Anesa Miller

AUTHOR BEWARE! A #selfpub cautionary tale NO MORE!
Guest Post by Suzette Brown

I have a story on companies that “assist” writers with self-publishing. Get ready.

When I started my book, Alzheimer’s Through My Mother’s Eyes, I had no idea who to contact, what the financial costs might be, where to look, who to call, etc. You will love this one: I didn’t even know there were such people as “BETA” readers. I just typed my heart out everyday and figured it would somehow flow together. My only concern was writing my book, baring my soul.

Then I went looking online for publishing companies. BIG mistake. A couple of them looked OK, they were connected with bigger named book companies, and it appeared they had branched out to the self-publishing community. Apparently a lot of people write books and the self-publishing companies want to accommodate rising new authors. I checked out some internet sites. It looked exciting, so I signed up for a representative to contact me.

Now, mind you, I know nothing about publishing. AND I am an older client who tends to be trusting. You could use the word naïve. I listened intently to their pitches and packages. But HOW was I going to afford this? They wanted thousands of dollars just for editing. Of course, they could work out a payment plan. Or I could use my credit card.

I tried to get a direct answer on exactly how much they would receive financially versus how much I would receive. They evaded that question and continued to talk about a “gold standard” club, how good my book sounded, how much people need to read it, and on and on. Caregiver books are awesome, so many people would buy it! WOW – I felt like the best writer in the whole world.

I told my husband I had found a publishing company. We were so excited! I had them FAX me copies of their contracts, which were 7-8 pages long. (They obviously didn’t WANT to fax this information, but they legally had to). The editing part didn’t look very substantial. I began to get an uneasy feeling.

ALWAYS trust your gut.

Then came a stroke of fate: a friend recommended I contact a local author, and ask him about these companies, editing, publishing, etc. Thank goodness I followed this suggestion. The local author emphatically told me NO – do NOT use such companies. Do a search and type in: company name, scams and fraud. I did as he instructed and found pages upon pages of unhappy clients: Lousy editing job. Where was the book they supposedly published? It wasn’t online – had these companies changed the names of people’s books and published them in secret?

Where were the royalties, MONEY? I saw much discussion and dissention on financial paybacks, total dissatisfaction with the editing and presentation of authors’ products. WOW – at least I had not signed the contract, thank goodness for that.

At this point, I started to look up authors who had been published by these companies. I read the book samples, and my heart sank. They were such good stories, excellent storylines, but the editing was horrible. I wanted to communicate directly with an author and so asked one of the companies if they would put someone in touch with me. Could they give MY information to him/her – as I did not expect them to give me this personal information on one of their clients. The lady in customer service said she would look into it.

Soon a lovely young woman emailed me – and explained that she had just had her book published by the “So and So” company. She was very nice, very young, and gave me the name of her book so I could check it out. She had used the company with trust – and I sincerely thanked her for contacting me.

She was overjoyed to be a new author.

I cannot tell you how upset I was when I opened her free sample online. To think this was a PUBLISHED book. PUBLISHED by one of these “self-publishing” companies.

The grammar, sentence structure, capitalizations, commas, periods, paragraph breaks, and anything else that would fall in the category of “EDITING” was ATROCIOUS. It got worse as I continued to read. The sentence that started with, “I had went…..” ran onto page 2. My jaw hit the carpet. This couldn’t be right. I closed the link and put in the name of her book again on the search bar. The same book cover displayed, same title found. This was beyond embarrassing. Now I had to figure out what to say to this young lady who was waiting for my response to the new book she had published.

After I calmed down, I realized that this new author had paid a substantial amount of money to the company. I wrote and asked her nicely if she had had her booked edited? Was that one of the services that she paid for? I didn’t want to make her feel badly about her book. This wasn’t her fault. She had trusted the company with her private story. OMG it was heartbreaking. If I remember correctly, she had paid over $3,000.00 for all services. She told me she had received financial help from family members.

I couldn’t resist and emailed the customer service representative who had given me the name of this young author. I asked her if the young lady’s book had been edited? Is that what they called editing? What did editing entail? What exactly DID they edit? There were errors from the first sentence on, I couldn’t even finish the free sample. I asked her to please answer me – because if this is what they thought I was going to accept as “EDITING,” they were sorely wrong.

I also asked how the CEO of this company could sleep at night. How could they take advantage of new and upcoming authors? The sad thing is – the company put me in touch with this new author to begin with. I pointed that out as well. They might at least have sent me someone whose book was less riddled with errors!

