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Word Hustler

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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Josie

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.
 
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Josie

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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
 

Josie

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LOL

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

It was meant to say $.05 per page.

:)
 

Gillhoughly

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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.
.
 
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Rizzo

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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

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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 :)
 
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job

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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
 
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Gillhoughly

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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

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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

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(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

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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

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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.
 
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Cathy C

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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

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Greetings from WordHustler

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- [email protected] or Anne- [email protected].

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
[email protected]
 

job

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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
 

job

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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

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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.
.
 
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Cathy C

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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.

JohnAtWordHustler said:
]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- [email protected] or Anne- [email protected].

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
[email protected]

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. :)
 
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