You may be wondering why I am writing a blog about why not to buy one of my books. I will tell you everything, and I must begin at the beginning.
A few months ago, while posting my poetry to my facebook wall as usual, I received a comment on a particular poem from Nathaniel Arther Hammel. He claimed to be from a publishing company called Robin Hood Press who have several book stores in America and that he wanted to publish my poetry.
I gave myself some time to check him out. I went to the website he linked me to, and it looked basic, cheap but generally ok. I thought to myself, this is a bookshop owner and doesn't have much time for web design. This was my first wrong assumption.
I agreed to send a small sample of my work for publication through Robin Hood Press as a trial run. I made an agreement inside myself to give them a chance, if it works out, I will allow them to print more of my work. So I sent in a small book of poetry which I called Whispers of Spirit and I designed the artwork for the cover too.
The next thing that happened was that Nathaniel asked me which publishing scheme I wanted to go with, one where I pay for it and one where I don't. Well, as an excellent and established poet, there is no way I am paying to have my work published, so I said I will take the free option. This included a free copy and according to Nathaniel, a copy in each of the 6 book stores owned by RHP.
What happened next was the real alarm bell for me. The book appeared on Amazon a whole month before the agreed release date and it was published by Create Space. This is the company I use to independently publish my own work for myself. So it was clear to me that Nathaniel was using Create Space to get my book onto Amazon and Barnes and Noble, which is what they do. This service is free if you provide all the material, which I had done.
I was suspicious at this point but did not want to accuse anyone of anything until I could be certain. This was not the work of a professional publishing company.
Next up, Nathaniel linked me to a webpage he had 'made' for me for free which consisted of a link to buy my book, a photo he had copied from my facebook profile and a biography link to my official website. I then noticed that his website was riddled with spelling mistakes. Another clear sign this is no professional. However, I had agreed to allow him to work with my poetry and I was going on the fact that I am helping him. This man who is trying very hard to make something of himself, and yeah, I can see through what he does, but I felt he still had integrity. I trusted him.
Next, Nathaniel asked me for money. i said that I'd asked for the free service, but he said it had to be paid to get the work onto major databases. This was not part of the initial agreement, however it was a fairly small figure, $45, and I thought OK then. He assured me that my royalty would easily cover the money and I'd be in profit on my first payment. I noticed Createspace was able to provide inclusion on major databases for free, but I made another assumption that Nathaniel was tied into a contract somehow that forced him down this other route. I noticed a photograph of my cover online and my name had been spelled wrong in the description. I asked him to fix it, he said he'd do it right away. 3 days later it was still the same so I asked him again. He said he did it three days ago when asked but on a new image (neglecting to remove the old) but the time and date on this new image was not 3 days ago, but 3 minutes ago. The first blatant lie.
After waiting for the time given that I know Createspace wait to make payments, I asked Nathaniel about mine. He said he'd send an email. He didn't. I informed him of the missing email and he said he'd sent it again. No show. I confirmed he had my email address correctly and he did, in fact I have received mail from him before, asking for money. Nathaniel said to me in a chat box that payment would be made on the 1st of March but it takes a week for money to be worked by PayPal. This of course is nonsense and PayPal are able to do transactions instantly or within a few hours. I accepted this lie as it gave me a time scale to allow my trust for him to be completely run down.
I said I have still not had the email and politely asked what is going on a few days before this deadline of the 7th. I had no response. So, on the 7th I sent another message saying that I have had enough, I told him he is to pay me immediately and remove my book from his store. So let me make this clear now, the author of Whispers of Spirit, me, has publicly and officially removed permission for Robin Hood Press to reproduce this work. I told Nathaniel that if he didn't comply and pay me what is owed, plus my original payment, there would be consequences. After ignoring my polite emails, this one got an instant response. He first told me not to threaten him. Then he proceeded to threaten me with telling all the publishers in the industry that I have no patience. And he also said that by speaking out against him I am breaking the law. So, he we have it. Yes, it is true, I have no patience for liars, cheats and users. None what so ever. That can be international knowledge as far as I am concerned. As to threats of slander, this blog post tells the truth. Everything in this post can be proven with copies of every conversation I have had with Nathaniel.
So when I ask you to not buy Whispers of Spirit, this is why.
I will be re-releasing the book under the new title of "Integrity of Spirit" as soon as I am able. It will also contain more poems.
So far to action this problem, I have contacted my solicitor here in the UK and also been in touch with watchdog groups. Createspace have also been informed as to the infringement of my copyright.
If you own the book already, then keep it, use it to show people I am a good poet and worth buying, but please don't pay for this book. It is a fraudulent use of my talent.
Thank you for reading.
Oh yeah, I never did get my "Free Book"