Recently Answered Questions:
My publisher finally got my ebook up for sale and it looks horrible! There are broken sections of text and extra spaces all over the place. I asked them to fix it and they are refusing to do so. They said that’s the best they can do with current technology. I find that impossible to believe. Do you have any insight into this? Have you seen these types of errors before?
I was reviewing the “look inside” feature of a book on Amazon recently and I noticed lots of errors. Page after page of things were broken. It was a large, well-known publisher! I immediately felt sorry for the author, while also wondering why a huge New York publisher would allow such a mess to go up for sale.
When a Mobi file is provided to Amazon for Kindle products and software, Amazon uses that Mobi file for the “look inside” feature on their website. So, you can easily see if an ebook has distracting and unprofessional errors before you buy it. Amazon even flags some ebooks with poor design and editing so readers are warned before purchasing one of those titles.
And, if your ebook formatting is distracting to your readers, expect one-star ratings on Amazon and other sites, through no fault of your own! Yes, if your publisher has committed this horrible e-faux pas, it can, and likely will, affect your ebook ratings, rankings, and sales – across all ebook retail platforms.
HOW DO THESE THINGS HAPPEN?
As tempting as the automatic ebook generators might be, they almost always spit out errors – lots of them. The more complex a book’s formatting is, the worse the ebook will look using those types of cheap, too-good-to-be-true programs.
There IS a way to produce high-quality, accurate, beautiful ebooks but it requires special software, which can be pricey, as well as experienced, hands-on coding for the best results. It can be less expensive and far less time-consuming in the long-run to hire a professional ebook designer. Unfortunately, too many publishers seem to take shortcuts, both in price and time, when spewing ebooks en masse out onto the market. And, they apparently don’t look for errors when putting said ebooks up for sale. Here are three examples of formatting issues that each publisher didn’t seemed to notice:
How can authors avoid these and other types of embarrassing ebook formatting and conversion errors? You can find affordable, high quality ebook formatting and conversion services at the WritersWeekly Author Service Center.
And, best of all, YOU will own all rights to your ebook files! Almost every publisher claims all rights to ebook files they create. At the WritersWeekly Author Service Center, YOU own all rights to your files and you can do whatever you want with them, including listing them for sale anywhere you choose, giving free copies to reviewers, and even selling them yourself through your own website.
The ebook formats provided by the Author Service Center are Mobi (what Amazon uses for Kindle products and software), Epub (what the other ebook retailers use), and PDF, which some ebook lovers prefer because many computers, reading devices, and even phones already have PDF software installed.
You can get a FAST, free quote RIGHT HERE.
Do you have an ebook horror story to share? Please do so in the comments box below. 🙂
How Many Copies Of Your Book Would You Have To Sell In Order To Break Even?
Thank you for all of the advice you have given us over the years. I am a single mom and I just finished my first book. I was looking for an affordable editor and I found one. It’s like really, really cheap. I contacted them and the owner emailed me back. I was kind of surprised that his email had misspelled words and pretty bad grammar. But, according to his website, he has a stable of editors who work for him. Maybe he doesn’t actually edit any English books himself? More problematic I think is that even his website has lots of errors. There’s a bullet list of services and none of the letters are capitalized and there isn’t any punctuation.
A little red flag is waving but they only charge $1 per page for editing and I’m really tight on money right now. It’s really tempting.
What do you think?
I was once a single mother of three with no child support coming in (and I wrote a book about it). Heck, I even did almost all of my Christmas shopping at a dollar store (back when stuff was REALLY only $1.00). My kids had the cheapest crayons, coloring books, and plastic toys in town and they never once complained, God bless them.
So, I understand how desperation can lead to temptation for a really good “deal.” Unfortunately, if you pay a foreign outfit (that has errors on its website and in its emails) to edit your English-language book, you may end up with a manuscript in far worse shape than it is now. And, you will either have to fix it, or pay someone else to re-edit it for you…at a much higher rate.
