As The Scheme Turns

I’ve just finished reading Nora Robert’s blog post Whisky Tango Foxtrot.

I’ve learned a few things over the past few days. Things that make me shake my head. Things that make me want to throw things and scream. It’s enough to make a grown woman want to drink.

Yesterday morning someone brought to my attention another ‘scheme’ the scammers are pulling. And they’ve been pulling it for quite some time. For years in fact. Here is how it works:

Author A has had a ghostwriter write Book A. Author A has published it, made a few bucks off of it, but now the book isn’t making him any money. So he then offers that book for sale within a private group of fellow scammers. For anywhere from $50 to $1,000. Sometimes they auction these previously published works off to the highest bidder.

Author B buys the book, changes the title, the cover, and the pronouns. She might take this book that was originally, let’s say a Navy Seal book, and turns it into a MM romance. Then Author B publishes it into the KU program.

Real writers don’t do this.

Author B didn’t write on word of this ‘new’ book. Not one word. All she did was change the title, the pronouns, and the cover. And chances are, she had her ghostwriter or a VA do those changes for her.

And what do her friends in this secret group do? They send out newsletters to all the readers on their newsletter subscriber list. “My friend, author B, has just released a new book! Go download your copy today!” Or her friends will write some pretty awesome, “OMG! I loved this book!” reviews.

This is a scam. These are people (I cannot and will never call them authors) who are nothing more than scam publishers. They hire ghostwriters for next to nothing, slap the book into KU, and using either click farms or unsuspecting readers, they game the system. They’ve taught their readers to flip to the end of the book so they can be sure to get paid. They publish anywhere from 2 to 10 books a month under one pen name.

I will NEVER call these people authors.

For the scammers, it in not, nor has it ever been, about the writing. It’s all about the money. It is ONLY about the money.

This scheme of buying another publisher’s (still can’t call them authors) work, repackaging them and selling them is beyond deplorable. What is worse is the fact that these people don’t see the harm in it.

This is from Nora’s blog:

In reply to Nora Roberts.
The link you posted above is suggesting that authors cannot sell their intellectual property (their books) to other authors and publishers. It’s literally calling someone a “scammer” for selling the rights to some books they wrote.
How on Earth is that a scam?
By that measure, every single traditional publisher that has ever bought rights to a book (and subsequently published that title with their own cover and marketing spin) would be a “scammer”.
That’s silly.
Do you genuinely think it’s a scam for someone to sell the publishing rights/copyright for their original work to another person? If that person then packages and sells that book to the masses, is that a scam?
I’m genuinely open to talk if you want to have a quick dialogue about this stuff. That link you posted is just an honest author trying to sell the books THEY wrote, and some random silliness besides.

From Nora Roberts Blog

I would sincerely love to talk to this person about this very topic. Your argument is ridiculous. You’re trying to equate traditional publishing with the bullshit you’re pulling. You’re NOT publishing original works. You’re selling ghostwritten work. You’re selling previously published works. Works written by a ghostwriter. Works you are ‘repackaging.’

Traditional publishers don’t do this.

Real writers don’t do this.

If these were stories YOU had written but had never published, then I’d probably not have a problem with it. However, that is NOT what is happening here. Yes, I genuinely think this is a scam. You are a scammer. You are a liar and a cheat. I have no problem with calling you that. And if you would ‘genuinely’ like to talk about it, please, feel free to reach out to me. You know where to find me. I don’t hide under an avatar or pen name.

I’m Suzan Tisdale. I write every word of every sentence of every paragraph of every chapter of every one of my books. I don’t hire ghostwriters to ‘clean it up’. I will gladly put any of my books up against one of your books any day of the week.

We know who you are.



43 thoughts on “As The Scheme Turns

  1. Seeing as how ‘frost’ took exception to *my* words, it’s kind of pathetic s/he couldn’t try to pick the fight with me. What an ass.

    But you’re right. Real writers do not do that.

  2. This truly is getting from bad to worse. The MLM-type salespeople in the book world need to be shut down. This type of flim-flam con artistry is going to be the downfall of KU, if Amazon doesn’t get it’s shit together.
    Readers have had enough. Authors have had enough.

  3. So, in other words, a “scammer” is anyone that is doing better than you, correct? I just want to make sure I’m understanding this correctly. Because let’s be honest, without legitimate readers, HELLO, BUYING AND READING those books, they wouldn’t be successful and ranking as high as they are to get those eyes of envy scrutinizing their work, now would they? See, that’s the point you and your bandwagon seem to have missed. Readers are actually reading these books that you don’t approve of and THAT my dear, is what is pissing you off.

    “But…but….they use clickfarms and have other authors promote them, yada, yada, yada….”

    Still. Nobody and I repeat, nobody is holding a gun up to those readers’ heads and forcing them to buy a product they don’t want to buy or read a book that they don’t want to read.

    It’s hypocritical at best to shout “scammers” from the rooftops, naming all the crimes they are allegedly committing in Romancelandia, only to then turn around and publicly condone the practice of reporting, doxxing and threatening the competition.

    Talk about an oxymoron. Classy!

    Some of the loudest whines of “my books aren’t selling because of the horrible authors that use ghostwriters, write fast, sell their work, or are a part of certain forums. Those damn scammers!” are the ones whose covers SUCK, the blurbs alone show exactly why readers aren’t one clicking, like who in their right minds would want to read more? Truth hurts, but it’s fact. Not all those that throw a cover on a collection of written words has created something that readers want to read! If one wants to succeed in this business they have to roll with the punches, pivot, and try a new way.

    But it’s the scammers fault? Well, shit. I’ll be damned.

    Newsflash! Indie publishing isn’t Burger King, Suzan. You can’t have it your way and the sooner you realize that and stop inciting witch hunts on all the authors that you “think” are “scammers” because they meet whatever asinine criteria that #GetLoud deems as gospel, the more at peace you will feel because this has all surely ruffled your feathers, but how much of that energy is wasted just being no more than bitter?

    I’d love to know how even the most legit scammer is taking money from any other author’s pocketbook? Because when it all comes down to it, it’s up to the readers which books they choose to read and well, if they aren’t reading ‘yours’ (said as a whole, not personally), then maybe it’s time to take a hard look at how they can better their own work instead of trying to shit on others.

    Seems like it’s only making it easier for these “scammers” to keep charting easier since they are somehow producing the books that readers actually want to read! How ’bout that, huh?!?!

  4. Hi, I’m Frost. I wrote that response to Nora.

    And yes, I’m happy to talk to you. Seriously. I’m willing to engage in this conversation completely and totally up-front and calmly. Let’s talk!