No surprise, I never heard from that company again.

I have now told countless individuals NOT to use the two companies I dealt with. I told them my story and my discoveries. All factual.

I then started looking at blogs, professional blogs, magazine authors, etc. I ran across a blog that listed the 5 warning signs to look for – to NOT use a company….the company I contacted fell under 4 of those signs.

I found the American Society of Journalists and Authors at – a professional and upstanding organization. A blogger led me to this site. Thank goodness!

My story has a very happy ending, and I am forever grateful to the ASJA for referring me to: I wasn’t feeling so trusting anymore – but I now realize there are honest companies with integrity out there to help us new Indie authors who have no idea what we are doing!

Through this site, the CEO helped me set it up – since I am not a techno genius. It is a bidding site – and I placed chapters of my book, the subject of caregiving, Alzheimer’s and explained my story. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate Ms. Sattar’s help. She renewed my faith in “mankind” (woman kind). Through her site, I was fortunate to have a bid from Author Options.

I accepted the bid from Author Options, and the rest is history. I will be forever grateful to both of them.

Lesson learned: DO YOUR RESEARCH. Be wary of self-publishing companies and their fancy talk and promotional pitches.

Do you have a story of bringing your book to the public, either independently or via an organization? Please feel free to share or comment on other relevant matters.


29 thoughts on “AUTHOR BEWARE! A #selfpub cautionary tale”

  1. This is a sobering tale, Suzette, and I thank you for letting me post it here. We have all ventured into unknown territory at one time or another, running the risk of betraying our naiveté. It is sad to read your account of the young woman who gave her trust to this unscrupulous company and wound up with a poorly produced book for her trouble. It seems there is no end to educating oneself in this world. I’m grateful for your insights and, moreover, for your lovely book on caring for your mother in her final years.

  2. Janice Lynch Schuster

    Thank you for this. Vanity presses have plagued publishing for years, only now, with the web, it is that much easier to troll for new victims. This is a great shout out to ASJA, of which I am a member.

    I self-published a poetry collection via Amazon’s CreateSpace and now have a lovely book to sell at readings. It has less prestige, but I have a book I am proud of!

    I am going to tweet a link to this article. I only saw it because my newsletter on women’s work and aging picked it up! If you see me on Twitter, you can find a link to today’s issue highlighting your essay! Please share the link. It is free, no gimmicks! @jlschuster827

    1. Thank you Janice !
      I am so proud to have this posted on a couple of blogs and MY blog:
      I just want new authors or future authors to know the truth and what could happen to them. I just keep running into new authors that don’t understand or don’t want to believe that their book is not really well done – and are only concerned about marketing. Such good subjects and stories are mangled and these SP companies have the audacity to actually tell the client that their beautiful property has been edited….it is unfair and disgraceful to authors seeking their help and guidance.
      Please share with whomever you feel would benefit !!
      Thank you again !
      Shoot me an email ! Thank you again to Anesa !!


  3. Beta reading started with fan fiction writers/readers about 10 years ago as far as I’m aware. Normally we had friends who liked to read our work/would offer to check grammar and spelling for free because they WANTED to. I’ve been a beta reader before, but now I’m moving away from fan fiction so I can self publish my original work. I wouldn’t EVER trust an outsider. If you’re going to hire an editor I’d actually check their credentials! In all honesty a friend would be able to check your work for you easier than someone you’ve never even met–if you’re lucky enough like me to be surrounded by an incredible amount of English-degree holding alum–I certainly wouldn’t pay thousands of dollars to have my work edited. If you’re not careful your work could get stolen too. Don’t ever hire on a “beta reader” UNLESS they are someone you can trust!

    1. Thanks for sharing these words to the wise, Mara. I certainly agree that every writer needs trustworthy early readers, and these are most likely to be found among our friends. As you point out, you are fortunate to count many English majors among your close acquaintances. That should make it a simple matter to recruit informed volunteers. Sounds ideal!

      But, as you know, not every writer can say the same. Sometimes a dear friend might be willing to help but lacks the necessary skills…and other times, our friends may turn out to be less trustworthy than we’d hoped.

