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Hello. Was wondering, if I did not win the contest, can I submit my story to a magazine or other publishing company? 

Hopeful Future Winner!

Dear Hopeful,

For the top three winners of each quarterly contest, we only ask for non-exclusive electronic electronic rights so we can publish their stories on WritersWeekly. All other participants own all rights to their stories. In fact, you can read how one participant spun their entry into a entire series HERE!

To read about the contest, or to enter the next one, click HERE.

1st place: $300

2nd place: $250

3rd place: $200

+ 85 other prizes!


Dear Angela,

In 2002, my book was published by (a traditional publisher). It’s a book on creative writing for teachers.

I don’t think the publisher could afford marketing and I did not have time with my job at a museum. Any ideas for how to promote?

Thank you,

Abandoned By My Publisher

Dear Abandoned,

A book’s sales potential depends entirely on: 1. the book itself; and 2. the authors’ marketing savvy and efforts. Just listing a book on a particular website like Amazon or Barnes and Noble, or even having your book in the bookstore systems, won’t generate sales. Unfortunately, that’s all many traditional publishers do now.

The author must promote the book in order for it to be successful. This is true for self-published and traditionally published titles. Traditional publishers do little to no promotion for unknown/new authors now. They take a gamble that a book may or may not take off and they run with the ones that do, while generally abandoning the ones that don’t. Of course, the ones that do succeed are usually written by well-known authors, or are the ones being creatively and consistently promoted.

For easy and affordable book promotion advice, please see:
90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book’s Daily Marketing Plan

90 days authors get a copy of that book for free. 😉


About The Author


Angela Hoy is the publisher of, and the co-owner of (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees). - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."

Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors. - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!

Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.

Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela.

Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)

See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.


BOOKLOCKER ON FACEBOOK - Provides links to free excerpts!


Hi Angela!

I have a children’s book ready to publish. Do you offer press releases and, if so, what is the cost?

Thank you so much!

New Children’s Author

Dear New Children’s Author,

There are lots of publishers (and other firms) that will gladly and greedily ask you to plunk down a lot of money to create and distribute a press release (that they know will likely cost you more than any resulting book sales). Many of them boast “email lists” of thousands. Of course, sending out a press release via email to a large list will result in spam filters kicking in and blacklisting by ISPs. And, if a firm is sending out lots of press releases that way, you can bet many recipients not only delete them unread, but personally blocked that spammer’s email as well. And, yes, many people believe that sending out unsolicited marketing emails en masse like that (even disguised as a press release) IS spam! Authors should not risk their reputations by being involved in those types of activities.

At and, we do not offer in-house press release services because we know that, unless an author is a celebrity, traditional press releases usually don’t sell many, if any, books. We instead provide our authors with a free copy of 90+ Days of Promoting Your Book Online.

If you must send out a press release, you should disguise it as a new artcle. If you want to learn how to do that, see: Press Releases Are Boring – News is Not

Incidentally, at, we offer color-interior publishing of children’s books in paperback, hardcover, and ebook formats.

Examples of BookLocker’s Children’s Books:







Information on, and prices for, our color-interior program are HERE.

Information on our black-and-white-interior programs are HERE.

– Angela




Hello Angela,

My friend (who is a marketing major) and I are trying to organize a book signing. We are considering various things to make more sales. However, to do that, she said Barnes and Noble told us that the book has to be sold in that store in order for them to host my signing.

But, they aren’t currently stocking my book, and they haven’t ordered it and may never, so what can I do?


Hopeful Author

Dear Hopeful,

If Barnes and Noble is asking for terms your publisher can’t accept (for example, returning unsold books, or demanding an unrealistic discount), you can buy copies at your author discount (assuming your publisher offers you one), and offer to sell them directly to the store on consignment.

Some authors have book signings because, let’s face it, it’s flattering to have people ask for your autograph. Unfortunately, most book signings lead to an author sitting alone, watching people pass by, their eyes purposely averted to avoid a sales pitch. So, book signings can be equally flattering…and embarrassing as well.

If you’re scheduling a book signing to make money, I would strongly suggest you research that before spending significant time and money promoting an event that may only sell 5 to 10 copies, if you’re lucky.

The sad fact is, unless you’re a celebrity, or unless you’ve somehow managed to bring dozens or hundreds of people into their store just to buy your book, you aren’t likely to sell enough copies to pay for your expenses and time.

