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Rizzo
06-20-2008, 08:28 PM
Hey I found this website where they print and ship your manuscripts for you, has anyone tried it? Because I'm considering signing up so I don't have to borrow my brother's printer anymore.

http://www.wordhustler.com/

Josie
06-20-2008, 11:24 PM
Hey that Word Hustler is interesting.

I've never heard of them, but hopefully someone will be on here to tell us about it, like a "voice of experience" :)

Cheers, Josie

Rizzo
06-20-2008, 11:51 PM
I'll sign up anyway then if no one else has just to see for myself, if all goes well I'll let you all know :)

Josie
06-21-2008, 12:12 AM
Rizzo:

All right. I'd love to hear what they're all about.

Their markets look like they are only for U.S. citizens but that could only be a few examples.

I'm editing my latest novel, so not quite ready. Maybe I can join up anyway.

Keep in touch.

Josie

Rizzo
06-21-2008, 01:45 AM
Actually I'm kind of embarrassed to say this but i thought that too so I e-mailed one of the owners and asked if I could join if I was canadian. She replied and said yup just click the 'Not In The US' button. I was so embarrassed because I didn't even see it >.< But I'm in now and still looking around and enjoying myself. According to the thingy I get to send one out for free so I'm trying to decide which manuscript I'll send and where I'll send it to :)

Gillhoughly
06-21-2008, 01:45 AM
I saved my last book on a memory stick and took it down to a copy place. They printed it in just a few minutes for the standard 1-sided, white paper price. It was a lot cheaper than .10 a page.

I flipped through it page by page to make sure none were accidently left out (it happens), then slapped on the postage I bought on-line from the USPS, and dropped it in the mail.

On the website I did not see prices listed for shipping charges, tax, and all those other little details that can get tacked on when you're not looking. Maybe they offer a "freebie," but assume there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Somewhere money will come out of your pocket for any service. (Of course writers are all filthy rich, so that makes this okay.)

If you're serious about being a pro novelist, learn to do your own grunt work like cover letters, a synopsis, outlines, and knowing what publisher/agent to sub to. It will save you money in the long haul and you can speak with authority on "how to" panels.

The money flows TO the writer.

Josie
06-21-2008, 02:18 AM
I knew you would say that, Gillhoughly.

I've been waiting for you :D

You are so right. I've been doing my own grunt work all the time,
and can't say I want to change that. Just curious.

Although, I think at the printer down the street here it's .05 cents per word.
Still I would be doing my own mailing out.
Rizzo: Maybe you could find a printer like that in your area :)

Thanks for coming in to tell us, Gillhoughly :)

Cheers, Josie

Gillhoughly
06-21-2008, 04:37 AM
I've been waiting for you :D

You guys are scaring me!!

Josie
06-21-2008, 05:15 AM
LOL

Oops, just noticed I said $.05 per "word"

It was meant to say $.05 per page.

:)

Gillhoughly
06-21-2008, 07:45 AM
Word Hustler 400p novel x .10p = 40.00 + any fees, taxes, handling etc.

Copy shop 400p novel x .05p = 20.00 + sales tax.

Word Hustler mails it: ??? They don't mention that price. Figure 10-15.00, minimum.

You mail it: USPS Click N Ship flat rate box 9.50 with free delivery confirmation when you buy on line. The flat rate boxes are FREE at the post office.

Them, about 50-65.00, maybe more.

You, about 30.-35.00, maybe less.

What if they print out a fresh copy EVERY time they send something? Ker-ching-ker-ching-ker-ching!--for them.

Be aware of their sales pitch ego-buttons:

"You’re a Writer, not a Secretary"
(Clearly you're too important for this lowly work. Attn. secretaries--they're dissin' you here!)

"One Click To Destiny"
(Gosh, how did PubliSHAMerica miss this one? Using this service will get you published! And here I thought writing well was the key.)

"Priceless info for free!"
(What, all the search engines are off-line???)


While this service might be cost-effective to an international jet-setting magazine writer who tribs regularly to the top paying markets, (they have something about this mythical person on one of the pages) it is sucky to the average in-the-trenches scribbler.

Oh--that mythical jet-setter? Their attractive dream scenario is 30 years out of date. (It's dead, Jim, you get the article, and I'll grab the typewriter!)

Be assured that writer now e-mails her copy directly to the magazine editor who contracted for it months earlier. She has no need for WordHustler!

Yes, they've a testimonial from a scriptwriter. I'm happy for them, but he literally CAN afford this kind of thing. His time IS better spent writing, 'cause he's making a lot more money than we are, making it cost-effective.

They have 3000+ markets to shop your stuff. But what if they send your space opera to a cookbook editor? Or to a house on your wishlist that does not look at unsolicited subs? Too many things can go wrong here--and YOU will get the blame, not this service. Editors tend to remember the really amusing mistakes, sharing war stories at the bar.

And I am NOT saying they are dishonest, but there is an opportunity for abuse here should they send stuff off to the wrong places more often than not, then stick you with the bill for services.

You need know where your work goes, not trust some stranger to get it right. Anyone can easily find the name of the appropriate editor by writing to the house website or checking the inside page of a magazine.

And *I'm* not keen to use something with a name so similar to that of a sleazy skin magazine.
.

Rizzo
06-21-2008, 08:57 AM
Wow, you're really into the better safe than sorry thing huh? :) Not that I blame you, I'm a little iffy about the fact that someone else will be shipping my stuff out and I can't go through the printed version page by page to make sure there's no error, as for shipping, I didn't even think of that. I'll have to go back and check, but if that turns out to not be a problem then I might give them a chance for some of my children's books, and I only have about two of those. If it is or I can't find any shipping charges then I'm not going to take the risk and just go back to borrowing my brother's printer.

The publish America reference scared the crap out of me (but then I laughed when I saw sham), and I haven't uploaded anything yet because I'm a chicken, so now I'm thinking of just steering clear altogether.

Hey Josie, I wish I had a place that printed my stuff for that cheap in town. Fort Erie isn't exactly small but the best thing it has in town is a Wall-Mart, and because I don't have a printer because stupid UPS sucks I'm forced to either borrow my brother's or go to the library where they charge $0.30 per page.

I wish I just lived in New York or something where I could go door to door with my manuscripts, but because of cost of living I think I'd have to rent a box under a bridge -_-

Josie
06-21-2008, 10:12 AM
Sorry, Rizzo.