Yes, the owner of that website might not be editing books himself but, if he’s charging that low rate, he probably has friends and family in his country editing the books. He might have some professional editors in that country but I would strongly advise against hiring an English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) editor for an English-language book aimed at the English reading/speaking market…especially at that too-good-to-be-true rate.
I recommend requesting affordable quotes from professional editors who have experience, and whose native language is English.
- Professional, Affordable Editors
- Some POD Publishers: “Buy a Manuscript Evaluation So We Can Upsell You on Our Editing Services!”
- BEWARE! Text Editing Scam By Cee Gee
- “Where can I find a sample copy editing contract?”
- How I Landed A $50,000 Editing Gig…With No Professional Editing Experience! By Laura Pennington
The Do-It-Yourselfer's Guide to Self-Syndication
Practical resource outlining the self-syndication process, step-by-step. Packed with detailed information and useful tips for writers looking to gain readership, name recognition, publication and self-syndication for their column or articles.
Dear Ms. Hoy,
I just want to do what my spouse/friend asked me before he died. He wrote a great book and verbally, and in a short email, gave me the book to continue its printing. He did a third edition, and changed the ISBN number prior to passing so I could start a new copy, and continue his legacy.
The estate claims it belongs to them. I have also been given the only copy of the 3rd edition on a computer stick. I have two emails thanking him for this gift and I promised him I would pay out of pocket to continue his book. I feel copyright law is void as he told me verbally, and by email, and I have a witness who talked to him about giving the book to me.
It was intentionally left out of the will completely as he did not want his ex-wife or friends, who wanted the rights, to be upset with him. He also said it was a gift – one of many he gifted to people and kept out of his will.
Although I, too, am a beneficiary, I wish to do as he asked me. What can I do, if anything?
I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. Please consult with an attorney for your specific needs.
I am very, very sorry for your loss. I know this is frustrating for you. Unfortunately, I have seen this type of situation before.
First, copyright law is never “void.” There are specific requirements for bequeathing assets to individuals in order for those to be accepted by the courts. For example, we recently sent a variety of changes to our wills to our attorney. She was leaving town for two weeks, and couldn’t process them right away. She said that, if we died before the changes were implemented, and even though she had an email from us with our express wishes, only the terms of the old wills would be recognized by the courts. The new wills won’t be valid until they are finalized and notarized.
It’s not clear if you and he were still legally married or not. If you were his wife when he passed, I would assume you would be in charge of the estate…but that doesn’t appear that is the case.
Since he didn’t specifically leave his book rights to you in his will, I doubt you would win in court if you pursue this. If his attorney advised him to leave assets out of the will to avoid upsetting family members or friends, that attorney should be tarred, feathered, and disbarred. However, it sounds like your friend perhaps did not get the advice of an attorney when writing the will.
It would stand to reason that you have already shared the emails you exchanged with him with the executor and they, apparently, didn’t agree with his wishes, or perhaps didn’t believe the emails were real.
If I was in your shoes, I would not pursue publishing his book. And, as a gesture of good will, I would give an electronic copy of the manuscript to the estate. A fight of this nature would likely not be worth it, emotionally nor financially, in the long run.
Additional info. is here:
Can I Publish My Dead Friend’s Manuscript? No!
Affordable Copyright Registration is available through the WritersWeekly Author Service Center!
How Many Copies Of Your Book Would You Have To Sell In Order To Break Even?
I wrote this before my accident this week, thank goodness!
Regarding your article on obtaining releases from the people you write about in your memoir, etc. – If all of the people mentioned in your memoir are deceased and you have also changed their names, do you still need to get permission or releases from the families of these deceased people? Also, if your memoir contains names of government officials, if you change the names, but still describe the offices they hold, do you still need to get releases in order to mention them in your book?
I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. Please consult with your attorney for your specific legal needs.
Dead people can’t sue. However, there have been cases of family members and businesses suing for destroying a “brand” developed by those deceased people because the brand was later damaged by the revelations of those writers. For example, if the CEO of a major company assaulted you, and later died, and you then wrote about it, your article or book could damage that company’s brand.
Also, there was one case where an author wrote about a deceased person, but also described his family members. He changed all of the names but it was obvious (to some people) who he was writing about. They sued him and his publisher. It was settled out of court. The book was Running with Scissors.
To be safe, I would change the names and any other identifying material. For government officials, they are considered public figures but they can still sue (and often have the deep pockets to do so). I would change the names, locations, offices held, and any other details just to be safe.
Often, it’s just not worth it to play with that fire and it usually doesn’t detract from a memoir at all when the author anonymizes certain details in this manner. In some cases, the individual involved IS the story. For example, several years ago I was propositioned on an airplane (I’d been bumped up to 1st class) by a U.S. lawmaker who was later elected to another very high position.
I won’t go into details but it ended with him saying, “Your husband and my wife will never know.” He wanted to give me a personal tour of the White House, and then take me to his penthouse. I was in my early 20’s and he was 31 years my senior (Ewww!!). I still have the business card he gave me with his assistant’s name written on it. Apparently, she arranged these things for him all the time.
I wasn’t one of those girls who fancied getting involved with a guy three decades my senior, regardless of his station. I was loyal to my husband and children and I wasn’t a cheater.
I could tell he’d propositioned many women before. Smooth as butter. It was like he was asking me out for a coffee date and, being from a relatively small town in Texas (at the time), I was shocked that it was actually happening to me.
I would have LOVED to write about it later (I seriously considered it during the Monica Lewinsky saga years) but I ultimately decided that I really didn’t want to have to lawyer up, nor could I afford to do so.
He’s still alive. Maybe I’ll tell the story when he’s dead. Maybe I won’t. It’s pretty juicy because he followed me off the airplane. I won’t share more than that at this time.
Writers who aren’t very wealthy must tread very carefully when writing about actual events and people. While your story may be 100% true, you may be bankrupted by legal fees before you ever get the chance to tell your story in a courtroom. And, even if you win, you probably will NOT receive attorneys’ fees with the judgement. That rarely happens in the U.S.
- Never, Ever Assume You Can Use a Deceased Person’s Work
- Can I Publish My Dead Friend’s Manuscript? No!
- “My novel features real politicians. Since they’re public figures, I can’t be sued, right?” YES, YOU CAN GET SUED!
- 12 Ways to Avoid Getting Sued When Writing Your Memoirs by Angela Hoy, WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker.com
- Boldly Assuming You “Can’t Be Sued” Will Likely Lead to a Lawsuit
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.
HowMaster: The Writer's Guide to Beautiful Word Crafting
HowMaster is a wise choice for the writer who wants to weave words around the reader’s heart.
Author Linda M. Gigliotti shows how effective writing happens.
Author Linda M. Gigliotti draws from years of practice as a private
writing tutor in the guidebook that teaches writers how to format visceral
writing that pulls readers into their book. She explains with instruction
and samples of published works how to craft writing that come to life in the reader's mind.
Read more here:
My friend shared a Facebook post that said WritersWeekly.com is willing to refer authors to freelance editors and illustrators. I’m an editor and I also have created unique maps for an author whose novel I worked on. That was a fun project. I would really like some more clients. What are your criteria and how can I sign up?
You’re referring to WritersWeekly’s Author Service Center. We have vetted a variety of freelancers and small businesses that provide services to authors, such as editing, illustrating, ghostwriting, ebook formatting/conversion, cover design, interior print formatting, automated indexing, and much more. If you’d like to apply to be featured, please read THIS PAGE.
We launched this service to counter the greedy rights’-grab currently occurring in the industry. Almost every print on demand publisher and publishing service provider takes ALL RIGHTS to authors’ production files.
What does that mean?
An author purchases services from the publisher (editing, original illustrations, ebook formatting, etc.) and the publisher then claims all rights to those final files….despite the fact that the author paid the publisher for those services. That makes it almost impossible for an author to move to another printer or publisher some day and authors of publishers that go belly-up are left with no files and no book to sell.
Authors are getting wise, and refusing to pay publishers who then take ownership of what should rightfully belong to those authors.
Every freelancer and small business listed on the WritersWeekly Service Center has agreed, via a contract with WritersWeekly, to give ALL RIGHTS to the authors we send to them for their professional services.