    Let me preface this with one absolute truth: I am absolutely 100% against plagiarists and plagiarism. It is horrible. Copying and pasting or even re-writing someone else’s work, that you do not own the intellectual property to, and putting that work out in the world as your own, is absolutely abhorrent. It’s BAD, and it’s illegal. For some reason people seem to think I’m defending plagiarism. I am not, and I want that out of the way right up front.

    With that out of the way…

    I’ll start with ghostwriters, and move forward through your post. I’m going to lay out my argument, and we can discuss it.

    Ghostwriters are a legitimate part of this business. An author/writer can engage in ghostwriting as a career if they so please. They can write and sell their original works (their IP) to other authors and that is not a scam. I’ve ghostwritten in the past to earn spending money and I do not feel that was a dishonest thing for me to do, and it certainly wasn’t dishonest for someone to purchase my work that I freely sold them.

    When I ghostwrote a book, I signed a contract selling that work-for-hire to the person who bought it. In that contract there was a non-disclosure agreement binding me to not talking about that specific book, or the fact that I authored it. There was also a very clear section that laid out the fact that I would not be credited for the work I did. That is not unusual in ghostwriting contracts, and in fact, I wouldn’t WANT to be credited for that work. I just sold the intellectual property. I sold the entire book and all of its contents. The person who bought it could radically change it in a way I have no creative control over, and could even turn that book into something I absolutely do not want to be associated with (a book with themes I wouldn’t want my name attached to). That is their right, as the owner of the IP. I don’t want my name on it.

    I’ve bought some ghostwritten titles as well, in the past. I run a small publishing company that I started some years ago. One of the things I do through that publishing company is purchase the occasional book from another author. Again, that isn’t illicit or a scam. Purchasing the IP rights to books is literally the foundation of the publishing industry. Every publisher purchases the IP rights to the books that they then publish.

    When I published those titles, I did not credit the ghostwriter. The contract laid that out clearly, and the ghostwriters I worked with had no problems with that. The books themselves were then edited, formatted, marketed, and profited from in a commercial way. Again, that is how a publishing company works. They use the IP they own to earn money. Because I’m a small press, I often did it all. I edited the work. I made covers myself. I promoted the books myself with my own marketing budget. In some cases, the resulting book looked nothing like the ghostwritten content I received.

    You mentioned in your post “She might take this book that was originally, let’s say a Navy Seal book, and turns it into a MM romance.”

    Yes, I might actually do that. Which is perfectly fine, because I own the entire IP of that book. I can change it any way I please. I can make it an MM book if I’d like to. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    Let me use an example from real life. Disney just bought Star Wars. They bought the entire IP. They are now pumping out Star Wars movies like the universe depends on it. They are re-imagining things from Han Solo’s early life to what happened before Episode 4. If they wanted to, they could re-make the original trilogy with an all new cast, and shoot Han Solo dead in the very first scene. They can do that, because they own every single piece of that IP.

    So again, if I took a Navy Seal book and turned it into an MM romance, that is not a scam. Not even a little bit. If I took the time to produce a MM book that pleased the readers who enjoy that genre, and that hits the expectations they have for books in that genre, I will have earned the success that book achieves…

    You also mention something when you’re discussing changing a book’s content. You say “Author B didn’t write on(sp) word of this ‘new’ book. Not one word.”

    Not to put too big of a point on this, but in the books that I have bought and personally edited/modified for success on the market, I typically write in excess of 15,000 new words putting the book together. I re-write whole scenes, change entire sections of the book, modify endings, etc. If I showed you a before and after, you would see that there has been significant re-writing. I certainly wrote more than one word.

    But even if I didn’t, it would still be fine. If I literally used find and replace to swap out pronouns, so long as the end result was a satisfying book for the readers, it would be fine.

    I’m not suggesting it would be fine, of course. If all you did was swap out pronouns on a book, it would end up TERRIBLE, would receive bad reviews, and would undoubtedly provide a bad customer experience. That would be a stupid thing to do, and would run counter to trying to be a success. I can’t speak to everyone who has ever bought and published a book they didn’t write the first-draft of, but I can tell you that I’ve never published a title that didn’t end up with my fingerprints all over it. I’m proud when I take a book that wasn’t terribly good in the first place, and turn it into a successful novel that receives good reviews on the market. I don’t publish garbage.

    Moving forward to the obvious question, “What if the ghostwriter wants to be credited?”

    If they genuinely wanted to be credited, or if they wanted to retain some creative control over the book I was publishing, they could have asked, and I would have considered changing the contract to reflect that desire. If the book was good enough, I would have offered to publish them in a traditional author/publisher relationship instead (complete with a royalty split and a small royalty advance instead of an up-front lump sum for complete ownership of the book). In fact, I published many such books as a publishing company, with authors using their own pen names (or sometimes pen names I chose for them), and the author in question receiving royalty splits and royalty advances as I described. This, again, was not a scam. That’s just traditional publishing at work.

    Ok… now to address the next part. You mention “secret groups” of authors who cross promote to their newsletters.

    I know a few people who will cross-promote my books. I don’t call them a “secret group”, I call them friends. I’ve cultivated those friendships for years. We help each other out. When we have a new release, we tell people about it, and they tell their readers. Are you trying to say an author can’t promote through their mailing list or their friends? How on earth is that a scam?

    Have you never told one of your author friends about one of your new releases? Have you never encouraged someone to share one of your new books with people they know or can reach? That is a standard practice of every author and publisher I personally know, big or small. Getting your book out there in the hands of readers is the primary goal of any author who wishes to make a living from their work.

    If I’m publishing a book that is of high quality and will satisfy my readers (and hopefully other author’s readers), and I ask my friends to help me promote it, am I seriously a “scammer” for doing that? The readers are happy, I’m happy, and my friends are happy because next time they publish one of their books, I’ll happily cross promote their work. Why wouldn’t I? Promoting your friends books is a GOOD thing.

    You seem to think that group of friends is somehow nefarious. I am here to tell you it is not. The vast majority of such circles are just a few close-minded authors working together to sell books. And there is nothing wrong with that. Seriously.

    Let’s move forward.

    You mention Click Farms. Click farms are people opening books and clicking through pages, in order to trigger pages-read in kindle unlimited books. These are illegal practices, and Amazon themselves cracks down on illegitimate page reads created through such practices. I do NOT use click farms. I don’t know anyone who does. I’m sure there’s someone on the fringe coming up with literally illegal ways to scam the KU system, but that person is in the extreme minority. Click farms lead to entire accounts disappearing on Amazon, and page read scams have led to actual people going to actual court with Amazon over their actions. I wouldn’t do that. Nobody I know would do that.

