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Wednesday News: Ghostwritten stories solicited and repackaged as individual authors; Australian...

This is kind of a long story and I’ll try to reduce it into easy to consume paragraphs but stick with me.  A reader emailed me out of frustration arising out of a run in over at Amazon. She left a negative review for a book and so did another reader.  The reviewers started getting a massive amount of downvotes as soon as the bad reviews were posted.  The positive reviews were upvoted and there were several five star reviews by individuals who had reviewed nothing else but a small circle of self published books.

You can see exactly where this is going, right?

Ian Moreno from the East Coast posted on “Hire the World” for ghostwritten erotic short stories.  The “writer” would received $50 to $100 depending on length. $50 for 6,000 words and up to $100 for 10,000 words.

 

Hire the World Ian Moreno IMrulz1 2012 Erotica Ghostwriting Job

What does Moreno do with these stories? He “edits” them and repackages them under several different identities.  So far he’s connected with the following pennames:  Hadley Danes (non functioning website registered to RedGarnetMediaLLC), Bree Bellucci, Denise Avery, Haley Pearce (likely his first ghostwritten novel), Dara Bowman, Natalie Baird, and CR Lacerte. He also may write under Chelsea Kendall, Amanda Lawless.  These last two authors are connected to the others via one reviewer who has reviewed just Moreno’s books plus Sylvia Day’s Crossfire.   The other authors are published by the multiple LLCs he has formed including, but not limited to, Red Garnet Media LLC (Denise Avery, Bree Bellucci, Elyse Clair), Infinite Muse Press (Haley Pearce, Nora Weaving, Eva Fellheart), Roslyn House Publishing LLC, and Yuppie Bitch (Hadley Danes, Natalie Baird). Yuppie Bitch is the new name for Roslyn House Publishing LLC. He’s not always careful when identifying who the author and publisher is.

Haley Pierce

 

Mr. Moreno bragged about his publishing success on the forums at a video game forum (Screenshot here).  Moreno claims to have over 130 “books”in his catalog.  He has 120 novellas and ten books. To one author, he has paid $7000 for her books.  On Something Awful forum (account registration required & annoying video plays so turn down your speakers), he boasted of making $80,000 a month off his ghostwritten work.

LOL I don’t pay $5,000 per book, more like $1,000-$1,500 + 15% royalties on gross sales after I make back the advance. So that writer wrote two novels each for $1,500 up front ($3,000 total in advances) plus an additional $4,000 as her 15% share of the royalties to total $7,000 earned in May Do the math to figure out how much I made on the rest of the 85% in royalties (and that’s just two books).

Moreno notes in a follow up that short stories and novellas aren’t paying off so he’s moved on to full length novels with a greater upfront cost but higher payoff.  Given that he’s cracked the top 100 with at least two books, it’s fairly easy to pinpoint where he’s making his $80K a month from.

He’s no different than a publishing house, right? Well, except for passing himself off as an author and creating sock puppet accounts to review and upvote his own books. (Hey, Amazon how’s that algorithm working for you where you aren’t supposed to let another author review books connected to her own?)  Book Lovers Escape reviewer, like Ria Adams,  has only reviewed the Moreno books. And s/he has changed her identity more than once from Kimberly Roarke.  There are other sockpuppet accounts associated with his name, although the full extent of the fake identities he’s created is unknown.

BookLovers

Mr. Moreno is using these sock puppet accounts to give marginal reviews to competitors. One review was left on Cora Hawke’s book but has since been deleted.  Moreno has a couple of rock star books to his name (including the NA book by Hadley Danes) and Cora Hawk has written a successful and popular rock star series.  Moreno’s latest incarnation is as a New Adult author, C.R. Lacerte.  The publisher for Lacerte is Steyr & Hawthorne.  The address of the publishing company matches up with Moreno’s address in the business listings (which I’m not linking to or showing you the screenshot for obvious reasons).

Is this all original content from the ghostwriters? I don’t know but we do know that in the past ghostwritten work has often been plagiarized both in the case of David Gemmell and, more recently, in the cases of Tammara Webber and Jamie McGuire. But Moreno’s tactics have been successful. Some of his rockstar books and new adult books have purportedly been in the Kindle top 100.

This is not unlike the Stephen Leather story where he admitted that he created dozens of sock puppet accounts to upvote his own books and downvote his competitors. But unlike Leather, Moreno is also posing as several authors rather than being forthcoming that they are ghostwritten and that he is nothing more than a publisher of work for hire.  I suspect that Moreno, a self described internet marketer, recognizes that putting himself forth as an author is a much better marketing technique than putting himself as a publisher of work for hire stories. I also suspect that given the constant rebranding and changing of identities, Moreno knows that something isn’t quite right with what he is attempting (and succeeding) at doing.

