Recently Answered Questions:



Q –

I put up my book on Amazon’s Kindle last year for almost a year but not a single copy was sold. Did I do something wrong, or miss out on something I needed to do? Now, my second novel is ready but I can’t find a publisher to print it. What should I do?

– A.K.


A –

It’s a common misconception that putting a newly published book (print or electronic) up on Amazon will mean automatic sales. Nothing could be further from the truth. Amazon’s inventory is far too large. Hoping for people to stumble upon your book, and immediately buy it, is unrealistic. To sell copies, you must consistently and aggressively promote your book.

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

Also, if your book isn’t available in print, some readers may not consider your book a “real” book. After all, if the author didn’t care enough about the book to have it published in print format, perhaps the author didn’t think the quality of the book was worth any financial investment on their part.

Books that are available in print AND electronic formats tend to sell far better than ones that are only available as ebooks. Remember that ebook sales have been dipping the last few years, and print book sales are making a comeback. It’s best to offer both options to your readers for maximum sales.

Regarding your new book – If you have a previous book on the market with no sales, traditional publishers are very unlikely to want to publish your new book. You might want to consider self-publishing. Yes, you’ll need to invest money but you won’t need to wait for months (or years) to land an agent, and a traditional publisher. (You’d then need to wait even longer for the book to be published, and put on the market.) Note: BookLocker gets books on the market in only one month.

Most authors who approach agents and/or traditional publishers do NOT get contracts, and then choose self-publishing if they want to get read, and if they want to make money on their book(s).

Also, keep in mind that self-published authors with impressive sales, have a MUCH higher chance of landing a traditional publishing contract later.

Please see:

The Cold, Hard, Ugly Facts about Traditional Publishing…and Why You Might Want to Avoid It Altogether

and

7 BENEFITS of Self-Publishing! (And, reasons you may want to avoid the traditional route)

Angela

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Q –

Angela,

I got a call on my home phone from someone at (name removed). Lots of noise in the background; spoke with a foreign accent. He knew my first name, and said he was interested in promoting my books. From what I’ve read on the Internet, it’s a scam.

How did he know all three: my name, my home phone number, and the name of my publisher? The only time I have given out my home phone number is when I signed the publishing contract.

L.


A –

We do not, nor have we ever, sold/given our authors’ or writers’ contact info. to anyone. Period.

Anyone can find self-published authors on Amazon by searching for a specific print on demand publisher, and then finding their books. They then search for the author’s name in a search engine to find the author’s contact info. It’s very simple.

Within seconds, I found your name, phone number, the names of your relatives, and more on nuwber.com.

Your phone company (AT&T) may have sold your info. to them as it says “AT&T landline.”

That’s just a free tool on the Internet. Professional marketers have other resources they use to find the contact info. for folks. And, with your address available at the sites above, they can even see a picture of your house on Google maps.

Angela

RELATED:



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!



 

Q –

I want somebody to edit/polish my autobiography to ensure that the reader does not lose interest. My current goal is to distribute it to friends and relatives. My children like the content as it involves severe hardships, remarkable successes, lessons learned and lot of other information of interest to them. What is typical hourly rate for this type of work and what is your best guess for total editing cost? How do I find a person to do this job?

– L.D.


A –

You can see a current list of freelance editors we recommend RIGHT HERE.

Also at that link is a list of freelance illustrators, publicists, and translators!

If you send your manuscript to each of them, they will be happy to give you a quote. 🙂

Angela

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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!



 

Q –

Dear Ms. Hoy,

I have been entertaining (an expensive print on demand publisher) for a work of historical fiction. (The company) attracts me by their marketing at book fairs/trade shows, and distribution to thousands of (specialty organizations), as well as placement on Amazon. I am sure you are busy from the storm and I hope you and your family and friends are well. When you have the opportunity, would you be so kind as to tell me some of the pitfalls of going with (that company).

Respectfully,
P.


A –

That firm, which appears on THIS LIST, can’t guarantee any book sales, no matter how many book fair or trade show “appearances” they tout to (ahem – SELL to) authors. In all likelihood, they’re making the author pay for those copies to display at book fairs/trade shows, etc., either through author purchases, or with their incredibly high setup fees. Please avoid getting sucked into the hype. Book fairs and publishing industry trade shows are almost always a losing proposition for new authors. Read why HERE.

And, (that company) is NOT going to “distribute” your book to thousands of organizations. They’re going to make your book available through Ingram’s system (Ingram is the largest book distributor) and any firm with an Ingram account can then order your book. All the print on demand publishers do that! The phony “distribution” language is very deceptive and, unfortunately, very common in the industry.

When a publisher writes, ‘we’ll make your book available to (insert a number in the thousands here) bookstores worldwide,’ that simply means anybody can order your book from Amazon or any other store because your book will be in Ingram’s database. Again, ALL the print on demand/vanity publishers do that, as well as traditional publishers. Don’t fall victim to creative sales nonsense that might make you think they’re doing something awesome and unique for you…when they clearly are not.

