Angela’s Desk

TANTALIZING SUBJECT LINES! How to Make Almost Anyone Open and Read Your Email/Blog/Article

As the owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker.com, writers and authors frequently add me to email notifications they send out when they update their website or blog. I'm happy to receive these and I often find interesting and intriguing tidbits in these individuals' posts. Unfortunately, some of them have great blog posts or website articles but very boring email notifications... …

Complaints about AuthorHouse, Complaints about Xlibris, Complaints about iUniverse, Complaints about Trafford, etc., etc. – Angela Hoy

Complaints about AuthorHouse, Complaints about Xlibris, Complaints about iUniverse, Complaints about Trafford, etc., etc.  – Angela Hoy

Earlier this month, Author Solutions was (finally) sued by a group of writers who are unhappy with their services. Author Solutions is the parent company of AuthorHouse, Xlibris, iUniverse, Trafford, WordClay, and other properties. The suit is seeking class-action status. At WritersWeekly, we have received numerous complaints from unhappy Author Solutions authors over the years. Each year, it seems to get worse... …

Are Your ISP’s Spam Filters Harming Your Business?

It happened again today. I received a query from a freelance writer, and sent an acceptance email to her. Her ISP immediately kicked back an automated message saying my email to her was rejected as spam. The writer never received it because it was hard filtered by her ISP... …

WORLD’S WORST BOOK PROPOSALS

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

Why Must Americans Pay More Than Others for American Books?

Several people sent me the link to THIS ARTICLE by Scott Turow, president of the Authors Guild. The article criticizes the recent Supreme Court decision to allow foreign editions of books to be purchased and shipped here. The way the article is written made some believe he was referring to illegal copies of books (pirated editions). He wrote "since they will be sold in a secondary market, authors won't get royalties"... …

Books That NOBODY Should Publish – Angela Hoy

Each morning, after I pour a cup of coffee, I check the headlines. One caught my eye this week. Remember the Olympic bomber? He went to court to try to get the royalties for a book he self-published. It's his autobiography. In my opinion, 100% of that money should go to the victims' families. This week, U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith agreed, saying he forfeited that right in his plea deal. Which self-publishing firm stooped to publishing a book by this murderer? Keep reading to find out... …

Can Your Ebook Formatter Be Trusted?

Over the weekend, I purchased the ebook Women in the Middle Ages by historians Frances Gies and Joseph Gies for my Nook. I started reading the book and found two words stuck together...and then two more...and then two more. It was pretty distracting because each merged set of words made me pause in my reading. There were other errors, too, like inconsistent indents. I, of course, assumed the book was self-published because there were so many errors. I was wrong. It was published by HarperCollins, "HarperCollins E-books" to be exact... …

Ebook Conversion Services – You Get What You Pay For…Sometimes!

Ebook formatting and conversion is not easy. The trick is to know what items in a manuscript will cause problems before you start so you can either eliminate them or change them to minimize the cleanup on the other end. Unfortunately, as evidenced by the errors in numerous ebooks on the market, lots of publishers just push raw manuscripts into software and then put whatever emerges up for sale... …

How to Compile and Publish an Anthology – Part II – 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, we discussed how much to pay contributors and what rights to request. Today, we're going to discuss contracts, how to find contributors for your anthology, paying your writers, and more... …

When Traditional Publishers Become Vanity Publishers

The publishing world was all abuzz last week when Random House announced they were going to not only take rights (NOT just ebook rights!!) to authors' books for four new ebook imprints, but they were also going to charge authors some up-front fees. After being raked over the coals online, they changed their terms but, in my opinion, they're still not good enough... …

How to Compile and Publish an Anthology – Part I

How to Compile and Publish an Anthology – Part I

I have compiled and 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 way and a wrong way to collect and publish a book of stories and/or chapters contributed by others. One way contributes to your professional image while the other can destroy it... …

Authors Should NOT Begin a Book with an Apology

I was reviewing a novel the other day and noticed one of the first pages in the book was an apology by the author. She apologized for using real locations in her novel. I know what you're thinking. Why apologize for that? An apologetic author actually isn't that uncommon. When reviewing manuscripts submitted for consideration to BookLocker.com, I have seen public apologies from authors in books for a variety of reasons... …

Could Your Employer Own Your Writing?

In case you missed it, there was a news item this week about a school district trying take copyrights from teachers AND students. It's pretty disturbing. How can an employer or a school take ownership of someone's copyrights? Easy. That person (or the parent of a student) would have to sign a contract granting ownership to the school district/employer. Parents could easily refuse to do so but, let's face it, most people don't read contracts and just blindly sign on the dotted line. For employees, it could be a problem...unless you approach it the right way... …

Does that “Fictitious” Email Address in Your Book Already Belong to Somebody Else?

Today, I noticed two email addresses for fictitious people in a novel I was formatting. They were very basic email address, too, and from gmail.com. So, I was certain they were already being used by someone. I was hoping it was the author himself who owned the email addresses. I sent a note to the author and, sure enough, he had not registered those email addresses. They belonged to other people...people he did not know. …

World’s Worst “Query Letter!”

