Another problem AI has created for authors is generating a book and falsely attaching the name of a well-known author. Although Amazon has begun to crack down on this problem, this crackdown also seems to entrap some publishers who are trying to publish the work of real authors. That’s because these publishers now have to produce all kinds of documents to prove the author really has authorized them to publish the book, leading to a struggle to prove they have this permission. Adding to their difficulty in proving they have this right, they can only communicate with the Amazon Content Review team members by email, and they may get a different team member each time they exchange emails. In the meantime, their books remained blocked from publication. Even getting an ISBN from Bowker doesn’t matter. Those books get blocked, too.
That’s what happened to a relatively new publisher – J. Michael Publishing, which was originally founded to published a series of children’s picture books about a duck named Googala Duck who decided to remain home for the winter because he loved the pond.It was written the founder/author John Pluff based on stories he told his children when they were growing up. Then, he decided to expand into publishing other books by an editor he worked with, Gini Graham Scott, who published over 250 books with both traditional publishers and through her own companies, Changemakers Publishing and Changemakers Kids.
Everything was fine when Pluff published Scott’s book Once Upon a Time in Ukraine, which featured over 200 photos she took when she visited Ukraine on a citizen diplomacy trip 35 years ago in 1989, during the Glasnost years. The book even received a glowing testimonial from a Ukrainian-American who settled in California and became a successful businessman.
But about six weeks ago, the publishing nightmare for Pluff began, when he was caught up by what appears to be Amazon’s policy of cracking down on new publishers publishing books by established authors, because maybe the authors didn’t write those books. And it would appear this crackdown started because fraudsters used AI to generate books for sale under the name of the well-known author Jane Friedman, who writes books about writing and publising. After she complained that the titles she didn’t write were falsely listed as being written by her on both Amazon and Amazon’s reviews site Goodreads. Amazon at first refused to remove the books, because she hadn’t trademarked her name. But after Jane Friedman, who wrote several books about the publishing industry, The Business of Being a Writer and Publishing 101, spoke out about what happened to her on the social media, Amazon finally took down five books that she said were falsely attributed to her.
And that’s fine. Amazon should take down AI-generated or any other books falsely attributed to an author to promote sales. And Amazon should have a policy to do so, according to Friedman. According to a Guardian article by Ella Creamer: “Amazon Removes Books ‘Generated by AI’ for Sale Under Author’s name,” Frieman stated: “Unless Amazon puts some sort of policy in place to prevent anyone from just uploading whatever book they want and applying whatever name they want, this will continue. It’s not going to end with me. They have no procedure for reporting this sort of activity where someone’s trying to profit off someone’s name.” And on her blog, she called on Amazon to “create a way to verify authorship.”
Certainly, any author would agree with that request. But the problem is that this requirement to verify authorship can turn into a nightmare for some publishers who suddenly have to verify that they are publishing the work of a real author. Then, to do so, they have to get all kinds of verification that they may not have, including contracts, copyright registrations, and other documents proving that the author assigned the rights to their book to their publishing company.
That’s what happened for J. Michael Publishing, after publisher John Pluff tried to publish three books by Gini Graham Scott, the author of 200 plus books, starting with: Ask AI: An Advice Column with Real Advice for Real Problems from Real People, followed by the books Ask AI: The Game: A Game of Giving Advice for Real Problems, and Ask AI’s Advice: Advice from AI for Real Problems from Real People and a Game of Giving Advice for Real Problems.
Oddly, the paperbacks for the first two books went live without a problem, and they still are live. But then the Kindle editions were blocked, and when the publishing company tried to republish the books with ISBNs, they got blocked because the books were the same as the previously published or blocked books. Then Amazon turned down Ask Ais Advice, a completely different book with a different cover, which was about twice as long, since it combined Ask AI and Ask AI: The Game, was blocked, too, even though it included “Published by J. Michael Publishing” on the cover and title page.
Initially, after the first book was blocked, with no explanation, Pluff, as the publisher, sent a letter to Amazon’s Content Review team on July 12, after Gini Graham Scott’s call as the author wasn’t enough, since the letter about the book had to come from the publisher. But his letter of explanation wasn’t enough. The Review Team needed more documentation and wrote back in part:
“We’ve reviewed the information you provided. Based on our review, we’re unable to confirm that you hold the necessary publishing rights.