I know it's disappointing. You were probably half hoping this Word Hustler company was going to be a good lead. Then we come along and burst your bubble.
It's tough being a writer...do what you think is best...
realism is if it sounds too good to be true... it probably isn't true...
of course go ahead and check Word Hustler out (cautiously)

Keep your chin up kiddo...

Try to keep us posted...there aren't any "I told you so" people here.

Good luck.

P.S. Again, thanks Gillhoughly :)

Cheers Josie :)

job
06-21-2008, 10:17 AM
Only thing I'd add. I would advise against using USPS if it is important that the package arrive on time. For reliability, use a private service like DHL, UPS and FedEX.

My last brush with USPS -- a week ago -- was a first class envelope that took nine days to get from Virginia to my agent in New York.
Pfui

Gillhoughly
06-21-2008, 09:05 PM
Rizzo--this place is SO not for you. They're not going to give you an edge.

So they have an endorsement from a script writer, but you've no reason to trust their word that it's real. Suppose they made that up? And even if it is true, who says he knows squat about submissions? I look askance at that endorsement because the scriptwriters *I* know--and I'm one of them!--ALL have AGENTS submitting for them. I've yet to sell anything, but always send scripts to my guy via e-mail. Most do that now.

So W.H. charges you 7.99 for 30 pages--a typical sample chapter. They do not mention if that includes shipping or not, and I think not.

It will cost do-it-yourself you a whole 1.50 + tax to copy 30 pages and another 2.02 to mail them. You've spent 3.52.

Suppose they tack on another 5.00 or more for your cover letter? I think they could do that. They're into making money, after all, not selling your books. They are a "middleman."

Middlemen are notorious for hiking a price up so they make money for little effort. It's what they do.

Just so you know, as an editor I rarely read a cover letter and just go to the MS. There has yet to be a cover letter, however well written, that would compel me to buy a stinky MS.

So 3.52 vs. 7.99 (+ hidden fees) is a no-brainer.

It may not seem like much, but suppose you have to submit to 10 houses (35.20 vs 79.90+) or 20 (70.40 vs. 159.80+) before you sell?

That difference comes out of your pocket and into theirs. And you still don't know if they're doing it right! They have every reason to do it wrong so you keep coming back (hopes high!), for another round.

What if the assistant editor (the poor cluck who has to read the slush) has already had dozens of pieces of crap submitted with WordHustler's return address on the envelope? She's not going to be cheerfully disposed toward opening another.

Does the editor send the rejected pages back to WordHustler or to you? If to W.H. then you might not see any important editorial notation on the pages. It was a minor note like that from an editor that got me to rewrite my 1st chapter just ONE more time. The next time out it sold.

Will W.H. charge you extra to slap on return shipping? Will that return be 2.02 or 7.99? (What's better for them?)

So save your money and walk away. Printing and mailing and doing a simple cover letter with a SASE is NOT rocket science. People have been doing it for years.

WordHustler--and I do NOT like the negative connotation of hustler in any way--saw a means to skim money from the inexperienced and like any bottomfeeder, slipped into the eco-niche.

Don't get sucked in.

Rizzo
06-22-2008, 12:04 AM
Okay, I'll steer clear :) this is pretty much why I started this thread so if there is even one person willing to write responses that long against it then I'll keep doing it the way I've been doing it.

On a lighter note, mentioning cover letters makes me feel a whole lot better because, while I try my hardest to make them look good, I still suck a writing them. So while I will still do my best to write them at least now I know that it won't necessarily break me if I was unable to make it even more spectacularly perfect then it could have been.

Fear not, I'll forget I ever even saw Word Hustler :)

Gillhoughly
06-22-2008, 12:35 AM
(To be found under a standard business letter heading)

Dear Editor, (Get her name, spell it right)

For your consideration here is the synopsis and sample chapters of my 90K-word novel "Hearts and Flowers." I hope you enjoy it.

Enclosed please find a SASE for return and a SASPostcard so I know this submission arrived.

Thank you for your time,

___ ____



I used a different title and was able to list my modest sales to a small magazine, but that's the cover letter I used, typed out on a K-Mart portable.

Rizzo
06-22-2008, 01:37 AM
wow, mine all look really cluttered now compared to that. Hey I have a quick question, if I don't have any sales anywhere should I mention that in the letter or simply leave it out?

Thanks :)

Gillhoughly
06-22-2008, 02:57 AM
Leave it out. No need to flout it. I can assume you're unsold unless you say otherwise. If you won a major contest sponsored by RWA or something similar, leave that in. If Miss Welsh gave you an A+++ on your senior year English essay, for gosh sakes, leave it out.

E-pubs, PODs, anything that didn't give you a check up front--including PA's stupid-arse, pathetic one-dollar advance--stays off the resume.

Always go for the KISS.

Keep It Simple, Sweetie.

Make sure you proof your contact info. One of my pals got her own phone number wrong.

Cathy C
06-22-2008, 04:22 AM
Naturally, everything Gillhoughly says is pure gold. As usual! :D

Hey Josie, I wish I had a place that printed my stuff for that cheap in town. Fort Erie isn't exactly small but the best thing it has in town is a Wall-Mart, and because I don't have a printer because stupid UPS sucks I'm forced to either borrow my brother's or go to the library where they charge $0.30 per page.


I have this same problem, as I'm in a town of 5K with exactly ZERO public copiers in town. The nearest town with a commercial sized copier is 70+ miles one way. With gas prices, that's a pretty hefty investment.

BUT!!

I discovered a way around this. After all, this is the age of the internet. I looked in the handy-dandy yellow pages of the phone directory for the nearest big town and found "Printers/Print Shops." A couple of quick calls was all it took to discover that a REAL print shop (not a Kinkos or such) was more than happy to accept a PDF by email, print out the number of copies I wanted (at about .03 per page) and ship it to me, or hold it until the next time I was in that town. See, local print shops are used to working with busy business owners who don't have time to mess with business cards, flyers and the like. A manuscript was a piece of cake for them, and we've developed a terrific relationship where they print my posters, my book plates and other things at the same price as the web services (with no shipping costs!)

Look around. I'll bet you'll be surprised how easy it is. :)

JohnAtWordHustler
06-22-2008, 08:09 AM
Hey Guys,

A friend of ours forwarded us this thread and we wanted to drop you all a line to clear up any confusion and answer any questions you may have about WordHustler. From this thread it's pretty clear that there are a lot of misconceptions about WordHustler, which is a bummer because we designed our service to be as simple and straightforward as possible.

