So, I have a doppelgänger on Amazon…
I recently learned that another author is now selling erotica books on Amazon using the name Max Sebastian, so I thought I’d just pass on a little warning to any of you out there thinking I’ve suddenly started writing books about shape-shifters, and women seducing various animals including bears and wolves (okay, so I’m not into the whole shape-shifting thing, it might not actually involve bestiality, but even so…).
As far as I know, this started a few months ago, and so far there’s one book catchily titled “SHIFTER ROMANCE: Between Us (Alpha Shifter Menage Romance) (Shifter Romance, Demons, Angels, Devils, New Adult, Short Stories)” and another book entitled “SHIFTER ROMANCE: Mated by the Bears (Shifter Romance, Menage Romance, Alpha Male Romance Menage BBW Ghost) (Shifter Romance, Shapeshifter Romance, Paranormal … Ghost, Angels, Fantasy, Short Stories)”.
Not by this Max Sebastian…
I have contacted Amazon to ask them if anything could be done to prevent other authors using my name to sell their books, and sadly the folks at Amazon basically said no, there’s nothing that can be done.
As far as I know, the stories are not plagiarized from other writers, but unfortunately I cannot be sure they aren’t. However, several aspects about the books do raise my suspicions, so I do have concerns that something is amiss here. There are so many fraudsters stealing stories from erotica writers and posting them themselves in order to earn a quick buck, so genuine authors like myself tend to be a little sensitive about this kind of issue.
If this writer is actually called Max Sebastian, and just happens to have started selling fiction without realizing I already exist, I can understand it. But, I have various concerns about these shape-shifting books that are linked to my books by the author link at the top of the page under their titles:
– I’m concerned that these books have titles that are stuffed full of key words to attract search engines, which is a strategy that fraudsters use in order to sell sub-standard books to unwitting readers.
– I’m concerned that the latest book posted by the other Max Sebastian has attracted dozens of reviews overnight (although it was made available for free for a time, I believe), including some that appear to be written for other authors and other books (example, the review by Warren Fong: “I’m in love with Christine Bell’s novels, especially this series about the brothers. Reid and Lola’s, by far, is the best one and I’m dying to read the follow-up in the series. Can’t wait for more!”).
– I’m concerned that the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” feature links the book to various completely unrelated books such as self-help books, cookery books, weight loss books, and health books — not other erotica books, as genuine Amazon books on this subject would be. The few exceptions to this include other books by “Adrian Blake” and “Xavier Hudson” in other erotica subgenres which seem from the cover and blurb to be other stories posted by the same author under different names. If these are all legit, then fine. It just appears suspicious to me.
– I’m concerned that the author is trying to sell a 22-page short story for $3, although this lack of value can be common in the erotica field, I’m told.
– I’m concerned that there is no way to contact the other Max Sebastian, no email address or any other form of contact given through Amazon or the books themselves.
Perhaps there’s an innocent explanation for all this, but it all just seems a little too off-kilter to me. If you are reading this, and you are the other Max Sebastian, do get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I’m sure we can sort all this out.
Otherwise, dear readers, please do not buy shape-shifting erotica books by Max Sebastian thinking that they were written by me. They weren’t. I did write an erotica vampire story on Literotica.com once, but I think that was about as close as I ever got.
Amazon has been terrific at supporting independent authors like myself, but there are weaknesses in the system that fraudsters seek to exploit. I’m hoping that my doppelgänger isn’t actually a criminal posting other people’s stories as their own — but there are stories every day of this happening, sadly, so you can’t be too careful.
Writing as… MJ Sebastian
Meanwhile, I am looking to publish erotic romance and other erotic stories that don’t fit with my core wife-sharing and swinging subgenre under the name MJ Sebastian. I’m hoping that this won’t lead to total confusion, but I believe readers of my current wife-sharing stories may not be interested in some of the other erotic stories I write, so the separation in author names might be beneficial.
If it doesn’t help, I may have a re-think. And if the other Max Sebastian manages to spoil my reputation, perhaps all of my books will end up being published under the MJ Sebastian name. But, for now we’ll just have to see.
Anyway. Thanks for reading! More new stories will be available soon — watch this space!
October 29, 2015