View Full Version : HB Marcus = PA Employee

Ed Williams 3
03-14-2004, 05:29 AM
Since HB loves to "out" authors on the PA board who don't step in time to the tune he's playing, I thought it might be appropriate to cast a few thoughts out here in cyberland regarding him and his situation. Read through the following, and form your own conclusions...

1. How does HB rate reviews like the following from the head guy at Publish America?

Very funny!, April 3, 2002
Reviewer: willem meiners from Cedar Rapids, IA USA
The author is sharp witted, which sometimes makes him enemies. The book is fast paced, which can only make him friends. Crispy is funny, original, and just great entertainment. Smoky and Spider invent things out of the blue, and at some point you almost want them get caught by bad Chuck.
I bought this book because I know the author, not personally, but from reading his diatribes on various message boards. I like where he's coming from, rock bands and all, and I just adore his capacity to rave and rant and say anything outrageous while always staying true to basic issues like love and loyalty. H.B. Marcus is a good man who wrote a good book. Both the author and his work are highly recommended!

2. How does someone get an expense paid trip to the recent PA conference to lead a session on writing humor when he has such poor book sales? Last time I checked, out of 2200 some odd PA books on Amazon, "Crispy" was ranked 400 something, and "The Joe Schmoe Show" was up in the thousands.

3. A recent quote off the PA boards from HB:

"If you do good, I do good. It's as simple as that."

I wonder just what exactly that means....

I have a simple challenge for the board sensors over at the PA Message Boards - prove me wrong. Put down, in writing, for all the PA authors to see, that HB Marcus doesn't draw a dime from PA, not as an employee, a contract employee, an independent contractor, or whatever. Prove me wrong, if you can....if I'm right, all you PA authors need to take a hard, hard look at what sort of organization you're supporting with both your hard work and dollars...

03-14-2004, 10:53 AM
there's a very good chance that he's not an employee. He's probaby even something better: a devotee. you don't have to pay those, and they're fanatical enough to do whatever you want. of course, you have to be careful, those who devote their life to one thing and raise that thing to all-importance can someday outgrow their position and bring down the whole structure.

FM St George
03-14-2004, 11:01 PM
I'd say he's doing that right now with the juvenile and rather psychotic attacks on the message boards...

anyone with an ounce of common sense wouldn't want to be anywhere near this fanatic when he goes off... I'd be afraid to be in the same workplace as him if he ever got a bad job review...


and even if he's not pulling a paycheck direct from PA he sure as heck gets more priviledges than the average author - he already noted in another post that he has "pull" with the message board moderators on what stays and what goes...

a little, little man with illusions of grandeur... sad thing is that even if he were a good writer no publisher would take him on with that sort of attitude and reputation at this point.

03-14-2004, 11:33 PM
Who knows if he's on the payroll? Who cares, but it is obvious that he has the full faith and credit of the powers that be.

04-16-2004, 10:49 PM
Yes, HB is teaching grammar at URL www.publishamerica.com/cg...al/932.htm (http://www.publishamerica.com/cgi-bin/pamessageboard/data/general/932.htm) . He actually got some of it right, but I'd hate to submit something to a publisher based entirely upon his lessons.

04-17-2004, 03:08 AM
"4. Published religious texts (i.e. The Koran, The Bible, The Bhagavad-Gita, etc.). While these books are hundreds of years old, they are usually books for which the translation and
publication are still protected by copyright, so permission must still be obtained. These books also often have a blanket copyright permission offered within the book itself if properly
credited—check carefully for that. "

Ok, correct me if i'm wrong, because i usually am. i was under the assumption that there was a limited number of bible verses one could use and not obtain permission. if i'm wrong, than a lot of writers and pastors will be hearing from the publishers.

"Generally, use of just a few lines with a correct attribution does not need copyright permission, but best to make sure...many artists/writers persue copyright issues with much

Humm, i again was under the assumption that if i wanted to use a line from a song, i needed permission. on the other hand, when i was in college, i had written thesis papers and i had used a lot of quotes from various books, again, no permission. Plus, shouldn't a writer already know basic engish grammar? yes, my grammar is very poor and i am working on it, but still, shouldn't a writer know the basics? but again, i could be wrong. as chunky says, what do i know? (no permission given.) :gone

04-17-2004, 06:36 PM
FWIW, real publishers get along fine with accepted style guides like Chicago:b

And I've never asked for permission to quote a Bible verse.

James D Macdonald
04-17-2004, 10:14 PM
On the Bible question, it all depends on the date of the translation. The King James Version is well out of copyright, the New Living Translation is under copyright.

