BearManor Media has been kind enough to show interest in my biography of Marie Prevost. I thought you might want to read these extracts from three e-mails I sent to someone whose research on Marie I had genuinely admired. I haven’t included the replies because of what follows:
“I readily admit that I am not an expert – and that your knowledge of Marie and her life is far greater… I have retyped the acknowledgements with a paragraph mentioning you and your fantastic site, but I would also note the source of any images you are prepared to let me use.”
“I’ve been reading through some of your older posts and saw one about people using your work as their own to write about Marie. I hope I’ve been open enough to tell you what I was doing, that this is only a part-time hobby and that if you were to publish a book, it is likely to be about as definitive as you can get. In fact, I’d be first in the queue to buy it...”
“Until two months ago, the thought/hope/prospect (call it what you will) of a book deal was nothing other than a dream. I have self-published more than a dozen books and lost money on every single one of them. Hobbies tend to cost money, but it was my choice and if it bothered me that much, I could always stop. I just wanted to write and if friends and family wanted to read my books, then I’d probably just give them a copy – but that’s just me. What’s happened in the past few weeks has been a total surprise – I’m just excited to see a book produced by a professional company as opposed to editing, typesetting and designing everything myself. I actually don’t care if it makes money or not – if I did, I’m absolutely sure I’d pick someone well-known... Sorry for bothering you. “
This is part of a lengthy blog on this person’s website:
Recently, someone wanted all the research I had not yet blogged about for free because they “just didn’t have time” to read books. He hadn’t even heard of Marie Prevost until last year, and refused to do research unless it was all online. I didn’t give him any of my research. Ultimately, he used [my] posts and other webpages about Marie for a biography which is now being published by a house infamous for its inaccurate and cheap bios. He, of course, wanted more free stuff from me once he inked a deal with the publishing house — free info from me for a book he is making money off of. When I pointed this out to him, he acted as though I was stepping on his dreams, then complained that he wouldn’t make much money anyway because Marie wasn’t famous enough.
Part of this is certainly true, I rarely read complete books and I hadn’t heard of Marie Prevost until 2012, I readily admit that I’m new to all this and if I’d gone about asking for help in the “wrong way”, then I probably wouldn’t argue, but to see words completely twisted and my character effectively stained in a public forum is, let’s say disappointing.
I might be wrong, but I’m presuming you could have the best research in the world and still churn out a poor book, simply because you actually can’t write very well. Other people might research differently and probably comparatively “better” than I do, but I’ve counted FIFTY-FOUR separate sources for my attempt at telling the Marie Prevost story. I certainly don’t over-estimate my own ability, but I do believe I can write. I’ll leave it up to others to judge how close to the line this particular person is treading.
And here is another paragraph from the blog – I sincerely hope I’m not being considered a bully by definition.
A full length, comprehensive and factual book about Marie Prevost will take the kind of time and money I don’t have right now, and I would bet none of the bullies who has emailed me has that kind of time or money, either. If they’re the kind of people who think everything they read on blogs is true, that everything women do can be appropriated by men, that a little online research is all one needs for a proper bio, then no, they have no idea what they’re doing. They just don’t.
Temper that with the following opinions of two undeniable Marilyn Monroe experts (Marijane and Hanna) about my self-published MM bio which was researched exactly the same way…
“Richard, when taking into consideration how many YEARS it takes for us fans to discern fact from fiction and considering the huge, awful, just ridiculous errors in some of the more famous bios, what you have accomplished is nothing short of remarkable. You did more than a “reasonable” job, you did an amazing job and you should be proud of
“I have come away with a sense of pride that the Author, who started out knowing very little about Marilyn, has shown himself how to use the evidence provided and write a very good book. I just wish others would do so! Richard does not claim to be an expert on Marilyn . . .as so many have done before and his book is certainly not the doorstop he makes it out to be! The only time I would use it as a doorstop would be to make myself fall over it, to remind me to read it again, which I certainly will!”
I’m just an ordinary bloke, with an ordinary job, who likes to write in his spare time. I could bin this book tomorrow and my life wouldn’t change. I’m not going to mention the person involved or their site: I am bothered by what’s been written, I probably shouldn’t be, but that’s just me and I’ve no intention in trading insults. I hope I'm better than that.
All I will say is my book might be published, it might not, but whatever happens, I’ve certainly learned a lesson about human nature.