Angela’s Desk

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... …

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

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 Your Books By Angela Hoy

Selling Advertising Space In Your 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... …