Whether this is a deal for his authors is between him and his business partners, but the perpetuation of these separate identities and unsavory review techniques is something worth talking about.

 

You can read more at Nate’s site. The conclusion? Hollywood et al will just not license any content to Australia which would mean that Australia would become the biggest torrenting location anywhere. The Digital Reader

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

24 Comments

  1. Laura @ Bookish Treasures
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 07:55:42

    This person seems to have noticed that all these authors are the same person, but they haven’t mentioned the guy who runs it all so I’m assuming they didn’t know that part http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/650201095

    Btw I got an email from someone yesterday telling me that they had a story for my blog about someone using ghost writers, I can see now that it is this case so presumably they are the same person who emailed you. I was actually going to suggest to them that you are better at revealing this sort of stuff :P

  2. Laura @ Bookish Treasures
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 07:58:24

    Oh and I forgot to mention above that that review links Amanda Lawless to some of the other authors you mention.

  3. Bronte
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 09:11:18

    The Australian situation is actively ridiculous. At least HBO realised that game of thrones was being illegally downloaded by more Australians than anywhere else in the world because of a lull in when it screened in the US to when it was available to buy/be seen in Australia. Solution? Simple. They made it available on itunes in Australia immediately after it aired in the US and this allowed people who would like to pay for content to pay for it. They also didn’t make it a ridiculous price relative to the US price. As an Australian now living in the US I can tell you I stopped buying many authors when the price for their ebooks more than doubled with geographic restrictions. At the time the Australian dollar was over parity with the US dollar. Yes, Australian wages are higher but taxes and cost of living are much higher as well. It was extremely frustrating to have self pubbed books being 3 or 4 dollars, while traditionally pubbed paperbacks being $20. I just stopped buying. Now I am living in the US for a while I’ve gone back to buying. Not sure what I’m going to do in a few years when I go home – hope that the situation has changed I guess.

  4. Mina Kelly
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 10:11:26

    The ghost writing thing just seems weird. He’s quite a successful publisher and pays good advances (though low royalties). The multiple pseudonyms for multiple ghost writers is a bit odd, but I can sort of see it working from a marketing point of view if I cross my eyes and squint.

    What strikes me as off is the way the whole lot shrouded in so much mystery, especially with the multiple publishing imprints and sockpuppeting reviews (normally something I’d consider bad practice but not uncommon, but here it’s yet another overly-complex layer to all this). When something’s this deliberately confusing I start to wonder if there’s some kind of fraud involved. It’d be interesting to know if any of the stories are plagiarised, and, if so, whether he’s aware of it or not.

  5. Charlie
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 10:27:07

    I’ve heard about book prices from a few people so I’m not surprised (though I am surprised at this news itself even if it *may* help in future).

    Thinking the same as Mina on the ghostwriting – why all those names? If it corresponds to who wrote them or how many writers he employs, fair enough, but otherwise I suppose it’s so that if a reader didn’t like one ‘author’ there’s more chance of them reading another because there are so many.

  6. Jayn
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 11:20:56

    Maybe I’m crazy, but (outside the sock puppetting, which is pleh) I really don’t see much difference between “hiring ghostwriters” and “running a pulp fiction publisher with house names”. I mean, how is this different from what even Harlequin used to do? “I need a story for name X,” an editor might say, and someone who wanted to pay the rent would write it.

  7. CliffLady
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 11:50:20

    I am so happy this story is getting attention. I agree with everyone else. Its really suspicious that he has all these identities if he isn’t covering something up for the ghostwriters. Smells like another Jordin Williams case?

    I see he already edited out his posts on that videogame forum! That was fast! Thank God the pictures will last forever showing what he admitted.

  8. AlexaB
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 12:09:21

    @Bronte:

    Here’s what I don’t get: isn’t Australia (and Canada, for the Canadians who talk about high ebook prices) a free market capitalist economy? Governed by the laws of supply and demand? Subject to the same winds of price sensitivity as all other consumer-based economies?

    Australian books must turn a profit at the given prices – enough units are sold to enough consumers to produce a sustainable bottom line – or else the prices would come down in the hopes that any losses due to a reduced profit margin are made up by gains in volume.

    If the Australian government is concerned about the effect of high prices on its citizens, then it has the regulatory power to do something about it (I’m assuming. Not as up on Australian business law as I am on US and UK). But then, I can imagine the screams and threats from multinational corporations who pump dollars into the Australian economy and pay those high Australian wages (not to mention handing over Australian tax dollars) should the government set price controls. So far better to push the burden of servicing Aussie consumers onto foreign retailers, even though it would violate most foreign retailers’ TOS and even though the Australian government has zero jurisdiction over foreign retailers’ actions…!

