Sunday, June 14, 2009

Trolls are Alive and Well

Update: A previous client of mine has agreed to share her critique and 10PT. Worksheet as samples of what I offer. If anyone is interested, please email me at and I'll send you the files. Angelika is a true Angel! :) Thank you!

For the Record:

Some “people” have made false claims that I am preying on authors of Publish America and charging them thousands of dollars to book doctor their novels. Where this fantasy generated from is anyone’s guess because the “people” claiming this have never given the name(s) of these supposed victim(s) and when confronted and asked for the evidence, they turned tail, claiming they never made such accusations. Then less than a month later, posted the very same claims about me.

These “people” claim they are providing a service by warning others about me—but have failed to contact Victoria Strauss, Preditors and Editors or any other number of “writer beware” services available. If their intention was truly to warn others, one would think I would have been reported by now. Perhaps their lack of evidence and obvious ignorance about the industry is holding them back. So let’s correct some of the bad information being put out there today by these “people.”

For some “people” anyone who is paid to critique a work, or rewrite a work for that matter, is a “scammer”—which is about as accurate as saying that every time you take your car in for an oil change, you are being scammed because you could do that change yourself—simply by following the directions in the manual that came with your vehicle.

Yes, writer’s can read books to hone their craft. They can follow manuals published for their benefit. They can even get their friends and other writers to give them a critique for free.

None of that, however, makes a legitimate critique service a “scam” in the same way that your ability to change your own oil, or have a friend or family member do it for free, makes an oil-changing company a “scam.”

Writer’s Digest, Harlequin, and many other reputable places offer paid-for critiques at higher prices with less return than I provide. They are not scammers—they deliver on the services they offer for the prices they ask. That is a business.

I run the legitimate Rotowriter Critique Service. This is how I earn money between royalty checks and help aspiring writers learn the craft. Rarely have I taken on “ghost writing” or “rewriting” work because of the time involved. (I do have my own writing career to focus on.)

Just some of my qualifications to run this critique service are:

I am a multi-published and award-winning author.
I worked as a mentor through RWA’s CLUES program.
I have placed, won and judged RWA writing contests.
I designed and taught online writing courses and workshops through Writer’s Village University and for Milli Thornton, the author of Fear of Writing.
I have a quarterly column in the Wisconsin Regional Writer’s Journal titled Critique Corner.
I am chairwoman of the Jade Ring Contest, a writing contest that has been in operation for decades.
Manuscripts I’ve edited have gone on to be published, including novels by Jonathan Miller who writes legal thrillers and the upcoming Echelon Press release, Torn From Normal by Martin Bartloff.

To date, I have never had an unsatisfied client and in fact, much of my business is repeat, or through referral. In other words, I rarely ever solicit or advertise my service. This is the reason many of my readers and online friends never even knew it existed up until some “people” chose to air their misinformation.

Now, on to what I offer in my critique packages:

Each critique, no matter the length, is accompanied by a 10 point worksheet. This, I’ve been told by a previous client of mine, is worth the cost of my basic package by itself. A copy of the 10 Point Worksheet can be found here:
I also allow 3 initial questions so I can better understand the concerns of the author (perhaps they’ve been told they write passively and wish to have extra help with this) and then 3 follow up questions to ensure my suggestions are understood fully.

My prices are set (far) below industry standards because the entire reason for creating the service was to make available professional critiques to aspiring writers who couldn’t afford to take their work elsewhere.

I do not claim to be an “editorial service” because I, myself, need an editor. I do claim, however, to offer a line-by-line critique and explanations that amount to a one-on-one tutorial on the craft of storytelling and the mechanics of writing.

ANY writer wishing to purchase a larger package MUST first purchase the basic package: 3,000 words for $20.00 to ensure they want what I offer. Should they choose to purchase a larger package afterward, the $20.00 is deducted from that cost.

