Angela’s Desk

Topic, Common Themes, and Winners of the WritersWeekly.com Spring, 2015 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 Spring, 2015 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... …

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

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

It's only been about six weeks since the last one but we've been getting lots of queries and book proposals lately. So, today I'm going to share another installment of our popular column, World's Worst Book Proposals and Query Letters. Featured are real quotes from query letters and book proposals submitted to us over the past few weeks. …

Disturbing Allegations In The New Author Solutions Lawsuit! By Angela Hoy

Disturbing Allegations In The New Author Solutions Lawsuit! By Angela Hoy

As most of you know, yet another lawsuit has been filed against Author Solutions, which owns AuthorHouse, Xlibris, iUniverse, Trafford, Wordclay, and others. The lawyers are seeking class-action status, of course. I have provided a break-down of the highlights from the lawsuit HERE. Today, I'm gonna rant... …

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

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

Oh, yes! We know you've been waiting for this!! Today, I'm going to share another installment of our popular column, World's Worst Book Proposals and Query Letters. Featured below are real quotes from query letters and book proposals submitted to us over the past few weeks... …

“I Want To Hire You To Write My Book!” (But, Only For A Paltry Share Of Future Royalties!) By Angela Hoy

Each week, while researching freelance job listings to feature in WritersWeekly, I see "employment ads" from folks who have a "great book idea," but don't want to write the book themselves. Some of them offer an hourly rate (that's fair, as long as the rate is respectable), while others offer promises of future fame, glory, and a small percentage of the royalties... …

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... …

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