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November 12, 2021

An Editing Tale: Editor and Author Coach Christina Kaye of Write Your Best Book (aka Book Boss Academy)

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®

I first heard about editor and author coach Christina Kaye (aka Christina Broaddus) last year, via a writer who later posted this public complaint on Facebook. The allegations: misrepresentation of services (editing by a trainee rather than Christina herself), inadequate performance (the complainant paid for content editing, and got something more like copy editing), and refusal by Christina to either re-do the edit or provide a refund. 

In addition to the allegations, the complainant provided supporting documentation...including Christina's furious emails and lawsuit threats when the complainant refused to back off.

As far as I know, the lawsuit never materialized.

So who is Christina Kaye? Owner of two-year-old editing and coaching service Write Your Best Book, her resume includes a predecessor, Top Shelf Editing, which launched in September 2019 and whose URL is currently set to re-direct to WYBB, as well as stints with Limitless Publishing (publisher of several of her novels) and Dragon Street Press

Other entrepreneurial ventures include Bon Chance Press, which started up in early 2017 and contracted several books before closing that same year without publishing anything; a registered business called Book Boss Boutique, LLC; and an Etsy storefront that sells writing-related planners and gifts. Christina also has a substantial presence on various social media platforms, hosts her own podcast, and has amassed a large following on TikTok.

The WYBB website displays testimonials from satisfied clients (of which there are apparently 300, or maybe it's 150?). And a single bad review, even one as convincingly documented as the Facebook complaint, doesn't necessarily indicate a problem business. Anyone can fly off the handle and say unwise things in response to pressure. Maybe this was an isolated incident? Maybe there was something else that explained Christina's over-the-top response?  

Over the past year, however, several writers who've used Christina's services have contacted me to report similar experiences: editing that didn't fulfill what they were led to expect or the terms of the contracts they signed (such as copy editing presented as content editing, or editing by a trainee); hostile, threatening, insulting, and generally unprofessional responses by Christina to concerns and complaints (not just in email or texts but on social media); and refusal of refund requests, including in one case where services weren't just unsatisfactory, but mostly weren't delivered. 

That writer went public with a video on Facebook, in which she describes paying $2,500 for editing and coaching that Christina subsequently decided she couldn't do; when the writer asked for the money back, Christina refused, claiming the payment was "in the bank" to cover future help the writer might need. The writer filed a dispute with her credit card company, which initiated a chargeback. Christina was not pleased.

(Refunds seem to be a particular issue for Christina's business. Write Your Own Book's editorial contract specifically excludes them--in ALL CAPS:
Like "we don't guarantee that you'll make any sales" clauses in publishing contracts, this suggests not so much a hypothetical situation as an anticipated one. And why would an editorial service anticipate refund requests?)

In the past couple of weeks, I've also heard from WYBB staff members who say they have not been paid (and I've seen documentation to support this). 

These are all serious complaints. What really stands out for me, though, is Christina's communication style, particularly her volcanic reactions to criticism and complaint, or to people she perceives as having disrespected or dismissed her. In addition to the publicly-posted emails and messages above, I've seen many examples shared with me privately by clients, staffers, and people with whom Christina has worked professionally. Several of them told me they're afraid of her. 

Since I promise confidentiality, I can't share any of those examples. But my own exchange of emails with Christina should give you a flavor of what I'm talking about.

The same day I tweeted this...
...I received this:

Hmmm. I responded in my mild mannered reporter guise:

Within minutes, I got this:

Allll righty, then. (Between Facebook and Twitter, I actually have around 43,000 followers...still so sadly short of 100,000 friends, though.) 

Christina did eventually agree to answer my questions. So I sent them off (you can see the exchange that prompted my first sentence at the bottom).

A bit to my surprise, she responded to at least some of what I asked.

(Right after receiving this, I emailed one of the WYBB staff members who contacted me about outstanding invoices. They provided documentation that confirmed that they were still waiting for payment.)

The TikTok Live didn't happen. But a few days later, Christina added three lengthy posts to one of her Facebook pages, in which she claimed to know who was complaining about her ("there are THREE former clients I’m aware of who are 'unhappy' with my services"), accused those people of misleading gullible fools like me with "false information and even doctored documentation", and threatened them, along with anyone who "jumps on that bandwagon", with "pending legal action." All with the greatest love, positivity, mercy, and compassion.

I always do due diligence, so I decided to reach out again.

This did not go over well.

Well, I tried.

Christina has since decided to take a break from social media

If you're thinking of hiring a freelance editor, Writer Beware's Editors page has lots of information, tools, tips, and of course cautions, as well as links to helpful resources. 

UPDATE 11/16/21: As I thought it might, this post has motivated new reports. I haven't obscured the names on these, as they're publicly viewable on Facebook

From Writer Beware's Facebook page

UPDATE 11/17/21: Christina has deleted the three long Facebook posts referred to above. I have screenshots, if anyone wants to see them. 

Christina has also changed her name and handle on TikTok, reincarnating as ED Foster (quick editing tip: add periods to indicate abbreviations, unless you want people to think your name is Ed) and @bookbossacademy. 

She has posted a video, all about how to deal with "enemies".

UPDATE 11/20/21: Christina has changed the name of her Facebook page to Book Boss Academy. The company website still has the old name.


Anonymous said...

Are you sure this isn't Rebecca Hamilton, cause it's the same MO.

Anonymous said...

"I'm better than you, I'm better than anyone."

"I know exactly how to have people turn a blind eye."

She sounds nice and not at all sociopathic.

Anonymous said...

