Being an Indie Author is a Business-As Artist We Sometimes Forget: A Cautionary Tale of the World of Sharks Waiting To Take Advantage of Broke Artists

As an Indie Author you are in charge of creating, publishing, writing, editing, selling, promoting really doing any and everything associated with writing a book.  So if you are like me and have a family, a job, (or two or three) you find yourself seeing your shortcomings.  Like you may be great a weaving a tale, but you may be awful at sighting grammatical errors so you think; "hey I'm trying to move my family to a new city, find my 5 year old a school, rent out our house, start a new job, finish a novel-while publishing another, I think I'll hire someone to help me edit, it's not my favorite thing to do, and I really don't have time."  So you do some research, find someone that won't break the bank and get your book edited.  After all the  first go around it went great!  You're reviews were exemplary they made you doubt that you put something out there that was so well received and then the third book happens and your editor screws you over.

They send you a fake edited manuscript, guarantee their work, and you believe them and publish it.  In case you're thinking Valerie why did you trust them?!  It's because as an indie author I have met amazing people from around the world.  All of which are not very affluent, and so dedicated to their work rather than the profit, you start to feel that you are a part of a tight-knit community that supports one another, that wants to see you thrive.  They too are also less concerned with money but completely engaged in the art that is being produced, so you trust people as if we are all intertwined in this creative community that looks out for one another and then you realize that there are still sharks.

These sharks want your money and they don't care how many years you have waited to pursue your dream.  They don't care how your only wish was to see your work in print, to have your name among authors, your heroes.  This carelessness leads to them giving you horrible work that you then publish and receive a backlash of reviews for, because the small fan base you have managed to acquire feel disappointed and betrayed that you would put something out that was so unpolished.  The readers don't realize that you made a mistake and trusted the wrong person.

This blog is an apology as well as a rant as well as a warning.  If you want to pursue your dreams be careful who you ask to aid you on your journey.  I asked fellow author Shannon Barczak if she to has experienced such woes during her journey in self-publishing and she had this to say.

(Spoiler Alert: She's been in a similar situation, which was disheartening at first to hear, but then it was also comforting because it meant I wasn't the only one who'd been duped.)

Val's view on this is written eloquently and with passion.  I felt like raising my fist in joyful solidarity when she emailed it to me.  I am not going to be as nice as Val on this subject because quite frankly, I am ticked off on her behalf, and I also have a tremendous amount of guilt weighing heavily on my shoulders.
Several months ago, I found a reasonably priced editor. I checked out her website and her references. I crossed my fingers and sent her my manuscript, as well as, half her required payment.
At first glance, I thought she did a good job, but then I noticed a few discrepancies and I was disappointed. I chalked it up to a lesson learned and moved on.
If I acquired any useful knowledge about the experience is that she used the Macro widget on Word to plug in overused words and adverbs. I, being a newbie, had no idea about this wonderful invention, so when I became aware that I could do that by myself, I was psyched.
In my disappointment and new found Word prowess I had forgotten that I had mentioned her to Val. I saw that she used her as an editor and I figured that she had better luck than me so I wasn't going to mention my experience because I didn't want to cast any doubts in her mind if she was happy with her choice of editors.
When I received Val's email describing her recent disappointing situation, I wanted to email this person myself on Val's behalf, and write a profanity laced letter.
Val touched on something that I think is extremely accurate. As an Indie Author, we do come into contact with great people that are in the same boat as us and we form an immediate kinship. We do support one another and when one of our own gets the shaft, we take up arms and batten down the literary hatches as one.
I think what is important to convey to everyone, is that as an Indie Author, we wear many hats and it is always a relief to find someone that offers us a service to help make our lives easier.
Unfortunately, no matter how careful we are or how vigilante we are in checking references and reviews, we can still be taken in by someone with no conscience.
The simple reason is greed. You can spout off different excuses, but it all comes down to money in the end.
All I have to say is, shame on you.
How dare you take a writer's manuscript and not do what you say you are going to do.
A copy of a writer's book is like an extension of themselves. In some ways, it is like our baby, our child that we nurtured from nothing but a thought and developed them into a full blown character with a history, as well as, a future.
When we give it to someone else to read or edit, we are trusting that person to help make it better. It's like when we send our kids off to school and we pray that they are kept safe, and that they receive the love and attention they deserve.
To have someone that poses as an editor not fulfill their obligation can be crushing and I have to believe in a little thing known as karma because Val did not deserve that nor did her book.
If you have read my blog posts or know me personally, you might have an idea on what I did when learning this news.
This editor received my favorite kind of greeting when I pulled up her email...my trusty middle finger.