“Plagiarism, ‘book-stuffing’, clickfarms… the rotten side of self-publishing.”

Plagiarism, “book-stuffing”, clickfarms… the rotten side of self-publishing.

Scams are rife, particularly when some authors can rake in thousands each month – but high-profile victims of plagiarism warn ‘day of reckoning is coming’.

The Guardian has a fantastic summary of recent scams and all that plagiarism currently going on in the self-publishing world.

I would strongly recommend writers and readers alike give the article linked above a read.

And I would strongly recommend against using Amazon’s dodgy Kindle Unlimited/KDP Select reading/publishing platform (as opposed to Kindle Direct Publishing, which I have no issue with). As a writer, your work is being buried by scammers. As a reader, your money is going to those scammers, and you’re helping to harm genuine authors.

You don’t own your ebooks.

Two things:

You never really own your Kindle books. Actually, you do not own them at all.

I have already bought TWO Kindle versions of one of my favourite books: Lisa Kleypas’ Secrets of a Summer Night.

Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas

Even so, yesterday I tried to re-download the book onto my laptop, and got a message telling me I have used up my limit of downloads (I’ve bought the bloody ebook twice!), and that I have to buy it again. So, if I ever want to read it again I have to buy it for a third time.

Not only have I bought it multiple times on Kindle, I have two paperback copies! I’ve bought this book FOUR times, and yet Amazon still believes they own it, and therefore I’m not allowed to read it anymore. Kindle books are more like 1980s video rentals than anything resembling actual ownership.

To an extent, I understand: I could be downloading this onto many devices to share it with many other people who are getting it for free.

However – how about a paper book? You could lend it to a hundred people! What about second-hand bookshops? Once you have bought a book, you should OWN it. It should be YOUR decision who reads it afterwards, and it should not be anyone else’s business. Amazon should NOT be able to take it off you.

I remember reading years ago about how Amazon has overreached when it comes to their power with books, but I’m only just starting to realise it.

I’m getting two new computers this week, and will need a new Kindle soon (mine has black patches on the screen now!). I will have to fork out hundreds of dollars to buy books again.

This is one big, obvious argument for paper books. What a pity so many publishers are ebook-only these days. Nobody should be able to take a purchase off a customer.

 

Additionally:

Apart from the fact I’m really slow reviewing books at the moment, ALL of my devices are at the end of their lives! It’s a nightmare because on top of the computers themselves, I need to buy new Office, Photoshop etc., and I have so many photos, so many social media accounts, so many documents…

But, my laptop… Some of the keys have fallen off. E.g. I lost my Caps Lock key nearly a year ago. My screen is only just hanging on; only one side of it is still attached!

I have a tablet that barely works anymore. A few months ago it actually died for a couple of days, but then came back to life.

I can no longer log on to my “Sonya Heaney” account on my computer; now I have to use a different account for most things, and then I email myself blog posts and hope for the best!

So… I’m not a very happy camper at the moment!

Book Stuffing and Author Ethics

If you keep up with dramas in the publishing world, you’ll probably have already heard about the scammers infiltrating the Kindle Unlimited program.

You can go to this Twitter thread to understand in detail what is going on.

Authors who enter their books into the Kindle Unlimited scheme must agree to sell exclusively through Amazon. They are paid via page reads, from a pool of money that is shared between ALL authors.

In order to make lots of money, some “authors” have been employing all sorts of tricks to make their readers skip through thousands of pages per book. By doing this they get paid a great deal per book – at the same time as stealing that money from their fellow authors. Having only one pool of money means there’s only so much of it to go around.

Book Stuffer Kindle Unlimited Scammer

A book with heaps of other books stuffed in the back.

The #cockygate drama helped to bring the scammers to attention (Faleena Hopkins, of cockygate infamy, is a book stuffer and system cheat).

One of the worst scammers, Chance Carter, has *finally* been removed from Amazon, after years of making his fortune by cheating the system in every imaginable way. His porny “romances” shot to the top of Amazon’s romance bestseller lists with thousands of fake or solicited reviews, stuffed books, and offers of diamond jewellery for positive publicity.

