Home » Copyright/Intellectual Property » Standing Against Plagiarism

Standing Against Plagiarism

7 August 2014

From author Rachel Anne Nunes:

My life was torn apart this weekend when it came to light that an anonymous author on the Internet, who is known only by a logo and a fake name, had plagiarized my novel, A Bid for Love (formerly entitled Love to the Highest Bidder), which is the first of a trilogy.

. . . .

I finished my novel in late 1996, and it first came out in August 1998. It was actually the second novel accepted by my publisher, but they made me write two sequels to my first novel before they released A Bid for Love (then called Love to the Highest Bidder).

After being advised of infringement on my copyright, I waited a few days to see if Mullens would explain herself. When she didn’t, I searched for her email and sent off a direct message, asking for an explanation and the ARC, in the hopes of verifying that it wasn’t copied. I also sent a few of the reviewers a query asking them to either read my novel to verify if what I’d heard was true or to send me an ARC.

. . . .

[A] follow up from the same reviewer: Rachel I have had quick skim through your story A Bid For Love and I agree that your concerns are warranted. The similarities between The Auction Deal and A Bid for Love are too many for me not to conclude that The Auction Deal may not be an original work.

Reviewer #2: I received an email today stating the author cancelled the book tour, this may be why. I don’t mind reading your book and letting you know if it seems plagiarized to me . . . I am sure this is why the tour was unexpectedly cancelled, this promoter doesn’t even have an explanation.

. . . .

Reviewer #3: Hi Rachel. I have to tell you that at first I blew off this message . . . I then looked up your book and realized that they seem very similar. The author has since stated that she will not be publishing “her” book. I am going to remove my review of The Auction Deal. I am terribly saddened that your book has been plagiarized. You have a great story. I do have to say that I read this authors first two books and this one was nothing like the first two, I was surprised but thought maybe she had expanded her writing. Anyways I will be removing the review.

. . . .

When Mullens heard of my contacting the reviewers directly, she immediately requested that all the reviewers delete the ARC.

Link to the rest at Rachel Anne Nunes and thanks to Sariah for the tip.

Here’s a link to Rachel Anne Nunes’ books

Copyright/Intellectual Property

89 Comments to “Standing Against Plagiarism”

  1. Thanks for sharing this – I hope everyone takes the time to read Rachel’s full post.

  2. Rachel is one of my good friends and I’ve been watching this unfold with horror and sympathy. I can’t believe the dishonesty that exists out there!

    How do we prevent this sort of thing from happening? I don’t know that it’s possible. 🙁

    • It’s not possible, although plagiarism detection algorithms will get more and more sophisticated. Ten years from now, it’s entirely possible that KDP et al will just automagically reject such books. That won’t stop people from “writing” them and sending them to reviewers, though, so the part of this story that actually happened (as opposed to what could have happened) is essentially unstoppable.

  3. What kills me is this author and her sock puppets keep pleading for the matter to be taken care of “privately.” Sorry, when you put it out in public, it will be dealt with publicly. Plagiarism is something the indie community has to take a stand against.

    Rachel is a fantastic indie author, very helpful to her community, and a great person. She doesn’t deserve the vitriol being spewn her way by an angry mob.

    This story is so bizarre that if this were a work of fiction, no one would believe it.

  4. I have been watching this unfold and been scandalized by it. It’s frightening that someone could slip in and steal something I’ve worked so hard on and then claim it for their own. A cautionary tale, for sure, and one that I hope forces Amazon to start using plagiarizing software. It’s available. Other publishing sites use it.

    • I agree, Donna. Anyone can self-publish. If Amazon used plagiarizing software, it might help.

    • Free-range Oyster

      Donna, what sites do use anti-plagiarism software? I was not aware that any did. That’s a practice worth supporting!

      • I understand that Smashwords does, and I’m thinking I heard Scribd does too. I thought there was one other mentioned, but I can’t find anything in my email trash.

        • Amazon only uses plagiarism checking to the extent that the text is taken from free sources on the internet. Funny how they will tell people they can’t publish something offered for free on the internet but won’t check for infringement on another authors work.