NOTE: BookLocker.com does NOT take rights from authors, even when they have paid BookLocker for it services. All BookLocker authors own ALL rights to ALL of their files. Period.
Service Provider Application – We are seeking freelance editors, illustrators/artists, graphic designers, translators (all languages), ghostwriters, publicists, copywriters, typists/data entry professionals, and more.
Ebook Formatting/Conversion (PDF, Mobi and Epub)
My publisher, (name removed), stopped paying royalties months ago and they’re not responding to emails or answering their phone. I’m starting to panic a little bit. If I tell you who they are, can you find out how many copies were sold or how much they owe me?
Unfortunately, only your publisher can provide that information. Amazon’s sales numbers are not reliable – not by a long shot. Even if you have access to Ingram’s ipage system (only publishers can get that), those numbers are also not reliable. The “in stock” figures for print on demand titles are often “virtual” numbers so bookstores will think they really are in stock, and are easier to quickly obtain.
The only option you have is to notify the attorney general in the state where the publisher resides (they’ll only take action if they receive numerous complaints), and/or to sue your publisher, which could be costly, and could earn you nothing in the end (except expensive legal fees). If your publisher is out of business, they likely don’t have the money to pay a lawyer and may choose to not even show up in court because a judgment would be worthless if they have no assets. Needless to say, if that’s the case, your royalties have long since been spent.
If you have your book published elsewhere, don’t sign on with any publisher that takes all rights to their authors’ production files. Unfortunately, almost every print on demand publisher does (BookLocker does NOT).
Read THIS PAGE to learn how to avoid being victimized again.
READERS: Have you had a similar experience? Please share it in the comments box below!
- Avoid the Publishing Industry’s Rights’ Grab!
- POD SECRETS REVEALED: You Pay… But THEY Own the Rights?!
- FORCED MARRIAGE: When POD Publishers Take Your Money AND Your Rights
- “How much should I pay my anthology contributors…and what rights do I need?”
- Should I Sell All My Book’s Rights to This Publisher?
- More ASK THE EXPERT
How Many Copies Of Your Book Would You Have To Sell In Order To Break Even?
Writing FAST: How to Write Anything with Lightning Speed
A systematic approach to writing that generates better quality quickly!
Chock full of ideas, tips, techniques and inspiration, this down-to-earth book is easy to read, and even easier to apply. Let author Jeff Bollow take you through a process that brings your ideas to the page faster, more powerfully and easier than ever before.
Read more here:
I sued my publisher (Tate Publishing) for 5 counts of breach of contract, including stealing all the royalties, and won. I just learned from a friend that she ordered my book on Amazon and got it. I’m not sure who sold it, but when I contacted Amazon, they said they couldn’t stop sales of my book because the breach was between Tate and me, yet they profit from the sale. Is this correct?
The fastest way to get Amazon to remove a book page is to file a copyright infringement complaint with them. You can do that RIGHT HERE.
Victim of defunct Tate Publishing doesn’t want to pay Tate’s (unfair) $50 for her production files. Can she just use the files they sent her for approval before the book was published?
BookLocker Has a Fantastic Offer for Victims of Defunct Tate Publishing (and other firms)! Move to BookLocker for as little as $78! (And, get your book back on the market in as little as 2 weeks.)
If I sign up with BookLocker, how many cover designs may I choose from? And, will I be able to communicate directly with the designer and have input?
At BookLocker, we don’t use template covers. All of our covers are unique and original cover design is included in all of our packages except the D.I.Y. one. You can see what’s included in each package RIGHT HERE. Our most popular program “At Your Service,” is only $875 and WritersWeekly subscribers get a $150 discount off of that!
And, you will work directly with the cover designer to ensure your cover is exactly what you want.
Step 1 of the publishing process is HERE.
Use this discount code to get $150 off:
If you need your book published by Christmas, we can still do that for you but you need to hurry! 🙂
Where can you get FANTASTIC original cover design services for only $350? RIGHT HERE!
