I'm not sure where to say this, but this is as good a place as any. Recently, I received a message--that I'm super grateful for--informing me of a few things. Allow me to give you some background first. I created my Facebook page in 2015, but at the time, I hadn't really had any definitive plans of professionally writing. I was 19, still at the tail end of my first year in college, and most of what I knew from writing, I learned from Wattpad. (Since then, I've switched majors, earned a BA in Creative Writing, and am now pursuing a Master's. Wattpad was a good way to encourage me to write, but now I've actually learned--a bit more about--the business/legal aspects of writing.)
In many regards, Wattpad is the worst place to learn to write, especially when it comes to issues of legality. Many of us are young when we write on Wattpad. I started posting on there in high school, and along the way, I formed a lot of bad habits and learned the wrong way to do things. For instance, all those covers you see on Wattpad? Most of them are paid or free stock images being used illegally. At the time, I didn't know that. So, in 2015, at 19-years-old, I posted a bunch of teasers of a project I was working on at the time, using non-paid images for the background. Since then, I deleted all of them, but one of them slipped through the cracks--a picture of a quote from a piece I had written. It had been pasted over a picture of Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in the Titanic. Fast forward to today, and another author, thankfully, emailed me that it's illegal to do so. Of course, I know this by now, but at least her message helped me realize that one of the old pictures was still up. I deleted the picture as soon as I read the message. I apologize if anyone is upset by my use of copyrighted images.
The second part of the message is in regards to some comments I posted in reviews. Again, I have to give some background info first. When looking for ARC recipients, I searched through Amazon reviewers for them. When I found some that gave a regular amount of reviews and posted a well-written review, I would leave a comment on it, asking them if they would review my book, too, in exchange for a free copy.
I didn't know that it is wrong to comment on reviews of another author's works. I just thought it seemed logical to do, so I did it. In fact, I've had several comments on my private reviewing account, asking for a review in exchange for an ARC. I thought it was normal to do this in the indie community. I'm not trying to excuse my actions, but (like I did with the DMCA portion of this post) I'm trying to explain them.
I 100% accept responsibility for my actions, and now I'd like to apologize for them and tell anyone who was offended that I didn't mean any harm by them. After it had been brought to my attention and explained, I 100% see how this could irritate, offend, and/or upset other authors (and even reviewers). The comments I gave were unsolicited, and I was taking the success--in terms of achieving a review from a reader--of another author and trying to "piggyback" off of it.
Gosh, I'm sorry, guys. I really am. I won't do it again. I hate my ignorance, and I can't undo time, but I'll try to be more carefully from now on. Man, is it killing me that another author out there might be upset by my comments. I can't even personally apologize to them, since I don't know who specifically is upset, but I can post here and hope that whoever is upset sees this and forgives me.