Ask The Expert

Website Posted My Article Without Permission Or Payment

I googled myself the other day and discovered that a website posted my article on their website without my knowledge or consent. I contacted the (print) magazine I had written the article for and they have no knowledge of the website and are not affiliated with them. Should I send the website an email or a certified snail mail asking them for payment? And in what amount? …

Watch Out for Fake Book Reviewers

Can you please tell me or point me in the right directions to find "reputable" book reviewers? I have come across a couple and they don't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. I think they are looking for free books. …

Consult With An Attorney Before Writing This Type Of Book

Hi Angela, I'm in the process of writing a non-fiction book that will also contain some very critical evaluations and personal stories. I've changed the names of the people in the stories (or not mentioned their name at all), but to people who know them, they're still recognizable. Many of the stories are anything but flattering, so getting permission from them is completely out of the question. …

Simultaneous Submissions

Angela--Many of us would love to know more about the ethics and practicality of simultaneous submissions, especially as they fly off to literary magazines and journals, many of which report they "reply," if you can call it that--in four-to-six months. Some are longer. Even many "B" markets that might actually pay enough to help a writer make a living indicate very long response times, even to queries. Many thanks, MM …

Press Release vs. Publicity Release

What is the difference between a press release and a publicity release? Is there information about this at the Booklocker site? Midwest Book Review would like me to include a publicity release and/or a media kit when I submit my book for review and I'm not sure how to proceed... …

Ripped Off For $2/Article?!

I took a writing job last week with a newer company that wasn't paying much, $2 an article, but to me every penny counts. That's a week's worth of school lunches for me. I'd searched the boards and found nothing negative, so I figured they were reliable. Anyway, I was assigned five articles on Saturday and understood they had to be turned in on Monday. Which was fine, I got them done in plenty of time. On Tuesday there was an email stating that the articles were no good. The client wanted to go in a different direction so now they wanted six or seven articles on each of the five topics. So this would have been 30 to 35 articles, and I didn't have time for that many. I told him so. His response was that I was turning down this assignment after agreeing to do it. My stance is that changing the assignment from 5 articles to 30 to 35 articles is not legit. It is an entirely different assignment. I turned it down and did not expect to get paid, though I can't say I'm happy about doing the work and then being told they were not good enough because they decided to go in a different direction. Overall, it's not worth the $10 to deal with him any longer. Last night, I searched Google and found that he had posted one of my articles on his website. I did post a comment about this at Freelancewriters and just stated that some should watch for that if they opt to write for him and what happened to me--that he'd posted the article without paying me and that I was awaiting his word on why he'd posted it and that I wanted it taken down. Half an hour ago, he sent me an email saying he posts all reviews to check for plagiarism. I checked and he has taken it down, so I posted so on the forums that he had taken the review down after I emailed him. His email took a slightly threatening tone saying that I had not made a wise move by posting about his company and that I reneged on doing the assignment, so it is all on my head, not his. My question in this case refers to line #1 of the contract to which he was referring to the assignment I'm sure. My stance is that since he changed the assignment, I had every right to refuse it. Now that he's sent a slightly threatening email, I'd like to make sure that I am right. I figure you might have the answer. …

When Your Editor Becomes Your Co-Author…Without Asking

I wrote a travel piece for an online website, which I had heard good things about. Although the pay was low, many postings about this site said they paid on time and that writers had no problem with the editor. I wrote an article for them about a ghost tour I took. My article appeared on the website at the beginning of October. But it wasn't really my article. I expected some editing - buried lead moved to front of story, etc. But they actually added paragraphs of detail that were not mine, including a location and ghost story that I neither visited nor heard. I would say about 50% of the story is actually mine. I have had editors make changes before. One of my editors even added a paragraph to my article, due to some last minute information I received. But I provided her with the information and she sent me back the manuscript to review and approve what she added. I am not sure what to do. I don't care at this point if I receive the $25. I am worried that I won't be able to resell this article with all the changes. And I haven't been using this as a clip; I don't want to explain why the clip is so different from my manuscript. …

Copy Tests

I heard through the grapevine that a major retail chain store here in my hometown was looking for a full time copywriter. I sent over my resume and writing samples to their inside ad agency. The creative director said that they would be sending over a little exercise "to see what their applicants could do with a pair of assignments that we might actually take on." With marketing in mind for two states (where they are planning on opening stores), for the "test," they want one :30 second grand opening TV spot and one :60 second radio spot. In addition, for another campaign, they want one :60 second radio spot targeted at teens. Sounds to me like a lot of work for free. I'm not going to do it. I don't need the work that much but want to reply in a dignified way. What are your thoughts? …

Should I Charge Or Not?

Recently I wrote a few articles on writing--for free, just for the fun of it--and put them on my site. The other day, two writing resources (small-time and non-paying but respectable) approached me and asked if they could reprint the articles. I was about to say yes, but then I wondered whether there might be any problems attached to it in the future. I don't mind them being reprinted for free but I'd hate to lose rights to them. My question is, should I actually offer them some rights, or jot down some sort of contract, or maybe do something else to prevent any damage to my rights? They're honest people but I'd rather be on the safe side. …

A Blog Hosted By Google Stole My Copyrighted Material!

