I’ve got a beef today. A burger of sizable proportions. I had another writer steal from me. A writer took copyrighted material that I posted on a private loop and offered it up to other blogs in this writer’s campaign to discredit a publisher. NOTE: I’ve been told by a trusted source that my words on a loop are not copyright protected, so I wanted to modify my post from The Gabwagon to reflect this correction. I’m not always right, but I let people know it when I am.
Despite this new information, it still doesn’t change the fact that someone STOLE my words and used them for their own ends without having the courage to ask my permission or mention the fact that they intended to share my words with the target=”_blank” world.
It’s Just Plain Wrong
I find this type of thing despicable. I won’t even go into the expectations of privacy on private loops, because I know that there is no such thing. It’s one of the reasons why I take so much care in posting on loops because I do my best to make sure I’m being clear, my information is as accurate as possible and I don’t say something I’ll regret. I’ve said things I regret in the past, and it’s earned me harsh comments. Worse, I really hate to have to admit that I’m wrong about something, so sometimes I do myself HUGE favors by keeping my mouth shut.
But damn it, stealing my words and posting them out there with out my permission is as low as those peer-to-peer groups who think it’s okay to share my eBooks. No it’s worse.
Why? Because of all the people who should respect copyright or at least ATTRIBUTE someone’s words correctly you’d think it would be writers. I’m not ashamed of the words that were provided to different blogs without my permission, it’s the principle of the thing. Not to mention the fact that the words stolen from me speak to the issue of professional behavior. The hypocrisy of it is unbelievable! Here are the words someone took off a private author loop and provided to others without citation or permission…
“I’m simply saying that networking is everything in this business, and people talk. If an author is seen as being a prima donna, a complainer, a troublemaker (whether it’s true or not) it can cause an author problems down the road.”
My quote from a private author loop was handed over to at least one blog by a disgruntled author who decided to use my words in an effort to illustrate how one or more authors were being oppressed by a specific publisher. A quote I might add, that I offered up on the loop in an attempt to politely tell the writer that it wasn’t the smartest move to diss the publisher on the loop the publisher OWNED. My assumption (rightly or wrongly) is that this writer handed my words off to multiple blogs, who for whatever reason chose not to publish my words. I appreciate their not using my words. The one blogger who did use my words has since make a retraction and apologized for using my words as my only connection with the publisher is that they publish my books. I appreciate the blogger’s effort to set the record straight.
Can We Talk TSTL Heroines?
Clearly some writers just don’t get it. They don’t understand that behavior like this will come back to bite them in the end (don’t believe it?–read the comments over at the Gabwagon) People don’t get it that editors read some of the more popular blogs. Editors DO form opinions, and it DOES influence them if they’re on the fence about a manuscript they’re reviewing and considering.
People can disagree with me about this, but I know human nature. Ever heard those stories of writers sticking manuscripts under the bathroom stall door to an editor. I don’t know anyone this has happened to, but I have friends who do know editors/agents this has happened to. Does anyone really think an editor is going to forget intrusive or unprofessional behavior? Of course not. If a writer doesn’t believe in blacklists (for lack of a better word, which really means editors/agents who remember names) then why post anonymous, vitriolic posts?
The writer who stole my words has a beef with a publisher. I only have a superficial understanding of the issues. I’ve not had any problems with the publisher. I read my contract, it was reviewed by someone who knows contracts and I made adjustments to it that the publisher accepted. It’s not my responsibility to ensure that other authors review and adjust their contracts. It’s not my responsibility to ensure that others stay away from publishers by alerting the world to the fact.
I’ve Already Got Kids
When did I suddenly become accountable for doing someone else’s research? If someone asks, I’m happy to share my personal experiences. I refuse however to get involved in the disputes of others. I have lots of people ask me about my publishers. I provide forthright pros and cons of a publisher based on my experience and I go from there. What works for me does not necessarily work for another writer. It’s anyone’s right to announce to the world what their gripe is about an editor or publisher, but do so at your own risk, and don’t drag other authors into the mix unless they’re agreeable to it.
If there’s one thing I strive for in this business, it’s to act as professional as possible. Sometimes I screw up, but I’m Johnny on the spot with an apology and an admittance of error. But damn it, I don’t steal another writer’s words and use them without permission as viable quotes to support a position that may or may not be one I agree with. It’s unprofessional, unethical and it’s indefensible. Not even if someone is trying to alert other writers to beware of a publisher. Because no one, and I mean NO ONE, has the right to speak for me or use my words to further their own cause. Take it up with the publisher and leave me out of it.
And I have to say that it’s killin’ me! Just killin’ me not to be able to really say what I think of this individual. But I will say this. I’m Italian, and we do not forget.