NaNoWriMo is looming closer. I’ve finished 1/2 of my outline, and will be working on more throughout the day today when I finish here and my lunch. I’ve been a bit busy recently, and the few days away from it gives me time to not get burned out too early, as well as help me to see an idea fresh and see if it still works or not before building further on it. During the time not working on the outline last week, I created a “book cover” to post on the NaNoWriMo website for my novel (all free public domain images from verifiable sources, to assure the copyright minded people out there). And as I worked on the image, I was concerned with how people would perceive the subject matter of my novel. So, due to it taking place in a remote boarding school during autumn, I chose to use an image that looked similar to the setting, but adding a charred wood filter to make it a bit more sinister looking, as the plot is of a supernatural nature.
I was reminded of my book cover recently as a few days ago, I received the oddest of messages in my Facebook inbox. It was of course in my Filtered Messages folder since I was not on this person’s friend’s list to begin with.
There’s quite a many things wrong with this. Firstly “Missy Aggie” is an alias. Secondly, while I do not profess to be besties with the admins of a the group she mentions, I am on good terms with them. They area wonderful group of people, and I have benefited much from their combined years of advice and wisdom on copyright problems, and writing in general. Thirdly, the Facebook group “Pagans Against Plagiarism” does not represent me. They do not represent anyone, actually. When someone brings copyright infringement to the attention of the group, it is because often the illegal copies or stolen works belong to a member of the group itself – the group is primarily composed of authors, artists, publishing company representatives, magazine writers, web designers – people who either create things or facilitate in the creation of things – but also those who represent an author or estate’s legal interests (for many this means a Llewellyn representative, as they are the most popular publisher to have works ripped off from, and some of their authors are deceased but the publisher holds the copyrights). And lastly, the admins of Pagans Against Plagiarism created the group in response to someone stealing their works and attempting to self publish them through places like Amazon under another title and under their own name. The group was started so that they had a common place to discuss what to do about the problem, and what legal recourse they could take provided some of the authors and artists who had been ripped off were not only in the United States, but some were in Canada, others in the UK. So trying to sort out all the international issues as well was very important in going forward with sorting it all out and moving forward. Now the purpose of the group is to help educate others on what their rights are as content creators, who’s responsibility it is to file legal actions when their works are stolen, to alert content creators and/or their representatives when a member stumbles across theft and plagiarism of someone’s work on the internet, and generally just to help people who don’t know what to do if or when their work is lifted by someone else. And of course, it’s mostly pagan oriented because the initial creation of the group was to help pagan authors.
Now, how does all of this remind me of when I had questioned whether or not people would understand what my book was about based on the cover I had created?
Again, I must state that before I received this message I had never encountered this person before. They were not on my friends list, and I was not on theirs. This is a case of someone looking through a membership list of a group, and messaging newer members since the last time they had pulled something of this nature, and judging them based on the sole fact they are a member.
Rather than speak to me one to one, rather than open a dialogue, this person just up and said “Nope.” For all this person knew, I had joined the group because someone stole my poetry or my paintings. For all this person new, I could have been a member of the group who agreed with them. But again, rather than start a dialogue…
Ah well. It’s clear that “Missy Aggie” has a vendetta against the group founders, likely because it’s an alias of the person who had been responsible for the situation resulting in the group’s creation in the first place.
It just makes me sad to know real people still judge people like they are judging what book to buy.