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A Unique Redefinition of… Something 26 July 2013

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Hall of Shame.
11 comments

We don’t ban people from submitting stories to Every Day Fiction often. Hardly at all, in fact. I could count them on one hand over the past… well, almost seven years now.

But when someone refuses to see the conflict between unattributed chunks of text quoted without permission (from an online non-fiction article about the story’s subject) and item 6(a) of our contract — “The Author represents and warrants that he/she is the sole author of the Work, that the Work is original and not previously published, and that the Work does not, to the best of his/her knowledge, infringe any third party’s copyright, trademark or other proprietary rights.” — we don’t really have any other choice. How could we ever trust any submission from this person who refuses to see that appropriating someone else’s text is wrong?

The reaction? Apparently a ban is “over the top” and we need to “get rid of what they taught you in school about literature, and start using you own minds.”

The justification we were given as to why it’s okay to use other people’s words? “I did not invent words either, so, according to your logic, whoever uses words is not a fiction writer.”

Also, this: “I do it all the time, it’s my definition of the 21st century writing, which I define, not the century.”

This one goes in the Hall of Shame, for sure.

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Picture Me Blinking In Astonishment 11 March 2010

Posted by Camille Gooderham Campbell in Hall of Shame.
4 comments

Theoretically, writers who submit their work for publication want to hear back from the publisher.

So I was surprised, a while back, to come across a writer who had set up an email spam blocker that would only accept incoming mail from an approved list — our response to a query generated an auto-reply email asking us to click on a link and “fill out a short request form to be added to the list of approved senders”. The automated email noted: “I apologize for this one-time inconvenience”. Did we click on the link and fill out the short request form? No, we did not.

Ever since then, I have mentally enshrined that particular incident as the most counterproductive author communication effort possible. It couldn’t possibly be outdone — send a query, but make it impossible to receive the response without an extra step that involves clicking a link and filling out a form. Quite apart from it coming across as a phishing trip (you don’t know me! click this link! give me your personal information!), neither I nor any other editor that I know of has time to go around filling out little forms. Brilliant strategy for getting published? No. Gold star for total bemusement factor? Yes.

Today, I encountered something that rivals even that one.

The subject line of what was clearly an auto-response email read: “I am no longer communicating via e-mail”. In the body of the email, it said: “If you wish to get in touch, please write me at [snail mail address here]. My website, [website here], is still active and contains a list of my recent publications. Thank you!”

So, picture me blinking in astonishment. Gold star for arrogance in thinking that I’m seriously going to go get a stamp and send a snail mail letter. Welcome to my Hall of Shame.

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