  5. Writing can be a lonely profession on a day-to-day basis, but when writers are cheated, abused, or plagiarized, they band together pretty quickly.

    Rachel Ann Nunes has published some 46 books, was instrumental in forming two different large writers groups–one for traditional authors and another for indies–and has truly been a mainstay in the LDS writing community.

    That is why she could not afford to let this new Indie author, “Sam Mullens,” simply get away with out and out plagiarism without at least an official apology and an end to all the lies. That is also why we have rallied to her side.

  6. I agree with Sariah, this story is so utterly bizarre that it would be unbelievable in fiction. Ms. Nunes has truly contributed to the author and indie author communities, starting two separate, prominent support groups for authors, helping many other indie authors, presenting at indie conferences, and so much more. And to be victimized in this way? I stand with her, too!

    (PS–PG–check “plagiarism” in the post title)

  7. Really sorry this happened to her. I suspect plagiarism happens more than we know because people are people.

    But if I were in her shoes, I would simply have hired an attorney to send out some cease and desist letters instead of involving myself in email exchanges with the plagiarist and her reviewers.

    THEN and only then would I have publicly said “Hey this happened and here’s what I did about it”.

    • I think Rachel was hoping to avoid legal proceedings and just wanted to verify that the ARC was plagiarized from her story. Then all these bizarre lies and twists started happening – and the plagiarizing author was lying to bloggers and reviewers about what was going on. I think Rachel needed to get the truth out.

      • Sadly, and I say this as a student of human nature, anyone who is immoral enough to copy and paste plagiarize a book and put it on Amazon, is probably someone you don’t want to engage in dialog with because they are likely to harass you (or put their friends up to it). If this was the first crazy story I’d heard about exactly this kind of thing over the last 5 years, it would be different – but this has happened before, and it’s been just as weird before.

        I would far rather the “stop now or else” come from an attorney than me personally.

        • Hopefully that’s where Rachel will go with it now. I don’t think she’s ever encountered anything like this before, and wanted to give Mullens the benefit of the doubt.

        • Believe us, it was a hard lesson learned by all. The attorneys will be the first one sought the next time around. And sadly, there probably WILL be a next time.

    • If you don’t know the true identity of the author, and the author refuses to give her real name or address, could the cease and desist letter be sent through email?

      • Unless the person is an excellent hacker (which doesn’t sound like the case), Rachel can track the IP address and who it belongs to, or hire someone to help her.

        • Unless Ms Mullens owns a large company or is very technologically sophisticated (owns her own IP block, in other words), tracing her IP address will just point you to the ISP that she was using at the time. ISPs keep records of which IP address is allocated to which customer, but they’re not supposed to release that information to third parties without a warrant or a subpoena.

          If Ms Mullens owns her own domain (plausible if she’s trying to make money from writing), the WHOIS database might have a real-world address that belongs to her, but most entries in there nowadays have the contact details blanked out, since spammers started mining the database.

          • So what do you suggest instead, Steven?

            • I’m not sure that there is a legal way to get Ms Mullens’ address if she doesn’t want you to have it, other than persuading the police to investigate or filing a Jane Doe lawsuit against her (see my comment further down the thread). The police don’t care about plagiarism, but now that this seems to have crossed into harassment, they might take an interest.

              Though if you’re not intending to sue, I’m not sure there’s much you can do (lawfully) if you have her address that you can’t do without it.

      • My understanding is that cease and desist letters are not formal legal documents, and so could be sent by any means of communication. Email doesn’t guarantee delivery, and so the infringer could claim they never got it, but they could say the same about a letter in the post.

        Amazon will look into cases of alleged plagiarism and copyright infringement. If they decide in your favour, they’ll take the offending book down and, at their discretion, will confiscate any royalties they were going to pay to the offender and give them to you.

        If you want to punish the offender further, most jurisdictions allow you to file a lawsuit against an unknown or anonymous defendant. You then subpoena someone who (you believe) knows the defendant’s identity to compel them to reveal it. This person would usually be a retailer or publisher. In other words, follow the money.

    • I wouldn’t want to pay lawyer fees without at least doing my homework first.