On fair use: This isn't actually a permission, it's a defense if someone brings an infringement suit. There isn't a hard-and-fast rule for amount. So.... maybe it's fair use, and maybe it isn't, but it isn't anything until a judge says what it is.

Most times brief quotes in the context of a review won't get you in trouble, since the odds are (if someone was crazy enough to bring suit) that the judge would look over his bench and say "Yeah, that's fair use. Pay the defendant's court costs too, you weenie," so no one tries.

But, using quotes from songs for commercial purposes (where one line may be a substantial percentage of the entire text of the song), and where your purpose is to make money, and the songwriter's purpose is to make money by controling his creation ... then you might see a court fight, and things may go badly for you.

Parody, too, isn't an exception to copyright, it's a defense if someone brings an infringement suit.

The wisest folks avoid putting themselves in a position where they have to defend themselves at all.

05-27-2004, 05:25 PM
www.publishamerica.com/cg...e/4151.htm (http://www.publishamerica.com/cgi-bin/pamessageboard/data/lounge/4151.htm)

I forget, is written text libel or slander?

I'm pretty sure he gets his military technology info from people in the military, not from his "opinion"...

Big Daddy West

05-27-2004, 05:54 PM
To answer your question, libel is written; slander is spoken.

From the sounds of it, a certain author appears to be searching for a reason for why his books aren't selling.

05-31-2004, 08:18 AM
HB Marcus

Subject: PR UPDATE

In case you were on the edge of your seats, I was called by a literary publicist today by the name of Phenix and Phenix. (Yes, they really spelled it that way.) Anyway they have my book, Crispy and they're supposed to call on Friday to tell me how the evaluation went.

If you know anything about this company I would appreciate any advice. I'll be posting any information I get from them including their pricing.

So far everyone has been like: "We'll make you a million bucks for a million bucks."



www.absolutewrite.com/news/phenix.htm (http://www.absolutewrite.com/news/phenix.htm)

www.bookpros.com/ (http://www.bookpros.com/)

www.bookzonepro.com/insig...e-127.html (http://www.bookzonepro.com/insights/articles/article-127.html)

www.scribesworld.com/writ...heGap.html (http://www.scribesworld.com/writersniche/articles/MindtheGap.html)

www.volta.net/Detailed/115946.html (http://www.volta.net/Detailed/115946.html)

www.we-publish.com/newsle...ernews.htm (http://www.we-publish.com/newsletter/decwriternews.htm)

www.bcentral.com/articles/krotz/111.asp (http://www.bcentral.com/articles/krotz/111.asp)

www.denisemclark.com/writersnews.html (http://www.denisemclark.com/writersnews.html)

www.nfib.com/cgi-bin/NFIB...Id=2991858 (http://www.nfib.com/cgi-bin/NFIB.dll/jsp/toolsAndTips/toolsAndTipsDisplay.jsp?contentId=2991858)

here's a few links. you've probably browsed already but these give a bit on the company and a bit of insight into some of their employees.

- mark

HB Marcus


H. B. Marcus
The Joe Schmoe Show

I already have their video and kit but thanks dude. I just wanted to know if anyone has had success with them. They sound good, but then again why wouldn't they if PR is their business? I mean each article sounds like an ad they wrote up themselves. After the crap I went through with an agent I'm a little more careful.



I received a call from a PR firm - AnnieJenningsPR after they had seen my press release. They sounded great too, until they told me it would cost $2500.00 to do business with them. They may as well have asked for a million. I simply can't afford it right now.

Linda D. Roberts

HB Marcus


H. B. Marcus
The Joe Schmoe Show

That's the problem. I noticed a connection though. Quite a few advertise for self published books. It seems like they get you coming and going. I met a lady at a book signing who paid that much to be published.



Wish I could help advice-wise...
But I'm crossing my fingers...see?!


HB Marcus


H. B. Marcus
The Joe Schmoe Show

Another PR company just called me. They're sending out a package for radio and print spots. They sounded pretty impressed by the reviews on Amazon for both books. Let's see how much they want to charge me for this.




Just advise them of YOUR fee and be done with it HB.

Kevin James
The Single Dad's Survival Guide

HB Marcus


H. B. Marcus
The Joe Schmoe Show

Friday morning I got a call from www.bookpros.com. They want to do the PR thing with my new one when that comes out. They did give me some advice though. The guy told me that promoting on as many sites for Crispy doesn't require a PR company and it's the best way you can advertise an older book. I would think that works equally well with any book. Right now I don't think there's anyplace my books aren't on the internet.