First of all, Anne and I are both writers. We know how many predatory writing services and websites there are out there, like the kind the good folks at Preditors and Editors battle, as do you Absolute Writers. WordHustler is not one of those sites. There are no hidden fees, no secret cost traps. Everything is exactly the way we present it: we only charge for printing. Shipping is 100% FREE. SASEs are 100% FREE. Membership is 100% FREE. Our database is 100% FREE. In fact, because we are a printing service, we enjoy a special tax status that exempts us from charging tax to our clients. The only two options that cost are Reply Cards, which are $1.29 each and VirtualOffice (if you want WordHustler to receive your SASE and update your account for you), which is $1.99/per project. But these are both OPTIONAL. If you want to send out a ten-page article/short story/poetry submission, it costs $4.99. That's it. Nothing more. $4.99.

We certainly understand the need to be cautious, especially as we're writers ourselves. However, it was disheartening to learn that people are making false accusations about a company that we literally have shed blood, sweat, and tears to create so that finally writers all over the world can enjoy something we've wished existed for years. Anne and I use WordHustler for our own projects quite frequently. Regarding our prices, consider this: even if you are able to find a service that allows you to print high-quality copies for $.05 cents a page, you'd still have to cover shipping costs and stand in line at the Post Office. Simply printing and shipping your manuscript is half the battle. WordHustler helps you track your manuscripts once they are out. We understand the desire to be do-it-yourselfers (as we were for years), but the most important thing WordHustler saves you is time. Time you can spend WRITING. And this is not a "sales pitch ego-button." It's a fact.

Gillhoughly: Quite frankly we're bewildered by your criticisms. Your comment about our name was completely tasteless. Your mean-spirited accusations about us sending things to the wrong place are unfounded. Obviously accuracy is our number one concern and if we shipped the wrong things to the wrong people, we wouldn't be in business very long. And we intend to be helping writers for many years to come. If this is a service you don't have a personal need for, that's one thing. But please don't slander our company in a public forum. It's not helpful to other writers; it's just closed-minded and uninformed.

We are more than open to addressing any further questions and concerns. Don't be afraid to ask--- we take the opinions of our fellow writers very seriously, as you can probably tell. You can write us back here or email us directly: John- JSingleton@wordhustler.com or Anne- Awalls@wordhustler.com.

We really do want WordHustler to be a site that helps writers everywhere. It's not too good to be true. It's just true.

All Best,
John L. Singleton
WordHustler Co-Founder/Chief Architect
jsingleton@wordhustler.com

job
06-22-2008, 09:10 PM
they print my posters, my book plates ...

Tell me about book plates.

I was thinking of taking some bookplates to National to give to anyone who was getting Book Two signed and who already had Book One, but unsigned.

I've tried printing bookplates out on Avery labels, but the quality was poor.

JoB

Deb Kinnard
06-22-2008, 09:23 PM
JoB, have you tried Earthly Charms? They're said to be high quality, reasonably priced, and speedy.

job
06-22-2008, 09:48 PM
JoB, have you tried Earthly Charms? They're said to be high quality, reasonably priced, and speedy.

A minimum order for full color book plates seems to be $510 for 1000 bookplates. This is probably a good deal for those who need LOTS of bookplates.

I'm thinking (cough) a much smaller scale here.

Gillhoughly
06-22-2008, 10:14 PM
Welcome JohnAtWordHustler.

I acknowledge that I'm frequently close-minded, mean-spirited, and uninformed. (Just ask the moderator here, Cathy C. She's met me and lived to tell the tale.) I also yell a lot and my taste is in my mouth, and that's when I'm sober. You hit the nail on the head about my character, guilty as charged; I am a tool.

But the fact is that writing neos get sucked in daily by the less-than-honest businesses, thinking their services will give them an edge on getting published. Granted, I approached your website with a clearly biased eye, but I've not changed my mind about it being useful to Rizzo here.

For an established, money-making, high-output, glued to the keyboard pro whose time is better spent writing than printing/mailing, you're the cat's pajamas, no argument.

Ditto for the writer who has to send the same document in hard copy to several different destinations. You were made for each other.

Ditto for any keyboard jockey who doesn't want to bother with that side of things and has the money to spend.

Ditto for someone living outside the US who has no agent and wants to submit to US publishers--you're perfect for them.

For the US-based neo who needs to learn to navigate the market and learn the scut work on her own, the writer who has a single submission and little money to spare, I can't recommend you.

Rizzo wanted an opinion and got it from the pros who lurk on this board. I've been at this for 20 years, and it's still less costly for me to go to a local printer and ship it myself. For me it's also a good-luck, bon voyage ritual when I put that book in the mail and leap into a (mercifully short) victory jig.

I stand corrected on the "hidden fees" like shipping costs, but it's not clear on your site that they're not part of the deal. Many scammers trade on leaving out information, counting on the fact that most people don't know enough to ask the right questions. A refurb on your site to distance yourself from the bad-uns is something to consider.

The catch-phrases I cited, like "One Click to Destiny" etc. have been employed by scammers to rope in the gullible, so my alarms went off. To me it implied that using your service will get a writer into print. Perhaps that wasn't your intent, but suspicious minds will conclude the worst, so I did.

Nor can I find information on how returns from publishers are handled. Are returned MS--possibly with important editorial comments scribbled across the top--sent to the writer or do you request the editor recycle the pages? Is return postage included in the price?

Your Reply Cards are 1.29.
My SASPostcards are .27.

even if you are able to find a service that allows you to print high-quality copies for $.05 cents a page, you'd still have to cover shipping costs and stand in line at the Post Office.

As stated in my other posts, I have a high-speed service, picking the MS up as part of my usual errand to the office supply. I bought a flat-rate shipping label online from the USPS, had a free USPS-supplied box (I snagged up several on my last trip to the Post Office, but you can order them delivered for free), and free carrier pickup from my home.

The cost for my 400p. MS was about 30.00 with postage, tax, and gas. Your cost would have been about 40.00.

(My cost for 30 pages--which I can and do print at home--is always going to be less than yours. If there are numbers to be crunched on this issue I've gone over them with a steamroller 'til the screaming stopped.)