The information you provided is insufficient because of the following concerns…
• Documentation has not been provided to confirm that the author granted you rights to publish the content.
• Documentation has not been provided to confirm that rights were reverted to the author from the previous publisher.
In order to publish the book(s), reply to this email within 5 days and provide us with further documentation and/or verification showing you hold rights to the content.
Please reply to confirm your publishing rights within 5 days. Otherwise, the book(s) will be unavailable for sale on Amazon.
So Pluff sent a letter from Scott showing the title page of the book, the copyright notice in her name, and her statement that she had granted the publishing rights to J. Michael Publishing.But that wasn’t good enough, and on July 13, Pluff received a letter from another Content Review Team member, stating that based on the information he provided they were still “unable to confirm that you hold the necessary publishing rights,” because they did not have a contract signed by all the parties.
Initially, he didn’t have a formal contract, since he had worked out the agreement with Scott through emails, phone calls, and a personal meeting. So Scott drafted a contract he could send. But even this wasn’t enough, since the contract lacked a personal signature from Scott assigning the copyright, according to another email from still another Content Review team member. And there was no one that the publisher could talk to personally to straighten everything out.
Eventually, Scott published the books herself under her own publishing company, Changemakers Publishing, with the understanding that any sales would be credited to the J. Michael Publishing Company, once it could publish the three books.
In short, J. Michael Publishing’s exchange with Amazon’s Content Review Team reflects what appears to be a new policy of cracking down to avoid AI-generated content being used to create books falsely attributed to well-known authors. But the policy can also ensnare some publishers, most notably new small publishers, into a confusing trap where they have to provide documentation that they may not initially have to show that they have the rights to publish an author’s work.
Thus, according to author Scott, there is a need to balance out the needed removal falsely attributed AI-generated content when authors protest that they didn’t write those books with the opposite situation where a publisher validly publishes the work of an author.
As Scott states: “If the author is claiming the publisher has the right to publish the work and is not asking Amazon to remove it, that should be enough to show the publisher can publish the book. A publisher shouldn’t have to go through all kinds of legal hoops to affirm the right to publish an author’s book, which could discourage some small independent publishers from publishing the work of outside authors. Or going through an extended verification process could increase their costs of publishing, leading to increased charges to customers or reduced payments to authors they publish. So there should be a balance between cracking down on AI-generated or other books falsely attributed to real authors and not extending this crackdown to publishers trying to publish the work of real authors.”
Thirty-five years ago, Ukraine was at peace, at a time when Russia was becoming a freer society during the Glasnost years under Mikhail Gorbachev. Once Upon a Time in Ukraine shows what this time was like through 200 photos taken by a woman whose paternal grandparents emigrated from the Odesa area and neighboring countries in the early 20th century.
Here are some comments from one Ukrainian-American who found the book very moving and inspiring:
“As a Ukrainian-American born in Kyiv, I found “Once Upon a Time in Ukraine” by Gini Graham Scott to be an insightful visual journey into the heart of Ukraine’s rich history and vibrant culture during the transformative period of glasnost and the perestroika era of the 1980s.
“Through her expressive writing and over 200 captivating photos from her trip to Ukraine, Scott creates a tangible link to the past, allowing readers to travel back in time and experience the country’s unique traditions and landscapes.
“In these challenging times of global uncertainty, “Once Upon a Time in Ukraine” serves as a beautiful tribute to Ukraine’s past and a beacon of hope for its future. An essential read for those yearning to grasp the essence of Ukraine and the spirit of its people.”
Oleksii Chuiko Director of Operations ASIYA Shrine Center San Mateo, CA
The photos in the book feature visits to parks, beaches, markets, city streets, museums of art and industry, and more. They show people enjoying everyday life all over Kyiv and the surrounding countryside. The photos even show a wedding, as the couple leaves the church surrounded by joyous friends.