    People buying ghostwritten books, or people who cross-promote books, are not automatically using “click farms”. To suggest as much isn’t right. People try to conflate things all the time. “This person buys ghostwritten content, they must also be a PLAGIARIST.” “This person is cross-promoting, maybe they’re also using CLICK FARMS.” “This person is rising in the sales charts and I’ve never seen them on social media, they must be GAMING THE SYSTEM WITH AN ILLEGAL SCHEME.”

    You want the truth?

    Almost all of those people are just writing and publishing books to the best of their ability.

    You mention that these people are publishing between 2 and 10 books under one pen name.

    I’ve done that. I can write 2-4 books per month all by myself, and I’ve published more in the past with the help of ghostwriters. So what? I’ve already laid out my case above that buying a ghostwritten book IS NOT A SCAM. Beyond that, are you saying someone who writes fast is a scammer? I put out a little over 1,600 words per hour. I sit at my writing desk nearly 8 hours a day.

    I have frequently written and published books in less than a single week worth of actual work. There is nothing magical about that. Sit down with a good outline and write for 40 actual hours, and you’ll have a 60,000+ word novel ready to edit and publish, and still have the weekend to relax and enjoy time with your family.

    Is that sustainable? It depends on who you are and how you operate. I’d rather be writing at my desk for 8 hours than be out there in the workforce. I’ll write as hard as I have to write to ensure success for myself and my family.

    You mention that it’s ONLY about the money.

    That’s not true.

    Being an author was a lifelong dream of mine. I wrote my first “book” in grade school. I’ve had manuscripts rejected by major publishing companies. I’ve been told my whole life that writing was never going to happen. I’ve been told my whole life that being an author is a pipe dream. I kept writing here and there, knowing I’d never make a living at it.

    Self publishing changed everything for me. It gave me the chance to become an author that I never thought I’d have.

    Writing, and making a living as an author, is a dream come true for me. I have worked hard and I have earned this dream. I LOVE WRITING!

    But I also need money. I need money so that I can focus my time on writing. When I wrote my first self-published book, it took more than a month to get it done because I was also holding down a full-time job at the same time.

    Thanks to the success of my early books, I quit that full-time job a few months later, and my writing speed, and my income, massively increased.

    I started doing more than just writing. I started my own little publishing company because I have bills to pay. My writing was supporting a good lifestyle, but I felt I could do even better. I started buying IP to books. I started publishing people on royalty splits. I grew that small effort into a profitable business that I’m proud of.

    It’s not all about money to me, but I have a wife and children who count on me. I have an extended family who needs me on a frequent basis. I am damn proud of the things money has brought me, and the stability (and joy) that it affords. I’d still be writing without money, but it wouldn’t be the same. I want to be more than a hobbyist. I am an author. I don’t care what you call me. I’ve written and published millions of words that came out of my own fingertips and my own brain. I’ve published more of my own (not ghostwritten) books in the last handful of years than some of the most prolific published authors I know. I’d love to share those books with you, and with your readers, but I fear retribution from people who gleefully attack anyone who operates in this world with an eye for the business side of the equation.

    Moving forward…

    Buying another author’s books is not a scam. And it’s not deplorable. As I explained above, the buying and selling of IP is literally the bedrock of the entire publishing industry. I’ve even actively sought out under-selling catalogs and approached their author with an offer to buy them out!

    Publishing companies big and small do this sort of thing all the time. They buy books that have not been properly packaged for sale, and they turn them into viable products! Some of the famous and best books you know are not selling today under their original title. Some of the books you’ve read were not sold under their original penname.

    A big publishing company might notice an author floundering and buy up their catalog, spiff it up, give it the proper editing and marketing it deserves, and turn it into a staggering success. I’ve seen it happen time and time again.

    If I do that with my small publishing company, why on Earth would that be a deplorable scam?

    There are thousands, maybe tens of thousands of authors out there who write fantastic books, but put them out on the market with terrible covers, bad marketing, bad blurbs, bad keywords, etc. There are thousands of authors who literally don’t have the reader base to find their books, or the friends to cross-promote those books. There are people who haven’t put in literal YEARS building that marketing platform that can launch those books. There are so many great books out there that have sold 1-1000 copies, that will never ever ever ever find a mainstream audience.

    If I approach those authors and buy their IP for a fair price that they agree upon (contracted, signed, and delivered), I am not deplorable for taking that newly purchased IP and using it to make a profit.

    I didn’t start with the benefits I have today. I build them one book at a time. My early books weren’t nearly as successful as my most recently published titles. I was terrible at covers, and blurbs, and keywords, and marketing. I improved all of those little pieces of the puzzle one piece at a time. Those are marketable skills, and if I want to use them to grow my own publishing business, that is not deplorable. That’s the dream of literally any publishing company on the planet. Find a book that is ripe for commercial profit, set it up for success, and launch it to thunderous applause.

    There is no harm in that. I am providing my readers with books they love. I am building brands, showing genuine respect for my readers and their desire for good books that speak to their personal desires, and I’m helping support a not-insubstantial number of authors in the process. I sent out two dozen 1099s this year, some of them quite large, to an array of people… from editors to cover artists to authors and ghostwriters.

    Feel free to respond. I’m happy to continue discussing this. I think legitimate business practices are being conflated with actual scams, and that really disappoints me. I’m happy to clear the air in any way I can.

  5. All I can say is thank Jesus for Frost and the other authors talking sense. Everyone has lost their damn fool minds.

    I stand with Xen Cole, and other LGBTQ authors like him and me that depend on our pen names to stay safe. Enough is enough.

  6. I think you’ve missed my point. My point is that people who simply publish works they’ve never added a word to are not authors. They are publishers. Simply adding your pen name to a book does not make you an author. It makes you a publisher.

    To say that it is okay to buy someone else’s work, change the title, pronouns, and cover, and publish it as ‘new’ is disingenuous at best. The point is that traditional publishing houses buy original, never before published works. That is not what the people in the situation I am discussing are doing. They are buying previously published books and only changing the title, cover, and pronouns. If you’ve purchased someone else’s previously published work and added the additional 15,000 words as you’ve stated, it is still not your original work. It was still previously published.

    I have taken some of my smaller works that were part of anthologies and have released them as singles. But I always state it was a previously released work. Usually, I add bonus content. That is not disingenuous, that is being truthful. When you take someone else’s work that you have purchased and then published it as your own, that is not being honest with your reader.

    As for friends and groups. I, too, have a good number of author friends. And yes, we frequently share each other’s releases. Again, that wasn’t my point.

    I, too, had to send out lots of 1099’s this year. I have an SCorp. I make a very nice six figure income. But you see, I did it with books I personally wrote and by working my ass off.

