TODAY, Saturday, January 20th, 2018, is the WritersWeekly.com Winter 2018 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

The topic is posted right here.

Angela’s Desk

ANNOYING! Don’t Ask People to “Vote” For You Online! By Angela Hoy

An writer recently asked me to go to a website and "vote" for her. She wanted me to have our readers also click to vote for her, even asking me to post notices on Facebook and Twitter. I receive those types of requests all the time and, frankly, they're insulting... …

Another Shocking Reason to NEVER Accept Book Returns! By Angela Hoy

Another Shocking Reason to NEVER Accept Book Returns! By Angela Hoy

You're a new author or a self-publisher and you've always thought accepting book returns would greatly increase your bookstore sales. (That actually rarely happens with unknown authors.) After your book goes live, you notice a few sales. But, a few weeks later, you start getting returns. You have agreed to pay the distributor to send the books back to you. Yes, at your expense. Some of the books are dusty, dirty, bent or otherwise unsellable. You're even being billed for the printing costs of those books. Pretty soon, you're receiving so many returns that you're losing money on your book... …

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

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

On occasion, we hear from authors who are accusing their distributor of theft because their Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com "ranking" moved...but their actual sales numbers did not. Several years ago, one 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 and that doesn't always work...especially if those authors don't understand how the rankings are calculated... …

POD POACHERS! When Bottom Feeders Lure Authors Away from Their Existing Contracts, and Charge Thousands More! By Angela Hoy

POD POACHERS! When Bottom Feeders Lure Authors Away from Their Existing Contracts, and Charge Thousands More! By Angela Hoy

Slick sales talk and false praise will always draw in a certain percentage of the gullible population. For vanity publisher salespeople, it can be difficult to find folks who are in the process of writing a book, or who are considering writing a book. But, after someone has published their book, it's very easy to find those books and, subsequently, those authors online. I'm not going to tell you the simple method these folks use to find these authors because I don't want to give other scammers any ideas. I can tell you, however, that it's very easy, and only takes a few seconds. Unfortunately, new authors are frequently the target of spammers and scammers. Many authors report receiving spam from a variety of firms shortly after their books were released. And, it happened again this week. One of our authors asked about terminating their contract. They said they were contacted by a "reputable publisher." I first assured them our contract at BookLocker.com is non-exclusive, and can be canceled at any time. But, I've seen this type of victimization of authors before so I, of course, searched for that firm's name on Google. I wanted to save this particular author from the heartache others have endured. What I found didn't surprise me... …

Writers, Are You TRYING To Get Ripped Off?! Yet Another Reason To Avoid Pubs That Pay Crappy Rates! By Angela Hoy

I received an email from a writer who wrote seven articles for a website. She stopped at that point. She wanted to wait until she got paid for those before starting on more. And, she waited, and waited. It's now four months later and, not only has she not been paid for the original articles, but the publisher already published her work, and, according to the writer, has now refused to remove her articles from his website... …

STOP GLUTTONOUS PURCHASING PRACTICES BY BOOKSTORES! Why ALL Books Should be Non-Returnable!! By Angela Hoy

STOP GLUTTONOUS PURCHASING PRACTICES BY BOOKSTORES! Why ALL Books Should be Non-Returnable!! By Angela Hoy

Bookstores have a long history of ordering too many books, and then returning them for credit or a refund, often damaged, bent, and/or dirty, 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. Bookstores, like other retailers, should be financially responsible for their own sales forecasts. Period. I just can't find anything in the "returns" equation where the publisher or author should be financially responsible for a bookstore's poor estimation of sales... …

More World’s Worst Book Proposals and Query Letters! By Angela Hoy

More World’s Worst Book Proposals and Query Letters! By Angela Hoy

Today, I'm going to share another installment of our popular column, World's Worst Book Proposals and Query Letters. Yes, we can learn from others' mistakes! Featured are real quotes from query letters and book proposals submitted to us over the past few weeks... …

EMBARRASSING! When Friends and Family Lie About Buying Your Book By Angela Hoy

EMBARRASSING! When Friends and Family Lie About Buying Your Book By Angela Hoy

Well, it happened again. An author accused us of not paying royalties on friends and family book sales...that never occurred. He was unable to provide copies of receipts from the loved ones he claimed had purchased his book. In addition, he refused to provide any information about the purchases, nor the buyers, nor the stores where the purchases had (not) occurred. Even though he had zero receipts, and even though he didn't forward any correspondence to me from those individuals, and even though he could not or would not give information about even one "missing" sale, he insisted I get the money... …

AUTHORS BEHAVING BADLY – A Rant

AUTHORS BEHAVING BADLY – A Rant

Sometimes you just gotta rant! At BookLocker.com, we have published more than 6,000 print and electronic…

Publishing Other People’s Non-fiction Stories Can Get You Sued!

