Edie Bryant, Hayden Hunt, and How to Turn One Novel Into Two By Changing the Pronouns

Edie Bryant, Hayden Hunt, and How to Turn One Novel Into Two By Changing the Pronouns Amazon Self-Pub

Authors are always trying to get more books written faster. It's not just that more titles equals more sales, but also that Amazon's algorithms reward authors who publish the most often. That's why some authors have adopted release cycles as short as eight weeks, or even a month.

Nothing compares to the author I just heard about today.

First noticed by @ease_dropper on Twitter, Edie Bryant and Hayden Hunt are a pair of authors who write very similar books in different romance genres. Hunt has been publishing m/m romance since mid-2016, while Bryant has been publishing f/f romance since mid-2017.

There is very little to connect the two - aside from the fact their books are virtually identical.

Yes, identical.

An as yet unknown author has adopted the practice of re-publishing their m/m (male/male) romance novels as f/f (female/female) romance novels. They take one of their books, and do a find/replace on the character names (Noah becomes Natalie, Charlie becomes Christine, etc) then the pronouns are gender-swapped, and the "new" book is given a new title, cover, and blurb.

Once all this is done, the "new" book is published in the Kindle Store for $3.99 or $4.99, and added to Kindle Unlimited, with what is fundamentally the same story as before.

For example, if you like romances about cops, why not look at Dog Days and Puppy Love:

Or, maybe you prefer the main character to be a boxer, in which case try Her Prime and Savage:

And here is Her Shot vs Homerun:

But wait, there's more.

Not only have these two pen names published the same stories in different subgenres, apparently there is also a third pen name. My Twitter source also discovered that two of the titles were originally published as m/f romance under the pen name Aimee Alesi. You can't buy them, but you can find them on Goodreads with blurbs, covers, and titles that match two Hunt books.

It is not clear to this blogger what the game plan is here. The two pen names appear to be mid-ranked authors with so-so sales and okay reviews for their books. If the plan is just to sell more books then one would think launching an ad campaign for the original author would be the better investment (this can pay off).

The stories are all rather short - about 140 to 160 pages each - and each book includes a couple excerpts to pad out the page count.  The excerpts account for 30% to 40% of a book's length, thus putting the books in violation of Kindle Unlimited rules (but since the books aren't stuffed by the standard of KU cheaters, I'd let this point slide).

If you can figure out the trick, please let me know.

One thing I do know is that this practice is completely against Amazon's rules. In 2011 Amazon banned PLR ebooks, a practice where you (and 50 other people) license the rights to resell someone's book, edit it to make it look semi-original, and then publish the book under a new pen name and new title.

The trick described in the above post is virtually identical to PLR ebooks, which is why it is a surprise that Amazon was unable to detect the duplicate ebooks today when they were able to do that back in 2011.

If Amazon didn't see this, what else do you think they are missing?

image by hayleyoturner

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

12 Comments

  1. So many things are against Amazon’s rules but Amazon it seems isn’t the least bothered unless their is huge public outcry, and often condones the abuse.

    Today I received an email promoting “featured” Kindle titles, half of which are abusing the guidelines on titles and sub-title.

    On any given day many of the top 100 on Amazon UK (Amazon US takes the rules more seriously) will have subtitles clearly in violation of the guidelines. Reporting these titles through the proper channels makes no difference whatsoever.

    Many are UK Big Pub titles. Many more are big name indies. Both know the rules exist. Both ignore the rules because by doing so they can bring in more sales and Amazon will look the other way.

    Reply
  2. Matron28 June, 2018

    It’s not just Hayden Hunt. Check out Harper Logan and HL Logan.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder29 June, 2018

      Can you point to some examples? I’m not seeing any obvious similarities.

      https://amzn.to/2Ktzz1F
      https://amzn.to/2KyGmXU

      Reply
      1. Matron29 June, 2018

        Kindle edition seems to be down, but Our Renunion is also Reunited, which is totally down on Amazon. If you look on Goodreads, even the names are the same- author used the gender neutral “Taylor” and shortened Eli to El.
        https://www.amazon.com/Our-Reunion/dp/B0784TVMZV/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

        https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34320809.Reunited__Reunited_Book_1_

        The Homiemoon = The Bunniemoon

        Novel Love = Fairytale

        Real Love = Starstruck

        My Leading Man = In Her Spotlight

        Stray Hearts = Lost Hearts

        Baby Daddies = Baby Mommas

        These are just the ones I matched up last night on GR before I became bored and fed up. Blurbs are identical, and the look inside feature is identical, just names and he/she changed. They do seem to have a disclaimer at the start of the FF books, that they are adapted from an MM book, but the only adapting I’m seeing is gender. And looking today, a lot of these (maybe all, I didn’t check them all) are gone today from Amazon, so if you want to compare blurbs, it’s best to check out Goodreads instead.

