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***There are millions of people with fascinating stories to tell. Unfortunately, many of these survival stories deal with abuse. I receive numerous emails like this one each year. The email below has been anonymized by me. The actual facts revealed in the email were horrific.

~~~

Hi Angela,

I would love to be able to share my life story. I have been told for years to write a book. Thing is, I have no idea on where to begin.

I am the single mother of four children. I got pregnant the first time when I was 16. My mom died in car accident when I was pregnant so I ended up raising my three siblings. My dad was driving that night and, after years of abusing my mom and us, we suspected he wrecked the car that way on purpose. The pole he hit was on her side of the car. He had minor injuries. The day after the funeral, he moved in with his mistress and we hardly saw him after that. He got all the life insurance money and gave nothing to me and my siblings. He spent it all before the courts could intervene.

The abuse didn’t stop there. Even after I became an adult, and moved out on my own, he would come to my house and beat me up. Once, he did it in front of my children. I didn’t turn him in all those years because he was the only parent I had left. After he abused me in front of my children, I finally got smart, and got up the nerve to get an order of protection against him.

My dad and his wife are still alive. Recently, they stole an inheritance from another relative.

There is so much more to tell. I want to write a book, partly to tell my story and also so I can make some money from it since I’m a single mom.

Where should I start?

 

I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. The information below is my opinion only. Please consult your attorney for questions about the legalities of writing and publishing non-fiction, especially where abuse is concerned.

Your story does indeed sound very interesting and I’m sure it would be of interest to many readers. However, there is a pretty significant legal liability associated with publishing such a story. I am sure that your father and/or stepmother would like nothing more than to file a lawsuit against you if you publish such a story. Many mean people (and their lawyers) assume that all authors and their publishers are wealthy. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. But, even if you’re broke, that won’t stop a slimy lawyer from filing a lawsuit against you.

If I were you, I would publish it as fiction based on actual events, and anonymize EVERYTHING in the story. The book could still tell the story, and provide lessons for people who read it, while not identifying or revealing you or your family members’ identities. Unfortunately you would need to keep the fact that you are the author a secret from everyone. If even one person reads the book, and can identify your father or stepmother or anyone else who was criticized in the book, they could sue you, even if you don’t name them. Please read the following articles for more advice but, again, you need to discuss this with an attorney.

 

12 Ways to Avoid Getting Sued When Writing Your Memoirs

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

When Relatives Say, “Don’t Write About Me!”

How to Novelize Your Life Story or Family History

 

 

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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.

http://writersweekly.com/books/4693.html



 



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Angela,

A few years ago, you published an article on how to make extra holiday money through writing. Can you post that again, or give a link?

Thanks.

 

I have several holiday-related goodies to share! Here ya go:

Make Money Writing Santa Letters

The Holidays = Article Ideas in Abundance!

Your Creativity As a Loving, Inexpensive (and Funny!) Holiday Gift!

H-O-L-I-D-A-Y-S can spell W-O-R-K for freelancers

Beat the New Year’s Cash Crunch – Rev Up Marketing Now for Ongoing Pay!

Five Ways to Boost your Holiday Income

The P.O.D. of Christmas Past: Self-Publishing in 1843

In next week’s Publisher’s Desk column, we’ll be featuring Paying Holiday Markets for Writers, so stay tuned!

 

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Search paying markets for writers here:

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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.

http://writersweekly.com/books/4693.html



 



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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Angela,

I am not sure how this happened, but ever since my new book hit the market, a different publisher has been calling my office, and sending emails.

Their sales representative was very much ‘to the point’ about what they wanted from me (my next book) and how much they wanted to produce it at reduced rates. Those “reduced rates” range from $2,000 to $6500!

I had a good laugh with the first sales rep — I talked her ear off about the (non-existent) “upcoming musical and movie.” They kept contacting me and, after that, I simply said ‘no’ to others that called, and hung up. I do not have the time for their crap. Why would any author want to pay $2,000 to $6,500 to a firm that bombards them with telemarketing calls and spam?

This is on-going. Have any of your other authors experienced this – the moment their book hits the market, another publisher descends upon them?

 

Yes, this is, unfortunately, not a new phenomenon. We call these so-called publishers “bottom feeders.”

Please see:
POD POACHERS! When Bottom Feeders Lure Authors Away from Their Existing Contracts, and Charge Thousands More!
Unfortunately, these bottom feeders can find newly released books on Amazon, and spend just a minute or two of research to find the author’s website, email address, and even their phone number. Then, the spamming and phone calls begin.

I agree with you. I never do business with any firm that uses spam or telemarketing as a sales tactic.

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When Traditional Publishers Become Vanity Publishers

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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.

http://writersweekly.com/books/4693.html



 



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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Angela,

Are print book sales making a comeback? I saw someone mention that online. What are your thoughts? Have you noticed a shift?

 

According to various reports, yes, print books are making a comeback. Being a traditional book loving, book sniffing, book feeling, reading addict, I’d always hoped and prayed that ebooks were just a fad. And, while they’re probably be around forever, it looks like print books are indeed making a comeback. A recent article sent to me by a reader is: Physical Book Sales Rocket As Digital Dips .

It states: “Physical book sales have rocketed by four million this year, fighting back against the digital revolution. Predictions, a few years ago, that the printed book would die appear to have been greatly exaggerated.”

Interestingly enough, our two youngest children, ages 10 and 15, who love their computers, also far prefer print books for their studies and leisure reading.