  8. So sorry to see this happen to a fellow author.

  9. If anyone wants to compare the two works, Thirty Second Reviews is posting the books side by side on her FB page.

    https://www.facebook.com/thirtysecondreviews

  10. That’s about as low as you can go. If someone copyied my work, it would result in my owning their home, car, and bank account.

    Of course, I wouldn’t receive any of it…but my attorney would! (No offense intended to any attorneys that might be running a “passive” site…) 😉

  11. Sheri Dew in the LDS church, yes? What does she have to do with any of this?

    This is such a bizarre story.

    • Rachel contacted several reviewers of Mullens’s rip off to ask for the ARCs so she could compare. Reviewer #4 (not copied in PG’s text, above) went off the deep-end and started accusing Rachel of the being a troll, etc., threatening to spread the word about her “bad behavior” (i.e., standing up for her work), and contacting “her aunt” Sheri Dew to also spread the word.

      Sheri Dew was asked about that, denied any such relationship, and didn’t know what the reviewer was talking about.

      Rachel rather diplomatically said that this reviewer (and another) might “be more emotionally invested” in Mullens’s work. Uh, yeah. As in, one of them is Mullens!

  12. What an absolute rat. Screw you, Mullens.

  13. Since the plageurized book isn’t for sale, yet, Mrs. Nunes may have no legal recourse for financial compensation. The plageurized book may sit in fan fiction territory as far as the law in concerned.

    I’m no lawyer, but I don’t think Mrs. Nunes has experienced any actual damages.

    • She did publish the book for sale in the UK at least. She had intended to do it here, but the plagiarism was discovered before she could.

    • Mrs. Nunes has images from the Amazon UK site, with the Mullen book for sale there. The book has since been taken down, but it was published and for sale at one point.

    • The emotional damages are more significant, Mr. Fox, than the financial would ever have been. And the plagiarized book is still up on Goodreads as of ten minutes ago.

    • Richard, learn copyright. If things are done right with registration, she would not have to prove damages in copyright law, just the link to theft, which is this case is clear. Mrs Nunes should get a good IP attorney on this.

      • The good thing about copyright registration is statutory damages. Think of them as automatic, like a fine, you don’t have to prove the actual number. Good catch Dean.

    • And now Mullens’ minions are attacking Rachel via Amazon by trolling with negative one-star reviews.

  14. I just read the entire ordeal on Rachel’s blog. Wow. Good for her for taking a stand against this. At least she has material for her new book, “The Plagiarist: A True Story”. 😉

  15. I feel sorry for the author whose work was plagiarized. Good luck trying to get a straight answer from the plagiarist. Her behaviour does not surprise me. Anyone who would do this is plain out a sociopath (psychopath / has antisocial personality disorder) and is only upset that they were caught out. The story-spinning about being the niece who originally thought up the idea but is unable to reveal her true identity to prove it due to being a Mormon and being excommunicated, etc, etc. is totally classic. Extravagant lie on top of extravagant lie with duped fangirls to fight her battles. Have seen it in action several times.

    There is NO WAY to plagiarize another person’s novel unknowingly or innocently. Anyone who would plagiarize another person’s novel willingly and knowingly is a sociopath to one degree or another.

    Taking a stand against plagiarism like this is really futile, sadly, and only reinforces the moral revulsion we normal folk feel for this kind of behaviour. It has no effect on plagiarists because they’re warped. These people will not stop because of any stand we take for they believe the rules don’t apply to them. The only thing they fear is getting caught and as long as the internet is as huge and impersonal as it currently is, they will keep plagiarizing and getting away with it.

  16. I read Rachel’s full blog post. It’s a shocking story, and I’m glad she’s strong enough to take a stand. The sad thing is, this is taking her time and energy away from her family and her writing. I can only imagine the stress she’s undergoing.

    As Rachel has said, everyone knows who SHE is. The plagiarist, on the other hand, is totally anonymous and hell bent on staying that way.

    Thank heavens that Rachel was alerted. Kudos to the bloggers who let her know what was happening to her work.

    It’s a horrible thing to happen to any author. I feel for her that she has to go through this. We can only hope that the plagiarizer goes away, and that in years to come, Rachel will be able to look back at this and laugh.

