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My 8-year-old daughter is an author. She has received a lot of coverage in our city since April when she was featured in the newspaper, and given the opportunity to be a weekly guest columnist. She was also interviewed by the local news, which was aired across the state.

We are preparing her for a book signing. My question is, if we do the book signing at (a large, nationwide bookstore), are we to order the books for that day, or does the store order the books for that day? Also, I would need some step by step tips to have a great book signing.




Hi T.W.,

You’ll need to contact that particular store to see how they want to handle the signing. They’ll either want to order copies from the publisher or distributor, or they might want to order copies from you on consignment. See:

How to Sell Books on Consignment to Bookstores and Other Retailers

Before you contact them, be prepared with a promotional kit, which will include a copy of the book, an excellent, tantalizing description of the book, and, most importantly, photocopies (or print-outs) of the local news stories. The store will probably want to promote the young, local celebrity if she’s going to be on-site for a signing.

I spoke with attorney Harvey Randall about child authors working for profit and he said, “You might also want to check with the Child Protective Agency and Labor Department in your jurisdiction as such an activity could be deemed a business operation. Further, you and/or your child hopefully will be earning tax-reportable income as a result of her writing efforts and appearances which may result in her having to file federal and state income tax returns. For example, in Florida, minors under the age of 14 may not work at all unless they obtain an exemption.”

We’ll be featuring and article on this topic by Harvey next week, which will go into far more detail on this topic.

Whatever you do, don’t expect a book signing to be a cash cow. Book signings are increasingly disappointing (with regards to book sales) and many authors won’t do signings anymore. With dwindling brick and mortar stores (and, subsequently, face-to-face sales), and with the unfair terms bookstores demand (a 55%-65% discount and the right to return unsold copies), bookstore sales just aren’t that appetizing to authors anymore, especially since they can sell far more copies, with a lot less effort, sitting at home on their laptop.

Some authors like book signings because, hey, they do stoke the ego and, if handled correctly, they can sell a few copies. But, other authors, like me, prefer to promote their books online only. I, personally, don’t like the pomp and circumstance of in-person appearances, regardless how large or small. I did that for awhile and it turned out to be a LOT more trouble than it was worth.

The exception is W.W. Brock. That guy sells out of his books all the time! Click HERE  to read how he does it.



Marketing to Bookstores – Still a Waste of Time?

Are Book Signings Big Book Sellers? Not Usually

How My Bookstore Signings Led to a Traditional Publishing Contract and Film Consideration!

HOW TO SELL OUT AT BOOK SIGNINGS! What’s the Most Important Tool in Your Arsenal?

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The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication

Practical resource outlining the self-syndication process, step-by-step. Packed with detailed information and useful tips for writers looking to gain readership, name recognition, publication and self-syndication for their column or articles.

Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!



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I want (a large, specialty book distributor) to sell my book on their website, as well as to physical retailers. My publisher doesn’t like their terms. Do you have any advice?




There are thousands of distributors and specialty retailers across the globe. Like most physical bookstores, they’re feeling the pinch (okay, the deep, guttural stab) of Amazon’s success. In order to survive, they must demand very deep discounts from publishers (and authors), and they want to be able to return books.

If you have self-published your book, you may not be able to afford to work with these firms. Unless you’re buying several hundred to a thousand or more copies of your book, you may not be able to give these firms the 55% to 65% discounts they require.

If they purchase 1,000 copies from you, and then return 900 of them later, you’ll have to find a lot of extra room in your garage and, worse, you’ll have to pay them back for those 900 copies they didn’t sell.

You really need to ask yourself if the risk is worth it. Instead, we recommend marketing your book directly to buyers online. Please see:

Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!




Also, please see:

We do not accept returns. You can read our thoughts on this practice here:


Another Shocking Reason to NEVER Accept Book Returns!

If you plan to sell copies of your book on a returnable basis, you should be aware that returned books can be dusty and damaged and, thus, unsellable. If the distributor is willing, sell them just a handful on consignment instead. If those sell, and if you get paid for those, then offer them a larger quantity the next time. That protects you from taking such a large financial risk. Remember, since the distributor can return all unsold copies, their only risk is the return shipping fees on the returned books. But, some distributors won’t even cover that.