We were contacted by an author who is working on a very intriguing book. It's almost finished. I can't give you any details because it is such a great idea and she is likely taking steps to remedy the current problem. It's one of those books that you just can't help but open up, and dive into. All I can tell you is that it involved true crime, with details written by the criminal himself. Unfortunately, she can't publish the book as-is because it comes with a great deal of legal liability. Here was my response to her...…

More World’s Worst Book Proposals And Query Letters! By Angela Hoy

Today, I'm going to share another installment of our popular column, World's Worst Book Proposals and Query Letters. Yes, we can learn from others' mistakes! Featured below are real quotes from query letters (and two book proposals) submitted to us over the past few months... …

Topic, Common Themes, And Winners Of The Writersweekly.com Summer, 2014 24-Hour Short Story Contest! By Angela Hoy

For the past six weeks, we've spent every spare moment judging the hundreds of entries submitted for the WritersWeekly Summer, 2014 24-Hour Short Story Contest. In case you're not familiar with our quarterly contest, this is how it works. On the date of the contest, at start-time, we send out the topic for that specific contest to all registered entrants, while also posting it on WritersWeekly.com. Entrants must be registered before the contest begins and there is a limit of 500 participants per contest. Entrants then have 24 hours to write and submit their stories via email. The stories "must deal with the topic in some way to qualify" and they must not exceed the pre-assigned word count, which is announced with the topic. After reading the entries for each contest, we can see how difficult it is to come up with a unique plot when working with an assigned topic. But, inevitably, a few writers do manage to successfully break away from the pack. …

Bigots Need Not Apply! 9 Offensive Ways To Lose A Publishing Contract By Angela Hoy

This is a an example of the types of emails we occasionally receive from authors. They're greatly abbreviated, of course. This type of offensive correspondence can, of course, result in a breakdown of negotiations, or not receiving a contract offer at all. And, just because you've already been offered a publishing contract doesn't mean you can't lose it through bad behavior... …

Is Your Book Description Killing Sales? By Angela Hoy

It happened again today. I asked an author for a short description of her book for Ingram, the world's largest book distributor, which sends an automated feed to the online and physical bookstores. The feed is used to create book listings on sites like Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, and other stores. The author responded right away. This was last line of her description - Read on as justice is served and police take down the vicious killer. Yep. She gave away the ending. Who wants to buy a book if you already know what's going to happen? Giving away the ending will definitely hurt future book sales! …

SELF-PUBLISHING CONTRACT FINE PRINT EXPOSED: Who Can Keep Selling Your Book For A YEAR After Termination? By Angela Hoy

Good news! You just landed a traditional contract for your self-published book! Better news!! Your current self-publishing service (a POD publisher) has a 30-day termination clause. That's good because the traditional publisher offering you a nice advance isn't going to want to wait for you to get out of another contract. Some traditional publishers require proof that an author's book is no longer under contract elsewhere, and no longer for sale. In fact, if you can't provide that proof, they may rescind their offer, and offer that contract to a competing author instead. Guess what? If you're an Xlibris, AuthorHouse, or Trafford author, terminating your book isn't as simple as their "30-day" contract termination clause may appear... …

29 Reasons Your Books Aren’t Selling By Angela Hoy

29 Reasons Your Books Aren’t Selling By Angela Hoy

You're depressed. You're confused. You're thinking about giving up writing altogether. Why? Because the only people who have bought your book are your mom and your Aunt Bertha. With more than a million books published each year now (most of those self-published), there is lots of competition. However, many authors earn enough in book sales to feed their families. How do they do it? Some of this may be hard to hear (I mean read) but, if you clicked on this article, you're obviously seeking the truth. So, here it is... …

Cartoon Curse Word Characters: When Your Computer Ruins Your Online Marketing Activities By Richard Hoy

Cartoon Curse Word Characters: When Your Computer Ruins Your Online Marketing Activities By Richard Hoy

Have you ever submitted text to be posted online, and later discovered odd characters in the place of punctuation? For authors, this can be detrimental to book sales because a book description with errors can make readers think the book itself might have errors too. For writers, this can harm a reputation, especially if the post can't be edited. What causes these anomalies, and how can you avoid these types of unintentional and embarrassing errors? …

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