    When I discuss ‘scammers’ I am referring to those people who continually take advantage of the fact that Amazon does not police itself. Last year it was the stuffers who violated lots of Amazon’s TOS rules. Right now, we’re dealing with scammers who are screwing around with the formatting of their books to make them longer. They do lovely little things such as double spacing within the paragraph and triple spacing between those paragraphs. Some have TOC’s that are 7 to 12 pages long. They do what ever they can to get as many pages in a book as they possibly can.

    These are the issues we’re trying to bring to the forefront. The publishing houses who continually put out ghostwritten work, who also continually game Amazon. It is still happening. All we’re asking is for Amazon to take a long, serious look at what is taking place within their own house. Did they shut down some of the stuffers from last summer? Yes. HOWEVER, they allowed these same individuals to come back under new imprints and/or under new accounts set up by family members or VA’s. Some have created new pen names; others are still writing under their original pen names. You cannot convince me that these individuals ‘saw the light’ and are no longer using nefarious or questionable tactics to continue to game the system.

    It isn’t just KDP that is rife with scammers and bad actors. It happens with a good majority of their vendors.

  7. Nope, Billie, I never said that.

    I am quite successful. I do not begrudge anyone their success.That is not at all what I was talking about and I do believe you know that.

    I’m not jealous nor bitter, I’m pissed. The KU program is still rife with scammers. I do have several friends who are doing quite well in the KU program. I cheer them on daily. But the difference between a legitimate author and a scammer is this: the legitimate author writes his or her own damned books. They do not use ghostwriters. They don’t use questionable tactics. They never stuffed their books. They never played with the formatting in order to add as many pages as possible to a book. They never used click farms. And they never taught their readers to flip to the end of a 3,000 page book without reading it. They haven’t offered Tiffany diamonds in exchange for reviews. They don’t give out 99 gift cards in exchange for reviews or to gain a ‘verified purchase’ review.

    Those are the individuals I’m talking about. Not the legitimate author. And I doubt you will ever be able to see the difference between the two.

  8. Frost again… Hi! 🙂

    I’ll make a couple more quick points here just for giggles!

    In another response above, you’re talking about legitimate authors and illegitimate authors.

    You’re basically saying an author who uses a ghostwriter cannot be legitimate.

    But again, you’re immediately jumping to things that may have actually broken Amazon’s terms of service. You’re conflating it with click farms, and 3000 page books, and diamonds for reviews, and gift cards for verified purchase reviews.

    One of these things is NOT like the other. Buying and publishing a ghostwritten book is a wholly legitimate practice that goes back to the dawn of the book itself. An author or publishing company who buys a ghostwritten book and publishes it is completely legitimate.

    A publishing company that ONLY publishes ghostwritten work isn’t an author, they’re a publisher. That’s fine, and it’s legitimate.

    An author who publishes a mix of books they wrote themselves, and books they bought from ghostwriters, is a legitimate author who also publishes ghostwritten content, which is also legitimate.

    And as an aside here… lets be honest about some of what you’re decrying as scams: Most of that is in the past.

    Book stuffing/3000 page books? That was banned a good while back. It used to seemingly be allowed (at least by most people’s interpretation of the rules, and by Amazon allowing the practice to continue within their store) but I won’t sit here and defend the practice. Amazon changed their terms of service, and gave authors a chance to remove “bonus” content from their books. Many authors complied, and their books and catalogues are still available on Amazon today without bonus content.

    You won’t find huge stuffed bonus content laden books on the top list today (and if you did, it won’t last long – amazon is actively watching for these titles).

    Some authors tried to skirt the new rules. They got banned. Bad actors get banned, and deservedly so.

    Giveaways for reviews? I think we all know amazon is against any sort of scheme that involves asking people to review a book in exchange for direct compensation. It might also be against US law, but of course, the author who got in trouble for doing that was not from the US, and might not have been aware that he was breaking any rules at the time. Many authors who are still around publishing today have done giveaways for reviews over the years. At any rate, that author you’re speaking of was removed from Amazon’s platform.

    Teaching readers to flip to the back of books? That was bad, everyone agreed it was bad. Nobody is going to defend that. Ultimately, authors were banned for it (or for some other TOS breaking thing they did, who knows, that’s actual scammy behavior if it indeed happened).

    Click farms? I assume there are authors who try to scheme Amazon with fake page reads from people tapping on kindle screens, but I’ve never actually talked with anyone who actively sought to accomplish this kind of crazy activity. It’s OBVIOUSLY against the rules and would OBVIOUSLY result in a ban (and possibly arbitration against the accused party). I do actually know of a person or two who got in trouble from Amazon for illegitimate page reads, but in those instances, they seemed to come from booking sketchy promotions (for example, there was a fivver promotional service that was discovered to be illegitimate). At any rate, that’s CLEARLY against the TOS, and should be punished appropriately if someone is deliberately trying to rack up fake page reads.

    Formatting books for higher KENPC? That’s straight up against the rules, and authors (even some bestselling authors) have been banned for doing it. If you were pointing to a book that was obviously abusing the formatting system, I’d nod and say “wow, that’s bad”. It’s not a sustainable practice. Anyone caught doing it gets kicked to the curb, and I’d bet any surviving books with this kind of formatting are a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of the titles available on the market today. I suspect Amazon has become good at catching this, and is stopping it before it becomes an issue. I haven’t seen a deliberately and obviously misformatted book in a long time…

    In short… these “scams” are largely sins of the past, and you’re trying to conflate them with a perfectly legitimate business practice that happens in the present.

    Anyway…

    Someone can step in right now, today, and publish a book out of the blue.

    That book can be ghostwritten.

    It can have no social media presence, on a penname with no prior books written.

    It can come out with dozens of ARC reviews on it (placed there courtesy of the author’s other penname’s reader base, or from an ARC service).

    It can come out with marketing in place on AMS and FB, and with mailing lists from other pen names and friends (your “secret group”) talking about it to their fans.

    And that book can climb the charts, right now. It can sit higher on the charts than your own books, with a relatively small amount of daily spend.

    And there’s absolutely NOTHING illegitimate about that. If the readers enjoy that book, that was a job well done.

    Does it make the person who published it a “legitimate author”? Maybe not, but it does make them a legitimate businessperson.

  9. How do scammers cost honest authors money? Here’s your answer – the group that was banned last year based around Chance Carter deployed elaborate formatting hacks and click farms to manipulate KU. They were cheating to inflate their KU page count. I’m talking about massive internal formatting hacks, not just stuffing to the extreme. They hid these blackhat practices behind a smokescreen of massive ad spends. And these unnaturally high spends were empowered by their illicit practices, making it borderline impossible for honest authors to compete.

