Angela’s Desk

Readers Weigh In…

Last week, I ran the following in WritersWeekly Whispers and Warnings: Creative TECHniques / creativetechniquesmag.com / All American Crafts Inc. / allamericancrafts.com - Writer alleges she's owed $350; publisher got upset with writer and terminated the contract...after the articles were finished and submitted. What do you think? Does the publisher owe the writer the money? WritersWeekly would love your opinion on this one! Quite a few of you wrote in with your opinions! Some of you agreed with my opinion while many of you didn't. The responses are great! Please read them here: http://forums.writersweekly.com/viewtopic.php?t=7250

How Some POD Publishers Milk Authors By Angela Hoy

I frequently receive emails from authors who have paid a company to publish their book, but who are later surprised by some of the terms of the contract they signed (that they usually didn't read), and are also flustered by the myriad of add-on services offered by their POD publisher. Understandably, they can't believe a company that they paid to publish their book has taken such liberties. There are some things you should never, ever agree to when paying another company to publish your book. And, there are optional extras that will cost you a small fortune, and will, in all likelihood, never be paid for with any resulting book sales. Here, I'm examining the contracts and add-on services offered by the most popular POD service companies - iUniverse, AuthorHouse, Xlibris, Lulu and BookLocker (the latter of which I own, by the way). All the information below assumes the book is a standard, black and white interior paperback with similar distribution (through Ingram). You wouldn't believe the ways some of these companies milk authors! …

Promote Your OWN Website, Not Your Publisher’s

Author Andy was so excited! His new book was finished and he'd just approved his print galley. It was time to start selling books! His publishing company put his book up for sale on their website and sent him the URL where he could send people who wanted to purchase his book. Andy didn't have his own website or blog, but he didn't think that would be a problem. Unfortunately, it was, on several fronts. And, while Andy and the other authors below are fictitious, the scenarios are based on real complaints we've received from authors over the years. In every case, had the author had their own website or blog, he or she would have lost few, if any, sales. …

Excuse Me But…Is This Name Taken? By Angela Hoy

One statement I often hear from new authors is, "Oh no! My book has the same name as another book!" This is actually a common problem. There are lots of books with identical names. While you can't copyright a name, you can trademark a name or phrase. Not many authors go to the trouble of registering a trademark. And, honestly, registering a trademark is pretty expensive so I wouldn't advise doing it, unless you plan to roll out an entire business or line of books using a phrase from your title (i.e. Chicken Soup for the Soul). …

Balancing A Large Family While Working At Home By Angela Hoy

I frequently receive emails from readers asking for advice on how we balance working at home with our home life. Here's the latest letter I received: I wanted to let you know what a great resource your weekly newsletter is to me and how eagerly I anticipate it in my e-mail inbox. Thank you for providing such a wonderful tool for anyone who will sign up to receive it. I am especially inspired by your personal stories from home, and I hoped you would share some tips on how you organize your day and get everything done. It seems amazing to me that you can manage a family (especially a young baby) and demanding (albeit rewarding) work and not be overwhelmed. Thank you, Amy

Readers Respond: How Much Would You Write For?

Last week, I wrote about the growing controversy over crappy writing jobs that pay only a buck or two per article. I also published an email I'd received that complained about a job I ran that paid $9/hour. I then wrote, "Is $9/hour low-ball pay or is that a home-based wage you would accept? What do you estimate you are you currently earning per hour on your writing jobs?" …

How Much Would You Write For? By Angela Hoy

There has been a lot of controversy lately about the crappy writing jobs posted online by people who will only pay around a buck or two for an article/blog posting. We've also been getting complaints about writers getting writing jobs and then subbing those jobs out to other writers, unbeknownst to the publishers, for only a buck or two. …

When Customers Write Bad Checks: My Successful Collection Technique by Angela Hoy

As promised, this week I'm sharing the steps I take when somebody sends me a bad check. Sure, I understand that bookkeeping mistakes happen, but by the time my bank has notified me of a bad check, the person whose check bounced has usually already been notified by their bank. If they haven't contacted me immediately to right their wrong, I have to assume their actions were malicious. …

