Writings of the general word's body

Thursday, June 03, 2010

StoryAfrica update

Mfonobong strikes again... And please note the boast about how well the scam book has done in 6 weeks.

Dear Molara,

That is why I wrote this apology. I'm NOT attempting to impress you with hopes of a royalty or appease you with a byline in a 'less reputable' publication as ours. I'm saying that there was a breach by someone in the team who was charged with the responsibility of gaining permissions, and I'm taking responsibility on behalf of the team. We are working on cancelling this first edition, but there are so many things involved. Once we are done with the process (which will be soon), be assured that the book will be deleted and prodution and marketing efforts will cease.

And by the way, while I am truly very sorry on behalf of the team and must exercise caution and respect in writing to you, I just want you to know that the thing you said about sales picking up in 2050 is absolute crap. Sales have actually been good. Target and Walmart, apparently, are selling the book, and we've already sold in thousands in less than 6 weeks. Smaller publishers in America and Canada have already requested for republishing rights, and the project would have succeeded if not for the mistake on our part. It's unfortunate that this has happened this way, but when we get our act together next time, we will succeed.

Once again, accept our sincere apologies. Don't bother responding to this mail.

Kind regards,



Wali Akande said...

It's okay Molara. I think you are being really harsh on these guys. They had an idea, made some mistake in executing it, and are attempting to apologise. Seems like you are in no mood for an apology, so you abused him. The Calabar fellow seems to have a hot temper and called your mail crap. Classic. Sorry o. He said they will remove it. Let's see what happens. Check out Ushahidi.com

Wordsbody said...

Wali Akande,
Damn right I'm in no mood for an apology. He appropriates my hard work for himself, lies and lies and now boasts about how well the book has done, and you think I should give him a break? Hell, no. Note that he wrote for my belated permission AFTER promising elsewhere to cancel the book. Tells me he has no intention of doing such and is prepared to wangle his way the best he can.

Tell me: if your story were in this apology of an anthology, would you be prepared to wait and 'Lets see what happens'? Please.

Wordsbody said...

And Wali,

"So you abused him"? What in my response to the guy did you read as an 'abuse'?

Are we speaking the same English?

And I see he's pretty challenged in English too, to have read my reference to 2050 in earnest. The more reason he cannot be trusted with the huge task of promoting African literature.

Onyeka Nwelue said...

This is very funny, indeed. A lot of things happen that we don't even know how to handle it. The guy even has the guts to keep responding to the authors he has used their works in the funny anthology, which is very saddening. I feel he should be traced and taken care of, properly.

Wali Akande said...

Molara, it's okay. Take it easy. It seems like you both are angry. I wish you too could meet up sometime and clash. It'll be awesome. But I don't think he's not a bad guy, plus I think he had noble intentions- just went about it the wrong way. He has apologhised. Try and be a forgiving sweetheart. I think he's also a writer, and has even won international awards for his work : I searched his name on ask.com and saw this: http://www.oslocoalition.org/html/project_school_education/Stories_Competition.htm and http://folk.uio.no/leirvik/OsloCoalition/storiesontolerance.htm.

I wish you'll write more stories on your blog.

Lauren Beukes said...

I'm so sorry, Molara, it's not just appalling behaviour and gross arrogance, but it's illegal.

He's stolen from you and defrauded the merchants selling the book.

(Although I have a hard time believing his claims about sales or stores. Why Walmart rather than say, Barnes & Nobel?)

He absolutely needs to be called on his bullshit and the book needs to be taken off shelves (virtual or otherwise) immediately.

All the best,


Lauren Beukes said...

From Sam Wilson:

MW, this is the link with the information you need to stop the book's publication on CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/Help/Rights/IntellectualProperty.jsp

WombatSam said...

Wali Akande - Molara has every right to be furious. Her work was stolen, and the person who took it has lied repeatedly on the BookSA website, including claiming that the book had been selected of Oprah's book Club, that only one author hadn't given permission, that ALL proceeds of the book were going to various charities, that the book would be removed immediately from Amazon, and so on.

If I were Molara, I would not be happy.

NakedSha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ayodele Morocco-Clarke said...

@ Molara, I think you can should contact Amazon to remove the book as it includes the intellectual property of writers which have been stolen. They are obliged to deal with it as it is almost akin to peddling stolen goods.

Also, his claims about sales in the thousands can be used against him in a suit for damages. You guys should join forces and bankrupt the lying thief.

