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Tags: court, grandma, true story
Categories : Uncategorized
As some of you know, I had published my first book a couple of months ago, with the title “Screw Equality”.
Since then, I have been lucky to have received some great reviews, whether from influential Egyptian publications, Dr. Nabil Farouk (acclaimed Egyptian author and public figure and Heidi Murkoff, author of “What to expect when you’re expecting” series), friends, and people I did not know.
Ofcourse, anyone could imagine, with a title like that, how controversial and diverse the feedback would be, and as proud as I am of my baby, constructive criticism and even straight negative reviews are more than welcome. This just translates to me that I had intrigued and challenged any reviewers long-standing points of views, which is in its self, a great success.
The book to me was a simple experiment, to challenge myself, and finally get off my bottom and do something with my life. I have spent 15 years writing diaries, random articles here and there, and dreaming of the day I held my first book in my hand. I was lucky to receive the opportunity to be asked to write a book based on a monthly article with the same title I had contributed to a print publication. There was one catch though, to get it done in a week! So I put on my thinking cap, and pushed my motivation button, and camped out at my favorite coffee place for 7 days. At moments, I thought it was a long shot, but the optimist I am, I just visualized the final product. Don’t get me wrong, I am no Jane Austin, I had already started writing a couple of years back, and had a lot of stories, research and material ready. I decided to disregard all I learnt in my creative writing courses and Drama school years, and only held on to one piece of advise “your writing is an expression of who you are, go crazy, go wild, let it be you. Only then will you reach the minds and souls of your readers, because honesty and transparency are the ticket to success”.
So that is what I did!
Some people accepted that, but some didn’t. My mother actually stopped talking to me for a month out of disgrace of the topic and the content of the first couple of chapters of the book. All I said to her was, please read it to the end. (We are OK now )
The P.R. person in me, along with my dedicated publishers, decided to release a “press copy” first, to get the pulse of the media and friends, then we collected our reviews and added them to the back cover of the book. I was going on T.V. shows, radio shows and getting interviewed right and left before the book was even published. (Thank you IT Evolutions!)
To get to the title of this post, I received a review on a certain website Cairo360.com, which was less than great. It was fine, but after reading it thoroughly, I realized that this reader has not actually read the whole book! So, again the little PR girl inside, decided to ask a British book critic comment on it with her own review which was published in the UK. I thought to myself ”my work here is done”.
A month later, I was doing a little self monitoring online, checking out what the web had to say about my book, so as to assist me in creating my proposal for sponsoring my second book, I found something quite disturbing. The comment on that above mentioned website was deleted! Not the negative review, but the rebuttal by the famous critic… I thought to myself, hmm… this is interesting… I started to research, and found that the person who did the review maybe one of the female authors who had published a book at the same time I did! You see, I was never sure of that piece of information, BUT it is the closest I got to the truth.
I had stayed silent for a while, but then I realized that the website was powering this specific article all over the internet, on even random and irrelevant blogs and sites. It was my surprise to even find this review on a buying chainsaws online website!
My supporters told me “Forget about it, any publicity is good publicity”, but you know what, that is not how I see it.
I could not stand silent in the face of the wrongful abuse of resources and power, so I decided to simply ask my friends on my Facebook wall to give me ideas how to deal with this, since it is affecting the evaluation of my book to those who have not read it. Some people decided to try to comment on the same website, and check if it got deleted like the first time or not. A half hour after I wrote my status, I found an interesting addition. The managing director of that same website has commented on my status!