I do not begrudge your right to turn a profit, and your prices are wholly reasonable to someone who makes more than I do and has no time to do this work, but the 10 bucks I saved found a home elsewhere in my budget.

I stand by my opinion that your example of the jet-setting writer sending in copy through a third party is decidedly out-of-date. More and more editors are relying on email; it's just faster.

I'm busy editing yet another anthology, and all the writers--several are NYT bestsellers--are emailing their stuff to me at my request.

If a client insists on sending something to a house that does not accept unsolicited MS do you still send it or explain that they're off-target? A client might think your service acts like a literary agent, bypassing the screening process. I've seen newbies making all kinds of assumptions in their hope to get into print.

That stated, I've raised some reasonable questions that should be addressed on the website so that snarling, suspicious curmudgeons like myself have no cause to raise a skeptical eyebrow.
.

Cathy C
06-23-2008, 12:13 AM
Hey Guys,

A friend of ours forwarded us this thread and we wanted to drop you all a line to clear up any confusion and answer any questions you may have about WordHustler. From this thread it's pretty clear that there are a lot of misconceptions about WordHustler, which is a bummer because we designed our service to be as simple and straightforward as possible.

Hi, John! Certainly, we like to provide every opportunity for a company to explain themselves, so you're welcome to participate in this discussion.

]First of all, Anne and I are both writers. We know how many predatory writing services and websites there are out there, like the kind the good folks at Preditors and Editors battle, as do you Absolute Writers. WordHustler is not one of those sites. There are no hidden fees, no secret cost traps. Everything is exactly the way we present it: we only charge for printing. Shipping is 100% FREE. SASEs are 100% FREE. Membership is 100% FREE. Our database is 100% FREE. In fact, because we are a printing service, we enjoy a special tax status that exempts us from charging tax to our clients. The only two options that cost are Reply Cards, which are $1.29 each and VirtualOffice (if you want WordHustler to receive your SASE and update your account for you), which is $1.99/per project. But these are both OPTIONAL. If you want to send out a ten-page article/short story/poetry submission, it costs $4.99. That's it. Nothing more. $4.99.

I admire your enthusiasm, but I personally cannot believe there is a way that you can sustain a business model like this. That's where I have to agree with Gillhoughly, because I would fear for potential clients of yours. Granted, you might both be completely pure-hearted patrons of the arts and want nothing more than to pour your energy and a portion of your life savings into this business. There's a surprising number of people who want to do this (otherwise,
neither I nor Gillhoughly would be here trying to help out people. :D ) But here are the problems I see with the model. Perhaps you can shed some light onto how you plan to work around these issues:

1. Postage is postage. Someone has to pay it. All I can imagine is that either (a) you're not actually mailing the item and, instead are sending it by email; or (b) you're losing money on every project. If author A has two 30 page submissions and they want to send each to five agents, that's 300 sheets of paper, the equivalent ink and postage of around $100 (I know, because I do it all the time with short stories.) See, manuscripts aren't allowed to go Media Mail. They have to go first class (or, more likely Priority or parcel post, since it would be too heavy for first class) And yet, you're charging only $79.99. I can only come to the conclusion that you're playing fast and loose with postal regulations or some other aspect isn't being done up to par. I would like to believe otherwise, though, so I would appreciate an explanation how this can be done.

2. I'm concerned with the database you've constructed and how you plan to target the CORRECT agent for the genre and tone of the book. The only databases I know that's 3000+ agents are either Agentquery or WritersMarket, both of which are copyrighted to those companies. Charging a third party to utilize another company's database would be a violation of those terms and conditions. If you've actually created your OWN database, that's awesome, but how do you plan to differentiate a light, fluffy paranormal from a dark paranormal when targeting agents? They're two entirely different sets of agents. What about spec. fic. from cyberpunk? Or noir detective from amateur sleuth? These sort of things concern me, because "shotgunning" agents is seldom successful. Unless you're only sending to those agents selected specifically by the author---but that's not how your website reads.

3. Where are you getting the information about new markets? Industry magazines? If so, which ones? Again, places like Ralan.com, Duotrope and such are available to all, and places like SFWA or MWA or HWA's new market listings aren't supposed to be distributed to non-members. Do you have an industry source that you're pulling this information from?


We certainly understand the need to be cautious, especially as we're writers ourselves. However, it was disheartening to learn that people are making false accusations about a company that we literally have shed blood, sweat, and tears to create so that finally writers all over the world can enjoy something we've wished existed for years. Anne and I use WordHustler for our own projects quite frequently. Regarding our prices, consider this: even if you are able to find a service that allows you to print high-quality copies for $.05 cents a page, you'd still have to cover shipping costs and stand in line at the Post Office. Simply printing and shipping your manuscript is half the battle. WordHustler helps you track your manuscripts once they are out. We understand the desire to be do-it-yourselfers (as we were for years), but the most important thing WordHustler saves you is time. Time you can spend WRITING. And this is not a "sales pitch ego-button." It's a fact.

If the author doesn't stand in line, then YOU have to. There are no work-arounds for an over-13 oz. package. It has to be placed in an employee's hands at a USPS counter. That's okay at the beginning, but do you have the staff to handle three dozen, or five dozen, or two hundred packages when it's time to stand in line? I don't fear for this precise moment, but a month down the road when it's suddenly too much trouble. I've seen it happen far too often that the best of intentions becomes the bane of the author---AFTER they've dutifully paid their money. And authors who mail directly often want a delivery confirmation to ensure that the publisher/agent received it. What methods do you have in place to ensure this to the writer?

Gillhoughly: Quite frankly we're bewildered by your criticisms. Your comment about our name was completely tasteless. Your mean-spirited accusations about us sending things to the wrong place are unfounded. Obviously accuracy is our number one concern and if we shipped the wrong things to the wrong people, we wouldn't be in business very long. And we intend to be helping writers for many years to come. If this is a service you don't have a personal need for, that's one thing. But please don't slander our company in a public forum. It's not helpful to other writers; it's just closed-minded and uninformed.

Gillhoughly has substantial experience behind the words and admittedly, can be harsh when looking at new start-ups. But s/he hasn't slandered your company in any way. S/he was simply stating generalities about the practice of mailing services as a whole. In fact, she said:

And I am NOT saying they are dishonest, but there is an opportunity for abuse here should they send stuff off to the wrong places more often than not, then stick you with the bill for services.