Just a year ago, the New York Times also confirmed, “Ebook Sales Slip, and Print is Far From Dead .”

In June, Publisher’s Weekly shared, in “As E-book Sales Decline, Digital Fatigue Grows , “Limitations of e-reading devices and ‘digital fatigue’ are cited as causes of decline in sales of the format.”

And, last year , NPR reported, “It’s safe to say that e-books disrupted the publishing industry. But sales have leveled off and not entirely for the reasons some have reported.” (http://www.npr.org/2015/10/19/450030372/why-the-battle-between-e-books-and-print-may-be-over)

So, rest assured, my fellow printed tome lovers, our favorite books will continue to make our fingers tingle, continue to take our olfactory senses back to our favorite library or bookstore, and will continue to…NOT NEED BATTERIES! 😉

 

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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.

http://writersweekly.com/books/4693.html



 



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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Angela,

I see your claim that it is less expensive to publish with BookLocker than with CreateSpace and I don’t understand why you think so. All over the Internet, information about CreateSpace makes authors think their services are free. Their homepage even says “free.” What gives?

-R.

For like publishing services, CreateSpace charges $1,288 while BookLocker only charges $875.

BookLocker has a DIY program (like CreateSpace) that only costs $78. That $78 fee includes a real human being at BookLocker personally reviewing the author’s interior file for errors (CreateSpace charges extra for that) and a real human being at BookLocker personally reviewing the cover for errors (CreateSpace charges extra for that). At BookLocker, you are working directly real people (all authors have direct access to me, the owner). You are not uploading a file to an impersonal computer system that spits out automated messages that may or may not help you fix your file. At BookLocker, you will get real, personal, detailed feedback and that $78 also includes an ISBN and barcode, which would cost $125 if purchased separately from R.R. Bowker.

In addition, BookLocker’s $78 fee http://publishing.booklocker.com/packages.php includes the cost of the print proof (CreateSpace charges extra for that, too), full distribution, order fulfillment, and more. It’s not unusual for a company to use the word “free” to lure in potential customers. But, those customers may soon learn that things are usually not “free” in this world. There’s often a catch, like providing technical specs that may be very challenging for folks with little or no book design experience, and then upselling authors on expensive services along the way. We call this the old bait and switch. BookLocker doesn’t do business that way.

Some authors upload multiple files to CreateSpace in an attempt to get it right, and some even order multiple print proofs along the way in an attempt to get their book formatted/designed correctly. When all else fails, they can pay CreateSpace’s $1,288 expensive fees to do the formatting/design work for them. Ouch.

You can see numerous complaints about CreateSpace HERE. That page also includes links to even more complaints.

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BookLocker’s Publishing Packages and Prices

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

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

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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.

http://writersweekly.com/books/4693.html



 



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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Angela is on vacation. Ask the Expert will return next week.

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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.

http://writersweekly.com/books/4693.html





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 found a website that ripped off my book. Help! Can you get them to take it down?”

 

I looked at the link you sent. They are not displaying your book on their site. Rather, they are displaying descriptive text that they’re pulling from your publisher’s website. I clicked on what appeared to be a link for the entire text but that took me to a page asking me to register for my “free” one-month membership. Of course, they wanted my credit card information. The site also had a bunch of fake “reviews” for your book but, on further inspection, those are actually fake reviews for that website, trying to convince people they really do have free ebooks and that it’s sooooo great. Ha ha ha.

This site doesn’t have your book and they’re not giving it away for free. It’s a phishing site. People who are mean enough to try to get a free copy of your book from a site like this deserve to have their credit card numbers stolen.

 

Please also see –

Is That Free Ebook Site REALLY Violating Your Copyright? Maybe Not…

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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.

http://writersweekly.com/books/4693.html





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’ve been approached to write and collaborate on a book of someone’s life story. They’ve agreed to list me as the co-author, and asked what type of payment I desire. I’ve done my research on ghostwriting, and know that the fees vary from per project to per hour.

My experience with this scale is lacking. I don’t want to sell myself short, but I also don’t want to overcharge. We’re talking 75 years of a life story with plenty of adventures and well-known contacts, and money doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. Would you ask for a flat fee for so many billable hours, or still charge by the hour?

As a co-author, I would expect some sort of royalties/commissions off of book sales, but have no idea where to start. Help!

Thank you in advance!

 

If it were me, I would DEFINITELY charge by the hour! Autobiography, biography and memoir projects can take on a life of their own and you don’t want to end up working for months or years on a flat-fee project.

I’d also opt for a respectable hourly rate and waive the royalties/commissions. There’s no way to guarantee the author will aggressively promote the book, nor that they won’t quickly grow bored with book promotion once it’s on the market. Counting on future income based on somebody else’s dreams and marketing activities (or lack thereof) will likely lead to disappointment. Read more about that HERE. And, if you waive future royalties/commissions, your client may be more agreeable to your hourly rate.

On a different note, if you need help dragging stories, memories, and other tidbits out of your client during the interview process, I recommend using Memory Triggers. Click HERE.

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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.

http://writersweekly.com/books/4693.html





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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Angela,

Could you suggest books, websites, etc. that have real poetry contests? Not the type that publish your poem and then want you to pay $100 for a copy. Also, where can I find lists of magazines that pay you for poems?

John