BookLocker Was My Gateway For Landing A Traditional Contract WITH an Advance! – By Michael Brian Murphy
Another Booklocker Author Lands A Traditional Contract! By Chuck Waldron
33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Blind Characters
I admire any writer who wants to tackle a blind character. But so many writers take up this challenge and FAIL. They research blindness by reading other fiction books, by observing their blind colleagues and acquaintances, and by tying on a blindfold and pretending to be blind themselves.
I understand the challenges your characters face, their triumphs, their hopes and their fears, because I've lived them. I work with people who have varying degrees of blindness every day, so I've seen every challenge, every situation you could imagine.
Let me share my knowledge to improve your writing. You can create blind characters that readers will fall in love with.
I am a little confused about the copyright process. On July 6, 2018, I submitted my application to the Library of Congress for a copyright. I was told that I had to wait 12 weeks for an account or case number. I called today and got the case number. I asked how long it would take before we would receive the copyright number. They said it will take an average of 13 more months.
So, I said that it would mean a delay of at least 13 months before I could publish m book. The person said they will send us a certificate of registration. She seemed to indicate that I could go ahead and publish without it and use the IBSN number. The certificate comes in the mail.
Since I am new to applying for a copyright, is it possible that I can publish the book with the ISBN number, and still say that the copyright is owned by me, and that all rights are reserved? Is it okay if I receive the copyright registration after we publish the book?
When registering a copyright for a book, nobody waits for the government anymore. A wait of more than a year to receive your certificate is ridiculous. Heck, if your book is non-fiction, some of it could be irrelevant before the book hits the market!
When you register online, you must upload a copy of your manuscript. If you must sue someone in the future for infringement, you can easily prove that your book contained that text when you uploaded it to the Library of Congress.
Incidentally, if you don’t want to go though the headache of copyright registration (the website is not very user friendly – it tends to keep bouncing you back to pages you already completed), WritersWeekly’s Author Service Center offers the service for only $99. And, that includes the government’s registration fees.
If any author, regardless of who published (or is publishing) their book, wants us to perform this headache for them, we’ll be happy to, and THE AUTHOR will receive email confirmation of the filing and THE AUTHOR will receive the final registration certificate from the Library of Congress. We never recommend allowing another publisher to control the name on a copyright certificate when the author retains all rights.
COMPARE COPYRIGHT SERVICE FEES
(all amounts include the associated federal filing fees)
Xulon Press: $199
Mill City Press: $199
Balboa Press: $204
InfinityPublishing/FastPencil: $299 (includes LCCN)
Trafford.com: Must purchase $1499 publishing package
Westbow Press: Must purchase $1,995 publishing package
Lulu: Must purchase $1,999 publishing package
Dog Ear Publishing: Service not offered
Outskirts Press: Service not offered
BookBaby: Service not offered
Copyright Law Basics For Fan Fiction Authors By Harvey Randall, Esq.
An Author / Attorney Protects His Copyright By Harvey Randall
How Many Copies Of Your Book Would You Have To Sell In Order To Break Even?
The Working Parent's Guide To Homeschooling
Dissatisfaction with public and private schools continues to grow, and with more and more acceptance of homeschoolers at colleges and universities, now is the time to encourage all those who are ready and willing, that they are able and qualified to teach their children, even and especially if they must continue working. The Working Parent’s Guide to Homeschooling answers questions such as, “How can I work and homeschool?” by showing the reader how to find what works for them.
Read more here:
TRAVEL WRITING 2.0: Earning Money from your Travels in the New Media Landscape - SECOND EDITION
Completely revised edition of the ground-breaking travel writing book that provides a road map to success in the digital age. It dives headlong into the entrepreneurial world of blogging and digital books, while still acknowledging the real money to be made in declining print forms.
Drawing on interviews and survey responses from more than 100 successful travel writers and bloggers, this is the definitive guide to creating success instead of waiting for permission. Written by a veteran, award-winning writer with two decades of experience as a book author, online publisher, freelancer, and blogger.
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:
The letter below is a consolidated version of several emails we exchanged with this author.
