“Courage: the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.” Maya Angelou
It is with great sadness that I read Maya Angelou had passed away in her sleep yesterday. Here goes another great one, I said to myself. She was one of my few favorites, as a writer, as a person, and as a woman. She was a phenomenal woman. She was among the very few that I would have loved to meet and shake hands with. Reading her books was like being on a journey with her. I don’t think the world will ever see anyone like her. She will be greatly missed. May she rest in peace.
Speaking of writers, let me tell you about my bizarre experience with a group of them as I had mentioned in my previous post. Last week I received an invitation to connect on LinkedIn with an interesting group. A small group of independent Canadian writers, with the objective of bringing quality works of fiction to readers, had formed what they called a ‘micropress’ and were actively looking for new authors. Needless to say, I was excited by the prospects.
Shortly after, I was asked if I would like to contribute to the group by writing book reviews for two of their authors. I was overjoyed. But what followed afterwards was so disturbing to me that I just had to blog about it!
I received an email on Sunday morning containing two ebooks as attachments. In the email, not only was I told to write the two reviews within two weeks, but also to write them on my blog! I was taken aback. Anyone who has followed my blog and read my articles could see that it doesn’t contain book reviews. With such a group the least you can expect them to have is their own platform, right?
To make things worse, I was asked if I could facilitate an interview with CTV for their authors similar to the one I had in 2007. Furthermore, as the authors had been copied on the email, I soon received a follow-up that simply read, “Do you live in Montreal? Don’t hesitate to call me if you need more information on my novel.”
That did it for me. I happen to be a Canadian writer myself, with a book published first in Dubai in April 2004, and then in New York in 2009. I had an interview with CTV in 2007, and I started my blog in December 2010. I even got freshly pressed for one of my posts.
I feel that they should at least have had the decency to acknowledge my work, even if they were being totally insincere about it, if all they wanted (and if their only reason for contacting me) was for me to market and promote their work for them.
For the first time in my life (and I have my kids to thank for this), I declined without further regrets. To quote the late Maya Angelou:
“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”
Dear fellow bloggers, have any of you been similarly approached by people who just want to take advantage of the platform you’ve built? Have people tried to invade your personal blogging space for their own benefit?