Jayson Winters (JW) from Central Bylines interviewed poet and illustrator AB Wyze (ABW) about self-publishing and copyright infringement. David invented the name A B Wyze very specifically so it is the only one of its kind and completely unique to the internet, so he can be Googled quite easily…
JW: Tell me about yourself
ABW: I suppose I have always wanted to be a published writer and now, at the grand old age of 70, I can say that I am. I have been writing poetry of one sort or another for as long as I can remember. I have lived almost all of my life in the town of my birth, Rushden in Northants.
All writers have a style and mine is one of whimsy and humour. I attended a decent school but failed miserably. I worked as a painter and decorator for 95% of my working life with a brief adventure working as a voluntary teaching assistant. Both jobs were rewarding for completely different reasons.
My main love, however, has always been writing. My father wrote songs and all six of my siblings wrote when it suited them but I have nearly always felt compelled to put words down onto paper.
JW: What are you working on at the moment?
ABW: I tend to work on more than one project at a time. When covid broke out for the first time I was two chapters away from completing my first children’s novel. I am now revisiting that book intending to wrap it up. When it comes to writing for children, I only know how to write comedy and adventure. This book has both, in very generous helpings.
I also dabble at producing hand-drawn greetings cards with a comedic angle. This is something that I have always wanted to do and it helps to improve my drawing ability. It takes no more than a few hours to invent an idea and produce the finished product. All in all, a very satisfying hobby.
Over the years I have written over a thousand poems, the more whimsical of which, I am publishing into books. I am a whisker away from finishing my sixth book in the series. The books are illustrated in part and aimed at anyone with a sense of humour and a love of stories in rhyme. I am nowhere near as prolific a writer as I was, where poetry is concerned, but I do still write whenever inspiration knocks.
JW: What is your experience of publishing on the Amazon Platform?
ABW: Without Amazon, I would never have got into writing as seriously as I have. Just to have to ability to publish your work and have it printed to order opens up a whole new world. I do not say that I would not be writing, just that with Amazon I now feel that my writing has more purpose.
It will never be a financially driven exercise, I have sold 533 books in 5 years, but it will always drive me to try to improve myself and to want to produce books. I use a couple of apps to make the publication possible, one of which I pay for. Amazon are also very good at helping you out with any problems that may occur and they actually answer the telephone…
So far as hobbies go, I could not think of any better to suit my needs. If I have one complaint it is that the final quality of the printed book could be better, but it ain’t bad and I’ll continue to publish as long as I can do so. If nothing else it means I will have a bookcase at home with the books I wrote on display. Something I never would have dreamed possible.
JW: How do you protect your intellectual property against copyright infringement?
ABW: Publishing books in the UK and doing so in the US are altogether different. In America, you have to apply for copyright, but in the UK as soon as a book is published it is your copyrighted property. Copyright infringement is rife upon the internet. I learned this the hard way.
I posted my most popular poem or at least one half of it, onto Facebook and the thing went viral. It was two years ago now and if you do a search on Facebook for Tanners and Bobs, in amongst my posts there are countless others from all over the place.
It has been shared tens of thousands of times and people have even added their name at the bottom to claim it as their own! It can now be Googled. I even found and blocked someone who had a robotic voice chanting it on YouTube.
It would be impossible for me to track them all down, but I do search for them and in some cases my name is added to the poem in question and I get an apology. I suppose it is good exposure but without my name, or indeed, with that of another, it does me no good at all. It has been published of course and I have sold 177 copies in 2 years and earned a pound for each one. I don’t think poetry will ever be a money-making venture but it would be nice to be universally regarded as the author of Tanners and Bobs.
JW: How else can people sample your work?
ABW: I joined a forum on the web known as Next Door. It is a local online community where people can chat and sell to each other. Being a writer, I started posting poems on there which were noticed by Ian Griffiths the founder of a local volunteer radio station, Beatroute Radio. He offered me a slot to read out a few poems on Monday mornings. I jumped at the chance.
I always say that a joke is only funny if someone hears it and this allowed me to put smiles upon faces… even though I could never see or hear the listeners. I keep a strict list on my PC of the poems I’ve read and so far, I have never repeated one. I like to offer a variety of poems with each reading.
I have written many children’s poems for instance. I have discovered over the years that kids’ poetry is still much loved by adults. I get up to 15 minutes each session and always arrive with neatly typed pages of rhyming stories to fill that slot. I sit in front of my PC with the stopwatch on and time each poem to make sure that I never outstay my welcome.
You can find AB Wyze’s books HERE
You can listen to AB Wyze’s poetry readings at Beat Radio – the schedule for when AB Wyze is on is accessible HERE. David’s slot is 10.15 to 10.30 each Monday, on the the Morning Show – With Ian Griffiths & Mr AB Wyze