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.
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.
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