Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Wicked Business

Isn't that just a stunning sky? A picture from my niece in Texas. Wow, looks like a sky painted by a kid, beautiful.

Our little publishing company has been under attack for the last few days. Very distressing to my partner and I as well as our authors. We went into the publishing business to help new authors that just can't seem to get a break anywhere but have real talent. After getting a number of submissions that lacked even the most rudimentary structure (400 pages without a single paragraph sometimes!), we thought it might be a good idea to offer an editing service at a very affordable price ($35). Well, apparently that labels you as a scam artist if you charge writers ANYTHING for ANYTHING. The fact that we did was giving our authors piles of grief, it was way too much work anyway, and we really do care about not just being a reputable company, but looking like one too - so we discontinued the service. My partner has written personally to everyone that was questioning our integrity, and while I've been proud of him before, he was amazing in this circumstance and has managed to change the minds of many.

When things like this happen, I think always of the penalties for judging others. I don't think you get slammed for it so much in this world, but I won't risk being judgemental because of the consequences from the next world. It also makes me sad that some people are so quick to tear down anything that's not the "norm". Luckily, I have way too much to do to worry about this for long! Sometimes my many spinning plates come in real handy!

9 comments:

DaveM said...

Well I started writing my bit and unfortunately pressed a wrong key and deleted the whole b***** lot.

I find it hard to believe that people who want to write dont have a basic understanding of grammer. [is that with an e or an a ]
Ok so we all make mistakes, typo's etc but if you are a budding writer then you have to have the basics. Kat, you are a published author, so you must appreciate this. Its all very well telling it like it is, but it has to be read and understood by an audience.
My daughter who is a History teacher tells me that the standard of essay writing is dreadful. We all appreciate that language evolves, but you have to have some gorund rules for everyone to understand.

If necessary ,,,,put me straight.

Kat Campbell said...

You're absolutely right, Dave, but... as a new publisher what we needed most was storytellers! It's handy when a good storyteller can also write, but diamonds in the rough don't scare us. Because it's long for here, my next post will be a real life story that illustrates this.

Sunflower Optimism said...

Well, Kat, I think $35 was an unbelievable bargain! My son has dyslexia and word processing disabilities - so guess who had to go over all his papers with him in HS? Not that I'm a great grammarian, mind you - it was a dirty job but somebody had to do it. Now that he is in college he has special support services and a writing center to go to for help - all "free" - if you don't count the $43K tuition.

I think it's amazing that you try to help - and get kicked in the pants for your effort. I could see if you charged exorbitant amounts of money, there might be a question. Or if you said "You MUST get this edited by us, or we won't consider your work." But it just sounds like a great deal on a service you offered. Heck, they probably spend as much on Starbucks in a week!

Sunflower Optimism said...

PS - The sky was magnificent!

Jackie's Garden said...

I like that - many spinning plates! which keep you too busy to worry about things for long. I must not have enough plates...I'm the queen of worry! Thanks for sharing.

Gela's Words said...

What's the norm though? Is it that publishing houses usually edit a manuscript that they are interested in publishing or do they bring to the attention of the writer the parts that could do with some adjustment.

Kat Campbell said...

Gela - Norm is authors making the changes editors find and recommend to spelling, grammar, structure and plot. The reason we offered an editing service was to help those people who couldn't get the spelling and grammar right which is the kiss of death at a big house.

Thanks sunflower, we thought it a bargain too, but apparently its TABOO in the business (unless you want to be considered a scam artist).

Jackie - worry just gives you wrinkles. I prefer to hum my way along and wait for a full fledged, self pitying melt down. Much more satisfying!

Ordinary Janet said...

I guess writers who submit a MS full of errors might not see it as full of errors-and then wonder why they get rejected. But if they don't realize it needs work, they won't want to avail themselves of editing services-or they're afraid their story won't be the same once an editor gets done with it.

It's too bad that your boss is under fire for this, it's not right.

Guyana-Gyal said...

I've been reading up on how to find publishers...and one of the things I've read is that writers really should try to be as grammatically correct as possible...it helps because editors have PILES of manuscripts to go through.

My head is so woozy right now with this cold, there's so much more I'd like to say...