I once heard that there are three versions of every story people tell - your side, the other person's side, and the truth. So far, in something of an issue in college, going back to the Facebook events I've mentioned before, and the problems they've caused, I've heard a couple of different stories regarding one thing in particular: the Book.
The Book began it all. It was because of the Book that I received abuse a couple of weeks ago, and because of the Book that that same person approached me on Thursday to issue a threat to report me for bullying. He told me why he was going to report me, and I later asked somebody else about the event, and what I have learned is that one of those people is lying, and I don't think it was the person I asked - she had nothing to gain from lying, whereas he had the removal of the Book from the college, and ultimately nothing to show that he was over-reacting to something entirely.
He was in the computer room and people were talking about the Book, saying it was "about" people in the college. He interpreted this as those people having read the Book. The Book was "in circulation".
The Other Version:
My friend, to whom I loaned the Book so she could better understand what his problem was, was having lunch with the very same people who were talking in the computer room. They saw the Book, said he
told them that the Book was "about" people in college, and then they asked to read it. She said no, put it in her bag and later left it in her house. She has not read the Book.
He believes I'm trying to make him look bad.
I loaned the Book to my friend so she could understand things better - I repeat this point because it's important. However, I loaned her the Book in the full knowledge that she understands that the Book is based loosely
on things that happened in the college, that I happened by mistake to write somewhat accurately in a couple of cases, and that this guy was reading too much into the character in the first draft
of the Book.
And why do I emphasise that it's a first draft? Because, as every writer knows, first drafts are rarely anything like the finished product. I do plan to change this Book, and not because it got one person upset. It was initially a writing project, something to just work on, to get a story out of, and it has yet to become what I intend it to be - a proper book. For a start, I did intend on changing the plot that focuses around the character to whom this guy relates - at the moment, he thinks it makes him look like an asshole. The character is an asshole, I won't lie about that, but that's because the Book, in its simplest form, does not work without him being like that. Cause and Effect reason that if he was a typical good guy in the Book, the events would have been different, and the one of the other characters loses some of her focus in the plot - she becomes a secondary character if there is no one to complicate things for her.
I plan on fleshing out the Book a bit. For a start, there's a bit more truth that works
in the Book - time and time again, she keeps going back to him. But she has to be somewhere for her to go back.
I don't even know if he read the whole Book or if he just read the parts that he thought had to do with him. But I do know that I never intended for him to read that version of the Book. It's an unfinished product, raw and untamed and frankly a little out of my control. That he thinks the Book is "in circulation" is, lets me honest, a little ridiculous. Nevermind the fact that only two physical copies exist - the one I loaned to my friend and the one he practically stole from another friend after I gave it to her for her birthday - I just don't feel comfortable passing around my books like they're nothing. I choose who reads my books quite carefully; if someone's my friend and if I think they'd be interested or if they express direct interest in a book, I let them - and sometimes ask them - to read it. I don't just pass around my books to anybody. I certainly don't pass around books that are neither finished nor appropriate nor what I want people to read.
The accusation that I am a bully is just horrendous. I didn't do anything to directly offend him. Sure, that didn't exactly work to plan since he took the Book and interpreted it the way he did, but that was because he went behind my back to "borrow" a copy (for a day, I'm told... and that was in November and he still has it!). The person I gave it to for her birthday had already read the Book; she knew what it was all about, because she'd told me some of the stories. I asked her to read it so that I would know if she thought it was okay with me revealing some of the emotions she said she felt. The sentimentality of the Book was what was important for me and for her as a present.
The person I loaned the Book to said she won't read it until and only if he thinks it's okay that she does. So far, no one knows what actually happens in the Book and he mistook the eagerness of two people he told
about the Book as it being passed around the college like a piece of juicy gossip. I was purposely avoiding that scenario by abandoning any plans to work on the Book and self-publish it through Lulu.com after the Christmas break. If I wanted people to read it I'd just email it to the whole college. That would be the Book in circulation. And it would be entirely against what I wanted. (And, just to note, the only reason I had for wanting to self-publish the Book was to try earn a little bit of money from it, not to tarnish the reputation of someone who is now doing that all by himself).
