I’m going to put all this aside after this blog, and step back in my cage and write. But I feel, really strongly, this single issue deserves attention before I do.
When I checked the latest comments on yesterday’s blog, Blowback, I found this.
In reply to Nora Roberts.
The link you posted above is suggesting that authors cannot sell their intellectual property (their books) to other authors and publishers. It’s literally calling someone a “scammer” for selling the rights to some books they wrote.
How on Earth is that a scam?
By that measure, every single traditional publisher that has ever bought rights to a book (and subsequently published that title with their own cover and marketing spin) would be a “scammer”.
Do you genuinely think it’s a scam for someone to sell the publishing rights/copyright for their original work to another person? If that person then packages and sells that book to the masses, is that a scam?
I’m genuinely open to talk if you want to have a quick dialogue about this stuff. That link you posted is just an honest author trying to sell the books THEY wrote, and some random silliness besides.
This is, first, just stunning to me. After the stun, the anger and the outrage for every real writer, every single reader in the whole freaking world–in the whole damn multi-verse–rose up like the red, fiery tongues of ten thousand suns.
This commenter feels it’s just perfectly peachy for someone (because I’m not going to dignify that someone by calling him/her a writer) to publish a book, rack up, one assumes, some sales, some income. Then when that person decides that income stream has run its course, to offer that book for sale to another person (new income stream!). That person can do a search and replace on names, maybe a few tweaks (or maybe not) then slap a new cover and name on it, publish it all over again.
I suppose that could be done multiple times. I suppose it is. Income stream dries up, sell, someone else opens a new stream.
This commenter equates this with a traditionally published author who gets the rights back to their book, then republishes it. Under THEIR OWN NAME.
That is such utter bullshit.
First, I know many, many writers who have done just this. When rights revert, those writers take their book, do the work–or hire a pro to do the work–of formatting for e-form. They find a fresh cover–but in every case I know use the original title, or explain the title change. And they market it as classic or vintage or whatever term suits. They’re not deceiving the reader. It remains their book, their name, their work.
They put the publication on their website, their social media, letting readers know their book, previously published in paper, is now available in e-format. Full freaking disclosure.
They’re not selling it to somebody who’ll now pretend he/she wrote it to recharge that income stream.
That’s a cheat. A lie. And it infuriates every pulsing cell in my writer’s being.
It undermines and disrespects the very art, the essential craft of writing. Hey, why spend time actually writing (which I will bet a whole buncha money they can’t do anyway) if I can just buy a manuscript and put my name on it?
I will also bet a whole buncha money that many of the original somebodys paid to have a ghost write the book in the first place.
It smirks at the reader while it does so, showing him/her no respect. The reader isn’t valued, they’re just dupes to this scammer–and yes, by all the gods, they are scammers.
These people aren’t writers. They have no pride in their work. If it was ever their work. They couldn’t possibly have put any real heart in the work as they obviously have no emotional attachment to the story, the characters, the words.
It’s just an income stream.
Anyone who does this deserves to be outed, deserves to be banned from the site on which they ‘publish’.
Edited May 23, 2019
134 thoughts on “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”
Thank you again. I’m highly suspicious of anyone who defends this deception.
Give’m the ole one-two Nora. You’re a natural!
Brava Nora. This was sickening long ago when it was one particular writer and you, but this is bad, realllly bad. I never read that other writer’s book again. I will be sure to do my due diligence before reading any new artists. To my mind this is no better than passing counterfeit money in a store. I have no problem waiting for your new books to drop. I have your older books to reread as well as the other artists that I have read in the past.
Kudos to Nora/JD for taking on this battle! I, for one, had no idea this insanity happened. I read her books almost exclusively because she always has interesting stories/plot lines and in the In Death series she always remains true to the characters she has developed! I love reading when she brings back an older character the develops them just a little further. Love her integrity to her profession and that she takes up this battle. Nora/JD is a true and honest writer. I admire her talent! Would I like to see more books during the year? Sure, but I’d much rather have the well thought out and developed books that she does put out during the year. That she takes enough time to write what she really is drawn to, with such impeccable research and thought is truly what makes her a “real” writer. Thanks so much for you talent that you share with we, the avid readers!
I will back Nora all the way. I cannot believe this is happening.
B Edison. I couldn’t have put your comment better. I feel such rage on Nora’s behalf and I just hope that she stays strong and doesn’t let these criminals dissolution her. I wait with enthusiasm from book to book as I’m sure do many millions of her readers. Very cruel ?
Actually I have a problem waiting for the new books. It feels like soooooo long a wait. Just kidding. I hate the wait but I know it will be worth it. I’m one of those who pre orders as soon as I can and then I’m thrilled when it arrives. It’s like a gift.
I had no idea this was going on and the companies encouraging it. I hate waiting but know the wait will be rewarded. I have a few select authors I read and pre-purchase. I also enjoy revisiting the books I love. Thank you so much for helping me to understand the problem.
Now the question remains, “Are real, talented writers going to survive these deplorable practices and come to the public eye?”
How dare someone insult true writers, I am so sick of people having no idea what respect, integrity and hard work truly is.
Nora you have every reason to be upset, I don’t know what the world has come to, that scamming is a fun thing to do, people work so hard and take pride in what they do and then some asshole thinks it’s fun to ruin their life. Maybe someday e will just be able to hit the delete button on them
You are awesome. And you are absolutely correct. If someone is arguing with what you are saying, they are guilty. You speak the truth, and that angers some people. they are hiding behind someone else’s work, while you are exposing them. They don’t like that. You are poking a little bear, and trying to make things right for so many. The lil bears will growl, but what they – evidently – don’t realize, is that you are the Mama Bear. Keep on keepin on Nora!! Drink that whiskey (or wine), take your hubby out and do the Tango, and Foxtrot back home – knowing you are doing the right thing!!
Just when I thought I’d heard it all…
Agree 100% Nora.
What should readers look for to know it’s the authors orginal work? I support this entirely and want to make sure I’m not purchasing plagiarized work.
I agree! I would like to know also. Right now I’m suspicious of all “new” authors. How am I going to distinguish between a legitimate new author and a new plagiarist?
This scandal has exposed a scheme that I, as a writer and a reader, had no idea even existed. Thank you, Nora, for standing up and speaking out. For whatever my voice is worth, I shall do the same. Good writing!
Thank you for putting this out there, I had no idea this was even being done. I only buy books from authors I know and many times pay full price since I know this is their income. But I am sorry you have to go through it.
Well said, it amazes me how they keep trying to whitewash it and try to make it sound like a perfectly acceptable practice. As a voracious reader I am outraged for myself and for all hard working writers. Your hard work is what makes your stories spellbinding and keeps readers coming back for more. I am now looking harder at new authors before buying their books and in some cases not buying because I refuse to support a thief. Reading has always been where I escape the world to enjoy a good story now thieves are making it a job but I’ll take it on because a good author is worth the work. Jeep fighting the good fight, your readers support you.
Totally agree! Stand up, speak out. Just because they’re an independent publisher, or new to the game and was told “this is how it’s done” or have the excuse of “I didn’t know/realize” doesn’t make it right.
A lot of people have the “it’s not my fault because I didn’t know” or “everyone else is doing it” or “so-and-so did it this way”
It doesn’t make it right, or acceptable, it’s STEALING plain and simple. To attack an author who is pointing out all that is wrong in the system and trying to make this flawed system and themselves valid, is horrible.
