Recently Answered Questions:



Q –

Angela,

I’m sorry that I missed your sale last week. If I sign up at BookLocker today, can you still get my book on the market by Christmas?

Linda R.


A –

Many authors who want their book published by Christmas start contacting us in August. We usually get a book to market within a month. Those books are published in September and buyers have plenty of time to order and receive those copies for Christmas presents.

We have a two-week expedited publishing option that costs more. That means two weeks after you send your final file to us. Let’s say you respond very quickly to all of our communications. It’s possible that we’d have your print galley (the first printed, bound copy of your book) in your hands before Christmas. However, since it’s the printer’s busiest time of the year, they have a backlog so any additional copies you order probably would not arrive on time. You can order more than one print galley (those are printed quickly, and shipped 2nd day air) but they are very expensive ($50 each).

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Authors often ask me for advice on how to enhance their online marketing during the holiday shopping season. I strongly recommend keeping up with your book promotion year-around! However, there are ways to implant the “this would make a great Christmas gift” idea in people’s minds when they see your book cover!

To see what we’re doing for BookLocker authors’ front covers, CLICK HERE.

Note: You do NOT need to be a BookLocker author in order to have us add a bow to your book cover. 😉

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HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING A BOOK?

Angela is not only the publisher of WritersWeekly.com. She is President & CEO of BookLocker.com,
a self-publishing services company that has been in business since 1998. Ask her anything.

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90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book's Daily Marketing Plan by Angela Hoy and Richard Hoy

Promoting your book online should be considered at least a part-time job. Highly successful authors spend more time promoting a book than they do writing it - a lot more.

We know what you're thinking. You're an author, not a marketer. Not to worry! We have more than a decade of successful online book selling experience under our belts and we're going to teach you how to promote your book effectively online...and almost all of our techniques are FREE!

Online book promotion is not only simple but, if you have a step-by-step, day-to-day marketing plan (this book!), it can also be a very artistic endeavor, which makes it fun for creative folks like you!

Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90...and beyond!

Fall 2023 24 Hour Short Story Contest


 

Angela,

I take old fashioned books and re-write them in modern English. I start out with a Public Domain book that is usually not available anywhere except in a poorly done PDF image version. I do a TON of editing to make them easy and fun to read, changing out archaic words and phrases. I also usually add images. Up until now, I have told Amazon they are NOT public domain because of all of my edits, but recently they blocked one, calling it Public Domain. I tried to change the setting as they wanted but I am now permanently blocked from using Amazon KDP. 

Will you publish a book like this? It is basically a “translation” but since it’s from old English to newer English, they don’t consider it that.

I have been doing this since 2012 and have sold 100’s of books a year. It’s not a lot, but some people do like these books and keep coming back to buy others. I’m most concerned with getting good books out there from certain authors that I like. I do all editing and covers myself. I only need them printed.

Thanks for your time.

-R.


Unfortunately, public domain books have become the pariahs in the industry. They are easy to copy and put up for sale, which leads to multiple versions of the same book on the market.

Even if you rewrite them in modern English (that was a great idea, by the way), Amazon’s systems will recognize the similarities, and ban those books.

If you go through another service like ours, Amazon will likely ban those as well. And, with multi thousands of BookLocker authors, we can’t risk our account being terminated because of a few public domain books, even if they are rewritten.

In the future, if you have original books you’d like to publish with us, I’d love to take a look at the manuscripts. 🙂

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HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING A BOOK?

Angela is not only the publisher of WritersWeekly.com. She is President & CEO of BookLocker.com,
a self-publishing services company that has been in business since 1998. Ask her anything.

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Q –

Good afternoon Angela,

Sorry to keep bothering you about these, I trust your word and know you’re a lot more educated than I am on these emails if they are scams or not… Would you mind telling if this one is a scam or not?


A –

One hundred percent of the time, when someone writers in asking me if something is a scam, IT IS. The first clue with this one was the author got spammed.

I’m going to paraphrase the garbage email sent to this author below (with my snarky comments inserted in italics). ENJOY!

Dear (author first name, author last name),

(Who addresses an email that way??)

Good day,

(This greeting tells me it’s from a foreign company.)

I’m writing to you as a distributor that works closely with resellers in the literary sector.

(Cough Cough! B.S.!)

Your book, *(title removed)*, has piqued the interest of our resellers.

(More B.S.! Do you know why they put asterisks around the book’s title? So that they can easily find that part of the spam email when emailing other authors. Copy, paste, send! Copy, paste send! That job must SUCK!! And, trust me, this person has NEVER read, much less seen, this author’s book. It is probably somebody working in a spam factory overseas.)

I wanted to congratulate you for writing such a thought-provoking piece of literature (eye roll…). Many people have been drawn in by your captivating tale and the depth of your writing. As a result, I’ve received a substantial number of requests from resellers (liar!!!) wanting to stock your book.