  17. When it comes to things like this, I wonder if Amazon or Google or one of the tech companies will be developing some kind of bot for it in the future. Identical content can be traced very easily by a bot.

    There are several tools on the net that can determine ‘similar content’ by a percentage ratio, so even a search and replace on the content can’t disguise plagiarized content from them.

    Since you can’t really steal a plot line or an idea, it is just the words in a certain order that belong to the author, and those can be traced to an original source very easily online.

    I would really like to see one of the upload checks on KDP (for example) to be a bot running over the book for ‘similar content’. It would weed out anything plagiarized before it even got to the publishing stage. If that content already existed, the publisher would have to prove their right to publish it. That would put an end to authors getting harmed like this.

    I don’t know why Amazon don’t use this already. Tools like Similar Page Checker have been around for years for website content, so the technology exists. It just needs implementing.

    Here’s the link to similar page checker: http://www.webconfs.com/similar-page-checker.php

    I don’t know how useful it will be in this case because it’s built for duplicate website content, but that kind of system could be adapted to track down stolen content before it gets published.

    On a side note: Google already implement this kind of bot in their search results. Duplicate websites are punished by being thrown out of the search engine automatically. They have been for years, so I suspect that it’s not a great stretch to do the same for an ebook, which is basically a website in a zip folder.

    And, as someone who had to rewrite duplicate copy for thousands of holiday websites who all used content from the same brochure (legally), it’s harder to rewrite duplicate content than it is to write original content. If the vendors used a duplicate content bot, it’d put an end to people stealing other people’s books because it would be easier to write a new book than it would be to steal someone else’s.

    • It wouldn’t surprise me if Amazon are already using a tool like Similar Page Checker, and this book was just different enough from the original to squeak past it.

      Though Similar Page Checker asks for two URLs, and tells you how similar they are. I would’ve thought that if you’d already found a page that you thought was similar to one of yours, it would be fairly obvious whether it was copied in whole or in part.

      What you’re asking for is a tool that can answer the question “Is this page (or this book) similar to any other page (or book) that I already know about?” which is a much more computationally intensive problem to solve. Given that the current situation, where someone copies a whole book and goes to some lengths to hide the fact, seems to be fairly rare, it’s not clear to me that it would be worth the programmer time to develop a tool to answer the question or the cost of a massive server farm to run it. If either book becomes popular, sooner or later someone will notice and start asking awkward questions.

      • Similar Page Checker is mostly used to check that two of your own pages are not duplicate because you want them both to appear in Google’s search results. It’s a website optimization tool for getting your site into Google, rather than for catching stolen content.

        But a similar bot with different variables would be just as effective. Google’s bot, which hunts down duplicate content, looks at it on a sentence by sentence level. It also looks at how many instances of certain words appear, how many words are similar to other words, how many sentences are similar to other sentences etc. There are basically so many variables that they can use, it would be impossible to plagiarize under the right criteria.

        On Google’s current duplicate content bot for search, it’s impossible to use the same content without a complete rewrite from scratch. It would work perfectly for catching stolen books because you can’t ‘search and replace’ your way out of it. You have to create unique content to get past it.

        My theory is that if someone has to write a whole new book to cover their tracks, then congratulations. They’ve just written their first original book.

        I do suspect that Amazon are already implementing this kind of bot though. They spell check at KDP now. It’s likely that scanning for other things happens at the same time. If it doesn’t, it should do.

        • I’m not saying Amazon couldn’t do it; I’m just questioning the ROI if they did. Though I suppose the PR value of “we will catch anyone who tries to submit a plagiarised version of your book to KDP” could be considerable…

          Then, too, Google must be indexing and searching at least a couple of orders of magnitude more information than is in the KDP store, so it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for Amazon to do the same.

          • True, I don’t know if it would be financially viable. But Google have been using it since 2005, and it doesn’t benefit them financially to do it. It improves their reputation.

            Basically, if someone spammed up the same website a hundred times and took over their search results, what they delivered to searchers would be ‘low quality content’. So, since around 2005, the Google bot has been hunting down duplicate content as part of the main Google algorithm.