I love your e-zine, and have learned a lot.
My publisher, which is a non-profit, has been falsifying the amount of royalties on my 1099s. In short, what they are reporting for the past 10 years has been up to 100 times more than what they are paying me. They also haven’t filed a Form 990 in several years.
I know you are not an attorney, but am wondering if you have come across this type of situation before, and might be able to shed some light on it.
I am not a CPA nor a tax attorney so I can’t offer you financial or tax advice. Only an attorney or CPA can do that. That said…
In a subsequent email, you reported that you know they’re not filing their Form 990 because those are made available to the public.
“Form 990 is a United States Internal Revenue Service form that provides the public with financial information about a nonprofit organization.” – Wikipedia (because the I.R.S. definition was way too long)
“The 1099 form is a series of documents the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) refers to as ‘information returns.’ There are a number of different 1099 forms that report the various types of income you may receive throughout the year other than the salary your employer pays you.” – Internal Revenue Service
Publishers report royalties paid to their authors using a 1099 unless those payments are made by a third-party processor. In those cases, the payment processor (like Paypal) would be responsible for any required tax reporting. Incidentally, firms like Paypal only have to report on cumulative payments exceeding $20K per recipient, or 200 transactions paid to that recipient, in a calendar year. Publishers’ thresholds for reporting are far lower.
If your publisher has been sending you and the IRS 1099s that have incorrect amounts on them, here is what I would do if I was in your situation:
1. Send a certified letter to the IRS explaining the situation, and providing them with year-by-year detail about how much your publisher really paid you vs. what they reported on Form 1099 in each respective year. Offer to provide them with copies of your bank statements to prove your actual income. When you do, highlight the deposit amounts for payments received from your publisher. That may or may not work. If others are also reporting tax form discrepancies by this publisher, this will be in your favor.
2. Report to the IRS that it appears they are not filing their 990 returns as required by law since they aren’t available for public review.
3. Copy the organization on all of your correspondence with the I.R.S. so they know you mean business. BUT DON’T SEND THEM YOUR BANK STATEMENTS! Perhaps they will then quickly agree to submit corrected forms to the I.R.S. Let the I.R.S. know you are sending copies of your correspondence to the non-profit.
If they are truly not filing these returns, it’s possible they’re not filing others as well. They may not even be
contributing their employees’ payroll withholding to the government if they’re in that deep. If that’s the case, someone at that firm may end up going to jail.
If they are over-reporting your income, that means they are claiming an expense that did not occur. If it’s happening year after year, it seems to me that it’s intentional. If that’s the case, they are committing tax fraud.
All of this could (and should) trigger an audit of their organization. With each tax return you file, only claim your
actual income, and send copies of the items above to the IRS with your return, stating that the organization continues to report your income at 100 times what they actually paid you.
Sadly, it’s up to you to prove you didn’t earn the money, especially if the organization is not responding to you, nor to the I.R.S.
While many tax attorneys online recommend victims of this type of fraud hire an attorney, that might not be the best, nor most affordable, course of action in the beginning. I mean…if they can’t afford to pay their taxes, it’s doubtful they’ll have the money to pay any court judgement you win against them.
Instead, as your first step, send the items above to the IRS Taxpayer Advocate’s office.
There’s an article on this type of 1099 fraud RIGHT HERE and it’s pretty frightening.
HAVE A WRITING- OR PUBLISHING RELATED QUESTION FOR ANGELA? Contact her RIGHT HERE.
Tax Breaks for Freelance Writers! by Julian Block
Easy, Upside-down Budgeting For Freelancers With Fluctuating Incomes! By Bonnie Juettner Fernandes
Is Your Defunct Publisher Still Selling Your Book, and Pocketing All the Money? HERE’S HOW TO GET AMAZON TO REMOVE YOUR BOOK FROM THEIR SITE!
Joel's BookProgram: The Simple Secret To Writing A Non-Fiction Book In 30 Days, At 1 Hour A Day! - SECOND EDITION
If you are a solo professional, having your own book is one of the best investments of time and money you can make, to promote your business and gain more clients. Why?
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