Rotten Apples

What is that saying?  One rotten apple spoils the barrel?  Here I am, enjoying my run as an Indie Published author – working to sell my books, fighting to convince people that Indie Publishing is a legitimate alternative to traditional publishing and sure enough a few rotten apples are ruining things for everyone.  Or maybe a lot of rotten apples.

This past week, CNN.com ran an article about “knock-off” books on Amazon.  Click here to read the article, but basically, unsavory people are stealing money out of author’s pockets by self-publishing books that are intended to confuse consumers looking on Amazon to purchase best-selling books and tricking those people into buying a different product.  35 Shades of Grey as opposed to NYT bestseller, 50 Shades of Grey or I am the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo instead of just The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by internationally famous author Stieg Larsson.  According to the article, many of these books (and there are lots of them) have descriptions that are identical to the best seller folks are likely searching for. 

Less than three weeks ago, I received a note from Romance Writers of America telling me that they had discovered a website that was selling plagiarized versions of books by popular authors.  Click here to see if your books are available for free.  Again, according to RWA, the instructions for complaint about infringement are buried somewhere here.  For good or bad (since they aren’t popular enough to be on plagiarists radar) my books weren’t there, but several of CT’s most popular writer’s books were available. 

And CT author Kate Rothwell has been fighting to get plagiarized books off of Amazon.  Click here to follow her saga. 

What’s the deal?!  Of course I understand that there are lots of dishonest people out there…but come on!  Can we pluck the rotten apples and toss them in the pig’s trough where they belong?  Self Publishing already has enough stigma attached to it…we don’t need this.  Let’s get this thievery out there into the harsh light of day.

Today’s secret: everyone who has a published work, should probably google themself periodically to see what else is selling that seems suspiciously similar to their book.

Today’s question: Have you been plagiarized?  What happened?

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11 thoughts on “Rotten Apples”

  1. This is awful, J. I don’t know if i have or haven’t been plagiarized, and being a newbie, probably not, but the thought makes me ill. JA Konrath has a different take on this. He says that piracy isn’t the enemy of writers, obscurity is. It goes along with the philosophy that any publicity is good publicity, but thievery is just wrong and it makes victims of hard working authors. Maybe he can afford to have his work stolen and see it as just another way to get the work out there, but most of us would feel violated. I know I would. His idea is to exploit it and make it work for you because piracy is likely not going anywhere.

    1. I agree that piracy is living large and strong, but I still don’t like it. I would feel violated…of course if I could find a way to make lemonade out of it I would.

  2. I have not been plagarized to my knowledge. I’m still too obscure for that. And to touch on PJ’s point, I think the only way being victimized helps out the victim is if there is ton of publicity to go along with it. Then I can see JA Konrath’s point, because then you might draw readers trying to find out what all the fuss is about. To me, that’s not worth the stress or hassle of dealing with the theft (because that is what it is). Also agree that piracy isn’t ending anytime soon. Like the world’s oldest profession, theives never go away.

    1. So true! EL James might not be financially impacted by 35 Shades of gray cutting into her profits, but Kate Rothwell is…it’s a durned shame.

  3. Some of this bad behavior is probably inevitable, but here’s hoping Amazon stays on top of it. Although I’ve never been fooled by one of these, it makes the browsing/shopping experience much less pleasant when I have to scroll through all sorts of junk items to find what I want.

    1. I agree! I’m not sure why Amazon can’t create some kind of digital tool that reviews content to be published through Amazon Direct or Createspace that flags content that is already in the system. Like if something is 85% the same or something like that. Techies should be able to create something, and Amazon certainly has the $.

  4. This is horrible, J. But, as that saying goes, we can’t let a few bad apples spoil the whole barrel. Keep going and continue to be successful. Was it Agent Jenny Bent that said
    “self publishing was the new query letter” My books are not scheduled to appear until later this year, but I will be sure to keep this in mind and check periodically. Thanks for the heads up.

    1. WOW – self pub is the new query, huh? Cool. I heard from agents that if you Indie Pub they don’t want anything to do with you…

  5. Also, from what I have heard, ebooks on ebay are most likely pirated. Buyers don’t know this or don’t care. I hate to think of this happening me, for sure. It’s not a publicity I want or could handle.

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