Ask The Expert

Where can I post my synopsis?

Is there a website where authors can post synopsis (what is the plural of synopsis? flying flock of synopsi???)? Thought I'd check with you because you have so many resources at your fingertips, and because you do an awesome job. Rose …

Yes, You Should Absolutely Simultaneously Submit!

Dear Angela, Thank you for taking the time to help. I am still trying to find a market for my first short story. My question is about multiple submissions. I read one author who said everybody does it. Then I read another author who said it's risky because if you are accepted by one editor and have to pull a submission from other editors, the others may be less inclined to accept future submissions. Any suggestions? Steve …

Do NOT Pay Someone to Review Your Book!

I'm continuing to do research on publishing companies and associated problems. I came upon the subject of Kirkus Reviews. I didn't find a reference to them on your website, so I'm asking you about them. Is a Kirkus Review worth anything? From what I understand, the author pays for the review and if he doesn't like it, the review doesn't get posted, but he's still out the money. Even if their review is positive, does it have any value? Thanks for you time. …

How Strict are Word Counts in Articles?

If a publisher wants 1000 words can it be 10 or 20 either way? Getting exactly 1000 or 1500 without going over or under is almost impossible. Or is it? This might seem trivial but I really want to know. Thank you for your time. Connie …

Should I Encrypt My Ebook?

Hi Angela, First, great work on the Writers Weekly site, it's a very valuable resource. I am working on some ideas on e-books. One question I had was, if it is produced in PDF format, how can it be prevented so that one person can't buy it, download it, then send/email to a couple other people, and so on and so on, etc. Is there a way to make it so that the only person who can read it is the person who bought it? Any help/info would be appreciated. Thanks! M. …

Book Rentals?

I found a new website that rents books to people by mail. They have my book listed on their site but my publisher says they never ordered a copy. Do you know what's going on? -M …

How To Tell What Font?

My designer has disappeared and I can't figure out what font he used on my cover. Can you help? I found a great resource online for this! You upload an image of the font in question and you get an instant result. See: http://www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont

Paying Markets?

How can I find paying fiction markets on your site? -Jack We do have several paying markets for fiction writers on our site. Go here: http://search.writersweekly.com/search-ww.cgi Type fiction in the box there. In the drop-down box below it, click Search Markets and Jobs.

Why Isn’t My Book Selling?!?!

I can't understand why my book is not selling? Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Target.com, etc. advertise the book, as I do on my website. It's been online for two years now. Why isn't it selling?! Many authors make the mistaken assumption that putting a book online means people will actually see it and that this will automatically translate into sales. Since there are so many websites, and so many online bookstores, and so many books in those bookstores, nobody can expect sales from just putting a book online. Marketing a book online should be considered at least a part-time endeavor. The authors who are really successful are the ones who make marketing their books a full-time job. You have to get online daily and spread the word, through an ezine (an ezine is more effective than a blog because you contact your readers directly; you don't wait for them to come back and visit your site whenever they happen to remember you're there), through networking, through requesting links on other websites, through offering excerpts for other websites and online publications to run, and through participating in online discussions about your book's topic/your book. Assuming that simply having a book page on Amazon will mean you're going to start making money on your book is probably one of the most common misconceptions I hear from newbie authors. Nobody is going to know about your book until you start telling them about your book.

Why Should I Sign a “First Rights” Contract, Not Knowing When Publication Will Be?

Dear Angela, I've been waiting for nine months for a magazine I really like to schedule a publication date for my inspirational essay. Soon after I submitted it, the editor told me she really liked it, but it would take them a while to schedule it. Now they've sent a contract in which they want me to sign over Exclusive First Rights for it to be put on their website without paying me on acceptance or scheduling a date for its publication. I'll be paid when it is uploaded on the website, but "its placement is subject to the editorial staff's discretion and may be removed from the website at any time without prior notice." I think they should pay me now or schedule a publication date if they want me to sign a contract. If I turn over first rights, they could sit on the piece forever. I think it's a good piece and I really want to see it in print. What do you think about the contract and do you think there is any advantage to my letting someone put it on the website? This isn't a major magazine. I need good printed clips. Thanks, A. …

AVOID Contests That Use Entries for Free Content!

Angela, I know you're not a lawyer, but I'd like to get your thoughts about this situation: I recently entered a contest sponsored by a large financial business. The rules state... …

Are All Blogging Jobs Scams?