            Amazon would be facing the same dilemma. Too many plagiarized books, and the reader will be receiving spam rather than high quality content. Assuming the cost isn’t too high, and I doubt it is since the algorithm they need has been around since at least 2005, then it would benefit Amazon to implement it into their system.

            They’re constantly adding new scanning tools to KDP, so I don’t think they’d find it a great stretch to add a similar content checker to their system. The only pain in the a** part might be how the system is set up for scanning books. Once they can scan one book with the bot, it can spend a year slowly going through every book in their system if it wanted to.

      • You really ought to check the compared pages.

        https://www.facebook.com/thirtysecondreviews/posts/872610322769060

        • I can’t read those images. They’re way too small. But using excerpts from the author’s website:

          A duplicate content checker would catch this:

          “The bathroom lights above the double sink reflected”

          That’s just from one random paragraph where the content matches. A bot could flag it up as a potential duplication. If more instances of duplication appeared, it would become a high-risk book.

          You can take any section of text and exact match it. No two sentences are ever exactly the same, which means that a plagiarist needs to write their own sentences to make a copy, which will force them to write their own book.

    • I know Amazon kind of does something like this already. I had a free version of one of my ebooks available on my blog. When I updated the Kindle version, I got an email from Amazon informing me that a free version existed (I think they even provided a link to my blog) and would I please verify rights?

      I did. Everything’s been fine ever since.

      I appreciate Amazon’s other checkers. I think one that checks for plagiarism is an interesting idea and worth researching.

      • That’s great news. It looks like they check for duplicate content online already. Now, they just need to check for it in their own books. I suspect if they don’t already, they will do soon enough :).

  18. I’m sorry Rachel that this happened. There are some terrible people out there, and at the same time, there are some good and honest people like the ones who brought this story to light. They had courage despite the threat to their careers–and THAT has my respect. Who knows how many of our books are being plagiarized out there, but I hope that we will take a stand every time that we find it happening. It is the only way to fight theft.

  19. Thank you for this post. It is important that the word get out. Plagiarism as I’ve seen in side-by-side screenshots online between the two books mentioned here should never be allowed to happen. Thank you to everyone who’s taken a stand against this atrocity.

  20. I blame the sorry state of American education, particularly below college level. It is very possible (occam’s razor in play) that the people involved do not understand even the basics of copyright protection and infringement, why they exist and why breaking such laws is a Bad Thing – and, I might add, a sin if you’re the sort of person who identifies closely with a strict religious tradition.

    Consider that the offender took a published work and added the one thing that she knew something about – sex. In order to add real content she would have had to have some education and/or experience such that she would have a clearer understanding of the linkage between morality and law in society, among other things.

    Short answer: some stupid person.

    Who, I will edit this to add, is now s******* a few bricks after learning some new things, thus the BS she slung Rachel’s way.

    Actually, I’ll half take this back. “sam taylor mullens” has a pretty significant internet presence. This person knows, or should know better. Call the lawyer.

    • I taught school and can assure you that plagiarism results in a failing grade and can result in suspension or expulsion in almost all schools. And really ethics should be taught at home first.

    • Most schools below college have very strict rules about plagiarism just as colleges do. Suspension, failure, and expulsion are all normal punishment. Failure in moral choices shouldn’t be blamed on teachers. This woman made a choice that wasn’t taught to her in school and I’m definite that her creative writing instructors would not be happy with the story she’s concocted to cover it up either.

    • Meh. She/they know exactly what they’re doing. They’re savvy enough to have enough sock puppets and trolls to combat Rachel’s attempts to set the story straight (check out some of the more vocal defenders of Mullens on https://www.facebook.com/thirtysecondreviews). They simply got caught and are backpedaling to save the whole house from falling down.

    • It’s happened in Germany as well. In one case a bestselling author had several of her novels plagiarized. In another a bestselling novel was plagiarizing a blog (look for Helene Hegemann, despite the fact that she plagirized her first novel, she’s still publishing and the darling of the lit-scene)

      And then there were several cases where German politicians (!) plagiarized their PhD-thesis. The most well-know one is Karl-Theodor von Guttenberg, the master of cody&paste.

