My Not So Pleasant Experience

One week ago, I received an email from a ‘community manager’ at, which stated:

Hi Leonard,

I’m the Community Manager at Reedsy. Emmanuel, our CEO, came across your profile on Linkedin and asked me to reach out. He thought your experience would be a great fit in our community. We connect authors and publishers with the industry’s best editors, designers and marketers to create high-quality, beautiful books.

Our system is completely transparent: you send a quote (setting your own rates) and we take 10% on the amount. There’s no fee to be on the marketplace.

Every month, we accept a small number of new profiles to join. Would you be interested in joining Reedsy as a publishing professional?

If so, you just need to create your freelancer profile here.

Would love to hear back from you!


Jessica at Reedsy


My first thought? What the hell is Reedsy?

Curiosity made me research their site (est. 2016), and overall, it seems like a good place for authors to collaborate and hire an editor/designer/marketer, if a writer is looking for one. Since Emmanuel, the CEO of the company (yes, it checked out), mentioned I’d be a ‘great fit’, I wanted to make certain she was asking me to join Reedsy as a publishing professional and not as someone looking for an editor.


So I emailed back,

Hi Jessica,

Are you asking me to join as an editor for freelance work?
Leonard D. Hilley II
(sci-fi fantasy author)
To which, she replied,

Hi Leonard,

Sorry for not being clear! Yes that’s correct (SIC)


Reedsy Community Manager
So, over the weekend, I spent some time, about three hours total (counting researching their company) preparing my profile. Afterwards, I sent her an email to inform her that I had completed my profile. I also asked if editors were able to search the marketplace to find authors needing editors, as all I found in the search was other editors/copyeditors.
She replied,

Hi Leonard,

I tried to find your profile in our system but cannot find it with the email you gave me. Nor with this one. 
What was the name you used for it?
Also, you won’t be able to search for any authors, they will search for you. And right now, your profile has not been activated as it still has to go through the review process.


I sent her the link to my profile.

Her reply:

Hi Leonard,

Thank you for your message. I was able to find your profile in our system and see now why I couldn’t find it earlier.
I have checked and our management team has concluded that at the moment, we have a large number of freelancers offering services within similar areas to what you indicated in your profile, with a little more experience. As a result, we won’t be able to activate your profile just yet. However, this might change in the future and we will let you know as soon as we’re ready to onboard you! I’d also suggest you review our selection process to familiarize yourself with it:
Best wishes and best of luck with your work in the meantime,
Wait a minute … What? First of all, you solicited me. I didn’t solicit you. I didn’t know what the site was during the initial, cold-call email Jessica sent, which states their *transparency*. As you can see from the first email, I had to request more information, and her response was ‘sorry for not being clear’. So … I replied again:

“Okay, so you invite me to set up a profile and now, after more than three hours of my time setting up the account and (…) joining Stripe (something I wouldn’t have done anyway since I use Paypal), I’m being told my profile won’t be activated? According to your initial contact letter, you said, “Would you be interested in joining Reedsy as a publishing professional? If so, you just need to create your freelancer profile here.”

Nothing indicated that my profile would be delayed in activation based upon how many other freelancers’ services were similar to mine. Pretty much, this was a direct invitation to join Reedsy as a publishing professional. To be honest, even if activated today, I really didn’t expect any immediate requests for at least several weeks. I’ve edited several novels and screenplays in the past, as people have sought my assistance for editing, copyediting, and ghostwriting (<-those you cannot list on profiles for confidential reasons). I also write novels in five different series and under other pen names. I’ve been a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America for four years.
As for professionalism, I find it highly unprofessional to word your email with the implication of me ‘joining your group’, as your CEO thought I’d be a ‘great fit’ with Reedsy, and then being told otherwise. I don’t appreciate having my time wasted.
Wishing you the best,

Here’s the thing. Her first email is a direct invitation. Not an interview. Not, “Please submit to see if you’re a fit ….” She clearly states that I ‘just need to create a profile” to join their publishing professionals. Why send a ‘selection process’ AFTER I’ve gone to the trouble of creating a freelancer profile? Does that make any sense? Why waste my time? Where’s the transparency in that? Basically, this is like a business telling you to buy your uniform beforehand and then not giving you the job.

What irks me the most is my loss of time.

