A Look Book of Hot Takes

For all your scam-reporting needs.

Okay, not all. But it’s a start.

I’ve had people emailing and asking where to start if they were to report or even how to start looking for these issues themselves.

Well, these screenshots, saved from twitter, are where I started. Right click, hit save. I don’t have larger pics, but I included names where the images aren’t very big. Just click on the i in the galley and pause the slideshow.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”3″ gal_title=”A Hot Takes Look Book Of Sorts”]

What to do with this info? Up to you.

I recommend sharing on sites like Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and Amazon and let other readers know these authors are scamming you. Awareness helps. Talking about it helps. Reporting it helps even more.

Email Amazon & file complaints to the FTC.

But the best thing to do, if you understand how this can and does affect you? Use your voice. You can’t expect other people to handle the fight for you alone. Nora Roberts said her blog a few weeks ago in the comments:

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.

Nora, Fall Into The Story

Authors in indie publishing and small press authors, especially those in romance, you’re affected because this is your world. Our world. But it’s not just small and indie published folks under the gun, as I’ve mentioned. Urban fantasy is another genre that’s popular on freelance platforms with ‘‘we’re looking to expand our stable…are you able to write in the uf/sci fi genres…’ and I’m seeing more ‘requests’ for cozies, lesbian fiction, young adult, etc.

Scammers hit like a plague and they’ll keep at it until they’re pushed out. And since the Kindle Unlimited Select platform lets those authors buy ads on Amazon where others can’t, they’re getting primo ad space right next to legit books.

Absolutely there are great authors on KU, and on Kindle Select, but they’re getting drowned out by the scam artists and the click farms, ads, releasing regurgitated books one right after the other, all of that manipulates that system and when our books come out, they’re drowning in a sea of muck. The big hitters shine through but it’s harder and harder for people in the midlist to even make a showing.

And that’s not sour apples because scam artists didn’t do jack to earn any so-called success, they didn’t hit it big with word of mouth. They bought rehashed books, used clickfarms, paid for ads, all to manipulate a system. It’s a scam for them and the thing that draws writers to writing doesn’t matter jack. It’s nothing more than a way to make money.

If that idea bothers you…you’ve got a voice. Use it. Read the letter I sent to Amazon. Write one yourself. Write your writing orgs and ask them to take action. Blog about it. Tweet it about.

If you’re a reader, you’ve got a stake in it, too, because you are being manipulated. The copyright date is when a book is first published and these scammers put new ones in when they reissue and repackage and spit these books out like new. That’s deceptive and where the FTC comes in. File a complaint with them. There are names listed in the gallery. Look up their books on Amazon or Goodreads and see if you can find others. Make other readers away and talk about it. The more people who know, the more readers that are talking about it, the sooner Amazon will talk notice because you guys are the ones funding the Kindle platform etc.

4 Replies to “A Look Book of Hot Takes”

  1. Honest authors who do re-release a book CAN use their voice also in another way. Add to the product page of a re-released book that it had a different title. For full disclosure here’s what the page for Tainted Truth (ALL three editions of it) says:

    From the Author
    This book has previously been published under the title ‘The Stone of Truth.’

    This sort of statement is how you make readers aware there are no-so-honest re-releases out there. I had the book released in March 2016 and even to me it was crap, so I rewrote the whole book, i.e. using stronger words, cutting out the “fluff”, making the book generally more fast-paced, and having it extensively professionally re-edited and then professionally proofread. I followed the example of author Joanna Penn in her methods of re-branding the book (going from the weaker title A to a stronger and shorter title B, i.e. Tainted Truth), rebranding the appearance of the book (new cover) but keeping the series title the same.

    There’s a purposeful reason WHY I’ve not gone forward yet to combine or link Tainted Truth on my Amazon page. The reason is simple. The old editions show there, and I’m listing them this way for full transparency. In a month or so I’m going to get Amazon to link the editions. Not right now, the non-linked mode is to show existing fans that they are buying a genuine replacement book and not something akin to any form of scam. Yes, that’s what I call what the authors you highlight are doing. They harm my current re-release business model that is modelled completely on how traditional publishers AND independent publishers who re-release books do things. I’m an honest author with a genuine independent publishing company.

    I guess I’m speaking up for “little authors,” i.e. those struggling to get their $100 (or less) a month from this. For full disclosure, I’ve made less than $1000 overall from this job to date but based on my past experiences of being in an abusive marriage where he controlled me down to claiming I couldn’t do any worthwhile, to me the money I HAVE earned IS a big deal. And every cent of it matters to me and it’s something I earned by utilizing my creative skill (both in writing AND some measure of cover design too – I’m also an artist). All I ask for readers to do is to skip these n0t-so-genuine “authors” and to search out for those who are. If any reader loves epic fantasy, that’s what Tainted Truth is…ALL 232,000 or so words of it (the March 2016 edition was almost 12K longer – not bad for that first book, huh AND the proofreader found only 900 or so “common errors” in the book). YES, some “big books out there ARE truly big books containing a singular story (I’m against the whole book stuffing which harms my books with their ONE story in them).

    So in short, as a reader BE vigilant. Encourage other readers to only support genuine authors. And if you cannot afford a book, remember to ask your library to order in copies as you help an author, the library and other readers in such an action.

    As Anderson Cooper says: “Keep them honest.”

  2. Nathalie, I’ve reissued/retitled several works and it’s never been an issue of disclosing that information. Authors can absolutely be upfront about it when it comes to self-published works.

    Traditionally published works, authors don’t have as much say in how it’s done, but again, that copyright date doesn’t change and publishers will put the original copyright date/year in the front. Nora Roberts/HQN are a perfect example of this.

    The *only* reason somebody would change the copyright date (which is fraudulent, again), and put a new author/new name on it and not disclose that information is because they want to deceive readers.

    There’s no other way around this.

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