The packages I have are currently on special are as follows:

3,000 word critique: Normally $25.00--now $20.00

Submission package (First 3 chapters, Synopsis and Query): Normally $150.00--Now $100.00

Full Manuscript critique 50-75K: $500.00--Now: $400.00
(Just comments without critique: $200.00--Now: $150.00)

Full Manuscript critique 76-110K: $750.00--Now: $650.00
(Just comments without critique: $275.00--Now: $200.00)

Full Manuscript rewrite 50-75K: $1000.00--Now: $900.00

Full Manuscript rewrite 76K-110K: $1500--Now: $1300.00

As a comparison to industry standards, my basic package works out this way:

3,000 words at 250 words per page=12 pages

In industry standards, a critique as I do would be considered “Substantive Line Editing” and the rates are as follows:

1-6 ms pgs/hr = $40-65/hr
(Taken from the EFA: )

Even at the highest number of pages per hour and the lowest rate, I’m still under-charging by $60.00 and that discrepancy only increases as the packages go higher.

In the end, I welcome any investigation by any “watchdog” group interested in the validity of these "people's" claims.

One last note: These “people” claim that being a member of an organization like the EFA is a measure of a person’s ethics—it isn’t. They have no vetting process other than making sure your dues are paid in full each year. So be careful—simply because someone might belong to an organization such as the EFA, it doesn’t mean they have scruples.

P.S. I am not accepting new clients at this time. Sorry!


Cat Connor said...

There are trolls everywhere! Sounds like you've experienced more than your fair share.

J.R. Turner said...

I know! It's a crazy cyberverse out there. What's worse though, is this guy is claiming to be the go-to guy for the industry. I feel so bad for the people listening to him but I guess they'll learn to double check what they're being told in the future. I just hope that it happens before they end up burned.

Thanks for the comment!


Christy said...

Aww man. If everything is on special but you are not accepting new clients, how do I take advantage of the special prices? LOL - I guess the better question is when will you start accepting new clients? :D Just curious because I'm not done with my writing now anyway.

J.R. Turner said...

Lol, Christy :) The special will continue until I update my website again ;) Probably around the time my next book comes out--which means there will be a window of opportunity between sending in and the release date when I'll accept new clients again.

Right now, I'm finishing up work already contracted for and polishing up School's Out 4Ever :) I can't wait for everyone to get a chance ot read this one! :)

Anyhoo, thanks for chiming in. The more I know people are getting the *correct* information, the better I feel :)


Martin Bartloff said...

Moin Jenny,

Use me as reference if you like. I probably used your services more than others and I'd come back for help from you anytime--because you're the greatest!!


Anonymous said...

You know what kills me about the people who would call any and all services like the one you offer a scam simply because you're being paid? And I say this without knowing much about your services, but I know the type who these sorts of things quite well. They do so based, in part, on the idea that writers should never pay for editing services because the big publishing companies don't charge their writers for editing services. I've actually heard people say that, that non-scam publishers don't charge for editing.

Well, let's think about that one for a minute. The big guys keep the majority of the profits off of each and everything they sell. This money is to cover their costs and keep a little, okay maybe a lot, for themselves, right? And one of the costs they are having to cover is having editors on staff to edit books, right? Hmmm, I don't know about these guys, but from where I'm from if you take money that would otherwise be mine and pay someone else for services rendered on my behalf then in effect I'm the one paying them and you haven't given me anything for free... Or do editors working for the publishing companies work for free?

I'm just saying.

J.R. Turner said...

Thanks Martin! :)

Great point, too Hydra ;) I agree.

I've tried to explain time and again that I'm not in the business of getting people published and if ANY critiquer/editor promises to get you published--that's a red flag for a scam.

I am in the business of helping people learn to write. At times I do 'ghost' writing/rewriting work, but that's not generally what my service is for (which is why it has the hightest prices.) Ghost writing, however, is not a scam either.

What I find interesting is that "these people" began making these claims back in October--but only this month actually looked up my service and prices--weeks after I walked away from all this.

This new event occurred while I was on vacation--so I'm wondering if he felt lonely becuase I was ignoring him. Who knows what goes on in the minds of trolls?

Either way, the right information is clearly stated now and should this keep coming up again (as I don't think he's ready to give up his fixation just yet) I can just point folks to this post ;)


Sue said...

Outstanding response, Jenny! Very professional tone and good solid facts. I'd work with ya anytime!


J.R. Turner said...

Thanks bunches Sue ;)

It was my hope to get the correct info out there and from the responses here and at Facebook (thank you!) and on Twitter, I think I've accomplished that :)

I'd work with you any day too ;)

Jenny :)