There is opportunity for abuse the moment an author trusts the delivery of an important item to a third person. Agents have been sued for it. The post office gets claims for lost mail. What protection do you have in place to ensure the author that the service they'd paid for will, in fact, occur? That's the only question here.

We are more than open to addressing any further questions and concerns. Don't be afraid to ask--- we take the opinions of our fellow writers very seriously, as you can probably tell. You can write us back here or email us directly: John- JSingleton@wordhustler.com or Anne- Awalls@wordhustler.com.

We really do want WordHustler to be a site that helps writers everywhere. It's not too good to be true. It's just true.

All Best,
John L. Singleton
WordHustler Co-Founder/Chief Architect
jsingleton@wordhustler.com

I would personally love to endorse your company but, at the moment, I can't believe that what you claim you can do is possible. Make me believe it (and if you can make me believe it, Gillhoughly probably will too) and we'll shout your name from the highest rooftops. :)

JohnAtWordHustler
06-23-2008, 12:33 AM
Hi Gillhoughly,

Thanks for your response and thanks for taking an interest in improving WordHustler. You've certainly raised some interesting points and we will be working to make the answers to your questions more readily available on our site. To answer one of your questions right away: all correspondence goes back to the writer unless they elect otherwise.

It's interesting that you see our service as a luxury item geared toward only the most successful, established writers. On the contrary, our service is geared toward, and in fact being used by, up-and-coming writers just like Rizzo: people with day jobs, people who have to pay the rent with non-writing-related income, and people who simply don't have time to go to the post office and run errands everyday because they have to go to work. Your point about established writers using agents to do this type of work was quite astute. Indeed, WordHustler is all about helping writers get to that point.

From Your Post:
"The cost for my 400p. MS was about 30.00 with postage, tax, and gas. Your cost would have been about 40.00."

Glad to see you've gone over our site again and corrected the initial cost analysis you posted here earlier. What you don't mention here are all of the other things we include (free SASE, organized submission tracking, mailing supplies, etc) and most importantly, the time all of this took you. Let's not discount the fact that time is money. At WordHustler, we believe that the most precious resource a writer has is time. Especially when you are just starting out.

Don't forget Gillhoughly, you have 20 years of literary experience and it sounds like your full time job is writing and editing. That's truly great. But everyone else who is still out there hustling (G-rated hustling, but hustling nonetheless) needs time. Time is something that you have in spades, and something we work very hard to affordably provide for our clients.

Again, thanks for taking the time to write, G, and thanks for sharing your experiences. Even though we've had a bit of a rocky start, you are always welcome over at WordHustler, even if just to use our database for market research.

All Best,
JLS
Co-Founder/Chief Architect
jsingleton@wordhustler.com

Gillhoughly
06-23-2008, 12:45 AM
JoB, have you tried Earthly Charms? They're said to be high quality, reasonably priced, and speedy.

They don't mention if there's an adhesive side for those plates, though I've written to ask about it. I would love bookplates and am having the devil's own time finding wholesale blanks.

I also asked if they use archival paper, though I understand you can't have it and an adhesive at the same time. Some glues are not archival.

I've had FAST bookmark service with http://www.printrunner.com/default.aspx?ID=12 (http://www.printrunner.com/default.aspx?ID=12)

You can get 500 for 54.00 + S&H. I love mine!

I have printing on one side, leaving the other blank for autographing.


This place, www.clubflyers.com (http://www.clubflyers.com) will do you 5K 4x6 postcards for free + shipping (about 35.00) if you let them put their ad on the back.

I had 5k 2-sided full color cards done by them two years ago for about 160.00. Whenever anyone asks "What do you write?" I hand them out. I had space to show 10 covers, my website, and review quotes.

Gillhoughly
06-23-2008, 01:08 AM
Hi Gillhoughly,

I appreciate your even-handed reply, but we will have to disagree on some points.

What you don't mention here are all of the other things we include (free SASE, organized submission tracking, mailing supplies, etc) and most importantly, the time all of this took you.

Issues I addressed, offering free alternatives I've taken advantage of in only the last few years since the Post Awful got in free boxes, buying postage online, and free pickup.

My day job is an online business with daily mail orders. I've learned every trick possible to cut overheads and am inclined to think you may use the same stuff as mentioned above to get the job done.

And all writers need to learn to keep track of their own submissions. I'm going to be stubborn on that point. It's like learning math. You get the basics into your head first before ditching them for a calculator.

Time is something that you have in spades,

'Scuse me, I sprayed soda pop all over my keyboard and had to clean up. Give a beverage alert when you're gonna say something funny.

Don't forget Gillhoughly, you have 20 years of literary experience

God, I'm so damned old.

But questions were posted on this thread, and my experience told me that you're great for some writers and not for others.

If a writer wants to open an account with you, it's all one to me. My job is to play devil's advocate, be mildly entertaining, and frequently outright offensive.

Oh, crap. The guy with my shot of Thorazine just arrived.

Catch you later, peeps.

Karen Duvall
06-23-2008, 01:57 AM
I also used a local printer to email my Word file to. I had four full manuscript requests within days of each other, so I had the printshop print out 4 all at once, which saved me money. My book is only 340 pages, so I paid about $18 per manuscript. Yeah, not cheap. And then got the USPS priority shipping box for $8 each. A couple of the agents wanted return postage, so I included the postage for media mail for the manuscript's return. I think that was less than $4 each for the two. Though I paid a lot to send these (I had a total of 7 full requests, but 3 were for emailed files), it was worth it because one of the agent's offered representation and I accepted.

Point is, it's not much trouble at all to email your file to a local quick print shop and have them print it for you. For me, mailing 4 manuscripts all at the same time was a pain, but still worth the time and effort. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

JohnAtWordHustler
06-23-2008, 02:22 AM
Hi Cathy,

Thanks for your thorough response. I'll do my best to answer your questions and concerns.

First of all, we completely understand how you, like G, could be skeptical of our service. Indeed, we are the first company in the world to do what we do. Staring out, we've been prepared for the inevitable scrutiny that comes with new ideas that are so forward thinking, they seem as if they cannot be real. In fact, we believe that people have become so used to mediocrity from companies, they simply can't believe it when someone does something good. As examples, I cite a company like Vonage, which no one believed would work, but has turned the telecommunications industry upside down.

