How to Kill Your Writing Career. And, Stuff in My Purse. By Deb Lisa Daily

Fifteen Minutes of Shame

How to Kill Your Writing Career.

We’ve all heard stories on how lackluster book sales can slowly leech the life out of your publishing career. But why wait for the returns? This guy is an innovator in killing one’s publishing career in one spectacularly insane gesture:

From Publishers Weekly
“A few weeks ago John Mitzel, proprietor of Calamus Books in Boston, was surprised to open his mail and discover he’d been named in a lawsuit filed by an author. The suit, filed by Larry Townsend’s attorney for copyright infringement, stems from a dispute over unpaid fees allegedly owed the author by his distributor, the Oklahoma-based Nazca Plains Corp. Nonetheless, the suit charges that Mitzel, along with over 40 other booksellers (including Amazon and Barnes & Noble), infringed on Townsend’s copyright by selling the author’s books in his store.”

“According to [Townsend’s attorney], Nazca Plains, aka Moseley, copied Townsend’s works without permission and then distributed the books to the booksellers.”

That’s right kids, an author is suing booksellers for selling his books.

It’s difficult enough for a self-published author to get his books carried in bookstores, but with the added threat of a potential lawsuit, that window may have just slammed shut forever. What bookstore wants to deal with that hassle, when the big NY houses are churning out a hundred thousand titles a year? (And will promise not to sue?)

Obviously he has a major beef with his distributor, but the second my attorney spit out the words,
“Hey, I’ve got a great idea! Let’s name all the bookstores in the lawsuit!,” I’d have to take a minute to think things over.

I’d rather gnaw off my signing arm than name a BOOKSTORE in a lawsuit, let alone 40, including all of the majors. Especially bookstores that had NO IDEA what was going on — other than the usual business of selling books. Call me crazy.

Now, as a fellow author, I think Larry should be compensated handsomely by Nazca Plains. If what he claims in his lawsuit is true, they ripped him off and pirated his work, they should pay and pay big.

Even Amazon, a haven for self-publishers, which will carry nearly anything in print, is named in the suit. I guess after this Larry will be selling his books out of the back of his trunk.

My guess is that the pressure from bookstores will cause Nazca to settle quickly, and possibly put them out of business, even if he has no intention of actually attempting to squeeze any cash out of the bookstores.

But my guess is that after this, every book buyer in the country is going to have a mug shot of Larry’s backlist taped up on the wall like a sort of PW’s Most Wanted. And I’m pretty sure that “Larry Townsend” is a name the bookstores won’t soon forget.

Okay. Rant over.

Now, on to my purse.

An epi-pen (my daughter has a peanut allergy)
baby wipes
tiny notebook to jot down ideas
Fifteen Minutes of Shame bookmarks
Fifteen Minutes of Shame postcards
6 Sharpie pens (I have no idea why I needed 6)
business card case
Junior Mints left over from Kung Fu Panda
useless receipts
my iPhone (I love this thing!)
teasing comb (Needed for the glamour pour on the back — leftover from 8 million tour TV appearances on book tour.)
lipstick, lip liner, lip gloss
DVD of Daytime Show I want to put on my website
And 23 (yes, actually 23) little scraps of paper with various notes written on them. Some make no sense at all, like this one that reads — July — green shoes.

Do I need to buy green shoes for some leprechaun ball in July? Was it a note to remind me about someone who was wearing green shoes? A riddle? A mysterious character in my next book? I have no idea, and I can’t recall writing it.


Author: Lisa Daily

Lisa Daily is a real-life TV dating expert on Daytime. She's a syndicated relationships columnist, a popular media guest seen everywhere from MTV to the New York Times, and the author of the bestselling dating advice book, Stop Getting Dumped! : All you need to know to make men fall madly in love with you and marry "The One" in 3 years or less. Visit lisa online at

15 Replies to “How to Kill Your Writing Career. And, Stuff in My Purse. By Deb Lisa Daily”

  1. Very practical, Lisa. Other than the green shoes note (which may have been inserted by aliens, since you don’t remember writing it), I think you have the purse necessities down, with a few extras for contingencies. Nice.

  2. My daughter has a peanut allergy, too. Her epi-pen is in her diaper bag. Actually, with the exception of the SHAME related items and the mysterious green shoes note, this could be my purse.

  3. Other than those 23 little pieces of paper, Lisa, your purse sounds practically organized and now all you need is a small notebook to write down things like “green shoes.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Love the random notes, Lisa. We have them all over the house!

    And thanks for sharing the PW story. Unbelievable!!!

  5. Joanne,

    Thanks — the epi pen and accompanying bottle of benadryl take up a lot of space that used to be reserved for crap.

    I also generally have about $212 in change at the bottom of my purse but recently emptied it into my husband’s change jar.



  6. Kristina,

    I’m sorry about your daughter’s allergy — it’s a pain, isn’t it?

    We are just recently out if the diaper bag years (hooray!) but I still need to carry the epi and the baby wipes (will probably continue to carry those long after kids are in college — so handy!!)


    Thanks — that’s the same sound I heard.


    Thanks! It’s messier than it sounds. Also, sadly, I DO have a small notebook in my purse, and yet feel utterly compelled to jot down nonsensical notes on receipts and half-used napkins. It’s an illness, I think.


    Me too. And my desk. And my car. And anywhere else I can find.

    Great comments!!


  7. Larramie,

    OMG! You are a mystery-solving genius. Green shoes on cover — July was the deadline (last year, shows you how old the scrap of paper is!) for the cover design. We were attempting to talk Plume into a non-cartoon cover.




    Yes. I am you. Except you have a much better figure. ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. WOW. Some people are so crazy (not your purse contents.. the dude with the lawsuit.)

    I know a few people with smaller publishers who are constantly ranting about how booksellers won’t stock their books… and a couple of those folks make me crazy, too. Not because I don’t feel for them… But because they don’t seem to realize that booksellers are very important CUSTOMERS for authors and you can’t force a customer to buy your product, or act like there’s a big conspiracy out to get you if they don’t. (You should have known your publisher’s books weren’t carried by the big chains BEFORE granting them the rights to publish your books.)

    One particular e-published author in my local RWA chapter ruined our chapters’ relationship with a book store manager because she went on a tirade, when the manager said she couldn’t get the author’s books in for a booksigning our group was running. People. Don’t rant at your customer!!! Or sue them!!!

    Sorry, now I’m ranting ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. I guess I am stupid…I read your post (though I didn’t read the article you linked, I did read the excerpt) and I still can’t figure out why he is suing booksellers. I feel almost bad for those whose only recourse for the time being is to self publish, if such a lawsuit affects how booksellers, online and free-standing, view dealing with the self-publishing biz.

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