I read countless articles about publishing, both traditional houses and self publishing, and educated myself so I could avoid a nightmare. I hoped.
The first traditional contract asked for money in many areas. I moved on to another traditional house after acceptance. The contract was negotiable, and in the end, it served as the dream contract. My publisher claimed my MS to edit herself, as she related to my story. Unfortunately, she fell ill and couldn’t continue.
Now pay attention. This publisher I speak of, let’s call her Jane, happened to be in a Facebook group for writers, and its numbers were about 5,000. Years back, she took a boot camp course with the group with a self publisher. The owner of the group, the self publisher, knew I signed on with her. He came up in chat asked about a month or so into my contract signing how it went so far. I explained my frustration with the editing hold ups. He asked more questions then disappeared from chat for 10 minutes. When he came back he told me I was free. He cancelled my contract and gave her an author and took me. I felt stunned, contacted Jane and completed termination as self publisher man told me many not good things about Jane’s editing skills.
Notice he played on my emotions.
That should have been enough for me to run; however, I sat in the middle of edits, now with no publisher. He told me of all the wonderful things he could do to make my MS into a book and put it up on Amazon. No matter how much I had read, my emotions at the time were stronger than my logic, and he, let’s call him Ralph, knew it.
Since, They All Wore Black had all production fees poured into it. I paid for all of it, including the ISBN numbers for e-book and paperback, and he never invoiced me or supplied recipes, not even income tax receipts of any kind. If Revenue Canada approaches me, I will send them Ralph’s way.
During the editing process, he never encouraged, but discouraged. I heard al the looked wrong in my MS, but nothing which could view as right. I took insults and nearly lost my confidence in a mS I work on fro countless hours. He told me I was a storyteller, and storytellers rarely make good writers. Honestly, this things he said were of no value to serve an author with confidence. I actually shed quiet tears while reading some editing comments, yet in the end, I have numerous excellent reviews.
Nonetheless, before my reviews even came from readers. I knew I had money to make back money. Ralph encouraged me to buy books telling me I’d make my money back pretty quick. And long before the late contract arrived after all publishing finished, Ralph never told me if I buy books, he will take 100% of Amazon sales to recover his costs. His costs?
Also in the contract it stated an author could take their book from Ralph’s company respectfully. After much preparation, I walked away. I wrote him an email, finally got an answer—he doesn’t answer e-mails. But I got a scathing Facebook message about leaving. When he saw it wouldn’t stop me from succeeding, he sent a message telling me I had to get a new book cover, saying he paid for my cover and it was his property. He forbid me from using it, even went to my author’s page, where I never saw him, to tell me again. I found the proof in PayPal and presented. Another message came to say, “Fine! Keep everything you’ve got and I REALLY, REALLY hope you succeed!” Sarcasm one-O-one as he has been told to take my work down from Amazon, and he has not.
Pay attention: Ralph put the Amazon account and ISBN numbers in his company name. Now not that is matters as the work is mine with my name attached to it, but he also put the © in his company name. The copyright is all I have true ownership of, despite it being on the technical page. Then the printer, Ingram, same thing, an account in his name. He locked it all up. I paid the start-up fees for Ingram and Amazon, and I bought those ISBN numbers. As a result, I cannot get help from Amazon easily to have my work removed from his name. We have been communications to try and come up with a solution.
The bottom line here is, no matter how educated you are about intellectual property, a scammer who has much experience can do this to you too. Be careful in writers’ groups. Beware of anything sounding too good. Beware of publishers who steps on other publisher’s toes.
You’re welcome to message me.
Thanks for reading.