WordHustler developed organically out of our shared frustration regarding the lack of opportunities for a seamless and organized literary submission process. We couldn't believe that in the year 2007---in the age of YouTube, MySpace, and Netflix---there was no better (read: technologically modern) way to send work to the literary world. I have personally worked as a software engineer for two Fortune 500 companies and have seen and developed technologies that have made life easier and better. It was finally time to apply my engineering skills and Anne's industry knowledge (Anne has worked at CAA, Paramount, and Time Inc) to our passion: writing.

To perhaps better understand our motives, feel free to read our mission statement, available here:

http://wordhustlerink.wordhustler.com/about-us/

Now, about your questions:

1. On the Matter of Postage

Thanks for the concern about our business model. Trust us, we've spent hours and hours with our accountants, lawyers, and investors coming up with a sound, yet fair model that covers both our clients and ourselves. Our revenue model is quite similar to how magazines (online and off) stay in business: they derive some money from subscriptions and the rest of it from advertising. We're no different. We derive income from advertising on our site and from our printing revenue.

Of course someone has to pay for postage. Because of the quantity we print, we can absorb the cost of shipping into our printing rates, which is how we come up with such easy-to-understand, flat fees per project.

From Your Post:
"All I can imagine is that either (a) you're not actually mailing the item and, instead are sending it by email; or (b) you're losing money on every project."

Neither is the case. In fact, (a) directly insinuates that we are outright liars, and we take great offense at that sentiment. For reasons stated above, (b) is also untrue.

From Your Post:

"If author A has two 30 page submissions and they want to send each to five agents, that's 300 sheets of paper, the equivalent ink and postage of around $100 (I know, because I do it all the time with short stories.) See, manuscripts aren't allowed to go Media Mail. They have to go first class (or, more likely Priority or parcel post, since it would be too heavy for first class) And yet, you're charging only $79.99. I can only come to the conclusion that you're playing fast and loose with postal regulations or some other aspect isn't being done up to par. I would like to believe otherwise, though, so I would appreciate an explanation how this can be done."

Again, volume and equipment allow us to print things much cheaper than the average home office. This is one of the core reasons why our service makes so much sense. I know that I used to spend oodles of money on ink! For the sake of argument, just think of how much it would cost you to print a glossy magazine vs what it would cost someone like Conde Nast. The right volume and the right equipment keep our costs at a minimum (along with, as we previously stated, our advertising revenues). So yes, our cost for printing and shipping ten 30-page manuscripts is $79.99, out the door. And no, we don't play "fast and loose" with postal regulations, or else we wouldn't be in business.


2. On the Matter of Our Markets:

Anne oversees our team of Market Editors and handles all Market activity, so I'm going to have her answer this question.

Hi Cathy: I want to put your fears about our market accuracy to rest. WordHustler's database has been built from the ground up (just like the site itself) over the last year. It's completely organic and very, very well researched. Also, we don't charge anyone any usage fees to research our Markets.

As far as targeting specific agents, that is completely up to the writer on our site. We are not a query-blasting service. I know how much editors and agents hate those, as I worked at one of the most powerful literary agencies in the world as well as one of the most widely read magazine publishers. We leave the elbow-work of finding and targeting agents and publications that fit the writer up to the writer themselves. Each listing comes complete with details like the names of the agents at the agency, authors they represent, and the genre/type of manuscript they are looking for. For more in-depth research, each listing is linked to the market's website. Truly responsible writers will and have been going directly to the site for additional information. We advise all of our clients to do their homework before submitting to a market so that they can make an informed, educated submission, which betters their chance of representation and publication. Writers need to find the perfect cyberpunk, goth romance, or noir detective market themselves. It's a lot like running a singles bar: we provide the setting; they have to make the first move to meet the right person.

3. Markets Redux:

(It's still me, Anne) As far as where we're getting the markets from, they come from an amalgam of well-respected sources and relationships we've cultivated over our years in the industry. We don't distribute anything that's not supposed to be distributed. We are building relationships with editors, publishers, and other websites and will soon be hosting contests directly with these markets who have specially chosen to have us handle their submissions because of the accuracy and efficiency of our system. Our goal is to build the biggest and best literary database and make it free to all. Overachievers though we may be, we have no doubt that people will take to this new method of sharing and submitting to markets because it comes from pure and altruistic intents.

If you'd like to read more about what other writers are saying about us, please feel free to browse our ever-growing press page:

http://wordhustlerink.wordhustler.com/wordhustler-in-the-news/

As far as your concerns about standing in line, that's the whole, entire point of WordHustler: we have designed a company with employees who are paid to stand in line at the Post Office so you don't have to. This service will never be "too much trouble." It's what we've set out to do, and we will do it to the fullest. Your manuscripts will get delivered, on time and accurately. As far as confirmation receipts, one of our most popular features, our optional Reply Cards (which are $1.29 each and include postage) can be included with each submission. These self-addressed Reply Cards can be dropped in the mail when the market receives your manuscript and have important tracking features, such as your WordHustler project number, so that you know exactly what's going on with each project at all times.

From Your Post:
"What protection do you have in place to ensure the author that the service they'd paid for will, in fact, occur?"

That's a great question, Cathy. If we ever make any error in the printing or shipping of a manuscript, we will re-send it for free. That's a deal you can't beat doing it yourself.

If you have any more questions, there are tons of answers to these questions or more on our Support Wiki, found here: http://support.wordhustler.com/index.php/Main_Page

From Your Post:
"I would personally love to endorse your company but, at the moment, I can't believe that what you claim you can do is possible. Make me believe it (and if you can make me believe it, Gillhoughly probably will too) and we'll shout your name from the highest rooftops."

What would it take to make you (and G) believe? We'd be willing to offer you and Gillhoughly (and any other Absolute Writers) 3 free submissions each so you can take WordHustler for a test drive. (But please play fair and don't send us The Iliad or War and Peace with your name on the front just to see how we'll handle that. ☺) If you're interested, please email us and we'll get you set up.

Thanks for your questions and we look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
John and Anne
WordHustler LLC
http://www.WordHustler.com
jsingleton@wordhustler.com
awalls@wordhustler.com

Deb Kinnard
06-23-2008, 03:12 AM
I won't go into your business model, because I think you and the others have said enough already. But were I in the market for such services, I must tell you quite honestly that the term "hustler" is a put off for me, because of its connotations with <ahem> certain publications.

FWIW.:Sun:

Josie
06-23-2008, 03:24 AM
Hi John: Your letter is interesting.

