Cristiane Serruya copied sections from over 50 romance books by over 30 authors and hired ghostwriters to thread those copied scenes together, then self-pubbed the new ‘books’ under her name. The official count of plagiarised books and authors increases daily. Cris has since disappeared from the internet.
And don’t think she plagiarised small-time authors. She went for folks like Nora Roberts and Courtney Milan.
While the brunt of the anger over this madness is aimed at Copypastecris herself, many people are outraged at Amazon, because the plagiarism went unnoticed and scammers like her actually know how to gain from the evil Amazon algorithms.
Algorithms aside (and how indie authors hate those algorithms) many honest indies struggle to make a living while drowning in a sea of self-pubbed crap. And that while said self-pubbed crap darkens the name of self-publishing on the whole. Not all indies publish unedited work. Most indies don’t buy reviews, don’t use click farms to break Amazon’s algorithms.
Most indies love the craft of writing and just want to get the stories in their hearts out there, to share their art.
So this whole fiasco got me thinking–we need to help out our favourite indie authors. You know, the ones who actually do the damn work and write their own books. The ones who fork out the cash to pay editors and cover designers and spend months or years polishing their books to offer readers the best possible product. The ones who can’t write as fast as these scammers can copy and paste, because they’re actually creating something of quality and substance.
Writing is work, folks. I know many people don’t believe it, but it’s true. It takes time and effort. It eats weekends and vacation days. Moments between chores. Time actually meant for sleep. All authors and creatives deserve compensation for their work as much as the next employed person does. Because EVERYONE turns to books or TV or video games to escape from their day-to-day.
Here’s what you can do to support indie authors.
- Buy Direct
I know you want to hop on Amazon to buy there, but if the author sells the book directly from their website, they’ll actually get more out of the bargain, which means they can continue crafting stories. And pay their editors et cetera.
- Buy Books Together
When you do purchase from Amazon and are able to, buy books by your indie authors when you buy books from mainstream authors in the same genre. If you do this, Amazon is more likely to recommend the books from indie authors when other folks buy books from the mainstream authors in the ‘customers also bought’ section of the page.
- Buy From Independent Bookstores
This doesn’t mean you never have to buy from a chain store again, but the big chains don’t often stock many indie authors, while independent bookstores help out independent authors. It’s in the name.
And if your independent bookstore doesn’t stock the indie author you’re looking for, request it from them. They can get the book for you, and maybe even order some stock to display in their store. When you request something, you create demand. Stores will almost always meet those demands.
- Request it at the Library
For the same reason as requesting books from indie bookstores, if you request books at your local library, you create demand.
Most libraries also accept book donations.
- Gift and Recommend Books
I’m so much more inclined to read a book or series if a friend recommends or gifts me a book. You’d be surprised at how effective word of mouth advertising truly is.
- Read the Book in Public
Many people purchase books if they’re drawn to the cover, so show that cover wherever you can.
- Social Media
If you talk about the book on your various social media platforms, blog about it, use certain hashtags, you’ll spread the word too. Here are some cool hashtags you could use if you’re new to the world of or sharing books on twitter.
- Leave Reviews
Leave an honest review on your preferred online store, but don’t forget Goodreads. Many readers default to Goodreads to check reviews and summaries of books before they purchase.
And don’t feel that you must leave a glowing 5-star review. Well-worded 3 star reviews that point out good and bad aspects of a book often hold more sway with readers than the really negative 1-star or gushing 5-star reviews. As I said above, be honest, but do try to be kind. Authors are people too and aimed at ripping someone a new one hurts.
- Add Books to Lists
In addition to the point above, Goodreads has some awesome lists created by users or by Goodreads admins that group together good books in various genres. This helps readers choose their next book and can be a powerful tool that leads them to discover indie authors.
Just adding the book to your ‘read’ or ‘want to read’ shelf is already a great help!
- Support Websites that Support Indie Authors
- Subscribe to the Author’s Newsletter or Blog
- Point Friends to their Blog
- Place a Copy in the Street Library Box
- Suggest Titles to Your Book Club
- Be Vocal About the Books You Love
Please help an indie out. It’s much appreciated.