How Writers Should Respond to Job Ads By Angela Hoy

While many companies are happy to have their market listings and job ads posted on WritersWeekly, I receive frequent complaints about how our readers respond to those ads. I want to address this ongoing problem here today. …

Prima Donnas Need Not Apply by Angela Hoy

Prima Donnas Need Not Apply by Angela Hoy

Some authors are just a bit too big for their britches. We don't work with people like that. We receive emails from authors all the time telling us they want to use Booklocker.com but, due to their qualifications, title or celebrity status in their field, they expect "special treatment." We treat all authors the same and don't show favoritism as that would not be fair to everybody else. …

Ethics vs. Profits By Angela Hoy

Ethics vs. Profits By Angela Hoy

Sometimes, writers are given the opportunity to research and write about something that could pay off big in the end. However, it can also lead to a great deal of pain for the people involved in the actual story. Writers must then weigh the consequences of their actions with the possible good (or bad) that may come from exposing old wounds. …

Freelance Favors Debate

Dawn Stanton's article last week on freelance favors for friends generated a few emails. They were all supportive, except the one below. I thought running this exchange would be helpful this week... …

Get Rich Giving Away Free Ebooks? Oh, Come ON!!! By Angela Hoy

I received the following question by email this week: A question you may want to consider answering is this. The hype is good, the sales zeal is good. I am referring you to the link below: http://www.howtomakebigmoneygivingawayebooks.com/ Is this truly a way to make money legally? And, how, pray tell, do you honesty make money just by offering a "free e-book" for downloading, and where in the world does the money per download come in?

Malicious Reviews on Amazon By Angela Hoy

Amazon allows any Amazon customer to post a review about a book, even if that person did not purchase the book from Amazon. This means Amazon has no way of verifying if that person has even read the book or not. …

Press Releases Are Boring – News is Not By Angela Hoy

Press Releases Are Boring – News is Not By Angela Hoy

Just about every journalist and periodical editor has received countless press releases by email, fax and mail. While at WritersWeekly.com we don't publish press releases, and never have, we are still inundated with them on a daily basis for everything ranging from publishing services to insurance for the self-employed. But, we get far more "new book release" press releases than anything else. And, let me tell you, even though I'm an avid book reader and buy several books each month, it is very rare that I receive a new book press release that keeps me interested past the first sentence. …

Avoiding Costly Fulfillment Headaches By Angela Hoy

This article may be printed/redistributed freely as long as the entire article and bio are included. While some authors are very happy to let their publisher or an online bookstore do all their fulfillment, there are some entrepreneurs (like me) who insist on doing everything themselves. If you plan to do your own book fulfillment, there are some problems you will likely experience at one time or another from customers who are either malicious...or just downright not so bright.... …

Do You Owe Writers Money? Advice For Deadbeats! By Angela Hoy

This article is for all those deadbeat editors and publishers out there who owe writers money. Here's my advice on how you should or should not react when the press contacts you about your deadbeat status. …

SideStepping Traditional Publishers: Why So Many Authors Choose to Self-Publish – Part I of II By Angela Hoy

There does indeed seem to be a camp of people online, most of whom have only been traditionally published, who loudly beat their drums against any author who dares to consider self-publishing. My problem with them is that they convey a "holier than thou" attitude when they have no idea who that hopeful author is, what their book is about, or what their potential sales might be. The fact is, there are self-published authors who have and are making more money than many traditionally published authors... …

My Time to Whine: When A Contest Sponsor Gets FED UP! By Angela Hoy

Every quarter, we host the WritersWeekly.com 24-Hour Short Story Contest. The first thing you should know is we don't make a profit on the contest. After charging a $5 entry fee for the contest to the maximum number of contestants (500) and then paying the judges (by the hour), the winners ($300, $250 and $200) and also royalties to authors of books that are chosen as prizes for other contestants, we actually lose money on each contest. But, it is a good publicity tool and lots of fun so we keep it going, year after year. The best part of the contest is that I get to read lots of great stories! The worst part of the contest is dealing with disqualified or just plain grumpy contestants. …

POD Files Held Hostage for $1500?! If You Pay For It, You Should Own It! By Angela Hoy