Distributors – Who Needs Them?


How to Sell Books on Consignment to Bookstores and Other Retailers

Another Shocking Reason to NEVER Accept Book Returns!

Offering Credit to Bookstores Can Be VERY Risky

Do NOT Sneak Your Self-Published Book Onto Bookstore Shelves!

Marketing to Bookstores – Still a Waste of Time?

Read More Ask The Expert

Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!

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Hi Angela,

According to a website: “Creating a book giveaway function does nothing but increase you and your book’s visibilities. Meaning that it is very necessary. Amazon has created a book-giveaway-channel that would allow authors to create reading contests, and choose their winner(s).”

Comment, please.



If you create this type of giveaway through “Amazon Giveaway,” you must PURCHASE the prizes for your winners. And, you must PURCHASE those books from Amazon. Amazon is NOT going to buy those prizes for you.

Remember that, with most contests, the contest sponsors are the ones who reap the most benefit. I’m not opposed to giving away books to readers but you can probably get copies for a lot less through your publisher. And, you can host and promote your own contest on your own website and through your own social media accounts. I definitely don’t recommend paying full price to Amazon for YOUR OWN book(s).


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

Book Contests for a Publisher’s Authors? Pppfffttt!!!

Consider Self-Publishing? How Many Book Sales Needed to Recoup Your Investment?

From WritersWeekly Short Story Contest Winner to Simon and Schuster Contract

14 Tips To Give Yourself A Leg Up In Writing Contests!

Read More Ask The Expert


Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!

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I want to self publish a children’s book. I have a friend who is an illustrator and I am not sure how much I should pay her to do the artwork. I hope you can give me some help on how much to pay her?

You should discuss it with your friend, and decide on a price that is fair to both of you. Different illustrators charge different rates. The prices are all over the board. I definitely recommend having a work-for-hire contract so you’ll own all rights to the artwork in your book – forever. You need to be able to use that artwork not only in the book, but also in marketing and, if the book takes off, you’ll want to be able to use it when creating related products in the future as well. You don’t want to have to pay additional fees each time you want to use artwork that you paid the illustrator to create. Of course, you may need to pay a bit more up front but it will be worth if you can use it freely in the future.

A sample work-for-hire contract is here:


There are plenty of artistic styles to choose from!

Cindy Lambert
Excellent samples at her website!

Chad Thompson

Bruce Robinson

Dena McKitrick

Gary Watashe
Fees: Charges $20/hour, but will negotiate a flat fee per illustration.

Jennifer Rodgers
Rates “vary depending on size. To give you a general idea, a full-color
8.5 x11 illustration costs $200.”

S.C. Watson
Interior illustrations: $75-$1000 each
Original cover design: $1200-$3000

Rosemarie Gillen

Alison Pitts

Valery Larson –

We do not earn any referral fees or anything whatsoever for
referring you to these illustrators.

WARNING: Many POD publishers claim ownership of illustrations
even though authors paid THEM to create those illustrations. Even if you
don’t use us, we strongly recommend that you *not* pay a publisher to
illustrate your book. If you want to leave their service someday, you will
have a very difficult time doing so because your book will need brand
new illustrations. Publishers that claim ownership of illustrations are
greedy, and should be avoided. They are simply trying to force authors
to stay with them forever.


Should I Pay My POD Publisher To Edit And Illustrate My Book? NO

Agent Wants Me To Pay For Editing And Illustrations

Even Friends Need a Contract

How To Give A Writing Critique…Without Losing Friends

Freelance Favors for Friends

Read More Ask The Expert

Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!

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My friends have all been asking me to write a book but I don’t want to self-publish. I bought a self-published book that was awful and I don’t want people to think my book is awful, too, just because I don’t have a contract from a publisher that doesn’t charge authors. But, I really want to write and publish a book. What if I can’t get a “real” contract? What are your thoughts?
I certainly understand your hesitation. I felt the same way at the beginning of my writing career. But, self-publishing no longer carries the same stigma that it did several years ago. Some successful self-published authors earn far more than their traditionally published midlist counterparts. One of my books (co-authored with M.J. Rose) was published by one of the large NYC publishers several years ago and I’ll never go that route again. We landed the contract after self-publishing it, and after proving it was selling well.

