Friday, 11 November 2011

BWA- Transparency vs Protection...

Anyone who is switched on to the blogsphere will have heard or read something over the past few days about the Brit Writers Award organisation (BWA).

Now let me make it clear from the start there is nothing to suggest that they have done anything illegal or immoral, just that they have been unwilling to answer reasonable questions about their 'Agents Division' service, and statements they've made about partner-agents etc...

You don't hire a builder to construct your home extension on the basis of statements made on a website, in an e-mail or flyer put through the door- at least not without checking they have the appropriate qualifications, experience in the type of building you want done, and knowing what you're getting for the money you're paying.
If you don't ask questions then you only have yourself to blame if it goes wrong and you realise you've wasted your money...

Services to writers are the same.

Writers know that editorial services can be worth the money spent, if it helps improve their book before it's finally submitted to agents or publishers. If the service claims to be connected to agents, then it's not unreasonable to ask who the agents are?

Sadly BWA had been unwilling to answer questions, (and that has made many writers suspicious, I'm sure). Even today (Friday)when they responded to questions put by Jonathan Telfer (Editor of Writers News and Writing Magazine) their answer, while extensive, did little but explain why they felt the need to use non-disclosure and employ a solicitor to make legal threats of defamation to certain bloggers...

Nowadays Consumer organisations advise potential buyers to ask questions before purchasing or engaging the services of any individual or organisation- be it a caterer, carpet fitter or a plumber!

If the organisation wants your business then they should be doing all they can to make it easy for you to decide in their favour; those that don't, lose business and word spreads.

Writers are consumers too, so don't be surprised when they ask questions...


(Update: request from Harry over at the Writers' Workshop blog )

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