An author submitted a children’s book manuscript to us last week. It was a cute story but it also had several punctuation errors. Since it was so short (and since I just couldn’t help myself!), I edited the story as I went along. I then sent an acceptance note to the author, with this comment:
Hi (name removed),
Your manuscript had numerous punctuation errors so I did some editing for you. The corrected file is below.
I then sent her an acceptance note.
This was her response:
What a very unfortunate first paragraph. It has left me feeling hurt and annoyed.
Some of you may find this offensive but my eyeballs rolled backward into my skull. Oh, if I had a nickel for every time my honest, professional words “hurt” an author’s feelings…
GIMME A BREAK!!!
Here’s my counter-response:
Hi (name removed),
I’m sorry I hurt and annoyed you. I edited the punctuation for you free-of-charge. I don’t give false praise to authors, nor do I offer disingenuous soothing words. It’s a tough business. If you can’t accept honesty, you should work with a different publisher, or avoid publishing a book altogether. If you think publishers and editors are tough, wait until you see comments from actual book-buying readers.
Our competitors in the publishing industry will be very happy to give you lots of false praise while upselling you on thousands of dollars in worthless services. They also won’t care if your book has errors or not nor do they care about your reputation (or their own!). They only care how deep your pockets are.
I went on to tell her that we’d still be happy to help her if she wanted our assistance.
Needless to say, she didn’t sign up for our publishing service, which is unfortunate because our competitors are going to charge her an arm and a leg for essentially the same service (most of us use the same printer).
It’s sad that she let her ego override her professionalism, which then led to unnecessary “hurt” feelings on her end…and, of course, unnecessary spending as well.
Had she simply been professional, and thanked me for the free labor I performed, she’d have been a much happier author.
Many authors (not all!) have large egos that need soothing.
Book publishing is a business. Authors want as many people as possible to read their books. I want as many readers as possible to BUY my authors’ books (so I can then pay my authors.) A little humility in the interest of this mutual goal goes a long way toward achieving it.
It’s Frustrating When Victims Fail to Protect Themselves – PART II
Print on Demand Price Comparison.
POD SECRETS REVEALED – How Many Book Sales Needed to Recoup Your Investment?
MORE CREATESPACE COMPLAINTS (Part III)
Well, Excuuuuuse Me for Trying to Protect You From a Lawsuit!
Bigots Need Not Apply! 9 Offensive Ways To Lose A Publishing Contract
Got questions about Print On Demand and Self-publishing? Ask Angela Hoy.
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 has lived and traveled across the U.S. with her kids in an RV, settled in a river-side home in Bradenton, FL, and lived on a 52 ft Irwin sailboat. Angela now resides on a mountaintop in Northwest Georgia, where she plans to spend the rest of her days bird watching, gardening, hiking, and taking in all of the amazing sunrises.
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.
ANGELA ON TWITTER https://twitter.com/AngelaHoy
BOOKLOCKER ON FACEBOOK - Provides links to free excerpts!
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ANGELA ON LINKEDIN
Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!
Read More Of Angela's Articles HERE
90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book's Daily Marketing Plan by Angela Hoy and Richard Hoy
Promoting your book online should be considered at least a part-time job. Highly successful authors spend more time promoting a book than they do writing it - a lot more.
We know what you're thinking. You're an author, not a marketer. Not to worry! We have more than a decade of successful online book selling experience under our belts and we're going to teach you how to promote your book effectively online...and almost all of our techniques are FREE!
Online book promotion is not only simple but, if you have a step-by-step, day-to-day marketing plan (this book!), it can also be a very artistic endeavor, which makes it fun for creative folks like you!
Yes, online book promoting can be EASY and FUN! Let us show you how, from Day 1 through Day 90...and beyond!
Stick to your guns, Angela. You did this writer a favor. There are way too many prima donna writers out there who let their ego get in the way of their writing business. With 1,000 articles published in more than 200 different magazines, in-flights, on-boards, trade journals, websites, etc, I’ve obviously had my share of rejections & have never taken an editor’s constructive (or honest) comments negatively. Someone who reacts negatively to your benign comments is clearly in the wrong business. Good for you!
What, I keep self editing and dream of having someone who can fix my punctuation, not to mention help me with twists in the plot. Best self validation is when someone thinks it is worth the effort to mould what you have started with.
I had this issue when I started, but have grown a thicker skin. As you know I pulled my book because even though it was edited, it had many mistakes. I have never picked it up since, but I suppose I should at some point and decide whether or not to fix it. It’s funny because I edit other’s work, but I find it difficult with my own writing…I’m too caught up in it.
Who in their right mind would ever turn down a “free” professional punctuation edit? “Hurt and annoyed,” should have been “Pleased and grateful.”
Pamela Allegretto, author
Bridge of Sighs and Dreams
Two women clash in World War 2 Nazi-occupied Rome.
Indeed the author was’nt thankful and who can be a better witness of that rather than me whose work was “rejected” for the same reason. I wondered whose ego was that which stopped respected Madam Angela Hoy to undertake some correction work for me. I was outright asked to find some other publisher.
UG! There is no room for ‘hurt feelings’…bend a little and get a lot in return.
Wendy Jones, author
Highlander Imagine: Beyond Infinity
Duncan MacLeod must fight a South American Immortal at Teotihuacan.
In 2007 I self-published a children’s book with Amazon. They charged me up the wazoo for everything, including a “professional” synopsis of my book that was clearly written by some hack for a penny a word, and “marketing” that was two banner ads I never actually got to see. Not that it mattered since at $18 the paperback was priced out of the market. Seems like little has changed, but at least self-publishers have more options now. I’m thinking of writing a second children’s book so I’ll definitely keep you in mind Angela!
You dodged a bullet with that author. She would have continued to feel like a special snowflake and continued to give you problems.
I just don’t understand authors who are so bleeping sensitive about getting honest, helpful, constructive critique. It’s as if the only reason they write a book is to get validation from everyone who reads it. Anyone who is less than enamored with her writing or finds one little typo or makes a suggestion for improvement is seen as someone who hates that writer, or at least makes the writer seem like she’s a failure. Grow up, sweetie. (That advice goes for men, too. We aren’t immune to being overly sensitive.)
Angela’s right. That author should have thanked her profusely for a free copy edit! What a deal. Where do I sign up?
In my genre I’m competing against the likes of Baldacci, Child, Connelly, Sandford, Patterson, Crais, et al. I will take every iota of helpful advice, free editing or critiquing, and constructive, useful criticism I can get!
Chris Norbury, author
Suspense novel set in rugged, beautiful northern Minnesota’s brutal winter.
I have a small traditional publishing house, but I get the same type hurt feelings from authors who don’t have to pay one penny for all we do for them.
I’m presenting a workshop on what editors and publishers hate, and I would love to use your article, giving you credit of course, as one of my examples of ego problems. May I?
Vivian Zabel, it’s fine to provide printed copies to your workshop attendees, or to email the article to them. If you need to post something online, please just publish an excerpt and then provide a link to the actual article. 🙂 – Angela
Copy editing is the worst. I can read my own stuff over and over and still miss typos. I wrote a short business book recently, read it three times then paid a professional. I then read it again but there were still errors after publication. As far as being hurt, I am my most severe critic. In fact, complements generally seem patronizing to me. I know that’s not a healthy attitude but well reasoned criticism is so much more helpful.
Ang you are perfect the way you are. Ego does not belong in a profession. Period.