Some advice. Managers of a writing/editing website should be able to produce a quality introductory letter with clarity and if it’s for the editor they’re soliciting to drop his/her name into a pool for possible selection, state it up front. Not doing so isn’t transparency. It’s misleading and shady.

Also, make certain to use proper punctuation, too. Periods, Oxford commas, and such. Avoid comma splices.

I don’t need Reedsy’s validation, nor do I seek it. With the amount of writing I do on a daily basis, I’m selective in taking any editing job because doing so means I must set aside my WIPs.

I’m curious what experiences others have had with Reedsy as an editor or marketer. If you’ve used their editing services, please share with us. We’d like to know.

Until next time ….

10 Replies to “ My Not So Pleasant Experience”

  1. They use angel co to interview people and grab ideas. I am going to make a deal out of my application. Hope to spare another person the time.

    I am a senior executive and a single mom. I have got no time, just like you, to apply with such unprofessional companies. Just wrote on
    Glassdoor. Next, angel co.

    I wish I had seen your article earlier.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with Reedsy. Wasting time based upon empty promises in a ‘recruiting contact letter’ benefits no one, especially not the editor who’s been lied to under their false pretenses. Perhaps enough writers/editors will learn what’s really going on here and not respond to cold-call emails like ours.

  2. Glad I saw your article. I got an email from a community manager of the same name, but I didn’t respond as (1) I was busy trying to meet deadlines and (2) the solicitation seemed kind of spammy—not as bad as a work-from-home-and-earn-thousands ad. But I have my doubts about work offers that aren’t via word of mouth.

  3. I got a solicitation in LinkedIn, very similar to yours. I have deadlines for the next 3 weeks, but I thought I might consider it for the future, especially if I could explore some interesting new projects outside my mainly technical field. However, there was no ability to reply to the message– just a link to go to the site and create a profile– and I wasn’t about to take the time to create a profile without any communication in advance. Thank you very much for posting this. The lack of a return e-mail was already a red flag, as was the very low average editing-rate range, but I was toying with the idea– your article definitely helped me decide to hold on to my hours for paying projects!

  4. It’s not just writers this has happened to. I’m an established illustrator with nationally well known clients and a few published kids books. Reedsy had been after me for months to join, set up a profile. After another inquiry from them this week I finally spent a few hours to set up my profile and portfolio. The very next day, I get a “thanks but no thanks” email from them telling me they have enough artists with my style/qualifications but they may “onboard” me in the future so don’t be discouraged!
    What? What was all those email about then? I had assumed (my mistake I guess) that they had 1. already seen my work and 2. it was a formality to be accepted because of that. Very frustrating and disheartening.
    So, I took to the internets to see if anyone had a similar experience. Thank you for providing a space to vent! 🙂

  5. Dear Leonard,
    Thank you for your post. I have shared it with my colleagues at The EFA. There are EFA professionals who are on Reedsy and get very defensive about anyone’s negative experiences with the company. Your tale is mine to the letter and is that of hundreds, perhaps thousands of other professionals. Their treatment is disrespectful, disheartening, rude, and unfathomable. Thank you for your post.

  6. I too was wooed by Reedsy, way back when they first started. They happily accepted my profile as a graphic designer, specializing in book cover design, since I think at the time they only had a handful (Maybe 10? And I’m pretty sure most of those were fake.) I had a few nibbles from clients but nothing came to fruition. Over a bit of time, I noticed I was not being contacted, so I went to have a look at my profile to see if I could update it/improve it somehow, and it wasn’t there.
    I contacted Emanuel directly (they were still that new) to find out what had happened. I got an email from someone else saying they’d deactivated my profile. She/He(?) sent me a link to someone else’s profile, saying, “This is the caliber of designer we want on our site.” The person had worked for several of the big publishers.
    My thought is, just because I haven’t worked for the big publishers, doesn’t mean I couldn’t do a drop dead gorgeous cover!
    So, even though I’ve designed a cover for the Pope (my most famous client!), now that they’d collected a larger quota of designers, I was no longer good enough, and was rudely dismissed.

    1. Thanks, Tamian, for sharing your experience. A few months after I made this post, I noticed I suddenly had a public profile, but as of yet, I’ve not received any contact from ‘potential clients’.

  7. Spending time creating a profile is one thing. What irritated me the most is they make you get the Stripe account BEFORE realizing they already have a sufficient number of candidates.
    Perhaps Reedsy gets a commission for new Stripe accounts?
    Something is seedy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *