Recently Answered Questions:



Q – 

Angela,

My webmaster is adding information about my book to my website. I know my book is available at lots of websites now but which ones should I have my webmaster include on my website? I know adding all of them would be too much.

J.W.


A –

I hear from authors on occasion who want me to send them every single link where their book is for sale. I don’t do that because, as you said, it would be too much. And, offering too many options will only confuse buyers.

At BookLocker, our books are distributed by Ingram, the largest book distributor. They send a feed to thousands of their retail clients across the globe. It would be downright silly to list thousands of links on a website.

Here are the links you’ll definitely want to include, and make sure the links go DIRECTLY to your book’s page on each website.

PRINT EDITION
Amazon.com
BarnesAndNoble.com (People who boycott Amazon – and there are many – can shop here instead)
Your Publisher’s Website (if you have a publisher that isn’t selling your book directly on their website, find a different publisher)
Chapters.Indigo.ca (for your Canadian readers)
BooksAMillion.com
Powells.com

EBOOK EDITION
Amazon.com
BarnesAndNoble.com
Apple
GooglePlay
Kobo
Your Publisher’s Website

If your publisher doesn’t distribute your ebooks to all of those sites, again, find a different publisher.

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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!

Q – 

Angela,

There is, on Facebook, a popular group that does reviews of articles, books, etc. (and their focus is on the same niche topic as my book). I sent them an inquiry on how to submit my latest historical novel. They responded by telling me that, per their rules, they will not accept “self-published books.” I found that frustrating and, in a way, a bit discriminating.

I wrote back telling them that I’ve read a lot of books in my lifetime (I am 74 years old), both traditionally published books and self-published books, and I have not seen any difference between the two, especially in their quality.

I know that I, personally, have never turned up my nose at any self-published books, nor do I believe very many customers when they decide to purchase a book, put those back on the store shelf when they discover it was self-published, nor do I believe that most customers can even tell that a book was self-published.

Please, if you don’t mind, enlighten me as to what the problem is with self-published books, a least from your standpoint.

I am still waiting for their response, which I doubt will happen. Personally, when I shop for a book I never look to see if it was self-published, but instead, I look at the quality of the book overall, and, mostly, I look to see if the story interests me. I am thankful that both online bookstores and brick and mortar book stores do not refuse to put books on their shelves simply because they are self-published, at least to my knowledge anyway.

J.J.


A – 

Physically, it’s true that you can’t tell the difference between self-published books and traditionally published ones. The reason is because many traditionally published books are printed now using print on demand technology. Self-published books look just like traditionally published ones.

Where you can find the difference, however, is in the text inside. A book can look stunningly beautiful. But, if the writing is bad, nothing can save it.

There are lots of author meat markets out there selling pretty much anything and everything (garbage). Doing that gives a bad name to all self-published authors and, yes, it’s entirely unfair. The large publishing services companies will publish just about anything if the author has enough money in their wallet.

That organization on Facebook should at least agree to take a look at your book before deciding whether or not to review it. It’s unfortunate they are judging your book based solely on the actions of author meat markets.

Some bookstores and libraries do indeed refuse to sell books published by some publishers. See #10 in THIS ARTICLE for an example.

At BookLocker, we do not publish everything coming over the e-transom. No retailer or library has ever refused to purchase any of our books just because they were self-published. But, that’s because we’re not an author meat market.

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Fall 2020 24 Hour Short Story Contest


Q – 

Angela:  

I have a question that may be out of left field, but since you’ve been in writing a long time, I’d like your view to something I posted in my local Facebook writers group: 

“For those of you who have significant others or are dating someone, they will know you are a writer rather soon, right?  Well, how much do you expect them to be as excited about wanting to read what you write?  If they don’t show much enthusiasm about you being a writer or what you write, can that be a hindrance in your relationship or potential relationship?  

Obviously, significant others or those we are dating have their own lives and jobs and have to balance all that on top of spending time with us, and on the flip side, we may not get that excited about their jobs either, right?

We as writers do love people reading our work and liking it, and it’s exciting when people closest to us take the time to read our stuff, too.”

Your thoughts, please. 

Thanks, 

R.B.


A – 

Nobody in my family (including 2 husbands!) nor my adult children have read all of my books. I write in a genre they are not particularly interested in – about writing and publishing.

