Last week, I was absolutely STUNNED when I discovered a comment online from a rejected author who said I “discriminate.” I am one of the most laid-back, easy-going, and accepting people you’d ever meet. During my life, I have had friends and boyfriends of many different races and religions. I have friends and relatives who are gay, straight, and bi. I, personally, don’t think there is any one religion favored by God so who am I to decide if there are any right or wrong ones? Everybody should have an equal chance to publish their own feelings on faith, provided, of course, their manuscript does not promote hurting others.
The woman who said I “discriminate” posted the note under her real name so I did a search through my old email. I found her. I rejected her book a couple of months ago. Why? It was a children’s book that I knew would very likely never sell enough copies to pay her setup fees. Sure, I could have charged her a few hundred dollars, and put her book on the market, but I’d have been doing her a disservice.
I sent this email to the author:
Today, you posted a note online saying I ‘discriminate.’ What did you mean by that?
She responded the next day, saying she thought I rejected her book because it was “spiritual.”
Her book was Christian-based.
If you’d bothered to research our site before posting that lie online, you’d have seen that we have published numerous spiritual books, by people of many different faiths. We have published books by and about many races, creeds (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and more), and even those of different sexual orientations. We do not “discriminate” against anyone for any of those reasons.
Her response was quite lengthy. She said, among other things, that BookLocker is “a great choice” but she didn’t think we had the right to reject a manuscript because authors pay us to publish their books. She was angry because we “forced” her to use one of our competitors.
Um, nobody “forced” her to do anything.
Per your note, you are upset because you don’t think we have the right to choose which manuscripts we publish based solely on the fact that authors pay us to publish their books. It is our business, our name, and our reputation. We don’t put garbage on the market, nor do we publish books that we think won’t sell well (we break even on setup fees and earn profits on book sales), nor books that we feel could harm others.
We don’t take money from authors if we think there is little chance they will recoup those fees. And, you thanked us by libeling us online.
She removed the post and apologized but the damage was done. Not only was I VERY upset by her false accusation, but if I hadn’t seen the post, it would still be on the Internet, damaging my reputation. Of course, if she ever submits another manuscript to us, I won’t work with her because she clearly doesn’t understand what libel is. Anyone who publishes libel puts their publisher at risk, too.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first time an author has overlooked their own manuscript’s weaknesses and, instead, pointed a nasty finger at me, accusing me of sinister motives.
Atheists have accused me of being a Christian, Jew, or Muslim. A rejected Jewish author called me an Anti-Semite. Christians have accused me of being Jewish or Muslim, and even a “non-believer.” The list goes on and on.
Authors of different races have accused me of being a racist. One person who thought my last name indicated I was Asian accused me of discriminating against whites.
Homosexuals have accused me of being a homophobe.
An author of a rejected book that bashed gays called me a lesbian.
Men have accused me of rejecting their manuscripts just because they’re men.
Basically, rejected authors of many creeds, colors, or groups I am not noticeably a part of have accused me of being the opposite.
The fact is, we have published books by and for a variety of races, religions, sexual orientations, political affiliations, and more. If a book is well-written and well-edited, and if we think it will sell, and it if doesn’t hurt anyone (or have the potential to hurt someone), we’ll publish it.
If a book has numerous errors, bad writing, contains potential libel or invasion of privacy, was written just to hurt another person (think ex-spouse out for revenge), or is one we just plain think isn’t going to sell, we reject it.
Unfortunately, some authors are a bit vain, and get VERY sensitive when their work is rejected. This sensitivity can lead to very unprofessional and hurtful words and actions.
If an author’s book is rejected by any publisher, the author should first look at their own manuscript for problems. They should not lash out at the publisher with false accusations of bigotry. If an author gets angry and publishes false information about a publisher, they could not only harm an innocent person or business, they could also end up getting sued.
Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and BookLocker.com. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. 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.”
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