I received a manuscript this week for a previously published book that contained several text messages sent and received between the fictional characters. I then noticed that a passage in the book listed the phone numbers for the characters.
My first thought was that the author included his own phone numbers as a creative way to get readers to contact him directly. I Googled the numbers. I was wrong. They are real phone numbers belonging to:
- A state office in Pennsylvania
- An Automax dealership
- A woman the author does not know
- A man the author does not know
The author admitted that he just made up the numbers. And, of course, he didn’t Google them before putting them in his novel.
I have seen the same scenario play out with fiction authors who make up email addresses for their characters. In many of those cases, they’re pretty generic (i.e. first-last-name @ gmail or some other large ISP) and, as you can probably imagine, they already belong to somebody else.
Now, let’s put on our humor hats. Imagine an author of an erotic novel doing something like that? What if the phone number actually belonged to a church? Yeah, I know that’s a stretch but it can give you an idea of what might transpire if an author isn’t careful. What if the author uses someone else’s cell phone number, and readers start texting that person, running up their cell phone bill? Not only can the author’s actions make life difficult for someone, but the author could also set himself up for a lawsuit…or more than one.
I recommend never putting a phone number of any type in a book. If you’re going to give your character an email address, obtain the email address yourself first. That way, you KNOW it doesn’t belong to someone else, and YOU will receive any emails your readers send in. And, per my second paragraph above, that can actually be a pretty good marketing tactic! INVITE your readers to contact your main character directly! Fans LOVE stuff like that. 😉
Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (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.
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - 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.
PubPreppers.com - "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.
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE
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