They might “market” your book to some organizations (as well as their other books), but what does that mean exactly? In all likelihood, it means they’re spamming those firms, or sending out junk mail and/or junk faxes. Making you think they’re going to “sell” your book to thousands is just another questionable marketing tactic they use to try to get authors to pay their insultingly high fees. Oh, and those firms that use spam and junk mail/faxes to “promote” books are greatly frowned upon. Their spam/junk mail/faxes almost always end up in the trash because the recipients of those communications are tired of seeing repeated pitches for poor-quality, self-published books.

For like services, (that firm) charges thousands while BookLocker only charges $875. If you contact me through THIS FORM, as a WritersWeekly reader, be sure to ask me for a $100 discount code if you plan to use BookLocker. I’m always happy to give those to our readers.

And, at BookLocker, we don’t use deceptive sales tactics like those described above, nor do we upsell authors on garbage that doesn’t sell books. You can read our philosophy HERE. Also, please read the first link below.

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





 

Q –

Hi Angela,

I spent $2000 with (a large P.O.D. publisher). Three months of arguing with the design team. Finished up with what I consider to be a very presentable and engaging children’s picture book. I have spent $1200 with GoDaddy on something called a social media optimization team, which advertises the book to targeted and selected groups within society. I have sent a nice email to children’s bookstores all over the U.S. with an attachment of the cover.

Now, I have started to get replies, “No P.O.D.’s.” I am no expert but it has become obvious to me very quickly that there is a culture within the publishing industry of closing ranks against P.O.D. authors who challenge the status quo, much like the 70’s in England when they went from hot type to electronic printing.

How do I overcome this?

K.


A –

Many retailers and even book readers assume that P.O.D. means self-published. P.O.D. actually means “print on demand.” The technology allows books to be printed one-at-a-time, on huge rolls of paper, alongside various other titles that are also being printed to order.

Many traditional publishers now use print on demand technology, too. While the per-book cost may be more, there is no longer any reason to print and warehouse hundreds or thousands of books. For best selling authors, traditional printing still makes sense. But, for books by unknown authors, the limited initial printing investment can be smart.

Of course, most self-published authors use a publisher that has access to a P.O.D. printer. And, that’s where the association developed.

Discrimination against self-published authors is not new but, in today’s society, figuring out which authors are self-published is now much easier.

The large retailers and distributors know which large publishing services are charging authors, and which ones will publish pretty much anything and everything. A librarian once told me that they never order CreateSpace books because the quality of those authors’ books, as a whole, is not good. (Note: CreateSpace is owned by Amazon.) If a publisher publishes pretty much anything and everything, sooner or later the retailers and distributors will decide they may not want to do business with that publisher anymore. Any author who uses an author meat market runs the risk of being judged harshly based simply on the name of their publisher.

The publisher you’re using IS an author meat market so I’m not surprised to hear that you’re being turned away by bookstores.

At BookLocker (http://publishing.booklocker.com/), we are selective about what we publish so we don’t have the same reputation for publishing bad books. And, since we limit the number of books we publish, we not an author meat market.

How can you overcome this? You might consider moving your book to a publisher that isn’t running an author meat market. Smaller P.O.D. publishers fly under the radar of the large bookstores and distributors. And, if you publish future books, be sure to submit to a publisher that is selective about what they publish.

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ADS TO RUN



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!



 

Q –

Angela,

I have a book, already published, but my publisher is out of business. So, I have a physical copy BUT no PDF copy. What can I do to get it back on the market?


A –

Unfortunately, many authors have found themselves in your shoes in recent years. BookLocker has been in business for 18 years now and we’re still going strong! (You can read why HERE.) But, we can only accept electronic files.

If you only have a printed manuscript or a printed, bound copy of your book, I recommend hiring a college student to type your manuscript into a word processing program so it can be easily edited, formatted, etc. to any printer’s specs.

Scanning pages of a print book creates HUGE files (each page will be a graphic) and, while there is software that can convert the words into a word processing document, they always create numerous errors so the file will need to be edited all over again anyway. The easiest solution is to simply have the manuscript typed into a word processing program.

Another is alternative is Janice Lullo, owner of jltyping.com.

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WritersWeekly is abbreviated. We will be back on our regular schedule next week. For details why, click HERE.

 

Read More Ask The Expert

 





Q –

Good morning, Angie.

I’m sending you my poetry collection to see if you think it is acceptable for publication. If you think it is, we can work out the details. My only source of income is social security. I tell you this because if you accept my work I’ll have to take out a loan from my bank.

-Name not published (for obvious reasons)


A –

I’m always happy to give my opinion about an author’s writing. However, there is something far more concerning in your note above.

Nobody else in the industry will tell you this (including most of our competitors, some of whom prey on elderly authors) but I definitely do NOT recommend taking out a loan to publish a poetry book. Poetry is one of the slowest-selling genres.

Sometimes, when I alert authors (poets) to this fact, they get very defensive, accusing me of squashing their dream. That is exactly the type of author who is fresh prey for our competitors. (One was even sued for preying on older folks.) I hope you are not that kind of author. I am simply trying to help you make a reasonable business decision.