I recently found an article of mine on a blog located at blogspot.com. The title was changed but the rest was verbatim, with no credit to me, the copyright holder, or the magazine it appeared in, and certainly no permission from me. (There were other articles from this same magazine on the site.) This "blogspot.com" seems to be powered or hosted by something called "Blogger," but I can't find a link anywhere on their site to complain about copyright infringement. On top of that, it appears the blogger makes money from advertising clicks. Have any suggestions how to stop this? …

They Didn’t Provide Me With Payment Details

Dumb question. I recently submitted an article to a magazine, and it was accepted. At least, they offered the measly sum of $15 via PayPal upon publication (date unspecified). Do I 1) send them a bill? 2) monitor their online mag for publication? 3) wait around and monitor my Paypal account since I gave them my Paypal email address? What is proper etiquette in this instance? …

Should I Submit To Anthologies?

Dear Ms. Hoy: I would like to know what you think of writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul, A Cup of Comfort series, etc. Is writing for them worth my time and effort? …

Word Counts In Contests

In regards to word counts for contests, are there rules for what constitutes a word such as "a", "the," etc? Two letters or less are not words, Or is basically everything that is typed considered a word. …

Should I Self-Publish?

I am a produced screenwriter and have just recently completed a novel that I was thinking of self-publishing. (After going through the five-year headache of getting a screenplay made into a movie--I'm not sure I want to start over with the tradional publishing venue!) My question is, does this give me any kind of advantage in self-publishing? I would be very good at book-signings, etc. but I'm not sure how well I'd do on the Internet marketing side of it. (i.e. building websites, etc.). …

George English Answers The Question: What Is A Watermark?

I just read George English's Creative Client Cons. Great article! I just have one question. George suggests that "Another way freelancers can protect themselves is by never sending out work that has not been paid for. Instead, send watermarked proofs." I have coffeemarked notes and lipstickmarked cups, chocolatemarked cookbooks and perfumemarked lovenotes, but what are watermarked proofs? …

Advantage In Self-Publishing

I am a produced screenwriter (Lost Junction) and have just recently completed a novel (fiction) that I was thinking of self-publishing (after going through the headache of getting a screenplay made into a movie for five years, not sure I want to start over with the tradional publishing venue!) My question is - does this give me any kind of advantage in self-publishing? …

Threats of Tortuous Interference

A magazine owes numerous writers thousands of dollars (yep, me included). I want to warn other freelancers to avoid this firm, but I was told that if I complained, I could be sued for "tortuous influences" (i.e., driving away their business). But if i give you info (or, well, anyone), I can't stay anonymous. Do i really have to bite my tongue? Is there anyway I can warn writers under an assumed name, or is that impossible? It seems so unfair to the people they are scamming. …

Question About Copywriting Course

I recently saw an ad for a class on copy writing and I need some reassurance that the claims are accurate. I get things like this in the mail all the time, usually claiming that they can lead me down the golden road of fabulous riches. That in itself is enough to raise my eyebrows suspiciously. Nothing comes that easy. …

Hourly Rate Or Flat Fee?

I've been approached by a medical communications company to look over a four-page word document on a type of surgery, rework the copy/edit and add my "own stamp to it." They plan to use it on a web site. However, the company would like to know how much I charge to do this beforehand. Is it better to give them an hourly rate or flat fee? …

How Long Should I Wait to Submit Elsewhere?

When submitting fillers, how long should I wait without hearing before submitting to another market? Am I under any obligation to tell the first magazine that I am withdrawing the filler and submitting it to another publication? …

Explaining Kill Fees

What happens to my article if they decide to kill it. Do I get it back, whether they are paying a kill fee or not? Can I publish it somewhere else? …

Publisher Won’t Give Me a Contract!

A publisher seems to be resisting writing an agreement/contract for my article, which he has already accepted. It was written on spec, and accepted for publication, probably in June. I have requested an agreement/contract more than once. All he does is quote the guidelines, which I know are notoriously unreliable and that writers cannot claim compensation based on them. What should I do? …

Posting Excerpts Online – What If Someone Copies My Work?!

Maybe I am impatient or just a rookie wanting his stuff to be read but is there an acceptable, safe way to begin posting, in a serialized sense, my book onto a website? I would like to begin getting readers' reactions but am afraid of someone stealing either the premise or one of the characters of the book (it is character driven). …

How Do I Post An Interview Request On Writersweekly.Com?

I always, always, always enjoy each edition of Writer's Weekly. In fact, I've successfully published several articles thanks to your "Paying Markets". My question now is this...how do I get an interview request posted? Is there a fee? What is the process? …

When Authors Die…What Happens to Their Books?

At your advice, I am preparing a clause for my publisher which will be retroactive (as the publisher said I could do) to include all my book contracts. My lawyer confirmed, too, that such an arrangement was between me and the publisher. …

Did This Publisher Forget My Advance Or What?

I have a book contract. However, while I received the first part of my advance, I did not receive the second half. Nevertheless, the book is already for sale. Now, I have another manuscript that I submitted to the publisher, and he said it was too long, but, that he liked the writing and the work, so he broke it up into two works. He has indicated the second will be coming out on his next list. I am gratified to have such a reception, but, the second work has no written contract, I have not been paid the second part of my advance on the first, and there has been no discussion about money on the second. I do not know what to do. I know I need an agent, but, I am in a bind. My work is already sold! However, I need money to live as well! I have no "new" work to present to an agent. …

What To Charge For Second Rights?

Is there a guide of what to charge for second rights? One-time use? I've been told that one should try to get half of the first print, but honestly who can afford $1000 for a story on counter top surfaces? …