Two things happened last week that disturbed me. First, an author I know wanted to hire a certain cover designer, but the designer refused to design his cover unless he published his book through the designer's "publishing company." Second, another author I know wanted to terminate her contract with iUniverse, but learned she'd need to pay them $1500 to obtain copies of her book text and cover files...files that she paid them to create! …

Labor-Inducing Tricks

Angela is relaxing this week and trying labor-inducing tricks, like positive visualization, eating tons of pineapple and talking to the baby. "Come on, Mason! I'm ready! Time to come out and play! Are you listening to me? Hello???" Her column will return next week...unless she is STILL pregnant! …

When Market Listings Don’t Match Writer’s Guidelines And Other Tricks Of The Bottom-Feeder Publishing Trade…By Angela Hoy

While most publishers are respectable and provide us with accurate information, some, usually the small or new ones, are so desperate for publicity that they lie on their questionnaires. And, we only learn of these lies later when a reader complains that our information is inaccurate. When this happens, we send the reader copies of the publisher's response to the questionnaire and also the publisher's approval email sent in response to the final market listing that was created for publication. This clears us and shows the reader that the publisher is a snake and that he/she used WritersWeekly simply to drive traffic to their site or to try to lure good writers to a bad publication. …

Top 10 Signs You’ve Been Scammed Into Writing for Free

Top 10 Signs You’ve Been Scammed Into Writing for Free

I receive complaints about unscrupulous publishers daily. Sometimes, it's hard to tell if you're being scammed or not. Today, I thought I'd share some common excuses we see for non-payment. In all cases below, if the writer had obtained a contract, they'd have had an easier time securing payment. …

Beware When Joining Writing Sites With Your Credit Card!

Beware When Joining Writing Sites With Your Credit Card!

Unfortunately, there has been a huge increase in the number of websites for writers that automatically re-charge your credit card for everything from a subscription, to a job bidding/finding service, and more. If you don't read the fine print, you may find yourself paying, over and over again, sometimes even on a monthly basis, for something you don't want. …

When Writing Publications Hurt Writers By Angela Hoy

When Writing Publications Hurt Writers By Angela Hoy

Some publications are so hungry for content they'll publish anything - even content that ultimately hurts their readers. This is really no different from running ads (and accepting money from) companies that engage in questionable business practices or companies that do not serve writers in a positive way. …

More World’s Worst Book Proposals By Angela Hoy

I'm knee deep in email this week so I'm once again sharing snippets of some of the worst book proposals we've ever received. We hope you get a giggle from them like we did. Yes, these are real! …

When Writers Steal from Other Writers

When Writers Steal from Other Writers

We received a huge response to our article two weeks ago about the writer who received $500 for the unauthorized use of her work, and an even bigger response to last week's article, When Someone Steals Your Work. What all authors need to know is that there are not just companies and websites that steal from writers. There is also a growing problem of writers stealing from other writers... …

When Someone Steals Your Work

Every week, I get emails from writers who have discovered their work published illegally online. Some of the copyright crooks ignorantly don't realize they can't publish someone else's work online (meaning some people think the entire Internet is the public domain). However, in my opinion, most people know they can't put someone else's work on their website, but do it anyway, hoping they won't get caught, not really caring, and/or deciding they'll just remove it if anyone ever complains. However, it doesn't work that way. …

Writer Receives $500 for Unauthorized Use of Her Work By Angela Hoy

Writer Receives $500 for Unauthorized Use of Her Work By Angela Hoy

We were recently notified by a travel writer that some of her work had been posted to a website without her permission. The site's owner immediately responded to the writer and apologized, then she surprised us all by writing this: "I would hope this wouldn't be necessary but understand if you want to proceed and will respond through my attorney. I am actually shocked by your attitude. My material and articles have been published without my agreement all over the internet. I take that as a compliment and am willing to share my thoughts and experiences. I am actually very saddened by your email."

More World’s Worst Book Proposals By Angela Hoy

This week, we're again sharing snippets of some of the worst book proposals we've ever received. We hope you get a giggle from them like we did. Yes, these are real! …