The photos were taken by an author with grandparents from the Odesa area. She was on a citizen diplomacy trip in which travelers stayed in the homes of residents, met with government officials, attended a criminal trial, spent a day at the beach with new friends, visited markets, and in many other ways had a close and personal look at life in Ukraine in 1988. Her account of her travels through Ukraine and other parts of the Soviet Union were originally published as Through the Open Door by New World Publishing in 1989.
This book features never seen before photos, since they were originally slides, shown only in a carousel to friends and family members, and a few were turned into prints displayed on the author’s walls. All the slides were scanned and turned into JPGs in order to appear in this book.
The author, Gini Graham Scott, PhD, JD, is a nationally known writer, consultant, speaker, and seminar leader, specializing in business and work relationships, professional and personal development, social trends, popular culture, science, crime, and children’s picture books. She has published over 50 books with major publishers and 200 books through her own company, Changemakers Publishing. She has worked with hundreds of clients on memoirs, self-help, business books, and screenplays.
The publisher, J. Michael Publishing, was founded by John Pluff, and it previously published a series of books about a duck who didn’t fly South with his family because he loved the pond so much. As a result, he had to survive a harsh winter by finding shelter and avoiding being eaten by predators. The five-part The Story of Googala Duck tells this story, and a forthcoming series will follow Googala Duck’s adventures the following year in the Everglades. The company has also expanded into a series of AI-inspired books. These include Ask AI, An Advice Column with Real Advice for Real Problems of Real People with Answers by AI; Ask AI: The Game, A Game of Giving Advice for Real Problems; and The Ethics of AI, a series of questions and answers about AI’s morality and ethics.
Besides writing about ducks, author John Pluff has been writing film scripts and is the owner of a successful building company, the American Building Group. The first script, The Dragon of Locke, is about two detectives who help to solve a case involving the theft of a sacred dragon from a Taoist monastery in China after it is shipped to Stockton, California, while they are trying to find the missing brother-in-law of a local businessman. The script has recently been entered in 35 international film festivals and has received 27 awards so far. Additional scripts based on the adventures of Dan and Winnie are in the works.
For more information or to set up interviews with author Gini Graham Scott or publisher John Pluff, visit the website at jmichaelpublishing.com, You can contact John Pluff at J. Michael Publishing at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 316-5553.
Now there is a new duck on the scene – Googala Duck, who first appeared in a series of books about a duck who doesn’t want to fly South with his family and other ducks for the winter because he loves the pond so much. But he soon faces the cold and snow of winter, and he has to battle the elements and some dangerous predators. Plus he has to escape from being cooked for dinner by a hunter, and he finds that his friends, the otters, beavers, and muskrats, are busy preparing for winter and have no time to play with him now. Then, if he survives, he has to find his family again in the Spring.
The popularity of the series led to a song – The Ballad of Googala Duck, which is featured on YouTube:
And now the books have been turned into a series of five videos designed to introduce readers to the magic of the book series. The videos feature illustrations from the books as a narrator reads the text. The books in The Story of Googala Duck series include Saying Goodbye for the Winter, Getting Through the Winter, Encounter with a Hunter, Help from an Owl, and Spring in the Pond. The first video on the series is at https://youtu.be/_epiwtLMOuk
What’s next for Googala Duck? There are plans to continue the story with a series of adventures that begin when Googala returns to the pond in the spring. Some of the new books will feature the stories of other ducks in the family, as well as Googala Duck’s friends at the pond – Joey Otter, Billy Beaver, and Mr. Muskrat. A feature film is in the works, too.
The Story of Googala Duck is especially timely now that ducks will soon be flying north in the spring.
Besides writing about ducks, author John Pluff has been writing film scripts and is the owner of a successful building company, the American Building Group. The first script, The Dragon of Locke, is about two detectives who help to solve a case involving the theft of a sacred dragon from a Taoist monastery in China after it is shipped to Stockton, California, while they are trying to find the missing brother-in-law of a local businessman. The script has recently been entered in 35 international film festivals, and has received 27 awards so far, with another 3 decisions pending. Additional scripts based on the adventures of Dan and Winnie are in the works, too.
For more information or to set up interviews, visit the website at jmichaelpublishing.com or call (408) 316-5553.
