It’s no secret the self-publishing industry is changing the face of the traditional “gate-keeping” print industry of the past. Today, Angela Hoy talks to us about her work with Booklocker, one of the premier print-on-demand publishers in the market today. Angela, who also publishes the free marketing emag Writersweekly.com, has quite a bit to say about writing for “free” as well as the biggest mistakes some writers make when they approach her with a pitch. If you’re interested in the publishing industry of the future, check out her site, Booklocker, here!
What qualities do you look for and admire in someone you hire to write, edit, or update a book?
We look for authors who consider their writing business a full-time job with regards to not only writing but also to marketing their own work.
What mistakes do new freelancers make in how they approach you and what do the good ones do right?
The most common mistake we see are book proposals and manuscripts laden with misspelled words and grammatical and punctuation errors. I also shudder when anyone sends me a book proposal addressed to “Dear Sir.” Prima-donnas and narcissists are another turn-off. Any author who approaches us demanding special attention, and claiming they deserve to be moved to the head of the line will get rejected. We’re all one big family and we treat all authors with equal respect and attention.
Based on what delights you and what irks you, what honest and unvarnished advice would you give to an aspiring freelancer who wanted to become a successful travel book or guidebook writer? (Besides, “Don’t do it.”)
It is imperative that authors have a specific market in mind before they begin to even outline their book. Most authors now seem to come up with a book idea, write the book, and then try to figure out the market they’re going to sell to. Having a firm market in mind first, before the writing process, will make the book far more marketable in the end. Also, don’t hire just any editor who puts up their shingle on the Internet. There are many so-called editors online that are anything but. We receive emails almost daily now from authors who hired inexperience editors who then ruined their manuscripts. You should also not hire a publisher to edit your book because many POD publishers now claim ownership of an author’s edited files (the files the author PAID the publisher to edit!).
You and I have had a lot of back and forth about how the “writing for free” debate has changed in the digital age when inbound links are currency and many people blog to support a business or personal brand—not with any expectation of earning money for the actual writing. How do you think a freelance writer who also runs a profitable blog (or is publicizing a book) can separate the worthwhile publicity opportunities that could promote their book or blog from the scammers that just want to take advantage of people?
If you are writing for free, you are giving the publication payment in the form of your time. That’s the opposite of how it’s supposed to work. Publications are supposed to pay for content because content generates readers and readers generate advertising income.
I don’t write original content for free for anyone – period. However, I do allow some publications to reprint my articles, depending on their audience and if I think that audience may be interested in my publications and books. If they want original content, they have to pay for it, regardless of their audience.
You were a pioneer in the Print on Demand industry, but now a zillion competitors have come out of the woodwork. What kinds of red flags should an author be looking for when comparing different POD publishers?
We’ve published a very popular “POD Secrets Revealed” series that gives authors lots of red flags to watch out for. There are countless snakes in the industry and it’s very easy to fall for their marketing ploys. I also recommend attorney Mark Levine’s book, THE FINE PRINT of Self Publishing. In it, he compares the services and contracts of several POD publishers.
Angela Hoy is the co-owner and publisher of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker.com. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing emag for writers that features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. WritersWeekly is also a paying market for writers. BookLocker.com is a professional and affordable print on demand (POD) and ebook publisher. “As close to perfection as you’re going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing,” wrote Mark Levine, Attorney and Author of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. Levine adds, “”Booklocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can’t go wrong here.”
Interview conducted in March, 2012 by Tim Leffel (who has published with Booklocker) and edited by Kristin Mock.