Bookish Thoughts: #CopyPasteCris, KU Scammers and #NTRomNov

Posted March 8, 2019 by Rowena in Discussions, Features | 5 Comments

Holly: For the past few years, Rowena and I have been sort of bouncing in and out of Romance Twitter and Facebook. We keep up with what’s happening, but only on the peripheral. This year, we’re going to make an effort to stay informed and keep all of you informed, about what’s happening in and around Romancelandia. To that end, here’s a brief recap of some of the major stuff that went down in February.


For those who aren’t familiar, last month a reader contacted romance author Courtney Milan saying she thought Courtney had been plagiarized by author Cristiane Serruya. Serruya initially denied the accusation, then later claimed a ghostwriter she hired had done it. As time went on, more and more passages were found, and it turned out over 34 authors had been “copied” from, including Nora Roberts, Maya Banks, Diana Gabaldon, Tessa Dare and many others. These are not small names in the publishing world.

Here’s the the most recent list CaffeinatedFae put together.

List of authors copied from

I have to say, Nora Roberts is the Queen of the Smackdown. She’s posted several times about the #CopyPasteCris situation. Her initial post “Plagiarism, Then and Now” really brought out why this is such a personal thing. Since then she’s updated her blog several times as more details come to light.

Which brings us to..

KU Scammers

From NR’s “Not a Rant, But a Promise” blog post, that went live 2/23/19:

I’m getting one hell of an education on the sick, greedy, opportunistic culture that games Amazon’s absurdly weak system. And everything I learn enrages me.

There are black hat teams, working together, who routinely hire ghosts on the cheap, have them throw books together, push them out–many and fast–to make money, to smother out competition from those self-pubbed writers who do their own work. Those who do their own work can’t possibly keep up with the volume these teams produce by these fraudulent tactics.

They tutor others how to scam the system.

Let me backtrack a minute. Last year, when Faleena Hopkins TM’d the word “Cocky” and created a shitstorm in the publishing community (Read our thoughts on #cockygate here), we learned about “book stuffing”, which is basically writing a short story for KU, but then stuffing a bunch of “bonus” content in the back (usually previously published books from the same series), which upped the pages read, and therefore the amount of money the author made. If you aren’t aware, KU pays per page read by the reader, so a lot of authors scam the system by “book stuffing”.

Now, with the #CopyPasteCris scandal, it’s come to light that more authors are scamming the KU system by doing what Cristiane Serruya did and hiring ghostwriters to help them throw together books to push them out as fast as possible.

Then it came out that authors are also buying and repackaging the same novel under different names/titles.

Shiloh Walker has a great thread up about it.

These people are literally SELLING & RESELLING manuscripts & copyright only to repackage, recover & release as a brand new book under another author’s name (with a shiny, new fake copyright, too). This is deceptive as hell. @AmazonKDP @Amazonhelp has been notified to no avail.

There’s a lot of stuff out there about the whole KU scamming thing and it’s a lot to sift through but here are some posts that went up on it all that you guys can read if you want.

Dakota Willink’s Thread on KU Scamming

I don’t even know what to say about that. I mean, as a reader I certainly don’t want to be scammed. I don’t want to contribute to the earnings of “authors” who do this. Yikes. But I have no idea how to stop, either, since Amazon makes it so easy for these authors to flourish.


After all of that gloom and doom, how about something that cheered us all up at the end of February? Did you guys check out the #NTROMCOM hashtag? Jennifer from Romance Novel News started up the Name that Romance Novel game on Twitter and it was so much fun. I will admit to not being as good at guessing these books as I thought I would be but it was still a lot of fun to read through the hashtag and make my guesses. I knew a lot but there were a few that stumped me good.

Here are some good ones from the bunch:

How did you do? There are so many other guesses to be made in the hashtag on Twitter and it’s a lot of fun to read through and participate in so if you’re in the mood for some great romance novel fun, head on over to Twitter and jump in!

We’ll be back with more hot takes, our thoughts on them and anything else that comes up soon. Have a great day guys!

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5 responses to “Bookish Thoughts: #CopyPasteCris, KU Scammers and #NTRomNov

    • At the time I put this post together I hadn’t seen the update. I can’t believe this person had the nerve to steal from so many.

  1. I think there’s a NEW count of 71. We need to getting a pool running. Will it hit 100?

    Also… this will run kind of long, but…bear with me.

    Holly, I know there are a lot of readers who are pissed and want to do something but aren’t sure what.

    One of the biggest things I think readers can do is speak up–tell Amazon they aren’t going to put up with this. After all, readers are the ones who pay for KU, and they’re the ones who buy the books. I posted email addresses for Amazon’s legal & content departments @ my blog… I think the “hot takes, Copyright Fakes & How to Fix This.”

    The books that are known copies…hell, post reviews & let other would-be readers know, that sort of thing.

    But there is ANOTHER avenue and one that I think readers need to look at hard, but I can only say it so many times, so if you want to spread the word, I’d be thrilled, if you feel it’s a valid avenue. (And I checked it out.)

    It’s through the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission. I blogged about it yesterday and will be sharing the link often this next week.

    When these book repackagers put these books back up, time after time, they are doing so with a copyright date of whatever the current year. Copyright doesn’t work like that. Even if they buy the rights (the copyright, etc), the original copyright date still stands-info on this is on and in US copyright law, but it’s spelled out very plainly in a handout provided by the website, Circular 1., but the specific wording “Applying a copyright notice to a work has not been required since March 1, 1989, but may still
    provide practical and legal benefits. Notice typically consists of the copyright symbol or the word
    “Copyright,” the name of the copyright owner, and the year of first publication

    When these jerkholes go publishing repackaged regurgitated nonsense with a fresh copyright date and no disclosure that the work has been issued before, (under another name by another author, no less), they’re intentionally trying to deceive readers.

    Which, by all intents & purposes, makes it a scam, if I’m understanding it right. The very definition of scam: 1) a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation, 2) to deceive, defraud. This may even hit the legal definition of fraud, committed against Amazon & the Kindle Unlimited Community as a whole, based on this definition here.

    Since the FTC exists to protect consumers against deceptive practices, this totally provides the FTC as recourse for readers. FTC complaints may well offer recourse for indie and small press authors as well, because the commission is meant to protect against unfair trade practices (and these scammers totally qualify, if you ask me), but readers are being intentionally mislead and the scammers don’t care. One of the biggest ‘defenders’ of this practices says ‘but Amazon offers a robust return policy’, which totally misses the point.

    Wearing my reader hat…When we buy a book, we have the right to expect a new book, especially if the copyright is from the current year, if the author is somebody we’re unfamiliar with, if the title looks like one we haven’t read before…the repackaging is clearly an attempt to make it look new and we’ve got a right to feel cheated when somebody wastes our time and intentionally misleads us into thinking otherwise.

    A visitor to my blog left a comment, which I highlighted in the post above, and that’s how I started going down this avenue. I did contact the FTC and I very much believe this is a valid route.

    More details are at my blog, but the basic steps for the form are below.

    Use this form:

    What you should need is:



    ››››OTHER/Not Applicable


    From here, you’ll have to start giving details, etc.

    I had a chat with somebody at the FTC and these were the steps I was advised to take.

    The more people who speak up, the more likely we are to have something happen but it will take a community effort.

    It needs to happen, though, because these scammers are pushing many lower-earning authors out of the field because they just can’t keep writing if they don’t earn enough to justify it. I’ve seen more and more comment lately that they barely crack three figures a year in writing income. Plus, I know some formerly big name authors who aren’t writing much at all anymore…it’s too hard to earn much of an income as is and these scammers are choking the life of the genre even more.

  2. Dear Book Binge,

    Please stop linking me to unethical people.

    I was not connected to the book stuffing incidents of last year. Those were other romance authors. Amazon shut down their accounts. If I were one, mine would be gone.

    This person copying other authors’ work and claiming it as hers has nothing to do with what happened last year to me. Nothing at all.

    I got a trademark to protect my series and my brand from copying. The war I inadvertently started was all about that. And I didn’t bully anyone. I sent out bitchy C&D letters, and one got posted by a very smart author with over 120 books out, claiming she felt intimidated. I had 30 books out. You can’t bully up. But nobody looked closely enough. They just went wild.

    Please stop linking me to unethical people. My police officer father didn’t raise a thief.

    A fiery-tempered, protective of her five years of hard work artist? That he raised.

    xx, Faleena Hopkins

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