      In defense of the practice of recruiting beta readers online, I feel I should point out that some very experienced and well-known writers swear by it. A prime example is the entrepreneur and self-publishing guru Guy Kawasaki. He would no doubt agree with you that there’s no need to pay a professional editor if one has enough early readers. However, I believe he invites readers to sign up for his manuscripts on Google+, sight unseen. As a leading figure in the field, this may be less risky for him than it would for you or me.

      Thanks again for sharing the note of caution with us here at DRAWER NO MORE! I hope you’ll stop by again.

      1. Beta readers shouldn’t ever be hired or paid. That’s what an editor is for. Sorry if I didn’t make that clear!

  4. They are all lessons hard learned.

    The situation is just as fraught in the UK. Back in the 1990’s I came across difficulties even with bona fide publishers. They weren’t so much dishonest as terribly elite and unless you were either dead or already had big sales they just wouldn’t take you on. The few that might, submitted you to endlessly pitching your work and justifying it which I fond demeaning. If a new writer happened to get through this and was panned in the Sunday heavies you were dead.

    In the introduction to ‘Who’s Clowning’ on my website I attempt a parody of the whole process, which at least got it off my chest.

    Anyway, many congratulations for successfully hacking your way through the jungle. I’m sure your book will be well received.

    Best wishes!


    1. I appreciate you letting us in on the transatlantic view, Fred! This is interesting if rather distressing, since I for one like to think of the UK as more seriously intellectual than the US. So sorry to hear that elitist and egotistical games are played all over.

      But I do applaud you for using parody to deal and (perhaps?) detach from a painful situation. You are always welcome to share your URL here in the comments. I’d like to see what “Who’s Clowning” is all about. Many thanks!

      1. Fred sends me this address:

        It’s well worth checking! He has created the mysterious autobiography of a character named Burton Wood (take off on “Bretton Woods” NH, site of the famed post-WWII financial conference that established the IMF?). Do stop by–

        1. Burton Wood is the name of an innocuous and unmemorable motorway service station (aren’t they all?) close to Keele University in the UK.

          We do take ourselves seriously over here but we never shy from a little self deprecation from time to time. I always think that it proves that innate self confidence in the English literary provenance which most folk agree has made it’s contribution over the centuries. Mind you, I’m a great follower of American literature, (have you read Oliver Wendell Holmes’ Poet at the Breakfast Table?’ Stylish and witty.)

          I published my own volume of poetry then got a page for a year or two in The Entertainer, an English language newspaper circulating in Spain.

          I put the whole lot up on the website two years ago and never regretted it. I’d like to get the collections in print next. Any suggestions?

          I do like your Blog page. It does a lot for aspiring writers.

          Best wishes.

          1. Well, in the US, we use CreateSpace, Lightning Source, or BookBaby for various printing and self-publishing services. CS belongs to Amazon, so it may be international (but I’m not sure). There are so many variables, I must urge you to read extensively in order to figure out what suits your needs. There is lots of info online. Good luck!

  5. Hi Mara.
    Thank you for your comment. I also worked in a school system. The elite of the elite teachers, department heads and school staff. Unfortunately, I would not trust my work to many of them, nor did I want them to know my personal story. Just because they could edit for spelling and errors, to me, did not qualify them to do the much needed organization, rewrites, changes, and presentation that was so badly needed. The BETA reader I used, Michelle, had her work cut out for her. She is a teacher, and she did an outstanding job with my first cut.

    Then, it was onto an editor. Now presentable with “garbage” and much verbiage rearranged or deleted.

    I did NOT pay thousands of dollars or even one thousand dollars. My book would have stayed unpublished if that had been my only choice. (I agree with you on exorbitant prices-such as SP companies offer) The editor/publisher I employed was more than reasonable for the important work she did. Not counting the hours of editing, rewriting, messaging back and forth, suggestions, etc. She started her company for authors like me who had/have no idea what they were doing, quite literally. She has the staff to back it up, each specializing in different subjects.

    I trusted in, the American Society of Journalists and Authors. The ONLY site they recommended to me with integrity and credentials was Now that may be a strange name for a company, but from now on, that will be the only company I will use for book number 2 going forward. The publisher I chose from her site is one amazing woman, professional and with integrity. She will not make one cent of profit from my sales, everything was paid upfront, but what is most important is the product I created. SHE created. She said the same thing I did, but at a 5-star level.

