Angela’s Desk

Topic, Common Themes, and Winners of the WritersWeekly.com Winter, 2014 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

For the past six weeks, we've spent every spare moment judging the hundreds of entries submitted for the WritersWeekly Winter, 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. …

Trying To “Trick” Editors Can (And Will) Backfire

When you were a teenager, did you ever have friends who tried to trick their parents? Perhaps your girlfriend told her mother things like: "Don't you remember, Mom? You said we could stay out an hour late tonight!" "But, Mom, you told me just last week that I could use your credit card at the mall!" "Mother, you promised to pay me $10 for babysitting, not $8!" Of course, these mothers probably thought they were developing early dementia. I didn't fall for those shenanigans from our kids. (At least, I don't think I did!) Unfortunately, some people still use similar tactics in the business world... …

P.O.D. SECRETS REVEALED: Firm Quotes And Facts May Be Hard To Come By!

Wow! That nice P.O.D. publishing house representative wants to hear "more about your book!" Is it finished yet? Did you need to have it edited? Are you going to included pictures? What's your target market? Do you think that "nice" P.O.D. publishing house rep really gives a hoot about your book? Don't fool yourself... …

More World’s Worst Book Proposals and Query Letters

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 book proposals and query letters submitted to us over the past few months. …

HOW TO COMPILE AND PUBLISH AN ANTHOLOGY – PART III – EDITING, FORMATTING & PUBLISHING – Angela Hoy

HOW TO COMPILE AND PUBLISH AN ANTHOLOGY – PART III – EDITING, FORMATTING & PUBLISHING – Angela Hoy

I have published a few non-fiction anthologies over the years and they have all been successful, both from a research and publishing standpoint in the beginning, and a sales standpoint later. There is a right and wrong way to collect and publish stories contributed by others. In Part I of this series, we discussed how much to pay contributors, what rights to request, and what steps to take before you start soliciting stories. In Part II, we discussed the contract (and included a sample), how to find writers/contributors, what not to do, tracking contributors, email introductions, acceptance and rejection form letters (including samples), ordering contributions by email, and contributor payments. Today, we're going to discuss editing, formatting and publishing your anthology... …

P.O.D. SECRETS REVEALED: FEEDING ON YOUR VANITY – OR IGNORANCE – HOT AIR ON PUBLISHERS’ WEBSITES IS INSULTING! – Angela Hoy

P.O.D. SECRETS REVEALED: FEEDING ON YOUR VANITY – OR IGNORANCE – HOT AIR ON PUBLISHERS’ WEBSITES IS INSULTING! – Angela Hoy

I have always been offended by over-the-top marketing verbiage. Saying something is a "good deal" is one thing but trying to tell me a product or service is going to "make my dreams come true" is insulting to an individual's intelligence. I always wonder how people can fall for so much of the garbage being shoved our way by marketing executives these days... …

P.O.D. SECRETS REVEALED: PUBLISHERS PROFITING FROM AUTHOR ERRORS! – Angela Hoy

At BookLocker.com, whenever I notice a mistake in a book, I alert the author. If I notice a few, I will send them a list. These errors can range from the occasional misuse of a word (their vs. there, for example), or a formatting inconsistency (Chapter 1, Chapter Two, etc.), to something like the author's misuse of the term Prologue at the end of the book (should be Epilogue). Since we send the formatted file back to the author for any final changes, they have the opportunity to make any corrections at no extra charge at that point in the process. Alerting the author when we notice an error helps them avoid future reader complaints and, of course, bad book reviews. Here's a dirty secret you won't hear anyone talking about among P.O.D. publishers. Some of them see mistakes, and purposely allow them to remain in the book... …

WORLD’S WORST QUERY LETTERS

Today, I'm going to share snippets from some of the worst query letters we've received over the past couple of months. Yes, we can learn from others' mistakes! Featured below are real quotes from query letters submitted to WritersWeekly.com... …

Authors Beware! “Gifting” Your Kindle E-Books May BACKFIRE! By Angela Hoy

I received an email from an author last week asking why he never received his "royalties" for a Kindle "gift" ebook he bought for someone. It was his own book and he had documentation proving he'd purchased the ebook version from Amazon. I checked Amazon's reports and they didn't show the sale for that month. I wrote to Amazon and the author was not happy with their response... …

Topic, Common Themes, and Winners of the WritersWeekly.com Fall, 2013 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

For the past six weeks, we've spent every spare moment judging the hundreds of entries submitted for the WritersWeekly Fall, 2013 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 online. 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. 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... …

13 Signs You Shouldn’t Include That Risky Content In Your Book

13 Signs You Shouldn’t Include That Risky Content In Your Book

Some people look for easy, unethical ways to make money and, for some of those people, filing frivolous lawsuits against authors and others is how they attempt to line their pockets for retirement. There is no shortage of slimy lawyers who will happily file such lawsuits, hoping you'll cave and settle...or hoping they can at least make you desperate enough to fear possible bankruptcy if you don't play by their rules... …

Are Book Signings Big Book Sellers? Not Usually…

Based on a survey we did several years ago, most authors who had done a book signing were disappointed with the results. Most reported selling fewer than five copies of each title, and also reported they spent far more time and money preparing for the signing than they earned in profits from book sales. We wanted to see how things have changed so we sent out a call for information last week. Here are four of the responses... …

WORLD’S WORST QUERY LETTERS

Today, I'm going to share snippets from some of the worst query letters we've received over the past couple of months. Yes, we can learn from others' mistakes! Featured below are real quotes from query letters submitted to WritersWeekly.com. …

Topic, Common Themes, and Winners of the WritersWeekly.com Summer, 2013 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

For the past six weeks, we've spent every spare moment judging the hundreds of entries submitted for the WritersWeekly Summer, 2013 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 online. Entrants must be registered before the contest begins and there is a limit of 500 entrants per contest. Participants then have 24 hours to write and submit their stories. 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. Keep reading as this peaceful summer day melts into mayhem... …

Your Book As a Movie? Watch Out for Snake Oil Salesmen!

Your Book As a Movie? Watch Out for Snake Oil Salesmen!

I recently received the following question from an author: What advice can you give to a self-published author about getting OPTIONED (film and television). I want to sell my book online, and plan on taking your advice on marketing online, but one of my primary goals is to get my book into the hands of producers and directors who will want to turn it into a movie, and will want to "option" it. Here was my response... …

11 Fatal Query Letter Mistakes – Angela Hoy

Several times a week, writers send us query letters, hoping to get published in (and paid by!) WritersWeekly.com. Today, I want to share with you 11 common mistakes writers make when approaching us (and other publications). …

A TOUCHY SUBJECT: Conceited Authors…and their opposites – Angela Hoy

Writers are a funny bunch. It seems they either have very low self-esteem...or far too much of it. That's probably true of workers in most professions but, since writing is such a personal matter, writers can appear to go to the extreme with these emotions. Unfortunately, these feelings can lead to some unattractive actions that can harm or even ruin a writer's opportunities for success... …

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