~~~

For paying poetry markets, and other markets, you can search our paying markets database here:
http://writersweekly.com/find-paying-markets

We don’t keep a list of contests. However, Hope Clark does on her website. See:
http://fundsforwriters.com/contests/

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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.

http://writersweekly.com/books/4693.html





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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Angela,

I am still working to get my illustrations for my book. Can you advise on something I was told by my illustrator? She told me that most photos copied from the Internet can be flipped horizontally to alleviate concerns of copyright infringement. For example if a mountain appears on the left side of the photograph, flip the photo so the mountain is on the right side. I also wonder if applying artistic effects to a photo (pencil sketch, smooth pastel, etc.) would eliminate concern of issues. I was given five websites for Royalty Free photos and images that are free of charge. Do you have any recommendations for me?

I appreciate your guidance.

 

Your illustrator is COMPLETELY WRONG! I can’t believe she is telling authors that nonsense! And, she’s putting authors at risk of lawsuits to boot! Flipping a photo does NOT take away the creator’s copyrights.

Remember that iconic red, white and blue Obama “Hope Poster?” That image was taken from an Associated Press photo. Not only was the “artist” sued by the Associated Press but he was also prosecuted. Please send THIS LINK (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_%22Hope%22_poster) to your illustrator.

And, I never recommend using royalty free sites. Many of those have stolen images on them. And, if you use an illegal image in your book, YOU may get sued. They probably won’t. Don’t use images in your book that were taken for free from the Internet. The risk is just too great.

Only use trusted, legitimate sources that pay the creators of each image when they get paid. Istockphoto.com and Dreamstime.com are ones we use.

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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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