    And that’s not even getting into their practices outside Amazon like aggressive, law breaking email spam, stealing images from innocent photographers and then blaming it on an ads manager just like Cris did with her ghostwriters. The list is almost too long of every dirty, stomach turning thing these people were involved in.

    They’re not authors. They’re not publishers. They’re scammers from the darkest side of the blackhat internet marketing world. Many of them like RR Banks were outed as internet marketers who profited off classes designed to teach others to manipulate KU.

    The fact that Amazon caught them red handed and terminated their accounts is proof they weren’t above board. So far not one of them has been able to overturn Amazon’s decision in arbitration.

    In many cases, they didn’t even try. Rather than argue their innocence anywhere, even openly online, they went quiet under their dead names and then started working like crazy to get new KDP accounts up and running so they could get right back to business as usual.

    Sadly many of them have done that. They’re back under new KDP accounts violating Amazon’s Terms of Service again, which forbids terminated publishers from coming back. There are new names popping up every month publishing poorly ghostwritten books every two weeks, farming books up to high ranks and recycling the same covers, blurbs and content.

    Real romance authors aren’t stupid, no matter how many defenses keep getting thrown up here to defend them and confuse the issue. Every hardworking author who had their income gutted while these blackhats ruled the charts in 2017 into 2018 knows how important it is to fight this.

    The time to apply pressure on Amazon to police suspicious new KDP accounts and get them kicked out again is now. Not six months from now when they’ve scammed their way back into controlling a large portion of the romance bestsellers lists again. Not six months later when they’re taking half the KU bonuses under multiple pen names.

    Amazon needs to finish the job it started by hunting them down, banning the ones who are back under new accounts and then taking legal action against these scammers for repeatedly breaching their Terms of Service.

  10. I love how the conversation has switched from “but the page rates have gone down cause of scammers” (wouldn’t ya know that the page rate increased a higher % during the period book stuffing was most rampant then in the same period of time AFTER book stuffers were removed from Amazon) to “but they’re stealing allstar bonuses from honest authors!”

    K so the allstar bonuses affect a handful of authors, of which I will NEVER be one, so… super rich elitist authors are asking baby authors like me to brigade against other super rich elitist authors? And then the cherry on the cake is that baby authors like me end up LOSING half our page reads from page stripping a few times a year BECAUSE the super rich elitist authors have been whipping up the mobs, and forcing Amazon to act on faked page reads?

    Mmmm. Sounds like the super rich need to sit the fuck down and stop gatekeeping, because the only people losing out are new authors like me who don’t have 6 figure incomes and the wide reach. You guys are hurting people like me, not the scammers.

  11. In response to Frost’s comment
    “Formatting books for higher KENPC? That’s straight up against the rules, and authors (even some bestselling authors) have been banned for doing it. If you were pointing to a book that was obviously abusing the formatting system, I’d nod and say “wow, that’s bad”. It’s not a sustainable practice. Anyone caught doing it gets kicked to the curb, and I’d bet any surviving books with this kind of formatting are a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of the titles available on the market today. I suspect Amazon has become good at catching this, and is stopping it before it becomes an issue. I haven’t seen a deliberately and obviously misformatted book in a long time…

    In short… these “scams” are largely sins of the past, and you’re trying to conflate them with a perfectly legitimate business practice that happens in the present.”

    Not true. I can give you the names of 10 ‘authors’ currently dominating the historical romance charts where the books are clearly and obviously formatted to increase the KENP. One of them has managed to turn an 80k work into 706 pages.

    I’m pretty easy to find online if you’d like me to give you the names.

  12. @Frost

    Thanks for replying. I can’t accept that the publishers left like RR Banks are conforming to the rules. As you know Amazon didn’t catch all of the people they banned last year in one round. The first bans last June hit most of the blackhat authors but they came back and got others like Amy Brent and Alice Ward months later in October. Just because they were missed the first time didn’t mean they were innocent.

    Publishers like Banks show all the signs of using the same blackhat techniques the rest of this group used that got them into trouble with Amazon. His real name is out there publicly as a known internet marketer who taught shady techniques.

    I’m not going to post his real name here but you can Google RR Banks and find out. He was widely known in the internet marketing world for courses and interviews that taught extremely grey to blackhat techniques for selling books. In one interview that’s been taken offline with another marketer, he laughed about never having read a single romance book himself. He talked about using 100% ghostwriters to produce his work.

    His content even appears repackaged from other banned names. His current top Kindle book called Surprise Delivery closely resembles a book by banned name Alice Ward called The Surprise.

    Like a lot of the ghostwriting mills people are upset with, Banks lies about working hard writing his own books in his newsletters. I’ve seen the proof. He does the same with his RS Lively pen name, pretending it’s a duo of women writing when it’s really different writers.

    This isn’t how any honest publisher behaves. It’s likely his continued existence in the Kindle Store is due to Amazon missing him during investigations. Not because he’s innocent. Notice I’m not condemning him for ghostwriters but for bad behavior and a strong chance blackhat strategies are being used for promotion.

    There’s a bigger issue when the previously banned publishers are coming back constantly as new names. They’re violating Amazon’s terms by having new KDP accounts. Many of them have returned over the past few months surging books to high ranks. It’s all anyone needs to judge their motives, knowing they’re willing to risk losing all royalties and possibly trigger a lawsuit with Amazon if they’re caught again under new accounts.

    The issues you’re saying are all in the past aren’t when the same blackhat publishers Amazon banned are alive and active. And if they’ve failed to catch several big remaining ones like RR Banks.

    Why believe the same blackhat tactics these publishers used are gone when they’re still publishing? They never went away. Neither did the issues they’re causing. Amazon isn’t doing enough to keep them gone. That needs to change for the sake of the Kindle store.

  13. I just want to correct a point made which is inaccurate. Susan stated: “The point is that traditional publishing houses buy original, never before published works.”

    In fact, traditional publishing houses do also buy previously published works, particularly if they can then see value in repackaging and expanding such works into a series. An obvious one I can think of who does this openly is Carina Press, a digital first publishing arm of Harlequin.

    You can submit you previously published works to them directly through their open submission process: https://carinapress.submittable.com/submit
    They state, “Carina Press will consider books that have been previously released or self-published by authors”.

    Do they do this often? Who knows. They state in their submission form they accept approx. 1% of submissions. I have no idea how many submissions they receive to be able to qualify that percentage. What it does clearly state though is that buying the rights and re-publishing previously published works is an accepted practice in the world (singular) of publishing.