    Not to mention, I think this is the first time I’ve seen a government actively advise that its citizens should shun national retailers and producers and purchase outside the country. Interesting. Wonder how the local booksellers feel about it. I guess books don’t provide much tax revenue for the Australian government – I know they are excluded from VAT – or else I doubt we’d see them espouse such a policy.

    I’m also bemused by the implied suggestion that prices should be the same all over the world. Yeah, let’s let the US set prices for everyone, because the entire globe just LOVES it when the US exerts undue influence over local practices (I lived in various European countries, I know just how far the romance with the US extends). One can’t bitterly defend local agency when it comes to economics – and then pout when the US companies act locally as well. Sorry.

    Last, hey, I’d gladly take higher taxes in exchange for single payer universal health care and a government-backed social safety net that actually provides livable benefits. So don’t begrudge USians their cheap books. We desperately need the affordable escapism.

  9. DS
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 13:07:54

    @AlexaB: I didn’t read the site Jane linked to–sorry Jane! because I had caught the story on Techdirt this morning. Here’s the URL: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130729/13090023989/australian-government-committee-suggests-circumventing-geo-blocking-to-combat-high-software-prices.shtml

    There used to be a greater disparity between the value of the Australian (and Canadian) dollar and the the US dollar which sort of made sense about the higher prices, but that’ s not true any more. However, it seems that the suppliers don’t want to let go of that extra income. I particularly liked the part in the Techdirt story where the government had to practically force the big tech companies to come in to testify and each of the companies asked had a different excuse for the higher prices. Because Techdirt was talking about electronic media delivered by download the wages don’t seem to come into it.

    Edited because I was sloppy.

    ETA the Moreno thing sounds like the packaging of teen novels like Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Hard Boys. Evidently it was a secret for a long time that Carolyn Keene didn’t write all the Nancy Drew books. A male author broke the secrecy after WWII with a I Was Carolyn Keene type of news story that pissed off the company putting them out but didn’t seem to affect the readership who probably never heard about it. He was a veteran whose own novels had a literary/military bent.

    The sock puppetting is disgusting of course.

  10. Sunny
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 13:11:32

    @AlexaB:

    I don’t know about AUS, but in Canada where physical books are much more expensive than US prices (and it shows right on the cover, because they’re printed in the same batches), physical books are not sustainable at their current prices and major book retailers are showing losses anywhere from $80-$120 million a year, and that’s each year for the last three years. They’re talking about phasing out mass-market paperbacks (already $13-14 each, $7 in the US by cover price) to just trade and hardcovers like in the UK as the retailers keep a larger percentage of them, but honestly, it’s just not sustainable. The only bookstores that are staying in business have converted to toy/housewares/electronic retailers that also have books, or small new-and-used bookstores that are thriving in major cities and flailing in smaller ones. These massive chains have to make up for over $120 million LOSS per year in knick-knacks and toys just to stay open to continue to sell books, that aren’t selling well enough to keep the lights on. But the alternative is… not selling books anymore at all, and for most of the country these are the only places to buy books that aren’t the top-10 fiction at the drug store. These big chains have only been breaking even the last 3 years because of this, and are being touted as a global success. That’s scary.

    I think it stings Canadians mostly because it’s right there on the cover, how much more they’re paying than if they just took a shopping trip across the border, which is also pretty common.

    There are a lot of hand-wavey reasons for the price differences, which can be as high as 100% more than the US price, but even having worked for the largest national retailer of books we were never given a firm answer as to why the price differences were so high. Even though the CBC runs fairly regular stories about it, customers are angry about it (and rightly so), and the staff are told “it’s this way because of reasons” from a company that is totally transparent with everything else.

    Kobo does extremely well in Canada because their prices are comparable to US, especially when they have coupons. I just have a US mailing address so buy my ebooks off .com sites. I buy books for people, especially kids in my family, but $10 for a ten-page picture book is difficult, even though I want the kids to grow up loving books and reading… I want to support authors and artists, but dang it’s financially hard sometimes for everyone.

    And then taxes are 13% on top of that. But at least I know where that money goes. My husband is from the US and is still experiencing sticker shock/tax shock.

  11. Parajunkee
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 13:21:57

    This doesn’t surprise me, he would have to really police his “ghostwriters” to find out if they were plagiarized, but if they were feeding off of other self-pubs, there is little at stake if they were caught, which is terrible.