      So you can’t really blame the American school-system ;-).

    • I’m a teacher, and I make sure my students know what plagiarism is, and the serious consequences of choosing to plagiarize. If they choose to go ahead and plagiarize anyway despite what I’ve taught them, it isn’t because they haven’t been taught better, it’s because they choose not to be moral and ethical. Teachers can only do so much; they can’t control people’s choices. Most likely Mullens knew what she was doing was wrong, but she probably just thought she could get away with it. ‘My audience is not the same as mollymormon Nunes’ audience, so no one will ever see the connection.’ kind of thinking, quite likely.

  21. It would be interesting to see if her other books are original as well. She hasn’t shut down her pinterest account, including a section for the book.

    Here’s a coming soon:

    http://alisonjsbookblog.com/2014/07/01/coming-soon-the-auction-deal-sam-taylor-mullens/

    and a cached review:

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fsinfulthoughtsbookblog.com%2F2014%2F07%2F17%2Freview-of-the-auction-deal-by-sam-taylor-mullens%2F

    and a removed review: (props to this)

    http://thirtysecondreviews.blogspot.com/2014/08/updated-plagiarism-post.html

    And an author profile, in case you wondered what she looks like:

    http://www.turningthepagesllc.com/

    https://www.facebook.com/SamTaylorMullensStreetTeam?ref=ts&fref=ts

    geez. I’m gonna go take a shower now.

  22. I feel for her..that is horrifying. And the vicious way it came back from her minions (or her other email addresses pretending to be minions) just makes it worse. How low can a person go?

    But here’s the kicker…she still has a GR page and the book is still there…along with two other recently published books of hers.

    I wonder if there is another author or two out there who might not have been copied?

  23. Thank you everyone for your sympathetic comments. I’ve contacted my attorney and also our state attorney general’s office. It seems that this is far from over, though. I’ve just received 9 one-star reviews on my books on Amazon–all from the same person (http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A2HQDJ3EWM5IOQ/ref=cm_pdp_rev_all?ie=UTF8&sort_by=MostRecentReview). But upward and onward!

    • Hi, I have commented on your blog about that as it seems pretty obvious who is behind those new bad reviews.

    • What a despicable person. She will get what’s coming to her.

    • So here’s some drama for you today:
      My friend and I wrote some reviews of Christian romance books. The author obviously didn’t like them and put screenshots of them everywhere she could possibly have posted it. I only read her books because she asked me to read one of your books and then it led to another and another. My mom had some on her bookshelf when I was visiting her. Sorry my friend and I are fast readers who posted when we had internet access during our road trip. Then, the author has issues with another author and had the audacity of blaming an indie author for writing the reviews. OMG!
      Let me back up. I received an ARC (advance reader copy) and posted my review early on Goodreads. The author suspected it was like her book written 15 years ago and wanted me to give her the ARC. Well, ARC’s are not published works and are meant for my eyes only. Right? They should not be shared and definitely not sold. In fact, I’ve heard some Authors even alter their ARC’s so it’s not the final published version since ARC’s inevitably land on pirated sites.
      So, I guess this Christian author doesn’t like it when people won’t give her ARC’s or bad reviews. Hmmmm….now I know.

      • Jennifer,
        Let’s do a hypothetical. Let’s say YOU wrote a book, you spent months planning the plot, building the characters histories and writing the book. The book would become like a child to you, you would have a strong connection to it and its characters. Once its complete you publish it and it goes off into the world. Then one day someone contacts you and tells you they suspect the book you worked so hard on creating might have been plagiarized. Can you stop and think about how that would make you feel? Probably pretty violated, among many other things. When you start researching it you see there are reviews up, so of course the natural thing to do is contact those reviewers to see if you can get a copy of the PLAGIARIZED work so you can see for yourself if in fact your book had been stolen. There is NOTHING wrong with an author contacting a reviewer to see if HER work was stolen. There is nothing unethical or illegal about giving an ARC to an author who suspects their work was stolen. I would say its more unethical to withhold a book under those circumstances.

        And I have to say, if you truly were a “booklover” you would be siding with the victim, not the perpetrator.

