Recently, one of my essays was accepted for a project that resulted in an anthology of women writers. It has been promoted as a book of women authors supporting other women, embracing and claiming our lives. I’m all for “feel good”, if it’s authentic. Which is why I submitted my work – I believed it was for a good cause and wanted to share my story to hopefully inspire other women.
There was no guarantee that my essay would be accepted above any other. When I received the acceptance email, I was thrilled, of course. I never expected monetary compensation. However, historically, most literary magazines and publications offer an author or poet to be paid in copy. Maybe only 1 copy, but it is a practice by publishers that has been in existence since way before I was born. Imagine the surprise when I discovered that myself and 33 other women contributors to the book would not even receive 1 little copy.
Interesting to note: the copyright page in the book states that large quantity sales are available to organizations. That means companies will receive a deep discount. The person didn’t have a problem planning for that!
The pseudo-author also sent an email saying that they had put their personal funds into it, and basically, “sorry not sorry – no copy for you because I did all the work!”. We were then offered a discount code to get a whopping 25% off if we purchased by a certain date. The final offer: “please promote across social media, include my website and post reviews on Amazon for me-me-me. Ask others to do the same.”
But wait, there’s more!
The book is currently being sold for $17.99 (print) and $9.99 (ebook). If you’re an Amazon author, you know what the royalty is on these amounts. You also know that if you plan properly, you can receive copies of your book at cost and it doesn’t break your wallet. You have to take these things into consideration when you self-publish, but apparently this person and their publisher were relying on the contributors to do all the work of writing and PR. But they did all the work. ??
While revamping my website today I was reminded that I had the book listed here under my “Projects” page (don’t bother looking now, it’s gone!). I decided I had better check to see what was happening with the book. I went to the pseudo-author’s website and what should appear? A link to Goodreads for a contest to receive a free copy of the book. (Your jaw just dropped, I heard it.)
So, along with 120 other people, I said “F this” and threw my name into the hat. I wonder how many of the other entries are from the other contributors that are featured in the book? I should not have had to do this, nor should it even be an option for anyone else to receive a copy before the contributors. Especially when someone else is claiming all of the cash and prizes in their own name. I find Pseudo-Author’s entire approach to the project Ego-laced and unprofessional.
This “gatherer of women” not only did not compensate myself and the other contributors in copy, but we have received an absolute nose-thumbing across the board. In my opinion, it goes the against the very intention of the book – supporting women. It feels “icky”. It initially felt good because of our intention. Now, it excretes bad juju because it was mishandled and poorly planned by the organizer of the project.
The result: it only has 1 review on Amazon. Looks like their marketing plan backfired.
Receiving the second email resulted in my decision to never promote it outside of my own website. No link to the book nor to the website of the pseudo-author. After what I saw today, I took it a step further by removing all reference to my essay being included in it. My work stands on its own, as does the work of every other author-contributor to that project.
In contrast, I contributed to another project two years ago and those people truly do not have the funding to get the project off the ground, but are planning to contribute all proceeds to charity once they can make it happen. See how that works?
Still another project is in the works, and that was agreed to in spiritual exchange with the other author. He found me – quite serendipitously.
If you have been following me at all, you know I rarely self-promote by tweeting & posting about my books. Every piece of advice on self-publishing tells you to do otherwise. I have my social media accounts, I have my books listed on Goodreads. My contact info is available.
With the turn of the new year upon us, I will be focusing on other projects, and getting back to basic writing and sharing here. When the time is right, I will publish again. For now, everything is where it stands.
I believe I am richer in other ways for not hawking my writing.