I wasn’t sure if I was every going to share this story, but several months have passed by now, a new year has begun and the irritation I felt at the time has now simmered down a lot. But I will share this, because I know that people who write, write with passion. It’s our creativity, the way we write the words, the words we use and how the sentences are formed. Where the story line goes and how we weave it all together, for example, chapters of a book.
As strange as it may seem and believe me, I was extremely surprised, a couple of years ago I got an email in my website inbox from someone really well known. I mean a serious popular person followed by literally millions. I will not mention any names, as this then becomes a spiteful blog, but needless to say I was really pleased and honored. That someone like them just comes across my blog, likes it, and then actually takes the time to say so.
It was the beginning of a friendship as we talked on discovered we had a lot in common, both being Leo star signs and we had a few Zoom sessions. We decided that it might be a nice idea to write together and this resulted in a series of blogs on my website. It was a joint effort so to speak.
I purposely did not again mention names as it was not about attracting literally thousands of new readers, it was about having fun and writing together. In fact, this series did attract a lot of attention, but I was careful every time not to say who it was mainly to ensure that it did not become a ‘dreamy eyes dozy fan thing’.
When you talk to someone regularly you get to know them, or at least you think you do and when the suggestion was made to write something together which would be turned into something else, to say I was flattered would be an understatement. I had never done anything like this before and at first, I thought maybe I have taken on ‘more than I can chew’. But once you start to write and the inspiration flows, then it’s just a story.
I was well into it and sent the text so far, just by chance to a friend in England who is so excellent about spelling, grammar etc., and was thrilled by her really positive reaction that it was a wonderful tale and carry on. Of course, the next step was to share with my friend as they were going to write too and in the end it would, like all other books be made into a proper story, a beginning, a plot, a middle part, and an ending. Maybe a happy ending, maybe not.
It was about 30-odd thousand words when I emailed it to them and immediately got a reaction about how wonderful it was and that they would now write on… seems all fair and part of the plan I thought.
You can probably imagine that I was flabbergasted several weeks later to receive an email from their management that they were filing for copyright. What? It is in fact my copyright so far and would that not have been something which was discussed further on in the project? That is a norm and the respectful way to do things. I was irritated for sure and of course asked why?
Got a surprising reply accusing me of being ‘selfish and greedy’ (from said friend) which was not very nice (understatement) as the text so far was all my own work. I suddenly thought I must get in touch with my publishers and ensure that the copyright is registered. It wasn’t, although the title and the so-called identification number was and in fact it turned out that this was sufficient to prove my ownership and of course I also have the backup email to my friend who has corrected the text so far…
End of story you may be thinking? But, just by chance and completely out of the blue I found a page on Facebook from my old primary school in England. I wrote a piece on it and was amazed how many of my classmates replied. And would you believe it one of them, actually the boy who sat next to me in the class, was a lawyer and residing on the other side of the globe. I told him about this in a private chat, as this is not really something to talk about on the FB page and he said: ‘leave it all to me, I will write on your behalf’. He did and successfully too and my friend’s management were backed into a corner and had to agree they had no right to the words.
Of course, as I fully expected, I got some very nasty emails from someone I thought I had developed a friendship with. I often think back to their words ‘I always get what I want’ and thought ‘not this time mate’!
It is very sad when people are well-known in society for whatever genre, it gives them the feeling that they are better than the rest. The answer is – they are not! They just got lucky and yes, maybe from all their hard work and of course this is rewarded big time, if you are genuine. IF is the important word in this paragraph.
That was the conclusion I came to that they were not. Their own ego was so totally out of control and I took some very definite action and totally blocked each and every avenue to stop them getting in touch with me. Revenge, no, I don’t work like that, but I am not a doormat and will not tolerate someone forcing me out of my comfort zone or beyond my boundaries. No way!
It was months later (around Christmas time) that an email slipped through again and I did not even read it. Just binned it. There is nothing more to say. The manuscript was filed into my hard disk and I had no inspiration whatsoever to carry out, even though I knew the story line was good.
The thing I want to emphasize here is some I wrote this weekend on my Instagram page. ‘Every cloud has a silver lining’. It’s a cliché for sure, but it can be so true. I mean how incredible that an old school friend just happened to cross paths with me and was so helpful and offered the solution, as a favor because we went back such a long time ago? It still amazes me to be honest.
If you find yourself, like me, up a creek with no paddle, remember to trust your instincts and always know that a solution will suddenly present itself IF you believe that it will. And remember if you believe in magic it happens!
No names, I won’t reveal who it is. Why? I don’t think they deserve the attention and being a gossip is not my thing. It is a lesson for sure and one I will never repeat. It’s OK working with other journalist, novelists, writers, authors and such like but there is always the golden rule about who’s work it is and who should get the praise. It is a rule of courtesy.
Goodness it feels like closing the book for me, having written this down. It played around in my mind for quite a long time, mainly because it was all so unfair. But here is another saying for you: ‘all is fair in love and war’ but is it?