(The B.S. has gotten so thick that I can’t breathe. Unfortunately, this type of false flattery actually works on some people.)

Given the increased demand (there is no demand!), I’d like to look into providing your book on
consignment to our reseller partners. Consignment arrangements have shown to be mutually advantageous, allowing us to provide a larger distribution reach (blah blah blah blah blah).

(Sounds good, right? Problem is, they’re going to make this author pay a LOT of money and she will likely earn absolutely zero in return.)

If you are interested in this offer, I would be delighted to supply you with further information (more blah blahs). Rest assured that the integrity of your book and your interests as an author will be our top concerns….

(Total garbage statement! They’re far more interested in diving into this author’s wallet than they are in being concerned with the integrity of the author’s book, much less the integrity of themselves!)

Just one peek at their website tells me all I need to know about this company. It says:

1864+ Successfully Project Finished.

15+ Years of experience with proud

Don’t believe me?

Yep, they sure seem like literary experts to me! Ha ha ha!!

Also, their website claims that resellers can discover interesting publications from outstanding authors, etc., etc. Yet, there is NOTHING on their website for resellers. No link to see what books they have available. No information at all for resellers. The entire website is marketing verbiage for unsuspecting authors. AUTHOR BEWARE!

I honestly don’t mind people writing to me, asking, “Is this a scam?” It gives me plenty to warn everybody about here on WritersWeekly. But, it really only takes a quick glance at these scam websites to see multiple red flags.

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HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING A BOOK?

Angela is not only the publisher of WritersWeekly.com. She is President & CEO of BookLocker.com,
a self-publishing services company that has been in business since 1998. Ask her anything.

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Q –

Angela, I got through to Infinity Publishing on the phone. They are willing to send me the production files for my 3 books + cover files, for a $25 charge to take them off their servers–$75 total. (I didn’t have any e-books.)

That cost sounds reasonable to me. But I keep wondering if I even need their files.


A –

First, the cost is NOT reasonable! They’re sending you two files electronically. That’s IT! Why in the world should you have to pay them to do that after they’ve left you and all their authors in a lurch?!

They will have formatted those files to the printer’s specs. If you move backward to an MSWord file, that work would need to be done all over again. Also, I’m assuming they did the pdf conversion.

I can’t BELIEVE they are charging you money for files after they CHARGED YOU MONEY to publish your book, and then said they’re getting out of the business. They should be willingly sending all of their authors all of those authors’ production files FOR FREE. It looks to me like they’ve found just one more way to dip their hands into their authors’ pocketbooks.

Snakes…. 🙁

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HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING A BOOK?

Angela is not only the publisher of WritersWeekly.com. She is President & CEO of BookLocker.com,
a self-publishing services company that has been in business since 1998. Ask her anything.

ASK ANGELA!





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Q –

Angela and company,

I believe you frown on paying for book reviews. The Online Book Club is giving me a strong sales pitch that they can do wonders for me for $97 – $279 bucks. Have any comments on these guys? They’re showing me different success stories.


A –

Based on the numerous complaints about The Online Book Club posted on the Better Business Bureau website, I recommend all writers AND authors avoid that outfit.

Also:

Read the comments under this article: OnlineBookClub – genuine or scam?

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Q –

Hi Angela,

Before I published my most recent book with BookLocker, I was using a company with the word “Amazon” in its name.  They want to charge me $2,140.00 to obtain an ISBN number, to register with the Library of Congress, and to copyright my book.

Am I being scammed? And, would BookLocker be willing to take on my book if I dump this current company?

A.D.


A –

If they are charging $2,140 for an ISBN, a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN), and copyright registration, you are definitely getting ripped off! Wow!! RED FLAG #1!

The actual cost for all of those services, if you did them yourself, would be under $300!!!

I looked at the website URL you sent to me. Their “testimonial” pictures are total fakes. Using Google Image Search, I found the guy with the crossed arms on a dentist advertisement as well. Same exact picture! RED FLAG #2!

Also, beware of “publishers” that use the trademarked name “Amazon” when they are NOT Amazon. RED FLAG #3!

Yes, of course we will publish the book for you.

Since you’re already part of the family, there is no need to go through the formal submission process. We give our returning authors discounts on their second and subsequent books. 🙂

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Q –

Angela,

How’s business? I’ve been seeing our posts on the group list. Haven’t had time to participate myself. Question. Have you been contacted by the company below about any of your authors’ books? It looks suspicious. I’m not replying until I hear back from our author but I questioned if you’d seen anything like this before.

-Name removed (because it’s a friendly competitor of BookLocker)


A –

Hey, (removed)! Long time no text!!

