Monday, April 24, 2017

She’ll destroy your dream, for a fee. Names will be named

                     It’s really easy to get ripped-off in the publishing industry; I hate to admit it but have too much experience in this area.  The publication of my first book by Klaus Gerhart of Pohlmann Press in 1997 should have been a joyous occasion but instead it was made miserable by the lies and criminal acts of Mr. Gerhart.  The short story is Klaus did publish my book but completely ripped me off, stole the money I’d invested in his company and never paid me a damn dime of royalties or anything ever.  So, poorer but wiser I learned my lesson and for the next twenty years and sixteen books I self-published them all.  And I never stole a dime from myself!  I didn’t make a lot of money from those books, but I didn’t lose any either.  The only time I’ve lost money publishing books is when I’ve paid someone to facilitate the publication.  Twice I have paid so-called experts for their expertise and both times they’ve taken my money and left me wanting, so I don’t trust any of them anymore.  Here’s the latest story of money wasted and dreams destroyed:
                All but one of my books have been picture books.  Because of on-demand printing technology, artists like me can now publish a picture book without a publisher, but the printing process is still expensive.  One way to curb four-color printing expense is to publish an eBook.  Now when I self-publish a printed book I can also publish a PDF eBook version.  I can sell digital PDF copies of my books for ten percent of the retail cost of the printed versions, which makes them really affordable, and the color imagery looks great displayed on the screen of a computer or tablet.  I believe that the future for art books (picture books) will be the eBook format because production and retail costs are lower since the book is data and not four-color, printed paper.  And a direct-download format like Amazon’s Kindle book looks to be the most viable format for the future. 
                My idea was to publish the very first art book designed specifically for the Kindle.  I researched Kindle picture books and aside from a few poorly formatted art catalogs, there were no Kindle art books as of 2016.  The only ‘picture books’ in the Kindle format that I found were children’s books and I thought I could use children’s book formatting to produce an art book.  Although much of the research I did indicated it was seemingly possible to create an art book using children’s book illustration formatting further research indicated that is wasn’t really viable after all.
                What I needed if I was going to produce the ‘first art book formatted especially for the Kindle’ would be an ‘expert,’ someone who knew Kindle formatting.  All of my research was pointing towards nobody with the needed skills.  I even contacted Kindle Direct Publishing who told me that what I wanted to do was absolutely possible –but they wouldn’t tell how to do it.  Kindle Direct Publishing was so aggressively worthless that they wouldn’t even tell me where to look for answers!  So I did the smart thing, I gave up and shelved the project. 
                My art book project wasn’t even all that ambitious.  Twenty portfolio images, a cover and a couple other photos, and a brief essay about the photography –under thirty pages including covers.  But Kindle Direct Publishing wouldn’t provide me the means to make myself a Kindle formatting expert and there were no other ‘Kindle experts’ out there to hire.  Everything told me that my Kindle art book project just wasn’t do-able, then I met Kim Eldredge and made the worst publishing decision in twenty years.
                Kim presented herself as experienced in Kindle book formatting and she owns a company called “New Frontier Books.”  According to her website: New Frontier Books helps authors, speakers, and entrepreneurs FINALLY get their books written & published.  We arranged a meeting and she made a good impression.  She came off as knowledgeable and professional and absolutely sure that my Kindle art book project was do-able.  She was absolutely sure she could do it.  Although all of my instincts told me not to work with her because she really couldn’t do the job I stupidly ignored my (accurate, as it turned out) inner voice and I hired her.
                For ‘only’ five-hundred dollars she’d take my JPEGs and WORD files and format them to create a Kindle book.  It would only take two weeks. 

                As it turned out Kim Eldredge was absolutely unprofessional and incompetent.  If I’d read something like this, I’d of never hired her.  Read this and consider carefully with whom you work.

