Angela’s Desk

Get Rich Giving Away Free Ebooks? Oh, Come ON!!! By Angela Hoy

I received the following question by email this week: A question you may want to consider answering is this. The hype is good, the sales zeal is good. I am referring you to the link below: http://www.howtomakebigmoneygivingawayebooks.com/ Is this truly a way to make money legally? And, how, pray tell, do you honesty make money just by offering a "free e-book" for downloading, and where in the world does the money per download come in?

Malicious Reviews on Amazon By Angela Hoy

Amazon allows any Amazon customer to post a review about a book, even if that person did not purchase the book from Amazon. This means Amazon has no way of verifying if that person has even read the book or not. …

Press Releases Are Boring – News is Not By Angela Hoy

Press Releases Are Boring – News is Not By Angela Hoy

Just about every journalist and periodical editor has received countless press releases by email, fax and mail. While at WritersWeekly.com we don't publish press releases, and never have, we are still inundated with them on a daily basis for everything ranging from publishing services to insurance for the self-employed. But, we get far more "new book release" press releases than anything else. And, let me tell you, even though I'm an avid book reader and buy several books each month, it is very rare that I receive a new book press release that keeps me interested past the first sentence. …

Avoiding Costly Fulfillment Headaches By Angela Hoy

This article may be printed/redistributed freely as long as the entire article and bio are included. While some authors are very happy to let their publisher or an online bookstore do all their fulfillment, there are some entrepreneurs (like me) who insist on doing everything themselves. If you plan to do your own book fulfillment, there are some problems you will likely experience at one time or another from customers who are either malicious...or just downright not so bright.... …

Do You Owe Writers Money? Advice For Deadbeats! By Angela Hoy

This article is for all those deadbeat editors and publishers out there who owe writers money. Here's my advice on how you should or should not react when the press contacts you about your deadbeat status. …

SideStepping Traditional Publishers: Why So Many Authors Choose to Self-Publish – Part I of II By Angela Hoy

There does indeed seem to be a camp of people online, most of whom have only been traditionally published, who loudly beat their drums against any author who dares to consider self-publishing. My problem with them is that they convey a "holier than thou" attitude when they have no idea who that hopeful author is, what their book is about, or what their potential sales might be. The fact is, there are self-published authors who have and are making more money than many traditionally published authors... …

My Time to Whine: When A Contest Sponsor Gets FED UP! By Angela Hoy

Every quarter, we host the WritersWeekly.com 24-Hour Short Story Contest. The first thing you should know is we don't make a profit on the contest. After charging a $5 entry fee for the contest to the maximum number of contestants (500) and then paying the judges (by the hour), the winners ($300, $250 and $200) and also royalties to authors of books that are chosen as prizes for other contestants, we actually lose money on each contest. But, it is a good publicity tool and lots of fun so we keep it going, year after year. The best part of the contest is that I get to read lots of great stories! The worst part of the contest is dealing with disqualified or just plain grumpy contestants. …

POD Files Held Hostage for $1500?! If You Pay For It, You Should Own It! By Angela Hoy

Two things happened last week that disturbed me. First, an author I know wanted to hire a certain cover designer, but the designer refused to design his cover unless he published his book through the designer's "publishing company." Second, another author I know wanted to terminate her contract with iUniverse, but learned she'd need to pay them $1500 to obtain copies of her book text and cover files...files that she paid them to create! …

Labor-Inducing Tricks

Angela is relaxing this week and trying labor-inducing tricks, like positive visualization, eating tons of pineapple and talking to the baby. "Come on, Mason! I'm ready! Time to come out and play! Are you listening to me? Hello???" Her column will return next week...unless she is STILL pregnant! …

When Market Listings Don’t Match Writer’s Guidelines And Other Tricks Of The Bottom-Feeder Publishing Trade…By Angela Hoy

While most publishers are respectable and provide us with accurate information, some, usually the small or new ones, are so desperate for publicity that they lie on their questionnaires. And, we only learn of these lies later when a reader complains that our information is inaccurate. When this happens, we send the reader copies of the publisher's response to the questionnaire and also the publisher's approval email sent in response to the final market listing that was created for publication. This clears us and shows the reader that the publisher is a snake and that he/she used WritersWeekly simply to drive traffic to their site or to try to lure good writers to a bad publication. …

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

I receive complaints about unscrupulous publishers daily. Sometimes, it's hard to tell if you're being scammed or not. Today, I thought I'd share some common excuses we see for non-payment. In all cases below, if the writer had obtained a contract, they'd have had an easier time securing payment. …

Beware When Joining Writing Sites With Your Credit Card!

Beware When Joining Writing Sites With Your Credit Card!