Yes, in fact, I have been contacted by that same company. They told me the author had contracted with them, and (ha ha ha) asked us for:

  1. A transfer or rights from us to them. (As you know, we don’t take rights from our authors. BookLocker authors always retain all rights to all of their files and copyrights. If he’d truly talked to our author, he would know that.)
  2. The login info. for our Amazon business account so they can “make changes” to the author’s book page. (I just about peed myself laughing over that!)
  3. A full listing of the author’s past sales.
  4. Copies of the authors’ production files (the print-ready files for the cover and interior).
  5. The username and password the author uses to access her author account in our system.

I was reading the email to Brian and we were cracking up! These scammers sure are getting creative! Good thing you and I have been in the industry long enough to know better. Unfortunately, new companies, or employees at those newer companies, may not know any better. The email was very well-written, and appeared extremely professional. No errors at all.

I contacted the author. She’d never heard of them.

I sent three words back to the scammer: “Nice try, (bleep)!”

😉

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HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING A BOOK?

Angela is not only the publisher of WritersWeekly.com. She is President & CEO of BookLocker.com,
a self-publishing services company that has been in business since 1998. Ask her anything.

ASK ANGELA!





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Q –

I wrote my book and I really need to keep the same title I chose long ago. I’ve already mentioned it on social media and I’ve even done some pre-publication marketing.

I learned today that there are books, articles, and even an old movie with the same title as my book. I really don’t want to change it at this point. What can I do?


A –

Titles can’t be copyrighted but they can be trademarked.

I searched the trademark database. The title of your book was trademarked by what appears to be a videogame company (perhaps they made a b-grade movie back in the day) back in 1995. However, the trademark has been abandoned (is expired).

Yes, there are several books by that exact same title on Amazon. That is a big problem.

To avoid confusion, we recommend authors come up with an completely unique title.

If there are other books with the same title, people searching for that title may end up finding those other books on Amazon, and buying another author’s book by mistake. In other words, your marketing efforts can end up enriching those other authors. And, when one of your readers receives a book by that title written, but written by some other person, guess who they’re going to be upset with? YOU. They may even accuse you of trying to ride on the coattails of some other, more popular author.

I’m an industry expert and it happened to me one day. I was in a hurry, and ordered a copy of Swan Song. That’s my favorite book and it was written by Robert McCammon. Over the years, I’ve purchased copies for all of my adult kids and my parents. Well, since I was in a hurry, when ordering a copy for a friend one day as a gift, I ordered a completely different book came by a different author…but with the exact same title.

If it can happen to me, it can happy to anybody. Change the title of your book. Make it completely unique. It’s easy to search Amazon for new titles you have in mind. Be sure to put quotation marks around the titles you are searching for.

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HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING A BOOK?

Angela is not only the publisher of WritersWeekly.com. She is President & CEO of BookLocker.com,
a self-publishing services company that has been in business since 1998. Ask her anything.

ASK ANGELA!





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Q –

Any interest in creating “a speakers’ bureau with the express goal of sending your authors to college” for purposes of book promotion gigs?

– L.S.


A –

Unfortunately, that is not a venture I would be willing to undertake. Aside from the fact that we don’t have the manpower to arrange such engagements, they would certainly be too costly for authors. You’d have to sell a LOT of books to make up for a plane ticket, lodging, and other travel expenses. I’ve been telling authors for years, through WritersWeekly, that author appearances cost far more than any resulting book sales…to say nothing of the time it takes to arrange, and then participate in them.

I recommend doing local appearances only (and, not just bookstores and schools – other retailers may be interested in book signings or book readings as well). Even then, you might find that the effort and time spent was not worth the low number of book sales.

The most effective way to promote a book is to do it aggressively and regularly online, sitting at your laptop. 🙂

Please see:

HOW TO SELL OUT AT BOOK SIGNINGS! What’s the Most Important Tool in Your Arsenal? By W.W. Brock

and

“Special Event Signings” Sell Far More Books Than Bookstore Signings! (Or “Why Should I Order Copies Of My Own Book?”)

and

Book Signings? More of a (Flattering) Time-Waster Than a Money-Maker!

REMINDER: The Fall, 2023 24-Hour Short Story Contest is only 2 weeks away! Our Fall contests are always our most popular ones!! 🙂

RELATED

Are Book Signings Big Book Sellers? Not Usually… – 09 2013

How to Sell More Books at Stalls and Signings! by J Harker Shaw – 11 2016

How My Bookstore Signings Led to a Traditional Publishing Contract and Film Consideration! By William Creed – 03 2016





HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT SELF-PUBLISHING A BOOK?

Angela is not only the publisher of WritersWeekly.com. She is President & CEO of BookLocker.com,
a self-publishing services company that has been in business since 1998. Ask her anything.

ASK ANGELA!





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