I Said “No” to a Potential Client

I said no to a potential client
I kind of said “no” to an editing client, and was ok with it!

Being a copy editor isn’t new to me. I’ve been doing it for a number of years. However, offering eBook editing services is a new service that I have recently added to my portfolio.

Accidental book editor

My good friend, Kim Chappell, is about to launch her book “Conquer the Trend Wave”. I met Kim through a couple of Facebook groups we both belong to, and we hit it off. We were both in the middle of launching our new companies, and so it was a great opportunity to hold each other accountable and support each other in our new endeavors.

Kim was in the middle of pulling together her new book, and I offered to take a read of it. Well, ‘reading’ turned in to editing. And a new service was born for The Intentional Marketer.

Along comes ‘Joe’

This story though, was not about me firing Kim. No – we are still working together today! This story is about another client who asked if I could edit his eBook. To protect his identity, let’s call him “Joe”. Joe saw me editing Kim’s book, so he asked if I would also edit his eBook that he was about to launch.

Something in my gut told me that I needed to read the book before letting him know if I could work with him. So I had “Joe” send me a copy of his book. The file was enormous, so I figured I had my work cut out for me, and was expecting to be reading for days.

photos and style

In reality, I read his book in 20 minutes. The “book” was full of enormous photo images, which is why the file was so large. But that wasn’t the worst of the problems. The content was written in a presentation style and was very challenging to follow. If Joe were to present it in person to his audience adding commentary, it would make a little more sense. But as an eBook, it left a lot to interpretation. There was no story to follow – just a lot of random thoughts with large images on pages.

The worst part – I’m pretty sure almost all the photos (except the ones of himself) were infringing on copyright laws. That is an enormous ‘no-no’. He was asking for someone to sue him.

So many things…

It took me a couple of days to work out how I was going to respond to “Joe”. I didn’t want to discourage him from writing, but his eBook needed a lot of work. After a number of deleted email drafts, I finally sent him the following email:

Dear “Joe”,
I have reviewed your ebook and have some feedback. 
In the current format, it reads more like your notes from a presentation you might give in a classroom or presentation environment. There is a lot of detail that could be built out further in the content, that might make it a more readable and digestible ebook. There are some grammatical issues in the book, but they are pretty easy to fix.
I would consider revising the book to include more detail as you will not be in a position to be able to talk your reader through the book in person. You don’t want to assume they can keep up with your level of intellect, or your thought process either. So make sure you stick to one topic. Build out your thoughts on that topic, before you introduce the next one. You clearly have a lot of great thoughts, opinions, and insights to share in your ebook, but you want to make sure people are able to read it and comprehend it as well. 
The other thing I noted is that a lot of the images you are using are copied off the internet. You are not allowed to use these images without permission as they are probably under copyright. If you publish this ebook, you could be sued by the owners of the images.
Just a couple of thoughts. I’m not sure there is a lot I can do to assist you with this current version of your book. I hope you take my feedback for what it is – simply trying to help you make a great book that will have a positive impact on peoples lives. 

His response was short and brief – “Excellent feedback! Very useful. Thank you.”

And that was it. We haven’t spoken since. And I’m ok with that. Sometimes providing a little feedback and a few suggestions are better than trying to make something out of nothing. This project would have been a huge investment in time and would have been unaffordable to Joe if I had taken it on due to the number of hours I would have needed to make his eBook a great eBook.
I am not a ghostwriter. I am an editor that wants to make sure that my clients are launching their best product and that it has a good chance of being successful.


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