Letters To The Editor For May 30th

Authors Who Avoid Traditional Publishers


I wanted to thank you for publishing your articles about traditional vs. self-publishing. Frankly, I never did like the traditional publisher. I tried that one time years ago, and was so frustrated because of the lack of attention and lousy editing that I decided to take it to a Print on Demand (POD). That was when I dealt with 1st Books (which is now AuthorHouse.com). I will never deal with AuthorHouse again. They are way too expensive. You guys are the one for me and always will be.

I am a loyal and devoted fan and author to you guys and will be till the day I die.

Harry Husted


Thanks for confirming that the route I am going is the way to go. This year, I made the decision to print and bind my own homeschool guides and Bible studies for women’s groups. I have been making sales and gaining opportunities to speak, etc. Your article gave me quite a boost.

Sherri Johnson

Signing Back-Dated Non-Compete?!


I always stop everything to read your newsletter – at least when I’m home – and saw your comment in the article “Editors Wants Me to Sign a Backdated, Two-Year Non-Compete!” I agree completely with your comment that being asked to back-date anything is illegal, but I also wanted to comment on a Non-Compete for a writer. I’m both a consultant and writer, and there is no way I would sign a non-compete with anyone, simply because the non-compete would make it impossible for me to do any business at all. Since I am both a journalist and freelance writer for marketing collateral and PR in a specific industry, I make it a practice not to write for direct competitors at the same time. I also am scrupulous in my discretion, never even hinting at what my clients are doing in any way – discretion is the better part of valor in this case!

Like an attorney, I need to have the flexibility of practicing my profession – and put food on the table and a roof over my head. A non-compete would eliminate that possibility. I do agree that an NDA – non-disclosure agreement – is appropriate in some cases; for example, when I’m preparing marketing materials for a new product launch or when previewing products that have not yet been released.

Gail Nickel-Kailing
Business Strategies Etc.


Sorry to take issue with your response to the reader who wanted to know more about non-compete agreements.

I sign MANY non-compete agreements. They’re essential if you’re going to work with anyone whose business model is premised on thought leadership in a particular issue.

Instead of throwing out an uncompromising “no”, how about turning this into a win/win? A writer needs to learn how to negotiate a FEE for the privilege. Yes, I’ll sign a non-compete agreement. But my counterparty needs to recognize that I also make my money by gathering and then exploiting expertise in a given area. By restricting myself, I lose income. So yes, I will signbut I want compensation.

So we both win. The client gets the exclusivity they want; I get compensated for lost opportunities.

Depending on the length of such assignments and the length of the non-compete requests I’ve negotiated non-compete fees ranging from $1,500 to $8,000.

I’ve also negotiated clauses that would allow me to write on a given subject provided I use the client as a significant source. Some might say that smacks of impropriety, but I disagree completely. If a person is an expert in a given area that I happen to be writing about – I’d interview them any day. Also, I retain the right to compare and contrast their views with the views of others. I merely agree to including them in the piece; I do not guarantee I’ll position them as the end-all and be-all on the subject.

Just my two cents


Do You Owe Writers Money? by “In-Debt Chet”


Thank you for saying your piece regarding those who owe writers money and about debtors in general. I commend you on your integrity, pragmatism, honesty and common sense. You are definitely a good guy. Like you, I never cease to be amazed by those who are in financial arrears but think they deserve toys, treats and pampering instead of applying the cost of those things toward reducing their debt. What happened to honoring one’s word and obligations, I wonder?

I am in total agreement with everything you had to say. As the victim of a publisher (and I use the term loosely) who continued to hire a new stable of unsuspecting writers and editors each time the previous batch figured out they wouldn’t be paid, I especially appreciated your admonition to deadbeat employers. I will say that being stiffed on that one occasion made me much smarter in many ways, so the experience was not totally without benefit. It was a tough lesson to learn, nonetheless.

Again, I appreciate your sage views on this subject. Thanks to you (and to Angela Hoy) for putting them online for many to see and, with any luck, heed.

Best regards,


Hi Angela,

Just got through reading yet another horrific chain of emails and information in Whispers & Warnings, this time about Airleaf Publishing. I found myself getting emails from them about a month or so ago–no idea where they came from, figured I signed up somewhere–but all of a sudden, it makes sense. They’re just Spamheads. They got my email somewhere. And now I’m on their list. *sigh*

If nobody’s done so lately, thank you for all your hard work–on the newsletter, on your advocacy work, on… on… everything! 🙂



From the Spring ’07 24-Hour Short Story Contest 1st Place Winner

Hi Angela,

Winning first place was a great honor for me. I had previously won an honorable mention for a short story in another contest, but receiving first prize right now is allowing me to ride the crest of a pleasant wave!

Participating in word-restricted contests has been a valuable lesson in discipline, and I intend to continue submitting my short stories.

I am a retired RN who has written many, many short stories over the years. My first full-length novel (130,000 words) was completed last year, and I recently completed my second (80,000 words),

Thanks for the opportunity to be part of something that is fun and stimulating. I’m signed up for the summer contest.

Jeanne Oravec