How to Find a Trustworthy Editor

Ok, so you’ve read my previous post on my not-so-great experience with Jessica Hollis-Brown, a fraudulent, so-called editor. I’ve had an enormous response from a lot of people, many of whom I’ve never met. This has restored my faith in humans. Along with this fantastic support has been a lot of good advice from people who have had a lot more experience in the world of getting a book edited, than I have. I am going to share that advice with you right now, and hopefully we’ll all be a little bit wiser and more able to side-step the evil minions of the literary world.

  1. The biggest tip I can give you, which I didn’t do, (excuse me for a moment while I slap my own hand) is to talk to other people who have used their services. Don’t be afraid to ask what other work they’ve done, and get the contact details for their clients. If they won’t provide them, walk away.
  2. Ask what their qualifications are—this, unfortunately, didn’t save me. She said she had a degree, which she very well might have. A degree in English, literature or anything else, is not a degree in honesty.
  3. Check any memberships they claim to have. Ms Hollis-Brown claims to be a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association. I didn’t check at the time, but a friend who saw my blog post decided to check, and guess what? She isn’t on their member directory (slap number 2 coming my way). http://www.the-efa.org/contact.php
  4. Always pay with CREDIT CARD. I paid with paypal. Paypal doesn’t insure services, only goods. They said if I’d paid with credit card my bank could recoup the money. I, of course, direct debited money from my bank account to Paypal, so I wasn’t covered (I’m off to the naughty corner for my third misdemeanor).

So, if anyone has any other tips they’d like to share, please do. I’d like to thank everyone who has sent me words of support; you are all the silver lining to this cloudy situation. Thanks also for helping to spread the word via Twitter, Facebook and Google. There is a wonderful community of writers and readers out there and I’m glad to be a part of it. Cheers and thanks for visiting.

 

 

Beware of Scam Editors – Jessica Hollis Brown (Now Jessica A Hollis)

Ok guys, this is a post that I didn’t really want to do, but felt it was my only option. When I decided to self publish my book I wanted to do it right. The only way to do a good job was to get it edited. I chose someone I met on Twitter (yes I know not everyone on Twitter can be trusted). Jessica Hollis Brown, whose Twitter tag is @jbrowncr seemed nice and friendly. I sent her the first chapter, which she edited and sent back. It seemed ok.

We agreed she would edit my book. This was in December 2011. Before she did any more work she requested 50% of the money upfront, which is perfectly normal. What isn’t normal, is that after I paid the $400 I didn’t receive any more of my edited manuscript. As time went by I emailed and it usually took 3 of my emails to get one back. Then the excuses started: from “my computer cord broke” to “my husband had an epileptic fit” to an email from her ‘husband’ which told me she was in hospital with pneumonia, even the fact that she had to travel out of town to attend a friend’s funeral. I don’t know if I’m naïve, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt.

By March I was sick of it so I told her she had one week to send me the manuscript or I was cancelling our agreement and wanted my money back. Of course I haven’t seen the manuscript or one cent of my money. She offered to pay it off in installments, about a month ago, but nothing has come through. I sent her an email over a week ago, telling her the only option I had left was to tell everyone about my experience. I haven’t heard back from her, surprise, surprise.

So this is just to let you know my experience. I am very disappointed and $400 poorer, money I can ill afford to lose. But I guess some people are dishonest and I was unlucky enough to find one of them. So just a warning, because there’s nothing else I can do. Paypal cannot get my money back and because I didn’t pay with credit card the bank can’t help. I’ll be more careful next time, but that’s little consolation now. Her website is http://jessiebincr.wordpress.com/category/creativity/ and she is on Facebook.

Sorry to be a Negative Nelly but I want to make sure I save someone else the trauma of losing so much money. If Jessica wants to pay me back, I will gladly take this post down, but until then, it stays.

UPDATE 25th July, 2014: She is active again as Jessica A Hollis. Authors, beware. This is her Facebook profile https://www.facebook.com/jhollismomo4/about. She may end up making it private when she finds out about this, but as long as everyone is wary of her, my job is done.

UPDATE 17th August, 2019: I decided to see what she was up to, and ha ha, she’s still in jail. She was extra stupid and tried to flee to Canada to avoid her 60 month jail sentence for fraud. The Justice Department kindly gave her an additional 48 months of jail time. Her husband, who commented on this post, or maybe it was her commenting and pretending to be him, is also in jail, so yay. Glad the FBI are good at what they do. If you want to read about how stupid she is, here’s the link to sentencing information https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/north-carolina-woman-sentenced-48-months-prison-fleeing-country-avoid-telemarketing-fraud. I know it’s not zen of me, but sucked in, Jessica scam artist. You got what you deserved. Nice to know Karma is doing her job :).