I'm going to do a thread here about Alexa Riley and Entangled because there is an aspect that is bothering me beyond "scammers get rewarded. If I get interrupted or sidelined, I'll be back.
Everyone knows that I've had a problem with this duo since I noticed weird, slightly tweaked similarities between one of my characters and one of theirs and then readers and authors came out of the woodwork to point out similarities between their stories and other authors'.
I'm a firm believer that one time is an accident, many times is on purpose, and there were *many* similarities pointed out. Then came the revelations of catfishing.
Readers came forward and said the duo had recommended "Alexa Riley" titles to them without disclosing that they were Alexa Riley. Authors came forward with disturbing stories about behind-the-scenes deception.
These things have all been open secrets. It is impossible to follow romance Twitter and not have heard of their first KU smackdown for book stuffing. They are infamous for this behavior.
[pause for puppy wrangling]
Another issue readers had was that these books were clearly ghost written. Though the authors themselves insist that they're simply fast writers who are dedicated to their craft or whatever, five books a month isn't realistic.
(This is NOT the time for "fast writers" to come explain to me why multiple books per week/month is totally achievable because you "write clean" and "don't need editing". I'm not interested.)
(The differences in quality and voice, pointed out by numerous readers, speaks for itself. I don't need a NOT ALL FAST WRITERS party in my mentions.)
Now, a lot of readers and authors (and now a publisher) who support them view these practices as "business savvy." Everyone who objects is a jealous hater who covet their deserved and hard-earned success, right?
Let's talk about how KU works. KU is a program in which subscribers pay, Amazon puts the profit from their subscription into a pot, and that pot is divided monthly between all the authors who list their books in the program.
In order to put their books in the KU program, authors must publish exclusively on Amazon. You must limit your books to readers who purchase on Amazon. You have to limit your readership and distribution to get a share of the KU pot.
Authors who enroll their books in KU do so with the express intention of making their money only from Amazon. The only profit they will see will be from sales of their book on Amazon and their share of the KU pot.
Before Alexa Riley got banned, they were one of the highest-paid KU authors. At their level, they were getting bonuses out the wazoo; rumor had it they were making five figures a month.
Where was that money coming from? The KU pot that was split between all the other KU authors. They received a larger share and larger bonuses because their titles got more "page reads" (which is what made them bookstuff in the first place).
They were finally banned for abusing this system. Yes, that was why they were banned. And yes, they were banned. I'm seeing a lot of people say, "Oh, this was part of their plan because they were launching with Entangled." No. It was not.
If it was, they would not have tweeted that a "glitch" had removed them. They would not have followed up with threats of their legal team going after Amazon. And they would not have self-published their books on other platforms if they knew they had this deal in the bag.
Anyone who has ever worked for or with Entangled knows that this publisher does a lot of shit last-minute (which is why I still don't buy the "these covers were done a year before Jenny's came out," bullshit from January BUT I DIGRESS).
This deal was not in-progress when AR suddenly disappeared from KU. They had finally broken the rules enough times that Amazon cut them loose.
Alexa Riley is a pair of scammers. And because their scams earned them a bigger chunk of the KU pie, other authors who were not scamming the system received a smaller share of the pot.
Alexa Riley STOLE from other authors. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, at least.
And now, Entangled Publishing has legitimized them by signing them. By announcing how thrilled they are with this deal. By tweeting celebratory gifs and fawning over this "acquisition" that is really just a ban evasion.
Imagine being a hybrid who is published with Entangled. A hybrid who self-publishes through KU, as well. And your publisher has just signed someone who stole from you every single month. For years.
By aligning themselves with Alexa Riley, Entangled isn't just helping them avoid the earned consequences of their scam. They're telling every author out there, "Fuck you, we got ours."
And yes, that's how publishing works. But this is one of the most blatant cases we've seen. This would be like if Harlequin had snapped up Jaid Black while Ellora's Cave wasn't paying authors, to toss out a hypothetical here.
Authors struggle to get paid. We get mad when they're stolen from. Why would anyone celebrate this? Why would anyone wish them well? Congratulate them? Why are authors who have been stolen from, readers who allegedly support authors they have stolen from, think this was great?
Alexa Riley are thieves and con-artists. Not because people are jealous haters. People were robbed and are now being told they're jealous that the thieves are so good at stealing. And that it's exciting that a publisher is going to help them recoup their loses from being caught.
Your money won't keep you cool in hell, Lea, Melissa, and Liz.
You can follow @Jenny_Trout.
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