ForDummies

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UPDATE: Two of five letters sent received responses.  I am continuing to try to communicate with these authors and will be putting each author’s emails up in their own posts.  Here are the correspondances so far with . . .

Sue Jenkins (Dreamweaver for Dummies)

 someone (?) in contact with Barbara Obermeier (Photoshop for Dummies)


A couple weeks ago a complaint was filed by publisher John Wiley and Sons against 27 “John Does” for downloading various books in the “For Dummies” series.  In case you don’t want to wade through the actual 18-page complaint, the books in question are:

1. Dreamweaver CS5 All in one for Dummies  (downloaded 12 times)
2. Photoshop CS5 All in one for Dummies  (downloaded 7 times)
3. Calculus Essential for Dummies (downloaded 3 times )
4. WordPress for dummies  (downloaded 2 times)
5. Day Trading For dummies
6. Excel VBA programming for dummies
7. Home Networking Do it yourself for dummies
8.  AutoCAD 2011 for dummies

This is terrible.  These are educational books!  #3 Calculus for Dummies??  Poor guy’s just trying to learn some math.  (And boy do I sympathize!  I didn’t even get to calculus…)  Now they’re getting sued for it.  That’s what you get for doing outside reading, I guess.

Anyway, knowing that legal action is often taken without the author’s knowledge or consent, and when it is, the author has often been victimized by industry scare tactics, I feel a responsibility to inform them, as I did with Caitlin Kittredge. And so I am in the process of finding and contacting the authors of the above books.

This is the letter I’m sending:

Dear, Ms/Mr [insert author surname here–doesn’t hurt to be polite],

I don’t know if you are aware, but several “John Does” are being pursued for torrenting your book, [insert book name here ].  Since piracy is known to increase sales, I wanted to let you know about this, if you didn’t already–it would be terrible to see an author robbed of sales because no one was allowed to share their work!

I know that legal action is often taken without the author’s knowledge or consent, and that there may be nothing they can do to stop the harassment of their fans and the abuse of their own work.  (A sad thing that an author does not have this right!)

Still, a dissenting voice can sometimes have an effect.  And an author, of all people, should be allowed to have that voice.

Aelius Blythe

I started out writing individual letters but then realized I was saying exactly the same thing in each one and thinking up eight different ways to rephrase “do you know your book is being pirated?” etc. felt really fake.  If you want to use this template to contact other authors that you fear are being taken advantage of in court by their publishers, and you can’t think of a better way to say the same thing, you are more than welcome to use this one!

And if anyone else wants to send a friendly note to these authors, the contact info I have collected so far is below. I’m working on the rest of it. (Give me a break–it’s NaNoWriMo!)  (By the way, this is PUBLICLY AVAILABLE information.  I did not steal it or make it public.  If anyone has additional or updated info please let me know.)

And please remember to be friendly!  Remember, like all artists, authors are victims here as well and frequently don’t even know it.  Being a writer is difficult and we can react emotionally when it comes to our work–so be gentle!

I am in the process of contacting…

1. Dreamweaver CS5 All in one for Dummies  (downloaded 12 times)
author:  Sue Jenkins
email:  contact@luckychair.com  (company email, however, I successfully got a reply from her)
source:  http://www.luckychair.com/contact.html

2. Photoshop CS5 All in one for Dummies  (downloaded 7 times)
author:  Barbara Obermeier
(tentative) email:   education@santabarbara.aiga.org  (Ms. Obermeier is co-chair of the Education Committee at AIGA Santa Barbara.  The email I sent got a response from her co-chairs (whoops,) Anna Lafferty, with whom I am currently communicating (will post!) but she has told me that my letter was forwarded to Ms Obermeier.  Will update if I get more info.)
source: http://santabarbara.aiga.org/about-aiga-sb/board-members/

3. Calculus Essential for Dummies (downloaded 3 times )
author:  Mark Ryan
email:  markryan@themathcenter.com
source:  http://www.winnetkacommunityhouse.org/associated-groups/associate-organizations/

4. WordPress for dummies  (downloaded 2 times)
Author: Lisa Sabin-Wilson
email: didn’t get an email yet, but contacted via contact form at www.eWebscapes.com
source:  www.eWebscapes.com

5. Day Trading For dummies
author: Ann C Logue
email: ann@annlogue.com
source: annlogue.com (contact form points to email)

Still working on getting contact info for…

6. Excel VBA programming for dummies
author: John Walkenbach

7. Home Networking Do it yourself for dummies
author: Lawrence C Miller (Or Greg Holden????  Amazon lists Holden in the search results, but Miller on the book’s page.  Is this the same person? Listed as Miller on Wiley.com’s book page.)

8.  AutoCAD 2011 for dummies
author: David Byrnes




3 Responses to “Writing to Authors for Dummies”

  1. live60

    Aelius, I would continue to torpedo your efforts with knowledge, but allowing you to go full speed ahead on the old hamster wheel may be the best cure for your lapse in good judgement.

    R.D….

    Reply
    • Ghonie

      I couldn’t find it at my local Barnes & Noble, even tohguh they said it was in stock weird! I’ll have to order it through Amazon! (Unless I win it from you, ofcourse!)

      Reply

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