Recently Answered Questions:

Dear Angela,

Recently I submitted a 1,400-word interview to a local newspaper after confirming that the editor would like to see it. I did not hear back from them for six weeks, and sent a polite e-mail last week asking if he still wanted to use the story. I received no reply.

Today, a story ran about the same person, written by someone else – and nicely done I might add. It seems that this editor might have let me know that he could not use my article. I’ve certainly had others turned down. I did have another market but since the story might not appear until next year, I felt it would be timely and appropriate to run it in a local paper.

Anyhow, I’d like your opinion – I’ve worked for other newspapers but not sure I’d like to submit more work to this one. Am I wrong to have expected some correspondence from this editor – and it was my idea!

Thanks for listening!

Warm regards,

Hi Florence,

It’s possible the editor liked your idea so much that he/she assigned the article to one of their reporters. And, to make it look like the idea wasn’t stolen, perhaps he/she then ignored all your correspondence, pretending they never saw it.

Unfortunately, what he did was entirely legal (though, in my opinion, not at all ethical).

I would definitely not pitch to that paper again. You obviously generate great ideas. Share your talents with more ethical and appreciative publications.



Paying Markets and Jobs for Writers
How I Earn Extra Cash as an “Idea Broker!” (And, you can too!)
Where to Find the Best Article Ideas!
Mining Your Family for Query Ideas
AFTER THE LEAP: 10 Ideas For The New Full-Time Writer

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


How do I access a WritersWeekly article from October 22, 2014? The title is “How To Edit Your Book Before You Submit To A Publisher” by Rickey E. Pittman.



Hi Marion,

The link for our site map is located at the top of the website. I found the article HERE.

Also, please see:

Can’t Afford An Editor? Try These Four Fun Steps For A Much Cleaner Manuscript!



Some POD Publishers: “Buy a Manuscript Evaluation So We Can Upsell You on Our Editing Services!”
Freelance Editing for Corporate Customers?
BEWARE! Text Editing Scam By Cee Gee
Should You Consent to an Editing Test?


 I have queried and queried on my three books and no luck at all. I have read “The Pitch” and use it as an outline for sending a query. I am careful to follow instructions. This just seems to be a Sisyphean endeavor and my queries are in the dozens now.

I truly believe a literary agent is the best way to market your work, but someone said send queries directly to small publishers. Do such publishers consider works for publication and where do I find them?

Thanks for listening.

– Frustrated Author

Dear Frustrated,

You need to search each publisher’s website for their submission guidelines to see if they accept submissions directly from authors, or if they only accept submissions from literary agents.

Please also consider:
BOOK PROPOSALS THAT WORKED! Real Book Proposals That Landed $10K – $100K Publishing Contracts


More World’s Worst Book Proposals and Query Letters!

When Traditional Publishers Become Vanity Publishers

How to Test Your Publisher’s Sales Reports

DON’T BECOME ANOTHER VICTIM! When Amateur, Start-up POD Publishers Take Your Money…and Go Out of Business

PROLIFIC AUTHORS! Which Publisher Gives the BEST DEAL to Authors of Two or More Titles?

I have a question about a possible scam I have seen on Craigslist. If you could advise me I would appreciate it very much!

A guy wants me to write an article daily. He’ll take full rights and he sells articles to other sites. And, he says he’ll pay me in a week. I requested a retainer but he declined. He hasn’t asked to see any of my work. And, he says he’ll pay me $800 a week. That’s like over $0.10 a word, which is a lot as far as I know. He hasn’t asked to see any kind of freelance contract, or anything.

Is this a scam? My gut says scam. Please advise. Thank you, thank you.

-Cautious Writer

Dear Cautious,

You are wise to be wary. If this is an ongoing job, he should NOT balk at your request for a down-payment – say, half what he’d owe for the first article.

If you are willing to take a risk, write one article for him only. Then, wait until you are paid in full before writing the next.

What indicates to me that it’s probably a scam is because 1. he didn’t request writing samples from you, and 2. he didn’t provide a contract. Never, ever, ever write without a contract, even if you do plan to write just one article for him as a test.

Unfortunately, if he’s located overseas (he can fake his IP address, and claim he’s in the U.S.), it will be virtually impossible to collect if he’s scamming you.

Remember, if it smells like a scam, it very likely is.



When Writers Contribute to a Scammer’s Success

Great Writing Gig Or A Scam? 10 Red Flags!

Top 10 Signs You’ve Been Scammed Into Writing for Free

WHO’S SCAMMING GRANNY? Snakes That Prey on Elderly Authors

Why Writers Should Avoid Third-Party Article Brokers

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

Read More Ask The Expert

Copies of real query letters that resulted in writing assignments worth $2K and much more!

I was writing for a publication and they stole my articles and kept them. I have an invoice that I sent over and over again but no response. He was paying me and we had a verbal and written contract. What rights do I have and what should I do? Thanks for any help appreciated.

– Susan

Hi Susan,

I often hear from writers who have written several articles without getting paid…and then they never get paid. The fact is, if the person who hired you is in another country, you will likely never recover your fees. If they never gave the name of their publication, and perhaps gave you a fake name and used a generic email address, you will also likely never recover your fees.

But, if they are in the U.S., and you have that person’s real name and their business information, you might be able to frighten them into paying what they owe. Since you said he did pay you for some article, you should have some sort of real contact information from him, whether through checks he mailed you, or his PayPal information.

