Caught a Scammer in the Act

Just to alert everyone, I caught one of the scammers (or maybe even the same one) in the act of their theft. Today on Facebook, a narrator shared “my” audiobook with me on my timeline. I notified the narrator that this scammer did not have my permission to make my book into an audiobook.

I feel really sorry for these narrators. I assume they don’t ask for money upfront since the scammers keep going to them in order to make these audiobooks. Scammers aren’t inclined to pay for anything. All they do is steal. And in this case, they are stealing my book AND stealing these narrators’ talent and time. This is not fair to me or the narrators.

You have to watch out for these thieves. They’re in abundance. I’ve have ebooks stolen and/or plagiarized. I’ve had a paperback stolen. Now they are convincing narrators to make audiobooks.

To set the record straight so there are no misunderstandings: I am NOT making audiobooks. I already explained why in a lengthy rant, so I won’t do it again. You can read that post here. After I wrote that post, a narrator contacted me and a scammer must have read my blog post because the scammer actually told this narrator, “I decided to make audiobooks to stop people from stealing my books.”

Nope. No, I did not decide to make audiobooks.

A quick not to narrators (if any are reading this): If I ever decide to make audiobooks, I will pay upfront for your services. I would never ask you to do anything for free. I value people’s time. I would not do a royalty-split because there would be no guarantees that the audiobook would sell. I want to make sure everyone who works for me (editor, cover artist, etc) gets paid. I don’t believe in asking for anyone to do something for free. I will offer something in return.

Back to the post…

Up to now, the narrators caught onto the scammer before the audiobook was created, but in this case, this scammer got away with it from two different narrators. I don’t know if it’s the same scammer who contacted the other five narrators about making my books into audio. This could be a group of them for all I know.

So, assuming that this scammer(s) is reading my blog post right now, I contacted ACX about this, and I let the narrators know they have been duped. You have stolen my hard work, and you have stolen from the time and talent of narrators who are trying to make an honest living. I realize you don’t care. I know this means nothing to you. For all I know, you’re laughing and thinking this whole thing is cute. But my message to you is this: there is a God in Heaven, and He will judge between you and me, and since you are in the wrong, He will deal with you. As the Bible says, He will avenge my case (and the narrators’ case) on my behalf. I’m leaving this at His feet. He has heard my prayer, and He will take care of things for me. You might get away with this for a while, but a day of reckoning will come, and you’ll be held accountable for your actions.

Regarding the scam, this is what the scammer(s) has been able to get away with so far:

The person (people) are going by the publishing name “Leon Publishing,” and this here is the page on Audible: https://www.audible.com/search?searchProvider=Leon+Publishing&ref=a_pd_A-Most_c1_publisher&pf_rd_p=52918805-f7fc-40f4-a76b-cf1c79f7d10a&pf_rd_r=AFGD7C0REVEVXP40MQHC

The person (people) also make a fake profile of me here: https://www.audible.com/author/Ruth-Ann-Nordin/B002BM2VVQ?ref=a_search_c3_lAuthor_1_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=G4RKZA50D41RSDT7XKD9

Now to ACX, what is wrong with you? I notified you two weeks ago that I am not making audiobooks, and you still let these books go up? Is there no way you can vet the people coming to your site? Why is it that I have told you what is happening AND a narrator also alerted you to this, BUT you haven’t done anything to keep watch over this?

I bet a lot authors are getting scammed, but they just don’t know it. I bet a lot of narrators are getting scammed, but they also don’t know it. This can’t just be happening to me. It’s impossible to think that I am so incredibly special in this whole entire world that I am the only author who got picked for this nonsense. So for authors and narrators, be careful out there. There’s a lot of slime dripping all over the place.

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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17 Responses to Caught a Scammer in the Act

  1. Bonnie Schuster says:

    Since the Author name is yours, it seems like you would be advanced the proceeds! This is such a terrible thing, to still an Authors work and make money of their hard work!

    • Amazon has never paid me when people stole my ebooks or the paperback, so they won’t pay for this, either. They’ll just pocket the money. It’s one reason why I have never been exclusive with them by jumping into KU with my books.

  2. IrishMary says:

    I wish they would exact a stiff enough penalty to make it not worth a thief’s time to do it. If that same person would exert that same effort into something honorable, he could be proud of himself. Lurking in the shadows must be a miserable life. And Karma will not be kind to him.

    • It would be nice if all of these retailers would impose a stiff penalty, but all they get is a slap on the wrist. All I want is for my books to be mine and stay under my control. I don’t know why this keeps happening to me, but I do believe there is a purpose for it. I don’t believe anything happens by chance. And I agree about the idea that what goes around comes around. That’s why I try to treat others the way I’d want to be treated. I wouldn’t want to be in this person’s shoes. His theft is going to catch up to him someday.

