i’ve hit the Big Time.

That’s right, folks.  I’m Big Enough (or little enough?) to get plagiarized.

madman-cover-2-copy
Poor, plagiarized Madman…

Someone, and I won’t name names at this moment (because I have already lodged a copyright infringement complaint with Amazon and I’m hoping this plagiarized book will be taken down soon), has taken the entire text of The Madman and thrown it up on Amazon with a new title and cover.  Selling it for exactly the same amount as I am.

Several questions arise.

First, why choose a book five deep into a series?  Or, if you consider the Wolf Point prequels as a separate series, it’s still the second book.  Like, did they even read the work they were plagiarizing?  They haven’t plagiarized any other books in the series, and didn’t bother to even change the characters’ names.  The Madman doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  There are references to the characters in almost every other book in the series.  Never mind that the first chapter is an alternate-viewpoint retelling of the last chapter of The Beast.

Second, did they really expect to make money off of this?  The book is actually free on Smashwords, and by extension sites like Barnes & Noble, and I’ve had 60 downloads in the 3 weeks it’s been available.  Zero actual sales over at Amazon.  I’m honestly not understanding what the thought process is here.  Maybe try ripping off a bestseller?  But yeah, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the plagiarized book was published on the day The Madman was made available on Smashwords (a day later than it was available on Amazon).

I’m confident that I will be able to prove my case should it come to that.  I’m just more annoyed that it even happened.  Apparently, according to this article, Amazon doesn’t have screening software that is anywhere close to other self-publishing distributors like Smashwords or Scribd. And this article talks about how profitable it is for people to plagiarize works on Kindle.  Even if Amazon eventually takes them down, the “authors” can make thousands of dollars before that, and the original author won’t see any of that money unless they pursue a lawsuit.  The examples here aren’t even as blatant as the plagiarism of my book (and the author did the same word-for-word plagiarism of almost all the other novels listed on her Amazon author page).  The article indicates that because Amazon takes 30% of the profit from Kindle book sales, they get more profit from leaving up these plagiarized works (this other article says the same thing).

This whole thing seems ludicrous to me.  I want to laugh at the title and new cover – literally, there’s a werewolf standing atop a bloody stagecoach (which never happens in the book).  The author has about six books, all from different genres.  But the more I looked into it, the more this plagiarism thing is a huge scam that is actually paying off for people.  It’s bad enough that someone would take a self-published work, which isn’t making any money to begin with.  But a lot of plagiarists seem to take from fanfiction and other freely posted writing (for example, from Litrotica), and these works aren’t as safe in their copyrights as even a self-published book would be.

All I want is for people to read what I’m writing – which is why most of my ebooks are freely available and I run a lot of promos.  I’d rather have people reading my work than making a profit.  I have work posted on fanfiction.net, Archive of Our Own, figment.com, and Wattpad.  All of which could be plagiarized at any time.  Like it isn’t hard to enough to be a writer.

P.S. I first heard about the plagiarism last night, and filed a complaint almost immediately.  As I was writing this post I went to check and thankfully, the book has been removed!  I hope the other books under this author’s name (Elsa N. Neuman) are also removed.  In case anyone has found their own work plagiarized, Amazon has a form for that.  You just need the ASIN for the offending work.  I also included the ASIN for my own work.

P.P.S. And 45 minutes after posting this, all of Elsa N. Neuman’s works have been removed from Amazon.  Victory!

 

new year’s resolution and 2013 stats

This year’s resolution is to write 500 words a day – that’s 1/3 of what I normally churn out a day during Nanowrimo, which makes it much more attainable.  I have several other writing-related goals for 2014:

  • to finish and publish Dreamwalkers
  • to finalize the print edition of Hitchhikers and offer a giveaway or two
  • (if goal #1 happens) to finish and publish Scavengers
  • and to possibly finish some of my other works-in-progress, including Blood Countess and another new WIP that I haven’t even added to the site yet!

So far, on this the 5th day of the new year, I am only now sitting down to write.  It was sort of excusable for me not to be writing, given that on the 1st I was traveling, had to work on the 2nd-4th which included a blizzard.  But I probably could have written.  And I didn’t.  Not good!  I am vowing to catch up!  Which means putting my “Teen Wolf” marathon on hold for the moment…

My other, non-writing-related goals:

  • be able to do a handstand away from the wall and hold for 10 seconds (I am close to being able to hold it next to the wall, the next step is to move away!)
  • be able to do more than 3 straddle ups in a row (in aerial silks)
  • practice yoga more often
  • read down my Goodreads to-read list (currently I have 148 books “to-read” which is kind of ridiculous)
  • sew more of my own clothes

In general I want to live the lifestyle that makes me happy.  When I’m not writing I get grumpy.  I want to be able to do things and not get bogged down in mindless activities like playing Candy Crush Saga or feeling like I “have” to do certain things.  I enjoy my alone time and I need to allow myself to have time for myself.  My writing will hopefully benefit most from it!

In a major procrastinatory event, I decided to make a spreadsheet to see how many copies of Bethany Caleb, The Art Kids, and Hitchhikers have been downloaded or sold.  Even though I’d been checking the various reports on Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords, I was amazed by the results!

  • 101 copies of Bethany Caleb
  • over 200 copies of The Art Kids
  • 825 copies of Hitchhikers – WHAT!!!

 

If you didn’t read my post comparing KDP and Smashwords, I think these totals say it all.  Bethany Caleb and The Art Kids are only available on Amazon, which accounts for a little less than half of the total downloads of Hitchhikers, which I published via Smashwords, making it available to ebook outlets such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Sony.  Barnes & Noble is a biggie.  Granted, Hitchhikers was free for all of 2013 and the other two were only free for approximately 15 days scattered throughout.

Although, if you look at “royalties” rather than downloads (e.g. when people actually paid money for my work!):

  • 6 copies of Bethany Caleb
  • 21 copies of The Art Kids
  • 3 copies of Hitchhikers

For me, it isn’t really about earning money at this point.  I just like knowing that somewhere out there, people are reading my work.