And, finally, take into account his own malice towards me, publicly too. I reckon that no one can take up a bullying case after that. I have a PDF of the whole conversation printed, in case he decides he's finally going to delete it, so he can't deny what he said - it was cruel and entirely unnecessary, and seems to have only been to get to me. And it did get to me. A lot. I'm not going to pretend that he didn't get to me with that, like I'm not going to pretend that I wasn't phased by his threat, until I learned the back-story to what had happened.
This person is a bully. He's a bully and he's trying to hide that fact by making the accusation of someone else. The simple fact of the matter is that he read something that was private, interpreted this as being public the very moment a second copy of the Book showed up, and then decided to take action, seemingly forgetting the way he treated me - the abuse and the snide grins every time he saw me because he knew he'd gotten to me. I say all this, but I keep his name private. I don't plan on doing something to him that could ruin his whole life. I don't have the same vicious conviction to hurt as he does. He just has to grow up and realise that this whole thing isn't about him, that the Book isn't about him, but that the problem is because of him disrespecting his friend by not giving back something he "borrowed", despite her asking for it back, and all in malice. That was my mistake, though - thinking that someone would be decent enough to give back a birthday present they had no right to even take in the first place, and assuming that because he never took the opportunity to talk to me about the Book face to face as an adult, if it upset him that much, that he had no problem with it. He had plenty of opportunities to talk to me alone, and he never took them.
And apparently that makes me a bully. Go figure.
can't you just sell your book yourself? why go through the horrible experience of using a publisher? ..... publisher=corporation; corporation=evil ergo: publisher=evil;
either do it manually... or by the INTERNET! give it about the same price as an app or something; over the internet enough people might buy it to get you a relatively large amount of money"
Slight problems with this... first of all, I wouldn't say corporations are evil. Corporations, unfortunately, make the world go round. Apple and Microsoft have revolutionised the computer industry, and it's likely the comment wouldn't have been made with them. Publishers are corporations that specialise in releasing books to the market, and with these books some people make a living, some get an income and many readers are affected in very powerful ways to encourage them to change their lives (and I don't just mean self-help books!) I wouldn't say that publishers are necessarily evil. Disagreeable, in some cases, but not evil.
And as for the doing it alone remark (i.e. "by the INTERNET!")... well, it's not that easy. Well, it is that easy. It's very easy to put something in the market online. So easy, in fact, that people are releasing both trash and masterpieces into the market, and sometimes it can be hard to tell which is which. A word of advice, though: if you can find an author that hired editors (or at least didn't edit alone) and that had somebody else design the cover and that is serious about their trade, then the odds are the piece of work they release themselves isn't going to be entirely dreadful. That's not a guarantee, in any of the cases (because there are exceptions), but it is a good thing to go by when trying to determine whether or not a book will be any good when you buy it.
And for people looking to do it, even if they go for self-designed covers, aren't that well known, and receive help from friends editing, the important thing to remember is: don't price yourself out of the market. Also, don't do as one Indie author did and tell a reviewer and his commenters to, and I quote, "Fuck off". Remember that it's not just an author's book that people see, it's the author too. Etiquette and professionalism should be observed, especially when attempting to portray yourself seriously.
By the way, I'm aware that keeping a personal blog and using it to talk about problems I have with other people doesn't seem professional. But that's why I call it personal, and it's why I don't name and shame people. Or even just name them, even if they're awesome and I don't have a problem with them. But I avoid being overly bitchy about people, and only using particular language when trying to convey a particular point (such as this one).
So, to sum up: don't be disillusioned by writing success; write in your spare time (and make your spare time, don't just complain you have none); don't give up your job before you've started; hone your craft; take into account all the work that goes into writing and getting published (even Indie authors - and actually, especially Indie authors - have a lot of work to do). And remember: write for fun, sell for money. Unless it's non-fiction, in which point you may just be writing to get a point across or inform people, but in that case just choose what you write about carefully.