Beware and Be Smart! By Pamela S. Thibodeaux
I was asked to do an article outlining my experiences -good and bad- to share with others in hopes that you can avoid making the same mistakes I’ve made. Here is my story.
After years of rejection, my book Tempered Hearts (#1 in a series) was accepted for publication with Writer’s Exchange Epublishing Co. I was thrilled! Though this was Sandy’s maiden effort in publishing books, she had a wonderful reputation in producing Writer’s Exchange Ezine -a publication offering info and advice to writers- and was truly a blessing to work with. Since she wasn’t set up to offer POD (print on demand) at the time, I invested in printed copies of my book and quickly signed Tempered Dreams (book 2) with her, which was released June 2001. Though the print copies were offered through WEE’s website as well as mine, I took it a step further and got set up to distribute them through Amazon.com, American Wholesale Book Co. and the Books-A-Million stores. I set up author events, book signings, speaking engagements, the whole works.
Together, Sandy and I worked to make my dreams of being a published author flourish and we did very well, selling over 400 books the first year!
In Dec. 2001 I began chatting with an up and coming new publisher. The woman had unique and wonderful marketing ideas for her authors so I asked to be released from WEE and signed with Triple Exposure Publishing, Inc. (aka: TE Publishing, Inc.) in May of 2002. In a mutual agreement the publisher acquired my existing copies of Tempered Hearts and Tempered Dreams and proceeded to sell and give away nearly 500 books. In November, 2003, my contract became null & void leaving me with less than when I signed with this company.
I have no idea. Maybe her dreams were bigger than her abilities, perhaps she listened to too many wrong people and made unwise decisions. Who knows? I could speculate all day and never know the whole story.
But I DO know this much.All things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to HIS purpose. I know that He will make my crooked paths straight and give me wisdom and direction in future decisions concerning my career.
Now, trust me when I say that I don’t pay attention to rumors and gossip and I don’t believe in trashing people’s reputation. HOWEVER, I do believe in being informed and being warned.
I have remained in contact with this person and if she’s half the woman I believe she is -that I KNOW in my heart she is- she will rectify every situation that went sour and preserve every relationship that she should from her ordeal. Enough said.
What does this have to do with me, you ask, doubting that you would ever make such a mistake.
Don’t be so sure, or as in many cases, so arrogant as to believe that.
We all make mistakes when our dreams are to reach the world, touch lives and change hearts with our work!
One writer friend I know, a dear, sweet lady, unmistakably talented but naive, was rooked by an ‘agent’, someone who had what appeared to be a promising business going! This mistake cost her several hundred dollars.
Mistakes are costly, no matter what the situation. They may cost your money or your reputation. You may lose faith in yourself and your ability. Sometimes they cost people their very dreams since many authors or artists don’t recover from such situations to go on, persevere and get published or recognized.
So be informed. Get all the information you can before you sign a contract. Check company statistics, personal background information on the people involved, credentials of the Attorney(s), CPA, CFO and CEO’s of the organization. Check with local and national Better Business Bureau’s to see if there’s any information. If it’s a new publisher, ask for business plans, financial records, something to ensure they are legitimate.
Don’t get caught up in the potential or possibilities!
Check agents out with AAAR (Association of Author and Artist Representatives). Check places like Predators and Editors and inquire of other authors. But be careful not to believe everything you hear or read.
Be wise. If you get a contract with a new or even bigger publishing company, try and negotiate keeping your existing contract intact for sometime (especially if you are self or E-published). Many publishing houses take up to 2 years to get your book(s) on the shelves, don’t lose out on that precious time to promote your existing career! Had I not been so swept away but what might be, I would have negotiated that my contract with Writer’s Exchange stay intact until the new publisher actually went to print or say, within 90 days of going to print or 90 days of beginning promotion. Something! And I never would have given her control of my existing books.
Be discerning. Remember, man plans his way but God directs his steps. His timing is perfect, His thoughts and plans for your career are perfect and His ways are much higher than yours so be patient; don’t get in a big rush and get ahead of God!
Most of all, be loyal. To yourself and to your integrity. If you have a bad or negative experience, warn others without trashing someone else. We all have big dreams. We all experience the not-so-good in life. We all make mistakes. None of us are perfect. So don’t exalt yourself by lowering someone else in other’s eyes.
Though it is my prayer that this information will help you avoid mistakes in your own career, chance are you’ll still make plenty. But don’t quit. What you have to say as a writer, poet or artist is important, so persevere, hang in there and don’t give up!
Author Bio: Pamela S. Thibodeaux is a member and co-founder of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana and a member of and ACRW (American Christian Romance Writers). A multi-published author in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” Website address: http://www.pamelathibodeaux.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pamela S. Thibodeaux © 2004