They mucked up the editing so bad that we heard one editor lost her job over it. The process took foreeeeeeeever as compared to self-publishing. Think about it. You can get your self-published book to market in just a month at, but it takes 1-3 years for a traditionally published book to go a book up for sale. If you’d self-published, you’d already have almost 1-3 years of sales under your belt.

And, contrary to popular author assumptions, self-publishing no longer hurts your chances of landing a traditional contract. In fact, if you can prove impressive sales of your self-published book, your chances of landing a traditional contract are greatly increased. Fifty Shades of Grey is one example. It was a successful self-published book and look what happened after a traditional publisher discovered it!

Unfortunately, my traditionally published book was treated like most midlist titles are by traditional publishers. It took too long for them to publish it and, in that time, we lost a ton of sales because their contract stipulated that we had to take it off the market while they worked on the “new edition.” It was a book about publishing online and, by the time their version hit the market, some of the info was obsolete. If we were still self-publishing the book, we could have updated the links and info. continuously but they’d already printed and warehoused thousands of copies.

After it was published, they did almost no promotion, instead relying on us to promote the book (and relying on us to PAY for that promotion). They sent out only a handful of review copies at their expense. They tried to take control over the website we’d created just to promote the book but we refused to let them have it. By that point, we knew we were far better equipped to handle running that website.

Worst of all, the book was about online book publishing and promotion but they never released an ebook edition! Our previous ebook edition was what had been so popular because people could simply click on the links! It was a huge mess and, as I said, I’ll NEVER do that again! I’ve made far more money publishing and selling my own books than I did though traditional publishing.

With regards to promotion, traditional publishers throw almost all their marketing money at their celebrity authors’ books. Profits from midlist titles fund the celebrities’ books. If you’re an unknown author and your book is traditionally published, don’t expect them to put any marketing money behind it just because it sells a thousand copies or so.

Another incorrect assumption by many authors is that, if your book is traditionally published, it’ll be on those tables near the door of every bookstore. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, you’ll be extremely lucky to get any bookstores at all to stock your title. Why? With more than a million books hitting the market each year now (most of those are self-published), and with the millions of titles already on the market, there simply isn’t enough shelf space at bookstores anymore. Getting into all the bookstores, and getting premium placement at those stores, is like winning a lottery, except your chance of winning a scratch-off ticket worth a few hundred bucks or more is better than your chances of getting stocked in all or most bookstores.

If your traditionally published book doesn’t sell very well and very fast, your publisher is going to assume it never will and they will no longer be interested in discussing book promotion or placement with you. In fact, you’ll be lucky if you can get them to return your calls. You’ll be all alone, just like you’d be if you self-published. Except, if you’d self-published, you’d still have control over your book, your marketing and, most importantly, your profit potential.

I, personally, would rather have 19 books on the market that I control (that’s how many I’ve written and published) than have 1 controlled by a traditional publisher. But, I have always had a problem with delegation… 😉

Finally, if you choose a good P.O.D. publisher (a publishing services provider), your royalties per book will be higher, much higher, than a traditionally published book. If a copy of your book sells to the public through‘s website, you’ll earn 35% of the list price on that sale. If it sells through Amazon, you’ll earn 15% of the list price. Both of those are far higher than the paltry 8% you might earn through a traditional publisher.

Many authors dream of having a traditional contract. I would never try to prevent an author from seeking a traditional contract. But, if you don’t land one, you should self-publish. If your self-published book is successful, it’ll then be much easier to land a traditional contract later. If you’re truly too embarrassed to “self-publish,” I recommend writing under a pseudonym.

Please see:

Should I Self-Publish or Hold Out for a Traditional Contract?

Can Self-Published Authors Land Traditional Contracts? Heck, Yeah!


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

BookLocker’s Prices and Packages

Are Traditional Publishers Getting Kick-Backs, Err… Commissions, from Some POD Publishers?