*And by attack I mean trying to “explain” how it’s done like she can’t figure out what others are doing (which she HAS, and it’s STILL THE WRONG WAY to write/get published and considered STEALING).
I love that you’re standing up for yourself and others having said that please think of your blood pressure lol and get back to writing for all of your fans that believe in you and are always waiting for your next book. Also take some time and make some soup and bread (you can knead the heck out of it).
I am very selective about the books I read, to the point that I will only buy from a selected few authors (maybe I am just too old to put in the work required to find new authors that I KNOW will provide me good reads). I trust these ladies to produce quality material and don’t mind paying whatever they are asking for their work. That being said, there was a time when I would grab anything on the shelves with one of their names on it and a title I didn’t recognize. After a couple of disappointments I learned that previously published stories get re-titled, packaged as “duets” or whatever, and new covers. That was my fault. Eventually I learned to actually LOOK at the book before I buy it. I do not recall ever buying a story that I recognized as stolen, but if I did I can see it making me even more upset. I don’t mind paying for a good book, but I wouldn’t want to pay for it more than once. That is a betrayal of the reader. Don’t even want to imagine what a stab-in-the-back like that feels like for the writer who poured her sweat and tears into that story.
I’m thoroughly enjoying watching a powerful woman take on the cretin-verse with passion, integrity and wit. Brava, Ms. Roberts, Brava.
We had a very interesting and lively conversation about this topic at my book club last night. The consensus was, though some had tried the “free” books available through the e-reader apps, they universally found the writing to be complete tripe and have never been back. I get not being able to afford new hardback or Kindle editions of a favorite author or wanting to try a new author, but with the plethora of avenues to purchase / read legitimate books legitimately (libraries, used book stores, garage sales etc), really no excuse, when one is informed of this deplorable practice, to continue to indulge in the commerce. No market for this, no sales, no incentives for the cheating bastards.
I like you Nora! Your passion. Your indignation. Your anger. As I struggle to find the words. Words just flow from you. This is why you are my favorite author of all time. I will pay better attention to who I purchase Ebooks from. Did I say I like you? Shirley from Louisville Ky! Home of, you know it the Kentucky Derby!
I have favorite authors who have recently gotten some of their older works back and they are very upfront about the fact that it was previously published under a different pub and maybe they have added content and maybe not but they are UP FRONT about it. If you have to hide, you’re probably doing something you shouldn’t be doing. Thank you Nora for bringing this into the light.
Exactly! I am happy when they do that as sometimes I don’t remember a title otherwise and just bought an ebook that I had via hard copy. I work for a large University and you would be canned for stealing another’s work.
Way to go, Nora! In my opinion, that person is no better than the people perpetuating the theft, at any level of that theft. The whole business of it is bad. These people know what they’re doing & obviously don’t care because they keep stealing. It can only be stopped if they’re called on their actions & stood up to.
The practice of recycling content, giving it a new pen name, and passing it off as new work, makes my blood boil both as an author and a reader. As you said, it’s deceptive and does a huge disservice to the reader. I was sick when I saw that link you posted. It’s really gross how these “publishers” have no respect for readers at all.
I only just yesterday learned that people were doing this. It boggles my mind that these so-called authors think there is nothing wrong with any of this.
I don’t know who they are because they generally hide under pen names. People like the Chance Carters, Karla Maree’s, and Bobby Kim’s are -for a price- teaching other people how to game the system. Chance and Bobby did get their books removed from Amazon last summer and accounts shut down, along with the likes of Cassandra Dee and RR Banks.
However, these individuals were allowed to come back to Amazon. Some are using new pen names. Some are using new publisher accounts. And some, Like RR Banks, have kept their names but get to keep publishing because they have ‘publishers’. These new ‘publishers’ are either family members or virtual assistants who are able to open new accounts with KDP.
When you mention other names publicly, you can guarantee unparalleled backlash from the supporters of these people. You can also except lawsuits. A prime example is when Rebecca Hamilton sued Christina Garner for slander. Not only did Rebecca sue Christina, she also tried to sue individuals who donated money via Christina’s gofundme page. The judge refused to add those individuals to the suit. Rebecca and Christina have only just recently settled.
It can be a nightmare of unparalleled proportions. Sometimes, there are some heavy hitters in this game. They will crucify you publicly and unashamedly, sending their hounds of hell to do most of their dirty work.
It isn’t easy naming names. Even when you have evidence such as screen shots. “It’s taken out of context” is their go-to response. I think each of us simply wait for someone with enough guts to start talking about the issue and naming names before we can add our own information. Seriously, these people have a ‘take-no-prisoners approach. It usually takes someone like you, or Courtney Milan to do it. Because, quite frankly, this can get very scary.
It’s equally hard to name names when you’re getting second-hand information. People DO come to me with information on scammers. But I have to do some deep soul searching before I can talk about it publicly. It isn’t that I don’t want these people outed. It is because I know the bad actors involved will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who calls them out on poor behavior. Ugly doesn’t even begin to describe what happens when you do this.
Thank you for being our voice right now. We genuinely need you.
I’m sorry, I can’t be your voice for the long-term. I don’t work in your world, and from what I see your world needs to fight for itself.
I’ll do what I can, but I am not your voice. I’ll support the honest writers, I’ll call out scams when I see them. But I need to get back to my own work, my own world.
If those of you dealing with this day in and out won’t go to the wall, I can’t.
The plagiarism itself is eating into my writing time, my energies, my emotions.
Your house is broken. I can’t fix it for you, and I can’t help fix it when so many push back against needed changes that might affect them.
I totally agree with you Nora! They have to (And must) fix their own house. They must send that they are losing readers ( business). I, for one, have quit taking their offers of free and .99 books! Yes I used to take them up on their offers and , most of the time, I did buy the series. But now the only ebooks I will buy (if any) is my authors! I am so sorry this is happening to any authors; but most especially to you! There is no other author that I buy ALL of their books; but I own all you have written even Year One ( I own it but have not read it). Ok, I don’t own “ Of Blood And Bone ( is that the second one ). All I can say is hang in there and keep writing! Keep us readers entertained with trips to your different worlds! Thanks for all your hard work. I have always wanted to write; I can’t , so I read and read and read! Love you Nora!
What you have been able to do in your five posts is wake many of us up to what is going on in our world, and that is priceless. Thank you for that.
And thank you to Susan too. You mentioned a name that shocked me because I paid that person for advertising information and had no idea there was another side to what he was doing an the crazy success his followers seem to have. Now it all makes sense.
You’ve done what you can and now it’s up to the rest to stand with you. No one person should have to fight alone.
Thank you for speaking out even if you can’t fix it for us. It is a wake up call for so many. I have reframed my way of thinking when I release. Not going to sell myself short anymore and inadvertently feed the beast. I want true fans and true fans don’t feed the beast either.
So thank you for that. We appreciate it more than you know.
Now go write! ?
I think we as readers should take a stand. If I buy something from Costco, Walmart, etc and it is not what I thought it was I take it back. I do the same with Amazon. Even the first couple of chapters cannot show exactly what is in the meat of the book. If I think it was garbage I send it back. I am also wondering, can readers sue the writers/publishers who perpetuate this type of scam? I do know we can also leave bad reviews because as we all know a review is a personal opinion on whether or not we would recommend the book or buy something else from this “author”.
It was just brought to my attention that RR Banks never lost his account. I do apologize for that misinformation.