Good luck, we're all hoping your dream comes true.

I did receive some information from booksandauthors.net about a PR campaign that is $250.00. It's not so bad, but still it seems like they are lining up to take advantage. I don't understand why publicists don't accept a % of sales like agents do. It seems to me it would ensure that they worked harder to make your book is a success. The more books that sell, the more money they make.

Oh well, what do I know?

Linda D. Roberts

HB Marcus


H. B. Marcus
The Joe Schmoe Show

That's just it, isn't it though. They line up and say they will use their contacts to email(spam)people they know. Oh yeah, I would read everything they sent if they were my pal.
So, does this appear to be an admission by HB that he's been had already? I wonder how long that topic will remain online.

(Topic number not posted so the PAvidians have to search for it on their own.)

06-07-2004, 06:46 AM
These days, Phenix & Phenix's main PR work seems to be for people who use their vanity division, Turnkey Press.

- Victoria

08-26-2004, 06:19 AM
Ina Goodling

Subject: Some Thoughts on the PA / NY Times Partnership

Ever since I got the most recent email regarding PA and the NY Times, I can't help thinking that maybe it isn't as great a thing as some of us had hoped. Not to say anything negative about either PA or the NY Times, but... to quote a passage in said email:

"At the initiative of the New York Times, we have secured a half page in the newspaper's world famous Book Review section, where PublishAmerica will announce its top ten bestselling books for the previous month.

For now, we plan to make this announcement every month, in the New York Times Book Review. We will re-evaluate this marketing strategy after three months. This is yet another absolutely free benefit of PublishAmerica."

---No doubt several of us PA authors will be rushing to put in orders for large quantities of our own book in order to increase our likelihood of securing a place among the top ten. I believe this creates an unfair disadvantage for those of us who cannot even afford to buy more than two or three copies of our own book (myself included, being on disability), but it IS nice that PA allows this to count toward the top ten listing.
Having published a poetry book with PA, my main concern is, of course, poetry books. I don't hold out much hope of seeing ANY poetry books on the bestseller list. Poetry has never been very popular.
These are just minor qualms, but I guess finding a happy medium would be next to impossible.
I don't know if this is really the BEST marketing strategy, but as I have no suggestions to better it, I guess I shouldn't complain. Whatever happens, may the best books win!

The Herndons


RE: Some Thoughts on the PA / NY Times Partnership


Hi Ina,

We actually generated discussion about this very subject on a network we moderate at Ryze. We won't hijack your post by inserting ours, but we would like to comment.

We all know that there are authors out there who will buy boxes of their own book--whether they can really afford it or not--to make this list. There is nothing to be done about that.

However, we--The Herndons--cannot conceive of that tactic working for long. The next couple of months may see HUGE sales for particular authors who place these big orders, but when the excitement of that wears off and they are stuck with umpteen copies of their own book, then the list should be more reflective of actual consumer sales.

In the meantime, we intend to market the hell out of our own novel and take our actual sales numbers for what they are.

Just our sometimes-not-so-humble opinions! ;)




RE: Some Thoughts on the PA / NY Times Partnership

I agree, no one can keep that up for long. And if a person really is moving books quickly, legitimately, not many people can afford to buy THAT many books themselves. So I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Kevin James
Surviving the Single Dad Syndrome


RE: Some Thoughts on the PA / NY Times Partnership

I would never consider buying anymore than I need for promotional purposes. Very defeative action.

Good advise from the Herndons.



RE: Some Thoughts on the PA / NY Times Partnership

there will alwasy be authors, at PA and all publishers, who will try and get their name known or on one week's best seller list by taking out a loan or having friends run and buy large quantities of their books to make the numbers look good. But everyone in the publishing business KNOWS that happens. I'm sure Bill Clinton had tons of his policical friends buy his book in exchange for helping their current or future campaigns. If I won the lotto, I'd probably buy my book myself! Hopefully PA will continue to do things for its authors that make it easier to get them into bookstores and sell the traditional way. Like take returns, for starters. PA shnould know that authors would usually be willing to buy any returns of their books (at the production cost) so I don't know why they aren't making it easier for us by accepting returns. As grateful as I am to have them accept my first 2 poetry books, and I plan to shortly submit my third, there are things they can do to help authors and themselves even more. The number one thing being: take returns and re-sell them to the author at PA's cost.



Nudists Among Us

RE: Some Thoughts on the PA / NY Times Partnership

This is how I see the situation.

I looked at the number of new authors each week. There are always more than 10. These authors get the same opportunity to purchase books at the best dicount when the book is ready.

