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Friday, August 29, 2014

Read the Office Document Strategies Blog

Read the Office Document Strategies Blog

Business documents are the repository of knowledge which underpins all of the functions of commerce.  Using them well can have a significant impact on success.

This blog features articles relating to

    IT Network installation and support
    Office document filing strategies
    Print Production and management
    Mailing systems
    New technologies which are impacting office operations

Keep up to date on changes in office operations and technologies by subscribing today!

 About Leppert
     Since 1975 Leppert Business Systems Inc. has been providing clients with peace of mind in the use of document focused technologies in their offices. From their facilities in Burlington ON, Leppert responds to the document production and management needs of a broad range of clients in Hamilton, Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Mississauga as well as other municipalities in Southern Ontario.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Solutions on a By-The-Question Basis | Publishing > Consulting

Solutions on a By-The-Question Basis | More Profitable Publishing

FWIW:  I have followed Marion Gropen contributions to publishing on the Net  for many years, She is a terrific person and I personally recommend her services. Dave Mainwaring, Framingham, MA

Googling reveals: "She has successfully guided companies through major changes such as personnel re-organizations, switching distributors, changing accounting systems, and the sale of the company in whole or in part.

Marion volunteers as a manager of the Linked In Group "Ebooks, Ebook Readers, Digital Publishing and Digital Content," 

{a outstanding professional level on-line forum, a must read group}

She received her MBA, with honors, in Finance from NYU in 1992, while working for Simon & Schuster. 

In 2003, she opened her consulting practice.

Get innovative suggestions and time-tested techniques combined into solutions that help you make money, create new opportunities and avoid problems.

Gain the skills and knowledge to help yourself .

What exactly can she do for you? That depends on what you need."

Contact Marion
Email is the best way: Marion.Gropen@GropenAssoc.com
Phone: (888) 3GROPEN, which is (888) 347-6736. This is toll-free within the US.
Mail: 1329 Seventh St, New Orleans, LA 70115

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

How to Spot a Phony Book Reviewer | IBPA} By James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review –

How to Spot a Phony Book Reviewer | IBPA

July 21, 2014


By James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief, Midwest Book Review

JimCoxI’ve been a practicing book reviewer and a keenly interested observer of the publishing industry since the fall of 1976.

My more than 30 years as a reviewer, monthly book review newsletter
editor, radio and television producer of weekly book review programs,
and Editor-in-Chief of the Midwest Book Review
supervising the work of 37 volunteer book reviewers across the United
States and Canada has taught me a great deal as both a creator of book
reviews, an editor of the reviews of others, and the needs and problems
of the independent small press publisher with respect to being reviewed.

For the publisher, the primary purpose of the book review is to
extract from it publicity and promotion values which will, in turn,
result in an increase of sales for the reviewed book. The principal
hazard facing the publisher with respect to reviews is getting panned by
an honest book reviewer or scammed by a phony book reviewer.

Midwest Book ReviewWith
respect to an unfavorable review by a legitimate reviewer, I can offer
the publisher nothing but my sympathy. But with respect to getting taken
by the dishonest scam artist posing as a reviewer of books, I can offer
some very practical advice on how to avoid getting “taken” by alerting
the publisher as to what to look for, what to ask, and how to verify.

This is important money-saving information for every tight budget,
every-penny-counts, small press publisher. This is because not only is
there the loss of the book (and the shipping and handling costs to send
the book), but there is also the absence of the hoped-for publicity and
promotion boost for the published book in a very competitive retail

Plus, there is the lost opportunity to send that same book (and
expend those same limited postage monies) to a legitimate reviewer and
thereby reaping the marketplace benefits of a legitimate review set
before a prospective audience of potential buyers.

Book Reviewers can be categorized much the same as the books they are
sent for review: there are the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

The hallmarks of any good book reviewer begin with feedback to the
publisher. This is ultimately expressed with the reviewer furnishing the
publisher a copy of the review. Typically this is in the form of a tear
sheet from their publication or a script from their radio or television
program. This tear sheet or review script is usually accompanied by a
cover letter giving any additional details such as the date of
publication or the time of broadcast.

When reviews are posted on the Internet, the reviewer’s publisher
notification letter will include the text of the review post, and
indicate what Web sites, newsgroups, online bookstores, or e-mail lists
(Internet discussion groups) were posted to so that the publisher can
verify the postings accordingly.

A bad reviewer isn’t the one who pans your book with an honest
(albeit negative) judgement, it’s the one who solicits a review copy of a
publisher’s book under false pretenses. Someone who wants a free copy
of your book with no intention of fulfilling their side of the
marketplace bargain to furnish an opinion for the publisher with regard
to publicity and promotional needs, or for use of the potential book
buyer in determining what is recommended for their reading pleasures or

In short, a bad reviewer is someone out to get something for nothing, a scam artist, a thief.

The mediocre reviewer is simply someone of good intentions but poor
performance. Never underestimate the ability of a given book reviewer to
be basically inept and a failure at the trade and craft of reviewing,
just as there are those well-intentioned authors who couldn’t write
their way out of a paper bag, or those well-meaning publishers who can’t
seem to proof a text, or design a saleable cover, or balance a
publishing budget.

The focus of this article is to provide a list of “tips, tricks &
techniques” for daily use by independent, small press publishers in
spotting a “bad reviewer,” or at the very least, the “mediocre

Review copy solicitation by telephone.

