Ask and you shall receive... a tart response.
Ten weeks I made the decision to finally send my stories out to the world.
I thought about this very carefully. Because being a writer, or any creative type for that matter, you're leaving yourself open to all kinds of comments and abuse.
However, I'm not easily deterred. I've faced far larger problems in life including criticism.
I went ahead full steam. As it turned out I ended up writing my first story, Davey, because of a Wattpad challenge which came up. I didn't reach the goal of ten thousand words in a month but I attempted it.
In the process I put together a book cover. Not a great one but I can and will change this later. I also wrote, amongst other things, a few enquiries to people regarding the possible use of their artwork.
The reason for this is because I knew I wouldn't have the time to create the kind of book covers I'd need considering the time constraints and because I don't have the funds which would allow me to purchase licences or buy artwork or pay commissions.
If I did have I wouldn't have bothered simply sending an enquiry. Perhaps this is an avenue I should not have explored. Even so, I saw no harm in asking and went ahead.
This was the beginning of my adventure and to be truthful, because so many things were happening all at once, I'd forgotten about this early enquiry. That was until the replies came back to me.
Over the course of my working life I've learned time, like money, is one of those commodities people will not waste. Which is fair, logical and makes perfect sense.
Because of certain carer duties I have acquired lately, which are time consuming to put it mildly, I know about time management more than I ever learned in any job. I'm also very appreciative of the fact that money is a precious commodity.
Throughout the normal course of things I will write short but polite notes. This practice goes back to a job I had whereby memos were always kept brief. I've since adapted this form of communication although in modified form for it's intended recipients.
As I said, I was busily writing away, planning my stories, replying to other writers and readers which is no easy task at the best of times especially given my carer duties which consume a lot of my time.
The responses I received regarding my work from readers on Wattpad and later Twitter was rather refreshing. You never know what the response will be to your work unless you publish it. On the whole, I've been fortunate.
I also discovered Scriggler or that should probably read Scriggler discovered me.
(Thank you, by the way.)
Another platform which allows me to contribute and place my stories here too.
Many dusty years ago to have a voice you had to be famous or a celebrity or some other such notary. Either that or stand on a crate at Speakers Corner.
There I was, as I said, writing away planning new stories and deciding which ones I would publish next. I was researching and fact finding. I was finally letting the world know "I'm writing! At last I'm publishing my own work and releasing it into the blue beyond."
I was also replying to feedback, tweeting with other writers around the world and not doing too bad of a job in working around these new platforms either. I say new because social media in this context is new to me.
As usual when things are looking good there is the inevitable kick in the backside just to keep things fresh.
This one particular night I was dealing with correspondence as usual when the first person I contacted replied.
The particular respondent I refer to had finally, sent their reply after two months. This was the moment I'd know whether or not I would be allowed to use their artwork for a cover to a story I had in mind.
I was expecting at best a formal but polite refusal. I was not expecting the less than professional and impolite response I received.
The intent I discovered was to make me feel no better than a beggar selling buttons at the door. While at the same time as pointing out a single mistake I had made, using the correct spelling but for a different meaning, the respondent's text was full of grammatical errors.
Irony is a card.
Obviously, I had no reply to this. I really would've liked to respond as they did.
It would've been childish and I'm better than that.
Just to clarify a point. Whenever I have enquire about the possibility of using an artists work I always expect a refusal. Not out of a self defeatist attitude but simply because time is a commodity and people are busy.
I also understand people might not want their work used for any other purpose than originally intended. This is fair too.
What I didn't expect however, was something which was no more than a disrespectful attempt at belittling me.
I appreciate people put a lot of effort into honing their crafts let alone trying sell said crafts at a time where every sale is hard fought for.
In a way I'm trying to do exactly the same thing. I'm trying to build a readership. With the hope that at some point in time my work will be noticed further and lead to a book deal. This is the obvious hope of any writer.
In the past and, quite recently, I've been asked to help out others with their creative tasks. I agree to do so freely. There have been times in the past when I've wished there was someone I could've ask for guidance. So, as long as time allows, I'll happily help out.
We all need or have needed help in one form or another at some point in our lives.
I've had people help me for no other reason than they were being kind and believe you me, I'll be forever thankful and they will always be remembered.
My point with all this is to say to those at the top of their game, (or even if you're not), to anyone in the creative industries is simply this.
If you receive any form of communication from anyone politely enquiring if you might help them, please, don't attempt to belittle them.
You may even make assumptions like English isn't their first language. You might even think they should struggle a bit more like you had to instead of asking for a little help.
You may even think they're not worth your time, or that they shouldn't have bothered asking.
You might think their offer of a credit or link back to your site, is way below your fee and an insult to your labours.
Whatever the case or however strongly you may feel the urge is to point out, or teach anything, to said enquirer, just for a couple of minutes, at least, please, take some time to think before you reply.
Perhaps not replying may be the best option. Least said soonest mended. Nobody deserves your wrath simply because they had the gall, the audacity, or the cheek, to chance their arm, muster up some courage, and ask you for help.
Remember, the author of such a letter isn't harassing you or demanding that you help them. They're simply enquiring if you, who they might have admired, could help them. That is all.
It costs nothing to use manners and politeness in your chosen response.
I've since sourced images I can use from a site and from a professional photographer.
The fee for both?
A link back to sites and credits.
Irony is most definitely a card.