First and foremost, I am an author. But I'm also a reader. A blogger. A self-publisher. An editor--both for a small traditional publisher and as a freelancer. I wear many hats within the publishing world, as do a lot of people. Throughout the years, I've learned that authors are hustlers--we're always doing something to get ahead in this industry, and I've always found that to be rather cool. But let's be honest: this industry has changed so, so much since I started in it. Some changes have been for the greater good. Others, however... ehhhh not so much.
Indie authors--someone who publishes their own book from start to finish--often has to hire people to help them. Now, I know of several authors who have taught them the skills necessary to be able to do everything on their own, from writing the book to making the cover art to creating and running successful ads. For the majority of indie authors, though, we have to outsource to freelancers.
As a fellow freelancer, I 100% support this part of the industry, and I feel like publishing wouldn't function as well as it does without these skilled individuals offering their expertise (often for reduced prices, too, but that's a different post for a different day). As a fellow author, I adore the people I hire to help me, and I know that I wouldn't be able to do what I do without them. The relationship between authors and freelancers is one of trust and mutual respect.
But what happens when that trust and respect is lost?
It's no secret that I've been scammed by various publishing "professionals" over the years, (mostly small publishers) and yes, I've learned my lesson. But, I'm also the type of person that gives others the benefit of the doubt. Has that bitten me in the ass over the years? You betcha! Regardless, I refuse to let anyone else's decisions or morals affect who I am and what I believe is right.
Have I been scammed by freelancers since I started self-publishing? Not that I'm aware of. At least, not to the point where I felt the need to publicly warn others. So, either I've been really lucky, or I'm getting better at spotting the scammers.
This leads me to my point--yes, I have one--Over the past month or so, I have seen so many freelancers publicly naming and shaming authors for getting services and then not paying for them. I get why freelancers choose to do this. First, it brings attention to the matter, enough so that sometimes it shames the author into honoring their commitment to pay. Second, the freelancer wants to protect the community in the way of warning others to watch out for said author.
If you're an author -- pay the people you hire! Don't be a scammer.
As authors, we have this fear that if we advocate for ourselves, if we speak up when we've been wronged, we'll be labeled as "difficult" and garner a reputation that will make others not want to work with us. And I'm sorry--and excuse my language--but that's utter bullshit!
If we pay for something, we expect to receive it. Period. It's no different than if you were to buy something online, pay for it, yet never get it. You'd be angry, right? You'd contact the company / seller, demand to know where your stuff is. You'd want to get the thing you ordered or you'd want your money refunded. It's no different when working with a freelancer.
If you're a freelancer--give people what they've paid for! Don't be a scammer!
And authors: Please, I'm begging you, do not be afraid to stand up and make things right. I'm not suggesting you immediately go public and blast a freelancer all over social media right away. In fact, that's a very bad idea. But do not be afraid to reach out to the freelancer in a respectful and professional manner in an effort to resolve the issue. If you do that, and it still doesn't help, then take to social media and warn others. I know I wouldn't want to inadvertently hire someone who is known for this type of behavior.
We're all adults. We're all professionals. We're all in this business because we love books. We should not be in this us vs. them mentality, but sadly, that seems like where we've landed. And I, for one, think it sucks.
Born and raised in the small town of Mexico, New York, KARA LEIGH MILLER is an only child who was forced to find ways to entertain herself. Playing make believe with her Barbie dolls and stuffed animals was her first real taste of storytelling before she became old enough to develop a love affair with the written word. In addition to being an author, Kara is a freelance editor and the Editorial Director at Anaiah Press, LLC. Kara now lives in Michigan with her husband, three (of five) kids, five pit bulls, and four cats. When she's not busy writing romance novels that leave readers swooning, she's spending time with her family, working out, or binge watching Netflix. And sometimes, she'll even play golf with her husband, even though she totally sucks at it.