The time I fired my first (WASPy female) author
She was everything an infant indie publishing house could want in an author. Or, at least, that’s how it appeared on the surface.
Her manuscript was written, edited, forwarded, and even formatted. It was cheeky, funny, heartwrenching, and vibrant. It targeted a profitable intersection of recovering Christians and new age spiritualists. She had a well established personal brand as a visual artist. She was referred to me by MY BEST FRIEND.
She said working together would be a great way for us to support each other as women.
She was everything a startup indie press could wish for.
Except for one little thing: she’s a misogynist, entitled princess. As so many privileged, liberal, white anglo-saxon protestant women tragically are.
Trying to publish her book almost destroyed my startup press.
A little background.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for over a decade now. And no — entrepreneurship is not limited only to dudebros with millions of angel investment who build useless and megalithic tech companies. “Entrepreneur” is a category that also includes mothers who independent contract their skills to pay the bills without having to spend 100% of their time away from their families. I’ve mostly inhabited the latter category, although I have been known to launch a new nonprofit or creatively direct a startup from time to time.
Doing this, I think, has taught me to queue in on certain red flags, and to be quick to minimize risk and inefficiency.
As any business owner in a free market economy must. Unnecessary risk and inefficiency are small business killers. And soul crushers.
As a woman, however, these behaviors are often not recieved positively. Steps I take to mitigate risk, keep projects on track, assert my leadership, and to keep my and my vendors’ work within scope (ie budget) are often percieved as not good business, or expertise, but as aggressive. As uncollaborative. As impulsive. As arrogant. As…*gasp* unkind.
Particularly by women.