Amazon Takes Aim At Scammers But Hits Authors

A bad situation all around.

David Gaughran

kuAmazon is an extremely innovative company – and usually quite responsive to self-publisher’s concerns – but sometimes it gets things very wrong too.

Today is one of those times.

I’ve received several reports from writers threatened with having books removed from sale, and heard even more worrying stories from others who had their titles actually removed from the Kindle Store without notice.

What were these authors guilty of? What crime did they commit for Amazon to adopt such heavy handed treatment? Something completely innocuous: the Table of Contents was at the rear of their books instead of at the front.

Yep, that’s it.

We’ll get to what might be the root cause of this crackdown in a moment, but Amazon is claiming that having a TOC in the end-matter instead of the front-matter is a breach of the (ever-changing, 100+ pages) Kindle Publishing Guidelines (PDF). Amazon says that rear TOCs result in…

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The One Where An Author Steals Text From My Book To Sell Pirated Software

Better than a soap opera…

David Gaughran

IWSParadonIn today’s episode we are going to out a two-bit huckster who tried to put one over on yours truly, take a quick detour through the verdant fields of copyright law (and the slightly plainer meadows of moral rights), and then end with an example of how to handle a scammer.

Sound fun? Strap yourselves in!

A helpful reader – who will remain nameless for reasons that will become obvious – emailed me yesterday morning. I was just about to start work but the subject line caught my attention: Did You Give Permission For This?

Uh oh. I started reading the message he had forwarded.

It had originated from a domain called (you can cut-and-paste that address or Google it, but I’m not linking directly and giving them an SEO boost). And it appeared to be a straight cog from my book Let’s Get Visible.

Emailexcerpt1What was going…

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FYI: Penguin Random House Is Still In The Vanity Business

As usual, Gaughran is spot-on. Spread the word and don’t get taken.

David Gaughran

asandfriendsnewPenguin Random House announced the sale of Author Solutions on Tuesday, leading to headlines stating it has exited the self-publishing business and various commentators congratulating it for cleaning house. Unfortunately, neither of those things are true.

Four Penguin Random House-owned vanity presses will remain in operation – Partridge India, Partridge Singapore, Partridge Africa, and MeGustaEscribir – and will be run as Partner Imprints. You can read more about how Partner Imprints work here, but the short version is that Author Solutions will operate these four vanity presses on behalf of Penguin Random House, and PRH’s job will be to provide leads (aka newbie writers), lend its name and brand to the effort, and then sit back and collect its commissions.

This is precisely how Author Solutions operates Archway Publishing on behalf of Simon & Schuster, Westbow for HarperCollins, and Balboa Press for Hay House, among others. In short, Penguin Random…

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Where did summer go?

Tempus Fugit is what they say, meaning “time flees,” though often rendered as “time flies.” It’s been quite the summer since my last post, with a lot going on.

We’ve done two great summer giveaways for our Exclusive Insiders Group, with a third big giveaway starting next week. By the end of September we’ll have given away over $1000 worth of books, audiobooks and Amazon gift cards to the fans, just for being on our mailing list. If you’d like to be a member of David VanDyke’s Exclusive Insiders, hurry and sign up so you don’t miss our next giveaway. We send something out emails couple of times a month with special offers, giveaways and book news. Go to this link to sign up: David’s Exclusive Insiders



Book #12 of BV Larson’s Star Force, DEMON STAR, formerly working-titled Gauntlet, has been released. Co-written by yours truly, it brings Cody Riggs and the crew of the Valiant home, completing the trilogy. There might be more Star Force books, depending on fan demand.




Apocalypse Austin is also a new release in the Plague Wars series, continuing the story of the first few years after Infection Day. Curl up with your old friends Reaper, Skull and Spooky for another tense, action-packed apocalyptic adventure from me and Ryan King.




Desolator and Tactics of Conquest have also been released in Audiobook format, narrated by the incomparable Artie Sievers.Desolator-Tactics-3D-RF-covers

MoonFall is a new release as well, the second book in my brother Drew’s and my paranormal werewolf new adult romance series, and he’s well on the way to completing book 3, which should be out by Halloween. We’ve plotted out books 4 and 5 as well, so you werewolf fans have more treats coming. Sit! Stay! Read!

For the future, I’m working on book 3 of the Cal Corwin series, which will tie up a lot of loose ends. After that, I’ll be writing a brand-new action-packed space-sci-fi adventure series that will be set in a far different universe from that of Plague Wars/Stellar Conquest, filled with new concepts, cool tech and aliens.