    I understand where you are coming from, and I look at it from the aspect of friends and family sure: they can edit for mistakes, spelling errors, punctuation, and grammar. But can they take the original story (which was a disaster) and turn it into a 5***** book? Doubtful. It’s more than just reading and editing. I’m sure degree-holding alumni are fabulous and quite in tune with your work–but that is not what I chose or wanted to use. The subject of “caregiving” is a difficult one to find the proper editor. My editor gave my book to her employee, a BETA reader who used to be an Alzheimer’s nurse.

    Thank you so much for your input! The different stories and scenarios are important to all readers. You were fortunate to have such talented individuals to help you! Not all of us have such gifted friends to steer us into the world of publishing with great reviews!

    Thanks for the feedback, most appreciated.

    1. I distrust editors.

      They take away your originality, your individual voice, and detract from that great progressive conversation which is creative writing in the English language. A reader to correct typos and errors, yes, but nothing more. What would have happened to Joyces’ Ullyses if a literary editor had got his hands on that! Do you know somebody in the print room reduced his famous double period at the end to one. He went spare!

      I had an email from a retired grammarian in Florida last week. I reproduce it here verbatim:-

      ‘I read one of your short stories’ he said archly’. It’s a train crash. Full of back to front syntax, unresolved sentences and dangling participles. Why do you do that? It shows such promise.’

      ‘Just trying to write the way folk actually talk to one another’, I told him. ‘I too could have submitted myself to a classical education but I might have wound up teaching English at a minor private school, like Mr Chips.’

      He never came back. I suspect he’s never done any creative writing.

      Editing is really code which other people use for telling you how they would have written it but, of course, they didn’t did they?

      Keep the faith!


      1. An editor who fails to inspire confidence is certainly worse than none at all. Again, trust is key, as Mara points out above. I hope most professional editors would know enough to take a piece of writing on its own terms: if the author clearly intends humor, then it makes no sense to insist on the vocabulary of theology or vice versa.

        The author must have final say on stylistic matters. But an editor worth his/her salt can point out things that may have slipped past us. For instance, real folks do say repetitive things in this world, but if all five characters in my story are constantly declaring, “Whoop de do!” this may get tedious for my reader. Perhaps I thought it was clever, but my editor can–at least–persuade me to give word choice a bit more thought.

        There’s a famous story in American literature. Raymond Carver is acknowledged a great master of the latter 20th-century short story. It’s often said that his stunningly spare syntax was actually accomplished by Gordon Lish, the editor who published his work at ESQUIRE magazine. I can’t say how true this claim may be, but I do think it’s a testament to the potential of an effective editorial process.

        In any case, Fred, I am glad you did not submit to a classical education and wind up like Mr. Chips. There are different paths to the hallowed halls of literature…or the cozy nook of a good read.

  6. Thank you so much for your tale. I knew an elderly personable woman who had such interesting life that she’d thought she write about it. A vanity press charged her $11,000 for this privilege. The company has changed its name over thirty times because of various lawsuits. I do know it has a beautiful building in Bloomington, IN.

    Every time, I copyright something I get a call from a vanity press wondering what I’m going to do with my novel.

    If you get involved with a writing group there is usually one or two people who know the names of these companies.

    1. You make an important distinction, Morgan, and I think it deserves even more emphasis. There is a difference between vanity presses and legitimate author services companies. The latter are proliferating in tandem with the boom in self-publishing, walking authors through a daunting process. The former have always been with us, ready to prey on the unsuspecting by drumming up unrealistic expectations and charging exorbitant fees. Sadly, it can be tricky to tell the two apart. This may be especially challenging for the elderly, such as the woman you mention. We must do what we can to protect each other!

      I’m grateful for your comment. Hope you’ll stop by again soon.

    2. YES that would be one of them in Bloomington, IN. Not even surprised – but the poor woman who lost her money – did she pursue legal action? I hope so. What a devastating loss, I am so sorry for her.

      That is why I have to share my feedback and my opinion on these self-publishing companies. Oh my book was going to be GOLD, they couldn’t wait to get it on the market – the honey flowed in the words. But they didn’t want to answer my outright questions of how much they get for each sale – above and beyond their exorbitant fees already…The editing is what upsets me the worst. The lousy and horrible editing – even just spelling words correctly…

      Please pass this information on and let all know my story on these SP companies. HOW does the CEO sleep at night?

      Thank you so much for your reply –

    1. Thank you Janice…..I do not agree with Fred either.

      My editor and publisher improved (vastly) my work. And I found the site through That was the only company they referred me to – to trust and with integrity.

