Last week, I wrote, “We had an uncomfortable situation arise at BookLocker.com this week. Please read what happened below and, if you have any input or an opinion about this situation, please share your wisdom in the comments section below…”
Briefly, an author of ours sent me a note, saying he wanted to publish a second book with us. He said his daughter would pay his setup/design fees and he gave me her email address.
She replied with a detailed email about her 89-year-old father having dementia, spending money he didn’t have, etc. I was pretty shocked because he’d always seemed completely lucid, intelligent, conversational, friendly and more with us. I had NO idea he was ill. In fact, I had no idea he was 89 years old, or even close to it! We work with an author in her 90’s who’s active and spunky and who seems to have a better memory than me. Age alone does not define an individual’s mental abilities!
Believing the daughter, of course, and wanting to do the right thing, I responded with this:
Thank you for letting me know. I’m so sorry your family is dealing with this. Please let me know if there’s
anything I can do. We will not accept any orders from him. I have alerted the team here as well. We have experienced this with an elderly author in the past.
A couple of days later, the author sent me a note, reporting that his daughter had told him she paid his fees to us, but that we never sent her a receipt. She blatantly lied to him, which could have made him accuse us of theft (taking his money and then ignoring him). Since she’d lied to him, had she also lied to us? Was this one of those adult children who tries to steal money from their elderly parent or one that hoards their parents’ money because they don’t want their parent to spend the future inheritance?
Of course, I was furious!
So, in last week’s article, I asked for your advice. And, we got tons of it! Thank you!!
<b>Well, this week, I have an update. </b> And, it ain’t pretty! In fact, it got very, very dirty.
Using advice from readers (and even from my own mother, who’s in her 70’s), I contacted the author with this:
You need to discuss this with your daughter. She did not send payment, and told us via email that she will not send payment. This is between you and your daughter. We have been put in an uncomfortable situation regarding this matter and, as a professional, I can only be honest with you about what has transpired so that you won’t think we aren’t responding.
I then sent the following email to the daughter:
Hi (name removed),
We have been alerted by your father that you told him you paid the fee to us on his behalf, but that we didn’t send the receipt to you. That is a lie. You never paid his fee. In fact, you told us you would not be paying the fee. You have now put us at risk of legal trouble from your father because he thinks you paid the fee, but that we are now ignoring his communications and his file uploads. He could even post complaints online about us, accusing us of theft.
You must contact your father immediately and tell him the truth. We can’t allow our reputation to be put at risk because of this situation. It was deeply unprofessional and unethical that you lied about our company to avoid an uncomfortable conversation with your father.
Please advise us of your plans to rectify this situation ASAP. We will be sharing your email with him so he will know we did nothing wrong.
It’s unfortunate that we must do that but your lie has left us with no other choice.
And, she came out swingin’! She sent me a scathing email, laden with typos (which was odd because she claims to be a “mental health professional” with a PhD), saying that my note to her father forced her to discuss this with her father before she was ready to do so (remember that part for later). She made allegations about her dad being verbally abusive toward his wife. She made some other pretty disturbing accusations about him as well. She said I shouldn’t have contacted him without having medical or psychological training (what?!).
She mentioned her brother in law being a lawyer. Huh?? Were they planning to sue me for telling her father the truth about her lying to him?? That seemed odd. Her entire diatribe was nonsensical and scathing. She threatened to harm our reputation. She said she would be contacting my “superior” to discuss my behavior. (I’m the owner and I admit I had a good chuckle about that.)
She ended her rant by demanding an apology.
That same morning, I received an email from the Better Business Bureau. Yep, you guessed it. She filed a libelous and ridiculous report about us there, dripping with misspelled words and typos. This woman, who claimed to be a “mental health professional,” was clearly off her rocker! Worse, she publicly aired her family’s dirty laundry. (I later told her that wasn’t a great idea since she’d be harming her and her father’s reputations. She really, really didn’t think before she acted!)
I sent the entire exchange of emails to my mother, who’s 70-something (she’d ground me if I posted her age here), and this was her response:
Moral/business advice from your Mom: Your contract is with the 80-year-old author. The only clue that he has
dementia is from his adult child. Keep taking care of him.
Love from your Mom, who does not have dementia – yet
THE AUTHOR CHIMES IN
After the daughter claimed she’d talked to her dad about everything (remember that part from above?), I forwarded her correspondence to him. And, not surprisingly, she was caught in another lie. He claimed they hadn’t discussed it at all! He wrote:
I don’t know what to say. I haven’t talked to her about this yet, I damn well will in the next half hour. I don’t have the words to tell you how sorry I am for (her) actions. I never had a problem with her, never. I am shocked and angry. I can’t believe her remarks about me.
Angela, how do I, or should I, contact Better Business Bureau website?
I can assure you I will stress my belief in you and the honesty of BookLocker.
I was hesitant to send him the email she’d sent about him abusing his wife, etc. I didn’t want to make their family problems any worse. And, no, I still haven’t sent him that email. Later that day, he sent this:
Yes, I want to know what she sent you. We have always been a close-knit family. This has completely thrown me. I am angry with my smart ass daughter. She has received my ultimatum. (She) has a Doctorate Degree in Psychology, I always thought Psychology” was a lot of, I’ll be gentle, “bunk.”
All this time, the daughter was sending me a barrage of angry emails, which was odd for someone claiming to have a PhD, and claiming to be a mental health professional. Her lack of professionalism was appalling! After once again telling her we still had no intention of publishing her father’s new book, one of my final emails to her stated:
You never provided us with a power of attorney or any documentation authorizing you to make decisions on your father’s behalf. You never provided any documentation verifying any medical problems he may have. If he’s been having these problems, why haven’t you, as a “mental health professional,” taken the proper legal (and moral) steps to protect your father and family?
I will, however, be very happy to speak with the person who has an actual power of attorney for your dad, and who has the legal right to discuss his affairs with others. He owes us no money at all right now and his book is already on the market. We won’t terminate his contract and remove his book from the market unless he or his legally authorized representative asks us to. You know removing his book from the market would break his heart. I’m not going to do that. </i>
So, what about that libelous and false BBB “review” she posted? The BBB contacted me today. They have refused to publish it…for obvious reasons.
You can read numerous comments and advice from our AWESOME readers about this situation HERE.
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.
Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela.
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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