                Whenever someone is in a big hurry to be paid, up front, that’s a red flag that they’re only interested in money.  Unlike me, you should pay attention to that red flag.  Stupidly, I paid her $500, signed her New Frontiers Books contract and waited two weeks for………. Nothing!
                She did put something online with Kindle Direct Publishing but it wasn’t even close to what one expects a book to look like.  When I asked questions about the myriad of things she’d gotten wrong she had a litany of excuses ready.  I gave her more time and I re-worked the imagery to make her job easier but I knew I was in trouble when she didn’t even get the title of my book correct!  The title of my book was to be Lost in Time with a subtitle of The Mystery of the Attic Photos.  Kim paid so little attention and had so little regard for my book project that she incorrectly titled it, Tales from the Attic. 
                When the designer can’t even get the title of the book correct, they’re not going to get anything else correct either.  It’s also a clear indicator they don’t care.
                By now she’d blown the ‘two-weeks’ deadline but I was patient.  Kim had promised the book would be ready and for-sale in time for the 2016 Christmas season but that seemed to be slipping away.  Kim never mentioned it to me prior but while she was allegedly working on my book, she took time off to get married!  I read that on Facebook, she never had the professional courtesy to let me know she’d be taking time off for a wedding. 
                Christmas came and went and so did the ‘holiday deadline.’  I had nothing remotely close to a book by Christmas and wouldn’t by New Year’s either since Kim took a vacation with her new husband.  She already had my money, why should she care?
                Now that months had passed and all I had was a litany of excuses from Kim and no book I started wondering just why she’d absolutely refused to take any responsibility for what was clearly her inability to do the job, so I starting looking for answers.  The answers were easy to find thanks to Facebook and social media.  Why did Kim never ever take any responsibility for her incompetence?  Well, she’s a conservative republican and we know from experience and observation that conservatives always talk about ‘personal responsibility’ but never take any themselves.  So that’s an indicator.  Further digging showed Kim to be a Donald Trump supporter.  Oh, joy!  So she supports a guy who routinely stiffs contractors, is a racist and celebrates incompetence.  She displays the same behavior as her so-called president.  That too is an indicator of her business ethics.
                Based on my horrible experience, Kim Eldredge was (and is) clearly incompetent and unprofessional.  By January of 2017 I didn’t even want to work with her because I knew she couldn’t perform.  I don’t think she’s a liar, I think she really believed she knew Kindle formatting, it’s just that she refused to admit she was over her head.  I gave her more than one opportunity to cut her losses and just quit, but she kept insisting she could do the job.  But her final online proof proved otherwise – she had no idea what she was doing.  The title was still wrong!  And she kept insisting that ‘I changed the scope of the project’ beyond the original contract.  This was a lie she stuck with to the end.  I never changed anything except to do more of her work and to try to accommodate her growing ineptitude.  I finally just said ‘no’ this has to stop, you can’t do it and give me my money back.
                But when you pay upfront you never get a refund.  Kim got my money and I never got a book.  Oh, she blew me off for a while.  Then I got a letter from Lanette M. Hanna of the Davis Miles McGuire Gardner law firm.  Obviously Lanette must be a friend of Kim’s and is equally unprofessional, in my opinion.  Shyster attorney Ms Hanna informs me that Kim will refund only $100 and keep $400 to compensate herself for “17 hours” of work.  Simple math shows that to be an hourly rate of $23.53 per hour!  I never agreed to an hourly rate not to produce a book so I emailed Kim and told her simply to “finish the book.”
                Kim never finished the book.  She breached her own contract.  Kim Eldrege took $400 of my money and I got NOTHING.  On January 31 I received a check from ‘Kim Galloway’ of ‘On the Beach Publishing’ drawn on The Foothills Bank in Yuma, Arizona (does this seem fishy?) for a $100 “good will refund.”
                Kim Eldredge is a liar, unprofessional, unethical and incompetent.  My last message to Kim was to “finish the book,” and I gave her a reasonable deadline.  She (illegally) blew that off and sent a ‘refund’ I did not want.  What I wanted was either my money back or for her to finish the book AND SHE DID NEITHER.

                YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!!!!
             Here is a TRUE STORY of how ONE ‘publisher’ operates.  Now, no doubt Kim has a different view of this.  If she reads this she’ll probably be angry because I’ve told the TRUTH about her.  She’ll blame ME for her incompetence and try to say that I CHANGED THE SCOPE OF THE BOOK which is a LIE.  She’ll point to the wonderful testimonials on her website to convince you that I’m just a dipshit asshole who is ‘difficult.’ 
                If you want to gamble with your money and don’t believe me, hire Kim.  You might be happy and you might get a book done – or you could get screwed like me.  You won’t know until it’s too late!
                And look me up.  Look at my books on or Amazon.  Notice I have NO Kindle books and ask yourself, why?

                Solely based on my own, personal experience:
                Kim Eldredge is a liar, unprofessional, unethical and incompetent. 
              There are a LOT of people who claim they can do what Kim claimed she could (but couldn’t) do.  Do your own research and take a chance with one of them!!!