The Bad Seed-Not My Title (You’ll Get it in A Moment) by Ripley Proserpina

Some you may have followed the hubbub that surrounded a recent release, Handbook for Mortals, landing on the NYTimes Bestseller List at #1.

I’m not going to rehash it here, but there were some suspicious events that led to the newspaper removing it from the #1 spot.

In the days following its removal, I noticed an interesting, and disturbing, phenomenon on Twitter and FB. It was this—people began to accuse authors of ripping off other authors.

In the first case, it was an author claiming her unreleased book title and species of her sci-fi characters had been stolen from an already released book.

In another, it was a reader accusing one author of copying a second author’s book title and series when both authors released their books on the same day.

And finally, in the last, an author decried another author’s cover, claiming she’d stolen the model.

None of the accused authors in any of these situations had designed any nefarious plots. How could one author, who’d already released a book, possibly know about another author’s characters? And for authors who have publishers, preorders and release dates are decided months ahead of time.

Those of us who may indie publish know, there are a limited number of stock photos and some of us are bound to feature the same cover model. It’s not copying; it’s coincidence.

If I do a quick Amazon title search—I’ll pick something random like, “frost”—I come up with eight separate books featuring “frost.” Seven of these were released in the last two years.

This is the thing with titles, and book covers, and writing, sometimes we just have things in common with other authors.

In the case of Handbook for Mortals, a little detective work showed an organized, systematic coordination to get on the Times list.

But that doesn’t mean every author is attempting to bilk the system. One bad apple should not spoil the whole bunch.

Let’s be careful. In this world of millions of books, finding similarities is inevitable. But authors should be each others’ cheerleaders, not detractors. I don’t know about you, but I can’t have too many dragon books. The more dragons, the happier I am. So if one hundred authors write about dragons, color me grateful, not suspicious.

This entry was posted in Cover Art, Publications, publishing, research, Ripley Proserpina, romance. Bookmark the permalink.

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