      • Link to those reviews you say you wrote or I call “sock puppet.”

  24. I just found out about this, and it saddens me terribly. Rachel is a wonderful author, and a wonderful human being. I count her as one of my dearest friends. She doesn’t deserve this. This individual and her mob of sock puppet alter egos is out of line.

    I am incensed that someone would leave one star reviews, not because she honestly believes the books poorly written, but because she’s vengeful and cruel and- childish. Hormonal 13 years olds do that. Not freaking adults! She’s the one in the wrong. She is the one guilty of plagiarism. She should be groveling and begging forgiveness, not lashing out. Does she think she’ll fix things by acting like a jerk? Good grief!

    And there I was, feeling all sorry for myself just yesterday, not knowing what other people are dealing with. I’m so sorry this has happened, Rachel.

  25. This part on Rachel’s blog post caught my eye, especially the first paragraph:

    “As an Indie Author Sam helps promote other Indie Romance Writers and runs anti-bullying campaigns among book bloggers, reviewers, readers and Indie Authors on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, etc. Indie Publishing is a pretty cruel world and Sam has been the voice of reason and is highly respected.

    “Due to the manner in which you went about investigating the Advance Reader Copy of The Auction Deal has caused Sam to withdraw from the Indie Author Community, which is a shame. There will be a significant loss without her.”

    Does anybody know if any of these claims are true? I did a quick search, and didn’t see any real presence of this person on the web.

    Admittedly, my Google-fu isn’t the best, but if she’s been around doing all this, shouldn’t that come up on the first page? She has a barely-posted-on blog, a removed Facebook page, and a Twitter account where she seems to only post stuff about her own books. Other than a few places where her first book was listed, there’s not much of anything.

    As to that author photo, and the stuff she says about her family (two daughters, autistic son, etc.), where she lives (Colorado), if she’s hiding who she is and what she writes (smexy!), that’s all a lie anyway.

    But pity the poor plagiarist, and let’s keep this all hush-hush. ::::roll eyes::::

  26. If the author who is plagiarizing the books is anonymous and unknown, this could be a publicity stunt by the original author. Look at the publicity she is getting. Just saying.

    • Do you really think the original author would add “erotic” scenes to her own books, re-word at least a good portion of them (obviously not a lot, but some), then send them out for review, and start selling it? That sounds very out of character for someone who intentionally writes clean romance novels. Also, at least of of the reviewers that she quotes did confirm her story that she was trying to get a copy quietly for comparison before going public.

      I understand the cynicism, but in this case I don’t think this is the case.

    • I know the author in question and have known her for many years. I can personally vouch that she is not doing what you have suggested. I guess there’s no way to prove it to anyone, but that is so not what happened.

      • I have known her for years, too. Sariah is right. And I’m pretty sure Rachel is smart enough to know that someone trying such a stunt would likely be caught and exposed, and that would hurt her reputation. Rachel is well known enough that she doesn’t need to do something so unethical and risky for attention.

    • If the Amazon Reader who is posting is anonymous and unknown, this could be a sock puppet the plagiarizer is using to confuse the issue. Look at the lack of accountability. Just saying.

      • Well said, Matt!

        • So here’s some drama for you today:
          My friend and I wrote some reviews of Christian romance books. The author obviously didn’t like them and put screenshots of them everywhere she could possibly have posted it. I only read her books because she asked me to read one of your books and then it led to another and another. My mom had some on her bookshelf when I was visiting her. Sorry my friend and I are fast readers who posted when we had internet access during our road trip. Then, the author has issues with another author and had the audacity of blaming an indie author for writing the reviews. OMG!
          Let me back up. I received an ARC (advance reader copy) and posted my review early on Goodreads. The author suspected it was like her book written 15 years ago and wanted me to give her the ARC. Well, ARC’s are not published works and are meant for my eyes only. Right? They should not be shared and definitely not sold. In fact, I’ve heard some Authors even alter their ARC’s so it’s not the final published version since ARC’s inevitably land on pirated sites.
          So, I guess this Christian author doesn’t like it when people won’t give her ARC’s or bad reviews. Hmmmm….now I know.