I am a fan of great proportions… I own every book you have written except a couple from the In Death series, and am looking for them, but I imagine I will have to order through TTP…I refuse to purchase anything from Amazon…I would not even buy toilet paper if they were the last source to get it from….I would rather use a leaf…You are my favorite story teller, the best I have ever read… I patiently await your books, because I can read any one of them in a day, doesn’t mean you can write it that quickly…. I have read several of your books not just one or twice but several of them over twenty times. YOU ARE JUST THAT GOOD!!!!
You keep writing and I will keep reading you adventures, heartaches, laughter and fun…. I have laughter, cried , and found myself in parts of you books…..THANK YOU!!!!!! A well written story is richer than gold, and can enlighten, amuse, and make the reader think….
I didn’t realize this was going on but have had the feeling of deja vu when reading a book and now I know why.
Do these people get their 3 year old car detailed and then have the odometer rolled back and sell it at a new car price ?
Is this Frost the same Frost who posts as Bob Frost on Kboards.com? Because that Bob Frost also defends having multiple pennames interact with one another (and not in a fun meta kind of way but in the sockpuppet way of recommending each others’ books), and sees nothing wrong with guys pretending to be gals online who hit women up for their best O stories.
That’s another big unethical problem, sigh. I hear and read about this and just wonder where these people find the time to do all that AND write (not that they do, as we’ve all found out).
He was all over my blog post this morning. I’m talking LONG, LONG comments. I finally deleted all but his original. I have better things to do with my time than to argue with someone who supports these disingenuous acts.
I didn’t know Kboards was still around…and I’m surprised at this content. Wow – just Wow.
Thanks for the links, and the education.
Sounds to me like the person, in the first comment, is trying to justify their own thievery and lying.. if i were to read a book by author A…and then a few years later find out author A sold the rights to “author” B and they tweaked a little and reformatted and sold it as a new book they wrote…i would be furious and never purchase from either “author” again..
That said, the jealousy so many have over your talent and success is astonishing… i just thank my lucky stars you are so talented and amazing that i have whatever you write and reread it often!
This entire episode is just disheartening to me… the thieves and cheats never seem to stop, they just find new people who won’t want to see themselves as “victims” so they all act okay with it.
Keep the faith, Ms. Roberts.. you have a lot of extremely loyal fans
As a voracious reader myself, I am grateful for what you’re doing. The market is flooded with crap books, and it’s difficult to find anything worth reading. Poor quality, poor storytelling, even poor formatting. All to get more books out. It’s disgusting. So thank you for taking a stand for the readers! We want quality content more than we want more words to read. If more words for free is all readers wanted, they could get that in the comments sections on YouTube videos or some such. Want free words? Read a dictionary. Keep fighting for us, Nora!!
Thank you for the education on all this. Who knew? I, Jane Reader, certainly did not know all this went on. Very eye opening stuff here, even though I’m not 100% sure I understand it all. Thank you for bringing this into the light. It shows you are the upstanding, decent person I’ve always thought you were.
Go cuddle that grandbaby 🙂
I’m so proud of what you’re doing, Nora. Keep at it and God bless.
I have read all of the blogs Nora has posted on this subject beginning with the Daily history. Yesterday I took the time to try to explain to my husband what was happening saying the Nora is very passionate and has the words to very clearly explain what is going on. She is one author who is brave enough to confront the situation. While she has the words to properly convey the situation I do not. I was trying to let my hubby know that, while I’ve never met Nora, I’ve always got the sense that she was a lot like Eve Dallas. In other words she can kick butt when it is needed! Then I came across the blog where all the authors and their books were listed and the writer stated that she cane across the name Nora Roberts and thought OMG everyone get under ground immediately! (Not an exact quote.). That sentence summed up what I struggled to put into words earlier. I’m very proud of Ms Roberts stand, her work ethic and works produced. That’s why she is my favorite.
This person is calling plagiarism ok? I don’t think so. This is an insult to me, the reader. I don’t mind rebuying a favorite book in eformat or when the paper copy wears out. But to buy plagiarized material, HELL NO.
Judy Kentrus is repackaging some of her books she previously wrote and got the rights back to. AND SHE IS FULLY DISCLOSING THAT. Totally different.
Nora, you had me at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
On a previous comment stream or an article somewhere else on this, some one said (paraphrasing here) “Nora Roberts is fighting this? They better duck and cover.”
All the lights are on, all the covers are pulled, scammers and folks who are winking at this practice need to get their butts chewed. And I can think of no one better than Nora to do it.
Thank you for speaking up and alerting me and others of what has been happening. I completely agree with your thoughts and find it deplorable that there are people out there who are not bothered by any of this. (I also find it sad, too.)
I can’t believe this happens. I am shocked that the publishers don’t check. I have been afraid to try to submit any writings because of rejection. I am going to send in my work they publish anything. Nora I stand with you. I am so sorry this is happening.
My hubby came into my office and was reading over my shoulder. He is a college English professor. He goes to me “If any of my students did this, its an automatic F and removal from the class.” He was horrified that this was a thing. He and I love to read, and have passed that love onto 2 of our 4 kids (the other two we still hold hope for…but eh…). You have opened our eyes to this and stand for all HONEST writers out there.
Since it was my blog piece ‘Frost’ was addressing, let me say this.
Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program is the cesspit where most ebook scams are born and continue to thrive-which is why I refuse to participate in that program. There are many legitimate authors who are enrolled in KU(which is a voluntary program for authors who are exclusive to Amazon and does not represent all authors who self publish through Amazon), and power to them. I know some who legitimately publish 8 or more books a year and work darn hard to meet that schedule. I won’t say to avoid all books in KU, but if a book is in the KU program, it may be worth a minute to find out more about the author. The trouble is, I’m not sure what a good test would be to quickly determine the difference between a scammer and a legit, hard-working, prolific author. I will say all the scammers I know about are romance “authors.” I have not heard of the same issues in mystery or sci fi.
I offer the first book free in my series because I believe strongly that people should be able to try an author without risk. After all, I discovered my favorite authors for free at libraries for decades and figure turn-about is fair play. I figure if you don’t like me well enough after that to shell out the price of a latte for one of my books, you’re not my audience.
A bit more than a year ago, someone took a friend’s book and massaged the first several chapters just enough that it would be hard to prove infringement, then took the story in a direction that made a mockery of her intentions with her book. This just about destroyed her and she did not have the resources to go after him.
Meanwhile Amazon refused to publish a new print edition of one of my books until I provided proof of copyright, even though the original edition of the book was already published through my account with them and sitting on my bookshelf.
On the one hand, Amazon provides a tremendous opportunity for me and many dear friends. On the other, they are woefully underinvested in keeping their site clean.
thank you for expressing that so well. i do use KU, but learned early that a lot of it is horrible writing and not very interesting books. i read A LOT. I always have. the writers i look for now tend to have websites and writers groups and things like that. Is that a legitimate way to vet some of these writers?
As always, you’ve managed to, in your no bones, no bullshit, classy kind of way, make it known that there are those in this industry who need to be dragged out of the shadows. It does need to stop, and we do need to be loud.
Thank you, Nora for being unapologetically you, and for giving me the courage to be the most awesome version of me.
Nora, you remind me of the strong characters you write about. Kick fake writer ass!
Un-#!*@$-believable to have gall to think doing such a thing us even close to okay! Thanks for once again shutting down these jackasses! It’s an insult to readers everywhere to think we’re brainless enough to want to be fed that kind of fodder and it to have the work of any writer anywhere desecrated in such a manner!
