Have you read Thirty-Five Shades of Grey? How about I Am the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? How about Steve Jobs—no, not the biography by Walter Isaacson, but the version by a guy named Isaac Worthington? The one that looks like it was cribbed from Wikipedia?
If you try to buy a popular best-seller from Amazon, double-check your purchase before clicking all the way through. It seems that the website sells books that have titles and author names that are deliberately similar to genuine best-sellers. That’s because they’re “written” (and I wish I could imply even more sarcasm than mere quotation marks will allow) by “authors” (there I go again) who are trying to jump on the self-publishing bandwagon.
Worse, they use CreateSpace, an Amazon service that makes it easy—apparently far too easy—to write and publish your book on the website with an air of legitimacy. The product details list CreateSpace as the publisher, so customers who aren’t paying attention might miss this clue that the books are, in fact, self published. (Amazon has removed the knock-off books listed above from the site, probably due to the bad publicity stirred up by articles like this one from Fortune, but you can still find them for sale elsewhere on the web.)
As I’ve said before, self-publishing is great, but not if it bypasses an editor. At the very least, a good editor can stop you from making an absolute fool of yourself as you try to dupe people into buying your book by accident.
Then again, maybe I’m missing the boat here. According to the Fortune article, Karen Peebles, the “author” of I Am the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, claims to have used CreateSpace to publish 10,000 books. Yes, ten thousand. (You can see some of them here, if you dare.)
If I hurry, I might be able to get I’m Not the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo up for sale by dinner.