Dear Author, I am not sure what is happening with you here.
I have called you a few times and emailed you a few times more but you are not giving me any response.
Please don’t insult me by saying you have been busy, it has been months since January where I first handed your edited manuscript over.
- If you are not happy with my service – Please say something?
- If you need to make a plan with payment – Let me know? I am always open to helping you break down a cost into smaller payments.
I hope you don’t mind if I state the obvious, I am running a small business and the money that you owe me would really go a long way to ensuring I am around for years to come to carry on helping others, just as I have helped you.
Please don’t ignore this email.
This was an actual email sent last week. Still no reply from my initially eager author on the money he owes my fledgling start-up. (Does it matter how much?)
Seven emails. Four phone calls. A Whatsapp conversation. All just to follow up with an author on the outstanding balance owed for the editing of his manuscript. I wonder how much bigger the invoice would be if I had to charge for my time doubling as a debt-collector?
This sucks. It makes the already tough job of running a business, tougher. Every cent that enters our business is well-spent. Contrary to what some may think running a small business does not pay that well. My current salary as the founder of our online startup is roughly the equivalent of what I was earning as a 22-year-old, wet-behind-the-ears, banking guy. PS, it is really not much.
Every client who hurts us by (intentionally?) not paying, damages not only the cashflow of our business but my confidence in future clients. That means that by not paying our business what is owed you will make me that much more suspicious of the next starry-eyed author who walks through our doors.
So what now?
- Do I threaten the author?
- Do I share his manuscript freely over the inter-web?
Either way, where civilized discourse seems to have failed, I have to be a dick. I don’t want to be a dick.
Yes, the cost of self-publishing can be a surprise to many. Once the veil is lifted from the soon-to-be bill for the editing and publishing of an eBook I am not surprised that some authors recoil. Yet this was not a prearranged marriage. This was more like the long-term relationship where the author knowingly commits to a process and the quoted costs.
Dear Author – You are not just hurting our business. You are hurting each and every person paid by my business. You are hurting all those authors who we will be helping during 2017. Lastly, you are hurting a passionate business owner.
For those who might be in the unfortunate position of owing money. Make a simple phone call to business or person affected. I would happily create a payment plan for anyone who might – through no fault of their own – find themselves unexpectedly short of cash.
- Being temporarily unable to pay a bill is ok – Sh*t happens. This is excusable where you make a plan to repay.
- Where you might be unhappy with the service you receive from a business, say something. (Preferably at the time you experience the poor service.)
- Hiding from the person you owe money to, where you have not given them the benefit of the doubt to help you pay back the money is unforgivable.
Please – Dear Author – Don’t be this person.