Thank you for your thoughts on this I didn’t even know it was a thing. I’m shocked by it honestly I’m an aspiring author my self and would never dream of something like that it’s just wrong. You are an Amazing Author, and I think most of your readers and fans will agree when I say thank you for taking the time to inform us of these things,and we look forward to your next Book . Thanks again.
“Frost” doesn’t know what plagiarism is, apparently. Or integrity, for that matter.
I have read over 500 books I have seen this. I read authors who make me love their characters as much as they do themselves. I have cut out authors who I have found to familiar with another book I have read. It happens more often then people think. Luckily Nora your books shine. It’s easy to see if someone copied you. Thank you for calling out those who steal, and it is stealing. You are amazing.
In reading the comment, does this guy understand that the authors in question were not selling their intellectual property? That it was stolen without their consent, nevermind compensation and then reused under someone else’s name?
This is just getting ridiculous. I think there are two separate scandals developing.
#copypastecris- the plagiarism scandal which is flagrant abuse of the romance community
The whole corrupt and grimy underbelly of the publishing industry, which is about taking advantage of the unsuspecting reader and writer in the name of excessive and explorative profit.
Nora, you have handled yourself with grace and integrity through this whole debacle. I wish you good luck and all the support I can offer as you fight this.
The comment you quote from Frost is despicable, and epitomises all the negative practices highlighted over the last week.
As for me I am going to take a step back from this for a few days because I feel like I am going down the rabbit hole (and I’m just a reader) but my eyes have been opened and I am not going to forget this as a customer
I’ve gone from shock, to unbelief, to realisation of Wow! To today. Horror! That this whole thing is now a stinking mountain of greed and thievery. It has shown me to look at and valudate authors. What a lesson this is. Thank you for your anger, rage, and guts that helped to bring this out. I bow to your courage. Be prepared for a few who are not happy with you!
Reading has always been so very important to me. You can go anywhere you want within a book. My reading history goes back almost 70 years and at 72, I have just learned how pervasive plagiarism is. It so saddens me and baffles me to no end, how people can try to hurt and destroy others for their own gain. No one has the right to steal, and plagiarism is blatant theft, from others. Thank you for bringing to light this very serious problem. Looking forward to the next In Death book, which I am totally obsessed with, and your new book coming out in July. Thank you for keeping me entertained with your wonderful characters and their stories.
I cannot understand that Amazon isn’t responding and taking down the scammers products. Although I know they also have been tricked into selling knock offs in other arenas – but supposedly they remove them when discovered
Follow the money. They continue to profit from the practice and don’t seem terribly concerned.
Bezos doesn’t care.
I haven’t posted anything on this topic yet, but I’ve been following along. I fought pirate sites years ago until I got exhausted and gave up. I’ve heard random complaints over the years from authors who had their books stolen wholesale and retitled & resold. I thought it was just the occasional thing until this blew up. But even when I thought it was just once in a while, I changed my buying habits. I stopped buying cheap books. I only buy authors I’m familiar with on one click. If it’s a new to me author, I always get the sample chapter first. All this has saved me a lot of money. I have 1500 books in my Kindle library. If I can’t afford the price of a new book, there’s always a rerun I can grab.
I’m speechless. I heard about that practice a few months ago, but it was through a friend who heard somebody mention it, so I thought it must be one of those crazy urban legends.
BTW – David Gaughran documented shady stuff happening for YEARS. He’s been telling KDP (that’s Amazon’s self-publishing arm) that scamming is going on, who’s doing it and how, along with evidence, and they’ve been basically ignoring him. He also tweeted that KDP gave those scammers “reps” who basically helped them when the system flagged their books or listings for issues, so those scammers could continue to scam. (Most indie authors do NOT have dedicated reps within KDP that they can call or email for help.)
The only time Amazon KDP actually does something is when there’s a lot of bad publicity and press. Then they often do it ham-fistedly, banning SOME (never all) bad actors along with a few legit authors. Which can be super scary for legit authors who did nothing wrong and get an email from Amazon telling them they’ve been suspended or banned without any recourse.
https://twitter.com/DavidGaughran/status/1099622364877328385 is where David talks specifically about how hard it is to get Amazon to clean up its Kindle store and police scammers better. He now believes that they don’t care UNLESS there’s a lot of bad publicity that makes them look awful, so they’re forced to act.
(BTW – I’m certain KDP received a lot of complaints. I remember being in a room with one of them, and every time authors bring up bad behaviors/scammy tactics, the answer was, “That shouldn’t be happening and I’ll look into it,” but all those things kept happening…over and over and over again… So we do talk to them. They just say, “We’ll look into it” or some such things but never do.)
That’s why many of us who are angry about this as much as you appreciate what you’re doing. Because unlike many of us, you’re one of the biggest names in publishing, and when you say something, people notice. People pay attention. Bad actors are angry with you because they know you have the power to bring public scrutiny bad enough that Amazon will have to do something. And unless Amazon starts caring that scammers are profiting off their platform, there are going to be more #copypastecrises because it’s so easy to cheat and steal.
Maybe Indie authors should just take their books off Amazon and go to Kobo Writing Life en mass? There’s enough of us. It would take 90 days for everyone to get out of Kindle Unlimited.
I’ve been slowly moving my books to D2D just to get outside the KU system.
I have been reading your books for many years now, the enjoyment I get from doing so is beyond measure. Bravo for standing up to these people and respecting your readers, for that is what shows by doing so.I have much respect for you and your integrity as an Author who cares about her readers and fellow Authors.Thank-you for your wonderful works Nora.
While I am a very eclectic reader and enjoy trying new authors as well as old “friends” I would go all kinds of ballistic if I buy the same book from 2 different authors. In my opinion that is beyond cheating into fraud. It undermines all those hard working people trying their best to do something most of us cannot do well. Well done Nora and everyone standing up for both the readers and the new, honest autors.
Amazing. I had no idea that plagiarism is a business. Thank you Nora for bringing this to our attention. You can bet that there are many of us who will be researching before we read now. Those putting a name on books that others wrote are just wrong, period. Excuses don’t work. “I didn’t know.” Bull*.
Get back to work Nora and trust that by bringing so much to light, you’ve equipped many of us with the knowledge of what to do. Publishing houses, KARMA is a bitch!
I am curious if you have experienced anything like author Colleen Hoover has gone through, with outright theft of a book? This is her post about it. https://www.facebook.com/342533115760296/posts/2462715510408702/
Wow–just read the link to Colleen Hoover’s post. That’s . . . I don’t even have a word for that. The whole book? Selling stolen copies of a whole e-book on legitimate platforms? When I uploaded my first book in 2010, a hazy thought crossed my mind that someone might steal it, so I registered the copyright through the US gov’t copyright office. Before I upload any manuscript to any online platform, I register it with the US copyright office and have the hard copy certificates to prove the dates, etc., in case I ever have to go to court. I highly recommend all self-published authors do this before they publish. It’s not much protection, but at least it’s something that no plagiarizing thief can get to.
Now I’m going to search Amazon, Kobo, B & N, Apple, etc. for books that might be mine that don’t have my name on them. This whole mess is making me sick, and I can’t believe they dared plagiarize the likes of Nora Roberts. No one’s books are safe if Nora’s aren’t.
