My Book Was Plagiarized

At first, I thought the message was a fake.

A reader of my first book wrote that she had discovered another version of Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows on Amazon.

“I started reading and realized I had already read it…with new and peculiar grammar,” her note said.

I found the book on Amazon, with a new cover, title, and author, but there was no doubt. It was my book, sort of. The book description was mostly the same, with a few awkward revisions that made me wonder about the editor’s language skills.

It got worse. The character names were the same, the chapter organization was identical, and my wife’s artwork was there, in living color. My story was there, but with seemingly random substitutions that made me laugh as I winced painfully.

I felt violated and was mystified. I reported it to Amazon, using a form for infringement complaints. I sent Amazon a record of my copyright and links to my book and the other version. A few exchanges later and Amazon wrote that the offending book would be removed.

I am relieved and grateful to the reader, who, by the way, wrote a review of the copied book to alert prospective readers that it was a fake.

I also appreciate Amazon’s quick response. Amazon was a big help getting my books published, but I am disappointed that the fake book made it through their “filters,” even though it was only offered on Kindle Unlimited.

The offending book is gone, for now. But I wonder: What would motivate someone to do this?

Nomadland: Moving Tales of Survival

In an era of expensive tiny homes, giant motor homes, and slide-outs that extend from every side of RVs, an American subculture on wheels follows good weather and seasonal work, out of necessity. The itinerants live in rustic, converted vans and RVs of all sizes, moving from campground to campground. Luxurious RVs may surround their modest homes, but they represent a life that couldn’t be farther away.

As camp hosts, they clean bathrooms and quiet rowdy campers. They work in Amazon warehouses and fill orders from an America unaware how much effort (and injury) go into millions of deliveries. Some move their rigs from street to street, hoping to avoid attention and eviction.

New York Times journalist Jessica Bruder drives Halen, her camper van, for part of a three-year journey as she follows a lifestyle that is invisible to many. In Nomadland: Surviving America in the 21st Century, she tells the story of Linda, who supplements her small Social Security check and dreams of one day owning land and a modest home. Like others chronicled in Nomadland, Linda’s story will tug at your heart and keep you turning the pages of this compelling book.