Integrity in the Indie World

Recently, the whole ‘paid-reviews’ debacle has hit the Indie world by storm. It’s made waves, and rightfully so.  Indie writers have been in an uproar about ‘authors’ using paid fake reviews to bolster sales. It happens, but as it’s been brought to the light of day, Indie authors and publishers have lashed back.



Indie Authors want rules that are fair, they want an even playing field—they want a chance in this insane industry of publishing books. An excellent article discussing paid reviews can be viewed here:  

My name is Allison M. Dickson, I’m Self-Published, and my Reviews are Real!

I highly recommend reading it.

Now, I’m not the sort to hold a grudge. I’m not the sort to go pick a fight, or join some cause. I don’t brag about my donations to charity, I don’t join the effort to save every single stray animal. Nothing wrong with causes, they’re just not for me. Causes are reserved for other people, and I’m not one of them.

I’m just a writer trying to make his way. No more, no less.

I do understand something, and that’s this: People DO make mistakes. Trust me, I’ve made plenty, everyone has. It’s part of the learning experience, and as the Indie World expands, thousands more join up. They do so not for money or fame, but for one simple reason: They love books!

Some will attempt writing. Some will attempt to open a publishing company.

Others will attempt designing book covers.

And many are clueless as to what they’re getting themselves into. Some adapt and make it, others fail. But that’s just life now, isn’t it?

But it’s Integrity that brings this topic at hand. (I know, what is the topic?).

Custom covers!

You see, I’m a HUGE fan of Jaime Johnesee’s work. She’s a wonderful writer, and an amazing person. Over the months I’ve been privileged to get to know her on a personal level, and I’m honored to call her a friend.

So, the story goes like this: She works hard . . . blood, sweat and tears and all that shit, and compiles a beautiful collection of short stories. She edits, rewrites, the whole mess that we writers face.

The fear of publication, the snags, the worries . . . . if you’re a writer, you understand.

Done! She’s finished and ready to get her book on the market.

Jaime then finds a ‘respectable‘ cover designer, cheap rates, a promise to create for her a ONE-OF-A-KIND cover. So she coughs up her hard-earned money and receives her ORIGINAL cover. Why must it be original you ask? Because a book must have its own identity, both within its pages as well as on the cover.

Here’s the ‘custom’ cover she purchased:


Looks great, right?

And all is well until . . . .

Hmmmm. Looks like this one-of-a-kind custom cover isn’t so custom after all, is it?

Like I said earlier, I don’t subscribe to causes. Maybe that’s not really true, though. I do follow one cause: I ALWAYS defend my friends.

Jaime Johnesee is indeed a friend, and I know how hurt she was when she discovered this, that her custom cover was being re-packaged and re-used. It’s deception, plain and simple.

I’m sorry Mr. Neil Jackson, but changing a few colors just doesn’t cut it.

Integrity, please!

Again, we all make mistakes, and if it was a mistake, the designer should make it right. He should issue an apology,  refund her money, or perhaps do what he originally promised and give her a CUSTOM cover.

If anything, he should have made it clear, that this cover would be used over and over again. I’d venture to guess Jaime wouldn’t have spent her money on a cover that wasn’t unique and would be resold.

So once more, we have another issue of lack of integrity. If you remember, it wasn’t so long ago that the wonderful Mandy DeGeit got screwed by the ‘publisher who won’t be named’. That guy was an ass. Now, we have designers lacking of integrity.

My question is, will he make it right? Will he calm his ego, will he treat authors with the respect they deserve? I hope so, but I’m a realist, and don’t expect such.

Now, for a MUCH better blog on the situation, check out Todd Brown’s article on the matter. I’m glad there was someone with the courage to speak out on the matter, and figured I’d do the same and offer my support.

Did I just join a cause? Damn, I hope not.

Anyway, here’s his wonderful blog:

Artistic Identity Theft

Now, before I end this, I will say that the story isn’t quite over. Don’t fret, it actually has a happy ending. Jaime Johnesee has a new cover, a much BETTER cover. Here, take a look:


I’d also advise everyone to check out Jaime’s work. She’s quite talented, and if you’d like to download this wonderful collection of short stories, just click here:

Oh, The Horror

by: Jaime Johnesee

Only $2.99



–Vincent Hobbes

11 thoughts on “Integrity in the Indie World”

  1. I almost hurled when I saw the color-swapped carbon copy.

    A few months ago, I created a custom cover for a writing buddy, and loved the challenge of trying to visually present the totality of 50K+ words.

    Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, you just go for something awesome to get the eyes to the other side of the cover.

    But ripping another cover is just as bad as ripping another story.

    Shame, shame.


  2. I just hope those that try to do things the right way won’t be seen as the being in the same group. As a begining author and I’ve found that everything seems to be changing everyday and there are many who will try to take advantage of others. I almost fell prey to the ‘publisher who will not be named’ until we had a contract dispute and I pulled my piece from the anthology. Already I’ve learned the main thing to do is research. Research the person, the press, the artist, and anything else related to your work. I’ve had some really good authors give me some really good advice and I hope it helps keep me from making too big of a mistake.

    1. Luck was on your side with him . . . that guy has caused lots of trouble. And you’re right, research is key. It’s just sad because many new authors don’t know these things until it’s too late.

      Thanks for reading my write-up and commenting. Have a good day!


  3. Glad you said Jaime got a BETTER cover. Thank you, Vincent.
    Story is still sad, but at least had a happy ending. I made that cover for free. Jaime is my best pal, even if we never met and live zillions of miles away from each other, and also my editor – she’s damn good at it.
    I love her as a little sister and seeing some hurting her just makes me angry. She’s been through a lot of personal problems and this … well, this did not help her.
    Worst part is that now she’s being attacked by Neil’s fans.
    People never learn.

  4. I wish I’d known everything I know now when I published my first book. We’re all a bunch of writers, it seems like we should work together to come up with a primer for the upcoming indie author.

    1. Yeah, I hope that when things like this go viral, it can only help new authors so they don’t get scammed. I’ll continue doing my job of spreading the word on such matters. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Neil Jackson has been scamming newbie writers and screenwriters for a long time. This whole cover debacle is just the latest in a long line of cons. I can not stress enough how important it is to NOT do business with that man.

    1. Yeah the whole incident is sad. Good thing is this….seems the Indie World has shut him down. His facebook pages are gone, and his last message was that he was not doing covers ever again.

      For now, he’s gone.

      Thanks for the reply. Hope I did my part to expose the scam. Take care.

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