I’ve noticed a lot of readers ask how they can tell if a book is legit or not. This may have already been brought up, so sorry if I’m repeating someone else. If you have an Amazon prime membership, you can borrow books from Amazon instead of buying them if you want. The only way self-published authors can get their books available for Amazon Prime members to borrow is by publishing exclusively with Amazon through Kindle Unlimited. The author then gets paid by how many pages of his/her book that are read when it’s borrowed. With book sales falling through the floor on other platforms (at least for me, and I think others), Kindle Unlimited is very tempting. I was considering it because I’m tired of giving away the first book of my series for free and getting far fewer follow-up sales than I used to. At least if someone borrowed it on Amazon and read it, I would get paid for it. However, now after learning about these scams, I won’t be doing that any time soon.
This has been mentioned before, but I will reiterate–if you’re worried that an e-book isn’t legit, go through an author’s website, use the links there to go to the Amazon page and then buy or borrow.
Nora, I am so grateful for this series of blogs, as I had no idea this was going on. You have opened my eyes, and clearly the eyes of other readers to these practices. While I prefer hardcovers and paperbacks, I also buy a lot of ebooks out of convenience. How do I find out which writers are hard-working legitimate writers, and which ones are scam artists? Because I certainly don’t want to help the latter in any way.
I have forwarded your blogs to my daughter who has just “birthed” her third novel. And it IS like birthing a child……hours,days, weeks of writing re-writing until she feels it can go to an editor. She has published as ebooks. I am ever so proud of her and her books. She needed to know all this.
Thank you for speaking out. I am 85 years old, cancer survivor and read omnivorously. I have all your books, either in paper, hard copy, and ebooks. My book bill runs into 3 figures quickly.
Thank you for the hours of enjoyment and escape.
If there was ever any doubt where Eve Dallas came from, it’s been put to rest! You blew the whistle, now it’s time for the rest to stand up and defend themselves. We love you!! Now back to work! ❤
Wow. Just about the time I was wondering when we were going to get a new post, this happened. I am an e-reader out of necessity. My house is currently bulging with people and I don’t have the room to house all the books I want to read. Having said that, I have (once or twice) clicked on a free book because, hey….free! I haven’t done that in a long time unless it’s an author I have read trying to entice me to buy a series! Once upon a time, I thought I would be a writer but I don’t have what it takes – and I recognize that! So, I rely on authors I do know to take me away from my reality when I need to escape. I consider it money well spent because I read and re-read and re-read books! My dream home has a library in it that matches the one in “Beauty and the Beast” – just waiting to win Powerball.
One more thing……..Nora Roberts may be rich but that does not negate the time and effort and WORK she so obviously puts into her books. To my mind, she truly deserves every penny she makes! Oh, and you go girl!!!!!
I’ve seen this type of ‘repackaging’ – same plot, same text, they just changed character names. It was many years ago (about 20, I think) – I never considered the ‘authors’ were scamming the system – the books were in my native language and I thought the publisher screwed up. I remember thinking if I should say something to the librarian or write to the publisher, but I was a teenager … I gave up.
Reading has been my hobby for more than 20 years – thank God for libraries and used books stores, I couldn’t afford my ‘drugs’ otherwise.
Nora, I liked your books translated into my native language, but I love your books in English. I learned English in school, but most of my vocabulary and phraseology come from books. I tried writing, but I don’t have the drive and the discipline and work is keeping me pretty busy, so I gave up; when I read this series of blog posts about plagiarism, I realized that for me Bloom’s ‘Anxiety of Influence’ is very much real – in my head, English is very much associated with the books I read, so even if there is a story in my head, the words might never be wholly mine. And I’m OK with it, I don’t really have the writer’s bug, just a love for books.
I followed this sordid story and it’s sad and infuriating, especially since it looks like battling wind mills, with all sort of actors involved, each defending their territory and blaming others, ‘black hats’ disappearing and reinventing themselves to do this all over again.
Crimes are reported to the police, product-related issues are notified to some type of Consumer Protection office; for copyright infringement is there a department where this crime can be reported? I read that people have dealt with this issue for years – no official measures?
I admire the badass attitude and the strong position you took on this and I hope you are successful in this fight. But for the reader in me, I hope you find some peace and quiet and return to writing the great novels I love.
I know a lot of midlist writers in the speculative fiction genre (sf and fantasy) who are reprinting their backlist as they get their rights back–some of whom have been forced by their publishers to post under pseudonyms because bookseller data didn’t support publishing under their own names. I don’t know of any of them who are doing as “Frost” claims. They’re HAPPY to be able to publish under their own name while properly attributing the pen name. Don’t know about other genres, but in the sff genre, traditionally published writers are seeing the rise of self-publishing as a means to keep their works in print.
I have one book I’ve gotten the rights back to, from a micropress that I’m still arguing with to find out about six months of no royalty reports. Haven’t reprinted it yet as I am doing an extensive rewrite to turn it into the book it should have been–and it’s fighting me every step of the way. Rewrites like that are a major bitch.
One thing romance readers need to be aware of is that there are a lot of midlist writers who have been cut loose by their publishing houses and are publishing on their own. Do your due diligence and research them, but be aware…for many self-publishing is now the only way they can go.
Is Amazon the only place that these fake books are being sold? Is it “safe” to buy .99 and free books from Barnes & Nobles and know that you are buying a legit book?
Lynne Connelly posted a long comment on the “Plagiarism, Then & Now” blog with a 9-point advice list on how to spot the phonies. I’m going to go through the laborious task of coming thru my 1294 Kindle books and delete every book that (after research) convinces me the book is a scam.
I’m embarrassed to admit that as much as I read books and MANY book review sites and listen to bookish podcasts, I was unaware that this was happening. I thought those books were $.99 because Amazon felt the authors deserved to get promoted because their books were really well-written and they were trying to give them a ‘boost’.
On the plus side, I learned that there was actually something called ‘Cockygate’ that happened last year. I’ve been getting up to speed on it thru my Twitter acct.
As many others have pointed out on these 3 blog posts, it will be up to readers to stop these crooks by not buying their stolen garbage AND TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO KILL THE CAREERS OF GENUINE AUTHORS TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING ON KU. I will not delete/refuse to buy any books without doing due diligence that they are cut&paste books.
You’ve given your powerful voice to shed light on what many of us had no idea was so insidious. No more excuses, it’s strictly caveat emptor for us from now on. Thanks for letting us know. Now you can add a log to the fire and burrow.
Thank you Nora…all of this information is very new to me and quite eye-opening. I am a reader, not a writer, but have always preferred to purchase hard-cover books so that the author gets something in return for their hard work. This custom of mine allows only a few books a year to be in my library but, there is a local library to read others. I am sorry for the lack of integrity among some writers that have allowed these problems to occur. The plagiarism you have identified must be so maddening and hurtful, and I applaud how you are bringing it to your readers. The publishing matter is a different matter, something I was not aware of and am thankful for the info you have given us. Keep writing Nora, you have such a lot of fans out here that support you.
Nora, I can not say a BIG enough THANK YOU, to you for putting this practice and calling it what it is! A sham, wrong, an insult to readers and legitimate writers as well! I personally think it should be illegal!
Keep up your writing. Keep your honest, true, original words appearing in books under Nora and J.D.! There are many ebooks I don’t buy, as the synopsis sounds so similar to books I read 20-25 years ago, sometimes even the character names. Now, I realize that I may have almost been caught up in this scam!
After reading this I feel validated for taking a strong position on ethics in a different arena. To many it might seem a triviality but to me it reflects who I am.
Thank you for taking up the fight. As a reader I have purchased the same book in physical paper form, ebook and audiobook, but that’s on me. When I like a writer …like you, I can’t wait and so have purchased multiples but now I have taken measures to limit my duplicates. It galls me, however, that even with an APP that lists all of my books, their authors and publishers I can still get scammed (and have) into buying a book that I already have because the name has changed or things have been substituted such as the author’s name. It makes me weary and mad. So thank you again, you are helping genuine authors as well as your readers.
