A quick note to any narrator reading this post: please do NOT create any audiobooks from someone claiming to be me. I am currently working with Stevie Zimmerman and Shonda Bourn. I have NOT contacted any other narrator to create audiobooks.
Now to the post:
As I was tracking down links to the audiobook I legitimately created, I found that the thief has returned. He/she (we’ll say he since he’s now going by the name “benjamin anyanwu”) is back, and this time, he has taken the audio files, made new covers, changed his name as producer, and distributed these books wide.
Here’s what’s happening:
Once the original theft attempt failed on Amazon and Audible, this jerk went ahead and changed the covers, his name as producer, and distributed the audiobooks to as many places as he could. I’d point out why no one should believe these were done by ME, but I don’t want to give stuff away to make things easier for this jerk in the future.
Here are the links I’ve tracked down so far.
An Unlikely Place for Love: https://books.apple.com/us/audiobook/an-unlikely-place-for-love-virginia-collection-book-1/id1525871012?mt=11
A Most Unsuitable Earl: https://www.chirpbooks.com/audiobooks/a-most-unsuitable-earl-by-ruth-ann-nordin
I have submitted copyright notifications to each of these places, but there’s still more I need to wade through because there are about 43 distributors out there total. This thief has a head start on me. I am currently seeking out help from someone who can help me, and I will pay this person for their help. I’m currently looking for referrals on Facebook. I will only work with someone I know. I don’t trust any strangers because for all I know, the thief could offer to “help”.
About Shonda Bourn:
I contacted Shonda on Facebook when I discovered the original theft of An Unlikely Place for Love took place. Back then, this thief went back the name “Leon Publishing”. I tried to find the other narrator this thief conned into making A Most Unsuitable Earl, but I was unable to.
Anyway, Shonda and I got along, and I decided to let her do some of my books. I got the right to claim my book (An Unlikely Place for Love) on ACX, and we decided we’d take the files she had created and do a royalty share agreement. I’m still in the process of listening to this book. I have not “okayed” it for publication. When I do, I’ll let you know on this site.
So the thief downloaded the files from ACX that Shonda had done, and he stole those and used them to upload the audiobook everywhere else. He did not have her permission. He is in violation of a contractual agreement with her. He did the same with the other narrator, but I’m unable to tell this other narrator what happened to her. I did notify Shonda.
To all narrators:
I realize this is as upsetting to you as it is to me. It’s getting to the point where it’s impossible to know who you can trust and who you can’t. I’m just one author. I am doing what I can to warn other authors of this stuff by sharing my experience on this blog and on Facebook. I am going to be as loud and obnoxious about this as I can be to help spread the word.
I just want to plead with the narrators reading this to double check to make sure you are in contact with the actual author of the book you’re being asked to make into audio. I know there are sites that make it super easy for thieves to con narrators into making audiobooks. ACX is one of them. But there are apparently other sites thieves can use to con narrators into producing audiobooks for a royalty-share option. I think another is Audio Unleashed, but I’m not 100% sure. There is another one, but I can’t think of it off the top of my head. All I’m saying is that if you’re on a site that does royalty-share, be extra careful.
These thieves never pay. They want everything for free. That is the first warning sign. I offered Shonda a paying deal, but she wanted royalty-share. I did, however, create a pay per hour agreement with Stevie Zimmerman. I was willing to pay upfront. I realize not every author can afford to offer this. I’m just asking to be extra careful before entering into a contract with someone who puts a book up to be auditioned. This may be a thief.