Ask The Expert

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!

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? …

How Do I Subtly (and Effectively) Promote My Book When “Commenting” on Articles?

I've been consistently following the advice in your book, 90 DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book's Daily Marketing Plan. I have a question about signatures. I've been commenting on the news and other blog sites, and typing in my "signature" - [Name, Author, Title of Book].. When I do this, do you advise to try to create a direct hyperlink to my site, or is this spamming and against guidelines? I've been copying/pasting a typewritten signature. I'm not sure you can even create a hyperlink in comments but some of the research says I can and it would be easier to go directly to my site if you don't think this would red flag me on the various sites I go to. …

Will My 686 Meg Book Make A Good Ebook? No!

I'm a professional American writer. My travel ebook has 330 color photos and is 686 megs so I must use a file sharing site to upload it. Is this a problem? I am planning a series of these travel ebooks. …

Why Isn’t That Editor Responding to Me?

You ran a market listing in a recent issue. I emailed the editor and they haven't emailed me back. Why do you run markets from companies like that? You need to remove it! …

Can One Software Program Make ‘Device Agnostic’ Ebooks?

I recently read that the author of the Harry Potter series set up her own online store to sell her books direct. She said she is going to make them "device agnostic". I presume she means so they can be read on any e-book reader. Is there one software program you can use that makes your e-book available to all e-book readers? With so many players now in the e-book business, and so many options, some of which are exclusive to a particular company or device, how do I know as I get ready to self-publish what is the best way to go to ensure anyone with an e-reader can easily buy my book and have it work on their device? Do you make ebooks you publish at BookLocker device agnostic? …

Why Hasn’t Amazon Removed My Out-of-Print Book?

Why Hasn’t Amazon Removed My Out-of-Print Book?

I decided to pull my book off the market a few months ago, rename it, and republish it elsewhere (I was not happy with my previous P.O.D. publisher). My previous publisher said they removed the book but it's still on Amazon. How can I make them remove it? I don't want the old version competing with the new. …

Confused About “Likes” vs. “Friends” on Facebook

Confused About “Likes” vs. “Friends” on Facebook

The confusing thing for me about Facebook 'likes' is that Forbes prefers us to encourage 'friends', which can be done with my personal FB page. I created a writer page (a business one), but it just feels redundant....so I'm still not sure what the importance of it is. …

Absent a Contract, Who Owns the Rights?

I am thinking of publishing an eBook and P.O.D. anthology of my personal blog. I've been writing it for 10 years and it's quite popular. However, for the past three years, some of those posts appeared first on another blog. They paid me for those. Do you know who owns the copyright on the posts? …

Where Can I Find Quality Paying Markets?

I am a new writer, just trying to find someone to publish me that will see the value in my writing and compensate me equally. Can you help? …

Is Sending a Press Release to Regular Folks Spam? YES!

Is Sending a Press Release to Regular Folks Spam? YES!

It seems to me there is a fine line between a press release and a promotional item. Wouldn't you say that a press release is generally promoting something? Maybe the definition of "promoting" is the key. Can I send press releases to anyone or only to journalists? …

Help! My Web Designer Registered My Domain Under HIS OWN Name!

Your articles are a never-ending source of information. Thanks for all your hard work. This week I discovered that my web designer seems to have registered my domain name with his name and contact information. A year or two ago, I actually printed out an article you wrote on updating your domain name and making sure you were the owner of record. For the life of me, I can't find the article now. Can you help? …

How Much Should I Charge For A Reprint?

A magazine wants to buy an article I already had published elsewhere. They told me to quote them a price. How much should I charge? …

A Large Canadian Publisher Owes Me Money. What Can I Do?

Throughout my long freelance-writing career, I've used your "deadbeat" suggestions as a template for a demand letter at least three times when companies wouldn't pay me for my work. It worked every time. Well, almost every time. In one case, I was sent partial payment for my work (one-third); then the company went out of business. But I understand that other writers received zero, so even then, the letter worked. But, what recourse do I have if the publisher isn't in the United States? Threatening to report them to the attorney general and other U.S.-based organizations won't work. I ask because a Canadian magazine owes me money. It's part of a pretty large, fairly well-known publishing company with a portfolio of several publications. After I wrote the story to my editor's specifications, she decided she wanted a much longer, more detailed sidebar, which took a ton of additional time and research, but I cheerfully complied and didn't ask for more money for the extra work. She said (in writing) that the pieces were great and she loved them, and I have the emails to prove this. Nearly four months have passed, but I have not received one penny. My editor has been giving me the run-around, telling me that she put a "rush" on my payment (she said this on January 11), and she has sent me a few other emails telling me that she's asked the accounting department to "find" my invoice. Realizing that I wasn't getting anywhere, I contacted the accounting department directly. I asked, "When will I get paid?" I received this beat-around-the-bush response: "Please accept my apology for the delay in replying. It has been quite a difficult start of the week for me. We are working hard at meeting all of our financial obligations..." This sounds to me like there are no immediate plans to write that check. I then wrote a note to the magazine's editor in chief, who has not responded. Do you have suggestions for next steps? …

Where are Paying Markets for Writers Archived?

First, thank you so much for your website. It's proving invaluable as I embark on my journey to full-time freelance writer. I have a question. How do I access the writer's markets archives? You gave details of a pet magazine a couple of weeks ago and I just want to have another look at it. …

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