Seriously?! I love reading and sometimes wish I had the discipline to write – I don’t, I prefer to dive into a good book by my favorite authors.
Nora, thank you for all your blogs exposing this heinous practice. It is now time for the legitimate indies to fight the good fight, for you to go back to your writing cave.
I can only say I will be ever more cautious of the “cheap” books I am offered.
I seriously had no idea this went on. It makes me angry that Amazon is part of it. I canceled my KU subscription as soon as I read this info. That being said, I am guilty of clicking on the free books to see if I will like the author, style, etc. In fact, I have found one of my very favorite authors that way and have since purchased all of her books. So, the question is, how do we know if a particular author is doing it? How do we check to see if this author is authentic or just a jerk who doesn’t have an original thought and is a thief? Where do we start to help stop this?
Hello Nora– Thank you for your support, and I’m sorry this happened to you. Like Julie Huss, Deanna Chase, Kathleen Brooks, Cristin Harber, and so many others have said, guys like “Frost” are well-known as scammers by the real writers in the indie world. That comment was like James Frey talking about how to write an autobiography, and many of these scammers have business models very similar to James Frey’s Fiction Factory. And that should tell you an enormous amount, right there.
So, please don’t get upset about an equivalent of James Frey lecturing you on ethics. Frost and Frey would both be laughable if they weren’t so damaging to literature and art.
As ppl like Phoenix Sullivan and David Gaughran have shown time and time again, it’s easy to be a scammer at Amazon and in KU. The KU program has deep flaws that are easily exploited.
As a shout-out, I’d like to show you how Kobo did “Kobo Plus” the right way.
First, they have an AI plagiarism checker, and it probably would have flagged those copy/pasted passages for further review by a human. And Kobo would have reviewed them. And they would have closed that publisher account.
And then, for their Kobo Plus program that is much like KU, when readers use a “free trial month” of KP, authors don’t get paid for those pagereads. Draconian, yes. But it is thought that the clickbot KU accounts are “first free month” accounts, thousands and thousands of them, and then they expire and the bots run the script to sign up for a new free account. And then the bots “download” the KU books (counts like a “sale” for rankings) and “read” the free books (for money), and this is how the scammers steal thousands upon thousands upon thousands of dollars from the KU system. They put zero money in, and they manufacture huge pagereads by bots for the producers in their system.
Amazon could institute something like Kobo’s AI and KP program, but if they do, it would be an acknowledgment that they’ve been enabling scammers. So they don’t. And they won’t.
And there is very, very little real writers can do about it.
Many of the ghostwriters are either decent writers but don’t have marketing skills or else are desperate for up-front money. And then publisher scammers offer them what is usually a pittance of up-front money, and they take it because the rent is due in three weeks. Some of them are scammers, too, and they are either plagiarizing like how you got hit or like “mosaic plagiarism,” another despicable practice.
IMHO, the *only* ethical way to use a ghostwriter is to put their name on the cover, too, like James Patterson does. Then, the reader knows what they’re getting.
Also, long-time reader and huge fan, here. Your books greatly influenced me as a writer, both in quality and in ambition. I’m considered a successful indie author. I write every word of my own books, and I hate that I have to say that. I also hold an MFA from Iowa and trad-published literary fiction before I delved into indie publishing. I like to write. I like to write a lot of books. I love indie publishing, where I make far more money *per month* than I made in advances for literary books. I also love my readers, who are wonderful human beings and keep me going. It’s an amazing time to be a writer. Thank you, again, and I’m so sorry that those scumbags plagiarized you.
Last week I started rereading the “In Death” series for I think the fourth time. For those who don’t quite get the concept of story line, character development, emotional attachment, and good old fashion blood, sweat & tears, I suggest reading this series from book 1 to book 48. It’s the best example I can give about a writer creating a world and populating that world with characters you will care about. Sure, everyone loves Eve and Roarke but then along came Mavis, Dr. Mira, Peabody, Morris, McNab, Feeney and on an on.
A writer is invested in their stories, their characters and yes, to a certain extent their audience (I don’t think writers write “to” an audience, I think they write their stories and the stories find their audience.) It’s a skill, an artform, maybe even a gift, and when it is well done, the stories capture your imagination and you, the reader, care about the characters.
I think the magic you find in a Nora Roberts/JD Robb or Diana Gabaldon or James Patterson or Linda Howard or a thousand other writers exists because they care about their stories, they care about their characters and yeah, they care about their readers.
Read the series, see what I mean. And Nora, in case no one mentioned it today, you are a Writer with a capital W.
I’m loving the series and just started #21-Origin. Since I’m so far behind everyone else and binge-reading it, I’m seeing the Eve and Roarke characters heal each other and grow to love and take care of someone who is traumatized. It is a WONDERFUL series and the mysteries (with a strong techno-element) are so well thought out by Nora.
I love her view of what the future might look like, but the food sounds pretty awful. That’s really my only dislike of the series. It’s a HUGE bummer that only wealthy people can afford coffee. I love the AutoChef idea, too.
I can think of a few words to describe that commentor, none repeatable in polite conversation. I will say they are utterly confusing selling the rights vs stealing the rights. None of these authors sold their rights to scammers. Scammers simply stole the work. I guess this ‘person’ would also argue that it is quite alright to buy stolen goods because the original owner ‘sold’ the ownership to the thief. That ‘person’ is part of the problem. In my eyes just as criminally liable for the loss of income to the real owner of the work, just as guilty as the thief.
I have been reading this ongoing…saga with first, shock. I didn’t know that crap was happening and then bigger shock since Amazon is doing nothing to stop it.
Now, I am at all out admiration and a lot of love for Nora Roberts and her words calling Whiskey Tango Foxtrot on all this. Amen and Blessings on Nora.
I had been patting my own back because I buy the hardback books and the Kindle version and often the paper back version. Then I thought about it and I was making that purchase on Amazon. I have cancelled my Amazon pre-orders for the upcoming Nora/JD books and bought them through Turn the Page (I don’t have a local indie, I have a local B&N…). Will these cost more? YES! But it’s money that feeds the author… that feeds my habit. Amazon is feeding the scammers and I can’t abide.
I’m going to be finding indies for the other pre-orders by other authors I have with them too. Amazon won’t be getting any more of my book money.
I am proud of you Nora for standing up against someone trying to steal from authors and cheat readers like me. I don’t like to be cheated. I love your books Nora and at first I was unsure if I wanted to read the information from “behind the curtain”. I didn’t really understand too much about it as I only buy my well-known authors. I just like to picture Nora in a sunny room with white curtains and herbs on the window sill. Now I picture her armed with a sword and metal brassiere fighting evil wrongdoing with computers in hand. I am retired and partially disabled so I live in your books. I am in the blue cottage in Ireland, in the mansion in Whiskey Beach and with the Quinn brothers in Maryland. I have read many of your books more than once. Your characters are my friends, so it was hard to put them back between the pages of their books again. However, sometimes you have to do what’s right especially if you have a loud voice.
Just don’t take too long getting back to that sunny room, because we’re out here waiting. Where will Nora take us today?
