#GratefulFriday – making lemonade

There are many things I’m grateful for, so I’ve decided to turn every Friday post into honoring those experiences or people who have touched my life. With all the negative things in the world, I thought this a nice reprieve.

This week’s #GratefulFriday is a bit backhanded because my gratitude comes in the form of not having someone in my life – a certain publisher that’s been widely talked about as being an author mill.

My tenure with them began many years ago, which I discussed here.  Because of that blog post, they sic’d their lawyer on me, threatening me with “further action” if I didn’t remove what they felt were lies. When I ignored them, their lawyer contacted me again with the same threats. So I went into the blog post and made some changes because I discovered that my claim of successfully suing them and winning was inaccurate – and this is thanks to my attorney, who led me to believe otherwise.

He is no longer my attorney.

This change in my blog post thrilled them beyond belief, and they couldn’t contain their glee. So much so, that they felt compelled to email me this love letter:

Thank you for removing the false statements that you, bafflingly, had completely fabricated out of thin air, and posted on the internet. We do not know why you would fabricate false statements, but it is easy to see why you keep hidden from your associates the fact that you:

– made up completely false, fabricated, lies
– posted the lies on the internet
– were caught posting these lies
– were issued a demand to remove the lies
– you immediately complied and removed the lies

Please do not fabricate lies about us again. Inquiries made on this issue will result in our describing your being caught in dishonesty, the nature of your obviously false statements, and the fact that you did exactly what we instructed you to do: removed your lies from the internet.

Thank you,

The company whose initials are P and A (my edit – I’m checking to see if they actually follow my blog or take action when they see their name pop up in Google Alert)

They tried to force me to remove the part where I talked about fearing for my safety, but come on – how would they know how I felt about having my husband’s name and hometown exposed on their author site (which anyone can read) by someone who admitted to being one of their employees?

So in spite of my initial agony from this company, the ultimate ending has been very sweet. Every time we sign a fabulous new author, or watch sales numbers climb, I bless my experience with them because without their abuse, none of this would have happened.

I could have easily allowed myself to become bitter over this experience, but where’s the fun in being the only one suffering? My best revenge was to become better than what I’d gotten.

So today is about making lemonade out of lemons. How about you? What lemons did Life send you and you made the conscious decision to make lemonade?

15 Responses to #GratefulFriday – making lemonade

  1. Amanda Adams says:

    I’m thankful to you Lynn for using what you learned to save me from a similar fate. Funny how bad things often lead to great things . . . eventually.

    Happy Friday – see you Tuesday!

  2. Oh gosh, how strange/amazing was that encounter? Truly one for my Wild ‘n Weird files.

  3. Becky Mushko says:

    As the saying goes, “living well is the best revenge.”

    Since this author mill now has a so-called literary agent, who—for a fee, of course—allegedly queries their authors’ books to real publishers, I wonder if she will ever contact you.

  4. NinjaFingers says:

    Well, I can’t talk…I fell for poetry.com many years ago *blush*.

    I’ve saved more than one person from the clutches of this particular publisher, though.

    As for lemonade? I dunno, really. I can’t think of anything.

  5. Lauren says:

    I like this idea of being grateful for what is not in your life this week.

    For me, that would be my old publisher. I was the books editor for nearly three years at a local weekly newspaper (now defunct). Initially, I was brought on by the editor but he left shortly after I arrived. His partner, who bought him out, became editor. He was not a good editor.

    The staff suffered terribly. You could see the progression week by week when someone new would come in, have the prime office, get moved to a cubicle desk a couple of months later, and then be gone. There were times you could chart it almost week by week.

    Fortunately, I was freelance but this “editor,” who rarely communicated took it upon himself to suddenly cut my column in half with no notification. Nor did he ever bother to edit what he did cut. He just cut, and he wasn’t respectful of the pieces nor did he ever attempt to ask me to edit.

    Two instances in particular stood out. First, he changed the wording so drastically in one column for Memorial Day that he made it sound as if I agreed with his rabid pro-war policies. (I hold opposite views, but what I took pains to do was to be fair to both sides and the books; that was destroyed.) Second, he changed a headlne of a column I wrote abotu Michael Moore coming to town for a signing and not only made it longer and more awkward but made it so it created a vicious, mean-spirited attack upon the man.

    I was talked out of resigning by friends both times, but I sure was happy when the paper spent its last year on its deathbed.

    More importantly, I learned, up close and personally, what NOT to do as an editor. And for that, I am grateful. Those kinds of learning opportunities are rare gems once you get over the painful process.

    Thank you, Bill!

  6. Kim Kircher says:

    My favorite line: “where’s the fun in being the only one suffering?” Holding a grudge never helps. Glad you know you’re out from under that threat.

  7. Julie Rowe says:

    I want to thank every editor who rejected one, or more, of my manuscripts. They were right. Those manuscripts weren’t ready, and each rejection compelled me to go back and edit, revise or move on to write a new story.

    If it weren’t for those rejections, I wouldn’t have kept learning, asking questions and striving to become a better writer. I wouldn’t have found my current publisher or worked with my wonderful editor. I wouldn’t be proud to have my first book coming out in November.

    I look back at all those rejections and think, “Thank God the editor rejected that manuscript!”

  8. Julie, I hope that every author who wrote back to an editor calling their heritage into question reads your comment.

    I’m excited to hear more about your new book. Spill! And congratulations!

  9. CA Marshall says:

    I suppose I could say that the poor economy has been my bag of lemons. When I completed my MA in creative writing in England in 2008, I was looking up options to be able to stay in that country. I applied to every job I could find, including hotel janitor positions, hoping that it would be enough to get by. I reasoned with myself that I could write in the evenings and on weekend.

    That search proved fruitless though, and I hung my head and returned to the states where the job market was just as bad, but I could live with my family rent-free. I thought I had failed and felt bad every time someone asked me why I didn’t stay on in England since I had always professed that I loved it so much (and I still do). It wasn’t for lack of love, but lack of sufficient bank account balances.

    I applied for jobs in the US too, but to no avail. I finally turned to my other writing friends and found that my side thing of helping to edit papers and manuscripts was a viable option. I had been doing it for free for years because I enjoyed it. Those friends were kind enough to recommend me to their friends and I began charging small fees for my work. As my experience grew, I charged a little more.

    Soon enough, I had a little business going that was just enough to keep food on my table and kibble in my pups bowl. I went legit then, throwing myself wholeheartedly into being a freelance editor. I got an EIN, a business bank account, a proper email and website, and I’ve never looked back.

    I suppose I could have been happy as a hotel janitor writing on the weekends, but I’m so very glad I didn’t get that job. My whole life is about books now, from interning and reading those first queries, editing some great books by fabulous people and helping to make those great books spectacular, and then seeing the fruit of all our labors when a book finally comes out.

    I’m not rolling in money ala Scrooge McDuck, but it’s enough to get by on. I have the freedom to write when inspiration strikes (including the wee hours of the morning), to take classes and improve my skills and not have to worry about scheduling conflicts, and I’m surrounded by fabulous publishing people like you, Lynn!

    I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

  10. Lev Raphael says:

    Julia reminded me that I am grateful for losing a job. I was going to get a longer-term appt, at a university and the politics between people higher up made that not happen. Rather than continue with one-year slots, I jumped ship. 21 books later, had I not been sabotaged by someone who hated the person who had originally hired me, I don’t know if I’d be as widely published and as successful.

  11. Lev, that is such a cool story. I love how things we think are devastating at the time end up being blessings. This kind of thing happens to me all the time. Disappointment comes along, and I want to bury my head in one of the beagle’s margaritas. It isn’t until more time passes that something better happens because of that initial disappointment.

    It’s times like those that make me wonder exactly who is pulling the strings, yanno?

  12. Lev Raphael says:

    Here’s my latest turnaround story. I queried Tablet, the on-line Jewish mag about a story, the editor said yes, and when I sent it in he asked for something 100% different. I was flummoxed, but sent it to a Huffington Post editor and was accepted immediately with a title change only and then I wrote back to the editor: “I’m sorry we see this story so differently, but you can read it now on The Huffington Post.” And I helpfully gave him the link. 🙂

    That’s how I got started blogging there. The whole thing happened in less than 24 hours.

  13. Julie Rowe says:

    Lynn, I sold Icebound, a medical romance set in Antarctica, to Carina Press.

    I’m very happy with my experience with Carina Press and just sold a second title, also a medical romance, to them a couple of weeks ago.

  14. Lev Raphael says:

    Pulling the strings, or making “adjustments”?

  15. Hmm…I’ll get back to you on that, Lev.

    Julie, good for you! Carina is the ebook imprint of Harlequin, right? I hope you sell a ton.

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