Saturday, June 22, 2013

Is this the FINAL word on Brit Writers?

Some of you may remember when many of us were warning unwary writers about Brit Writers. As a result of people raising questions, Harry Bingham of the Writers' Workshop, Jane Smith of the blog, How Publishing Really Works and author Claire King were threatened with legal action - see here for Harry's response, here for Jane's (huge number of comments) and here for Claire's.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, you can see the whole sorry tale here. That's a link to a post on my blog in November 2011 but it includes links to all the other posts on the subject that were around at the time.

Anyway, this is the upshot. BWA has gone out of business, as we predicted. They'll no doubt try to shift the blame onto us and others who had the nerve to expect something in exchange for the hundreds of pounds they paid over to this bunch.

There's a huge lesson to be learnt here. There are sharks out there who are only too willing to take advantage of the dreams and vulnerability of people who are desperate to be published. Swim with care, peeps.

15 comments:

Vanessa Gebbie said...

I suspect this is no loss to any writer - just a loss to the wallets of the owners. Kudos to the lot of you who were good enough to stand up to them. x

Claire King said...

It's an awful shame for those who have lost money. But we did shout as loud as we could.

Unfortunately anything that seems 'too good to be true' usually is. And a money-back guarantee is no guarantee if a company goes bankrupt.

MandyB said...

I'm only sorry to hear this because I know there were a lot of authors who put handed over faith and money to this company and who must now be feeling very let down.

Debi said...

Vanessa - I do know from my inbox that the spotlight many of us turned on them will have deterred a lot of people from getting involved with them. Thanks goodness for that, at least.

Claire - we did shout and shout loud. It's just so sad some people chose to focus their anger and suspicion on us instead of on BWA, misinterpreting our motives. We were always clear that our only motivation was to protect the unwary.

Mandy - yes, sadly there will be many people who have been deeply hurt. I hope they can recover their faith and keep going with healthier options for developing their writing.

AlanP said...

I watched this saga with some interest at the time as I know one or two of the people people who were upset by their involvement with this company. Seeing this bit of news I became curious. So I logged myself into Companies House (which anyone can do). I just wanted to look at the documented record. The company was incorporated in September 2009. There were sundry director appointments and resignations up to June 2010, followed by a period of nothingness apart from a change of address, until this voluntary winding up.

What this appears to mean is that this limited company submitted no return, even in 2010 and 2011 when they were very active and this discussion raged.

To be clear a companies house return does not publically show much by way of financial details and the lack of a return does not of itself directly imply any impropriety on the part of the officers of the company. I would never make such a suggestion in any event. But any properly run company is supposed to file a return and the record should show it was done.

Debi said...

Very astute, Alan. I and some others have also been monitoring that activity. They have more than one entry, which I also find interesting.

I've spent too much time on them over the years. Initially, I felt a huge responsibility to warn people, especially because I had worked hard to promote them when they first started out and we were all starry-eyed. Now I've reached the point where I hope we've heard the last of them, can learn the lessons and move on.

Jaxbee said...

Ah yes, the BWA, I'd almost forgotten about them. At least I enjoyed a brief moment of delight when I learnt that I was a 'final 30' entrant being awarded two tickets to the first winners' ceremony - before the cringy embarrassment of realising that it was me and everybody else who'd entered who made up the 'final 30' (try 300 if there ever even was such a list).
One of the saddest thing as I recall, is their involvement with schools. I hope they didn't make too many false promises to children.

Anonymous said...

What is the result of all this? The Brit Writers site still seems to be running:
http://www.britwriters.com/

Anonymous said...

I signed up for 2013 and paid up. It looks like I have been robbed. Their website still invites people to sign up and pay up. Is tis fraudulent?

Debi said...

Dear Anonymous, so sorry to hear you've been among the victims. Their blog, FB and Twitter a/cs have been suspended and the site isn't being updated. I suspect there are numerous ongoing cases making their way through various layers of the legal system. You might want to contact your local Consumer Advice Centre or CAB. Do feel free to email me if you want a private and confidential conversation.

Amanda Herbert said...

Hello Debi,
I really wish I had seen this page and peoples comments a while ago. My name is Amanda Herbert and I won the BW Award in the Children's Story category 2012. I was so proud and felt like I could rule the Earth with my writing skills. What a plonker I was. Well at least I've learnt a good lesson. After winning the award I was referred to Imran by Hari with a high recommendation. So I paid my fee, after I borrowed the money from my partner, and waited to be enthralled by the fast amount of knowledge Imran had for me. All this was a year and 3 months ago. In the first week I had a phone call to discuss a couple of changes to my cover letter. I did as requested, sent it back then waited. The next two months, after sending several emails and text asking for a response I emailed Hari. I was told Imran had a family crisis. I finally had another phone call to discuss my biog.....Well let's cut this down, in a year and 3 months. I've had 2 phone call and absolutely nothing else.
Oh I do feel foolish and they have turned my pride to shame. When I send out another manuscript, it will not write 'I won the Brit Writers Award 2012.' I think that will be bad for my image.
Never mind, I shall just keep plugging along and one day I will be a published writer. I'm sure I deserve it.

Debi said...

Oh Amanda! I'm so sorry to hear you've been one of the victims of this bunch. But please listen to this. I know, beyond doubt, that the one thing they got right was seeing who had talent. Every winner of the awards deserved the validation in my opinion. There have been many who were able to use their success with BWA as a stepping stone and I hope that applies to you too. The shame is all for them - none of it rubs off on the winners who deserve the kudos - and, of course, much better treatment. I wish you loads of luck for the future.

Amanda said...

Thank you for those kind words

Anonymous said...

HI,
This company got in contact with ourselves in 2009 & requested we did some telemarketing for them. Primarily calling the schools and seeing if they would be interested in signing up. They seemed a good bunch of people with the right intentions until it came to paying us for our services. They still owe us money and we could see the danger signs then.

Debi said...

Sorry to hear that. It really doesn't get any better, does it ...