For Brian’s memoir about him being a cop, Blue Lives Matter: The Heart Behind the Badge, everybody in his family read it cover to cover and his mother read it twice.

None of my books are memoirs with that kind of excitement!!

Writers need to understand that our loved ones may not be interested in what we write and that’s okay! I would not be interested in following my son around all day for his welding job. I’d be bored out of my mind!! All of this certainly doesn’t mean family members can’t still get along.

Many writers and authors (not all!) are sort of like narcissists. And, I say that in the most loving way. We love reading our own writing more than anything else. We may not understand why a loved one does not want to read the brilliant words we’ve written. But, we need to check our egos at the door. If we need feedback that bad, we need to join a writer’s group. A writer will get far more honest feedback that way anyway.

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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!

 

 

We are seeing lots of complaints online from authors (published by a variety of publishers – including Amazon!) who are claiming Amazon has recently raised the price of their books by $8, $10, or even more. Yes, that’s PER BOOK.

After doing some research, this is what we found:

Amazon is going through some MAJOR changes right now.

1. They are closing warehouses that they built and overstocked during the pandemic.

2. Because of the economy, their sales are way down.

“The company reported a second quarterly loss of $2bn compared with a $7.8bn profit for the same period in 2021. Amazon reported a $3.8bn loss in the previous quarter.” – The Guardian

3. Their stock (like others) is plummeting. As of this writing, it’s dropped $50 per share in the past year (31%).

4. They are obviously tightening their belts in some areas. Previously, if I placed two different orders on the same day, the items would be shipped separately. Now, Amazon combines the orders into one box when possible.

5. They are pricing products very low in the warehouses they are closing. We are seeing prices of some books in the $3 to $4 dollar range – books that Amazon purchased brand new. Amazon is losing a significant amount of money on those sales but they’re losing even more by having warehouses they don’t need.

6. For some reason we can’t understand, they are pricing other print books sky high. There are numerous reports among publishers and authors all over that Amazon has raised the list prices of their paperback books by $8 or $10…or even more! This is even happening to many authors who had Amazon KDP publish their books!

7. Some surmise it’s a database error that Amazon may or may not fix in the future. Some believe that Amazon is trying to encourage people to use third party sellers on its site as, with Amazon’s latest price increases, many third party sellers are selling books for less (though still, typically, more than the list price the author/publisher originally chose). Others believe Amazon is trying to get more people to buy ebooks so that less warehousing will be needed in the future. Of course, they tried that before and people still favored print books over ebooks by a very high margin.

What everyone is sure of is that Amazon won’t be giving any firm answers to anyone anytime soon.

What can you, as an author, do? If you see that Amazon has jacked up the price of your book, ask your publisher to contact Ingram, the distributor. Ingram sends an automated feed to Amazon and other retailers. If Amazon’s prices are deviating from that feed, Ingram can “open a ticket” with Amazon to ask a real human to fix the problem. Amazon may or may not comply. And, it’s their business. They can legally price a product at whatever they want.

And, know that, if Amazon does sell the book at the higher price, you do NOT get the excess profit. Neither does your publisher. Amazon keeps it all. You will only get the agreed-upon percentage of the list price that your publisher offered you in your contract.

In the meantime, we are strongly encouraging all of our authors to refer their readers to their book’s pages on BookLocker.com and BarnesandNoble.com. You might consider asking your readers to purchase directly from your publisher (if they sell direct) and from BarnesandNoble.com, too. BarnesandNoble does not play the same nasty games that Amazon does.

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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!





BOOK PROPOSALS THAT WORKED! Real Book Proposals That Landed $10K - $100K Publishing Contracts - by Angela Hoy



Peek over the shoulders of highly successful, published authors to see how they landed publishing contracts worth $10,000 to $100,000! An enticing yet professional book proposal is the key!

BONUS! Successful ghostwriter, Anton Marco, shares his secret for landing ghostwriting clients. Don’t miss Anton’s real ghostwriting contract at the end of this book! It provides an example of what he charges and the payment terms he requires from each client.

Q –

Hi Angela,

I will hopefully have my newest book finished in a couple of weeks. That being said, I’m traveling and won’t be able to do preorders or signings. Do you recommend waiting to release (we’ll be traveling for a year or so) or doing something virtual? I’m open for suggestions.

Thank you,

L.