      Now a self-publishing company – editor? Never.

      My beginning work was horrendous, it had to be narrowed down, organized, reworded, and fixed. It was a job – but she did an outstanding job. I had to listen to criticism and be OPEN to all suggestions and changes….but they seemed to work !!

      Thank you for your comment !

      I completely trust bibliocrunch site and the editor/publisher that bid on my product !!


  7. Janice’s testimonial to effective editing is well worth reading! I, for one, am very prone to imagining my newly finished work a “masterpiece” with not one comma out of place. Usually it takes a week off and return with fresh eyes for me to realize it’s actually “tripe made flesh.” (Hey wait–tripe IS flesh!) If editing can help me strike a balance between those not-so-productive attitudes, then I’m all for it!

    Thanks very much, Janice.

    1. You are right, Anesa, about using the right words for the job.

      I like your ‘tripe made flesh’. It reminds me of some of our global news channels and lightweight chat shows. Can you imagine our Anchors delivering the news in blank verse? Mind you, some of the conflicting comment coming out over events in Ukraine at the moment leave me pretty blank.

      (Reminder to me:- you’re contributing to a writers’ forum so don’t get all political and spoil it!)


  8. I read Janice’s piece on editing.

    She’s right, of course, but do you know? I’ve never re-written anything. Perhaps a little editing on the page as I go along. My wife used to say I was an impressionist. She was an impressionist painter and would do a picture when she had an idea, fairly quickly to keep it’s vitality, then prop it against the wall. ‘Work in progress’, she would say then start the next one. I do much the same.

    Is it sound thinking to draw such a comparison between the written word and visual art? My mentor and tutor questions this theory and we have many lively discussions over dinner but at least he sticks with me and usually picks up the tab, purely for the entertainment value I suspect.

    Now – whether anybody will read me, let alone buy me, raises the age old question of posterity. I enjoy it anyway so my job is done and I sleep fairly soundly at night.

    Best wishes to all. Fred.

    1. Hi Fred !

      I am so glad that your editing and re-written work worked for you ! I hope your book is a best seller and high on the ranking with Amazon !

      I wrote my book for people to read and learn, hopefully. I am passionate about my subject and caregiving. I wanted it to help other’s in the same predicament I was in. In order to accomplish this, my editor did an outstanding job organizing and changing my words.

      Since I am nowhere near experienced or good enough a writer yet – this was a must for my story…..

      Good luck !
      I would love to look over your book !!


  9. Thank you for your contribution to the debate Suzette.

    I can see you are passionate about your writing and whilst you are learning the craft, especially of the novel, you must rely upon your editor to guide you. The time will come when you only need your work to be read for typos and errors.

    I can’t offer you a ‘book’ of mine to look over,I’m afraid. I just write poetry and what the French referred to in the late 19th century as ‘The Feuiilleton’ (little leaves). But it’s all up there on my website. Some has been published and is still read now, mostly by afficianados and academics. ‘Best selling’, no! ‘Very satisfying,’ yes! But we choose or paths.

    I wish you all the best in your endeavours but don’t allow your creativity to be constrained by others unless you need the income, that is, or indeed the notoriety, in which case pursue them both with vigour and determination. You can succeed!

    Best wishes.


    1. I read and enjoyed the debate on the page, but I think a lot of the ongoing discussion stems from two very different kinds of writing. Suzette didn’t write a novel. She wrote a non-fiction account of a very real situation, and did so with the intention of educating others. She can’t educate others on the topic if no one buys the book (or accesses it, if she chose to give it away). Unfortunately, those pesky things called “standard English and grammar conventions” mean her audience will need some measure of standard written language in order to appreciate–and to recommend–the book.

      As an editor, I’m currently arguing with a client over which style manual he chose. He swears that his novel is correct by the standards of the US Government Printing Office Style Manual. I have a Master’s degree in English and must admit, I’ve never heard of this manual, let alone actually read it. Unfortunately, his readers will not have read it either. They will expect the conventions in the Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition, and when they come across seemingly random capitalized words in the middle of sentences, they will leave scathing reviews about his lack of writing ability.

      If he intended to write the book under his own form of convention, readers be damned, then he needed to keep it on his computer, not publish it for readers to deride. As it stands, he will be sorely disappointed by the reviews that state this man can barely call himself an English speaker, let alone a writer.

      The purpose of writing is for the author, the purpose of publishing is for the reader. That’s where an editor comes in.