Never accept a request for a review copy of your book by a telephone
call from someone you do not know, or the representative of a review
organization that you have never heard of. When receiving such a
telephone solicitation for a review copy, require the caller to submit a
request to you in writing. No legitimate reviewer would ever argue with
or refuse such a requirement.

Review copy solicitation by e-mail.

As the use of the Internet spreads throughout our society, and as
more and more publishers come “online,” we see the phenomena of e-mail
communications in much the same fashion as the telephone for the
soliciting of review copies. The same rule applies to an e-mail review
copy solicitation as to the telephone version. Require the e-mail sender
to submit a request to you in a standard letter of request sent via the
post office. There is a modicum of protection offered by U.S. Postal
Service laws against using the mails for fraudulent purposes that may
deter the phony book reviewer.

Review copy solicitation by mail.

When a review copy solicitation letter arrives in your mailbox, be
certain that it is written on letterhead stationery that includes the
reviewer’s address and a phone number. These two items often give you
(and the U.S. Post Master General) the information necessary to verify
the legitimacy of the reviewer.

I would also advise that a street address be required, rather than
merely a post office box. This is because “fly-by-night” scams are often
easier to perpetrate through the use of post office boxes, than through
the use of street addresses. This advice is controversial amongst some,
feeling as they do that it unnecessarily casts suspicion over
legitimate businesses that use post office boxes honestly. My response
is that these good folk are usually selling something, where the unknown
book reviewer is asking to receive something — for free. While it is
possible to run a scam from a street address, it is far more commonplace
among con artist operations to use the mobility of the post office box
to run their game until they get found out, then pull up stakes, change
their name, and get another post office box.

Confirming book reviewer credentials.

There are several excellent techniques at the disposal of the
publisher to confirm the legitimacy of a prospective book reviewer who
has made a request for a review copy.

Ask for a sample copy of their publication. If a radio or television
program, request a copy of their show. If a free lance reviewer, ask for
copies of reviews that they have done and a list of the media outlets
or book review publications that have featured their work.

Ask for professional references. Are there other publishers who have
used them in the past? Are there independent publicists, newsletter or
newspaper editors, radio or television show producers to whom they’ve
successfully provided reviews? If there are then call those references
and check them out. If there is not, ignore the request.

Join publisher groups like SPAN and the Independent Book Publishers
Association (IBPA), and Internet discussion groups like IBPA’s LinkedIn Discussion Forum.
Then, as a participant in these groups, ask your professional
colleagues if they have ever heard of, or had dealings with, this or
that reviewer or book review organization.

Be cautious, it’s your first time together.

If you have now checked out the prospective reviewer according to the
above advice and things seem kosher, send out just one book for review
consideration the first time around. This is not a problem with the very
small publisher who only has the one book, but for a larger publisher
with a multi-title list, or a lengthy, active back list, this limits the
damage if the reviewer turns out to be a scam artist so clever that
they got past your initial screening. When the reviewer proves
legitimate and provides a review, more books can confidently be sent for
review consideration later on.

Having sent your book for review.

Now that you’ve taken the chance and sent a review copy to the
prospective book reviewer there is still one more thing to be done in
order to insure that you are working with a “good reviewer,” and not a
scam artist masquerading as a reviewer — FOLLOW UP.

Some publishers use self-addressed postcards shipped with the review
book, requesting that the reviewer pop them in the mail so that you will
know that they received the book and possibly even be able to indicate a
review date. These don’t often work well as a feedback tool, even with
legitimate book reviewers. There is another, better way to follow up on
your review copy and at the same time enhance the chances of actually
getting reviewed.

Seven to 10 days after popping your review copy in the mail, make a
phone call to the reviewer and ask these three questions (and in the
order I’m going to lay them out for you):

  1. This is [your name here]. With the mails being as uncertain as they
    are, I’m calling to confirm that you received [your book title here].
  2. Can you tell me the current status of [your book title here] with respect to your review schedule?
  3. Is there any further information or assistance I can provide you?
No legitimate reviewer will object to these three questions as I have
stated them. Reviewers are well aware that sometimes things go astray
in the mails or that books get damaged in transit. Reviewers also
understand that publishers are very interested in whether or not their
book will “make the cut” and get reviewed. There is also the occasional
need for additional information — an ISBN number, more author bio
details, an 800 number, the availability of an e-mail address or the
presence of a Web site, etc.

If, despite all your precautions (and my good advice), you have
indeed been taken in by a phony book reviewer, then do one last thing
before chalking it up to experience. Write to your publisher
association’s newsletter and/or make a post to your publisher Internet
discussion group and denounce the person who masqueraded as a legitimate
reviewer so that other independent, small press publishers can be
forewarned and benefit from your experience. We are all our brother’s
keepers in the sense that we have an obligation to help one another keep
from harm’s way.

In conclusion.

And finally, I’ve been reviewing books and advising publishers on
“Tips, Tricks & Techniques for Getting Reviewed” for more than 30
years now. It is my firm belief that most people asking for review
copies are very well-meaning and honest in their intention. The scam
artists are few in number and not at all difficult to spot if you know
what to ask, what to require, and what to look for. While there will
inevitably be a few bad apples in any apple barrel, the overwhelming
majority of the apples will still make good eating. And even a bad apple
can be turned into satisfying fertilizer with a little cooperative