This week's missive will be short but I just had to share this with you. I received the following "query letter" (can we even call it that?!) last week... …

Three Times More People Prefer Print Books to Ebooks

Just two weeks ago, we published this article: Around 75% of Americans DON'T Own Ebook Readers - Are you ignoring 75% of the book buying market?! Coincidentally, Publisher's Weekly released their new annual survey results this week. As expected, the number of print book readers dipped slightly (only 3%) while the number of ebook readers rose 16%. This is good news on both fronts. Most people are still reading print books (triple the number of those reading ebooks) and those reading ebooks can buy more books because ebooks are less expensive. Only 5% of library patrons reported borrowing ebooks. That means 95% of them borrowed print books... …

75% of Americans DON’T Own Ebook Readers – Are you ignoring 75% of the book buying market?! – Angela Hoy

I had an interesting conversation with my dad last week. He's 69, retired, and has had some health issues lately. He has always been an avid reader. I can remember him sitting in the living room each night, his shoes on the floor, his feet on his ottoman, a cold Schlitz on his cork coaster, his glasses perched on his nose, and a large hardcover book in his hands. He read quite a bit about history and he enjoyed suspense novels. We had a large living room and one entire wall was floor to ceiling bookshelves. I loved that room. Anyway, when I was talking to my dad last week, I asked what he was reading. He told me he's reading two books right now - both novels. He had them both next to him and read the titles to me. I asked him if he ever read ebooks. He guffawed pretty loudly. He said he had never read an ebook and he never would. He likes visiting bookstores, enjoys the smell of a new book, and likes holding it in his hands. He also loves his bookshelves. The fact is the vast majority of Americans (around 75% based on the most recent studies) don't own ebook reading devices... …

BookLocker is Now Offering “D.I.Y.” and “Payment Plan” Publishing Programs! – Angela Hoy

BookLocker is Now Offering “D.I.Y.” and “Payment Plan” Publishing Programs! – Angela Hoy

As prices go up across the board, and as unemployment continues, many authors would like to get their books on the market but simply can't afford it. While firms like Author Solutions (owner of AuthorHouse, Xlibris, iUniverse, Trafford and more) are squeezing authors out of thousands to tens of thousands of dollars (which we're betting most authors will never recover in resulting book sales), BookLocker is going in the opposite direction - publishing packages for any budget. …

Having a “Typo Contest” is a HORRIBLE Idea!

Having a “Typo Contest” is a HORRIBLE Idea!

An author told me the other day he found a typo in his proof, adding "I'll probably leave it and send $5.00 to the first three readers that spot it and tell 'em it was test to see if they actually read the book..." I was completely honest, and told him that would be a HORRIBLE idea. …

Does that “Fictitious” Website in Your Novel Already Belong to Somebody Else?

Does that “Fictitious” Website in Your Novel Already Belong to Somebody Else?

Recently, I noticed a URL for a fictitious website in a book I was formatting. I pasted the URL into my browser and, sure enough, it was a real website. The fictitious usage was for a humorous book but the actual website was a suicide prevention one. Had the author used that URL, it would not have only been in very poor taste, but it could have also resulted in a lawsuit. …

Topic, Common Themes, and Winners of the WritersWeekly.com Fall, 2012 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

For the past six weeks, we've spent every spare moment judging the hundreds of entries submitted for the Fall, 2012 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 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. 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. …

AUTHORS BEGGING FOR CASH ONLINE? INSULTING!! – Angela Hoy

Warning - Some may be offended by today's column. I used to get SO annoyed when somebody would send me an email asking me to "click here!" to vote for their story or book or whatever on some website that was basically running popularity contests. There's something FAR worse now and it involves not begging for votes, but begging for CASH. …

Featuring Real People in Your Writing? Protect Yourself From Lawsuits! – Angela Hoy

Last week an author submitted a book that contained some of his friends' life experiences. I, of course, asked him if he had obtained legal releases from his friends to include their stories in his book. He had not. What's the big deal, you ask? His friends voluntarily contributed to the book, right? Yes, they did. But, they might change their minds about doing so someday. …

Yet Another Website Lifts our Copyrighted Material – Angela Hoy, WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker.com

Yet Another Website Lifts our Copyrighted Material – Angela Hoy, WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker.com

Awhile back, I found some of our original paying market listings for writers featured on the The Markham Village Writers' Group website, markhamvillagewriters.com. Below are copies of my exchange with the founder and moderator of The Markham Village Writers' Group website, Donna Marrin. I have paraphrased the responses by Donna Marrin below. Needless to say, we were pretty shocked that someone running a website for writers thought it was okay to pluck original content from other websites! …

WORLD’S WORST BOOK PROPOSALS

Today, I'm going to share another installment of our popular column, World's Worst Book Proposals. Yes, we can learn from others' mistakes! …

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