John Havel at the The Hustle tried to expose how scam artists can game the Kindle bestseller list to make money…by being a scam artist himself. Literally, he plagiarised Australian author Anna Cleary, and The Hustle is sidestepping criticism without issuing a formal apology.
I was randomly looking through my Twitter feed this morning when I came across this article in The Hustle. (That link goes to an archived copy to minimise page views for the website, but if you really must see the original page, it’s here. However, it won’t be the same as the archived version. I’ll talk about that in a sec.)
According to writer John Havel, he
…ripped off a free book that I found online, made up a middle-aged author from Ohio, and then played Amazon like a fuckin’ vintage banjo to become the #1 ranked book in not one, but two separate categories.
The book happened to be Untamed Billionaire, Undressed Virgin by Aussie author Anna Cleary. I reached out to Cleary to confirm that she was unaware of the experiment prior to the article being published. Cleary first found out about the article this morning through another author, who apparently was so upset on her behalf that Cleary couldn’t work out what she was saying at first. Cleary was shocked when she learned what had happened. She hasn’t received an apology or explanation either from John Havel or The Hustle.
Before I go into my rant about The Hustle piece, I wanted to showcase Cleary’s book first, so I asked her to tell us a bit about Untamed Billionaire, Undressed Virgin:
Untamed Billionaire, Undressed Virgin
Mills & Boon | 9781742783468 (Aus) | 9781426832437 (US) | Extract
I loved writing this book! It’s a story about a quiet, intuitive young woman, one Sophy Woodruff, whose adoptive family have moved overseas while she remains in Sydney. At work one day, she accidentally sees for the first time her biological father, a silver fox with powerful old-Sydney connections. Thrilled at the chance of a relationship with her original family, Sophy contacts the old boy. Mysteriously, soon after she makes contact, an intriguing stranger, this tall, dark, annoyingly well-built guy with brooding eyes and the devil in his grin, moves into the office next door to hers and introduces himself as Connor O’Brien, lawyer. Thing is, Sophy doesn’t believe he’s a lawyer. But he’s a helluva good kisser!
Amazon | iTunes | Kobo | Library
The title is no longer in print, but you can find the ebook edition at your favourite Harlequin backlist bookseller!
Now, onto the rant…
Havel selected Untamed Billionaire, Undressed Virgin because he was looking for some very specific characteristics in order to maximise the chances of his fake-book making it to Amazon’s bestseller lists:
Read the rest of this post.