Under normal circumstances, I would not mention a book by name to pan it, and because I hate traditional publishers so much, I don't want to discourage anyone from trying their hand at self-e-publishing.
As I was perusing the recent releases on for Amazon's Kindle platform last Friday night, I started seeing some new titles that really irritated me. Without looking at anything else, without looking at the cover art or who the author was or anything else -- just the titles -- I was annoyed.
Bad Luck Love's Me
Knight's of the Realm
He concedes to Her Victory
A Warriors Romance
Normally I would just have skipped over one or even two of these, but because I had limited my search to only historical romances released on Kindle in the past 30 days, I had a funny feeling there was more to this situation than met the eye.
What I found upon doing some more refining of my search was more than a dozen titles published in the past couple of weeks from a group of seemingly interchangeable authors and editors: Kevin Peters, Sara Rice, Arthur Stone, Rose Stoneman, Jennifer Watson, John Wilson, Robert Wiseman, Rachel Scott, Kelly Dixson, Kevin Wiseman, James Peters, etc. As far as I can tell, the first of these titles was published 27 January 2012. They include not only historical romances but also erotica and what appear to be contemporary stories.
I certainly wasn't going to buy any of them, and as I began reading other people's reviews of them, I realized I wasn't the only person who had complaints. Other readers were remarking on the poor grammar in the titles and horrible formatting of the text.
But then it got worse. One of the Amazon reviewers reported one of the books as essentially stolen -- published on Amazon under another title and with other authors/editors/etc. but originally e-published by someone else. The "someone else" had also put the book on Amazon.
As I began researching further, I discovered that virtually all the books published in the past two weeks by "Kevin Peters" and/or his friends were stolen. They'd all been published somewhere else, including many of them right on Amazon.
Not knowing how else to get the word out, I sent an email to Jane Litte at Dear Author. Within an hour or so, I received an email reply that she had posted about it on the Dear Author website and Tweeted it as well. Within another couple of hours, reviews were being posted to most of the Kevin Peters books, reviews that warned the books were stolen. Some of the authors now have been alerted and have reported the infringement of their copyrights to Amazon.
UPDATE: I sent my original e-mail to Jane Litte at 11:55 A.M. Arizona time. By 7:30 P.M. Arizona time, all the Kevin Peters and Robert Wiseman books had been removed from Amazon.
During additional research after posting this blog, I discovered that "Robert Wiseman" was publishing non-fiction titles that were every bit as stolen as the romance and erotica titles published by "Kevin Peters." Whether they are one and the same, I have no way of knowing. But all the books are now gone from Amazon.