I'm the one who said if it's too good to be true, it isn't true.

Your company format looks wonderful, but how can you sustain it?

I really know now I don't want to add more stress to my life as a striving to be published novelist.

Good luck.

Cheers, Josie

Cathy C
06-23-2008, 04:18 AM
Could you explain this bit further, please?

they derive some money from subscriptions and the rest of it from advertising. We're no different. We derive income from advertising on our site and from our printing revenue.


I didn't see any advertising on the site (except the tags on the right). 1) Is it just click-through revenue that you're utilizing and have you vetted those sites you're going to sponsor (so that they're not scams preying on authors?) 2) Will a member receive unsolicited advertising from advertisers, or 3) Will a member only see publishers/agents on your site that have paid to be there?

I did go through every single page of your publishers, which was frustrating because there's no way to look for a genre from the drop-down menu other than "Novel." (which isn't a genre. It's a category of book. Genres describe certain types of novels.) I did click on the "romance" and "women's fiction" tags at the bottom of one and found:

Kimani Press New Spirit (a Harlequin/BET category line)
Kimani Romance (a Harlequin/BET category line)
Kimani Press Sepia (a Harlequin/BET category line)
Kimani Tru (a Harlequin/BET category line)
Spice Briefs (a Harlequin/Silhouette erotica short story market)
Nocturne Bites (a Harlequin/Silhouette paranormal short story market)
Silhouette Nocturne (a Harlequin/Silhouette paranormal category line)
Silhouette Romantic Suspense (a Harlequin/Silhouette category line)
Silhouette Desire (a Harlequin/Silhouette category line)
Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books)
Red Dress Ink (a Harlequin/Silhouette sister)
Perennial Books (haven't heard of them before)
Kensington (no mention of specific imprints)
Tyndale House (inspie line)
Vintage Romance (is this a ebook line?)
Genesis Press (a Harlequin/BET category line)
Heartsong Presents (an inspie line)
Dorchester
Highland Press (medium press)
Tor Books

While it seems like a long list, there are really only a very few:

H/S category imprints/sister pubs
Kensington
Dorchester
Tyndale
Pocket
Hartsong Presents
Highland Press
Perennial
Tor

If an author doesn't write category (which is a very specific form of romance) then there aren't many places to submit within your system. Is the site still under construction? Because this really should be addressed to be of any value to romance/women's fiction authors. I'd suggest buying a copy of RTBookreviews (http://www.romantictimes.com) to get an impression of the myriad of publishers and subgenres of romance out there.

On the plus side, I found no mention of the regular scammers there, such as PublishAmerica, Dorrance, Whitmore or Writers Literary, so that's something.

For the sake of argument, just think of how much it would cost you to print a glossy magazine vs what it would cost someone like Conde Nast.

Um...yes, but Conde Nast prints thousands and thousands of copies of the exact same document, so they're able to utilize an offset press to its maximum effect. You're printing ONE document just a few times. I suppose if you have a digital press plus have a location that's able to warehouse flats/pallets of paper direct from Georgia Pacific or Union Camp and HP or a generic twin for ink, you could make it work, but that would be a BIG warehouse.

So, let's say for sake of argument that you've worked out the numbers that you can make enough money to pay for your supplies and equipment leases and such from the cost of printing fees alone (to the individual author), then the question is, will you make the process easier for the author? You'll need to drastically beef up your romance and women's fiction markets before I can recommend the site, I'm afraid. There are dozens and dozens of romance publishers out there and each imprint is very specific as to their needs, so giving a broad overview of a company the size of Dorchester or Kensington isn't going to help an author much.

At the moment, I can't recommend the service. But I'm willing to give it a wait-and-see benefit of the doubt. Rizzo or Josie (or any other AWers), if you decide to utilize them, please report back on the results. :)

Deb Kinnard
06-23-2008, 05:58 AM
Well, I can speak to two of those publishers. Heartsong publishes only short-ish Christian romance and romantic suspense, and the author can sub to them directly. Tyndale will not even LOOK at unagented material. Several years ago I sent them a request for guidelines (not a proposal, mind you--merely a request for guidelines). I had a novel I thought would be a great fit, but they sent back a rejection on the guidelines request, saying, "We only work with agented authors and writers recommended by people with whom we already work."

Sheesh!

To make matters worse, with their "rejection" letter they enclosed several brochures for self-publishers. I guess from that I was supposed to get the idea that if Tyndale won't look at my stuff, this was the only route open to me.

I sold the book elswhere. End of story.

So I doubt if WH's mailing anything to Tyndale is going to get it more than a polite "We don't take unagented submissions" letter in response. I hope they no longer enclose the vanity-pub brochures.

JohnAtWordHustler
06-23-2008, 06:43 AM
Hi Deb,

Thanks for taking a look at WordHustler. Also, congrats on selling your book. As far as your comment below:

Tyndale will not even LOOK at unagented material.

We just wanted to clarify and point out that our listing for Tyndale explicitly states: "Does not accept unsolicited or unagented materials."

The reason we include markets that don't take unsolicited mss is because we are building the biggest database possible and want to include every legitimate market so our users get the full story.

All Best,
JLS
Co-Founder/Chief Architect

JohnAtWordHustler
06-23-2008, 06:51 AM
Hi Josie,

Thanks for your message and thanks for the kind words. Regarding your question:


Your company format looks wonderful, but how can you sustain it?


Quite simply, WordHustler is sustained by the hundreds of writers just like you who are trying out our site and realizing how much easier it makes their lives. It doesn't add stress, it alleviates it by streamlining the paperwork and putting your submissions, your markets, and your projects all in one place. We want to get you out of the Post Office and back to the keyboard.

Please feel free to take us up on our AW offer of 3 free submissions.

All Best,
JLS

JohnAtWordHustler
06-23-2008, 07:45 AM
Hi Cathy,

Thanks for writing us back. To answer your questions:

1. We run Google ads and have a few key sponsors like The Dialogue DVD series. We are currently in the process of setting up our major advertisers since we've recently launched. We're weighing advertising offers from various companies and are carefully considering each one.

To be clear, we have been approached by numerous predatory writing websites and services who want to partner with us in exchange for access to our database and customer information. We have repeatedly said no and will continue to do that forever. We do not want to misrepresent, mislead, or create any opportunities for our writers to be scammed.