I am not trying to diminish your spirit, or criticize your writing in any way. I just hate to see an author take a risk to publish a book that, in all likelihood, is never going to earn back the investment. Remember, most of those sales folks work on a commission. Once they pocket a percentage of your payment, they don’t care if you sell any books or not. And, like the proverbial used car salesmen, they’ll lavish false praise, and will lie to you repeatedly until your wallet is scraped clean.

If you are intent on publishing a book of poetry, you might consider a https://www.gofundme.com campaign. Perhaps friends and family (and others) might contribute to your future book?

Many poets know their books will not sell well but they want a record of their writing for friends, family, and future generations. If they have the funds to publish, and know the risks involved, and if the book is good, I am happy to publish their poetry. However, I would never advise an author on a fixed income to take out a loan to get published.

If you decide not to heed my advice, please be very, very careful. There are crooks in the industry that are experts at emptying authors’ wallets. In fact, not only will some of them lie to get you to sign up, but they’ll also have no qualms about convincing you to get an even BIGGER loan, and hard-selling you into buying a $10K marketing package, all the while knowing you’ll likely sell very few copies.

I am sorry for the bad news but I treat authors they way I would want to be treated (and how I’d want a firm to treat my parents). I simply can’t advise you to obtain financing to publish a poetry book.

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More Q&A with Angela!



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!



 

 

Q –

Lots of people (42 on one) liked my book promo post but still I see no sales. Why?

– L.


A –

Having 42 “likes” on social media but no sales is not at all unusual. Friends and family like to support authors with “likes” and “retweets,” etc. but they rarely go so far as to order a copy of the author’s book if it’s not something they’re truly interested in. You should not take it personally. Many friends and family members even lie to authors about buying their books so as not to hurt their feelings. You can read more about that unfortunately phenomenon here:

AWKWARD HOLIDAY GATHERINGS! When Relatives Say They Bought Your Book (But They Didn’t)

If you purchased an ad on social media, there are a few reasons why it might not have generated any sales:

1. People must usually be exposed to an ad multiple times before they will actually purchase the product. With social media, you never know who is seeing the ad, nor how many times they’ve seen it.

2. The ad may have been too plain. Perhaps it wasn’t tantalizing enough, or the graphic wasn’t eye-catching.

3. I don’t know how many people actually saw your ad but 42 likes isn’t that much, and certainly not enough to expect a sale. A mere fraction of those who see an ad actually buy the advertised product.

4. Lots of people on social media click “like” on a variety of things with no intention of ever buying any of them. Heck, some people click “like” on every post they see just because they want to be nice and make friends.

Spending a few dollars on a social media ad isn’t going to sell many books. You need a well-rounded marketing campaign, which is actually very easy to do yourself if you have the right tool. Please see:

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

RELATED:

BOOK MARKETING E-SERIAL PART 1

Reader Comments = Marketing Blurbs!

The Biggest Marketing Mistake New Authors Make!

What’s a Book Marketing Cheat Sheet?

How to Go Broke AFTER You Publish Your Book! (Hint: Buy your publisher’s worthless marketing products and services…)

More Q&A with Angela!



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!



 

Q –

Angela,

I have a friend who has written over 15 novels in the past 30 years and, though he has had a few agents who tried to sell his books, he remains unpublished. Three months ago he sent out a query letter and the first chapter of one of his books to an agency overseas. The agent responded favorably, and agreed to try to sell it, but didn’t offer an agency contract. My friend went ahead and sent her the whole book.

After 3 months he was curious if the agency had any luck with the book so he sent a “send update” email. The agent who had the book responded quickly, but said she was unable to find a publisher who was willing to take on the project. She listed a litany of reasons, and then wrote, “Rather than letting your book sit on a shelf collecting dust, I could publish it for you.” That seems to me to be a definite conflict of interest for a literary agent but my friend, who’s ready to give away the store to this agent, doesn’t see this. Am I correct in my viewpoint?

Thanks,

P.


A –

Yes, it’s definitely a conflict of interest, and extremely unethical. I’ve heard of this happening many times before. Please tell your friend to avoid this bottom feeder!

Some small-time publishers pretend to be literary agents in order to attract authors. These snakes have no intention of helping an author land a big contract. Rather, they claim to have no luck with publishers, and then offer to publish the author’s book themselves…for a hefty fee of course.

In other cases, they instead “recommend” the author use a specific fee-based publisher, and get a kickback from that “publisher” on the fees the author paid to get published.

One fake literary agent in the past (who used a fake name as well) would “refer” authors to a publishing services company that she herself owned. If I remember correctly, she ended up serving jail time for fraud.

If any literary agent tries to sell an author anything at all (including editing services), run for the hills! The only legitimate up-front fees that a real literary agent should charge authors are the printing and postage fees for sending out manuscripts to traditional publishers.

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More Q&A with Angela!



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!



 

Ask The Expert Archives