Ask The Expert

Consolidating Issues of Your Magazine/Newsletter Into a POD Book

Hello Angela, I publish an online travel magazine, averaging about 25-30 pages an issue. It is published as a PDF file online, but some readers have expressed an interest in getting a printed version. Do you know of any POD publishers that might be able to do this for a reasonable cost to my readers? Thank you, Carma …

Can I Use This Old Newspaper Photo?

I want to use a photo I found in an old newspaper in my book but I can't find the copyright owner and the newspaper is now out of business. How can I determine if it's in the public domain? …

When Editors Assume Your Article is a “Donation”

A legit, well-respected publisher just accepted an article that I wrote and will be running it later this year. How long should I give them before asking about payment? Thanks …

Is She Ignoring Me…or What?

This may not be the correct venue, but I wanted to reach you. I followed a "market" ad from your listings,and submitted an article to a magazine. The ad stated "payment upon publication", and the item was published. I have yet to be paid, and wonder what to do next. I wrote two "gentle" e-mails to the editor asking about payment, and suddenly no one's home. …

Confused About Rights…

Hi Angie, I was looking at the ad from Blue Mountain Arts, Inc. in your latest issue .I have always considered greeting cards as a potential place to sell, but need some clarification. This statement, "Buys exclusive rights for all greeting cards. If a work is used only in an anthology, the writer keeps the copyright." is the one that confuses me. If they buy my idea, does that mean that I can't sell it anywhere else or just to another card company? Thanks, Sandy …

Literary Agent Inquiry

Dear Angela, A new subscriber to your weekly. You had a similar request for info about paying to have work critiqued. I tried that URL and couldn't access it, so again the question is...I've had one dealing with the Literary Agency Group (LAG) in New York; I paid them to critique a stage play and now they seem to be looking for more money to help get this stageplay ready. Sound kosher? Many thanks, Charlie Gourlis …

Editors Wants Me to Sign a Backdated, Two-Year Non-Compete!

Basically, I've already done some work for this company, the beginning of what seems to be a long-term arrangement, and they're just now asking me to sign a backdated contract. The contract restricts me from writing about the topic for anyone else while I am working with them AS WELL AS during the first two years after terminating the contract. …

Agent doesn’t/does charge a fee?

Hello. I've read a lot of articles that say agents should not charge fees but I wonder if this one is different. The agency promises to "provide a free evaluation of your entire work." Then, below the signature is the line. "We charge a $250.00 submission fee if you are offered a contract." Is that normal? I think that if it goes to contract then the contract should not cost anything. Otherwise it still seems like a reading fee. I'm confused. …

What Do I Say When They Say “No Pay”?

Angela: What do you say to the claim of many literary editors who say "Since we don't carry advertising, we can't pay our contributors." Cheers, Roy I simply tell them I won't contribute my valuable time to their hobby.

Do *Not* Edit A Chapter As A “Test!”

Hello Angela, My friend recommended I contact you. I found a freelance copyediting position (online). I emailed them expressing interest and with some questions about the company and they emailed me back with a sample chapter to edit. All of that is fine. But... They are a new company, they claim. They didn't answer any of my questions. I don't know what the pay rate would be. They don't have a website, but submissions guidelines are online with an address. When I called information to get a phone number, so I could find out some more about this company before I did any "test" or free editing, the operator didn't have any company listed. I'm a little nervous to say the least. I would greatly appreciate you help. Thank you so much in advance. J. …

Add a Contingency Clause to Your Freelance Contract

It's interesting that I read last week about having a contingency clause in a pays-on-publication contract because I signed one of those about six weeks ago without that kind of clause. I suppose I naively assumed the article would be published sooner than this fall. …

A Foreign Company Published My Book Without Permission!

Hi Angela, I periodically search my name through Google and check out any new hits on my name. I found a copy of my book, new cover and all, in what appears to be Hungarian. The only English words on the cover are my name and Fiesta at the top. I have NOT sold any foreign language rights. It's officially out of print by my publisher, so it's my problem. I don't know where to begin! Sharon …

Should I Pay These Companies for Their Book Promotion Services?

Hi Angela, I am wondering if you or Richard have an opinion on two book promotion possibilities: 1) Paying [a company] to help get me on radio talk shows, etc. 2) Having [a website] post an interview and book review on their website for $250.00 Thanks! Lynne …

Unauthorized Reselling Of Articles

Hello, Angela. I've been getting your Writers Weekly e-mails for quite a while, and think you do a terrific job. I have a question I'm wondering if you could help me with, or if you know someone who may be able to help. I am a freelance writer and I've been writing for a west suburban paper for nine years. Recently I noticed that my stories are popping up on Findarticles.com, www.questia.com, www.highbeam.com, goliath.ecnext.com, and maybe other sites, which charge a fee to read the complete stories. Now, none of these sites have ever gotten permission from me to post these articles, and I do not make one cent off the articles I wrote which they are "selling." Is what their doing legal? If not, what can I do? Although my articles appear in that large newspaper, I still retain the rights to what I've written. Is that meaningless, in the Internet age? Can anyone take what I've written and use it, even sell it? Sincerely, R …

