Valerie Khoo


This is the personal blog of Valerie Khoo – artist, author and podcaster. Valerie is passionate about exploring the worlds of creativity and business. She is co-host of the popular podcasts ‘So you want to be a writer’ and ‘So you want to be a photographer’. Valerie is a mentor to artists, writers and business owners on how they can turn their passions into thriving professional practices. She is author of ‘Power Stories: The 8 Stories You MUST Tell to Build an Epic Business’. Valerie is also CEO of the Australian Writers’ Centre, one of the world’s leading centres for writing courses.

This week I heard a story that broke my heart FEATURE

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  1. Alan Taylor

    We’ve all had instances where impending joy has turned to disappointment, but this would have been gut-wrenching.

    I hope things have gone better for her.

    1. valeriekhoo

      Laura ended up taking up the offer from the publisher of them contributing 50 per cent to another batch of printing. Sadly she subsequently discovered this was a ripoff.

  2. The SheEO

    Good on you Valerie for writing on this. I mentored a small business owner who paid a six figure sum to a “publisher” and was bitterly disappointed with the process, although fortunately she had the skills to ensure a quality product was eventually delivered. Not enough is said about this growing area of exploitation. Absolutely shameful and I really hope good things will come Laura’s way.

    1. valeriekhoo

      I really can’t believe that exhorbitant fees that some dodgy “publishers” charge unsuspecting people. You’re right Jen. It truly is exploitation. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with finding a project manager to coordinate a self-publishing project. But I wish people would do a due diligence on these people before they commit their life savings!

  3. Sally-Anne Blanshard

    Wise words… just a shame she had to go through this experience at what should be an exciting time. Thanks for highlighting.

    1. valeriekhoo

      Sally, I’m actually getting increasingly concerned by the number of people offering “publishing” solutions that are really just “printing” solutions.

  4. Katie McMurray

    Valerie this breaks my heart too.

  5. Katie McMurray

    Valerie this breaks my heart too. I worry we’ll see more of this as people seek out the increasing number of self-publishing options. But, as you say, this was a printing option; more than a publishing option! Self-publishing fiction is something you should do more for love than money. Self-publishing a business book can be a great marketing tool. As you say, you need to know what your goals are.

    1. valeriekhoo

      I am getting an increasing number of calls from people who are devastated because they’ve gone down this route and they are shocked when they find out that mainstream publishers PAY THE AUTHOR. Not the other way around!

  6. Bruce

    We all want to see our writing efforts published but does anyone caught out like this actually do their homework? That bona fide publishers pay you for your manuscript (and partially in advance) is not a state secret. At the risk of sounding harsh doesn’t ‘caveat emptor’ apply here – as it does anywhere?

    1. valeriekhoo

      One would think that would be the case Bruce. When incidences like this started coming across my desk I couldn’t believe it. But some of of these so-called “publishers” are just great sales people and prey on the needs, hopes and dreams of people who really want to get a book published. Yes, they should do their homework and I really am surprised that they do not. But there are more people out there who have been caught in these scams than you think!