Ask The Expert

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? …

Should I Bid on Writing Jobs?

As a freelancer, I am used to editors and publications stating that they will pay flat fees for a certain word count or pay so much per word, but I have come across a situation that is new to me and my circle of writing friends. A local business with international contacts is looking for freelance writers. This business does quite a bit of work with government and commercial contracts and the freelance work is for a company publication which will go out to employees and retirees. I have submitted a resume and clips to them and now the department which solicits bids needs to contact me. At this point I will be asked to submit bids regarding the articles possibly based on word length or even number of sources. How should I approach this as I am unfamiliar with what would be a good market rate and what if they want a bid based on something other than word length or type of article? …

How Do I Know If It’s Selling or Not?

There are some writing sites where you can purchase a writer's story, and the site owner gets a cut, and so does the writer. Well, I put one of my previously sold stories up at the site, but I am getting very suspicious of the site owner/editor just because of some things that I will keep to myself for now. …

I Didn’t Sell All Rights!

Occasionally I freelance for the local newspapers and, per my contract, I retain the rights to the story. However, I've found my stories on "research" sites. Can I approach these sites for unauthorized use of my work (it's the "research" part that's throwing me off)? Until I started freelancing full-time last year I was pretty lax on rights, but now that it's my sole livelihood, I'm trying to be more vigilant. Any light you can shed on the topic would be appreciated. …

How Much Do Ghostwriters Charge?

A chaplain I know has approached me about ghostwriting a book on his experience in overseas last year. I've never ghostwritten professionally before, and I'm concerned that websites I've surfed for information on ghostwriting may be money-making businesses rather than true ghostwriting sites for real writers. Do you know where I can find some valid information on going rates for ghostwriters, how they get paid, if the proposal costs extra or should be included in the total cost, etc.? …

Something We All Wonder About On Occasion…

I enjoyed reading your excerpts from the world's worst book proposals and it brings up again for me the question of why writers who write badly think they write well. As I've participated in writer's conferences and workshops, I've encountered a number of people who fit this category, and it boggles my mind how people can write for years and produce any number of book-length manuscripts without a clue as to their lack of ability. Agents, editors and self-publishing services such as yours must be constantly inundated with queries from people like this. What gives? …

Can You Recommend An Editor?

I love your site. It's very fun and informative. Do you know of a good manuscript editing service? …

What’s The Secret To Selling Books Online?

While I consider myself a fairly good salesperson, I am eighty years old and wonder if self-marketing is for me. I wonder if I have the physical energy to get involved in self-publishing. At the same time I have come to trust WritersWeekly in a number of areas. But I still wonder, Can an old man market a book? …

Where Are Your Archived Paying Markets?

I was wondering if there is a way to access markets older than last week? I recently saw a listing for a trade magazine looking for articles about good employee management practices but now I can't find it! …

This Writer REALLY Got The Shaft…After 5 Years!

In 2001, I signed a contract through my agent, and began working with an editor at the publishing house that accepted my proposal. After I delivered the manuscript and received half of my advance, the editor told me that she proposed my manuscript to the company as a hardcover rather than the gifty small book I'd proposed. Great, I thought. The bad news was that it would have to wait another season. Then it was pushed back again because she claimed that she hadn't figured out what the art should be yet. At that point, we were talking two years. But I didn't think that meant never. …

Where’s that DeadBeat Editors Letter Again??

Dear Angela, I am an avid reader of your newsletter and it has inspired me to get back into the freelance game this year. I recall seeing a letter for writers who have deadbeat clients who try to get out of paying. However, I've searched your site and can't locate it. I need it now and wonder if you could direct me to it's location. Thanks so much! Dawn It's here: http://www.writersweekly.com/the_latest_from_angelahoycom/002330_01122005.html

Copyright Questions

Can you answer copyright questions, or refer me to someone who is knowledgeable? I have two questions: 1. I write information articles for a corporation, under an executive's byline. Most of the work is done through email, with no contract. If the company refuses to pay for a particular article - let's say they claim I failed to do adequate research or did not submit a second rewrite - can I claim copyright infringement because of their use of my material of someone else's byline? (Or do they protect against that by thoroughly revising the final draft?) 2. I write press releases for a nonprofit org as a volunteer, and submit to the PR manager via email attachments. The releases are published online (and in print) with the PR manager's name, not mine. Sometimes they are revised without my knowledge before publication. I discovered the org used entire paragraphs from "my" releases in a monthly magazine. Should they 1) give me a byline and/or 2) pay me for the additonal use? My request for information about this was ignored. The magazine does not hire freelancers - articles are written in-house. …