Ask The Expert

Amazon’s “In Stock” And “Ships In 2-3 Weeks” Verbiage Is Not Always True!

Yesterday was a good day at Amazon for (my book). But, it is hard to see how many books they sell. Their stated numbers of books in stock is erratic, as is its correspondence to delayed but related sales rank. I have tried a few times to watch the books in stock but it fluctuates according to no apparent logic... …

Is This Self-Publishing Rumor True?

This is straight from the horse's mouth! If you self publish you need to be able to market your book and you must sell one million books or your name is mud as far as writing for anyone ever again. I got this from someone who knows. Or thinks he knows! What have you heard about this?? Someone I know works for this writer and he told her this, that if you don't sell that big number of books you will never sell your work again! I don't know what to think about this, it sounds a little left field to me. Have you ever heard anything like this? …

Should I Pay a Fee to Submit to a Literary Journal? No!!

What is your view of publications that charge a fee just to submit work through their online submission portals? I notice many of the literary journals are now charging around $3 to submit, justifying that it's what it would cost for postage, administrative fees, and to help pay writers, like this quip from a lit journal: "We charge a $3 submission fee, which is the postage that would be needed for a submission. This helps keep us in business..." …

Can The Setting Of My Novel Be A Public Museum?

The setting for my novel is (a large museum in Washington, DC). I also reference (a large foundation). Everything else is per my imagination. Do you see any issues with using an actual public place or organization for a novel? …

I Have A Writing Degree But No Recent Clips! Help!!

I've been out of the writing game for quite some time. Achieved a B.A. in writing from Ithaca College, and wrote a weekly sports page in a small town for a start-up newspaper for approximately nine months. I am a professional firefighter with a lot of time on my hands, and would like to spend some of my free time blogging or writing on the Internet. How do I get started with little to no recent samples? …

How Much Should I Charge For Legacy Writing?

I live in India and, while we have many biographers for famous people and achievers, we do not have legacy writers, at least that I know of. I have figured out the process, identified printers, etc., but I am stuck at how to charge my customers. I want to start soon and this is the one aspect that I am unable to figure out... …

Can You Recommend A Legal Resource For Authors?

Know that I will be filing for some copyrights, etc, but I'm chiefly concerned with what assurances, permissions or protections I have from naming other people and citing their work or quotes in my book. It's a positive, nonfiction piece and I cite my sources, but I'm not sure what's considered fair use or in bounds. Would like a legal expert to review and advise... …

MY P.O.D. PUBLISHER WENT OUT OF BUSINESS. WHAT DO I DO???

I had a book published by (a small P.O.D. publisher) in the US and it has been on sale since Oct. 2011, I have received no royalties, no answers to my emails, and now all emails are sent back. The editing was disgraceful (no errors fixed, etc.) and they took a lot longer than my contract stated to publish it. I have seen no advertising as was promised. In fact, they did not adhere to any of their contract. I have cancelled my contract, but they are still selling it on Amazon and other similar sites. I really don't know what to do about it. I'm completely at my wit's end. …

Can I Use Actual Bank Names In My Novel? It Depends…

I would appreciate your opinion regarding libel content. I have situations in my book indicating cyber intrusions within (two national banks) implicating employees. I have the normal caveat indicating the characters and incidents are the imagination of the author. Do you think that is sufficient? …

Want to Get Sued? Write About Your Ex!

Want to Get Sued? Write About Your Ex!

Well...my dilemma is that the person I would write about is my ex-husband, who would probably pursue vengeance on me, but there is a chance he might not. I am not going to pursue any vindication on him or try to slander him, but only to convey my testimony as to how I became a better person because of my experiences with, through, and because of him. I don't want any potential lawsuit, but I also cannot publish under another name or deny the truth that I want to write. In other words, I don't want to hide. Perhaps as I write, I will end up fictionalizing it, but I won't know until I am finished writing if that will be the result. I want to share my story and I hope it will help people. I have asked other authors what they know about lawsuits on this, and they don't know or they say to trust and write it anyway. Do you have any other information in addition to that other article? …

Another Question on Using Song Lyrics

My question - because my new novel is devoted to lines from various songs, does it matter how old the song is? What about songs from the 40s, for instance? …

One of the Most Common Questions We Receive – Can I publish song lyrics?

My manuscript is in final review before I take the steps of submitting. In my last novel, it was my understanding that ANY line from a copyrighted song must be granted permission by whoever holds the copyright. I did more recent research and found something stating I can use two lines from song lyrics. Is this true? …

Am I at Risk of Being Sued?

I just read your troubling article on the risk to writers of being sued. I'm writing a mystery that names no actual person and is not based on actual events. It's pure fiction, BUT it is set in Naples, Florida, and it focuses on invented rich people in an unflattering way (I lived there for a number of years). Based on this obviously superficial description, do you see any reason I should be worried? People have an egotistical way of seeing themselves in what's written, even or perhaps especially when it's negative. And the rich can do something about it, even when there's no basis for offense other than--in the case of my story--being rich themselves. …

I Based My Character On My Elderly Client/Friend. Do I Really Need A Notarized Release? Yes!

I emailed you awhile back that one of the main characters in my new book is modeled after my client, who is in his 90s. There is an agreement/contract that I typed up and had him sign but it's difficult for him to get around. I did not have the contract notarized at a local bank, etc. because of this. He was fine with everything and his daughter read over the contract as well and had no issues. He's become a very good friend and I don't foresee any issues. …

How Much Should I Charge a Publisher to Use My Blog Posts in a Book?

I'm wondering if you have ever had inquiries or questions regarding selling permissions to use blog posts in books. I'm trying to determine a fair price to charge a textbook publisher who wants non exclusive rights to reprint a portion of content in educational material for multiple years (unlimited prints and digital media). …

Amazon’s Perpetual Book Listing Errors!

Today, I looked at my book on Amazon.com and saw it listed for sale for $2.76. That's a WOW! and almost surely a mistake on their part. Can you get them to fix it? …

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