True Confession: I am a very disloyal reader. I tend to go through spurts, binging on different types of books: biographies, inspiration, women’s fiction, Amish romances, historical romances, Jane Austen Fan Fiction, classics. I am an author’s worst nightmare because I stray from my favorites. After two or three books, I get tired of the genre and float to another genre.
Sorry, Jodi Picoult.
As an author and an avid reader, I love the Kindle Unlimited program. Truly, Amazon is my best friend. Without Amazon, I might not have my two publishers right now.[Full disclosure: One of my publishers is an Amazon imprint]
I love shopping on Amazon. I love my Amazon Prime. And I love Kindle Unlimited…one of the best programs for readers that is out there…besides the library, I guess. Finally, I love that not only do I get to try out a book, I don’t have to “KEEP” the book, even if I like it. I have three libraries in my house. THREE! I don’t have room for many more books and, as a book hoarder, it’s just better for me and my house if I read them on my Kindle.
There is, however, a dark side. As usual, yucky people have found a way to ruin a good thing. I truly believe that the love of money is a thing of the devil. And these yucky people are, in my opinion, evil.
These people pretend to be authors, self-publish dozens of books in the same month (sometimes even the same day!), and incorporate gimmicks in the book to target unknowing people with their .99 cent or free book. As soon as you open the book, they get money. YOUR money as well as money from legitimate authors.
Most of the time, the books are written by ghost writers (something else of the devil, in my opinion) and/or one or two things might be changed in the book so that they can publish it multiple times with a different cover. In the Regency collection, several “authors” publish the exact same book…word for word!…but with different titles. The only difference is that they change the order of the chapters/stories inside. Unknowingly, people will read these books and the “author” gets paid just for you opening the book!
Here’s a sample of one “book”:
Now here is the table of contents other books:
Different author, different cover, different title…all the same except for the “first” chapter and published on the same day. There is NO disclaimer or published association with the other authors. One thing they do have in common is that they all have the same “publisher.” Personally, I have never heard of a publisher dropping THIRTY books in one day, most of them with the EXACT.SAME.CONTENT.
I could post DOZENS of these examples. Oh, and this happens in other genres, too. In the Amish genre, it’s just as yucky as in Regency. I bet lots of authors from different genres could tell similar horror stories.
So why am I sharing this with you?
First, it makes me really angry. Here is a fantastic program for writers AND readers. These scam artists are taking advantage of it and, frankly, ruining a good thing. This program was meant to reward the real authors who have a passion for writing and delivering great books to their readers. As always, a few bad apples spoil the barrel. When I see someone cheating the system (and fooling unsuspecting readers), it makes me mad.
Second, it mocks the process of writing. So many people aspire to be published and taken seriously in their craft. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a little girl. It has taken years to get to where I am today. Like most honest authors, I spend HOURS…DAYS…WEEKS…MONTHS working on my novels. Many days, I spend upward of ten hours writing, editing, brainstorming, writing some more. To think that a book can be outsourced, thrown together, or copied is offensive to those of us who strive to deliver amazing stories that we have poured our hearts into writing. I believe it is safe to say that most authors do this because they love writing…not for the money.
Finally, Buyer Beware! If you are ever in doubt, check the number of reviews and click on SEE INSIDE. Click on the author’s name to see if they have an Amazon Author page with links to social media. If they don’t have a page…with a photo, bio, and links to social media…chances are they are not a legitimate author.