Those that choose to buy 100+ books will probably have the best chance at making the list.

If I were to make a guess, this promotion idea is primarily directed at helping jump start new books selling. I think that it is an excellent plan. I just wish that it had been around last September.

As my next book coming out soon, I hope to take atvantage of the sale price, but I doubt it will make the top ten list.

I want to thank PA for offering this program. I hope that it is a success and that the top ten authors will not be upset with me when I make voodoo dolls of them and poke needles in their eyes. Not that I am jealous or anything...

Just a green naked guy sitting on the Palatial futon... Allen

HB Marcus


H. B. Marcus
The Joe Schmoe Show
RE: Some Thoughts on the PA / NY Times Partnership

Of course there is the old standby method of actually using the money in a different way than buying your own books. I think that money could be better spent on promotion. It's a little like giving a fish to someone or teaching them to fish. Buying your books will be X amount of sales where PR investments could bring even more for the same cost.

It's all what's behind door number two.

Carol Troestler


RE: Some Thoughts on the PA / NY Times Partnership

Well, to tell you the truth, I want people to do more than
buy my book. I want people to read it, although now that
I mention that it does frighten the heck out of me. But I
knew before I decided to pursue publication that I was
opening myself to the world and would have to deal
with that. I have a file cabinet or so filled with writing
that I have never shared and pursuing publication was
no easy step. (Actually, although I really like this
message board, posting takes a bit of courage for
someone who was at one time very shy. But now that
I'm older, it doesn't matter as much.)

Anyway, making money is motivation for both PA and
the writiers, but beyond that I think we want people to
read and like out books. I spent hours on my book and
unless I make "the list" could probably have made more
money per hour spent at other noble endeavors. But I
chose to write and put it out into the world and have
people actually read what I wrote. So books in my
basement, which already has too many things in it, will
probably not happen.

Carl Baxter

RE: Some Thoughts on the PA / NY Times Partnership

After spending $500.00 on 50 books using the 50% discount, I will now agree with H.B. I should have bought a half-dozen copies to go with my two complimentary copies and used the rest of the money for advertising. I think I would be ahead of where I am now, which is about $250.00 in the hole.

Dodgem James
08-27-2004, 10:50 AM
I wasn't aware that current copyright laws allowed us to cut and paste copyrighted text in its entirety without the owner's permission.

Or is it just the P&Evidians that get that right?

Just sayin', either practise what y'all preach or stop the preachin'.


08-27-2004, 09:43 PM
To what copyright are you referring?

08-28-2004, 04:37 AM
Nameless65, it appears that someone needs a lesson in copyright law, right?

Dodgem James, read the following and learn. Then feel free to offer an apology.

From URL www.copyright.gov/title17...1.html#107 (http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107)

§ 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use38
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

Dodgem, a public apology in this topic will suffice.

Dodgem James
08-28-2004, 10:42 AM
Someone does need a lesson in copyright law.
Fair use is only valid when a limited amount of text is used and that limited amount of text does not change the meaning of the poster's intent. Because fair use is subjective, it is best to either use an extremely limited amount or to obtain the author's permission. Or do you now believe that if something is found on the website that it is in public domain so long as credit is given to the contributor?

Here's the link for a lawyer's website. (http://www.fplc.edu/tfield/copynet.htm)

Pay particular attention to:

"Although web pages and email messages are protected as soon as created, copyright registration is needed before U.S. owners can bring suit."


"The most compelling questions are: (1) Is a proposed use of another's work likely to offend, and (2) Are expected benefits worth the bother and possible cost to resolve a dispute?

"Why not ask? Only if the owner says "no" does the second question need to be addressed."

I've yet to see something cut and pasted from the PA message board to here that hasn't offended the owner of the copyright.

Y'know, Jenna, I don't personally care but as the owner of this board you'll be held responsible. Are you sure posting a thread in it's entirety is "fair use"? I see me in one of those threads and I promise I'll spend the $30 to paperwork the copyright and you will get call from my lawyer.


08-28-2004, 08:30 PM
What's the matter, Dodgem? Books not selling well and you need some controversy to get in the local papers?

You might discover that lawyers love to argue about what is limited. Is it the single thread or is the thread merely part of the overall forum which was not copied? Were all of the posts from any particular individual copied from that forum or just those in a single thread for the purpose of retaining the true meaning of that thread's content? Also, you'll notice that fair use states nothing about requiring the author's permission.

Keep in mind that this is occurring in a non-profit venue for the purposes of educating other writers. Additionally, it does not affect the value of those posts should those be included in a larger work. Beyond that, you still have to show how the quoted material had any value beyond the use it was put to in criticizing that forum.