He seemed professional in his comment, starting with enlightening me with the fact that “but unfortunately that’s part and parcel of publishing”. And stating that he has no record of any comment added and deleted. The comment was long and well written, which I responded to with my own enlightening opinion of how well he monitors the online presence of his website. I suggested he check with his “staff writer” since I am sure of what I saw, and pointed out that same review was all over the internet. Again the kind man decided to enlighten me with some very basic information about SEO, and the workings of getting picked up by third-party websites, and quoted a statement from the Online Millenium Act “Please do. With regards to the articles, its common to be picked up by third-party article sites, as well as our SEO team syndicating them on sites to create back links. This is done with all the content on Cairo 360 and has no malicious intent, its part of our regular search engine marketing activities. Again, we’re sorry it wasn’t well received, we try to be as respectful of the writer/artist/venue, we’re writing about and are very strict about what we can and can not say within the publishing laws of Egypt and the Online Millenium Act.”
I very well-respected his response, and it translated in my mind simply that the power of the internet is stronger than most people realize, and that every word or statement blurted in the digital realm has an effect, and then I realized I had done the right thing.
I could never shut up when in the face of wrong doing, and if it is done to me, then it is only my fault if I become a pushover. This is due to years of learning my rights, respecting my liabilities and standing up for what I believe. Sometimes I stray away, but at other times, all it takes is a small situation like this one to get me back on track.
So, in the efforts of laying out all the facts: here the link in question:
(Enjoy your extra traffic!)
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Tags: book, cairo360, negative review, noha wagih, screw equality
Categories : my book, Uncategorized
Well, it is now 2 weeks for me here, I think!
It already feels like home, even though I am not even close to being settled.
I have to share something though, prior to coming here, my close friends warned me of not getting too indulged with the “Dubai Experience”. When I researched a bit and asked around, I realized that people here tend to lose themselves in the superficial life, (a direct quote from more than one person who lived through it). I simply responded “if I managed not to lose myself at the Cannes Film Festival, then I am sure I will be ok!”
I came with a goal, I want a new and clean life. A good life where my humanity is appreciated and where my efforts and workaholic demeanor could be acknowledged and nurtured. And so far, I think I am doing well.
I have seen Dubai, the nooks and crannies as they say, and yes, I have seen the artificial aspect of it, but also the OTHER side. I saw the old Dubai, where the buildings go back 30 years. Yes I know that is not ancient, but it is insightful. I have met the people of UAE, who are so proud of their heritage, it is almost poetic. I have visited exhibitions with models of future buildings and yet more man-made islands, and through all that, there is always the pride of the heritage visible.
I have talked to cab drivers who came here to make a better life for their families back home, I have sat in gatherings with participants who EACH come from a different country, and the one thing that is in common, is that they all appreciate life, and know the meaning of hard work. Those who entertain these exact traits are always good company, as long as they have a good heart. It is not easy to find out the inner workings of every heart you meet right away, but this is always a good start.
I have seen so much hospitality and help from people I have barely known since I got here, it is sometimes too hard to believe! I gave myself a couple of hours to contemplate why I was blessed with such people, then I realized two points:
1- I have been surrounding myself with people of the “negative” and not so pure hearted core, that when I see the positive, it is hard to believe. But then I realized, well, maybe I have just paid my dues, and finally being sent angels to take me by the hand and invest in me as a human, with no strings attached.
2- I will not try to sound too egoistic as I say this, but I have been hurt so many times before by untrue friends, and people who try to take advantage of my sometimes naive nature (not anymore though!), that I had to train myself to let go of my “stray cat syndrome”. (Stray Cat Syndrome: I don’t even know if it is a real condition or not, but I like to define it as taking maternal responsibility of hopeless cases, with only one excuse, everyone has good in them, and I may be the only person who can really help). So maybe this is just God blessing me for 31 years of putting up with human evil and not losing track of the importance of keeping the faith.
In the efforts to get back on track with the subject at hand, I have to say one thing, it is never too late to make a fresh start, it is never wrong to desire change, and it is absolutely beautiful to embrace your inner intuition when it screams at you “YOU DESERVE A BETTER LIFE”.
Well, gotta go now to do some more exploring, and will revert back with more news!
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Tags: dubai, dubai adventures, good people dubai, superficial dubai
Categories : Uncategorized