A – 

The world of book sales is completely different than it used to be. Many authors assume that, if they’re not available for appearances, they should wait to release the book until they are. The fact is, getting “appearances” is getting more difficult. Bookstores are going out of business left and right. And, even if you do land an appearance, nobody attending that is going to care if your book was previously published. Nobody really pays attention to the words “new release” unless they’re talking about a celebrity author.

So, no, I definitely do NOT recommend waiting a year to release your book. That will be an entire year of zero sales. You should also know that bookstore signings for unknown authors typically sell no more than a handful of books (one handful, not two!).

Special event signings are far more lucrative but you should not wait to list your book for sale online just because you haven’t lined up any events yet.

For more advice, please download this free book:

55 Dos and Don’t of Book Selling

Also, this book is very popular. It’s free for BookLocker authors but it’s available for purchase by others:

90+ Days of Promoting Your Book Online!

Click to access 90DaysofPromoting.pdf

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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!



Q –

Angela,

I received a voicemail from a (name removed), group researcher in the (name removed) company’s marketing group, asking if I would be interested in their further marketing my book. Phone (removed). I looked them up online and found that they do exist but I did not return her call. I was wondering if you have any knowledge of or experience with this company.

Thank you for your feedback.

B.


A –

Rule of thumb is, if a “marketing” company is resorting to telemarketing to promote themselves, run far far away.

I looked them up, too. They are also a so-called publisher. Their next pitch was probably going to be asking you to pay them to republish your book. They’d tell you they can make it better, prettier, etc. Those “republishing” companies are the bottom feeders of the industry.

Another warning sign is they are only two years old. And, of all their employees, they only have “15 years of combined experience.” And, I doubt even that is true. It’s far more likely that somebody thought publishing books sounded easy, and opened up a website to try to make a few bucks. Those companies usually don’t stay in business long. And, their authors are left with nothing but lighter pocketbooks when they go belly up.

And, finally, their website has lots of typos.

AVOID. AVOID. AVOID.

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Q – 

Angela,

I name a couple of companies in my book, both airlines. The characters are passengers on their flights. I also mention two specific vehicles as the characters travel in them. Is this allowable?

Have a great weekend.

R.F.


A – 

I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. Please consult with an attorney concerning your specific situation. 

That said…

It depends on the usage and how the companies and their products are portrayed. Also, there are trademark issues to be considered. Most companies will be happy to have a fictional character mention or use their product or service, provided that product or service is not portrayed in a negative light. For example, my character could be out on a hot day, and enjoying a tasty, refreshing, ice-cold Coca Cola. I really don’t think the Coca Cola Company would mind that (though you should still ask). You know what WOULD bother them, though? If my character got food poisoning from their product.

And, let’s say my character has a first class ticket on United Airlines. If the cabin is clean and the crew is friendly and the flight isn’t delayed, etc., United Airlines probably wouldn’t mind being included in your book. But, what is the plane crashes in your book? I imagine United Airlines would not be happy about that. Again, asking up front is the best course of action.

Again, I urge you to consult with an attorney. Or, simply make up different company and vehicle names.

For example, United Airlines could be Untied Airlines.

Toyota could be Yotota, Chevrolet could be Chuvralow, etc. Readers will know that you’re playing word games with real companies and that’s okay. 😉

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How Many Copies Of Your Book Would You Have To Sell In Order To Break Even?










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!

 

Q –

Hi Angela,

I’ve just ordered 150 copies of (my book). My plan is to start sending out copies to school system superintendents to hopefully generate bulk sales. Your thoughts?

S.R.


A-

That’s a great idea but I strongly suggest doing research into each school district, and target the folks who are doing the actual buying for the schools. In some cases, it might be a school district member. In other cases, it could be the school librarians.

I definitely do not recommend blindly sending copies to folks who may be uninvolved with purchases. That would be a huge waste of your time and money.

Also, be sure to include a letter with each package (addressed to that specific individual – no form letters!) that introduces you, explains why you wrote the book, has a short description of the book, and information on where the school district can purchase more copies. Creating a personal connection (between the potential buyer and you) in your marketing materials will sell far more copies than just sending them a book description and a copy of the book.

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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!



Q –

You recently wrote that you didn’t recommend book signings. So, what’s can I do if I want to get out into the public eye?

J.


A –

I never said book signings were not recommended. I don’t recommend bookSTORE signings because those typically don’t sell many (if any) copies.

