Over the years, I’ve had bad experiences with clients. I’m sure we all have and we move on and forward, take it as a lesson learnt and not repeat it. Most of the time it works, however when COURTESY is lacking then I will take a stand. It doesn’t take much to message someone who you were working with to produce a book and let them know you’re going to use someone else.
We all lose jobs or clients at times, though when you’ve worked hard for them including FREE work, then surely it would be a COURTESY let me know they are going to use someone else. I’m upset at the lack of a message, especially after all I did for them. I feel bruised and USED. Like I said another lesson learnt. From now on I won’t be doing any FREE or CHEAP work for those caught out by SCAMMERS mainly because I don’t want to find a post on Facebook saying BOOK LIVE on a manuscript I was waiting to format without realising I wasn’t getting it this time…
No they don’t have to chose my business to do the work even though I’ve redone three books at cost, organised an new illustrator and redesigned several books due to copyright infringement, where they could’ve gotten sued. However, to find them using someone else for interior design without even messaging me is just bloody rude. They could at least tell me WHY?
Finding out why… apparently they didn’t like my FEES for Book three. Get this… I sort out one book making sure DPI was correct, formatting was situated correctly, checking each part for approval, then once approved I make an ebook and I’m asked to upload to their distributor. Then the paperback. No charge. Then we come to the first and second book in a series both of which had copyright issues for which the author could’ve been sued. I find an illustrator, we redo both books and I upload to distributor in ebook and paperback. All approved by client. I only charge $20 USD for uploading due to author being scammed. Now the third book is sorted the same way. I put in real charges this time and yes they knew this. Consultation, sizing of images, formatting of words, approvals, uploads…making ebook and paperback and more. I charged $180 USD. I should’ve been more with an hour rate, though I was still trying to be nice due to them been SCAMMED. I’m not sure how the illustrator feels, though I’m sure they are out of pocket as well.
Now I feel like they SCAMMED me…All the hours I worked on these books and I get paid $220 USD. Way below the minimum wage in the USA and in NZ if I add up the actual hours of work.
I never name call anyone. I am always polite and rational with anyone with any discussion. If or when a person earns my ire I tend to grumble a lot, though I do step back and think about the situation which has arisen. I will help as much as I can or as the client will let me…One thing I am clear about is when a client has approved a final file then they will need to pay for extra work, whether the original job was a swap of skills, paid or a package.
2016 was a big year with a lot of changes. It wasn’t a good year on many fronts though I did have a favourite. Needless to say this year was filled with bullying clients and gossip in the local writers group which I didn’t know about for nearly two years. I was devastated by both of these. Luckily for me I have stong family support from my husband and children and some really great friend. Many of those friends were students from my Business Management Course and my Incubate Course.
There was one bully who I worked with. They were like an advisor, going to do marketing for me on a local scale, introduced me to a local reporter for one of the free newspapers. All of this was appreciated. In exchange I formatted their first book, pulled together a book cover – all to the best of my ability at that time – both ebook and print, assisted them set up accounts with createspace and kindle. Now if one thinks about all the time involved the different things I was learning, it was a lot of work. I can’t really put a price on this. They were happy with the result…UNTIL…They suddenly decided I’d not done the book properly(a word I now HATE) Thinking back I did two books for this person. The other was in exchange for a computer (desktop) he put a price of $300 on which strangley was raised to $400 during email discussions. It wasn’t acutally worth anything due to it’s age. Once again I did the second book plus two websites.
What I wonder now is if the second book was better set out than the first due to the growth in my learning…Would you redo a client’s book for free because you’ve learnt more about interior design?
One thing I will advise everyone with a small business…
MAKE SURE YOU KEEP ALL YOUR EMAILS FOR EACH CLIENT SO THEY CAN’T BITE YOU ON THE BUTT/ASS AT A LATER DATE!!
Even in those days, I insisted all clients to proofread their own books for any formatting edits. Bits that need changing or taking out etc. This person approved the final file. Six months later they complained I’d left their home address in the back of the book and I have the synopsis in the back as well. EXCUSE ME…YOU APPROVED IT!! Fed up with the ongoing emails, I redid the formatting which was once again APPROVED. Now we come to the end of 2016. They had decided to sue me…I presume at small claims court. They were going to win and take all my business/money etc.
WOW. Not only this, I had another client who disparaged my name (Yes I can still sue them for defamation of character) They contacted me for a meeting. I went into a deep depression and fog for three weeks…It was one of the worst time in the year for this to happen due to course work for Business Management along with trying to claw my way out of the fog and stabilise once more.