J. Michael Publishing
It’s the season when ducks, geese, and many other birds fly south for the winter to escape the cold weather and snow. From September to December they are off until spring. But The Story of Googala Duck tells the story of a duckling that decides to stay behind, since he likes playing in the pond and doesn’t want to leave his friends, the otters, beavers, and muskrats.
However, they’re getting ready for winter themselves, and soon he has to face the harsh realities of a cold snowy winter. So how will he survive, and will he be able to meet his family again in the spring.
That’s what a new series of books – The Story of Googala Duck – is all about. The books recently were released and a video introducing the series is at https://youtu.be/i8mkX3BLZ04.
The five-part series, called The Story of Googala Duck, began as a story that author John M. Pluff told his young children. Later, he decided to turn it into five picture books, and now he is developing the story into a film.
In the first book, Saying Goodbye for the Winter, Googala doesn’t listen to his parents advice to south with them, and in the second book Getting through the Winter, he faces the growing cold weather and snow. Then, in book three Encounter with a Hunter, he thinks he has found a home for the winter with a hunter, who hopes to cook him for dinner, and in the fourth book Help from an Owl, he finds another place to stay in a nest in a tree. But then he has to leave again.
The last book continues the story. So will Googala make it through the winter? Will he see his family again in the spring? And what will he learn from his struggles? The Story of Googala Duck tells this story, which is ideally set at a time when ducks really do fly south for the winter, as it tells Googala Duck’s story.
It also provides a message for kids about the value of learning from one’s parents and about gaining personal courage to face any challenges in life. And more stories about Googala Duck and his brothers and sisters are planned, because they have stories, too.
Besides writing about ducks, author John Pluff has been writing film scripts. The first script, The Dragon of Locke, is about two detectives who help to solve a case involving the theft of a sacred dragon from a Taoist monastery in China after it is shipped to Stockton, California, while they are trying to find the missing brother-in-law of a local businessman.
The script has recently been entered in 18 international film festivals, and won 16 awards. Future scripts about the Dan and Winnie and their next cases are in the works.
For more information, visit the website at www.jmichaelpublishing.com, and you can contact John Pluff at email@example.com
What would happen if a duckling decided to stay behind when its family flew south for the winter?
That’s the premise of a new series of books about a duckling that does this, because he likes the pond so much, only to experience all kinds of challenges as winter sets in.
The five-part series, called The Story of Googala Duck, began as a story that author John M. Pluff told his young children, and later decided to turn it into five books, and now the series might be turned into a film. In the first book, Saying Goodbye for the Winter, Googala parents urge him to fly south with them, but Googala doesn’t listen and stays behind.
But he soon finds that his friends, the otters, beavers, badgers, and muskrats, are preparing for the coming winter, and in the second book Getting through the Winter, he faces the growing cold weather and snow.
Then, he faces even more challenges, including an encounter with a hunter who is preparing, to cook him for dinner, though he finds protection for a while from an owl who lets him stay in his nest. Will Googala make it through the winter? Will he see his family again when they return?
And what will he learn about himself as a result of his struggles?
The Story of Googala Duck tells this story, and it is not only a tale about what happens in nature, but a story about the importance of both learning from one’s parents and gaining personal courage.
Now Googala Duck takes his place among other classic ducks such as Disney’s Donald Duck and Warner Brother’s Daffy Duck, and more Googala Duck stories are planned that feature his adventures as he grows up on the pond.
Since writing The Story of Googala Duck, author John Pluff has also been writing film scripts when not working in his main business as the owner of a successful building company, the American Building Group.
The first of these, The Dragon of Locke, is about the theft of a sacred dragon from a Taoist monastery in China that is shipped to Stockton, California and then stolen from the warehouse, while a Tong group in Locke is after it because it is worth big bucks.
Now, detectives Dan Sellers and Winnie Falk are on the trail to find out what happened to it and bring it back, while trying to find the missing brother-in-law of a local businessman. Future detective stories about Dan and Winnie are in the works.
For more information, visit the website at www.jmichaelpublishing.com, and you can contact John Pluff at J. Michael Publishing at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 316-5553.