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!

 

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Scavengers is out! And Camp Nanowrimo win!

scavengers ebook cover 6 copy

Finally, it’s done!

I managed to publish the Kindle edition on the actual date I had planned for the release (April 30), and it should be available over at Smashwords (and then at Barnes & Noble, iBooks, etc.) shortly!

If anyone is interested in a free digital copy of Scavengers to review, please contact me via email (spoffk(at)hotmail.com) or send me a message on Goodreads.

Here are a few fun things I found while editing:

  • Originally I had named the character Will as “Lucas.”
  • I had forgotten that Zeke killed his father, not Ben (aka the black wolf).
  • Geo’s eyes are coal black (something I’ll need to deal with when I revise The Madman, currently it’s a major plot point that Geo has blue eyes with a bit of orange in them)
  • Originally Zeke called his father “Pa” throughout the entire book… then I re-read Hitchhikers and discovered that Zeke calls his father “Dad.”

Also, this:

Camp-Winner-2015-Square-Button

Yeah!  I made it to my goal of 20K!  I’m very close to finishing The Madman.  I’m hoping to get that out before the next round of camp in July.

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.

 

 

 

reviews! and a comparison of KDP & Smashwords

A couple reviews of The Art Kids can be found on the blogs Offbeat YA and Joana in the Sky with Books!  If you are a big fan of Christopher Pike, definitely check out Offbeat YA – she’s reviewed a bunch of his books.

Hitchhikers ebook cover 4You may have noticed that I finally got Hitchhikers up on Smashwords (link via the cover on the right).  I decided to go with Smashwords this time around because I wanted to offer the book for free, and also to offer more than just the Kindle format.  Looks like I’ll have to upload the book to Kindle Direct Publishing if I want it to be available on Amazon itself, but you can download a kindle-compatible format (.mobi) via Smashwords for now.

I published Bethany Caleb and The Art Kids back in May via Kindle Direct Publishing.  I enrolled in KDP Select, which allows you to offer your book for free for 5 days during the 3-month exclusive enrollment period.  Formatting and uploading the book was super easy.

I published Hitchhikers a few days ago via Smashwords, which allows total freedom in setting the price and also offers multiple ebook formats and will also will distribute to multiple online retailers, including Apple’s iBooks and Barnes & Noble.  The formatting process was a little more difficult, but it does seem like it would be easier to then use this Smashwords-formatted document for the Kindle format.

There have been 89 total downloads of Hitchhikers already.  Of course, it’s free, so that helps, but to compare: during my first free promotion of Bethany Caleb & The Art Kids (1 day), there were 18 & 34 downloads respectively.  I had promoted this free download as an event on Goodreads as well.  During my second free promotion (2 days), there were 13 & 45 downloads.  I’ve officially “sold” a handful of each title.

So far, I’m liking Smashwords a lot.  I like being able to control the price, and it certainly helped publicize the book at first because their front page shows the newest uploads.  Now I can just hope that some of those 89 people will review the book…

freebie weekend, and hello from camp!

My two companions novels, Bethany Caleb and The Art Kids, will both be available for free this weekend, July 13-14!  (Of course, these are both always free for Amazon Prime members).  Also available are the print editions of both books.

scavengers ebook coverSo the long holiday weekend totally decimated my word count, but I am still writing at least.  I should be at around 15,000 words by the end of today and I am limping along at a little over 9,000.  I still think I will get a good chunk of Scavengers completed by the end of the month.  It helps that I’ve incorporated Camp Nanowrimo into my library summer reading programming, so I’m forced to do write-ins every Friday.  Last year, when I worked on Dreamwalkers during Camp Nanowrimo, I think I got maybe 10-11,000 words added.  (Note on the cover at right: This will not be the final cover of Scavengers, since when I tried to contact the owners of the various images used, I received no response… back to the drawing board…)

I think once I have complete drafts of both Dreamwalkers and Scavengers, I will publish Hitchhikers.  I may do it differently than I did for my first two self-published books.  I’m looking into Smashwords, since this allows more than just the Kindle platform (but includes the Kindle platform), and will also allow me a little more freedom in setting the price.  Createspace was kind of a pain in my ass, but I’ll probably still use it for print editions.  Kindle was so easy to publish with, I may still use KDP for publishing the Kindle edition.  Now if Janina would only finish reading that final draft of Hitchhikers

I FOUND IT!

Of course I did.  After stressing about having to reconstruct the whole novel…

I thought I had already tried getting my Bethany Caleb off my old floppies last year, and all I had was an incomplete draft (draft 9).  But lo and behold, when I inserted the floppy this time, it told me the disk had to be formatted.  I said NO and was ready to give up.  But then the contents of the disk magically appeared on the screen!  And when I clicked on draft 9, the COMPLETE DRAFT APPEARED!!

Albeit, most of the draft was in some horrible decorative font, and there was about 50 pages of other crap at the end, but it was nothing a little copy and unformatted pasting into a new document couldn’t solve!  And in the end, I was able to publish said novel in its entirety on Kindle last night!!

So, without further ado…

 

Bethany Caleb cover

Here it is, my first novel!  Right now it is available in Kindle format only for a mere 99 cents.  I’ll be working on a paperback edition to be available in the near future!

 

my novel is lost… most of it, anyway.

After searching through several flash drives, I finally found several drafts of my first novel, Bethany Caleb, which I am considering self-publishing in advance of Hitchhikers.  More as a test of the whole self-publishing system, but also because I still love that story and found an awesome image to make a cover with!

However, none of the drafts was the FINAL draft.  The best I have is a draft up to Chapter 7 (out of 10).  I feel like this complete novel must be out there somewhere… I had posted it on Authonomy a few years back, got a couple of reviews.  But then I took it down because I didn’t really like how the site basically encouraged people to fish for reviews, or only review other people’s stuff so that they could get their stuff reviewed. And I deleted by entire account, so no hope there…

So I went to Google, thinking MAYBE there were some archived garbage including my full novel somewhere on the internet.

And I found THIS: a story with a main character named Kate Spofford.  Strangely enough, the following chapter is called “The Hitchhiker.”  So weird!!

Anyway, now I’m not sure what I’m going to do.  Keep looking for the elusive final draft of this novel?  Rewrite the darn thing? (I’ve only rewritten it about 10 times.  Seriously).  It reminds me of how I couldn’t find a full final draft of The Art Kids and ended up with the proof copy of the book I had printed up years earlier and RETYPED THE ENTIRE THING (Thank God for hard copies!!).  I would almost rather do that than try to rewrite it…