Angela’s Desk

Do Press Release Services Spam? By Angela Hoy

Do Press Release Services Spam? By Angela Hoy

In response to last week's article, When Authors Spam, I received the following inquiry this week: By your definition, press release distribution services would always be sending spam? I agree it is a big problem but in the field of PR it is common to send form releases to a variety of markets whether they are addressed individually or sent to a group by a service. How else could someone contact book/product reviewers or columnists for a national campaign? One by one would take forever and I don't think most individuals could even find half of the contacts the distribution services have. …

Authors Who Spam…By Angela Hoy

I receive several hundred spams each week. Most want to show me how to make my male anatomy bigger (even though I'm a woman) while others want to dump a bunch of money into my account from some foreign dignitary who's on the run from his or her government. The only spam that I usually forgive is spam from non-fiction authors. You see, I'm running an ezine for writers and authors. If they send me a marketing message about their book, I'll usually overlook it. They could very well want me to review their book (even though we never publish book reviews). But, they may not know that, so I give them the benefit of the doubt. …

World’s Worst Book Proposals By Angela Hoy

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

Check Your Book’s Reviews on a Regular Basis! By Angela Hoy

In April, 2002, we published Tax Planning Strategies for the Self Employed by A.J. Cataldo. The process went quite quickly and A.J. was very pleased with the final product. We put the book up for sale and A.J. subsequently wrote articles during the tax season for our WritersWeekly.com readers. So, we were stunned on Saturday when a reader notified us that, on the book's Amazon.com page, there was a scathing review about the quality of the book, written by the author himself...but dated six months prior to the publication date. Huh?! …

Amazon.com Best Seller? Ha! – Part II

Ah, but what a kettle of controversy we stirred up with last week's article. In case you missed it, we came out publicly against those so-called "Amazon.com Best Seller" programs, which are very good at taking money from hopeful authors while teaching them how to manipulate the Amazon.com best seller database, thus giving the false impression that their book is any good and is selling in great numbers. Basically, these programs teach you how to get a bunch of people to buy your book on the same day, around the same time, making your book, albeit for just a few minutes or hours, an Amazon.com Best Seller in a certain category. You then get to say your book is an "Amazon.com Best Seller." …

Amazon.com Best Seller? Ha!

I received the following inquiry from a reader two weeks ago. Angela, I saw an ad in a well-known zine that offered a "free telephone seminar" about "how any author can become an Amazon.com bestseller." What are your thoughts on their message? C.

Why This Non-AOL’er Detests AOL By Angela Hoy

Late last week, when downloading my mail, I was surprised to see a ton of returned email bouncing back to my in-box. At first glance, I thought somebody had spoofed our address to send out sp*m. On second glance, I realized that every email I'd sent to AOL users in the prior several days had been returned to our servers, in one fell swoop. I was stumped …

Answer Critics Before The Criticism Begins By Angela Hoy

If you feel something in your book may stir controversy, or bring critics out of the woodwork, don't let your future critics get in the first word. Protect yourself and your reputation ahead of time by addressing your critics before the criticism begins. …

Opt-In Email Lists – A REALLY Bad Marketing Idea By Richard and Angela Hoy

The following question arrived in our email box last week: What is your take on e-mail 'Opt-In Advertising?" I recently received an email solicitation from a large company, in which such advertising was touted as a good marketing tool, because it supposedly involves an audience that has agreed to receive ads (a concept that I find remarkable--I'd never agree to such a thing). Do you have any knowledge of such stuff and, if so, what is your perception of its potential value?

Selling Advertising Space In Books By Angela Hoy

This article may reprinted/redistributed freely as long as the entire article and bio are included. Don't you wish companies would offer you money to include an ad about them in your next book? Most of us would love such an infusion to our writing income. A question about this coveted practice arrived in my in-box just this week. …

Do You Own the Copyrights to Your Published Interviews? By Angela Hoy

I received an email this week from Michael Powers, author of Heart Touchers: Life Changing Stories of Faith, Love, and Laughter. Michael had found one of his book's chapters published on a website. The website had removed his name from the piece and had even added three paragraphs to the end of what was now a published "article." …

Will Return Next Week

Angela's co-authoring an article on name calling vs. libel, slander and defamation with attorney Neil Wilkinson...but it's not finished yet. So, her blog will return next week. …

They Should Really Give People a License Before They… By Angela Hoy

They Should Really Give People a License Before They… By Angela Hoy

Last week, I was alerted by a Booklocker.com author who found a fr*e copy of his book on the Internet. It was posted on the foreign website of a CPA. I started composing a letter to the CPA, telling him he was violating copyright laws, etc. In the process, I started hunting around on his website for his contact information. And, hoo boy, did I find that and more! I found not only the copyrighted book, but also his workout schedule, a list of debts he owed to his girlfriend, music lyrics and what appeared to be actual music files, a bunch of tax forms, his resume, other meaningless stuff and, you're not going to believe this one, a copy of his actual personal income tax return... …

