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Monday Mentions: Thriller Unveil, Chicken Soup-icity & Writer Beware!

by | Jul 2, 2012 | Cat Behavior & Care, Dog Training & Care, Writing Advice & More | 9 comments

COVER UNVEIL! You like? Boy, I do too–and click on the cover to learn more about the book as well as the ongoing NAME THAT DOG and NAME THAT CAT contest. By the way, a special shout out to the Magical-Dawg’s breeder Gillian Salling for sharing her gorgeous cover dog, USCHI VON FERNHEIM, TD. (That “TD” stands for Tracking Dog title this dog acquired at six months of age.)

LOST AND FOUND is about the future. My nonfiction books are the present, of course. But today’s blog also revisits the past.

Several years ago I was fortunate to be a co-author on two books, Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul and Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover’s Soul with awesome peeps Dr. Marty Becker and Carol Kline. These books were incredibly popular and sold extremely well–authors LOVE books like that with great royalty payments! Unfortunately for the authors, though, the founders of Chicken Soup decided to sell the brand–the company became Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing (CSSP) in 2008. And when that happened–POOOOOOF!–all the co-author royalties suddenly disappeared. That’s because the first publisher Health Communications Inc (HCI). decided to sue CSSP, and so CSSP returned the favor–to the tune of millions of dollars spent on attorneys.

The kicker? They decided that the co-authors should foot the bill for their lawyerly shenanigans. In other words, instead of continuing to earn substantial income, suddenly our royalty indicated each co-author OWED the new publisher in excess of 5 figures. No, we didn’t have to pay them–this just meant they didn’t have to pay US as long as that column remained in the negative column. Funny how a simple contract can be re-interpreted the way they want. My friends Marty and Carol have many other Chicken Soup books, and there are a number of other authors in the same soup-y situation.

So I was pleased to see that the two companies finally settled their dispute. And I quick-like-a-bunny emailed ’em to find out what this means for the co-authors. I first emailed Kim Weiss, director of communications for HCI and she said they’d been told to have us direct questions to Amy Newmark, the publisher of CSSP, and here is Ms Newmark’s reply:

Hi Amy.
We received no money in the settlement.We will start publishing the backlist books with new ISBNs in July and we hope to generate royalties for the coauthors later this year as a result.

I’ll give you three guesses (and the first two don’t count) how long I’ll hold my breath to see income on THAT new deal. The settlement means nothing for the co-authors. Nothing. It means NOTHING. It only means CSSP now owns the HCI backlist and gets to publish it and continue to perform creative bookkeeping to keep any/all income made possible by the blood-sweat-teeth-gnashing of co-authors.

Bitter, much? Uh…yeah. So from me to you–WRITER BEWARE OF HCI AND CSSP. They have in the past and most certainly will in the future interpreted contracts any which way that pleases them, to the woe of those who trust them to be ethical.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all.


Book Passages Mystery Writers Conference July 19-22, with some awesome speakers including the awesome Doug Lyle, forensic specialist

Types of Social Media Users–what type are you? (“Sparks” here…)

Publishing Syndicate call for submissions

5 Ways to Promo Your Books

Amazon Buys Dorchester Pub Assets


Our Animal Natures asks (and answers) the question, Why don’t we human doctors routinely cooperate with animal experts?

Pedigree Canned Dog Food Recall little blue plastic pieces in the food could choke your dog, please be careful!

Winn Feline Foundation Announces  2012 Media Award presented to awesome pet writer/author Darlene Arden!

6th Annual Planet Dog Foundation Fundraiser to Benefit Maine Medical Center’s Therapy Dog Program. I love this company! Not only does Magical-dawg love their products, they do good schtuff for dogs…check out the video, below.

How Animals Talk–Vocal “Matching” in Animals and a related article on how goat moms recognize kid bleats even after they grow up!

Responsible Dog Ownership Day turns 10 Celebrate with your dogs on September 22.

Planet Dog Offers $25,000 In Grants. Since 2006, PDF has contributed over $875,000 dollars in cash and in-kind product donations to exemplary canine service programs. $25,000 in grants go to this year’s grant recipients:  Austin Dog Alliance, of Austin, TX; Central Lakes Search and Rescue, of Garfield, MN; Champlain Valley Search and Rescue K-9 Unit, of Keeseville, NY; Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, of Norfolk, VA; Freedom Service Dogs of Englewood, Colorado; New Jersey Search and Rescue, of Mahwah, NJ; Service Dogs of Virginia, of Charlottesville, VA; and Susquehanna Service Dogs, of Harrisburg, PA. Check out the awesome video.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly PUPPY CARE must knows, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter . Don’t forget to check out the NAME THAT DOG/CAT character in the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND!


  1. Tameri Etherton

    Aw, Amy I’m so sorry you were caught up in the Chicken Soup stuff. That is some negative, ugly business for the authors. Fingers crossed it does get worked out and you will see more royalties from the books.

    I always appreciate your pet schtuff especially the food recalls. So far we’ve been lucky, but it’s nice to know we’re not feeding out babies the bad stuff.

  2. Patricia

    I am so sorry for you on this book disaster. You work so hard and give so much you should absolutely not have been treated like that and basically just robbed of your hard work income! Talk about unethical people. Keep up your excellent work – it is so inspiring! You have definitely made a difference in this world when it comes to animals! I watched the video you posted the other day on Magic’s frisbee and water playing and I absolutely loved it – I laughed so much!

    • amyshojai

      Thanks Tameri and Patricia.

  3. Karyl Cunningham

    That animal natures article was a really cool read. 🙂 Far too often, I think, we as humans try to forget that we ARE animals. That sort of puts things in perspective.

    • amyshojai

      Karyl, I know–fun stuff, isn’t it? People often forget that we are primates–hence we love hugs, for example, and the dogs/cats don’t always appreciate that.

  4. Anonymous aspiring writer

    Amy — thanks for all the urls and everything!

    I am sorry about what happened to you in the Chicken Soup deal. I also appreciate hearing about it. I had submitted some things to the Chicken Soup books and so needed the warnings you shared.

  5. patriciasands

    Love the cover, Amy! Can’t wait to read the story! How terrible to read about the CSSP and HCi pulling a fast one on their authors. That’s just plain disgusting!

  6. Marcia

    That stinks that CSSP and HCI did that to you!Who’d have thought that behind all those great books were some nasty things going on?
    The book cover is great and can’t wait to read it!

    • amyshojai

      Probably the CSSP stuff isn’t an issue for individual contributors of stories, as long as they don’t mind having the story re-used forever in future books for no additional pay. At least, that was the contract the last time I saw it. The bigger issue is for the co-authors/editors of the books.

      I’m very excited about the book and delighted with the cover. The positive feedback has been wonderful.


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