I paid him to make me look like a fool!

Hello All! I wanted to write a blog about my lesson learned since the publication of Taking Shots, I thank you for taking the time out to read it. So here we go!

I finished Taking Shots on August 28, 2011. I posted the last chapter of it on Booksie, on the fifth of September. During the time that it was published on Booksie, not once did anyone complain about my editing or grammar. So I thought I was fine! I was in the final stages of going through a publisher to get published. When I got rejected at the final stages I decided that I didn’t like rejection very much and would do it on my own, so I self published on October 5, 2011. In that month I sold a good amount of books and I got great feedback, but then the editing reviews came in.

People started giving me 3s instead of 5s because of my editing. I would get reviews saying ‘The book is amazing, but the editing is horrible!’ or ‘I would have given more stars if the book was actually edited.’ I am one of those people that wear my heart on my shoulder. With every bad review, I would feel like they were personally attacking me. Taking Shots, is my baby. I love this book, I love Shea and Elli like they are my friends. So when people talked about how my grammar and spelling sucked, I felt like they were saying I sucked at writing. I know, sad huh? But, in my defense, I am new at this. I am just now getting the tough skin.

Anyways, after getting ten bad reviews and feeling like I sucked, I decided to get an editor. It took me three weeks to go through editor after editor. Like I said, I am very in love with this book and I was scared that a editor would ruin it, so I went through a lot of people. Unfortunately, a girl that was friends of a friend that I thought would be great had family issues and I didn’t want to bother her so I continued my search. Finally, I met Russell James from James Literary Services. We talked for almost two weeks before I finally made a decision to go with him. The deciding factor was when he said

“I know this is a project that is close to your heart and now it is important to me, too. I won’t disappoint!”

Boy, how I wish I knew what I know now.

I made the first payment and he told me that it would take about five days to get the book done. A week past and I hadn’t heard from him. When I emailed him, he said that he was working very hard but the book was longer than he thought. That was the first time I questioned him, because he knew how long the book was weeks before, so why was he saying it was super long now? It took 12 days for him to get the book done, when I finally got the email of the done product, I was ecstatic! I opened it, and started reading to make sure everything was good.

But it wasn’t.

In the first three chapters alone, I found over twenty mistakes. Dumb mistakes, too. Like misspelled words, and missing words, things he should have found. I got an email from him saying that he needed to pay his rent and needed the other half of my payment. Even though it was against my better judgment, I paid him because it was in the contract and figured that he could go through and fix the mistakes. My close friend and I, went through the whole book very slowly and found error after error through the whole thing. I fixed what I thought was right as I went and so did she, but we are not editors so we aren’t even sure if the things we fixed are right. Plus, I still missed things. I’ve read this book over twenty times; I know it like the back of my hand. When I write, I write. I type over 80 words a minute and when I’m going the last thing on my mind is grammar. Its to get the story on the screen, then I go back and correct what I think I messed up.

After reading over the book and finding so many errors that it made my head spin, I became so angry. I had posted a review saying that I had gotten the book edited that it was ready for the public, I even posted the new version because I thought when I got the book, you push accept all changes and you save, but nope, I was completely wrong. I felt horrible and I even sent the new version to people that had bought the old version. I did everything in my power to make it better. My efforts were a waste because even the new version was crap.

I contacted Russell James from James Literary Services, and told him about the errors and that I wanted them fix. He wrote me back saying to go through the book and show him what he did wrong. I didn’t think that I should have to read the book again to point out errors he made. He said that he would go over it again, and while he was doing this, I got three reviews that hurt me so bad, that I emailed them to him so that he could see what he had done wrong. His reply was:

“If I may be so bold, I think the issue is that what your readers are used to are romance novels that are not edited well. I can take any romance book out there and pick them apart for mechanics because they are not edited.”

I know what you’re thinking because I thought the same thing, what the hell is he talking about. I have never read a book where it wasn’t edited. I know I don’t write like regular authors, I write the way I talk. I feel it is more personable and that it gives more emotion. But when I paid for my book to be edited, it needed to be freaking edited. I told him this, and he said he would do it again. A week later I got the book, and it still wasn’t fixed.

I’ve decided that I basically paid this guy to make me look like a fool, and I am eating the money I spent. I have found someone new and I’m hoping for a finished product soon. I apologize again to anyone that bought the book and was distracted by all my mistakes, but believe me I did hire an editor and got screwed. The reason I wrote this blog was because someone said that I had basically lied about hiring an editor, but I hadn’t. I am one of the realest people you’ll meet. I am honest, and I am kind, I guess that’s why I got taken advantage of.

I have met so many amazing people on this journey. I want to thank everyone that has stuck by me and continues to take time out of their days to write me to tell me how much they love my book. I never thought I would be where I am today. I was just writing about two people and hockey. I never thought it would touch people and that they would connect with the book but now that I know this, I have never been so happy.

Thankfully though all this I have learned a lot. I feel that my new book is way better grammatically! I know the difference between too, and to, then and than, and hey! I know how to spell orgasm now! Lol. I may misspell something and leave out a word, but it’s okay, because I will have a real editor this time! I love hearing from everyone, so continue with the tweets, the Facebook post, and the emails. I promise that I will always try to answer you! Thank you again, and I wish you all a Happy New Year!!

 

Love,
Toni

Also, to any authors that read this. Do not go through James Literary Services!