Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Beware of illicit book listings

Today a very nice person took the trouble to let me know that my free ebook, Sentence of Marriage, was being offered for sale under another person's name on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. I've contacted Customer Service at both sites, and have posted warnings to any prospective purchasers in the Reviews section, so this person shouldn't receive any financial reward for such nefarious activity.

My ebooks aren't yet available on Amazon. I very much wish they were, but the arrangement to distribute Smashwords books on Amazon has suffered repeated delays. I'm still waiting patiently. In the meantime, they're available at several retailers, including Barnes & Noble, as well as at the Smashwords site. And to reiterate: the first one is free.

It's worth being suspicious if something about a book seems not quite right; in this case, the fact that the author's name on the Amazon listing doesn't match the name (mine) inside the book. An observant reader noticed this when sampling the book. It illustrates the power of readers - I discovered this thanks to readers, not any sort of authority.

While I'm indignant that someone has tried to take ownership of my work in this way, I'm hugely grateful to the person who started a thread about this in the Amazon UK forums, the person who contacted me, and all the people who've responded so positively. I'm left feeling far more warm and fuzzy about the actions of so many good people than annoyed by the actions of one ratbag.

Update: Amazon UK has taken down the illicit book (I'm sure it helped that at least one person who'd bought this version contacted Customer Service for a refund when she realised the situation). It's still on Amazon.com, but is showing as unavailable for purchase.

Further update: It's now been taken down from both Amazon sites. Hurrah for helpful and observant readers!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Charlotte Brontë's New Zealand connection

I've known for a long time that a friend of Charlotte Brontë's settled in New Zealand, and I recalled a rather non-committal quote from one of her letters: "It seemed to me incredible that you had actually written a book". It sounds like the sort of thing someone might say when obliged to read a friend's book not necessarily to the reader's taste. I came across this quote again recently, and decided to look for more details of Mary Taylor's connection with Charlotte Brontë, and of Mary's life in New Zealand.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hen Frigates: Wives of Merchant Captains Under Sail

Ever since making the acquaintance of Mrs Croft in Persuasion, I've been intrigued by the idea of a woman living in such a thoroughly male environment as a naval ship, at a time when the spheres of men and women were far more strictly defined than today. So I was drawn to this account by New Zealand historian Joan Druett of captains' wives on sailing ships in the 19th century. It covers a period a little later than Mrs Croft's, and these were commercial vessels rather than naval, but conditions must have been similar in many ways.