If you’re attending ComiCon in Salt Lake City, I’ll be there at a book booth in the vendor area for most of the convention, so stop by and say hi, and pick up a signed book or bookmark!

Cheers and happy reading,


The Great Amazon Hysteria… Part 31

As usual, a concise summary of the current situation. Believe me, folks, the sky is not falling. In fact, it may be rising.

David Gaughran

ChickenLittleAre you scared yet? Because you should be scared. Something really bad is about to happen. It affects all of us.

Our livelihoods are at risk. The ability to support our families. It’s just over the horizon. It could happen any minute. It’s coming for all of us!



I’ve been around for long enough to know that authors can be a skittish bunch. Probably something to do with our over-active imaginations, with an assist from that old writers’ favorite: the whiskey brunch.

More seriously, we are going through a period of unprecedented change so it’s perfectly normal for people to be a little fearful. I think the disruption we are all experiencing is greater than that which has been faced by similar industries. In fact, I think the transition from print book to e-book is akin to going straight from vinyl to MP3, with all that…

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Summer Giveaways and News

Greetings to our readers!

This summer we’ll be running monthly giveaways of Amazon gift cards, ebooks and audiobooks, exclusively for the insiders who have signed up for our mailing list. Anyone can sign up for our email list so, if you know anyone who might like our books feel free to pass this on to them, but only those on the list will be able to enter the prize giveaways (no purchase necessary). Sign up for the mailing list HERE.

Amazon-gift-card-image-blank WIN an Amazon Gift Card

These prizes are in appreciation of all of our loyal readers who have made it possible for David VanDyke and Reaper Press to write and publish quality fiction since 2012.

The giveaways will take place in June, July and August. We’ll be sending an email with details on our first big giveaway very soon.

Upcoming Books and News

For the Star Force fans among you, BV Larson and I are finishing up book #12, working title Gauntlet. This will finally get Cody Riggs and the crew of the Valiant home, with some startling twists along the way. I expect it should be published by the end of July at the latest.

                            Outcast newest cover        Exile cover

Star Force #10                         Star Force #11

Ryan King and I are also working on Apocalypse Austin, another of the “mid-quels” of the Plague Wars series set in the first decade of the series, before the events of Demon Plagues. This is also likely to come out by the end of July.

For our Cal Corwin fans, I am working on the third book that will complete the trilogy, tie up all the “Loose Ends,” get Cal out of her “Bind,” and answer a lot of the questions raised in the first two books, such as who is behind all the trouble. As this book is still in development, all I can promise is that it will be out before Christmas, though we hope to publish it sooner.

Comes-The-Destroyer-3D-CoverFor the audiobook fans, the Cal Corwin short story “Off the Leash” is being produced by LA Voiceover with the same incomparable narrator, Franchesca Townes, and Plague Wars narrator Artie Sievers finished Comes the Destroyer recently and is now working on Desolator.  (First Conquest is already available due to its separate deal with the Planetary Assault anthology, narrated by Mark Boyette).

Free Review Copies

We are happy to provide a free review copy of any VanDyke ebook simply for agreeing to review it on at least one of the ebook sites, such as Amazon, iBooks, Nook or Kobo. Just drop us an email.

If you sign up for the newsletter, we’ll be sending you more news every couple of weeks, as well as updating you on the status of the giveaways, so keep your eyes open for our emails. As always, please don’t hesitate to write us at david (at)

Cheers and happy reading,

David and Beth VanDyke

Author Solutions and Friends: The Inside Story

More great stuff by Gaughran about the sickening Author Solutions scam.

David Gaughran

ASandfriendsweboptAuthor Solutions has forged partnerships with a long list of famous names in publishing – from Simon & Schuster and Hay House to Barnes & Noble and Reader’s Digest.

Recent disclosures in various lawsuits, along with information sent to me by a Penguin Random House source, detail for the very first time exactly how these partnerships work and the damage they are causing.

Since a second suit was filed at the end of March, Author Solutions is now facing two class actions, with the new complaint alleging unjust enrichment and exploitation of seniors on top of the usual claims of fraud and deceptive practices. It also has a wonderfully precise summary of Author Solutions’ operations:

Author Solutions operates more like a telemarketing company whose customer base is the Authors themselves. In other words, unlike a traditional publisher, Author Solutions makes money from its Authors, not for them. It does so…

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