          • “Jennifer” posted this same comment on her Facebook page today, the one where she has a fictional bio, profile pictures stolen from a young woman’s Instagram account, and her newest profile picture, lifted from an ad for sunglasses.

            This issue was never about reviews, as “Jennifer” is well aware.

            It’s about copyright infringement and blatant plagiarism, followed by the thief harassing the victim of that plagiarism with bogus 1-star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and ham-fisted attempts to smear her reputation.

            What’s hilarious is that “Jennifer” thinks her defense of Sam Taylor Mullens’ plagiarism has any credibility, especially in light of her fake accounts, sockpuppetry, and laughable attempts to deflect the focus away from Mullens.

            Now, ask yourself who has the most to gain from deflecting criticism away from Mullens….

          • There are always two sides to a story, very true. On one hand, we all want honest reviews, even if some of them are bad. I don’t think Rachel was complaining about getting bad reviews. It happens to all of us. On the other hand, plagiarism was just wrong and accountable to legal action (as is slander and libel if any reviews are posted in retaliation. Not saying this happened. Just saying it is also an illegal act in certain circumstances).

            Read the full account. It was for sale in the UK when this all blew up, so the novel wasn’t just in ARC form. I thought the way Thirty Second Reviews took care of the issue of the ARCs by asking for a copy of Rebecca’s novel-in-question and deciding for herself.

            At this point the issue is with lawyers. As a note, the ARCs in question could have been subpoena through the course of the legal investigation. So they would not have remained secret forever if the legal case gets to that stage. I’m not a lawyer, but it seems that the issuing of ARCs could constitute an intention to plagiarism for profit. In any case, time will tell what the true aspects of this story is as the facts are uncovered. So much is unknown that a lot is pure speculation, which doesn’t help the situation either.

            In the meantime, time for all us writers to get back to what we do best: write! 🙂

            • “There are always two sides to a story, very true.”

              Yes, but in this case, one side of the story keeps changing, and conflicts with the facts. And while there has been much speculation, more is known about this case than you’ve suggested.

              The facts that I can personally vouch for are:

              1. Rachel Ann Nunes (RAN) is the author of a book, A Bid for Love.

              2. Sam Taylor Mullens (STM) distributed ARCs for a book, The Auction Deal, that was virtually a word-for-word theft of A Bid For Love, with the exception of sex scenes clumsily inserted into the work.

              3. STM announced her intent to sell this work starting August 15th.

              4. When RAN discovered the infringement and asked for copies of the ARC for verification, STM panicked and tried to reclaim or delete all evidence of the ARC, including the deactivation of several social media profiles.

              5. When RAN obtained the ARC and announced that it was unquestionably a blatant infringement of her work, a number of fake accounts began libeling RAN and the bloggers who supported her.

              6. Immediately thereafter, those same fake accounts began leaving false 1-star reviews on all of Rachel’s books, in rapid succession.

              7. Administrators on both Amazon and Goodreads agreed that the book had been plagiarized, and removed the listings for The Auction Deal.

              A great deal of evidence is now in the hands of the attorneys, and this will all come out in the lawsuit. In the meantime, the evidence we do have unambiguously implicates the person behind the STM pseudonym.

              That same person continues to attack Rachel and misrepresent the facts through her fake accounts. But when the subpoenas arrive, she will be shocked and dismayed to learn that those fake accounts are not untraceable.

              And oh, how I would love to be there with a camera on that day!

  27. I now have the entire ARC, and everything the reviewers said is true. The entire plot, words. A complete violation. No wonder she wouldn’t send it to me. Does anyone know anything about FS Custom Book Cover Design. They are listed in the ARC.

    • I was looking up that name on Google, and didn’t find anything definitive. But I was just thinking, might that S actually be a 5? Just a thought. I didn’t find anything when I typed in a 5 either.

  28. Looked up the quotes on Goodreads from her other books, and they were also lifted. So sorry she chose you, Rachel. Maybe you can start a class action lawsuit with the other authors?

  29. Good luck on finding this person and taking her to court for her actions. Incredible gall to not only steal from you but then start coming after you and your supporters when you discovered her theft!

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