What is Booklocker.com All About?
Booklocker.com, Inc. is the parent company of the Booklocker.com and WritersWeekly.com web sites. Booklocker.com is our online bookstore and WritersWeekly.com is our resource center for helping writers make money online through self-publishing."We have developed low-cost, author-friendly products, services and programs that help authors publish their own works. Our offerings work best with entrepreneurial authors - authors who actively market their books and want to be involved in the entire process. Our goal is to provide the tools and the knowledge to help them successfully sell their books."
Independent Success! Breakthroughs in Publishing
Angela Hoy: One Hot Publishing Mama!How did Angela Hoy go from unemployed, recently divorced mother of three to successful e-publishing titan? E-Marketing magic! Both Booklocker.com and writersweekly.com are successful, writer friendly and show no signs of stopping. In an office she shares with her new husband, Angela writes, publishes POD and e-novels and books and produces her free weekly and subscriber only monthly newsletters. She partnered with e-publishing pioneer MJ Rose on a successful paperback and has Dr. Sean's (Survivor I) first novel as just a one of the e-books and POD books driving her publishing empire on. How did she do it, where is she going and how is she going to get there? What advice does she have for e-publishing wannabes and what is the secret to her e-marketing success?
"The life I lead now is the one I have always dreamed about," said Angela Hoy from her corporation's home office on the Penobscot River. Spending her days surrounded by her doting husband and four children and rewriting the rules of the publishing industry, this one-woman dynamo is officially my publishing idol. Dare I? Shall I? Should I...harass one of the most prominent, savvy and busy publishing pioneers of our time into giving me an interview? Well, I haven't met many people who can make a statement like that and mean it. So, after hardly any begging at all, Angela graciously consented to my interrogation.
CR: Ok, spill it! How did you do it?
AH:In 1997, I launched WritersWeekly.com as a hobby to supplement my former print newsletter, The Write Markets Report. It quickly became bigger and more popular than the newsletter itself. As my circulation grew, so did my sales and my little hobby grew into a huge publishing company online. During that time, I divorced and then remarried. My new husband, Richard, now works at home with me running everything. About three years ago, we purchased Booklocker.com, Inc. as a tool to help authors publish their own trade paperbacks at an affordable price ($199).
CR: How did you know you were a writer?
AH:I knew I wanted to be a writer in the 10th grade. My English teacher, Mrs. Martin, gave me an A+ on a book report I'd written...about a book I'd never read. She wrote, "Good B.S." at the top of it. At that moment, I thought maybe I had some real talent and that it wasn't just the relatives saying things to make me feel good about my writing. But, I went on to get pregnant before graduating from college so I never did get to graduate. I was a TV reporter (I hated being in front of a camera), became a bookkeeper, typed student term papers at night for extra money, and even raised bonsai trees (they kept dying on me, so that wasn't very successful). One day, I wrote an article about a sailing trip we'd taken and a magazine bought it and published it along with a picture of me. I was hooked and I've been hooked ever since.
CR: What was your inspiration for branching into your own publishing empire?
AH: Everything that has happened has been due to a tremendous amount of luck and a lot of blessings. I was one of the first authors ever to create an ebook. I didn't even have a name for it back then. I was just selling a word processing electronic file of one of my books (that I'd self-published myself by having it printed and saddle-stiched/stapled at Kinkos). Sales increased every day and nobody was more surprised than me by its success. When I started working on the site full-time, it really took off. The owner of Booklocker.com then approached us, offering it to us for not much money at all, and we grabbed it. It already had a stellar reputation and was well known online.
CR: Could you give us an overview of your business ventures and their urls?
AH: www.writersweekly.com - the site for freelance writers. We send out new job listings and paying markets to 64,000 writers every Wednesday via email. And, it's free.
http://www.booklocker.com - This is our ebook and print on demand company. Click on "Authors Click Here" on the homepage. There, authors can get their book published as a glossy, color cover, trade paperback for $199 setup fee.
CR: You are one of the fiercest advocates of writer's rights and admonish your readers to never write for free. What do you see as some of the worst violations of writer's rights currently and what do you think the publishing world needs to do about it?
AH:One disturbing trend is that some small websites and publishers think that it is okay to not pay their bills. We're quickly showing writers who they are by publishing complaints at: http://www.writersweekly.com/warnings/warnings.html But the one topic that really gets my blood pumping is when anybody -- publisher, editor, website owner or even small business owner -- thinks that writers are just hobbyists and that they should work for free, or for "exposure." If all writers just refuse to ever write for free and fall for that old scam line of getting "exposure" by giving away your work, then everybody would stop expecting us to write for free.
CR: Could you tell us about your special brand of marketing and why it has worked so well for you?
AH:Again, it was an accident. One day I wrote a missive about one of my children. It was completely out of place with my editorial theme, but I just felt a need to share a funny story with my readers. The email response was overwhelming. Apparently I'd really hit a humorous note with my readers. So, I did it again the following week, and again and again. I then started a new column devoted entirely to what's going on at home, where I work. It's called "News from the Home Office". We recently ran a survey and discovered that that is the most popular column in WritersWeekly.com. I guess I have a knack for turning mundane family problems (trips to the emergency room, cats stuck under the house, Frank trying to teach the baby how to potty in the "big boy toilet") into something that all my readers can relate to. This personal touch gives everyone a glimpse into my house and office and makes everyone feel connected to our family in a personal way. One man wrote in to say that he stopped writing two years ago but is still a subscriber because he wants to keep tabs on who does what in the Hoy Household each week. And, I answer my emails personally. If somebody writes to me asking for advice, I answer them myself.
CR: What are the top five things authors can do today to further their success?
AH: 1. START AN EZINE. This is by far the key to our success. If we didn't send out a weekly newsletter, our website would be dead. You have to have a list of "fans" and you must have a way to reach them on a scheduled basis. Otherwise, they forget about you.
2. MARKETING MARKETING MARKETING. Have a marketing plan for your book and stick to it. If you think your publisher is going to invest thousands in marketing your book, dream on.
3. DON'T WAIT FOR A TRADITIONAL CONTRACT. If you've been trying to get an agent or a publisher for more than a few months, consider self-publishing through POD and ebooks.
4. BUILD A SMALL WEBSITE. You maintain control of your customer list, thus ensuring that you stay in control in the future. Build an online business out of your line of books.
5. WRITE MULTIPLE BOOKS IN THE SAME GENRE AND TARGETING THE SAME AUDIENCE. Then, you can sell direct to your existing list of customers over and over again.
CR: What are your future plans for your enterprises?
AH:We're currently building out the marketing area of our website. This is where authors under contract with Booklocker.com can login and get free marketing advice and resources to help them sell their books. Let's face it, authors can write, but most of them don't know much about marketing and selling books. That's where we come in. We KNOW how to sell books and are very happy to help our authors learn our simple techniques. I also have three books under way right now: a book on online book marketing, my memoirs and The Emergency Divorce Handbook for Women.
CR: What is the secret to your success?
AH:My secret is my personal relationship with readers. The smartest business move I ever made was to agree to write a book with MJ Rose, How to Publish and Promote Online. She's now my close, personal friend and we have many ventures in the works. She's an awesome woman, an incredible friend and I love her dearly.
Enjoying life, fulfilling dreams, developing relationships and breaking boundaries. Angela Hoy is a pioneer, an entrepreneur and an Independent Success!