I can think of a few words to describe that commentor, none repeatable in polite conversation. I will say they are clearly confusing selling the rights vs stealing the rights. None of these authors sold their rights to scammers. Scammers simply stole the work. I guess this ‘person’ would also argue that it is quite alright to buy stolen goods because the original owner ‘sold’ the ownership to the thief. That ‘person’ is part of the problem. In my eyes just as criminally liable for the loss of income to the real owner of the work, just as guilty as the thief.
I think you are absolutely right that indie authors (and all authors) should out any instances of scamming and plagiarism they find. I’ve been giving this some thought over the past few days and I think the only way we’re going to be able to put a stop to these practices is to somehow convince sites like Amazon to enforce anti-plagiarism policies on their sites. They have no incentive to do it as they’re making a lot of money from it as well. But if we, as a community of writers and readers, stand up to them, petition them, maybe we can get them to take this matter seriously. We start by spreading the word, as you are, and try to get an army of legitimate authors standing together.
I appreciate what you’ve done. I don’t know of anyone else with your clout in the author world that has ever stood up to help indie authors this way. Anyone who attacks you and what you’re doing is an a$$. I agree with everything you’ve said and have shared far and wide. If those protesting are legitimate authors, then I honestly don’t know what the heck is wrong with them. I do NOT for one second believe they are the majority. Every author I’ve spoken to the last few days (and there have been many) has been grateful for you standing up and calling out the scammers. I’m so sorry you and the other authors were caught up in the plagiarizing that started this whole thing. Hopefully, she’ll get the karma due her.
It really does smirk at the reader!!
What a load of manure! And if they do not understand the issue, they are really naive. If they do and are just being a pain in the posterior, then they seriously are in need of a life!
This is the downside to the internet. Fools are published.
Hardcore blackhat marketers do affect every author in this market. They’re robbing indie romance authors and powerhouses like Nora alike of visibility in the Kindle Store.
What proof do I have? Right now the top independent romance book in the entire store is Surprise Delivery by RR Banks. It’s ranked in the Top 10 at time of this writing. This book is ranked above popular indie romance authors like Adriana Locke and Penelope Ward who have thousands of fans all over social media. Meanwhile, you never see anyone talking about RR Banks’ books or sharing anything.
This Surprise Delivery book is supposedly moving thousands of copies a day to be at its rank and yet there’s no sign of organic enthusiasm among readers for it anywhere.
RR Banks is an internet marketer who uses ghostwriters and blackhat practices to get his books to high ranks. He engaged in abusive book stuffing before Amazon banned bonus content last summer. He was outed as a major internet marketer who has helped many other scammer minded publishers get into flooding the Kindle store with junk. In his newsletters, he lies about working hard on his own books while all the content is being ghosted. He has a new book every two weeks under either RR Banks or his RS Lively pen name.
Amazon banned many of his friends last summer but for some reason Banks himself slipped through the cracks. And that’s the problem.
Fake authors like Banks are burying almost everyone and Amazon allows it. They bury indie authors and they bury bestselling household names like Nora. This can ONLY be happening due to blackhat practices like clickfarms and yet Amazon refuses to dedicated the resources they should to catching it and getting rid of people like RR Banks.
It amazes me that people, let alone “writers” think this is okay! In school, we have to write papers on all different subjects and in different lengths. We are taught day one what constitutes plagiarism. All sources must be cited and work is NOT to be copied. I just don’t understand how one steals another’s property(words, books, etc) and think this is okay. Any monies they have made should have to be paid to the original author of said work. The end!
One of these things is not like the other.
Republishing any work under a different name without crediting the original ‘author’ name should be against Amazon’s terms and conditions, even if significant rewrites have been done.
I hope shining a light on this practice will help bring that change about.
Oh Nora I agree with you! How can anyone trying to sell old as new do it with a clear conscience. It’s sad! You even go to the length of telling us when an older book gets a new cover! It is really sad!
So I had the pleasure of netting you and attending a Q&A here in Jacksonville FL many years ago and many years after my first Nora Roberts read. I knew that night you were not someone I ever wanted to be on the wrong side of. I commend you for defending your community of authors and calling out those who have zero integrity in the business.
Kudos to you, Nora!! I feel the same way. As a voracious reader, I do Not want to be conned!!
Thank you for continuing to bring these scams into the light. I will certainly be more discerning in KU purchases and will avoid the free, .99, etc. offerings unless they are by authors I already follow.
Nora, thank you for bringing this problem to our attention and educating your readers. I seriously doubt that I will be buying books from Amazon again. I’m going to my favorite bookstore in Cincinnati Joseph Beth and ordering from Turn the Page.
Best wishes for your continued success that you have earned one word at a time.
Thank you for the explanation of what they were saying. My brain just stopped dead going, that can’t be right! Surely.
Apparently, it can!
I can’t even…
I think this has been so enlightening for most of us avid readers. I think it also was hard on you personally and professionally!! So… And I am quoting here ” may the wind be always at your back” one line from one of my favorite Irish blessings. ☘
I think it’s really funny that people actually think they can write, and write well. For most of us, the desire is there, but the discipline, the work ethic, the output just isn’t. I think that is what infuriates me the most here. Some people think they can put a sentence or two together, then make some paragraph strings, steal a bit here and there, and call it an e-book. Shame on them. Good writers have EARNED their place . . . YOU have earned your place. Don’t let these so-called Internet writers ever make you think otherwise.
It takes courage, determination and hard work to write the way you do. Sure, I wish I could write like that – a lot of your readership does – but that’s not the way the real world works. Nora, darlin’ – you’ve paid your dues, and screw those who haven’t. Their work reminds me of really bad, bad acting in the straight-to-video films of the 80s and 90s. The work is so poor that no production company will host it, let alone produce advertising for it, so – what the hell, let’s just toss it out there for some idiot viewership. These so-called Internet writers are nothing but a bunch of idiots, sitting around in their underwear, trying to make a buck off people unschooled enough to purchase the drivel being spewed out. (I say unschooled because people need to be aware of what they’re purchasing . . . not just buying it because it’s a so-called good deal.)
You are NOTHING LIKE THEM, these so-called Internet writers. You are an icon, Nora, and all of us here on FITS know it. We spend time with you because we like what you produce, what you promise, and what you share. These so-called Internet writers are nothing but a bunch of sycophants, hangers-on to something they cannot even fathom. You, my dear, have talent, grace, and – if I may add – balls as big as church bells. Good on you for exposing the jackasses for what they really are . . .
Thank you for bringing a terrible problem into specific exposure. I hope these so-called authors know what they’re doing, eventually, because – eventually – they’re going to have to go back to their day jobs, ‘cause what they’re spewin’ ain’t workin’.
Love you, Nora. Thanks for making all of us so proud. (Just one more thing: to these so-called Internet writers, I say, “Alpha Mitan Foxtrot”.)
I agree with you completely, Nora, and on a related topic, what about those made for TV movies? Sometimes they just ring a bell when I’m watching them and got me thinking that I already read that story but under another author’s name. Those scripts should be investigated also.
The commentator has missed the point that the authors have Not released their copyright to someone else. It is intellectual theft. Espionage. Call it what you like it is just plain wrong and that someone would want to support this indicates either a troll or someone morally deficient.
It all comes down to what you’ve just said: “authors” who have no heart in history, who have no emotional involvement with it. And that’s the big difference between real writers like you, and smart guys who think readers are idiots. If I had admired you before for your exquisite and exciting work, now even more for you to prove yourself being the person I already knew: the one who stands on the right side of things. Viva Nora!!
Way to go Nora! Stealing another person’s work is wrong! No ifs ands or buts about it! I love reading and it really makes me mad to think someone would do this!