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder29 June, 2018

          Wow, this one is even lazier! Thanks!

          Reply
  3. Mike Quick29 June, 2018

    It is amazing how Nate keeps track of so many tricks and changes in publishing. Soon, Amazon will probably have robots legally rewriting books (or, maybe they already started!). Mark Twain will be rolling in his grave.

    Reply
    1. Marilynn Byerly29 June, 2018

      Emily Grant Hutchings supposedly took dictation via a spirit board (Ouija board) from Mark Twain and published the results, a novel called JAP HERRON. His daughters sued her for the profits and won. It was a terrible novel. If that didn’t make him roll over, nothing would.

      Reply
  4. Marilynn Byerly29 June, 2018

    In the glory days of novel porn, pre-computers, authors would literally cut and paste bits of their earlier novels to create new novels. Hair colors, names, and other identifiers were rarely changed. So things really haven’t changed that much.

    In these new novels, considerably more than pronouns and names need to be changed. Sex scenes would be more than a little weird if male and female body parts were assigned to the wrong gender.

    Reply
    1. Shocked and Appalled30 June, 2018

      Body parts assigned to the wrong gender? That’s more than just a little bit transphobic, don’t you think?

      After all, in the real world we can just change a name and a pronoun and do a little bit of editing and then the story is about a woman instead of a man, or a man instead of a woman. It just seems so mean-spirited for you to complain about it when it’s a fictional character.

      Reply
  5. Edie Sweet1 July, 2018

    What bothers me about the hue and cry over this is… artists have been remixing and reproducing their work forever. Fine artists. Fashion designers. Pretty much any musician ever (hello remixes!). Marvel regularly wipes canon down to the ground and rebuilds the same characters in similar-but-tweaked ways. Creatives are allowed to recreate their own work, put a new spin on it, or barely any spin at all, and make it available for sale all over again. It’s our work. If we want to re-write it, chop it up, change genders, do an alternate-universe version, whatever we want. It’s our creative intellectual property.

    Repurposing art drives down the cost of production, making the creation of art more financially sustainable. The cost of a mirrored book is almost the same as the original – new cover, new editing/proof reading, new formatting + time to mirror & write new scenes which can be substantial. When the average author is making way less than 25k a year, I can’t buy with people saying “ewwww greedy authors!!!” These people are writing in f/f – a small niche pool of readers to begin with. I don’t blame any f/f author from doing a gender swap and publishing as m/m or even m/f in order to pay the rent. While yeah, I’d like those authors to be open and transparent about it… well. Guess what happens in m/m fandom when anyone tries to put a m/f relationship or god forbid a f/f relationship into the books? Mmm, delicious delicious anti-woman “ewww vagina” comments begin to trot out. So I don’t blame any author from NOT disclosing “hey I wrote this story into a f/f book over here!! Come check it out!!!” given how much m/m readers seem to dislike the vag… or at least the vocal ones do anyway!

    Amazon has a 30% new content rule – if you’re replacing a few sex scenes, and other pertinent scenes, that’s only 15,000 new words on a 50k story – an easy mark to hit if you’re changing things up and writing new sex scenes.

    I know authors who mirror – and most of them (every single one that I know of) is LGBTQ+, queer, some of them are trans or ENBY. Most of m/m readers? Cishet. So literally the cishets are oppressing the queers for writing their own damn stories. Not cool.

    I get people feel weird about it – but here’s something fun: if it’s not breaking TOS, it’s allowed. Mirroring and reproducing artwork and books has a long, storied, history. It’s been done forever. It’s not a scam. It’s not a fraud. They are not trying to trick the average m/m reader into paying new $ for the same book written as f/f. They’re trying to reach a new audience, lower the cost of their production, and keep food on the table.

    Making a living as an author is hard, and I can preeeeetty much guarantee that in some cases mirroring is the only way to make certain niche books sustainable to publish.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder1 July, 2018

      TBH I don’t care either way; I just thought this was a juicy story.

      “Amazon has a 30% new content rule”

      What is your source for that claim?

      Reply
  6. Shirley Masters28 July, 2018

    And also, who cares? Isn’t variety the spice of life (and capitalism)? Do I complain when I go to a clothing store that has a ladies’ shirt in the same pattern as a guy’s shirt? No. Usually I WISH there was a ladies’ shirt in the same pattern, if anything.

    Reply

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