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