“I Just Landed a Traditional Contract…Or Did I?”

Read More Ask The Expert

90+ DAYS

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I need to edit my book. It’s a print on demand title. Should I just edit the current book or should I release a second edition? What’s cheapest and what are the benefits and drawbacks of each option?

After a new book is released, most authors spend a lot of time promoting their new baby…initially anyway. (Yes, some authors get tired of promotion if they don’t have a step-by-step guide to assist them.) In their promotional activities, they will usually include specific links to,, their publisher’s website, etc. If an author publishes a new edition under a new ISBN, the book will receive all new links. So, those old links that the author posted on social media, in comments under news articles, and more will all lead to the old edition of the book.

While many of BookLocker’s competitors try to convince their authors to publish a brand new edition (so they can charge their inflated fees all over again), and while some actually force authors to do so (by refusing to allow extensive edits, or refusing to process brand new files), we recommend authors simply pay our post-print-proof-changes fee (which is only $199), and keep the same ISBN. We can even add “Second Edition” to the title, and can change the publication date to a more current one. A new cover can be used as well, of course. The printer will simply swap out the old files for the new and, voila! All new books printed will be the new edition. It’s really simple, and much faster than publishing a brand new book.

Since the book has the same ISBN, all the old links will still lead to the author’s new book. The author’s previous promotional activities can still generate book sales and readers will be able to buy copies of the most recent edition of the book.

Again, some of the “other guys” don’t allow authors to do this because they’d rather force an author to pay upwards of $1,000 or more to publish a brand new book rather than letting them simply submit new files, while keeping their old ISBN and links. Unfortunately, there’s a ton of greed in the industry.

One drawback of this method is the dreaded “used book” listing. If a website really does have a “used” book for sale (many “used” books being sold by Amazon’s resellers don’t actually exist), a customer ordering your book from Amazon or elsewhere may unwittingly end up with the previous edition. Likewise, even if Amazon has the new cover and publication date listed on their site, if they have a copy of the previous edition on their shelves, they will ship that to the buying customer. One way to circumvent this is to contact Amazon, ask how many copies they really have in their inventory, and buy those from Amazon. If you tell the Amazon employee why you’re asking, they’ll probably be very happy to help you buy out their current inventory. For print on demand books, that usually means just a handful of copies, often even less than 5 copies.

And, remember, just because Amazon’s site says a book is “in stock” doesn’t necessarily mean it is. They may have no copies at all. Read THIS for more info.


How Does Amazon REALLY Get Print on Demand Books to Their Customers?

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

Don’t Give Your Baby (your book!) to A Naughty Publisher!



Read More Ask The Expert

Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!

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Hello, Angela.

I would welcome your wisdom on the best way and medium through which to solicit contributions from the “average person” for a book.

I am looking for real-life hindsight, wisdom and reflections from people who have first-hand experience with the topic I am writing about. I would like a diverse cross-section of people nationally and, even possibly, internationally.

Thank you so much. I enjoy your articles.


Contacting non-writers, and soliciting contributions from them for your project, is essentially the same process you’d undertake when contacting professional writers. You just need to look in different places.

Please see my popular three-part series –

How to Compile and Publish an Anthology


Anthology Can Help Support Writing Group

Sample Anthology Contributor Contract!

An Inexpensive Publisher to Assist You!

Lulu CEO Admits They’ve “Easily Published the Largest Collection of Bad Poetry in the History of Mankind”

Top 11 Signs a POD Publisher Charges Too Much

Archived Q&A’s are featured HERE.

Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!



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Hi Angela,

I have been told over and over by professional people, after they hear some of my life story, that I should write a book about my life. I have thought about it often over the last few years but I just don’t know how to go about it. I was born in Jerusalem. My father and uncle were involved in the 6 day war, and my uncle (a member of the PFLP) was sentenced to 125 years in prison. Long story there. We moved to the USA in 1978 and my father ran the home with an iron fist, became a gang member, and did all that comes along with that life style. He also went to prison for many years. I mean, there is so much to say. Please can you guide me?

Thank you so much.


