At the time when I was once again seriously looking into the idea of having my book manuscript professionally edited and self-published in late 2014, I was earlier that same year, confronted with the confusion between a Beta Reader and a Professional Editor. Apart from the difference in the cost involved, I was advised that a Beta reader was usually someone from within a writer's group, much like a critique group, who would read someone's manuscritpt and could offer some basic critique and sound advice to the author, but who may not necessarily have editing experience. An editor, on the other hand has all these credentials and much more, I was advised.
At the time, my finances were extremely limited, yet I was faced with these two options, while keeping in mind that I also wanted my 'book baby' to be gently taken care of, which ultimately led me to decide on the slightly more costlier option, especially if it meant that my 'book baby' would eventually be delivered safe and well. I merely followed my earlier gut feelings, which saw me turn down the offer of a cheaper version, from someone I knew personally, to accept the offer from someone I barely knew, but who was an editor at a reputable self-publisher. Therefore I felt justified in my decision to take the path I eventually chose - to have my book manuscript professionally edited and prepared for self-publishing in mid-2015. The following of which might also explain why it has taken me so long to bravely venture down the path of self-publishing.
I realise that everyone has an opinion with whom they choose to place their book manuscript. My decision however, was not made lightly. I was careful and mindful with every thought and decision. I had after all, been 'bitten' by an unscrupulous self-publisher in mid-2014, after literally taking my money, which I could ill-afford at the time, despite having told her so, yet which was cunningly taken from me via a credit card transaction on the false pretext that to begin my self-publishing journey, I first had to pay 'up front' in order to obtain the ISBN.
Despite alarm bells ringing loudly in my head at the time, and despite my initial resistance to part with such a large amount - first up - she persuaded me to pay up front to begin the process of self-publishing my book. I had initially asked for an appraisal, with the intention of taking with me what information I obtained and to weigh up my financial situation. I had certainly not intended to part with any money, considering it had only been our first meeting.
But after almost ninety minutes of talking about my book, talking about why I'd written it and talking a little about myself as the author of the sample book manuscript, which remained unopened on her desk, I was advised that I had to pay a deposit of $1000 to begin the publishing process, starting with the ISBN. However, despite my continued resistance to part with such a large amount - up front - she merely took hold of my vulnerability and before I realised what occurred, she had successfully taken my $1000, after which I left her office and to this day, I have never seen her since that first initial appraisal meeting.
In the meantime, days went by and I heard nothing. Eventually I received a rather curt and pushy email demanding that I send her my book details; the title, number of pages and genre. Overwhelmed, I felt rushed, I felt hurried, I felt flustered , but most of all, I felt humiliated. I was advised by a good friend that there is usually a 30-day cooling-off period, especially for situations like this. Therefore, just shortly before this time lapsed, I asked for a refund. I had decided that I couldn't afford to publish at that time, as my finances were badly in 'the red'! I heard nothing for several weeks. I was shattered. I was destroyed. I was angry. I was also financially ruined. As far as I was concerned, it was 'Game Over'!
Several months later, I found the courage to attend an Author's Day. Still feeling somewhat destroyed however, I decided to find the courage once more to speak to the person hosting the function about my book manuscript. I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered me since we had first connected on facebook some time ago. I was even more surprised that he understood my predicament about my financial bad experience with this particular self-publisher. "Ah! we have another one, he said. You are one of about ten authors who have been destroyed by this woman!" "We need to talk," he said.
We met over coffee in a coffee shop. He asked me to tell him a little about myself - what happened with my previous bad experience. Then he asked to read my sample book manuscript - the same manuscript which had remained unopened on the desk of the other self-publisher. I noticed that he didn't just scan over it quickly . He read each page - slowly. As he read each line, each paragraph, each page, I noticed that he shook his head and would occasionally look up at me, from across the table, saying nothing and return his focus back to my manuscript.
By then I felt worried. Maybe he doesn't like what I've written. Maybe he thinks my story is crap. Maybe... but at that moment he returned his focus back to me and as he slowly closed my sample memoir manuscript folder and gently passed it across the table to me, he said something that I didn't expect to hear... "Why do you still suffer from low self-esteem?" he asked with a warm smile. "because this is brilliant," he added. "This is a well written story," he said, as he leaned back against the chair and took another drag on his e-cigarette filter...
But as I said earlier in this blog, it took me until mid-2015 to eventually find the courage to bravely venture down the path of self-publishing, following more people's damaging effects to one's self-esteem, but which I will discuss next time, when I talk about my various experiences with Book Marketing. So, until then...
Happy Writing (and) Self-publishing everyone
Copyright (c) Heather Golding - Author
Blog Posted: 27 December 2015