Unfortunately, there has been a huge increase in the number of websites for writers that automatically re-charge your credit card for everything from a subscription, to a job bidding/finding service, and more. If you don't read the fine print, you may find yourself paying, over and over again, sometimes even on a monthly basis, for something you don't want. …

When Writing Publications Hurt Writers By Angela Hoy

When Writing Publications Hurt Writers By Angela Hoy

Some publications are so hungry for content they'll publish anything - even content that ultimately hurts their readers. This is really no different from running ads (and accepting money from) companies that engage in questionable business practices or companies that do not serve writers in a positive way. …

More World’s Worst Book Proposals By Angela Hoy

I'm knee deep in email this week so I'm once again sharing snippets of some of the worst book proposals we've ever received. We hope you get a giggle from them like we did. Yes, these are real! …

When Writers Steal from Other Writers

When Writers Steal from Other Writers

We received a huge response to our article two weeks ago about the writer who received $500 for the unauthorized use of her work, and an even bigger response to last week's article, When Someone Steals Your Work. What all authors need to know is that there are not just companies and websites that steal from writers. There is also a growing problem of writers stealing from other writers... …

When Someone Steals Your Work

Every week, I get emails from writers who have discovered their work published illegally online. Some of the copyright crooks ignorantly don't realize they can't publish someone else's work online (meaning some people think the entire Internet is the public domain). However, in my opinion, most people know they can't put someone else's work on their website, but do it anyway, hoping they won't get caught, not really caring, and/or deciding they'll just remove it if anyone ever complains. However, it doesn't work that way. …

Writer Receives $500 for Unauthorized Use of Her Work By Angela Hoy

Writer Receives $500 for Unauthorized Use of Her Work By Angela Hoy

We were recently notified by a travel writer that some of her work had been posted to a website without her permission. The site's owner immediately responded to the writer and apologized, then she surprised us all by writing this: "I would hope this wouldn't be necessary but understand if you want to proceed and will respond through my attorney. I am actually shocked by your attitude. My material and articles have been published without my agreement all over the internet. I take that as a compliment and am willing to share my thoughts and experiences. I am actually very saddened by your email."

More World’s Worst Book Proposals By Angela Hoy

This week, we're again sharing snippets of some of the worst book proposals we've ever received. We hope you get a giggle from them like we did. Yes, these are real! …

Convicted Felons Need Not Apply By Angela Hoy

Convicted Felons Need Not Apply By Angela Hoy

Forgive me while I step up onto my soapbox today. I am SO tired (whine!) of receiving book manuscripts from convicted felons who have written books about the government conspiracies waged against them... …

You Shouldn’t Be Surprised When Bottom Feeders Change Their Contracts By Angela Hoy

You Shouldn’t Be Surprised When Bottom Feeders Change Their Contracts By Angela Hoy

We recently ran an article on low-paying Bottom Feeders. Basically, there are people, with seemingly no business experience, who are starting fledgling websites online and offering ridiculously low fees to writers. Unfortunately, sometimes new writers don't know any better and find themselves spending hours writing an article that will bring in less than $10. They then learn they've sold all rights to the greedy company. In some cases, they may even find their articles online later, appearing under somebody's else's name. (If a firm buys all rights, they can do pretty much whatever they please with it, including putting their name on the article.) Some people buy articles for pennies and turn around and sell them for hundreds. …

Is Your Publisher Upselling You on Worthless Marketing Products and Services? By Angela Hoy

I received the following email last week: Since my initial entrance into the World of Writing, as I like to call it, I have not generated any sales for my four novels, including the one we, (my wife and I) paid a POD Company $650.00, for what turned out to be a rather bogus list of media outlets and bookstores with which to try and get my latest novel into. I am not looking to get rich overnight, but it would be wonderful to walk into a bookstore and see my novels displayed upon a self. If you're wanting to see your book in bookstores, the best way to do that is to get an agent and then try to land a traditional publishing contract. …

My New Year’s Writer’s Resolutions By Angela Hoy

5. Create a new budget and stick to it (And I really mean it this year!!) 4. Add a Writer's Guidelines database to the WritersWeekly forum I started this on Tuesday. You can see what I've posted here: http://forums.writersweekly.com/viewforum.php?f=12. Many publications don't yet feature their guidelines online so we're offering to publish them on WritersWeekly to cut down on their incoming email. If you own/operate a paying publication or traditional publishing house and would like to be included, please email your guidelines to me here at: angela - at - writersweekly.com 3. Stay caught up so I'm not behind when the baby is born in June...or in case complications arise. I'm having some problems with debilitating hip pain and, from what I've read online, it's a very common problem with no known cause or cure (though lots of speculation). I'm still researching, however, and I have a doctor appointment tomorrow. 2. Writing some fiction for fun. I want to write a novel someday, but I'm always buried in non-fiction projects. If I write some fiction for fun this year, maybe I'll be able to build up my confidence a bit and attempt a novel in the next year or two. 1. And my #1 resolution for 2006 - Work on one of my books for at least one hour each morning (before I dive into my email box) and finish and publish at least three books this year. I've already started two of them! I'd love to hear about some of your New Year's Resolutions, too! Send them to me here at: angela-at-writersweekly.com …

