When Chandler Bolt acquired The Book Designer blog in late 2020, there were plenty of reasons to dislike the fellow. He had a reputation in entrepreneur circles as a taker. His Self Publishing School had an alarming number of negative reviews. Oh, and Victoria Strauss thought so poorly of him that she stopped sending authors to The Book Designer.
Lately, however I have found a whole new reason to dislike him.
He is pirating my blog posts.
For a while in 2019 and 2020 I was a regular contributor to The Book Designer. Fourteen or my posts were published there before the blog was sold. Topics ranged from website security to the hacked accounts on Createspace to newsletters.
I would probably still be contributing posts if Joel hadn’t sold the blog, but now that it belonged to Bolt I decided that I no longer wanted my content associated with his blemished reputation.
And so I asked them to take my posts down. Three times now I have asked, and they are still hosting my blog posts.
I have only received one response so far, and that was an email informing me that they bought the content along with the blog. This simply is not true; while my blog posts were indeed published on TBD, there was no agreement transferring the copyright. There was in fact no formal contract at all; the closest I had to a contract with Joel was an understanding that TBD had an exclusive on the new blog posts. I think that lasted a month, and then I could publish the blog posts elsewhere.
That lack of a formal agreement is actually pretty common, so much so that when NAPCO bought Teleread in 2010, NAPCO sent contracts to all the contributing writers so that it could secure the right to continue to publish the blog posts the writers had previously submitted.
I admit, it was a mistake for me to rely on would be described in legal terms as a gentleman’s agreement, but TBH I had never conceived that someone might refuse to remove my blog posts when I asked. Actually, I never thought I would want to make that request!
This might seem like an oversight but the truth is I am careful about where I send my guest blog posts. I only work with reputable blogs, and it never occurred to me that one of my partners might become unsavory.
I have learned my lesson, though. I will shortly be filing DMCA notices, and in the future I will only send someone a guest blog post after they have agreed that I retain the copyright.