  14. Another publishing house that openly accepts previously published works is run by Marie Force, Jack’s Publishing house. As per the submission guidelines, “The book you submit can be previously self-published”. https://jackshousepublishing.com/submit/

    (Just in case it was thought Carina Press is alone in the practice).

  15. @cherrybliss

    Everyone makes mistakes. Some people do nefarious things on purpose. Maybe this author used some photos they didn’t own (which is silly considering how inexpensive actual stock photography is). And yet… if true, that’s the first thing you’ve said about them that even borders on “black hat”.

    If the owner of those photos wants to go after them for infringement, I support them. Stealing isn’t ok, even if it’s your ad person doing it.

    I assume they’re not using those images now. People learn from their mistakes, usually.

    And yet, you continue to push people to doxx an author, and you keep pointing out their name to incite people against author or authors. Even if this person is the biggest jerk in the world behind that pen, it’s not right to try and push readers and other authors toward their real name and potentially their location along with some nebulous and unsubstantiated accusations of wrongdoing.

    If you honestly want me to believe people should track this author down by real name, because they once used some photos they didn’t have permission to use… I’m sorry but you’re in the wrong. What do you want people to do with this persons “real name”? What is your end game here? Should people go after this author because some random person might have evidence they stole a photo once upon a time? That’s not ok. Even if they deliberately infringed a photo, that would NOT be ok.

    Again, I’m not defending infringement (if it occurred), I’m saying that even if it did, you shouldn’t be pointing people toward someone’s “real name”. It’s dangerous under any circumstance. It is never ok. There are people who live under constant fear that someone like you might come along, decide they are a “scammer”, and out their real name. There are real people you harm when you pursue this.

    You say there is more, but I say the author is still on amazon and is likely complying with every one of their terms of service based solely on that fact. It is likely they are operating in a wholly legitimate way. If that changes, amazon will ban them without hesitation. I’ve seen them do it.

    Anyway.

    The issue here isn’t one of belief. I honestly don’t care if the person behind that pen is arrogant or not. A person using ghostwriters to write every single book they’ve ever published would still be a legitimate publisher on the kindle direct publishing platform. A person who hates readers can still be a legitimate publisher. I don’t know why they’d be in this business if they hated readers, but hey, that’s their right.

    I might not personally like that author if I saw them being a jerk in relation to their readers. I think respecting the readers is JOB#1 for any of us, and I would flatly tell them to knock it off.

    That said, talking to your readers from the perspective of your fictional penname and telling them you’re writing, or writing as a gender you don’t self identify as (which you also seem to think isn’t okay), isn’t black hat behavior and it’s not illegitimate.

    From what you’re saying, this person is a publisher running a brand. The penname is as much a part of that brand as their books would be. It’s a fiction, created to please readers.

    If they want to build a brand or engage their fan base (the people who enjoy and buy their books), that is their right. Anyone with a pen name they own, can speak to their readers from the persona they’ve created for that penname.

    If that wasn’t the case… if that was truly illegitimate… we wouldn’t have pen names at all. And I’ve already explained to you some of the many reasons that is a terrible thing.

    A pen name doesn’t have to be a reflection of the actual author behind the work. That’s the whole point of writing under a pen. It’s a way to separate the work, from you. It’s a fictional creation. It can be as “like” you or as “unlike” you as you please. It can even be a different gender, if that’s what pleases readers of the genre you’re writing in, as I explained above. Hell, many fully legitimate traditionally published authors have personal assistants who handle their social media, posting author-reader chit chat under their name without disclosure.

    All of this is industry practices much older than self publishing. Those practices were legitimate then, and they continue to be legitimate today.

    If using a pen name and speaking to people as that pen name makes an author illegitimate… that would make almost every single author on the planet illegitimate. Who’s going to cast the first stone in this glass house?

  16. Again, people are missing my point. I don’t know why this is so difficult for you all to understand.
    IF YOU ARE NOT PERSONALLY WRITING content, if you are only BUYING content, and publishing it under your own name, YOU ARE NOT AN AUTHOR. You are a PUBLISHER. And there is a succinct difference between the two. They are not the same. To call yourself an author, when you’ve not written anything is disingenuous.
    To sell PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED content as your own, even if you did purchase it legally, without any form of disclaimer, such as ‘this was previously published as INSERT TITLE HERE’, misleads the reader. I’m not saying it is illegal. I’m saying it is disingenuous.

  17. No, this is not what happened. This was not the fault of the so-called ‘super rich elitist authors’. This is Amazon’s fault. Amazon, as we all know, has a tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We also happen to know that scammers would encourage their readers to download a non-scammers book so that it would show up in the ‘also boughts’. Additionally, they would send their readers and click farms to download and read KU books by some well-known and not-so-well known authors in order to take eyes off of what they were doing. So please, put the blame for this shit storm where it belongs: WITH THE SCAMMERS.

  18. Frost, again, you are trying to separate the fly shit from the pepper and put words into my mouth. I never said that authors who use ghost writers are illegitimate. What I did say was that people who use only ghostwriters, people who never write a word of content, cannot call themselves authors. THEY ARE PUBLISHERS. There is a difference. I won’t explain it to you again.

  19. Hey Suzan! Frost again…

    You asked to talk and I answered.

    I’m not a blogger, I’m an author, but I did make time for you since you asked nicely and seemed ready to converse :).

    Anyway, thanks.

  20. Suzan,
    I followed the link on Nora’s blog to Find Out How To Spot Scammers. To me, it seemed a jumble of screenshots that didn’t make sense, but I did stop and investigate one comment that gave a link – here is the man behind XXX i.e. a very popular Gay Romance penname, plus two others. Now, I’ve not read any of their books, but I know one of those authors is very popular because in groups that I belong to their books are frequently recommended and discussed in detail with glowing praise.
    Being curious I clicked on the link to just a photo of a man and his name. I couldn’t see the point of it.
    I did two more minutes research to discover the man named in the photo was actually a publisher and publishes in several genres. This is not secret information. I have no idea why he is included in this article that says it’s about spotting scammers.
    As you have said, there is nothing wrong with being a publisher.
    I want to point out that there is a long history of traditional publishers publishing material written by many ghostwriters and creating an author identity to go with them. I could list a whole bunch but I’ll just say Adam Blade.
    Finally, I replied to your previous blog but my comment never appeared so perhaps it got lost on the wires.
    I wanted to address the accusation in the comments to your blog when Edie claimed LoveLight Press was mostly ghostwritten books published under made up personas like Adam Blade and arranged by just one person. This is a lie that that shouldn’t be left uncorrected.
    As you have established, there would be nothing wrong with that if it were true.
    However, I have been a member of the LLP collective since 2015, I’ve interacted with other members of the collective extensively and met many of them in person. Most of us have attended a number of LGBT reader/writer conventions. Not possible if we were fictional people/ghosts.
    I have no idea why LLP is being singled out when it is clear to LGBT readers that we are a bunch of genuine authors who write our own books. We don’t publish frequently, our books are generally priced at the full market price, we don’t publish “collections”. Also, it would be very obvious to readers that my books are all written in my particular style and the other LLP authors also have distinct voices.
    An anonymous person is posting baseless lies about a group of writers in the comments section of your blog and who knows where else. These lies should be addressed as they are attempting to attack honest authors.
    If the person promoting these lies about LLP is an author themselves, then that is particularly problematic. I’m sure spreading lies about other authors is against KDP’s T&Cs.
    More than being an author I’m passionate about reading. I share many of your concerns about Amazon and Kindle Unlimited and cheap books. I wish Amazon would display word count on the product page as other ebook retailers do, rather than the meaningless and random page count figure. None of my books are currently in the KU programme and I do not have any intentions of putting books into KU in the near future, although I can’t rule it out.

