Makes Me Wanna Holla!
DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE DOING BUSINESS WITH ANYONE IN THE LITERARY INDUSTRY by Naleighna Kai
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT.
First and foremost, we expect everyone to be honest and fair in their business dealings. Over the past three months, I have learned otherwise.
Before doing business with ANYONE in the literary industry, do a Google search with their name, the name of their business and attached the words “fraud”, “complaint” “arrest” to it and see what the internet delivers. Websites like Ripoff Report, Better Business Bureau, absolutewrite, Predator and Editors, the Author’s Guild, and Mugshot.com provide a wealth of information about people that they can’t hide. How surprised was I to find that someone my son recently called out on social for their scam, has been arrested more than ten times for forgery, theft, bad checks, and a number of other offenses. Neither I, nor anyone in my circle, had done our due diligence like I’m encouraging you to do. We learned after the fact; after people lost time, money and credibility with their readers and clients. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do believe people can change, but if they’re still doing the same things that they’ve done in the past, this time carrying it into a literary arena, then yes, it impacts EVERYONE—readers, authors, publishers, publicists alike. This makes it hard to build trust.
On another note, one of the reasons I stopped doing CONSIGNMENT with bookstores in 2004 and aimed straight for any bookstore orders to go through distributors such as Ingram Book Group and Baker & Taylor, is that I began to hate the literary industry because it forced me to become bill collector. So many businesses (I won’t even put the ethnic background out there—you already KNOW) took the books, sold them, and never paid the authors, so I wasn’t the only one. And it wasn’t isolated to one bookstore or distributor—it was a good majority of them.
That’s where the term “ROLL UP” came from. Fed-up authors would ROLL UP to the book store or the distributor and make a scene (act a damn fool) to get their money. Some distributors put stop payments on MY checks in order to pay the major publishing houses. This isn’t something I’m guessing, this is what someone slipped up and TOLD ME!!!! Eventually, I did receive most of the money— (all except one brother who pulled the same crap in St. Louis that he did in Chicago). One check came in the mail about three years later and when I did a quick look at the website, it showed that the owner was coming to Chicago. Well, they sent that money so that they wouldn’t be a victim of an embarrassing roll up at their event. Truthfully, I hadn’t thought of doing it but appreciated that they thought I had it in me. LOL.
WORD TO THE WISE. Instead of consignment, lower the cost of the books and have them pay you flat out right then and there BEFORE you leave the books. Don’t trust that “send the check in the mail” BS or I’ll send a PayPal. They pay you up front, then it’s THEIR inventory and they’re invested in seeing it walk out the door to make their money back. On consignment where you wait for the money, it’s still YOUR inventory and you don’t get a dime unless it sells and they bookstore doesn’t have to push for it to do so because they don't have any financial skin in the game. And sometimes, even if the books do sell, you STILL won’t get a dime because that money is now tied up in work they publish themselves and for other authors, store operations, personal endeavors, more scams, etc.
ON AN EVEN further note. When doing business with some, send it as a business transaction and NOT a private payment or through their pay me link. Why? Sending it as part of an invoice or not as a personal payment means that you have some recourse with PayPal for the transactions when it comes to disputes and refunds. If it’s a personal payment, it’s money in the wind. Ask them to send you an INVOICE, not a Pay me link. INVOICE. I learned firsthand that I tried to save an event host fees by sending the money Friends and Family. Well that came back to bite me in the ass because it already has a strike against her with BBB, California State's Attorney's office, Federal Trade Commission, and the Officer of Inspector General for disability fraud; eventually the host hotel will be made aware as well. She has a Ripoff Report, a Better Business Bureau report and if you google her name it displays her fraudulent action at the top of the search, including snippets of a transcript from an ill-timed and unfortunate video touting a suicide attempt and being a resorting to prostitution as a ploy for public sympathy and as a way of getting out of refunding my money. Nothing dies on the internet and I have a complete copy of that video. Bottom line: you don’t get to keep my cash AND your good name. But I digress.
I have to tell you that this is my year for lessons. Twice two Black women, literary event hosts, have disappointed me to a level that I would never had thought possible--all because they're being greedy and not living up to that front they put out to others.. But I don’t want others to make that same mistake