Long time lurker, few time poster. I found out today that an "author" is plagiarizing my work, and I thought I'd ask for some advice. This "author" has admitted to "spinning" my books--he paid a ghostwriter to take my characters and ideas and twist them. The stories are actually pretty dissimilar, but the writing style is very similar, including some of my own overused phrases. I've notified Amazon through their copyright infringement channels, but they advised this can take five to seven days.
This "author," if one can call him that, was a member of a writing group I belong to. He not only used my books to "spin" to create his own, he also used a variation of my REAL name. Not my pen name, my REAL name, which I post under in my writing group. Pretty brazen. Apparently, this person is a well-known internet marketer and WF type. I don't want to start a war here between authors and IMers--I just want my work respected and have it understood that published works are not there for use as "spinning" material. I do have this person's real name and email address. He has just chosen to ignore my requests to take down the plagiarized content.
The books in question are by the "author" A. Lexy Beck, who registered "her" domain name on August 13. I have been forwarded an email dated the same day with a partial manuscript of his "spun" story that was sent to a few members of my group for their review. He admitted in this email that he used my characters, setting and plot and "put his own twist on them." This all transpired a few days after I revealed my pen name in my writing group (a decision I now regret, but what's done is done). I think there was some confusion on the part of the people he asked to review this "work" that because the story was "spun," it was okay for him to use. I believe there may be a fundamental misunderstanding among some internet marketers about "spinning" and when it is okay to use a copyrighted work as your own (as in, never!).
This person has not only "spun" my stories, he has also copied my Twitter profile, Amazon Author profile, blurbs--pretty much anything he could rip off, he has. What was really awesome about all of this was how he posted in my writing group about how "blessed" he felt that he has been finding success with his stolen content. I'll post the links below, so you can see the plagiarism for yourself. It is pretty crazy that he has been so brazen about everything.
Amazon Author Profiles: http://www.amazon.com/A-Lexy-Beck/e/B00NFZUP5W/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1http://www.amazon.com/Renna-Peak/e/B00JJBXOVI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Blurbs: Unspoken 2: http://www.amazon.com/
Mistaken 2 (my book): www.amazon.com/dp/B00JO2LP90
These are a few of the specific copied passages (I don't know if any of you have ever tried to read a copied version of your own work, but it is exceptionally difficult. I've been in tears most of the day today because of this, so I know there are more examples, particularly in "his" book one):
Unspoken (ASIN: B00NE4Q72Y) Location 1047: My heart plummeted into my gut and I immediately dropped my phone. It couldn't be...
Mistaken (ASIN: B00JHIJD5Y) Location 1268: I heard a crash and my brain registered somewhere that my briefcase had hit the floor [...] It wasn't possible...
Unspoken (ASIN: B00NE4Q72Y) Location 223: A nauseous feeling immediately came over me. Christopher. He was the reason I could never trust anyone again.
Mistaken (ASIN: B00JHIJD5Y) Location 197: I couldn't let myself have anything more. I didn't deserve it, not after everything I had done. After what I had done to Daniel.
Unspoken (ASIN: B00NE4Q72Y) Location 327: "Jennifer you're beautiful, smart and funny..."
Mistaken (ASIN: B00JHIJD5Y) Location 433: Jenna, you have no idea how amazing you are. How gorgeous.
Yes, he even copied my heroine's name. My Jenna Davis became his Jennifer Dunning. And the books are pretty much beat for beat similar to mine. It's a nice spin job, to be sure, but you can see where the ghostwriter used similar phrasing--pretty hard not to do when you're given books to copy, I suppose.
I'm sick that this guy might get away with this. My work was published in April and May of this year--this guy just published these two works in the past few weeks, and I also have the d*mning email he sent out with his spun version of my story. He's ignoring my requests to do the right thing and take these books down. I'm sure he thinks I won't come after him--I'm not making huge money at this, just enough to pay for my cover art, editing and to put some food on the table.
I would love to hear any ideas that you might have. I'm sure if I spent the time going through line by line, I could find additional examples of his plagiarism (I have ten total at the moment that I sent to Amazon, along with a copy of his statement in the email I was forwarded). Do you think this merits contacting an attorney, even if Amazon does pull these books?