Many bookstores expect authors to do most, if not all, of the promotion for their own signing. So, don’t expect your local bookstore to run ads in the newspaper to alert people of your upcoming event, or to much of anything else. Expect to pay the bookstore a large percentage of each book sale, and expect them to return the unsold copies, all in exchange for YOU bringing people to their store…people who will likely browse, and buy other authors’ books, and for which you will receive zero compensation.

A far more efficient (and less stressful) way to sell books is reaching out to your readers directly online and there are many free and FUN ways to do that!

Hi Angela,

I’m wondering if you can help me with a question I haven’t found an answer to on any other site.

I’ve been freelance writing for several years.

At the beginning of my freelance career, I wrote primarily about music. A lot of my social media posts use speech and vernacular common in that industry (some profanity, outspoken opinions, etc). I am write and tweet about sensitive subjects like race, class and politics–sometimes all three at the same time.

As I move towards higher paying (read: corporate) markets, I am wondering what impact of my social media posts might be on editors at these markets. For example, could an editor take a look at my Twitter page and decide my tweets are too controversial for their magazine to feature my byline?

A friend advised me to make my Twitter private but that would remove the possibility of me using it to promote my work.

I’d love your opinion on this.

Social Media Rebel

Hi Rebel,

Yes, an editor could look at your Twitter page but it’s doubtful they will, especially if you don’t provide a link to your Twitter account.

I have hired thousands of writers over the years and I have NEVER, not even ONE TIME, looked at their Facebook or Twitter pages during the vetting process. I simply respond to their query with an acceptance or rejection.

If someone is a good writer, and if they have pitched an idea that I know will resonate with my readers, then I really am not concerned about their personal use of social media.

If you do want to distance yourself from your rebellious social media activities, use a pseudonym for your freelance work and, when the contract or payment is due, only then give them your real name. By that time, they’ll have already assigned the piece to you. And, it’s not that unusual for freelance writers to use pseudonyms.


Have a question for Angela (writing/publishing) or Richard (marketing)? Contact us here.

Can you send me the list of freelance book editors you recommend? My publisher’s contract says if I pay them to edit my book, they’ll then own the rights to that version of my manuscript. No way!!!

Even if you don’t use to publish your book, don’t pay another POD publisher to edit your book. No other publisher will tell you this but almost every POD publisher that offers editing services then claims all rights to the edited file (the production file). Read more about that below. BookLocker authors own all rights to their production files.


Contact these editors directly for a quote.

Rickey Pittman –

Kathi Bahler –

Dave Carew –

Mike LaBonne –

Barbara McNichol –

Lynnette Labelle –

Hilary Handelsman –

We do not earn any referral fees, or anything whatsoever, for referring you to these editors/book doctors.

WARNING: There is no licensing agency for editors and there are many online now who are NOT professional editors. We receive complaints almost daily from authors who hired an editor they found online, and then found even more errors in their “edited” book. (This even happens with editors who work for some POD publishers!) References can be easily manufactured so you should only hire an editor who’s done a good job for an author or publisher you know.

NOTE: Many POD publishers now claim ownership of edited manuscripts (what they call the production files) even though authors paid THEM to edit their books. We call this a “forced marriage” because it makes it almost impossible for an author to move to another publisher someday, even if they are unhappy with their current publisher. We strongly recommend NOT paying a publisher to edit your manuscript. Freelance editors don’t try to claim ownership of an author’s files.

Have a question for Angela (writing/publishing) or Richard (marketing)? Contact us here.

Someone gave an author my photographs, and claimed that they belonged to them. The author then used my photos in their book. Who do I contact regarding copyright infringement? The author, the publisher, or the person who stole my photos? I previously sent the publisher an invoice for unauthorized use of my work. They refused to pay me and told me to contact the person who stole my photos.

Photoless Photographer

I am not an attorney so this is not legal advice.

That said, if they were my photos that were used without my permission, I would first contact my attorney and I would then have him/her contact all of the above. I might even contact the police regarding the original thief, depending on how the photos were stolen. For example, was it someone visiting your home?

The person who gave away or sold your photos may be guilty of selling stolen materials.

If the book is self-published, the publisher/publishing service is exempt from liability but you should alert them to what’s going on. A reputable publishing service will immediately remove the book from the market since a copyright claim may be pending. See:

The author of a self-published book is very likely liable since they are legally and financially responsible for the content in their book, including graphics.

If it’s a traditionally published book, the author and the publisher may both be liable.

You should really contact an attorney about all of this.