This is all narcissistic behavior. Blame, deflect, play the victim, invoke God. She even compares this situation to the witches during the Salem Witch Trials and that she's being persecuted to that degree. I KNOW she's not paying her editors. And to that note, if the editor who I specifically hired had outsourced my edit to anyone else, a trainy or pro editor who I did not agree to edit my book, I'd be FURIOUS & demand a refund strictly for that. Hell no. Christina is a predator who uses victimhood to get people to feel sorry for her. We should feel sorry for her clients and editors who still haven't gotten paid.

Anonymous said...

If I didn't know better, I'd say this sounds so much like Robert Martin of City Limits Publishing infamy...

Anonymous said...

Some of those emails from this person have entire sentences that don't even make sense. I would not trust them to edit a grocery list.

Anonymous said...

Someone should leave a write-up over at Reddit's /r/hobbydrama

Anonymous said...

Terrible punctuation and grammar.

Anonymous said...

She sounds pretty unstable. As a writing professional of over 20 years in the business, I know that if I client is that upset with my work, I'll do whatever I can to bend over backwards and make them happy-- but if they still complain, it's far easier to simply refund the money than risk that damage to my business. Fortunately, over the past decades, I've only had it happen once. For it to have happened this often to Christina says that she's doing something wrong. If she wants to know why she's being attacked, she needs to stop blaming others and look in the mirror.
It really upsets me that these authors, who don't have much money to begin with, get taken in by scammers who can't provide a simple service and spend more time advertising themselves than putting in the work. She doesn't even have any successful books to her own name-- which proves to me, if she has 100k followers, that TikTok is a breeding ground for morons. I (and many others in the business) know the name "Victoria Strauss." Never heard of this person before today.

Anonymous said...

I think there are some clear correlations here to other famous narcissistic personalities in recent years.

I would like to note her claim that she has a lot of 'big names' in the industry on her side who will support her. I have checked some of those big names whom I know had previous associations, and they've pulled her from their websites.

Unfortunately I'm sure we'll see her again as the power behind some other scammy LLC put in place to hide her name.

Anonymous said...

Theres a comment that is saying Tik Tok is a breeding ground for morons, and before I get into this I want to first say that Tik Tok HAS helped authors have successful debut launches. Sorry, while that app has it's problems, it's been stellar in terms of promoting myself.

Onto the actual point of the article, now. I've worked closely with Christina Kaye and this was a huge bomb to have dropped on me. Luckily, someone was kind enough to come to me with the evidence (something Christina has claimed to have but never showed, which, now makes sense.) here in the article. I can't help but to feel a bit betrayed, as I stuck by her and went off just my own experience... I didn't realize how she was treating people. Thank you to Ms. Strauss for bringing this to light, and waking me the f**k up.

Unknown said...

I ended up finding her on the NIEA finalist page in 2017 (11th Annual Awards page), and while the cover is the same for Like Father Like Daughter, it's under a whole other name. How many does she have? On their website, she's listed as Christina Morgan.

Victoria Strauss said...

Being an award finalist is not the same as being an award winner, as her various bios claim (unless there's some other award she isn't mentioning). On Amazon, she also claims to have been awarded Suspense Novel of the Year by NIEA, but I could find no record of that anywhere (or even a mention of that specific category). You'll note that's one of my questions she didn't answer.

Christina Morgan may have been her married name. She also goes by Christina Broaddus. The "Kaye" may be a middle name. I don't know for sure--just that all three names belong to the same person.

anon said...

The enemies video she posted and subsequently deleted I downloaded. (I take receipts) It had contradictory quotes from OTHER SUPERIOR sources on how to deal with ones enemies, and most of them contradicted eachother. Some were very narcissistic others were about rising above it. (She does not know who or what she is.)

I think she is (possibly) having a bipolar episode, or manic, maybe borderline... ALL too easy to be an armchair psychologist. But... her actions scream of untreated mental illness. And if that is so...she has my sympathy. She is shifty.

Also, it is clear as opposed to trying to tactfully manage this PR nightmare, even if a victim and wrongfully crucified she lacks any of he right mental reactions. LIKE ANY... she lashes out at anyone even on a good day. I looked at some of her older video's and average interaction on her video's would have normal questions and additions and she would just BARK at them, (DONT LIKE IT- UNFOLLOW!) narcissist, and obviously someone with their head way too far up their own ass.

To be honest, I saw her for what she was LONG before this article was published, but I was not about to call her out. She gives bullshit advice. I recently saw one of her tips about Characters waking up intro's being clich├ęs in books, and yes that is a common one. BUT SHE COMPARED IT TO THE WALKING DEAD....WHICH OPENS UP AT A GAS STATION WITH A LITTLE GIRL AND A TEDDY BEAR.... NOT A COMA. It is non linear story telling and she talks of novels and screen plays as if they hit the audience the same way. They don't. She is about as ignorant as they come.

She needs to stop. just tuck tail and realize she effed this. She should not have had this attitude of no refunds, and treat employees like this. She should not threaten to SUE EVERYONE WHO SPEAKS AGAINST HER...see how it turned out? She will need to delete her tiktok, no one will trust her...AS IN, EVEN IF SHE SUE'S HER REPUTATION WILL NEVER RECOVER.

She will never be able to be a face again for her work...
The book community has learned how to be tight bolt of cloth, and she is going to be CUT.

Anonymous said...

"Like Father Like Daughter" seems to be under both names, from what I can see. Why would that happen? (It's not inherently bad, just a bit confusing to me.)

Bill Cokas said...

I'm one of the authors who was burned by this "service," to the tune of $2000, and reported it to Victoria and a few other podcasts that had featured her in Fall of 2020. For the record, I'm still scarred by the experience and it's set me back considerably on my progress. Thank you, Victoria, for all your diligent work! Now that her methods have been exposed, I sincerely hope no other authors are scammed like I was.

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