Years ago after my husband started publishing books. He worked with local authors and directed some of them to me for website design. Most of them were incredibly easy to deal with. They paid on time and there were no issues. However, one of them gave my name to one of their “friends” who had self-published children’s books.
First, she was fifteen minutes late for our meeting and then brought a “friend” who was a college student who was renting out one of her spare rooms.
Client: I’m really excited about this new book. It’s amazing. Also, I’m an artist and I did all illustrations myself.
She told me what she wanted the site to look like as I made notes and gave her a quote which she could work with.
Me: Can I see any of your books for reference?
Client: I don’t have any with me, but I’ll send you some images for the site.
Following that meeting, I created what was, in my opinion, a great site with a nice light appeal. She gave me a bunch of reviews from her friends, I put them up, she paid me and everyone was happy.
Client: The book is set to release from the self-publishing company in 24 hours. I’ll send you the link to put on the site then. Also, I’ll send you some of the illustrations to put up.
The next day I got the link and the illustrations, and my heart sank. The “beautiful” illustrations were literally the exact same image copy-pasted image on every page. She’d colored them, badly, with crayon.
The book, it turned out, was only $12 pages and sold for $30 as a softcover. I was horrified to be helping such a project, but thought “it’s okay, I’m just the site designer.” I put up the links and did everything she asked. I thought we were done.
Two weeks later at damn near midnight I get a phone call from her. She was in a fit of rage and sobbing so uncontrollably that for the first five minutes I can’t even understand her.
Client: (sobbing) I… got… a one star-review on A-a-a-a-ma-zon. You h-h-h-ave to take it down! You have to!
Me: I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do to remove that review.
Client: Why not? Why won’t you help? I can’t believe someone would do this, I’m going to hire some lawyers and hunt down the person who’s slandered my book.
Me: (starting to be annoyed) I’m sorry, I know this is tough, but my time isn’t free. If you want to keep talking I’ll need to make this a paid consultation.
She kept talking.
Client: I’m just so disappointed!
I sent her an invoice for the time of the call. She didn’t pay me but instead sent me a “free” copy of her “book.”
Last I heard, she stopped publishing books and found another passion in hairdressing.