Sometimes you just gotta rant!
At BookLocker.com, we have published more than 6,000 print and electronic books since 1998. The vast majority of authors we’ve worked with have been professional and pleasant. Many we now consider family! However, every once in awhile, we get a nasty one. It happens in every industry. Not every customer is nice, nor pleasant, nor even one you want to work with ever again.
Here are some examples:
THE “I’M GONNA GET YOU!” AUTHOR
Recently, an author sent me vague threats after demanding free services. I knew where the situation was heading because I’ve dealt with this type of individual before. They demand you give them something for free and, when you send them the price, and explain the time and expense involved in providing the service, they start making ridiculous legal (and other) threats. They’re bullies. Plain and simple. With this one in particular, I wasn’t sure what his vague threats inferred. I was sure he would never find a lawyer to go along with his extortion attempts but I admit I was nervous that he perhaps had some henchmen at his beck and call. After documenting his demands and threats, I terminated his contract, telling him he’d need to start over somewhere else. Haven’t heard from him since.
THE “DISAPPEARING / REAPPEARING” AUTHOR
Ingram, the largest book distributor, charges an annual fee to keep a P.O.D. book in their system. We must pass this fee on to authors. It’s a real pain and, while we weren’t successful in getting Ingram to drop the fee, we were successful in negotiating a lower fee for our authors. Still, each year we must bill each author for the fee.
I can’t say I’m fond of collections. I detest the task, actually. It’s a small fee (only $15 per year) and many authors will wait to pay until after you’ve contacted them more than once. What’s weird is, after two or three months of requests, and even after posting a final notice to their author account, some still won’t pay the fee until AFTER their book has been terminated, which is usually four months after our initial email to them. Yes, all that for a measly $15. It happens ALL the time. It’s not a coincidence. Of course, then they have to pay the reactivation fee, which is $99 (not $15). It’s interested how many of them claim to have not received our emails, and claim they didn’t see the messages we posted to their author account (our system sends emails to the author when we do that)…until just minutes or hours AFTER we have posted the termination notice. Of course, in those cases, we paid the fee to Ingram on the author’s behalf months prior. The Ingram fee is non-refundable, and can’t be prorated. Once they send the invoice, it must be paid. Authors are warned about this in the contract when they sign up and they are provided with information on how to terminate if they wish to do so before their anniversary date.
I pay all my bills on time (early actually). I don’t make people wait. Even at WritersWeekly, we pay writers less than a week after accepting their articles. I don’t understand people who make service providers wait for weeks or months to receive payment. Our competitors charge upwards of $75 or more for the exact same fee (they’ll find any reason at all to scalp authors). The fact that ours is only $15 per year makes it even more puzzling why some authors just let that obligation sit.
THE UNAPOLOGETIC AUTHOR
The most memorable one was the author who thought her Amazon ranking number was actually the number of copies she had sold. She and her husband threatened us, thinking her book had sold thousands of copies. Even after we finally got her to understand what the ranking number actually means, she was still huffy and rude. She did not apologize. We terminated her contract, too. No amount of money is worth working with people who behave in that manner.
THE BLAME-EVERYBODY-BUT-THEMSELVES AUTHOR
I can’t tell you how many times an author has blamed me for errors they inserted in their own manuscript. It’s so prevalent that we save every file each author sends to us. Also, in their author account, authors can instantly download and view the files they have sent to us for up to 60 days. That provides an electronic paper trail for everyone to follow. Most authors apologize when the mistake is pointed out in their original manuscript but, every once in awhile, one continues to deny their error, preferring instead to blame anyone and everyone else, including “email transmission,” “MSWord,” and “Mercury being in retrograde.” (Yes, we’ve heard that more than once). Emailing a file doesn’t instantly misspell a word. Neither does MSWord…or the planet Mercury. It’s okay to make mistakes. Blaming someone else for your mistake is unacceptable. Continuing to blame someone else after someone points out your error is unprofessional. In many situations, all it takes is an apology to make a previous problem disappear from someone’s mind.
THE NON-MARKETING AUTHOR WHO DOESN’T UNDERSTAND WHY NOBODY’S BUYING THEIR BOOK
Many authors just like to write. They don’t promote their books. Unfortunately, some authors, when completing our sign-up form, fib about the number of hours they plan to work on promotion each week. We have no control over authors who have good intentions, but drop the ball later. Nor do we have any control over authors who lie just to get their book published. We offer a free copy of 90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book’s Daily Marketing Plan to all BookLocker authors for free. Every single author who has later wondered why their book isn’t selling has ultimately admitted that they didn’t follow the advice in that book.
Many new authors think just putting a book on Amazon means a book will sell. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, if you write it, they aren’t going to buy is unless you promote it!
That’s it for today’s rant. No matter where you work, there are always “customers” who are the types of people who seem to enjoy making others miserable. Whenever someone does treat you in this way, you can bet you’re not their first victim. The nice thing is, our rates are so low that, when we do terminate an author for bad behavior, and refund their fees, it isn’t a problem. It’s far more financially painful for our competitors, who charge authors thousands for the same services.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the author of 19 books, 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).
Angela lives on a 52' Irwin Center Cockpit Ketch (sailboat) with her family and pets. Keep up with her family's adventurous liveaboard lifestyle at GotNoTanLines.com
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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Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE