Monday, 25 February 2013

And It All Came Down ...

by Pandora Poikilos

I don't think I need to explain my relationship with Orangeberry. Anyone who has been reading the blog will know the obvious. Everyday the Orangeberry team is back to back with promoting authors, checking blog stops and interacting with authors / blog hosts.

We pulled off the Summer Splash (100 authors, 500 blog stops), tested the waters for a virtual book expo in December and we've come a long way from our humble beginnings. Smooth sailing? Not really. But we get by. It is always a wonder to meet one new author after another and to read a different experience.

Then, a few days ago, reality showed up at our doorstep and to say she was livid would be an understatement.

Earlier this month, we promoted The Great Gift by Misty Wright as a paid sponsor for our free alert segment. It did well. On it's last free day it was ranked #2 overall in the Kindle store. It was an author we had never heard of but that's nothing new for us.

Of course we shared our find with the Quality Reads UK Book Club (Orangeberry teamed up with them in December) and they had raving reviews. Most members gave the book 3 to 4 stars.

When the author came back to book another free alert and a Phoenix tour, we agreed. Then, as the first few book club members downloaded the book, my inbox exploded.

As it turned out, Misty Wright had plagiarised at least four different from three different authors. You can read Eliza's discovery HERE. Obviously, the author's money was refunded and all other promotional efforts were declined But the hows and the whys are still running through my head in more ways than one.

We apologised on the public forums that we had shared the free alert on and did our best to inform the authors that were involved.

Why did the author do this? Obviously, the motivation was money. Let's not forget most of these books were under the #40,000 Paid rankings at the Kindle Store. She had approached blogs to feature her guest posts, advertised her free book days on several sites and as of 19 minutes ago, her publisher was still advertising her books on Twitter.

How? She created new attractive covers using stock photos, changed names of characters and in some places nouns were moved around to make the sentence different. Fortunately, as we soon found out, Google doesn't care about these little changes. Quality Reads was able to match exact sentences from the books of other authors. The authors Misty Wright had picked had minimal social media presence and one did not have his books sold on Amazon.

Where is Amazon in all this? Amazon was fast to act. Once Bob & Eliza reported it, the books were not available for sale within 24 hours. BUT. And note the capitals. I don't understand how it got into their store in the first place. This was the first question Eliza asked me and I still don't have an answer for her. If a senior citizen who doesn't understand how to download books to her iPad could spot these chunks of plagiarism, how did 4 plagiarised books get past Amazon's 24 hour "in review" stage before the books were successfully published to the store?

What am I talking about? When you have a new book to publish, you log into your KDP author dashboard. Fill up your book details. Fill up your price details. Then, you tick your consent and press save. Your book appears as "in review". You cannot make any changes during this time. God forbid you have uploaded a wrong version of your ebook, you will just have to wait.

Do they have the software to check plagiarism? Of course, they do. Last year, when I was publishing Books, Blogs & Smiles which was a calendar series of book covers, author websites, blogs and quotes from the public domain, one of these books - Books, Blogs & Smiles 3 - was blocked. I received an email to say I had used quotes that were not mine. This content was freely available on the Internet and I had to submit an explanation as to why I was using these quotes. When I submitted my explanation to say that these quotes were in the public domain and were properly credited, I was told my explanation was unsatisfactory and the book was blocked. They only agreed when I sent back at least 100 other examples of books in the Kindle store that also had quotes from celebrities and famous people. So .... if they can check for quotes, I'm pretty sure they can check for chunks of plagiarised text.

What is the outcome so far? I never have and will never condone public lynching online or off. Misty Wright thought she saw the gold at the end of the rainbow and decided to get it by any means possible. Pity that it was someone else's rainbow and someone else's pot of gold. Strangely enough, her publisher seems to agree with her. Any publisher with a bit of common sense would check the work for plagiarism before publishing it. But then, common sense isn't so common.

What can you do? Read Eliza's article. See the proof for yourself. Support the affected authors. Buy their books, tweet out the plagiarism that has affected them, put yourself in their shoes and imagine waking up to this mess.

To Jennifer Cloud, Mark Stewart and Leitha Wards - we hope that this issue is resolved as quickly as it can and are truly sorry that you have to go through this. We would love to promote your work so feel free to email us at info AT orangeberrybooktours DOT com

To our readers - Orangeberry and Peace from Pieces - we are truly sorry for having promoted The Great Gift by Misty Wright. We were not aware of the copyright infringement at the time and as mentioned above, we have declined all future promotional requests from this author and her publisher.

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Books Sold - 6 Nov 2011 to 31 May 2012

Some of you have asked me for my total number of books sold to evaluate KDP Select so here it is. Bear in mind, that results will vary based on genre and author. Good luck and remember, Keep Moving Forward.

Total - 120,836

1. Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out
Amazon Kindle - 42,559
Paperback -
Smashwords -

2. Frequent Traveller
Amazon Kindle - 35277
Paperback -
Smashwords -

3. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 1
Amazon Kindle - 462
Smashwords -

4. Mirror Me Martha (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 281
Smashwords -

5. Drive On Hope (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle - 190
Smashwords -

6. Blog-A-Licious Directory 2012
Amazon Kindle - 1
Smashwords -

7. Pandora's Reading Room 1
Amazon Kindle -
Paperback - N/A

8. The Cat That Barked (Short Story)
Amazon Kindle -

9. Dora's Essentials - Examining Anxiety
Amazon Kindle -

10. Dora's Essentials - Books, Blogs & Smiles 2
Amazon Kindle -

11. Elevenses from Around the World
Amazon Kindle -

12. Genetically Modified Foods vs. Sustainability
Amazon Kindle -

Blog-A-Licius - Sherbet Blossom

SherbetBlossom

Blog-A-Licious

Dealightfully Frugal

Blog-A-Licious - The Few, The Proud, The Wife

Blog-A-Licious

My Soul Slippers

Blog-A-Licous - Textbook Mommy

Blog-A-Licious - Blue Frogs Legs

Blog-A-Licious - Pretty All True

Pretty All True

Blog-A-Licious - tbaoo

tbaoo

Blog-A-Licious

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Blog-A-Licious - The Invisible Art

Blog-A-Licious - Rediscovering Domesticity

Rediscovering Domesticity

Blog-A-Licious - Quiver Full

Blog-A-Licious - Cori's Big Mouth

Blog-A-Licious - Great Fun

Greatfun4kids

Blog-A-Licious - Busy Wife

Blog-A-Licious - Steps To Happiness

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Blog-A-Licious - Toby & Max


Blog-A-Licious - Amelie

Raising Amelie

Blog-A-Licious - Peas In A Pod

Blog-A-Licious - Riley

Blognostics - Poetry

BlogNostics

My Awards - September 2010

My Awards - September 2010
Awarded By Jo Frances

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded By Alejandro Guzman

My Awards - May 2011

My Awards - May 2011
Awarded by Kriti Mukherjee

My Awards - April 2011

My Awards - April 2011
Awarded By Roy Durham

My Awards - June 2011

My Awards - June 2011
Awarded By Sulekha Rawat

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