      1. Thank you for your comment, Lorca.
        Suzette’s book is designed to help people through a difficult life situation and in order to engage and help as many people as possible through maximum readership she must, of course, adhere to current conventions.
        (I beg you accept my apologies Suzette. I meant no personal criticism nor offence. My comments were only of a general nature, hoping to widen the debate). They might have succeeded, too, indulging, enthusiastically in these pages, in what diplomats call ‘..a frank and honest exchange of views’.

        I seek only a better understanding of how our wonderful English language is being read, perceived, understood, and indeed spoken in a rapidly changing global 21st century; witness the variations in manuals on grammar and syntax and the additions and updates in our dictionaries. And what on earth is a dangling participle and does it make any real difference to a practical and hard working writer? I think it behoves us all to try to make a contribution to the inevitable and continuing evolvement of language.

        As an aside; some time ago I wrote the programme notes to a production of ‘Twelfth Night’ and used the word ‘eructation’ in reference to Sir Toby Belch. This only succeeded in earning me the opprobrium of colleagues and why didn’t I cut the elitism and address the gender issues contained in the play. I protested that I didn’t think that Shakespeare much considered gender issues and wrote only to entertain and stimulate but my defence went unconsidered. Still, they seemed to enjoy it all – my notes, I like to think, not just the play.

        But believe me, well written English is as pleasing to myself as anyone. Just trying to push the envelope a little!

        Many kind regards,


  10. Gee Fred, thanks for thanking me for my contribution since I was the one that wrote the piece to begin with, really appreciate your approval.

    Since your work is perused by “afficianados” (sp?) and “academics” – I’m sure we should add the “elite” to your publishing accomplishments, you should be very proud.

    To put it in perspective – sure I could publish without my editor which leads right back to self-publishing company or – none. If self-publishing companies were my only option in the ocean of words – I would remain stagnant.

    Self-publishing is difficult enough for us “mere” authors. The choice is a half-assed attempt at jotting words on paper, running spell check, having your neighbor look it over, and publishing your product. Many seem to be satisfied with this system, but then wonder why their books don’t sell.

    This would equate with a top notch brain surgeon or orthopedic surgeon needing surgery themselves. They have the skill, training, expertise to accomplish these surgeries for patients – yes – …..question is, would they perform surgery on themselves ?

    Think about it ! Have a wonderful week…

  11. Well said Lorca ! Perfect explanation.

    The client of yours who chooses to argue with a well known editor such as yourself – his future – will be that of other’s on LinkedIn and other sources, including him holding 10 books in his arms and the question….will fit nicely in with the “Does your book suck…?” blog that I initially wrote (above) that emanated this conversation.

    He will be looking for all kinds of marketing techniques, promotions, agents and such to sell his book. He will have as you have said, scathing reviews for his errors. Like it or not, readers will let him know. All because he did not welcome your assists and suggestions.

    I cringe when I read…..”I had seen”….”we done went”…..”heart and sole (soul)” and so ends that book for me.

    Thank you for the wonderful answer !

  12. Apropos our conversations here over differing writing styles, and my previous comments upon impressionistic writing, I had a text from an artist friend of mine last week. He’s a past Rome Scholar and a distinguished member of The Chelsea Arts Club. He sells well and his subject matter and fine brushwork is highly regarded by critics and buyers alike allowing him to live well.

    He rambled on with an absence of grammar or even full stops. He told me what a great night he was having down our local pub. He’d drunk six pints of ‘Old Peculier’ and was discussing, loudly,with working men the problems of wages, job security and the difficulties of getting to work through all this traffic. He’d even watched the game on telly and cheered on the home side. They’d lost but he’d cheered anyway. He was clearly fired up by his contact with his new chums which appealed to what I know to be his nearly forgotten working class upbringing.
    I replied that with his skill he might consider keeping a pre-stretched canvas on his easel and three pots of decorator’s paint in primary colours by him just so he could get his impressions down in bold strokes whilst they were fresh.

    I got a reply 24hrs later. Clearly suffering from a monumental hangover and, cursing his low threshold for alcohol, he informed me, curtly, that my suggestion was more than his reputation would allow let alone his income.

    We remain friends of course, but the exchange told me something about our inability to express our truer feelings, both in art and literature, in pursuit of money thus depriving us of what could turn out to be the posterity we deserve..
    Not wholly pertinent perhaps Just thinking aloud!

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