Angela, Are there any of these ''write blogs for pay" jobs that are not scams? …

When Editors Assume…

I sold an article to a company that, according to their listing in Writer's Market pays $800 to $1,200 for articles and columns. They are publishing my article and have not asked me to sign any contract nor have they discussed money. The magazine went to print last week and will be hitting the streets within a week or so. If I do not receive a check from them after it hits the street, I plan to have my attorney write a letter to them. In your experience, is that the best course of action? Thank you for your time. …

Agent Finding

Dear Ms. Hoy, I have been receiving your newsletter for a short time.I am getting a little confused about the process of getting a book published. I have two very silly children's books that have been read to two second grade classes and they seemed to really enjoy them. I want them out there. If not for any other reason than to make my dream a reality. May I please bother you for your time and expertise where publishing two little books are concerned? I want to be a genuine author and I know that I will succeed, once pointed in the right direction. Thank you and enjoy your day, Malissa …

“Vote For My Book!” Contests May Hurt Your Credibility…and Your Pocketbook

I have kind of an odd-ball request: I entered a novel into a contest - kind of an American Idol contest for novels. It's doing pretty well. It made the semi-finals, unofficially in 10th place out of 296 entries. Unfortunately, only the top 5 have a shot at getting published. One of the top five will be published by (name of company removed). That's where you might come in. If I get published, that would (a) Be a big boost for my self-published book and (b) Be a nice little thing to mention in my advertising. Given that, I was wondering if you might be willing to pass the word around to friends, family, employees, contacts who like to read, etc. that my novel might be worth a look. Anyone can comment and vote as long as they register with (the website hosting the contest). -S …

Pen Names

Do you think Pen Names are necessary and is it an easy process to get one? I am asking this because I knew that there was an alternate name you could use, like the stage names, but never knew the term to search for. Any thoughts on this subject would be helpful. Thanks in advance, G. …

Using Real People/Places/Events in Fiction

Hi Angela, I am currently writing a novel (Adventure/Fiction). My characters, plot, etc. are fiction; however, I am planning to include real places. Do I need to ask permission from the business establishment my characters would be attending? Ex: I am researching (a popular event in Alaska). I won't name the event in my novel, but if anyone has been there it's pretty clear to what I'm referring. Of course, each of my characters won't be the same in their responses, so some of them won't like/enjoy/might have bad things to say about their experience at the business establishment. Is that okay? I don't want to be sued for defaming their establishment. …

How Should I Handle Fan Mail?

What is the best way to handle fan mail? Should I reply and thank them for their support? Or should I accept it and forget it? I really would appreciate some feedback. Connie …

If Mag Buys A Piece And Folds, Who Owns The Piece?

If you sell an essay to a magazine that purchased all rights (and you were paid) and that magazine folds before your piece is printed, what are your rights in terms of placing it elsewhere? …

On spec? No pay or pay?

Dear Angela, Another writer suggested I contact you. What a magazine wants from me doesn't sound quite right to her. I wrote an article, on my own, and then queried a large Canadian magazine and asked if I could submit it to them. The editor responded right away and asked me to submit it 'on spec' since they haven't dealt with me before and because the article is written in first person. She wants me to submit 750 words. …

Some Naughty Companies Are Reselling Single ISBNs

Hi Angela, I can't afford to buy a block of ISBNs from R.R. Bowker ($275 for 10). I found a company online that is selling single ISBNs. I didn't think that was allowed? …

What does “ibid” mean?

What does "ibid" mean? I've seen it referenced in footnotes in books. Lisa …

Is this Newspaper Trying to Pull a Fast One?

I get your ezine every week and really enjoy what I read and have learned a tremendous amount. I've written you on occasion and thought you'd be a good one to bounce this situation off of... I started writing professionally about four years ago, at age 41, starting with a small weekly newspaper that has grown from about 8000 copies to about 21,000 copies now. I write all sorts of feature stories and news writing and sometimes take my own photos. …

Can I Post My Clips to My Website?

Hi Angela, Kinda new at freelance. I have sold a few articles, and now wish to build a web page, rather than e-mail clips with queries. Once an article is sold to a publication, can the author of the article post a clip of the article on the author's web page? Is the entire article necessary? Do you think a web page for editors to visit is a good idea? Any advice you can give would be appreciated. Sincerely, Jerry …

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