their own cash streams—like the lady who, in one of my classes, swore she would never publish to ebooks because she “hates” ebooks

* not give a thought to other ways for their IP to make them money (audio, video, t-shirts, stationery, greeting cards, gaming, television, films, and the list goes on)

* not give a thought to what I call “internal IP,” the worlds and characters and situations they’ve created inside their books and stories, and how those bits of internal IP can make them money.

And there are probably many more ridiculous notions that don’t come to mind at the moment as I’m writing this.

But writers will continue to stumble and fall into all of those ridiculous notions for only one basic reason:

Incredibly, writers continue to believe their work (IP) has little or no value.

Frankly, it’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around that kind of thinking.

Writers who would never share a percentage of their real property (their home, for example) or sign it over lock, stock, and barrel have absolutely no reservations about sharing a percentage of (or signing over) their intellectual property.

And the amazing truth is, your IP is often much more valuable than your RP (real property).

As an example, the total value of my real property probably comes in at somewhere south of two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000). The value of my IP, as close as I can figure it up to right now, is in the neighborhood of seventeen million dollars ($17,000,000) and probably a lot more. Folks, I like that neighborhood.

But back to the warning about ridiculous notions.

There are two ways to make decisions: Listen to and believe what people (or businesses) say, or observe what they do. Which makes more sense to you? Only the second one (watching what they do) really matters. Only the second one safeguards you from bad actors.

This is exactly why many of the scam so-called “Christian” (and other) publishers advertise on television and offer a phone number to call, but have no website. They don’t want anything in writing.

The first writing you’ll see from them is a contract worded in legalese that, even if you read it and believe you understand it, won’t reveal its true intent. And with stars in your eyes, you’ll sign it and send it back, and your IP or a large percentage of it will be gone for the life of the copyright.

But is this ridiculous notion limited to only scam publishers?

Unfortunately, no.

Seemingly legitimate “indie” or “self” (subsidy) publishers like Wheatmark or Booklocker or a number of others with a web presence do exactly the same thing.

They offer “enticements,” then close the snare.

Those enticements are often a series of so-called “free” benefits you can set up just as easily yourself: Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, a website, getting your book into brick and mortar stores, etc.

And literary agents and traditional publishers also do exactly the same thing. From them, the enticements play on your ego. They play on you becoming a “real” (read “annointed”) “published author.”

After all, once you sign with an agent, you can say you actually have an agent—and it costs you only 15% of your IP for the life of the copyright.

And after you sign with a “big” publisher, you can say you were published by a New York house—and it costs you only 100% of your IP (15% of which goes to your agent) for the life of the copyright.

Yet unbelievably, those same folks will suspect people like me are trying to scam them out of doing something that’s good for their career. Like the woman who practically screamed at me that she would never read (not follow, just read) Heinlein’s Rules because she isn’t a science fiction writer.

Or like people who refuse to read or believe Dean Wesley Smith’s “Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing” series because what? They think he’s trying to scam them out of thinking for themselves? Seriously?

All I can say is this: Ask yourself, what do I or DWS get out of the deal? We aren’t asking you for thousands of your hard earned dollars (like the subsidy publishers) or a percentage of your IP (like the agents and traditional publishers). At the most, we ask for donations for value received or to buy our books.

Yet I get the sly grins, the sly sideways glances, as if writers are thinking, “Nope, I’m onto you, pal.” And all I can do is sigh and go about my business of writing and trying to pay it forward. Frankly, and maybe harshly, stupid is as stupid does.

Please, please don’t fall for any of this nonsense, folks. If you’re tempted to sign-on with one of those publishers who advertise only on television but have no web presence, or if you’re tempted to sign-on with any subsidy publisher (where you pay an up-front fee to be published), or if you’re tempted to sign-on with any literary agent or traditional publisher, please go lie down until the temptation passes.

Because if you sign with any of them, you will be scammed out of thousands and maybe even millions of dollars.

And if you sign-on with me or Dean or Kris Rusch or anyone else who offers straight-up, honest information? Well, you might just be “scammed” into keeping what’s yours.

By the way, feel free to share this verbatim with other writers, writer groups, etc.

Chances are good I won’t finish my WIP before I leave to go camping, but that’s all right. I’ll write a bit today, but otherwise I’ll be engaged in packing. I’ll catch up with posting how many fiction words I wrote after I get back.

My buddy and I moved up our departure from Monday to Friday, and honestly I’m really looking forward to the break. I just hope my cigars arrive in time. (grin)

It’ll be great to be able to actually move around while I’m out on the Gila this time without pain and without accidentally stumbling into a cactus. That said, I suspect there will be a lot of sitting around doing nada, at least on my part.

I’ll read a lot, probably, and I’ll forget the idiocy of politicians and the biased news channels and a bunch of other stuff.

I’m not going to bother with preposting for the 2 or 3 days while I’m gone. If you’ve missed any Journal entries lately, I recommend you scroll down and read a few of them. And I’ll talk with you again on Monday.

Of Interest

See “Business Musings: Three Kinds of Writers (Rethinking The Writing Business Part 14)” at I’m SO excited I can finally share this one with you. It’s been on Patreon for a week.

See “Misc. Stuff To Talk About and Pictures” at

See “How to Enhance your Writing by Layering Your Scenes & Plot” at

See “‘Fuzzy-Profound’ Words Cause Mental Rot” at

See “The First Amendment And Copyright Law: Can’t We All Just Get Along?” at

See “Gedunk!” at

See “It’s Time to Do a Facebook Settings Checkup” at If you’re bugged, here’s how to debug.

The Numbers

Fiction words today…………………… 0
Nonfiction words today…………… 1600

Total fiction words for the month……… 3237
Total fiction words for the year………… 383468
Total nonfiction words for the month… 10600
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 273290
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 657876

Calendar Year 2019 Novels to Date…………………… 7
Calendar Year 2019 Novellas to Date……………… 1
Calendar Year 2019 Short Stories to Date… 2
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 43
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 195
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31