"Hi. How's it going? Not been in touch in a long while--" to which can be added "I read your blog regularly".
The person saying or writing that is, of course, lying. I don't even try to catch them out any more. It's just a waste of my time.
You see, I can guarantee the person concerned either wants publicity for something they are doing or, far far more often -they want information. One person (who I know actually ripped my work off on his own blog) told me how interesting a chapter in one of my books was (I can tell you 100% he never bought a copy -no one did) and "I'd be interested in seeing all your notes on the case -and maybe a hi res copy of the photo if you can send me that".
No "please" even. I was feeling playful (ahem) so asked "The black and white photo or the full colour version on the back cover?" He fell for it: "Oh, the full colour one is best". Well, as there was no colour photo on the back of the book it makes you wonder.
Another person told me how he was on hard times and he couldn't buy one of my books -could I please send him a pdf? Aww. No. See, that is one of the oldest tricks around and when I did a check on the person I found he was fully employed and worked writing articles for Fortean and UFO publications. A pdf would be on the net and illegally downloaded by the end of the day.
My books contain every reference you would need to follow up on a case. There are photographs and maps and original "long since lost" according to some of the modern top notch researchers (I use that word -researchers- sarcastically). How did I find them? I did long, tedious research. No cut and paste cribbing from someone who cribbed from someone else. First hand research and I no longer give it away to charlatans, frauds and other bunko types. They want my research then...they need to buy my books.
I was once told by the publisher of a cryptozoological journal "Anything you forward or tell me I will plagiarise, old boy!" I chuckled. I never actually realised that he was a plagiarist con-man. In fact, in the late 1990s he was quite "willing" to let me work on British non native cat reports for him. By that time I had been working on this with UK police forces since 1977. Luckily, I remained an outsider and thank the gods I did!
There is always someone out there willing to rip you off. If you are a newbie and have done research and out of the blue a 'publisher' tells you he would be willing to look at your work and perhaps think about publishing some of it...well, that sounds great, right? What next -book? TV work? Far more likely you'll be called names when you complain that your work has been ripped off. "Perhaps think" is the important part of the sentence there.
Posts I have written for this blog have been ripped off -it comes with the internet. It is why I do not post original research findings and why I would never ever publish a witnesses name -but names, addresses and phone numbers is what some of these bunko-men want. I recall cooperating with a regional UFO group in the UK and we all agreed, even the report forms had "Confidential" in red ink across the top of the page even though confidentiality is, according to the printed form, "guaranteed". So imagine how I felt when I had a news item pointed out to me by my grandfather -the witness name and area he lived in was detailed. I phoned him and asked why he had gone to the newspaper when he had me promise I would not divulge his identity?
What followed was a horror story. He had heard a knock on his door one evening and on opening it found 10 members of the UFO group waving the report form at him. What went on that evening was awful for the witness. After that I decided that, unless under control by me and only then with the express permission of any witness, no one would ever find out who reported what.
Ufology, cryptozoology, ghost hunting -they are full of similar stories. New researchers should not be bullied or pushed into giving out any witness information. A witness who has spoken to you and given you valuable research information should expect the absolute strictest confidentiality from you. Can't guarantee you can give that assurance? Might stand in the way of a TV appearance? Go get another hobby.
Just be warned. This is not a fun time hobby so you can play Mulder and Scully. And if you find a solution to a case but don't want to upset the witness or don't have the guts to tell them -again, get a new hobby!
I am not cantankerous. I am just very serious about my work.