He was also collecting a bonus for being one of the “All-Star” bestsellers.

Chance Carter Book Stuffer Amazon Scammer

Chance Carter offers diamonds in the middle of a book!

Unfortunately the Kindle Unlimited scheme is full of male romance authors looking to get rich quick. They pose as women and publish books stuffed with five or six other, previously published books, often written by ghost writers.

This is especially troubling as when they pose as women they also go to social media with questions like this for their readers:

Kira Blakely Book Stuffer Kindle Unlimited Scammer

It’s creepy, and shows an agenda that has NOTHING to do with a love of the genre.

Many readers have uncovered these men’s identities when alarm bells started going off in the sex scenes of their books. The scenes contain revolting things no self-respecting woman would *ever* write, not even those writing kinky stories (I’ll spare you the details, but they’re on Twitter if you look). The lack of respect for women is appalling, especially considering the books’ target audience.

Cockygate looks to have tanked Faleena Hopkins’ career, but she’s managed to do even more than that. Now she’s set off a chain of events that have widely exposed many other unethical authors.

Naked in Death: $2.99

Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

This is worth picking up for this price. The first book in J.D. Robb’s epic thirty-nine or so book (so far) futuristic crime series, I’m sure many of you have already read this first one, first published in 1995. Eve Dallas is the brilliant heroine of the piece, but many people have heard of the series because of the iconic Roarke.

Amazon Australia

Amazon US 

Here is the novel that started it all – the first book in J. D. Robb’s number-one New York Times-bestselling In Death series, featuring New York City homicide detective Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Roarke.

It is the year 2058, and technology now completely rules the world. But New York City Detective Eve Dallas knows that the irresistible impulses of the human heart are still ruled by just one thing-passion.

When a senator’s daughter is killed, the secret life of prostitution she’d been leading is revealed. The high-profile case takes Lieutenant Eve Dallas into the rarefied circles of Washington politics and society. Further complicating matters is Eve’s growing attraction to Roarke, who is one of the wealthiest and most influential men on the planet, devilishly handsome… and the leading suspect in the investigation.

Currently Free: Jane Austen Girl (A Timbell Creek #1) by Inglath Cooper

Jane Austen Girl (A Timbell Creek #1) by Inglath Cooper is free at the moment.

Jane Austen Girl (A Timbell Creek #1) by Inglath Cooper

The very last thing on Grier McAllister’s Someday List is going back to Timbell Creek, Virginia, the town where she grew up. Timbell Creek holds too many bad memories for her, memories finally put to rest with a successful image consultant business in New York City and a hefty therapy bill. When an opportunity to choose a “Jane Austen Girl” for a visiting prince falls in her lap. The only catch that she mist be from Grier’s hometown. Grier tells herself she’ll do what she needs to do and then leave it all behind for good.

But Grier doesn’t count on find that her mother is no longer the person she used to be. She certainly doesn’t plan on falling for an old boyfriend’s really hot brother! And it isn’t long before she begins to realize Timbell Creek is not only a part of who she was, but might be a part of who she is as well.

The Wanderer by Robyn Carr – currently $1.99

This is a good time to pick up the first book in NYT #1 Bestselling author Robyn Carr’s Thunder Point series. The book is currently going for $1.99 both on Amazon US and AU.

My review is HERE.

The Wanderer by Robyn Carr

From Robyn Carr, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Virgin River novels, comes Thunder Point—the highly anticipated new series that will make you laugh, make you sigh, and make you fall in love with a small town filled with people you’ll never forget.

Nestled on the Oregon coast is a small town of rocky beaches and rugged charm. Locals love the land’s unspoiled beauty. Developers see it as a potential gold mine. When newcomer Hank Cooper learns he’s been left an old friend’s entire beachfront property, he finds himself with a community’s destiny in his hands.

Cooper has never been a man to settle in one place, and Thunder Point was supposed to be just another quick stop. But Cooper finds himself getting involved with the town. And with Sarah Dupre, a woman as complicated as she is beautiful.

With the whole town watching for his next move, Cooper has to choose between his old life and a place full of new possibilities. A place that just might be home.