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.