Where on earth is it heard that in publishing you do not get written authorisation? So this so-called phantom person informed them that he/she had secured the consent of the writers and no one thought to see the documentary evidence of the said consent (no one was interested in issues concerning royalties etc....abi were all writers presumed to have given their work gratis?).

Eghosa Imasuen said...

Molara. Respond to every email this idiot sends you o. He is playing wayo. See what he wants to do: he will create a false avatar of yours and send a nice email to himself--purportedly from you--saying you've forgiven him, he can go ahead and publish, etc. This guys (note i use the plural on purpose because some posts here are from him) are job-men with a new format. If you have contacts at the EFCC write a petition. Keep on posting any contact you get from the bastard here. And commission something angry and in-depth at 234NEXT. And stoke that righteous anger, don't let it go out. Burn, so the bastard burns.

Eghosa Imasuen said...

And keep on abusing him. Kai! This is so upsetting. Job don enter 9ja publishing? Kai! Kai, kai, kai!!!
Everyone seems so polite in their comments. This Mfonobong might not even be in Kenya; the craseman fit dey Lagos. I've even noticed that he has a couple of ghost-no-picture accounts on facebook.
Nobody should be polite; the boy is a big thief, period!

Wordsbody said...

Thanks Eghosa, Lauren and others. I should, to fulfill all righteousness, post the last mail received from the fella, and shall do so shortly.


Lauri said...

Molara, I think you've shown a large amount of restraint. I would not have been as kind.

What pisses me off even more (besides the theft of the stories) is that there are reputable publishers who are trying their best to get African short fiction off our shores and this guy is out there messing them up. Selling "thousands" of copies of his book.

If indeed he is a writer it even makes the situation worse as far as I'm concerned.

Afiya said...

As much as the grievances and concerns of the blogger are well-founded I think this matter has been 'over-sensationalized'.

First of all, this is an issue that should have been dealt with privately and not thrown up in a public forum on a wave of righteous indignation.

It is indeed worrisome that the blogger complains about the mischief of the characters in question - publishing her story without her knowledge and consent - yet she publishes a correspondence sent to her in confidence on her blog, obviously without the consent of Mfonobong.

I'll wager that many of the writers who queue here to offer their condolences and support will hesitate to engage the blogger in a private correspondence should an issue arise. Who knows, it might become the next topic for discussion on her blog.

Wordsbody said...


These are exceptional circumstances which require drastic measures. Some faceless person writes to say he's published my story in a book I suspect to be a major scam - and which has been the subject of a major expose on Book.co.za, I'd say I can do as I please with his correspondence.

I've been blogging for some 5 years now. Now go and check my archives and see if there's any instance of private correspondence ever being published here, until Mfonobong came along.

In intend to worry you more, as there's more correspondence from the StoryAfrica people I intend to air. I owe them nothing, just as I owe you no explanation, come to think of it.

Anthony Muitherero said...

Molara, much as i sympathize with you on this issue, I think you are taking this thing too far. Thank God that you published all his correspondences. Now we can understand where he is coming from. From this mails, we can see that it is not entirely his fault. He has explained to you why it all happened. If other writers have forgiven the group and dropped the case, why shouldn't you do the same? Stop spoiling the name of a single young man on this blog. People are calling him names like bastard. Is that warranted? Surprisingly you actually publish insulting posts. Btw, thanks to the other email you published, we now know that there were more than one person involved in this. You cleverly decided to not publish the name of the other person who sent you this mail. Why are you only mentioning Mfonbong?

Wordsbody said...

Anthony Muitherero

A young lady has been named in mail to me as the reason StoryAfrica published stories without permission. She is alleged to have produced forged signatures of all the writers involved. This is StoryAfrica's story; one cannot be sure as to the veracity of it.

If you want to name the other persons allegedly involved, please feel free to do a press release for the media.

And I wonder whether you think Book.co.za 'spoiled' the 'young man's' name. And why not go defend him there?

chika unigwe said...

Just a note to add my voice to Molara's: my story was appropriated and published in this anthology WITHOUT my consent. It's not right. It's literary thievery and there's no reason why we should accept it. Why does anyone in their right minds think it's okay to do that? Or that writers (no matter at what point their career is in) should be grateful to have their works so (mis)used? The anthology must be pulled off shelves and this guy, whoever he is should apologise to every writer he has violated. And that's just for starters.