Nora, thank you for standing up! Readers and writers don’t often meet, except through the writer’s words on the page and the reader’s imagination bringing those words to life and meaning. That interaction between the words and the imagination is a trust between the writer (this is my work and if you like this work you can trust my name to see similar work in the future), and the reader (I really like this author, I am willing to pay for the work they do so I can enjoy the next book). When unscrupulous people do what you have described above, it is a violation of that trust.
Again, thanks for taking a stand on this. Legit indie authors (like me) work their/our butts off to put out good books. It may take me 6-8 months to write a book, but at least I know it’s the best I can make it before I send it out into the world. I did the research, I spent hours away from my family behind the keyboard, I struggled over each and every word I put on the page. Agree, too, that it sucks readers have to check to see if an author is a “real” author of if they’re just another scammer trying to make a buck. In my mind, this is essentially stealing from the authors who work hard, who write as a second job and who are trying to fulfill their life-long dream of writing full time. I hate what this skeevy underground is doing to our industry and I hate that readers are now going to be skeptical of little-known or new indie authors.
I’m sorry to read this, I love everything you write. Nora a thief is a thief no matter how you sugar coat it, I not like liars and thieves.
Thank you for standing up for yourself and all of the Honest writer’s..
Nancy F. Lambert
When I was a newbie indie, I witnessed some loathsome conversations in writing groups between people who would just do anything to get ahead. Much of it was asking for fake reviews just to have the numbers or offering to trade reviews. Now, of course, as a writer, I have a few reviews from family members who have read my work, but I’ve never ever purchased reviews or plagiarized. I don’t understand the mentality of those who are okay with doing that. There is just no reward in it. Since then, I only surround myself with greatness. I spend most of my group time in one of three author groups. In 20booksto50k, I just lurk and learn. In The Writing Gals (for guys too) and Clean Indie Reads, I participate, help others, and ask questions if I have one. Especially about marketing. In all three of these groups, any insinuation of ‘cheating’ is directly handled. Usually in the kindest manner possible, but we’re talking thousands of people in each group so there will always be a few sharks circling. So if you’re a writer looking for a tribe, check these groups out. They’re incredibly supportive. I learned from folks who are making nice incomes as indie. None of them are making Nora’s money, lol, but they’re more than just making a living.
The hardest thing about all this is when Amazon starts changing policies, those of us in the indie world who are following the rules usually get hit the hardest. But, things certainly can’t keep going the way they are.
I 100% agree with Nora’s post and am appalled this actually happens. As a reader, it greatly upsets me anyone would think this okay. As an author, even more so. All this has made me realize how naive I am to what’s happening within the publishing industry. Just wow.
Taking a previously published work, retitling it, slapping it up on Amazon and then putting out ads implying it is a new, original work by an author unaffiliated with the previous name on the work: I’m not a lawyer, but it seems to me this is against the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines on comsumer fraud and deception, and a violation of Truth in Advertising laws.
So perhaps the FTC should be alerted. Especially if the reviews for these products are improperly incentivized or otherwise falsely generated, as the FTC has already cracked down on fake endorsements for products sold over the internet.
I’m floored that this person does not see this scheme as a scam. It’s a scam in muliple was on multiple people. But, as a reader I’ll just explain how it scams me. The first book of any author I buy is bought either because I have heard/read good things about their work or I read the synopsis and find it interesting. The second book by that author is based entirely on how much I enjoyed the first book. By the time I am reading the 3rd and 4th books I have paid money for them based on my expectations of style and substance of the author. I am invested not only in the author’s story but in their vision. Real or not, part of my enjoyment comes through connections made not just with the characters but with the author. If someone else has writen the book, the whole thing is a lie. It is the same as lip-synching some one else’s song and selling it as your own. It is fraud.
I’ve never heard of this, but it amazes me. That was 50,000 words up for open auction. Is there no emotional attachment? That would be like selling off an arm or a leg. Talk about morning-after regret 🙁
I have stopped buying romance books unless they are by an author that I have read for years. The plot descriptions are the same old plots rehashed. I look forward to the annual new book from my favorite writers.
I have found self-publishers who have a stable of writers publishing new books in a series but by different authors. I only buy ones by the original author. I would love to hear whether these groups are a part of this problem.
It would be very helpful to us readers to have the names of authors to avoid. Do you have to have a legal action in progress to name names?
Finally, I have found some excellent new authors on Kindle Unlimited. I follow the good ones and pre-order their books. The style and writing is distinctive for each, and I believe these authors write their own book.
Thank you for exposing this problem.
Sandy- I am not Nora but I’ve been self-publishing for 8 years. There is a new trend to create “Worlds” and have multiple authors contributing to that World. It’s an outgrowth of fan fiction and some new authors have received a big leg up working this way. These are original co-authored works, created much the same as James Patterson and Janet Evanovich do with their co-authors. It’s not a scam as the process is transparent, the intent is collaborative, and the content is original (unless you consider Patterson a scam) . As far as quality goes, I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I am no fan of Patterson’s co-authored books, though I do like the books Evanovich writes with Lee Goldberg. The scams are when so called authors find ways to churn out (or steal) low or no quality content to and use manipulative tactics to maximize Kindle Unlimited page reads. Hope this helps.
Thank you very much for your information. My experience with reading these “world of…” has been that some of the stories are so poorly written and/or so poorly edited that it is obvious that the original author has had little to no input into the story about his/her characters and their world. I don’t read James Patterson; I agree with you about Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg; and I know that these books are probably written for the most part by the credited co-author. I guess the key word is “credited”.
I may certainly be missing some good writing by some new writers, but my blood pressure is the better for avoiding books with glaring errors. I read some excellent “fan fiction” back in the days after the original Star Trek went off the air. Many science fiction and fantasy authors began excellent writing careers in that “world” created by Gene Roddenberry. My actual issue is with poorly written/edited books, not with new authors.
Unfortunately the biggest scammers also have budgets for editing and professional designers as well as huge advertising budgets.
In this arena, “legit” may have two meanings: 1. Legit meaning honest, with the intention of writing original stories to the best of their ability, and with transparency about who is the creator while making allowances for pen names.
2. Legit meaning maintaining a professional standard of editing, cover design and book formatting. (Which says nothing about the origin of the content.
I know a number of authors who started when I did, who had no money for editing or covers in the beginning, and they (including me) were also dealing with a steep learning curve about turning out a professional product. But after they started making money, they plowed their royalties back into their books, like updating software.
There is also a school of thought (which I don’t agree with) that says to publish with minimal editing. Then if you discover your story has an audience, you invest money into updating it.
Interestingly, the big publishers have gotten worse about typos while career indies are increasingly vigilant. This is especially true of trads releasing ebook editions of backlists. I had a giggle reading the ebook version of La Nora’s Carnal Innocence. I’ve read this book many times. In the original, one of the characters “tarted herself up.” In the ebook, it says “tarred herself up.”
I know it isn’t exactly the same, but when a student purchases a term/research paper and turns it in under their own name…we call this plagiarism. Every time. Doesn’t matter if the person who did the original writing did it to sell. It is what it is.
Kudos, Nora! I read about this despicable mess on another site, posted by another author, and she was encouraging other authors to speak up and help to have her “works” pulled. The author even showed sections of her original work and sections of the work pirated by this other person. It was unbelievable!! Than you for speaking out as well. Your fame gives a louder voice to this problem. I will try to do due diligence to make sure that what I read isn’t pirated, and when an author publishes sloppy work, I call them on it in their review.
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