Ali Hibberts is sitting in for Angela at the Publisher’s Desk this week. And, in classic Ali form, she’s not shying away from a sensitive topic in the industry. Thanks, Ali!
I am the Director of Publishing Services at BookLocker.com. My job involves taking authors through the entire publishing process, from A to Z. That means I hold their hand from the moment they sign up to have their book published until their book hits the market. All of that usually happens in less than a month. Yes, we are FAST! And, of course, if authors need me for anything later, I’m just a mouse-click away.
But, I also vet some of the manuscripts sent our way by hopeful authors. This doesn’t happen with just one email. Most authors have many questions about the process and our email correspondence can stretch into days, if not weeks, before we and the author make a mutual decision to proceed.
Since we publish authors who are located all over the world, I receive messages 24 hours per day. And, let me tell you…there’s never a dull moment around here! In fact, the most interesting emails are the ones sent to us overnight.
How do we know when a potential author is under the influence? It’s pretty obvious. Below, I’m including examples of the types of messages we receive after midnight from authors who want us to publish their books. The names are not real, of course. Other details have been changed as well. And, we’re not the only ones. Other publishers receive these types of messages, too. And, when authors send these types of messages to publishers who are concerned about publishing quality books, this can have a negative effect on their chances of getting published by a quality publisher.
While these may seem humorous at first, they can indicate a far more serious underlying problem. Authors submitting manuscripts with these types of errors are, of course, quickly rejected by BookLocker.
HEAVY-FINGERED HARRY: The author that just can’t seem to hit the right letters on the keyboard.
“Good evnning Ali, I judt sent yoi my manuacript. Do yoi now how long it wull take to see if you lik it?”
DR. JECKLE/MR. HYDE: The sweet author who suddenly turns angry.
2:49 a.m.: “Heres’ my manusccpt. I think it lookss good thnk you ali”
2:55 a.m. – “ali, I sent my manuscrt back to you a few mintes ago. yoy need send me my manuscript back now! I forgt to add smething. Why haven’t I receive my manuscript back from you yet??? COMMON… ANSWER ME!!”
3:04 a.m. – He posted a complaint about us online to a third-party website (rife with typos, of course), saying he’s going to sue us because we didn’t respond to him fast enough. Yes, we rejected his manuscript.
INSOMNIAC ISAAC: The author that sends messages in the middle of the night, and thinks nobody else sleeps, either.
2:01 a.m. – “Ali, why you noot answer me?”
2:14 a.m. – “Heller??”
2:47 a.m. – “You therrrrrre?”
TWISTED TEXT TOMMY – The head scratcher…
“Aple is a miin aperson. They noy takke mo book shyp if to h.er. I do;t now uo like moi tofal. Pleez seft to hom and take if dowm miself. I so haffy fer h.er.”
PROFANITY PETER – We see a LOT of profanity in messages from authors. While it doesn’t offend me, sometimes the lack of professionalism surprises me. I have cleaned up the message below because this is a family-friendly publication.
“I totally sent that editor of mine the final, f’#$%n final manuscript so I can send it to you for review soon! FINALLY I told myself that this S*#@t is done! This f%#$n thing is ready to hit the New York Times Bestsellers! I’m F%$@n ready!”
ROMEO RODNEY: The author that sends me some love in the middle of the night.
“Ali, I just want to tell you that I love you. I love what you do. I loveyou. I hope you will be my pubisher. You are just incredible. You truly are ncredible. Can I kiss you? You are just sucha really good person! Can I call you?”
T.M.I. TINA – Sometimes authors are up late at night, obviously inbibed, and they get lonely, and want to over-share…
“Hey, Alii! I have to tll you story. Cn I put this in my bok or will you not publish? one time I had this guuy who wanted us to get peicrings on our private parts I saw rel still for mine and it hurt but it was fun an cool. I gues he wasnt as clean as I thght ccause his got infected and it really manged his (male organ). He end up breaking up with me a montth. later.”
We certainly know that some authors partake of a little liquid courage on occasion when they are writing. Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and F. Scott Fitzgerald were known as such bender creatives but they took it to the extreme. I am certainly not condoning this behavior. I’m discouraging it. While some authors indulge only occasionally, that can be enough to lead to problems later.
I asked an author, who writes about being a recovering alcoholic, for help with this article and he was happy to assist. Does this sound familiar?
With a glass of wine in your hand, your fingers release the words faster than you can type. The ending is so near! You pour yourself another glass. The electricity is really swirling in your stomach now and the laptop screen is getting a bit fuzzy. But, you’re almost there! Aaaahh, it’s just the push that you needed! You can’t stop the creative juices tonight! You pour yourself another glass, and crack your knuckles with fervent haste, and you keep typing. You pour yourself another glass… Here it is! Here it is! It’s DONE! You pour yourself another glass…
Then you begin to wonder how you ended it… Where did I begin again? Maybe I should email that publisher and tell them… no… I’ll just tell them I’m done. No! I’ll tell them I did it! No! I’ll just mention that I’ll send it tomorrow… No… Maybe I’ll just send that publisher lady a note to see if she’s up…
And that, my fellow authors, is where the trouble begins. Whether you’re texting your best friend, your ex, that cute co-worker, or a potential publisher, KNOW YOUR LIMITS. It’s ALWAYS safer to just wait until morning. When in doubt, WAIT IT OUT.
And, if you think you might have a drinking problem, Alcoholics Anonymous now has online meetings. Check them out HERE. That potential publisher (as well as your friend, your ex, and that cute co-worker) will thank you!
Ali Hibberts is the Director of Publishing Services at BookLocker.com. If authors have questions about formatting, design, conversion, printing, distribution, Amazon, and any of a few hundred other book publishing topics, she’s your go-to gal! If you email her late at night, she’ll enjoy your words over a hot cup of coffee first thing the next morning!
If you have other controversial topics you’d like Ali to cover, please contact her RIGHT HERE.