Hello: I am a Newbie and have enjoyed the newsletter and roaming through the forums. This is my first post. I have two manuscripts completed - a 60,000 word novel-in-stories and a 59,000 word mystery novel - that I am hoping to get published. I took a short class offered through NC University at Charlotte (UNCC) on book publishing, facilitated by a local writer. He provided bios of folks he knew that perhaps could be of help to new writers, among them the bio for a "book packager" operating under the name of October Press. Editing is one of the services provided by October Press, according to the bio and the web site. The individual who founded October Press wrote in the Q&A portion of the bio that "it is well worth being patient and trying to get published by traditional methods before exploring alternative methods" and recommended getting a third party critique. After reading everything I could find about October Press' founder on line, I contacted her by e-mail and supplied a writing sample from my novel-in-stories, the ms I planned to submit to her. I told her my goal was to find a small independent publisher and that I was not interested in self-publishing. She agreed to take on the editing assignment for $600, with half due up front. My check for $300 was cashed three days after I mailed it. Three months later, I contacted her (again by e-mail) for a status, and she advised she would be sending the completed "critique" with 7-10 days. A month more went by, and I followed up again. After no word, I continued to follow up by e-mail and then began leaving telephone messages. I finally contacted the local writer who had introduced me to October Publishing, to see if he knew of some problem the individual was facing. He was successful in contacting her, and she e-mailed me that her computer had crashed and she had not received my e-mails. (She gave no reason for not returning my phone calls.) She promised to mail the completed project by May 22 or 23. When I did not receive the package by the first week in June, I e-mailed again, several times, and also sent a letter by regular mail. Nothing. My local writer contact suggested I send a registered letter, and I did so, demanding a firm deadline for completion of the editing project. The letter was signed for, but I received no response. After more e-mails and phone messages, I sent another regular letter, demanding my money back by January 12, 2007. Nothing. Since that time, I have filed a complaint with the BBB in her area and have also filed a Internet Crime complaint. I have heard nothing from either of these to date. I would appreciate some advice as to what to do next.
I have refrained from using this individual's name, because I don't want to create a negative "Google event" for her until I have tried everything else. However, I will give you enough of her bio that you can identify her if you wish, and also to illustrate why I am so frustrated at this point. Here goes. This individual is the President of the Board of Trustees of the NC Writers Network. She is on the Advisory Board of the Southeastern Booksellers Association. She writes book reviews for a number of magazines and is an on-air book reviewer and commentator, heard on NPR in her area. She is one of the organizers of a crime writers book festival. She served as a retail book buyer for an independent bookstore (now closed) and formed October Publishing to help authors "package books that are as well-designed, edited and manufactured as those by the industry's major publishers."
I apologize for the length of this post. I appreciate any advice you have.