With the bully I was still getting emails. In the end I sent them an offer which most folks wouldn’t refuse. I got a unpleasent email stating I was to re-do the book, and upload it to createspace, and purchase 5 or so copies to be sent to them by a certain date. They had gone a step to far. I was now furious. Offering them one last deal. It took several weeks to prepare and over $500 out of my business…which is still a loss to this day. I printed off all their emails I met with my business admin who I had to pay ($75) to go through them and advise me if I was correct with my assumptions. That was another $300. Yes I was correct. If they sued me I could prove they were in the wrong, not only that, I could re-sue them for defamation of character. The email was sent. It wasn’t accepted. I still don’t understand why. The email was sent via my business admin. Their reply. “All I wanted was to have it edited” If a client has approved a final file then they need to pay for any further formatting edits. They also need to use the final file I sent them. I have about 4 different files with different words counts on my computer…Which is the right one? Why should I continue to edit their work for FREE when they had approved final files.
From this time one I went quiet on Facebook which of course, affected my business badly. This person was still on my friends list and in two groups I ran. It wasn’t until mid 2017 that I finally deleted them, unfriended and blocked them. This was all thanks to another online friend who is like a sister to me. The relief was immense, though with them still living locally I was real nervous going up town. Call it anxiety of thinking they’d verbally attack me in the street. This is also another reason few of my friends online know I went back to England.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU KEEP RECORDS FROM ALL YOUR CLIENTS AND ALSO ALL YOUR REPLIES. IT MAY SAVE YOU ONE DAY.
This same person also emailed saying they had paid for a membership to the Chamber of Commerce…NOPE they didn’t because I have my receipt. However I still wonder today if they paid for a second year – without my permission due to the fact I still received post from this group. I have never been able to find out.
SAVE ALL YOUR RECEIPTS!
As for the second person…They are still in the background, pottering along with life, asking me for coffee…well until they found out I was back in the UK…
The strange thing is that the only clients I’ve ever had issues with were all local males to were I used to live. All my online clients have been amazing and I have loved working and growing with them.
As for the Writers Group. I gave the then chairperson – who is an Editor, a printed out copy of my book to look through and advise. She came back that it wasn’t her style and a bit rude. Ok yes she is an older lady. What I didn’t know was that she’d told the rest of the committee and god knows who else that I wrote Erotica. The book at that time was called Malachy’s Unit – it is now called Hidden Secrets. It is not erotica or even erotic. It is murder, mystery romance with a bit of spice.
Nearly two years later I took my children’s book in to sell and show to the writers group. Girlie and the War of the Wasps. One of the gentlemen who approached me to buy a copy said. “Oh, I thought you only wrote erotica.” to my reply. “I don’t write erotica.” Once again I was as mad as hell. I never went back to the group. The thought they were all looking at me a a nonsense smut writer (yeah they were that bad) was beyond a joke.
The Best Part…
The best part of 2016 was assisting a client with three children’s book. ‘The Pottontots’is a set of three books with wonderful art work by the author. Keith Broad was awesome to work with and his stories are a great read for any child.
Yes it happened. No real fault of my own. I like to help. I don’t like been taken advantage of, I don’t like been bullied by overly arrogant people. However we meet them as we go through our lives. On a personal level I’ve tried to be proactive and positive. Of course, there is nearly always a stumbling block put in your way. A negative if you wish.
Many of you know I do FREE work or SWAP work with others. I run a non-profit business right now, while I build up my reputation and skills. This is an advantage for both my clients and myself. Most of us have a blast working together. Then you get the odd one who turns into a bully and this is where my world and possible business may very well fall apart.
There are always people we wish we’d never met, though God in his wise ways knows we need them to push through to a better space. So be it. I’ve done all I can to sort this mess out. FREE for FREE doesn’t always work nor does SWAPPING work for something you can’t do or aren’t good at. So take care in who you trust. I would hate to see any of you get bitten on the butt because of poor judgement or even overly trusting a person who is going to end up bullying you. I dislike arrogance, and conversations which don’t go into depth of what the true issue is. Also make sure you keep all emails and track all invoices and payments (if there were any). Of course with FREE and SWAP work this shouldn’t happen. Until the bully imagines it…
This to me was as bad as those SCAM Publishers except this time I was the one being SCAMMED by an author. It hurt, especially when you think it is someone you can trust.
The issue – as far as I’m aware had been sorted, until it raises its ugly head again, except I will go to small claims court if it does. I refuse to put up with bullies so don’t try it. I’m certainly not as trusting anymore. Most of my clients have been amazing to work with, we’ve had fun, learning curves, and great communication. I’m pleased with how my business my business is growing though I really need an Income. As for the FREE stuff! They are my Anthologies and my Indie Publishing News Magazine which is a FREE Marketing Magazine for Indie Authors and those who support them. The SWAPs of work…have ended. I won’t be doing anymore.
In the future I will be putting each magazine issue on this blog for everyone to read. If you email me I can add you to the email list and then you’ll get a copy automatically. If you wish to get off the email list you’ll need to email me due to not yet having a Unsubscribe button…I’m still working on this issue.