There are a few misconceptions regarding my ex-role within HNS Indie which I would like to clarify. First of all, I thoroughly enjoyed being Managing Editor because, apart from getting to meet so many lovely writers and readers, I am proud of the fact that because of HNS Indie several talented indie authors were given that all-essential boost up the ladder which, usually, is given to mainstream authors via an agent or publishing house. Many people forget that indies do it on their own – including making the errors. The one advantage for indies is that any errors can easily be put right. I had one aim these past five years or so, and that was to do my best to improve the quality of historical indie fiction. I insisted that incorrectly formatted books (left-justified text etc) would not be reviewed, and only the better books would be selected for review. (Like it or not, there are some very poorly written indie books out there.) For mainstream, agents and publishing houses are the gatekeepers for good v poor quality writing. For indie/self-publish there is no gate, let alone a gatekeeper. The HNS Review Team provided that gatekeeper.
To encourage this higher quality standard and to give indie authors a goal, I suggested the introduction of an Award, and to select the Editor’s Choices in the same way as the mainstream reviews do, both of which were, I think, appreciated by the authors.
I also tried my best to dispense with the distinction between mainstream and indie: it was, and remains, my belief that Historical Fiction should be reviewed for the HNS magazine regardless of how the book was published. I failed to achieve this, but not for want of trying.
I must mention the conference in Denver. There was a lot of ill-feeling towards indie authors because only indie books were on sale in the book store. I must point out that this was caused by an unfortunate situation on the book- ordering side and was nothing whatsoever to do with indie authors. In fact, I was as bitterly disappointed as the mainstream authors: I am traditionally published in the US. Denver was my one chance to sell my US books in the US, sadly the opportunity did not occur.
Yes, perhaps I have pushed for indie authors to receive the recognition they deserve, maybe sometimes a little too enthusiastically, and if I have inadvertently annoyed anyone then I most deeply apologies, but indies do not have the support of agents or publishers to speak out for them, and I know that many indie authors have been very grateful for the HNS support that was offered.
I wish to state that I did not find the ‘job’ hard or over-taxing and no, the ongoing demands were not the reason why I ‘stepped down.’ I did not want to do so. I had wanted to pass the Managing Editor role over to a new person as I felt it was time for a fresh face, new ideas etc, and I was doing two jobs - managing editor AND UK Editor, so I wanted to just concentrate on the UK Editor side and hand the larger responsibility over to someone new. I had, in fact, found someone who was interested in taking over as Managing Editor. However, there were a few frustrating issues which arose for the 2016 Conference, and I am ashamed to admit that I over-reacted to a certain situation and, seeing no way to vent my frustration, I indicated to Mr Lee that I was considering resigning. I received no response, the conference went well (very well) and the silly storm in a teacup subsided.
As nothing was said for three weeks, I assumed my ill-judged outburst had been taken as such – ill-judged, and now forgotten. A subsequent out of the blue email from Mr Lee assuming that I had resigned therefore stunned me. I apologised profusely, assured him that I did not wish to resign, retracted any suggestion of doing so and assured him that I fully supported HNS (although I did still want to find a replacement fresh-face as Managing Editor.) To my dismay this apology and retraction was not accepted. It was made clear that I was no longer regarded as Managing Editor or UK Review Editor.
So to the person who put on another thread ‘…Helen's resignation, leaving the founder to contend with the ramifications of her departure’ I would like to say, not so. I did not go voluntarily, I did not wish any of this to happen, I am bitterly disappointed on behalf of all indie authors, and I am extremely hurt by various accusations and misconceptions made both in public and behind the scenes that have been aimed at me. I am deeply upset by all this, not for myself. but because I am so sorry to have let so many talented indie authors down. I do not know what is to become of HNS Indie Reviews, you will have to ask Mr Lee, for it is now out of my hands. I do, however, wish all authors – be they indie or mainstream - the very best, and please do stay in touch, if you wish, via my own Facebook page.
Thank you to all who have shown me such kindness and support, it is very much appreciated.