When Authors Are Jerks: Using Insults And Profanity To Manipulate Does Not Work! By Angela Hoy

When Authors Are Jerks: Using Insults And Profanity To Manipulate Does Not Work! By Angela Hoy

In the BookLocker submission guidelines, we feature this note: "All BookLocker authors are part of our family. We treat all authors with the same kindness and a smile. We don't work with "prima donna" authors-people who think they're more important than other BookLocker authors. To put it simply, we don't work with jerks. If you fit this description, please do not submit your manuscript to us." The funny thing is this statement really seems to offend the "jerks" out there and makes everybody else (the nice people) laugh. So, it's been a very good way of weeding out the "jerks." Let's face it, life's too short to work with jerks, even if they're willing to pay us to do so. Every once in awhile, one of those jerks will send us a scathing diatribe about how our statements mean we're self-righteous, horrible human beings. I received once such letter by mail this week. …

Why Won’t You Publish My Book? I’m Willing To Pay!

Why Won’t You Publish My Book? I’m Willing To Pay!

What does it matter if the market is "saturated" as you put it, when "oceans" of POD books fail to sell? If "cold turkey", a POD publisher suffers no financial loss in readying a book for sale, does it really matter whether it is thought of as a late comer? One feels loathe in thinking that they, i.e. the POD publishers at large, presume to be gifted with an un-erring ESP as to what will sell and what won't. …

When Authors Die…What Happens To Their Books? By Angela Hoy

When Authors Die…What Happens To Their Books? By Angela Hoy

Unfortunately, when you own a company that has more than 800 clients (authors), you're forced to deal with the sad loss of a few of those clients each year. While it is sad to lose someone I've exchanged dozens of professional and often personal emails with over the months or years, the aftermath can get pretty ugly. You see, authors of published books leave behind a legacy. And, that legacy is an asset that is often bringing in some money. What's more, most people tend to think all authors are rich (ha ha). And, any asset that is bringing cash in each month will likely send the survivors in that family into a frenzy. …

When PR People Make Dumb Mistakes By Angela Hoy

We received a card in the mail from Federal Express early last week, sent to our P.O. Box, saying they had something for us. The card said they would return it in 7 days if we didn't call them for delivery or go pick it up. The "from" line was written in squiggly handwriting and appeared to say "self counsel" but we couldn't be sure. We'd never heard of that company, but the "counsel" part sure made us think it was from an attorney... …

You Aren’t Going to BELIEVE This One! By Angela Hoy

A few weeks ago, I penned a piece on why all books should be non-returnable. In that article, I mentioned a scam that involves authors placing fraudulent orders at bookstores and then never showing up to purchase the books. Below is a series of emails I exchanged with a real author who admits she placed several orders for her own book at bookstores and then never purchased them. …

When Authors Are Jerks…By Angela Hoy

When Authors Are Jerks…By Angela Hoy

Since we own an ebook and POD company, we work with quite a few authors. While most are as pleasant as can be, we do run into the occasional jerk. I thought I'd give you all a chuckle (or a roll of the eyes) this week. …

JANET KAY & ASSOCIATES WILL GET OFF EASY – BIG TIME!

As you may all remember, Janet Kay & Associates (including her husband George Titsworth) were accused of ripping off hundreds of hopeful authors in a horrible scheme of deceit. With the help of many writing websites and discussion lists, she and her husband were finally caught, indicted and arrested. Months later (last week), we received an email from the District Attorney letting us know the Titsworths plan to plead guilty in November, will serve no prison time, and have agreed to pay restitution...even though they don't have the money... …

Why All Books Should Be Non-Returnable – Part II By Angela Hoy

This article may be reprinted/redistributed freely as long as the entire article and bio are included. After publishing last week's article, I received a flood of email from authors. One mentioned that she'd heard bookstore returns were instituted during the depression to help bookstores stay in business. Interestingly, however, the practice never died, despite the end of the depression. I researched this interesting tidbit and this is what I found. …

Why All Books Should Be Non-Returnable By Angela Hoy

This article may be reprinted/redistibuted freely, as long as the entire article and bio are included. Bookstores have a long history of ordering too many books and then returning them for a credit, often damaged and at the expense of the publisher or self-published author. At other times, the books are simply destroyed (or sold to a big salvage bookstore), again, at the expense of the publisher or self-published author. It is my strong opinion that bookstores, like other retailers, should be financially responsible for their own sales forecasts... …