  3. I’ve noticed ACX is responsive when you tweet to them. Other than that, the only thing I’ve found helpful is getting an account and then sending them a message through the account. Annoying? Yes, but it’s worked for me. Hope it helps.

    • I did create an account. That’s the only way to directly contact them. I didn’t know about Twitter. Did you have to deal with a similar issue, too?

      • Nah, nothing like that. The Twitter thing was when I wrote an article about them, and they noticed it and tweeted it out. They thought I was a woman, so I had to let them know I was a man. They fixed that mistake quickly.
        With the account messages, I had tried previously to get audio books produced, but the narrators couldn’t deliver. The result was that I had to check on how to dissolve the contracts, and if I could do so without penalty.
        Still, keep trying. Eventually someone will get back to you. Especially if you clog up their inboxes with an email a day. 😉

        • It’s really cool they tweeted your article. I’m glad they corrected their mistake.

          I didn’t think of the hassle it might be to find a narrator who follows through. That would be a headache. Were you able to dissolve the contracts without penalty?

          So far, the narrators I’ve come across have been very kind and professional. It’s why I feel awful for them when they get tangled up in this mess. I will keep trying. ACX was good about removing the other incidents the narrators notified me about. I didn’t see this one for myself until today, and I only saw two books. I hope I can nip this in the bud.

          • Yeah, no penalty. The narrators admitted they couldn’t devote time to the projects, so the contracts were dissolved and we went our separate ways. That’s kind of the problem when you agree to split royalties; it’s great for when you have no cash (like I did at the time), but it means you have to hope your narrator has the same devotion you do to a project.

            Good luck with nipping this in the bud. Maybe if you talk about it enough, it might help make some changes at ACX.

            • Good! I’m glad there were no penalties. I can understand the time constraints. Sometimes it seems like you have the time and something comes up. It sounds like it worked out okay in the end. At least they didn’t leave you wondering what they were going to do.

              Thanks! I’m hoping my posts about it will do some good. If nothing else, it will alert authors and narrators of this scam.

  4. Shelley Chastagner says:

    I contacted both Audible and ACX with formal complaints. Maybe as a “Paying Customer” it will help.

    • Thanks, Shelley! I didn’t realize this was a huge problem at ACX. Since discussing this on Facebook to warn others, I’ve learned that this is a pretty popular scam. Even major publishers are getting hit with it. ACX either doesn’t care or is unable to take care of it.

  5. I wonder if it’s going to take ACX/Amazon getting sued for this to stop. Amazon is quick to take down legitimate books and even legitimate reviews, but they and their other companies are not protecting their authors. I can see a class action suit getting started over this if there is a law firm brave enough to take on Amazon. I don’t particularly WANT Amazon to get sued. I love Amazon as a customer. But they need to take better care of their authors. That’s all I’m asking of them.

    And I also wonder this…each author has an account at ACX. So how can they not spot a scammer using a different account to try to make audiobooks from an author who has a totally different account? That makes NO sense to me.

    • I wonder if ACX/Amazon has a disclaimer that if legitimate books are stolen, then they are not held liable for it. We agree to their terms of services, and I bet they have that covered. I don’t know if a law firm could get around that or not. I just bought a Kindle since my old one was on the fritz, but I try to buy everywhere but Amazon now whenever I can.

      If ACX required the author to start the process of creating an audiobook in the KDP dashboard, this whole thing would be eliminated. Smashwords is connected to Findaway Voices in the Audiobook link on the dashboard. I just need to “create an audiobook” for the book I want, and it transfers to Findaway Voices for me. It’s in draft, but still, it lends credibility to the fact that it’s my book. KDP could do the same thing. Just don’t have our books already popping up over there. Have the author go in and manually do it themselves. The whole system is already connected anyway. This is one area where Smashwords has thought ahead of Amazon.

      • I don’t buy Kindles anymore. I just download the Kindle app to my iPad and iPhone.

        I think Smashwords has thought ahead of Amazon in a lot of ways.

        • I did buy a Kindle last weekend, but I use it to listen to my books while I’m editing them. If the other devices had the text-to-speech feature, I would buy another device in a heartbeat.

          What areas do you think Smashwords has thought ahead?

          I really like Findaway Voices. They protect narrators and authors. I know most authors can’t afford to pay for an audiobook to be made. Findaway Voices will allow for 50% of the Pay Per Finished Hour and then 20% of the royalties to the narrator for seven (I think) years. The other way is to pay the narrator the full price upfront and the author owns the book free and clear. I realize ACX is “friendly” in that they let the author put no money upfront, but that is why the scams are so rampant over there. I think Findaway Voice’s 50% option to be the best compromise for authors who are struggling and for narrators who don’t want to find out they put up a book from someone who was a scammer. I can see why Smashwords connected up to them for audiobooks. Now, if Smashwords would arrange something for paperbacks…

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