Sometimes I just have to shake my head and move on. Recently I've been trying to add to my small business's staff by hiring an accountant and an editor. (If you missed my blog about why every self-publisher needs a staff, you can find it here) In both cases, I started by taking the recommendations of friends. I should have known better!
Case #1: The Accountant. She "welcomed my business", but never had time to meet with me. Meanwhile, I was sweating the fact that my book sales had added thousands of dollars to our income, without any deductions coming out of them. I knew I was going to owe self-employment taxes at least, and we might also be hit with a fine for not submitting quarterly estimated payments to cover the difference.
As January 17 got closer, I again asked for an appointment, which she made, and then cancelled twice. On the third appointed day, I arrived at her office with all my paperwork in hand, only to be told she was "out of town." Her receptionist offered to call her, and I had the dubious pleasure of listening to her sputter an apology. "Leave the paperwork there," she said. "I'll be back in the office tomorrow, I'll look it over, and call you." Right! She finally called on the Saturday afternoon before the deadline to say she didn't have time to go through the paperwork. Her recommendation: Send the IRS $2000 or more, and they'll be happy. Then, she said she would file to get me an extension on paying my taxes in April. Bottom line: "Call me back at the end of April, and we'll try to find a time to go over all this before the October deadline.
Instead, I found myself a new accountant -- one recommended by the Chamber of Commerce. He was polite and accommodating, offering a whole afternoon to get us straightened out. Thank you, Kind Accountant, for treating me as if my business is important.
Case #2: The Editor. She was excited to read the first three chapters of my book -- until she read them. Then back came the critique. "You seem to want your historical novel to be historically accurate, but all these details are going to bore your reader, as they do me. I prefer to work on a story line that has lots of action and excitement. I can do an edit on these pages and put in some more exciting events, but you'll have to start all over again to write the kind of book I produce."
I had told her that I am a historian and that the book is based on a real person. Sorry, but we can't put car chases, explosions, and terrorist threats into a Civil War novel. So I found a new editor, too -- one who found the real story interesting and promised to help me polish the book I wanted to write.
It's been an interesting couple of weeks! I'm trying to put a positive spin on the experiences. After all, I did end up with two wonderful additions to the "staff." But what on earth is wrong with people who offer their "services for hire" but don't want to serve the people who hire them?