Friday, March 26, 2010

Dialog with a pissed-off publisher

I recently slammed the new vanity publishing operation of a litle-known traditional publisher. The owner is also a writer and editor. I criticized her writing and editing, based on the abysmal quality of her press release and websites.

Her writing has errors in grammar, spelling and typography and is often awkward and unclear. She even used a copyright date several years in the future. She also makes unsubstantiated claims, offers free books that are not free, and used a press release service that shows ads for competitors.

All in all, I thought the operation was pathetic.

I got four emails from the woman who runs the business. Rather than disagree or disprove my criticisms, she used ad-homonym attacks more suited to an elementary school playground than business discourse. She saw my photo and thought she could score debating points by implying that I was overweight and bald. (I confess to being both, but neither condition hurts my writing, and my wife and dog love me the way I am.)

Here are some excerpts from our "dialog."

(her) You obviously have too much time on your hands to down talk everyone elses businesses.

(me) I have a lot to do, and I do what I want to do and need to do. I don't "down talk everyone elses businesses," just some bad businesses.

Also, the correct word is "else's." An editor should know that.

I've never encountered the phrase "down talk" used as a synonym for "criticize," and a Google search didn't reveal anyone using it the way you do. What planet did you learn English on?

(her) Get a life

(me) I have one.

(her) call Jenny Craig, and get Rogain!

(me) Ooh Ooh. Did you learn that technique in debating club? If you can’t make a logical or factual argument, you use childlike physical insults. They may be effective in third grade, but not now.

Can you defend yourself against even one of my criticisms?

By the way, editor, you spelled "Rogain" wrong. It's "Rogaine." Even a spell-checker knows better than you do.

And the men on the covers of two of your books seem to have less hair than I do. Did you recommend Rogaine for them?

You are pathetic. You are a terrible writer, and should not be taking money for providing editing and publishing services.

(her) Why would you talk about me like this when you don't even know me.

(me) I don’t need to know you to write about you, any more than a book reviewer needs to know an author in order to review a book, or a restaurant critic needs to know a chef to review a meal. You chose your words and a format for presenting those words to the world, and I reacted to your words.

(her) My kids by the way, think your really great,

(me) Good. But, Ms. Editor, you need a comma after "kids," and the correct word is "you're."

(her) especially how you down played [sic] our abusive past.

(me) I wrote, "I'm sorry about the abuse." I didn’t have to say anything. I could have said that you should not have stayed in an abusive marriage for 15 years. I could have said that you should have left after the first abusive incident. I could have said that you should not have had babies with a man who had been abusing you for nine years. But I was writing about your business, not your personal life. Maybe I shouldn’t have said I was sorry about the abuse.

(her) May God bless you.

(me) And may God help you to find a career you are better-suited for. You clearly should not be writing or editing.

(her) WOW! Your a great man of God

(me) Again, it's "you're." Where did you learn the English language?

(her) and I like that you feel like your

(me) The correct word is "you're."

(her) doing the world a service and duty

(me) How does someone do the world a duty?

(her) by criticizing everyone else.

(me) I don't criticize everyone. I specialize in incompetents and liars.

(her) That is absolutely the way of a Christian.

(me) I'll have to take your word for it, since I'm not a Christian.

(her) Don't speak about why I stayed in my marriage, if you don't know anything about it and have never experienced it, then don't talk negative about it.

(me) I can speak or write about anything that interests me. You are not my boss, my mother or my censor. Besides, YOU brought up the subject. YOU decided to tell the world you married the wrong man.

(her) ..your wrong on that,

(me) Again, the word is "you're." It's time to end your dreams of an editing career.

(her) no matter how you come up with something negative to say about it. Why not ask a million people why did they stay in abusive marriages of both men and women and children/teenagers are also victims.

(me) I don't know a million abused people, or even three. I know one woman who was abused by her father and later by her husband. She left both of them. She even hit her husband with a baseball bat after he hit her. Maybe you should have tried that -- and then grabbed your kids, gone to a shelter and reported your husband to the police.

(her) I like how you blast people in regards to domestic abuse and question them in an awful manner.

(me) I don't think my questions were awful. I genuinely don't understand why you stayed with an abusive man, and continued to procreate with him. Even if you were a masochist, you should have gotten your kids out of that home.

(her) Thank you wonderful man of God. I pray He has mercy on your soul.

(me) I don't think I have a soul.

(her) Your parents must be proud.

(me) My mother is proud. My father is dead.

(her) Look, I don't do blogs and I can say a lot of mean and nasty things about you, but I have a business to run rather

(me) The correct word is "whether."

(her) you think I'm running a good business or not. Your

(me) The correct word is "you're."

(her) not putting money in my pockets or taking care of my kids. I am doing very well for a single mother and have done so thus far so quite frankly, your opinion opposed to many satisfied customers and networking friends, what you have to say doesn't matter.

(me) Here's an opinion from someone else: "I had a run in with [her] and let me tell you, I would not pay her a dollar to publish my books! She has to be one of the most unprofessional women I have ever met. I purchased a book she edited and my five year old son could do better."

(her) If this is how you get paid

(me) I get paid for books, not for blogs.

(her) by putting other people down and what they have accomplished or trying to do, then go for it! I can say that I have accomplished alot

(me) "Alot" is NOT a word in the English language, dear Ms. Editor.

(her) with coming out of an abusive marriage and being homeless with my children. I wish you all the luck in the world Michael.

(me) Thanks, but I don't believe in luck.

(her) I am not going to go back and forth with you on this. I have a family to take care of. Thank you for your opinions. I have learned from them and maybe you can help me with my website and give me tips on what I need to do to make my service a much better one or what I can do to make my website look much better.

(me) Get rid of the silly and unnecessary animations and hire an editor.



  1. Wow! Crazy responses--- I thought mine was bad. Michael, other than frequently misspelling your name, I will try to keep my typos to a minimum in your presence. And you're my favorite Jew-- that's coming from a Catholic (our Pope is having a rough year, but most of it is deserved.)

    And I never noticed that you were bald. I just thought it was the lighting. Ah, hair is soooooo overrated anyway!

  2. I agree with Christy, must avoid all mistakes in the company of the master.

    still some crazy responses.. a bit odd I must say. ( Not you; her.)

  3. Rebecca's right...

    I nominate you for a new nickname...

    "Michael the MASTER!"

    It's certainly catchy!

    It can be modified, too-- how 'bout...

    {task} MASTER
    {grammar} MASTER
    {self-publishing} MASTER
    {thigh} MASTER

    The possibilities are endless!

  4. Those are pretty good. My employees sometimes boss me around but my wife might accuse me of being a taskMaster. I don't remember if she signed a contract to "love, honor and OBEY."

    I like Master of the Universe, but you left that one out.

    OTOH, "Favorite Jew" is impressive. Have I displaced Jesus?

    I'm not quite "Master of all he surveys."

    My "Stories I'd Tell My Children" book, which is supposed to go on sale on 4/1, has about a dozen bad hyphenations.

    I also found some bloopers in Aaron's new "POD for Profit," so I guess he's not perfect, either.

  5. Don't forget to tell Aaron about the bloopers-- he appreciates that. I just got my copy of POD for Profit today. I'm going to try and read through it next week.

    I forgot that Jesus was a Jew... you know that we Catholics don't pay much attention to those little details. We just do whatever the Pope tells us. We like Mary so much we put up with all the shenanigans.

    All your books have bad hyphens because you just LOVE hymens! Ooops wait... sorry-- where was I going with that?

    I, on the other hand, am quite pejudicial of hyphens and have banned their use from all my books, even if it means that all my sentences look stretched out like salt-water taffy.