  21. I haven’t read all the comments yet, but Suzan, how do you then propose ghostwriters earned their living?

    Do you suggest we all quit writing?

    I do not want to be traditionally published, I need money now, my children are hungry NOW. This is my skillset and you and Nora are saying I am evil for having it and putting these brain cells to use.

    We’re all evil and scammy and everything else bad under the sun, in your opinion. You’re saying we should be illegal, basically. That it is bad for us to sell our own property.

    You can’t just come in and throw big words like that around without also offering a viable alternative. I am waiting. What do you expect everyone to do?

  22. For Frost et al.

    If selling old scraps or rehabbed work is your game, and you’re not ashamed of it, then why aren’t you putting “Previously published as TITLE BY NAME” on the cover or in the description? Selling something as new that is not new is lying to your customer. Period. Forget about whether it makes you an author or a publisher or whatever. You are no different than someone selling a used car but telling the customer it’s brand new.

    I purchased a book once and discovered a word-for-word lifted chapter from an author’s previous work. I was pissed that I paid for a new read, and instead got something I’d already read. You say readers don’t care, but it’s just the readers haven’t *noticed.* Meaning, you’re pulling one over on readers and you don’t give a damn.

  23. It’s so fricking FUNNY how I’ve *repeatedly* told Frost to come engage me and he’s yet to do it.

    I invited him at Nora’s blog.

    I practically sent out a red-letter invitation on twitter.

    I did it here.

    And he won’t.

    Something else these people are doing is manipulating the copyright, which is probably skirting a law, if not crossing it.

    For a published book, that book’s *copyright* begins when the book is *published*. That doesn’t change when the book’s copyright changes hands.

    It doesn’t change when the book’s copyright is reissued under another ….’author’s’ pen name. It doesn’t change. Period. There are times when derivative works come into play, but the original copyright still remains the same.

    IT. DOESN’T. CHANGE. EVER.

    So when ‘Author’ A releases her book, Melodious Truck Drivers Banging The Secretary, in 2016, it has a *copyright* of 2016. PERIOD. Even in 2216, that book’s copyright will be in 2016. If changes are made, it becomes a classic and ‘Author’ A’s work is turned into zombified work, Melodious Truck Drivers Banging The Secretary While Saving the World From Zombies in 2056, then there’s going to be issues with derivative changes added to the work, but the ORIGINAL COPYRIGHT DATE DOESN’T CHANGE.

    So when ‘Author’ A sells her book Melodious Truck Drivers Banging The Secretary to ‘Author’ B who doesn’t do jack but change to the title to SECRETARY WANTS IT SO HARD FROM THE TRUCKERS, then puts a new cover on it, along with a new pen name on it then releases in 2019 with a copyright date of 2019, ‘Author’ B is LYING about the copyright.

    Because the COPYRIGHT DATE DOESN’T CHANGE.

    You may *own* the copyright, but you don’t get to change fricking copyright law. And that’s what it is…law.

    And when you remove that work from publication, the copyright date still stands. It’s still copyrighted in 2016. Putting a new copyright date on it outright deception and since this is a matter of *copyright law*, it may touch on issues of fraud. I’m actually in the process of talking to an IP/copyright attorney to find out.

    https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-duration.html#duration

    Suzan, if you don’t know to block somebody or put them on moderation on your blog, @ me on twitter. I can walk you thru it.

  24. And for those punching at Suzan and saying she’s hating on ghostwriters, *I* am a ghostwriter.

    Professional legit ghostwriters who don’t engage in shady practices aren’t the problem, and FYI, when you’re a professional *LEGIT* ghostwriter, you make a lot more than the scammers are willing to pay.

    If you do, that’s *your* problem so find a better means of supporting yourself. Vet your clients, don’t work for scammers. If you willingly engage with them, then don’t get your panties in a twist because people call the practices out.

    Nobody *owes* you a living and it’s not anybody’s fault times are hard. We all have bills to pay and many of us have families to provide for, including legit writers who are getting washed out by scammers.

  25. Paws up as a legit writer who actually did pretty damn good last year despite scammers.

    I took home bank. I had a few releases, did a tiny bit of paid promo, made sure my marketing, covers and blurbs were on point as to what the market expects annnnnd… presto, my bank account filled with dollars.

    All these people saying they’re working 15 hour days as an author, not making even minimum wage… I worked much, much, much less than that and made double the median income for my area. So.

  26. Suzan,
    I couldn’t resist the urge to comment as I’m pedantic and an avid reader of the pages before and after pages that appear in fiction. And I sit here surrounded by print editions of books in my house, some are multiple copies/different versions of the same book.

    Copyright statements in trad print books often do NOT state when the story was first published (unfortunately, as it is information that I like to know).

    I hope authors know that their words are protected by copyright when they are written, this is entirely independent of the work being published. An author retains the copyright for their entire lives unless they transfer it by contract. This is irrespective of whether they published it or registered it with some official office.

    It is tradition to put the copyright statement at the beginning of a book dating it to the year published, but if there was a dispute one could go back to the original transcriptions made years earlier.

    Ebooks do not require copyright statements at all. Most authors put them in because they serve as a reminder that the work is protected and should not be copied or pirated.

    A copyright statement may have the author’s penname but the copyright still belongs to the author themselves UNLESS they transfer that copyright through a contract, which they can do at any time, including long after the work is published.

    It is common for new editions of books (especially when published by a new publisher) to have new copyright dates regardless of when the original words were written or first published.
    Very common.
    Trad published books do this too.

