How Do I Know If It’s Selling or Not?

Dear Angela:

There are some writing sites where you can purchase a writer’s story, and the site owner gets a cut, and so does the writer.

Well, I put one of my previously sold stories up at the site, but I am getting very suspicious of the site owner/editor just because of some things that I will keep to myself for now.

In over three months, I’ve not been informed of any purchases of my work, and it may very well be the case that no one has purchased my work. Is it, in your view, ethical for me to have my good friend buy the story, then keep a copy of the receipt, and then a couple of days later ask this editor if any sales of my work have occurred?

If the editor says “no”, then I will have the proof that they aren’t telling the truth, then will go from there.

Please advise.


One of the tricks I suggest to writers/authors is to use the friends and family approach. That’s really the only way to catch someone at the “but nobody bought it!” game. Have a friend buy your article/book from the site, wait about a month or so and then ask about sales. If you ask too early, they’ll know you got someone to buy it. If you wait a month or so, they won’t be as suspicious and will be more likely to lie…if that’s what they’ve been doing all along.

I would also only suggest putting your work on a website that offers real-time author account access 24 hours/day. Otherwise, you really have no way to track sales. And, sites that don’t offer this are likely not successful enough to waste your time on anyway.