Dear Miss Snark:
I'm a sometimes freelance editor, and I've been working with a client to polish a nonfiction book. At first I thought she wanted to spruce it up before submitting it anywhere. Then, after the work was well underway, I learned that she already had a publisher -- her exact words were, "I already paid them and everything!" The POD press had asked her to get the work professionally edited before sending it to them for printing.
What I'm wondering is, am I complicit in ripping this woman off? I'm not affiliated with the publisher, so they're not scamming her on editing services, and I know that POD doesn't necessarily equal skulduggery, but the problem is that my client believes that she's been accepted for publication because the editors truly believe in her work and her mission, and that this book is going to make her fortune for her.
I doubt enlightening her would do any good, since she's already paid them -- and, frankly, because she's completely batty (though a fine client) -- so I guess I'm just wondering what you think.
First, you are not complicit in ripping her off. You're doing the work she's paying you to do, and we'll assume for the sake of pleasant discussion you're not making the manuscript worse on purpose or anything.
She hasn't asked your advice or opinion. She's not in imminent peril (and please let's all agree POD won't actually kill you). Those are the two times when you're obliged to speak up.
It's clear you think she leaped before she looked. The world is full of people like that. There's a reason AuthorHouse makes money and it's not cause they're selling books in bookstores.
The information is easily available for anyone who googles the words "how to get published". In fact the first four things that pop up, after the sponsored ads are pretty good sources of info. It's not your responsibility to save her from her own nitwittery.