And, please keep me updated on the situation. :)


UPDATE: It is indeed a large traditional publisher so I told the photographer they probably swatted her initial email, hoping she would just go away, while also praying she wouldn’t talk to an attorney about the situation. I suspect they know they are likely liable for the copyright infringement (each stolen photo that was published may be one offense). Many cases are never prosecuted because the victims can’t imagine a large company lying to them about an important legal matter. Shouldn’t they have opened up a discussion with the photographer, and paid her fee? Shouldn’t they have advised her to hire an attorney? Don’t most companies do the “right thing?”


The fact is many companies and individuals will say or write just about anything to avoid being contacted by a lawyer later. They know if they can just get past the time-limit for the statute of limitations, they’ll be free and clear. For copyright infringement, the statute of limitations is only three years.

If the publisher continues to distribute the book, knowing it contains stolen images, it could cost them even more in the end:

“In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000.”

Have a question for Angela (writing/publishing) or Richard (marketing)? Contact us here.

Online, I found two polls and a graph I want to use in my book.

I don’t know if the items are under copyright. I believe that since it is for educational purposes, the fair use doctrine would apply.

Is that right?


I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. You need to consult with an attorney on all legal matters, including copyrights.

That said, if it was my book…

I’m not a teacher. I’m an author. So, I’m not making photocopies of something to share with students today. Using entire polls or graphics in a for-profit book venture, in my opinion, would not qualify as “fair use” for educational purposes under copyright law.

You need to get written permission from the copyright owners of each item.

The U.S. Copyright office provides this information on its site:

Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians


107 – Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

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 Reproduction of Copyrighted Works 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.

Again, you need to consult an attorney but it would be far faster and cheaper to simply request permission from the firms that own the material you want to use.

Have a question for Angela (writing/publishing) or Richard (marketing)? Contact us here.

I want to write a book and it would feature an old story from a 1956 periodical. I have been trying to get a copyright permission to include this short story. However, the publisher was bought out a couple times. The new company put me on hold while they searched their records further, and told me that the “rightful owners” are a completely different firm in New York. I cannot find them on the Internet to contact them to get the needed copyright permission so that I can proceed with my book.

Could you please give me expert advice or help?


Hi Betty,

I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice.

That said…just because you can’t find the copyright owner doesn’t mean you can use the piece. Some people (wrongly) think that their difficulty in finding the copyright owner must mean the owner has disappeared or died. Even if that was the case, the copyrights (which are assets) would then be passed on to that person’s heirs (depending on the original copyright and any renewals, of course). Even if the copyright was owned by a company, and even if that company went out of business, the owner of that business (or his/her heirs) still owns any remaining assets, including copyrights.

So, to summarize, just because you can’t find a copyright owner doesn’t mean you can use their material without permission. That’s like saying you couldn’t find the owner of a particular car so you took it for a joyride without first asking permission.

Please consult with your attorney concerning this matter. Violating somebody’s copyright can not only be very expensive if you get caught, but it’s also just plain wrong.

You can read U.S. copyright law here:

Have a question for Angela (writing/publishing) or Richard (marketing)? Contact us here.

I am very interested in using a particular POD publisher for my book. But, I can’t find a link to their contract anywhere on their site. When I ask them for a copy, they just send more advertising mumbo jumbo. What should I do?

First, you should NEVER pursue a relationship with a company that doesn’t answer your questions, or honor your requests for specific information and/or links immediately, and in a forthright manner. You shouldn’t have to ask more than once, unless something is lost in translation, of course. (Sometimes, new authors use the wrong industry terms when asking a question, which can cause confusion.)

Second, you might be able to find the contract on their website on your own. Using your favorite search engine’s advanced search option, search that publisher’s specific website URL for words like contract or agreement, or terms like “Author Agreement” or “User Agreement” or “Author Contract.”

Many POD publishers put links to their contracts deep in their websites (if at all!), forcing you to click on page after page of shiny (overblown!) marketing materials. At BookLocker, our contract link is right there on our main publishing info. page.

Many POD publishers don’t want you to actually READ their contracts because you may then see HOW THEY REALLY DO BUSINESS!

For example:

If any firm hesitates to show you their contract, they’re hiding something. They don’t want you to read the contract until they have your money in their pocket. So, run! Run as far away as you can and find a firm that openly publishes their contract, and encourages authors to read it.

Have a question for Angela (writing/publishing) or Richard (marketing)? Contact us here.

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