Can You REALLY Trust Your Secretary, Webmaster, or Publishing Consultant to “Sign” Your Publishing Agreement? – by Angela Hoy

Can You REALLY Trust Your Secretary, Webmaster, or Publishing Consultant to “Sign” Your Publishing Agreement? – by Angela Hoy

Many authors want to write. Just write. They don’t want to edit or format their book (nor assist in the process). The don’t want to build a website. They don’t want to publish a blog. And, they don’t want to participate in any marketing activities. Period. They would far prefer to pay someone else to do all of that. And, that’s where publishing consultants step in…if an author can afford such a luxury.

These folks hold an author’s hand from A to Z when getting their book published and, often, beyond. Sometimes, freelance webmasters step into this role for the author. Occasionally, it’s an author’s secretary who does it (even if the secretary actually works for the author in their regular, non-publishing-related day job).

Unless that person has a power of attorney from you, they can’t legally “sign” (physically or virtually) a contract for you.

But, that’s not what we’re here to discuss today. Today, I’m talking about TRUST.

At BookLocker, we have a beneficiary clause in our contracts that states who will receive an author’s rights and future royalties. When a secretary, or webmaster, or someone else completes an author’s contract with the author’s name and contact info., we may or may not realize it’s not the author him/herself completing the contract.


Today, an author wrote in wanting to confirm that their beneficiary was a specific organization. I pulled up his contract and that organization was NOT listed. Rather, it was the author’s webmaster who was listed at the beneficiary. Of course, the author had no idea, when trusting this webmaster to complete a contract online for him, that the webmaster would take it upon himself to GIVE himself the author’s future royalties and book rights should something happen to the author.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time we’ve seen this happen and it most certainly won’t be the last. In this case, I told the author to quickly complete a new contract, which would replace the old.


One author had a secretary who logged into the author’s account, and sent us a message, telling us to change the payee for the royalties, saying the author “had passed.” The rep had completed the author’s initial contract, and had named herself as the beneficiary. That author was still very much alive. I was suspicious, of course, and contacted the author. Needless to say, that secretary lost her job.

Don’t even get me started on authors who have trusted their own relatives with the account login info., and who have almost fallen victim to theft that way.


What else can happen if you ask someone else to complete a contract on your behalf?

1. You might be subject to additional fees and other stringent contractual conditions that you didn’t know about because, you know, you didn’t want to read the contract, or deal with any other administrative tasks to get your book published.

2. If your publisher finds out you didn’t complete the contract, they may suspect fraud, and instantly terminate your book.

3. If you refuse to pay the fees listed in the contract, or to abide by other items your representative agreed to, your book could be terminated.

4. The publisher could claim that, despite the lack of your signature, that you knew the terms of the publishing agreement and that the terms are still valid and enforceable.

While I know reading contracts is a pain in the tookus, doing so is necessary. If you really, really don’t want to deal with that stuff, have your lawyer do it for you. While not all lawyers are honest, the chances of an attorney ripping you off are probably far less than some webmaster or publishing consultant you hired online, sight unseen.


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Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.

About The Author


Angela Hoy is the publisher of, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).

Angela has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises. - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."

Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors. - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!

Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.

Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)

See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.


BOOKLOCKER ON FACEBOOK - Provides links to free excerpts!



Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!

Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE

Fall 2023 24 Hour Short Story Contest

The Art and Craft of Writing and Editing

Writing is a constant dialogue between author and reader.

The craft of writing involves an interchange of emotions between an author and a reader. An author creates a story line, conflict, and characters, gives his characters words to speak, and then hands off these materials to a reader. This process results in a constant dialogue between the mental imagery produced by a reader and that proposed by the author.

Read more here:

7.625 STRATEGIES IN EVERY BEST-SELLER - Revised and Expanded Edition

At this moment, thousands of would-be authors are slaving away on their keyboards, dreaming of literary success. But their efforts won’t count for much. Of all those manuscripts, trade book editors will sign up only a slim fraction.

And of those titles--ones that that editors paid thousands of dollars to contract, print and publicize--an unhealthy percentage never sell enough copies to earn back their advances. Two years later, most will be out of print!

Acquisition Editor Tam Mossman shares seven essentials every book needs to stay in print, and sell!

Read more here:

2 Responses to "Can You REALLY Trust Your Secretary, Webmaster, or Publishing Consultant to “Sign” Your Publishing Agreement? – by Angela Hoy"

  1. Pamela Allegretto  December 14, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Wow, it’s so disheartening to read about so many scams. Thank you for keeping us in the loop.

  2. jedidiah manowitz  December 13, 2018 at 8:30 pm

    Trust but verify.

    I trust gramma but when we play cards I still cut the deck.