DRAWER NO MORE!
Guest Post by Suzette Brown http://alzheimersandflower.com/
I have a story on companies that “assist” writers with self-publishing. Get ready.
When I started my book, Alzheimer’s Through My Mother’s Eyes, I had no idea who to contact, what the financial costs might be, where to look, who to call, etc. You will love this one: I didn’t even know there were such people as “BETA” readers. I just typed my heart out everyday and figured it would somehow flow together. My only concern was writing my book, baring my soul.
Then I went looking online for publishing companies. BIG mistake. A couple of them looked OK, they were connected with bigger named book companies, and it appeared they had branched out to the self-publishing community. Apparently a lot of people write books and the self-publishing companies want to accommodate rising new authors. I checked out some internet sites. It looked exciting, so I signed up for a representative to contact me.
Now, mind you, I know nothing about publishing. AND I am an older client who tends to be trusting. You could use the word naïve. I listened intently to their pitches and packages. But HOW was I going to afford this? They wanted thousands of dollars just for editing. Of course, they could work out a payment plan. Or I could use my credit card.
I tried to get a direct answer on exactly how much they would receive financially versus how much I would receive. They evaded that question and continued to talk about a “gold standard” club, how good my book sounded, how much people need to read it, and on and on. Caregiver books are awesome, so many people would buy it! WOW – I felt like the best writer in the whole world.
I told my husband I had found a publishing company. We were so excited! I had them FAX me copies of their contracts, which were 7-8 pages long. (They obviously didn’t WANT to fax this information, but they legally had to). The editing part didn’t look very substantial. I began to get an uneasy feeling.
ALWAYS trust your gut.
Then came a stroke of fate: a friend recommended I contact a local author, and ask him about these companies, editing, publishing, etc. Thank goodness I followed this suggestion. The local author emphatically told me NO – do NOT use such companies. Do a search and type in: company name, scams and fraud. I did as he instructed and found pages upon pages of unhappy clients: Lousy editing job. Where was the book they supposedly published? It wasn’t online – had these companies changed the names of people’s books and published them in secret?
Where were the royalties, MONEY? I saw much discussion and dissention on financial paybacks, total dissatisfaction with the editing and presentation of authors’ products. WOW – at least I had not signed the contract, thank goodness for that.
At this point, I started to look up authors who had been published by these companies. I read the book samples, and my heart sank. They were such good stories, excellent storylines, but the editing was horrible. I wanted to communicate directly with an author and so asked one of the companies if they would put someone in touch with me. Could they give MY information to him/her – as I did not expect them to give me this personal information on one of their clients. The lady in customer service said she would look into it.
Soon a lovely young woman emailed me – and explained that she had just had her book published by the “So and So” company. She was very nice, very young, and gave me the name of her book so I could check it out. She had used the company with trust – and I sincerely thanked her for contacting me.
She was overjoyed to be a new author.
I cannot tell you how upset I was when I opened her free sample online. To think this was a PUBLISHED book. PUBLISHED by one of these “self-publishing” companies.
The grammar, sentence structure, capitalizations, commas, periods, paragraph breaks, and anything else that would fall in the category of “EDITING” was ATROCIOUS. It got worse as I continued to read. The sentence that started with, “I had went…..” ran onto page 2. My jaw hit the carpet. This couldn’t be right. I closed the link and put in the name of her book again on the search bar. The same book cover displayed, same title found. This was beyond embarrassing. Now I had to figure out what to say to this young lady who was waiting for my response to the new book she had published.
After I calmed down, I realized that this new author had paid a substantial amount of money to the company. I wrote and asked her nicely if she had had her booked edited? Was that one of the services that she paid for? I didn’t want to make her feel badly about her book. This wasn’t her fault. She had trusted the company with her private story. OMG it was heartbreaking. If I remember correctly, she had paid over $3,000.00 for all services. She told me she had received financial help from family members.
I couldn’t resist and emailed the customer service representative who had given me the name of this young author. I asked her if the young lady’s book had been edited? Is that what they called editing? What did editing entail? What exactly DID they edit? There were errors from the first sentence on, I couldn’t even finish the free sample. I asked her to please answer me – because if this is what they thought I was going to accept as “EDITING,” they were sorely wrong.
I also asked how the CEO of this company could sleep at night. How could they take advantage of new and upcoming authors? The sad thing is – the company put me in touch with this new author to begin with. I pointed that out as well. They might at least have sent me someone whose book was less riddled with errors!
No surprise, I never heard from that company again.
I have now told countless individuals NOT to use the two companies I dealt with. I told them my story and my discoveries. All factual.
I then started looking at blogs, professional blogs, magazine authors, etc. I ran across a blog that listed the 5 warning signs to look for – to NOT use a company….the company I contacted fell under 4 of those signs.
I found the American Society of Journalists and Authors at http://www.asja.org/ – a professional and upstanding organization. A blogger led me to this site. Thank goodness!
My story has a very happy ending, and I am forever grateful to the ASJA for referring me to: http://www.bibliocrunch.com. I wasn’t feeling so trusting anymore – but I now realize there are honest companies with integrity out there to help us new Indie authors who have no idea what we are doing!
Through this site, the CEO helped me set it up – since I am not a techno genius. It is a bidding site – and I placed chapters of my book, the subject of caregiving, Alzheimer’s and explained my story. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate Ms. Sattar’s help. She renewed my faith in “mankind” (woman kind). Through her site, I was fortunate to have a bid from Author Options.
I accepted the bid from Author Options, and the rest is history. I will be forever grateful to both of them.
Lesson learned: DO YOUR RESEARCH. Be wary of self-publishing companies and their fancy talk and promotional pitches.
Do you have a story of bringing your book to the public, either independently or via an organization? Please feel free to share or comment on other relevant matters.