I Have Really Bad News: I Can’t Do The First Draft Blog

This comes with a heavy heart because I was actually starting to schedule posts on the first draft blog I’d created last weekend.  I don’t know what to do with it now. I already paid for it and got it set up.  But I can no longer use it for what it was intended for.

And this is why.  Fraud.  There is a new scam running around out there I just learned about where people (for whatever reason) are going after authors (both self-published and small press) and using a DCMA Takedown Notice to claim those books don’t really belong to the author.  By US law, this requires Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks to remove the books.

Why?  Because in the past people have actually stolen or plagiarized innocent authors’ books.  Back in 2011 (and again in 2012), I had someone steal my books and post it as their own.  So I’ve had to submit DCMA Takedown Notices in order to protect my work.

But recently, I learned of this new fraud going around where people are pretending the actual owner of the book really isn’t the owner.  And this (sadly) is not an isolated incident.  From recent talks with another author, I learned that a small publisher went through a similar situation with one of her books, and this happened to a different author with a traditionally published book.

I also recently discovered someone put an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of an author’s work on Amazon to sell as their own.  (This is a good reason to just gift the copy after it’s published.)

Yes, I get it.  You can’t protect yourself 100%.  Any time you put something out there, you’re going to expose yourself.  But you don’t need to make things easier for scumbags who will lie in order to steal another author’s work or (for whatever vindictive reason) try to remove an author’s book.

So many times  I hear, “That is rare.  It’s not likely to happen to you.” Having had two incidences when my books were stolen and finding out other authors have had the same situation, AND now finding out all this other stuff, I believe this stuff is a lot more common.  You just don’t hear about it because most authors won’t talk about it publicly when it happens to them.  They quietly attack this stuff behind the scenes or give up and let the criminal get away with it.

That’s why you don’t often hear about this stuff.  But I’m coming out and saying this stuff happens.  And what’s more, I think with the global ebook market expanding, I suspect it’ll only get worse.

So after doing some thinking over this situation, I finally decided it’s better to be safe than sorry.  There’s no reason to make it easier for someone to go after one of my books, and I feel by having a first draft blog, I’ll be opening myself to a greater potential for this.

Sadly, I remember how this was unheard of when I started out.  Back in 2009 when I signed up for Amazon and Smashwords to publish my own books, this stuff was never on the radar.  It was either in 2009 or 2010 when I started my first draft blog back then, and I never once thought any of this stuff was possible.

All I can say is 2015 is a totally different world for authors.  Things we could take for granted (like the safety of our books) can’t be taken for granted anymore.  In a lot of ways, the acceptance of self-publishing has been a great thing, but in others, it hasn’t.  I guess like anything, you have to take the good with the bad.

I’m really sorry.  I thought I had carefully weighed the pros and cons.  But I just found out about all this other stuff (aside from stolen books) on March 3, right after I made the post about the first draft blog.  And since then, I did more digging and research to find out how much this stuff is actually happening.

I just can’t take the risk.  I don’t write books to make money.  I write them because I love writing.  They’re personal to me.  I love my books as I love my children.  They are a part of me.  I’ll do everything I can to protect them.  It’s a shame so many innocent people have to suffer for what to liars and thieves are doing.  I don’t like it, but I have to do what’s best for the books.

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to contemporaries romances and other genres (such as science fiction thrillers). For more information, please go to www.ruthannnordin.com or check out https://ruthannnordinauthorblog.wordpress.com.
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15 Responses to I Have Really Bad News: I Can’t Do The First Draft Blog

  1. I have been hearing a lot about this too. 😦

  2. Judy Esposito says:

    I am very sorry to hear of this happening. 😦 I am a reader not a writer but I know by following a few of my favorite authors how dedicated you all are to your work. I am a big fan of your books and I think I have everything you have published on my nook as far as your historical western romances are concerned. I do hope that everyone that is guilty of doing these things are caught and punished. Sincerely

    • Thank you, Judy. I really appreciate the kind words. 🙂

      I think the temptation to give into fear is a big one, and I don’t want to live in a state where I’m afraid things will be happening to me because that will hinder my ability to write the best books I can. When I’m optimistic and excited, I notice the story is a lot better than when I’m not. So I move forward every day to be as upbeat as I can be. This decision to not do the first draft blog was to help me continue being upbeat because it is something I can do to help eliminate stress of something happening. I try to do everything I can to control what I can. But with things I can’t, I have to let go and focus on the story. 🙂

      Sorry to ramble. Thanks again!

  3. Ruth, there is nothing to apologize for. We’re all taking steps to not get burned or have similar things happen to us. I’m weary of posting excerpts on my blog because of this scam. We should all take notice so that it doesn’t happen to us.

    • It is scary. We want to share our books with people because we love what we do, but this stuff makes it harder for us to do it. The only thing I can think of, as you said, is to take note of everything that is happening.

  4. I think you made the right decision. I was a little uncomfortable with you doing this, anyway, but it wasn’t my right to say anything. I, personally, wouldn’t feel good about doing this for my own work. Maybe a little flash fiction on my blog every once in awhile, something I don’t care deeply about. It’s a shame authors can’t share their work without worrying about theft. This brings up another issue. Be VERY careful who you let beta read your work. I don’t think this would happen often, but there could be people posing as enthusiastic beta readers who want to publish your work as their own. I never let anyone beta read my work unless I’ve gotten to know them well.

    • Thanks, Lauralynn. I agree. Something short like flash fiction is doable. That wouldn’t bother me because it is so short. I hate to do this to honest people because they’re the ones who are hurt by this, but in the end, I have to do what I can in my power to protect my work.

      I also heard about beta readers this past week. It’s amazing how much stuff is going out there. This is one good reason why getting involved in social platforms is a must. You get to meet people and get to know them. After time, you develop friendships with people you can trust. I love Facebook and blogging for that reason.

  5. Shelley Chastagner says:

    Sad, but I think you’re doing the right thing. I can’t even imagine stealing from you or any of the authors I Beta read for. The idea makes me sick. I see how much work you all put into your craft and how much of yourself is poured into each book. Someone stealing that is beyond my comprehension.

    • I can’t imagine it either. You’d think people would have a hard time looking at themselves in the mirror. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.

      • You are doing the right thing. Stressing over a stolen book or even a temporarily take-down notice is not worth it. You lose production and the anxiety it places on you and your family needs to be considered. I believe you made the right decision. However, things can change at a future date and then you may feel free to do this. God bless.

        • That’s true. You never know what the future will bring. Never in a million years did I think self-publishing would be where it is today. I always thought the big publishing houses would be strong, and I thought paperbacks would always sell better than ebooks. I guess the big thing is to be open to change and whatever comes. Also, I think it’s a good idea to be prepared so if the unfortunate does happen, you have a game plan. I think part of what makes things so horrible is not having a plan of action.

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