Friday, June 17, 2005


I've had a reply to my letter from the children's laureate, who sees no reason to change her title. The gist of her argument is that she wasn't aware of my book and, anyway, the publishers chose the title, not her. They say they didn't know about my book either. I'm told that, unlike most authors I know, Random House don't use Amazon to check titles before publishing a book.

My case for asking that JW change her title is evidently weakened by the fact that there are other novels called Love Lessons. I can find just one, an adult romance only published in the USA, after mine, on a different subject. But, as I state in the entry below, there's no copyright in titles and she's within her rights to call her book whatever she or her publishers want to call it.

I have no inclination to take on the country's biggest publisher over this. We're not talking world poverty, here, just a title. I've done what I could, through the proper channels, to protect the status of the novel that many readers think is my best. The last fortnight has left me in an invidious position, not of my choosing, one that could easily damage me if I get further embroiled in it. So I'm going to take this on the chin and move on, taking my counsel from a poem by a recent Nobel laureate: whatever you say, say nothing.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Forgery, part four: no copyright in titles 

According to today's Guardian, Jacqueline Wilson's 86th novel, out this autumn, looks at student/teacher relationships and is called 'Love Lessons'. Sound familiar?

I'm assuming that despite the huge (by my standards) sales of the 1998 David Belbin Scholastic novel, 'Love Lessons', not to mention all the press, prize short listing, million plus library loans and all the five star reviews on Amazon, Jacqueline and her publishers aren't aware of my novel, which is still in shops. No publisher or novelist would deliberately publish a book with the same title, subject matter and target readership as another recent novel.

There's no copyright in titles, or ideas, but I've written to Jacqueline asking her to change her title to avoid confusion with my novel, a state of affairs that would clearly be far more to my detriment than hers. Her publishers (and mine) have also been informed of the problem. Watch this space and I'll let you know how the situation pans out. I've no desire to fall out with the new children's laureate, or her publishers, so that's all I'm saying about the matter for the moment.

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