If you are not a professional writer with experience outlining and organizing a story line (including non-fiction), this is what I recommend –

Sit down at your computer, pretend you’re telling your life story to a friend, and let your fingers do the talking. You can even use a tape recorder first, and either transcribe your own words later, or hire someone to do it. Please note that the transcription method will take far longer, and may even prevent you from following through on finishing the book someday.

Later, during the editing process, you can move different parts around to either:
1. put them in a chronological sequence or
2. organized each section or chapter by topic

And, I strongly recommend hiring a professional editor. See:

Please also see:

HOW TO REMEMBER, WRITE AND PUBLISH YOUR LIFE STORY  It contains hundreds of memory triggers. 🙂


“Remember Your Past, Write It, and Publish It in as little as 12 weeks!”


Don’t Invite a Lawsuit with Your Memoir

Don’t Invite Lawsuits by Real People Featured in Your Book! (Hint: You Can Still Be Sued Even If You Don’t Name Them!)

Boldly Assuming You “Can’t Be Sued” Will Likely Lead to a Lawsuit
Publishing Other People’s Non-fiction Stories Can Get You Sued!
Want to Get Sued? Write About Your Ex!
Am I at Risk of Being Sued?
Did Your Lawyer Say, “You Can’t Be Sued?” BEWARE!

PTMD or Post Traumatic Memoir Disorder

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Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!

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I have a novel coming out in the Fall. I was going to go with CreateSpace but you and others have convinced me that’s a bad idea.

Let’s say I go with BookLocker instead. Everybody I know buys their books (ebook or paperback) on Amazon. If the paperback listed on Amazon is not POD-created by the Amazon subsidiary, who fulfills the order? Who notifies the POD publisher to print a copy, and who ships the copy to the buyer?



If someone buys your book at Amazon, one of two things will happen.

If Amazon has chosen to stock your P.O.D. book, they’ll already have copies on file, and will send one of those to the buyer.

If they don’t have it in stock, they’ll send the order to BookLocker’s printer, which will then print/ship the book to Amazon’s customer directly, even using an return address label. Those copies usually get shipped out within 1-3 business days.





BookLocker Sued Amazon/BookSurge – a.k.a. CreateSpace – AND WON!

After Cancer/Miscarriage, Amazon Employees Allege Disturbing Treatment

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Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90…and beyond!




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Hey there! Thanks so much for the great newsletters and all that you do on behalf of writers and editors.

So, here’s my question, for both my work as a book editor and as a novelist starting to gather info on self-publishing (with BookLocker my prime choice right now) – I can find reams of writing on how to self-publish, promote, and sell novels, but what are the two or three (or more) resources you would recommend as absolutely essential to a self-publishing novelist?

Thank you again for all your efforts. Best to you and yours!



Four essential items a self-publishing author needs are:

1. An affordable publisher who doesn’t gouge authors, who doesn’t take rights, who gives authors their production files, and who profits from book sales (not from setup fees).

2. A good editor (please see the full list further below)

3. A good cover design (our designer is excellent)

You can see samples of Todd’s covers here:

Click on each one to see the entire cover (front, back and spine).

Also, see the covers at the top of this page:

Note: If an author approaches Todd separately for cover design, he will charge $1,000 for the same service. He gives BookLocker a great deal because we send him so much business. Our At-Your-Service package, which includes original cover design, is only $675.

4. A copy of 90+ Days of Promoting Your Book Online, which BookLocker authors receive for free.

Please see below freelance editors who you can
contact for a quote.

Rickey Pittman –

Jennifer Gordon –

Dave Carew, Editor AND Ghostwriter –

Kathi Bahler –
Barbara McNichol –

Lynnette Labelle –

Joyce Anne Grabel –

If you hire one of these editors you will need to pay
them directly. We are only
referring you to them. We do not hire them for you.

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

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.



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


More Lulu Complaints – Thinking Of Using Lulu To Publish Your Book? You Might Want To Read These Authors’ Complaints First!

Complaints about AuthorHouse, Complaints about Xlibris, Complaints about iUniverse, Complaints about Trafford, etc., etc.

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