2. Members will never receive unsolicited advertising from our sponsors, as stated in our T & C. A side anecdote: WordHustler bought a company subscription to The New Yorker and we've been dismayed to see the amount of junk mail that has appeared in our mailbox from sources who could only have come from the New Yorker selling our name. It's annoying and we won't do that to our customers.

3. Our database is completely free on both sides of the coin---you don't pay to utilize it and the markets don't pay to be in it. We know there are many other market listing services that only list opportunities who pay to be there, but that doesn't give a writer the full story. We are trying to build the biggest database with the most information, so we want to put all (vetted and quality-checked) listings in there.

Regarding your trip through our Publishers page, we seem to use the word "Genre" in a different capacity than you do. When we say Genre, we mean "Manuscript Type." What we have done to make the market searches as easy as possible is provide you with a very detailed tag cloud just to the right of the listings, as well as on the listings themselves, where you can search by your type of Genre, such as Romance, Sci-Fi, Erotica, Western, Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, etc.

This was not an arbitrary decision, but one discussed at great length with our Markets Editors (a few of whom are "genre writers"). Ultimately, everyone agreed that because there are so many different ideas about what "Genre Fiction" means and because many markets specifically don't accept "Genre fiction," WordHustler would try to steer clear of calling certain markets "Genre Markets" and tagging things as "Genre." We all feel it limits their flexibility. For example, a listing may fit into both "Sci-Fi" and "Romance" genres and we don't want anyone to feel limited. This is the way we've decided to organize our site.

As a Romance Writer, you might be interested to know that we met and spoke with the Romance Writers of America at BookExpo America a few weeks ago and they were quite taken with our site. We're in discussions to sponsor an RWA event in the near future, as we are with the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers, the Horror Writers Association, and the Mystery Writers of America.

As far as your foray into our Romance Markets, when you say there are only seven, that is a vast oversimplification of a detailed system of publishing opportunities. Not to get too nitty-gritty, but Kimani Tru looks for a different kind of book than Kimani Press New Spirit looks for. As you yourself said, "There are dozens and dozens of romance publishers out there and each imprint is very specific as to their needs." We couldn't agree more. We work hard to tailor our markets to fit those specific needs.

We aim for as much detail as possible in our database, which yes, is continually expanding. In fact, if you click the "Send Work" tab at the top of the screen, it will take you to a special page where you can enter a market that may not be in our system. Just in case you're wondering, no we do not capture that information; that's for your own use. So if you have a private list of markets, such as an agent you met at a conference who wants your first three chapters, all information you enter remains private. But if you would like to suggest a market to WordHustler that isn't already in the system, you can click a different link on the "Send Work" page and let us know. Our Markets Editors will carefully vet every market that is suggested so there can be no abuse of the system.

Thank you very much, Cathy, for your suggestions about beefing up the Romance/Women's Fiction sections. We take every suggestion very seriously and will be constantly improving the site as we grow.

We really appreciate everyone's input and questions here on Absolute Write. We want to say thank you to everyone, as we've had a great time connecting with you. We'll be hanging around, learning your site as you learn ours. ☺

And of course, feel free to contact us directly with any thoughts/concerns.

All Best,

JLS

Gillhoughly
06-23-2008, 10:20 AM
We'd be willing to offer you and Gillhoughly (and any other Absolute Writers) 3 free submissions each so you can take WordHustler for a test drive.

Ta very much, that's very kind and much appreciated, but as stated, I've no need. I've as much need for W.H. as Courtney Love has for a pair of cotton knickers.

In the last four years I sent off exactly ONE hard copy to my literary agent, and all the rest of my writing was turned in via e-mail. As stated, that one hard copy cost a ten-spot less for me to do myself.

We couldn't believe that in the year 2007---(snip)---there was no better (read: technologically modern) way to send work to the literary world.

Actually there is the technologically modern miracle of e-mail.

Not everyone likes or uses it, thus keeping you in business, but as the next computer-raised generation of professionals moves into publishing we will see more e-friendly editors and agents in place.

I'm not saying there's ever going to be a paperless office, but many will favor the speed of e-mail over snail-mail. I certainly do.

At this point a new writer just has to decide if your service is a good fit for them and if they can afford it, reasonable as it is.

For my needs, it is more cost-effective to do it myself. When it ceases to be cost-effective, then you might hear from me. But don't count on it.

Bored now. Moving on.
http://www.jjdayfamily.com/cindy/blog/archives/steichen-GretaGarbo2.jpg
.

Birol
06-23-2008, 07:48 PM
Moved to Roundtable.

BenPanced
06-23-2008, 10:46 PM
I'm with Gillhoughly on this one. I'm still a relative newbie to the business, but this all seems like things I'm already doing on my own.

Julie Gray
06-24-2008, 03:03 AM
I am the screenwriter who gave an endorsement to Word Hustler. My endorsement is quite real. Here I am. I am also a short fiction writer and have a Word Hustler membership. It is the best thing to come along in years in my opinion. Part of the reason I haven't been sending out many manuscripts lately is that I just don't have time. Word Hustler is a genius idea. I know John personally and his business model spent a lot of time in the shop being perfected. Don't knock it before you try it. I am 100% behind this company and I'll put my reputation on the line to do so.

Is there a convenience surcharge - is it cheaper to go to Kinko's? Sure. How much do you value your time though? Do what works for you. But for me personally this is a god send.

scriptor
09-03-2008, 07:58 PM
You are the one Gillhoughly! I was looking into WordHustler myself until I read your post here. Thanks !!! :thankyou:

scriptor
09-03-2008, 08:02 PM
Dude You are a riot! I really enjoyed reading these posts... and just remember, age is like Wine, we just get better the older we get.

Bubastes
09-03-2008, 08:12 PM
Here's some additional information I found on a blog about Word Hustler. This blogger believes it may be useful in some specific cases:
http://anchoredauthors.com/2008/08/29/wordhustlermight-be-worth-the-money-for-some-anchored-authors/

scriptor
09-03-2008, 08:34 PM
Thanks MeowGirl, I can see that it would be useful for some, but I think I'll just stick to how I have been doing it, Don't have a lot of choices when you live pay day to pay day...lol....
Thanks though..... :thankyou:

Mattie123
02-27-2009, 08:59 PM
Word Hustler has been a great tool for me. The people are kind and they also are professional. I used Word Hustler for a short story. If I had the money, I would use them for all of my mailings. I think the economy has tossed a wrench into my enthusiasm for writing.