I’m angry with myself for being naive. I should know better by now. But apparently I don’t. Almost 45 and I am still so bloody naive. I expect the best in people, even when I know that people always disappoint.
In January I took part in what seemed a lovely scheme to write a short piece every day; I chose to post mine on my blog, so did many others. I didn’t really think about it; I had been pretty ill over Christmas and so the idea of focussing on a single thing and writing about it seemed a good practise for being glad to be alive. I registered that the organisers of the scheme intended to collate some of the entries in a book but again, I never thought about it much. I sent in when asked ten of my entries. When I was then asked to submit them not as attachments but in the main body of an email, I complied. I assumed that because I use Open office, they had been unable to open them. A week or so later, I was informed that a piece had been selected, and slightly edited. I was unhappy as the editing was done so that the piece ceased to have any context or personal connection to me; I protested but the response was that context was not needed. I had also been surprised at the choice; it was the first piece on my email, and not the best.
This morning I get an email announcing the launch of the book and was encouraged to buy not one but many copies of the book that has about five sentences of my writing in. More than 300 people had also sent in their entries. To me that means that virtually every single person(except sour pusses like me) will buy at least one copy of the book; probably multiple copies, to give to friends and family. I also discovered this morning that 72 copies sold overnight.
Now when it comes back down to it, the organisers have been provided with free and willing content, not to mention a probable captive market of people who are delighted to see their words in print, and since the book is print on demand, their only outlay has been to buy 1 (yes, just 1) copy of the book themselves as proof copy. A few days of work collating the entries, writing introduction and putting together a very lacklustre cover, and the intention of doing the whole thing all over again in July~ a nice little money maker don’t you think?
Before you ask, contributors get nothing at all. Bearing in mind it is possible to offer a free download using this format, does this not strike you as a very clever scam? Write us a book and then buy a copy of “your” book.
I feel like I have been stitched up very nicely.
What do you think?