So, sure, Dodgem, let me know where you plan on posting some comments in PA. If it turns out that you have anything worth criticizing, I just might post it somewhere. If you want to spend your drinking money on a lawyer, that's your business. In the meantime, learn to read and comprehend the entirety of what the law permits.

If, on the other hand, you just want to show how snide you can be, don't bother. We have enough examples of that from you in this forum already.

Dodgem James
08-29-2004, 11:13 AM
This was more an aside to Jenna than anyone else so I won't get trapped into a fight here.

Jenna, you know the rules about website/email copyright I'm sure and if you feel it's okay to cut and paste entire articles from one place on the 'net to another I'm not going to try to change your mind.

All the best.


08-29-2004, 08:13 PM
Jenna's already posted long ago that "Absolute Write bears no responsibility for the posts made by others on this board. The opinions expressed here are not shared by Absolute Write or its staff unless stated otherwise."

She's correct, too. That's been upheld in several court cases.

Dodgem James, you don't want to be trapped into a fight? Then don't throw the first punch with your remark about P&Evidians!

Don't refer to me as Dave, either. I'm not a pal of yours who you can refer to with familiarity. You don't want your name used? Fine. I do want my name used. Every time you address me wrong, I consider it to be nothing less than you taking another punch at me.

Dodgem James
08-29-2004, 11:48 PM
"Dodgem James, you don't want to be trapped into a fight? Then don't throw the first punch with your remark about P&Evidians!"

I forgot. It's only PC to put down authors with books out by PA. How could I be so wrong?

And I think Jenna knows the difference between what is legally right and what is in her moral trust to do on her board.
And guess what DK? You are still breaking copyright law and using Jenna's board to do so no matter what colour you attempt to paint it.


08-30-2004, 04:28 AM
Dodgem James, every time you respond to me in any form other than using Mr. Kuzminski, you show everyone else just how much you can be trusted. You want others to treat you in certain ways, then you have to reciprocate. Otherwise, you won't continue to get what you want.

If your friends think they have a case, then suggest to them that they register their copyrights and take me to court. I'm sure they'll like you even more when they speak to a lawyer and find out that they don't have a case. If they're unfortunate enough to find a lawyer willing to take their money and fight a losing case in court, I'm certain they'll like you a whole lot.

I've noticed that you haven't posted anything and said where it could be found.

08-30-2004, 09:43 AM
James: I've already received two lawsuit threats today. Sorry, but I'll have to reject yours. I'm over quota.

Fair use: I've often questioned myself over this issue. The problem with the PA posts is that everyone here would be more than happy to simply post a short summary and a link, but every time we do, PA pulls the topic.

I honestly don't know what falls under fair use in a case like this-- we could argue both cases, and so could lawyers. As you both know, there is no definitive rule about how much of something can be used for it to fall under fair use. Considering the criteria (educational purpose, not for profit, not undermining sale of the work as a whole, etc.), however, I do believe we're okay or I wouldn't allow it.

Both of you: I'm done with this crap. I already asked you to stop responding to each other in any form. I don't know why that's so hard to do. Please believe me when I tell you that the next time I see EITHER OF YOU respond to the other, comment on the other, etc. (and you know what I mean), you're gone-- no questions, no arguments.

Stay away from each other, and leave me out of it! James, you're the first person who's threatened me with a lawsuit who I haven't banned on the spot. I have no idea why I'm holding back anymore. I keep thinking you have something valuable to contribute here... stop proving me wrong.

Dodgem James
08-30-2004, 09:46 AM
"Dodgem James, every time you respond to me in any form other than using Mr. Kuzminski, you show everyone else just how much you can be trusted."

And every time you demand it you show the world how childish you are.

"If your friends think they have a case, then suggest to them that they register their copyrights and take me to court."

That's what you're really hoping for, isn't it? The ultimate martyrdom.

"I'm sure they'll like you even more when they speak to a lawyer and find out that they don't have a case."

The fact that you are so willing to blatantly dismiss copyright based on the fact that people won't sue you should open people's eyes as to what kind of person they are defending or recommend when they mention P&E.
You see, some of us have to actually *be* good people. We can't hide ourselves beneath a mask of good intentions.

"I've noticed that you haven't posted anything and said where it could be found."

That doesn't even make sense.


08-30-2004, 09:53 AM
That's it. You don't deserve the respect I've given you. I can't believe I'm actually hurt to realize my consideration of you has been totally unreciprocated.

Bye James.