Please see – More Than One Way to Expose a Deadbeat



Top 10 Signs You’ve Been Scammed Into Writing for Free
How I Got Screwed After Writing 50 Articles for a Website
The Scam That Got Its Dirty Little Hooks In Me
Another Possible Scam Targeting Writers
Cons and Scams. Oh Me, Oh My!

Hi Angela,

I am a new/old writer with a with two books on the market. Plus I am revamping a screenplay, learning how to get my songs on the web, etc.

My question is this: Despite taking an e-course in “Social Media,” I am only selling a handful of books. I have two Facebook groups and a web site/blog by the same name as my published book. I am tweeting. I am meeting contacts on LinkedIn. Yet, STILL I am not selling.

I’ve been at this for almost 3 months now. What am I doing wrong? Thanks for your help!

-Frustrated with Facebook!

Dear Frustrated,

Successful online book promotion requires more than just social media postings. But, it doesn’t have to be difficult, especially if you have a list of things to do, and a schedule to follow.

Please see:
90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book’s Daily Marketing Plan

BookLocker authors get a copy of that book for free.

90 Days of Promoting Your Book Online



Cartoon Curse Word Characters: When Your Computer Ruins Your Online Marketing Activities
Reader Comments = Marketing Blurbs!
Free Excerpt – 90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book’s Daily Marketing Plan
One-Shot Book Marketing Does NOT WORK – But THIS DOES!

My publisher inserted a disclaimer in my book. I got upset and asked that it be removed. They refused. I don’t understand why I have to admit to readers that I’m not a licensed financial advisor. My book contains good advice. PJ O’Rourke’s book “Eat the Rich” didn’t have to admit he’s not a chef. And, my book includes humor!


I looked at PJ O’Rourke’s book and it does have a disclaimer, but it’s about the statistics used in the book. In his book, he is talking about the history of the global economy. He is not giving financial advice to individuals. And, of course, it’s not really about food so he doesn’t need to mention that he’s not a chef.

Just because you use humor in a book doesn’t mean people won’t take the advice you provide seriously…and then sue you when those things don’t work out for them.

Your publisher is right about this.

Any readers who’d like to see sample disclaimers (I have three of them – medical, financial, and other), can contact me HERE.



How to Avoid Giving Yourself (and Your Publisher) LEGAL Nightmares!

When “Industry Experts” Give Out ILLEGAL Advice! Stealing/Altering Others’ Images and Text on Pinterest (and Elsewhere) is NOT Okay!!

I Got Scammed, Legally, by a Writing Website

Can I Legally Use Clipart In My Book?

Can You Recommend A Legal Resource For Authors?


Hey Angela,

I contacted an old client a few weeks ago as I’m officially back in the freelancing game. My contact there said they no longer work directly with freelance writers, but outsource all their content to (name removed). I checked out this website, feeling that my old client’s recommendation might mean it was actually a legit place to find paid writing work. I was, instead, sadly disappointed to see jobs advertised for 2.4 cents per word, on down to fractions of a penny per word. The editing work advertised there was even worse! Out of curiosity, I looked up another freelancing site only to find that you have to purchase credits in order to put in quotes on the jobs listed there. Credits I would purchase with my real dollars to put in quotes on jobs I might or might not get? Huh?

What are your thoughts on these sites, and over the years have you heard from writers who’ve managed to be paid well through them?

Many thanks in advance!

– Not Paying To Bid!

Dear N.P.T.B,

I always advise writers to avoid those bidding sites, and to find clients the old fashioned way. Not only are these bidding sites significantly lowering writers’ incomes but they are also dumbing down the industry because many are hiring writers who, quite frankly, SUCK.

You get what you pay for and professional writers aren’t going to be giving away their services for a fraction of a penny per word. Only the desperate do that.




I recall an article about writing serials but cannot find it anymore. Can you help?


Here are some articles that cover serialization:

Should I Serialize My New Novel BEFORE It’s Published?

Promoting Your Book with Twitter

Also, check out:

90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book’s Daily Marketing Plan




CONSIDERING SELF-PUBLISHING IN 2015? – How Many Book Sales Needed to Recoup Your Investment?


BookLocker – 121 COPIES (setup fees: $675)
CreateSpace – 200 COPIES (setup fees: $1,151)
Lulu – 233 COPIES (setup fees: $1,089)
Infinity Publishing – 250 COPIES (setup fees: $1047)
Xulon Press – 250 COPIES (setup fees $2,396)
Dog Ear Publishing – 252 COPIES (setup fees $1,998)
Llumina Publishing – 280 COPIES (setup fees: $1,338)
Xlibris – 304 COPIES (setup fees: $1,673)
iUniverse – 316 COPIES (setup fees: $1,449)
Trafford – 342 COPIES (setup fees: $1,424)
AuthorHouse – 361 COPIES (setup fees: $1,799)
Outskirts Press – 790 COPIES (setup fees: $1,595)

Fees are based on the least expensive package offering similar services. Details HERE.

Q –

I haven’t been paid by Author House Indiana (in) approx. 8 years. Please advise by email if possible.


A –

If you know you are owed royalties, and have proof of such, please contact the law firm that has filed class action lawsuits against Author Solutions HERE.

Ask The Expert Archives