Angela Has A Stomach Bug

Angela has a stomach bug this week and is milking it for everything it's worth. Her blog will return next week. …

Writing For Others – What to Charge? By Angela Hoy

When someone hires you to do a special writing job, they give you the assignment and you do the job. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, not really. Here are examples of complaints I've received over the years... …

Troublesome Interviewees By Angela Hoy

I was contacted this week by a writer who was stuck in between an editor and her interview subject. She wrote an article, on spec, for a magazine. The editor sent a friendly note back, rejecting the article because its focus was too local. The magazine has a statewide readership. The writer graciously thanked the editor for his time and asked him to contact her if he ever needed her services. He agreed. The writer then reported to her interview subject (one of her instructors) that the article was rejected and why. The interview subject got very upset and demanded the writer contact the editor for more information about the "real reason" the article was rejected. …

How to Test Your Publisher’s Sales Reports By Angela Hoy

Last week, we heard from yet another author (I'll call him Author Al) who is accusing his distributor of theft because his Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com rankings moved. A few years ago, another author claimed she was owed millions because her Amazon ranking was...in the millions. As you've probably guessed, this is a common problem. New authors often try to use bookstore rankings to estimate their sales. …

Monitoring a Forum Can Take Its Toll By Angela Hoy

I am a firm believer in Internet forums and discussion lists, which are public places where people can easily and instantly post their opinions, complaints and more online. Unfortunately, not everybody with a computer was taught manners by their parents and there are more people than I ever realized in this world who are crooks... …

Make A Soldier Smile

This article may be reprinted/republished freely. Please share this information with others. Imagine this. You stumble upon a letter from a young man who could very well be your brother, your son, or even your neighbor. He is a marine and is stationed in the desert in Iraq. He has red hair...and a horrible sunburn. He desperately needs sunscreen and, while he can receive mail every week or so, he doesn't have access to a store. What would you do? Then you find a note from a female soldier stationed in Afghanistan who has no family. While other soldiers in her area get letters and packages daily, she has never received anything. She doesn't want food, clothes or toiletries. She just wants a pen pal or two. What would you do? Still another soldier wants to know if people from home can send him a couple of bags of candy or some inexpensive school supplies, like crayons and paper. He hands these items out to local Iraqi children to see them smile, but he's starting to run out... …

Another Possible Scam Targeting Writers By Angela Hoy

We were recently approached by a firm wanting us to post a "job ad" for them. The ad involved hiring writers to email pre-written articles. These "articles" were promotional and the emails would be unsolicited, meaning the writers were being hired to spam others. …

Getting Suspicious Book Returns?

Beware of Companies that Guarantee to Get Your Book on Bookstore Shelves by Angela Hoy We've seen lots of marketing ploys and blatant sp*m from so-called PR and book marketing firms that say they guarantee to get your book on bookstore shelves. Authors should be very, very wary of these claims. In most cases, the author will pay much more to the "PR" or "marketing" firm than they'll ever get back in book sales. And, they just might end up with a pile of returns from the bookstores... …

Deadbeat Editor Giving You The Run-Around?

Does an editor or publisher owe you money? Are they giving you numerous excuses and even claiming to have already mailed the check? Here's what you should do... …

How To Get Banned From The WritersWeekly Forum

Over the past few weeks, we've banned a record number of users from our forum. Some people think they're clever when they create more than one identity and try to make it appear that multiple people have a complaint about company or when they complement their own posts with other like posts from "other" users. What these not-too-smart-people don't realize is how easy it is for us to figure out when this is happening! …

Loving and Inexpensive Holiday Gifts By Angela Hoy

Loving and Inexpensive Holiday Gifts By Angela Hoy Each year, I share an idea or two for inexpensive homemade gifts that creative folks (writers!) can make for loved ones for the holidays. Last year's article brought in lots of great as from readers! You can see links to those at the end of this article. In today's article, see how to turn photos of your children, pets, or even yourself into Photo Ornaments using cute, miniature scrapbooking supplies. The article includes a photo! Also, read how to turn the image in a photo into a small, framed felt quilt... …

Angela's blog will return next week. …

World’s Worst Customer By Angela Hoy

Every business owner, even freelance writers, occasionally comes into contact with a customer whose rage and unethical behavior let you know that the term "the customer is always right" is sometimes wrong. …

Marketing to Bookstores – A Waste of Time? By Angela Hoy

I'm often asked how new authors, both self- and traditionally-published, can get their book into bookstores. Traditional publishers often don't get the majority of their new titles on bookstore shelves. There are just far too many books on the market for bookstores to carry all published titles on their shelves. Sadly, many authors think that getting a traditional contract means their book will be in almost every bookstore in the country. That's just not the case. Authors who successfully manage to get their books on a few bookstores shelves are primarily targeting local bookstores which are often happy to help a local author. …