    So yes, it is perfectly usual for the copyright statement at the front of the book to not reflect the actual copyright date that came into effect when the author wrote the words.
    This is not fraud.

    If you have books on your bookshelves, then just check. Or check the books on Amazon. You will find many modern editions of books with new copyrights even though the words of the story are from original unabridged version. The author’s copyright remains protected in law. And the copyright statement at the beginning of the book refers to that version of the book (which is different to having new editions, they generally don’t get a new copyright).

    The copyright statement refers to that particular edition of the work along with any changes from its first incarnation where it’s a rewrite or a change of penname.

    So my point is when a copyright page lists a penname as the copyright owner, that is not Fraud – it’s normal.
    And when new editions of books have a new copyright date at the beginning of a book that is also not fraud but perfectly normal AND common practice.

    It is worrying that someone without a basic grasp of copyright sets themselves up to expose scammers with methods that include doxxing and include accusations of fraud but know so little about the world of publishing that they point to perfectly normal operations as evidence of scammers.

    As ever, do not believe everything you read in the comments section!

  27. I want to add that I don’t think it is helpful to conflate two very different things and call it all scamming:
    1) Things that are illegal and/or against Amazon’s terms and conditions such as buying 5Star reviews, paying for click farms, manipulating page reads in someway, or attempting to ruin the careers and reputations of competition.
    with:
    2) Things that we might not do ourselves and might not approve of but are perfectly legitimate. Eg: Big advertising budgets, Pennames, ghostwriters, the pricing structure of books, and the wholesale repackaging of books to redeliver them to the market. All that and the fact that KU exists at all!

  28. I believe there are things that are ‘legal’ but not necessarily ‘ethical’. There is nothing in the Audible TOS that says you can’t have readers leave a book on loop. Legally speaking when you do not exclude something you include it by default. Again, just because it is ‘legal’ according to TOS it doesn’t mean it’s right or ethical.

  29. Hi, Avallach, if that comment was directed at me, well…sometimes emphasis is needed when dealing with obtuse idiots who don’t grasp the basics of copyright…like Frost.

    HJ. You’re full of crap.

    Books frequently have MULTIPLE copyright dates for revisions, etc. Derivative works have more complicated requirements.

    But claiming that a book originally pubbed in 2016 can be pulled, then reissued like a brand new book with no disclosure in 2019 is crap.

    It’s misleading readers on top of everything else.

    Nonorah,FASCINATING…are…who are you?

    You all are squawking awfully loud for people who aren’t doing anything wring.

  30. Billie…for somebody who isn’t going to be a professional author, I’ve sure been doing it a long time. Fifteen years and counting.

    As to who I am?

    Well, I’ve certainly managed to piss a lot of you all off judging by the comments, etc.

    Smooches!

  31. All of you defending this buying up regurgitated works have still failed to address one thing that’s been brought up over and over and over.

    If it’s *not a big deal* as you keep pointing out, and not dishonest, or a scam…

    Then why aren’t you putting a disclosure in the book making it clear that the book had been previously published? Why aren’t you including the ORIGINAL and the only valid copyright date?

    https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-definitions.html#notice

  32. Billie, I’ll gladly put any one of my covers, any one of my books up against yours any day of the week. If you want to argue with the people who are genuinely trying to discuss the issues at hand, then please, do it somewhere else. If you want to defend these practices, that is your right. We’re trying to have intelligent, thoughtful conversations about these issues that do exists. All you’re doing is defending the practices that ARE hurting our industry. If you want to do that, either use or get your own blog.

  33. Hey Suzan,

    Not at one time in my response to Shiloh Walker, not you, did I defend any “practices” whatsoever, up to and including the practices that you and your cohort so venomously think are hurting the industry.

    Simply put, I stated that maybe Shiloh should do the research as to what makes a legitimate and professional author, as it appears she is anything but. Professional authors at least know what a professional, to-market cover is, Suzan.

    This is your blog, your website, so of course, you are free to choose what comments come through and stay, but censorship is downright shady.

    Especially when I never at one time in my last response to Shiloh Walker, do anything your little comment back entails. I simply asked Shiloh Walker who she was and with that, she stated she was a professional author. I reminded her that professional authors have to-market covers and know the industry enough to realize that her frothing from the mouth where her bullshit spews is not at all professional, but she’d likely excel claiming to be a professional drama queen instead.

    It says so much for someone claiming the “scammers” and ghostwriters are the reason for the industry suffering, yet doesn’t even have one cover in her entire catalog that shows professionalism or the behavior which proves she is in anyway a professional author.

    I also mentioned that I have never used or published any words but my own, and never had a reason to re-release any of my titles, but asked where her point was in the copyright link she so precariously keeps throwing out there. You’d think that a professional author would have some solid reading comprehension skills, but maybe it’s taking her a little longer to grasp that she has no argument whatsoever and the link she provides only confirms that.

    So, I will see myself out and this is the last mistake I will make by visiting such a ridiculous and highly censored shitshow you got going on here.

    You’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a devious agenda at foot here and you are simply not open to communicating with the opposition unless their agenda aligns with yours.

  34. Billie, your professionalism really showed at my blog when you called me a c*nt.

    IPs are such tricky things, aren’t they, princess?

    By the way, I’ll let the art departments at Penguin & St. Martins know all my covers are trash… I mean…they’re only responsible for a couple dozen. And I’m certain they value your opinion.

  35. Umm, Susan, you’re the one who said, “I’d love to talk to you about this.” You invited Frost into a dialogue. Yet you turn tail and run when they start making too much sense by telling them to get their own blog? Really? Pathetic.

    And another thing: You actively support your fellow get louders who doxx trans people, dead name them, and create a culture of fear for LGBT people. You have actively promoted get louders who think nothing of stomping all over trans people for wanting to keep their identities private. Your fellow get louders have actively gone after trans authors and forced them to out themselves on public forums. So don’t act like you’re trying to save MM romance in you’re blog rants. You’ve lost all credibility on that front.

  36. No, dear, I did not turn tail and run. And no, Frost wasn’t making a damned bit of sense. What Frost was doing was using MY blog to put forth his own agenda. If he wants to talk about how wonderful ghost writers are and scamming Amazon is, he can do it on his own blog; not mine. My blog, my rules.
    As for your second complaint? Again, wholly UNTRUE. If you’re talking about the crap that happens on twitter, you are wrong. I have NEVER done any of the things of which you are accusing me. I have stood up for everyone who wants to use a pen name, no matter their reasons for it. I’m not trying to save MM romance. I’m trying to save ALL writers from the insidious bullshit that scammers and ne’er-do-wells and pirates put ALL writers through on a daily basis. Please, get your facts straight.

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