Many authors hold signings at special events, other retail outlets, craft fairs, clubs, seminars, their own signing parties – the list goes on and on. One author I know, W.W. Brock, consistently sells out of his copies at gun shows. He writes novels about hunting. Creativity is the key! You can read an article by him at the first “related” link below.

Also, consider offering to speak to specific organizations. They can either charge people to attend (and, in that fee should be the price of a copy of your book for each individual) or you can set up a table for selling and signing books when your talk has ended. That’s actually an EXCELLENT way to get people to buy your book. Again, get creative. Nursing homes, local businesses, volunteer organizations, local civic organizations, churches – the sky’s the limit!! 🙂

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A guy wrote to me last week, saying he and his sister had their author accounts closed/frozen by Amazon KDP. He said it has happened to many other authors as well. (We have reported on complaints about that in the past.) He was unsuccessful in getting it resolved with Amazon and he gave up, despite the fact that Amazon appears to STILL be selling his books. Where’s the money going, you might ask? I’d like an answer to that question as well.

Of course, the author, who has written many books, was looking for another publisher. I sent him our prices and information. I also told him, if his files are already print-ready, he might qualify for our D.I.Y. program, provided the files are to our printer’s specs. (They usually are.) The D.I.Y. program is only $149.

He wrote back, asking why our services are not free. (Forehead slap…)

I explained to him that some companies have offered publishing services for free in the past but they seem to always go out of business. (The largest one was PublishAmerica/America Star Books.) That leads to their authors being left with no book on the market and, often, the book remains for sale. Where is the money going? I bet you can figure that out!

In other cases, the companies claim to be free up front but they have hidden costs. Or, they force authors to do all the design work and, when the author can’t do it (it’s very challenging for beginners!), the publisher refers the author to companies or people who can. And, the publisher then gets a referral fee. Bait and switch!

That’s similar to the tactics of those publishers that offer “100% royalties” but, in the fine print, you learn the author gets 100% of what’s left over after everybody else takes their cut (retailer, distributor, printer, publisher, etc.). That’s how everybody does it, of course. It’s just that some companies are more honest about stating how it really works.

So, this author started emailing me repeatedly, arguing with me. I further explained to him that I have employees, contractors, vendors, utilities, software expenses, IT guys, attorneys, CPAs, government regulations to keep abreast of (and follow), multiple state sales tax returns to file every month, and so much more. We are not running a hobby website. This is a corporation with an outstanding reputation. The parts all work well together but it costs money to keep those parts working.

And, he continued to argue with me. He seemed to think that, just because I already have a website in place, I shouldn’t incur any expenses to publish his book. His specific words were, “…it costs you nothing for us to use the website…” Yeah, this guy had a serious lack of understanding about how a corporation runs.

I wrote, “I admit that I think it’s kinda funny that you want us to follow the same business model as Amazon – a company that has locked you out of your author account because their customer service is so awful. Doesn’t quite make sense, does it?”

And, he KEPT arguing with me. I finally told him he was wasting my and his time. And, I reminded him that he DID sign up with a so-called “free” publisher previously, and that he, his sister, and numerous others got royally screwed by them.

Offering free publishing services guarantees one (or more) of these things:

1. The publisher will eventually go out of business.

2. The publisher will refer authors to expensive services (and the publisher may get a kickback for that).

3. The publisher will start charging hefty fees once they realize their business model is failing.

4. The company will be flooded with so many submissions that they won’t be able to keep up, authors will get upset, and their reputation will suffer. If a company is that bad, and is putting pretty much anything and everything on the market, some libraries and bookstores won’t order from that publisher anymore. That’s already happened to Amazon KDP.

We have no interested in “copying” Amazon’s business model, and destroying our reputation (or going out of business). We’ve seen it happen too many times with our defunct competitors.

There’s one other point, too. When you offer “free” services, you attract a lower-level of clientele – those authors who don’t care about the quality of their writing and the quality of their books. And, they usually don’t promote their books. They’re in the “business” of having their names on book covers. In a nutshell, if an author is not willing to invest any financial resources in publishing a quality book, why should we?

I really have zero patience for cheapskates, nor people who try to nickel and dime me. BookLocker has been in business for more than 20 years. Our prices are among the lowest in the industry, our royalties among the highest, and our customer service is the best in the industry. And, we continue to grow each year.

I’m not changing one darned thing.

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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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