Every industry has its fair share of difficult customers so what I’m about to share with you isn’t at all unique to publishing.
Most authors are very kind, sweet people. They are professional, have researched the business to some extent, know how to use a search engine correctly (ahem…), and communicate in a businesslike and reasonable manner.
But, there are a select few who are just plain jerks. Here are descriptions of some that come to mind from years’ past…and one numbskull in particular who contacted us just last week.
There was the author who thought her Amazon ranking (in the millions) was her total sales. She and her husband left screaming phone messages, accusing us of theft, and telling us the FBI was closing in. I finally had to demand she get an attorney so I could explain Amazon’s rankings to someone with a level head on his shoulders. He understood, and called her to explain. We never heard from her again. And, of course, we terminated her contract because our website clearly states, “We don’t work with jerks.” And, we’ve found that to be a great filtering tool! Jerks get offended when reading that and nice folks think it’s hilarious. 😉
Then there was the author who threatened to commit suicide if we didn’t publish his book. He explained that life wasn’t worth living if he couldn’t even pay to get published. Last time I checked, he was alive and well. His threat was an empty one, and obviously used to try to convince us to publish his (very bad) book.
WHAT WE CALL “PRISON MAIL”
Add to that the multitude of authors in prison who have sent us their manuscripts, trying to profit from their crimes, or complaining about how the government railroaded them. No thanks. I’m not going to sell my soul to make a buck, thank you. Those letters go right in the trash.
One author sent very disparaging remarks to me because, as a woman, he said I was not qualified to run a business. He became very abusive (his emails were laced with profanity), and insisted on only working with a man during the publishing process. We terminated his contract and he tried to find a reasonable publishing deal elsewhere, but could not (because BookLocker has the lowest prices for services rendered (http://writersweekly.com/compare)). He later came crawling back, begging me to work with him.
Since we keep our expenses so low, we can afford to turn down tons of business. I refused to accept him back into the fold and he then unleashed a tirade of more profanity-laced, degenerating emails, even mentioning my female parts in a very derogatory (and quite gross) fashion. I definitely made the right call to not work with that jerk!
There was a small group of authors at an event I attended who followed me into the bathroom to ask me questions. They were seriously asking me questions through the door while I was peeing. After that trip, I immediately stepped off the speaking circuit, and haven’t done a gig since, though I’m frequently offered airfare, lodging, and speaking fees to travel and speak. I politely refuse them all.
While the travel and hotels weren’t fun, the money was nice, as well as the additional business we got from authors learning about BookLocker. However, I’d been on the fence for a couple of years prior to that incident concerning the time I was spending away from my family. That kind of privacy violation pushed me right over the edge. I flew back home the next day, and never accepted another speaking gig.
THE SCARY STALKER
And, then there was the author who lived in a nearby town who wanted to get up close and personal. He knew, from my WritersWeekly Home Office postings (http://writersweekly.com/category/news-from-the-home-office), which river we lived on. So, he stalked our mailman, and got our home address. (I was incensed when that happened, and filed a complaint with the post office…which did absolutely nothing about it.)
The guy boldly came to our back door, and knocked. I talked to him through the screen. He introduced himself, and said he wanted us to publish his book. After questioning him, and determining that he seemed a bit unstable, I told him to email me. He came by again the next day, and the next, and then the following weekend. I tried to be polite in the beginning but I finally had to tell him to not come to our home anymore.
And, then there are the bizarre messages that we occasionally receive from authors…
THE FALSE ACCUSER
Last weekend, we received several emails from an author in which he accused us of violating his copyright for having his book for sale…which we don’t. We have never heard of his book, have never had it listed for sale, and have no connection to his book whatsoever. In fact, his book was published by the now-defunct Tate Publishing (http://writersweekly.com/angela-desk/why-hasnt-anybody-filed-a-class-action-lawsuit-against-tate-publishing-heres-the-likely-answer) (the owners are now mired in criminal charges).
For a few snickers, laughs, and groans, I’m going to share this latest bizarre email so you can see how incredibly silly someone can sound when they don’t do their homework before sending out false accusations. Authors who feel they’ve been victimized should read up on copyright law, and practice effective search engine usage, before they start spouting ridiculousness.
His emailed comments are unedited by us…for obvious reasons.
“As the Author with sole ‘Copyrights’ to my book (title removed) I would like to know (who? approved you listing and sailing my ‘copyrighted’ book.”
LESSON 1 – FALSELY ACCUSING THE WRONG FIRM CAN GET YOU INTO VERY HOT WATER
Make sure you are contacting the CORRECT company. If you falsely and publicly accuse the wrong company online, you could be subject to a very expensive libel lawsuit. This individual likely saw that we posted an article about Tate Publishing, and that we were offering discounted publishing packages to Tate Authors. He put 2 and 2 together, came up with 7, and harassed a company that is in no way whatsoever related to Tate Publishing…and one that did NOT publish his book.
“This is need to charge all parties in my “Copyright” infringement lawsuit.”
LESSON 2 – RESEARCH COPYRIGHT LAW BEFORE ISSUING MEANINGLESS THREATS
He was asking for the name of the person at our organization that violated his copyright. If he had any inkling of how copyright lawsuits work, he’d know that he needs to sue the business, not the employee.
“You are listing my book without a ISBN number, a past criminal case against Tate publishing LLC. Should have alerted book distributors, they’re being checked by the F.B.I.”
LESSON 3 – KNOW THAT THE FBI DOESN’T GET INVOLVED IN CIVIL MATTERS
By now, you can see that few of his sentences actually make any sense. And, this is the most ridiculous statement in the email, and shows his threats are meaningless. No publisher receiving something like this would take him seriously.
“I know a ‘Special Agent’ would you like to met him? Remove your listing of my book, TODAY! Or you will get to meet him!”
LESSON 4 – SERIOUS ACCUSATIONS REQUIRE SERIOUS RHETORIC
Any publisher receiving this silly email would know that 1. The FBI is NOT helping him with his case; 2. He obviously doesn’t even have a lawyer; and 3. His FBI “agent” friend is a figment of his imagination.
We sent him a polite email in response, telling him he’d contacted the wrong company. And, his email bounced.
LESSON 5 – USE AN EMAIL ADDRESS THAT WORKS!
I wasted 20 minutes of my very valuable time trying to find him online because I had to try to contact him before he started posting lies about us online. He doesn’t have a website (all professional authors have websites). I finally found him on Facebook. He hadn’t posted any promotional material about his book in 10 months so I have no idea if he even uses Facebook anymore.
I sent him the following:
We received an email from you falsely accusing us of copyright infringement. I tried to email you back but att.net is bouncing the email back to us.
We did not publish your book, nor are we selling it. You contacted the wrong company. Tate Publishing published your book.
LESSON 6 USE PROPER ENGLISH OR YOU WON’T BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY
Do I even need to explain this one?
My rant is over (yes, I feel better now!) so I must get back to work taking care of the AWESOME authors who have chosen BookLocker.com as their publisher, and who I LOVE helping every single day! And, all the while, I’ll be hoping, wishing, and praying that no authors like the ones above approach us today for a publishing deal! 😉
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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