As you know, I’ve been active in discussions about the Brit Writers recent ventures into a ‘publishing programme’ and their ‘agents division.’ But so far we have been unable to get any information straight from the horses mouth.
I thought perhaps that was going to change this weekend – Brit Writers started following me on Twitter – so I asked them if they would be willing to answer some questions I had about their organisation. They said of course, and asked me to email them.
So I did.
Please read the questions and their response, and if you have any thoughts, add a comment or email me if you would prefer.
Here are the questions I sent:
Dear Brit Writers,
I’m emailing you as you suggested on Twitter, to get your answers to some questions that are bothering many of us. I am sure that it is simply a lack of information, rather than anything to be worried about, so I look forward to your responses.
1) BWA in general
a) Who are you? Do people in your organisation come from the writing and publishing world? Could we have more transparency on this?
b) What is the status of BWA? Besides the competition and the community work there seem to be a number of ‘for profit’ spin-offs. Do you publish accounts?
2) Legal action.*
I understand that Harry Bingham has had to take down a blog post and a forum discussion on his WordCloud site after you threatened him with legal action. I’d seen both of those postings before they were removed, and whilst I saw plenty of people voicing concerns about BWA, I had not picked up on any defamatory statements. Could you please say what your concerns were in this matter? As you know there are also discussions on my own blog, which as far as I’m concerned are healthy internet debates about something we are unable to get clear information on, but if you are being libelled then of course we need to know.
*Note – This question in direct response to this blog post on another website:
Published by: Harry on 4th Nov 2011 | View all blogs by Harry A short note to state that I have received a letter from Brit Writers’ solicitors requesting that I remove all references to the BWA from this website. I have therefore done so. I request that all Word Clouders refrain from mentioning the BWA in any way on this site. Any new posts or comments will be removed.I reget having to take this step, but I am being threatened with legal action so have no sensible alternative. We continue to wish all writers entering the BWA Awards the best of luck with their submissions.Please DO NOT reply to this post. Sorry!
3) Brit Writers’ Publishing Scheme
This is something we are having trouble getting information on, which is unusual in the world of social media, blogs and so on. Could you please tell us, as your authors come to the end of their year, how this scheme is going? Are there any successes out there? Has it not worked out with others? Will you be doing it again in 2012?
4) Brit Writers’ Agents Division
a) Please could you name some of the agents who have asked to work with you on this?
b) It seems that many of those who submitted work to you for consideration have been told their synopsis needs work, and you have proposed consultancy services, at a fee, to fix that. Who, in your organisation is responsible for this advice? Do they have the relevant qualifications? Who/which organisations are then going to provide the (paid for) consultancy on those manuscripts and synopses?
5) Passing Off
Are you aware that someone has posted on Jane Smith’s blog defending BWA and attacking Jane using my name (Claire King)? Clearly this is a criminal offence as it it is an attempt to pass off as me in my professional capacity as an author. We are looking into contacting the person via their IP address, but in the meantime what advice would you give to this individual?
Thank you in advance for taking the time to respond to our questions. Are you happy for your responses to be posted on my blog?
And here is their response:
I’m afraid that this matter is now being investigated and dealt with by our solicitors and they will be contacting you.
Corporate & Legal
10th November, update:
BWA’s solicitors have contacted me by email, requesting that I remove this post and all other references to BWA from my website.
I have taken legal advice, and responded to them. Having reviewed all three of my posts which refer to BWA, I do not see any statement contained therein that would be regarded as defamatory. Comments made by third parties on these posts seem to me to constitute fair comment or honest opinion.
I am therefore not proposing to remove any of the posts at this time.
However I do take allegations of defamation seriously, and have therefore outlined a number of things I would be prepared to do, including consider posting a statement from Brit Writers Ltd. on my website.
Thank you to everyone who has commented so far.