Editor’s Procrastination Shouldn’t Be Your Problem

Hi Angela, What do you do with difficult editors? I just ran into two situations with two different editors that have set my teeth on edge. It's one of these situations where their procrastination becomes my problem. Essentially, I messed up by agreeing to do an article with a very short deadline, but I did let the editor know that I was concerned about my interviewees not cooperating with me in such a short time period. …

Help Leaping from Newspapers to Magazines

Angela, I have been reading your newsletter on and off now for ages now and I'm always amazed at your fluid personal style, but this was absolutely the cutest thing so far..."As her emails came faster and with more anger, she stopped using any capital letters at all. Can you imagine how embarrassed she would be if I published her emails?" …

Add A “Publish-By-Or-Pay” Clause To Your “Pays On Publication” Contracts

Angela, A publication pays upon publication. Now, it could be months before they publish the piece...but in the meantime, they don't pay the writer, but have yet to publish the work after three or so months. Is the pub considered a deadbeat in your view ONLY IF they publish the work and don't pay? Please advise. Roy …

How To Respond To Negative Rating?

Since I started writing for this site's clients, my rating has been at the highest level, as I treat each client's project with extreme care and respect, and give each one 100% effort. My problem involves the rating I was given by a first-time client from Europe who wanted an ebook written about her unique business. I estimated that the project would take about one month. After accepting the project, my client became ill and couldn't send the necessary material for me to begin working. Two weeks passed, and finally I received her material. I communicated regularly with her throughout this period and until I completed the project, incorporating her edits and comments. I also advised her that I would not meet the proposed deadline due to not receiving her material on time. You can imagine my surprise and shock when she wrote in my rating that I was late finishing the project. …

What Kind Of Rights Are These And How Much Should I Charge?

Dear Angela, I wrote a series of short articles for a national parenting website a couple of years ago. I was paid for first time use. Last week, an agency asked me for permission to use my articles as training resources for their prospective clients (as required by law in their state). They did not offer any payment. …

Whose Fault Is It That I Didn’t Get Paid?

Angela, this one has been bothering me for over three years. Now that I know more about how the writing game works, I am ready to confess my great shame. A few summers back, I had an idea for an article. I had never written for anything but my own journal and close friends, but I wanted to try my hand at writing and I wrote the article. I then phoned the local community paper and asked if they would be interested in a piece on "wee gardeners" about children helping with the family garden. They liked the idea and told me to email it to the newspaper. Well, I did just that, and it appeared in the following issue. A few weeks later I wrote another article about "crafts for Kids". I heard nothing back from them, yet that, too, appeared in the paper. …

Should I Send This Person A Copy Of My Driver’s License And Social Security Card?

I'm so thankful for your website and newsletter. I'm a beginning writer and have just received my first contract to ghostwrite for a website from a job listed in your newsletter and I'm so excited. But I'm uncomfortable with their request for me to send a copy of my driver's license and social security card. …

How To Submit Clips

I was wondering if you might address the proper protocol for submitting clips to editors. I am a new writer (just two published, paid articles) and I am not sure about the proper format for sending clips. I do not want to commit any copyright violations. When editors request clips, should I send my original Word document with the name of the magazine, when it appeared and contact info, or should I scan the article directly from the magazine and send a copy of that file? …

Small Claims or Police for Bad Checks?

Thanks for the great advice on collecting after getting bad checks. I'm working on a huge one ($1000+) and have just one question. The collection agency - who failed in their attempt to collect the debt - suggested filing in small claims court of the debtor's county (suburban Chicago while I'm in Atlanta). Have you ever had to resort to contacting the local police as you threatened in your note? Has it worked? Is that better than pursuing a small claim in the county? …

Yet Another Tale Of A Website Stealing Content From Another…

I have a website that I run. I once discovered that someone had reposted some of the Q&A from that site into their blog. Would that still be considered unauthorized use of work? If so, what should I do about it? …

How To Tell If A Check Is Bad?

Just read your story about the dangerous scam (targeting an author), and I am sure glad she was smart enough to see all the red flags. …

Writer Is A Flake

Once again I turn to you for advice, but this time it's about a writer I hired to help me with a big project. This is the third year I have done this big project for a client and the third time this guy has helped me. No written contract, but I thought he knew the drill. But no. …

Website Posted My Article Without Permission Or Payment

I googled myself the other day and discovered that a website posted my article on their website without my knowledge or consent. I contacted the (print) magazine I had written the article for and they have no knowledge of the website and are not affiliated with them. Should I send the website an email or a certified snail mail asking them for payment? And in what amount? …

Watch Out for Fake Book Reviewers

Watch Out for Fake Book Reviewers

Can you please tell me or point me in the right directions to find "reputable" book reviewers? I have come across a couple and they don't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. I think they are looking for free books. …

Consult With An Attorney Before Writing This Type Of Book

Hi Angela, I'm in the process of writing a non-fiction book that will also contain some very critical evaluations and personal stories. I've changed the names of the people in the stories (or not mentioned their name at all), but to people who know them, they're still recognizable. Many of the stories are anything but flattering, so getting permission from them is completely out of the question. …

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