    I’m actually surprised that this isn’t happening more and more, it’s happening on the internet constantly and now with the ease of self-publishing I can see how this will begin to be the “new norm”. Unless we start holding companies like Amazon accountable it will keep happening. They are selling it and profiting off these sales, shouldn’t they hold some sort of accountability?

    I’ve also heard that there are companies that authors can pay to to down vote and up vote good reviews, web of internet users that are paid to write 100 word “loved it” reviews and then down vote all the negative reviews. People with “real” amazon accounts. He probably just mocked that business plan. Why not? I get slapped on some author’s mailing list and I get those emails all the time – one author had explicit directions on what to do. You go to Amazon, you like the book. Leave a positive review, negative vote all the negative reviews.

    Because I have my marketing background, I know the line in the sand is always really faint…why not do something like this if it generates money for client+self? The morals of the situation are forgotten, because when you have someone standing over you like a Marketing Director telling you, this is your job…do it. What choice do you have? Probably one of the reasons I got fired from the last job. But, this is one guy, so it stinks of even more sleaze, he’s not some big money generating corporate machine. He’s just one guy, scamming and raking in the dough. I don’t know what to think, especially when us little bloggers butt up against someone trying to generate income. Which I think is the basis of a lot of our blogger problems.

    I personally think, Amazon should get rid of the negative vote all together and it might solve a lot of these issues. I don’t see a need for it anyway, if someone likes a review they should mark it as liked and then it will go up in the ranks. Done deal. There should be report abuse button, nothing more. They are making you put WHY the review should be marked down, but I think it’s not stopping the determined.

    Thanks for the PSA, I’ll stay away from the books… :D

  12. AlexaB
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 15:10:02

    @DS:

    I particularly liked the part in the Techdirt story where the government had to practically force the big tech companies to come in to testify and each of the companies asked had a different excuse for the higher prices.

    But in all honesty, the reasons don’t contradict each other. They’re simultaneously possible. Especially the one about letting consumers vote with their wallets. Is it disingenuous? A thousand times yes. But there are open source software solutions out there now. Microsoft isn’t the monolithic behemoth it was ten, twenty years ago. It is possible to go somewhere else. More difficult, but possible.

    Because Techdirt was talking about electronic media delivered by download the wages don’t seem to come into it.

    Companies still need to pay employees to collect and pay local taxes, create and take out local advertising and cross promotions, ensure compliance with any local content regulation or data collection laws, etc. It’s not so simple as setting up one big server and letting the whole world download from it. The internet may be borderless, but governments and local regulations are not. There are still costs associated with selling digital content, especially internationally.

    And yeah, I’m sure the suppliers like the extra income from keeping the higher price point despite increased currency parity with the US. They’re businesses. That’s what they do.

    My point is that enough people ARE buying the books at the higher prices to keep the model going – because businesses aren’t made of the feels. They’re made of the cold hard cash. And the profit margin they are making is obviously enough to keep the high prices going. They aren’t feeling a downward price pressure or we’d see movement.

    The Australian government could enact some sort of regulation – again, I’m assuming – but I find it…intriguing…that their solution appears to be, hey, go buy outside Australia and here, let us teach you how. So the US/UK/everywhere else distributors get richer, and the Australian distributors and their employees, I guess, disappear? It’s a novel solution (no pun intended), that’s for sure.

    @Sunny:

    They’re talking about phasing out mass-market paperbacks (already $13-14 each, $7 in the US by cover price) to just trade and hardcovers like in the UK as the retailers keep a larger percentage of them, but honestly, it’s just not sustainable. The only bookstores that are staying in business have converted to toy/housewares/electronic retailers that also have books, or small new-and-used bookstores that are thriving in major cities and flailing in smaller ones.

    But that’s happening in the US as well. There have been consistent rumors of the mass market format’s demise in the US for years now. Barnes & Noble just released a “devastating” earning report (per the New York Times). Borders is gone, as are Walden’s, B. Dalton, Bookstar, Crown Books, Brentanos’s, etc. Books A Million remains regional. And B&N has long ceded floor space to toys, electronics and other gift-type items. Niche bookstores are starting to flourish in city centers, but the suburbs and especially the rural areas are lacking bookstores. It’s not just Canada.

    So it can’t be laid solely at the feet of high prices. Otherwise, we wouldn’t see the exact same effects in the US.

    I’m not saying the book and software pricing strategies in Canada or Australia are fair and/or equitable. But I am saying if people believe that countries should have sovereignty and set their own laws, standards, etc, in a free(ish) market economy, then that should be extended to how companies do business in those countries (as long as they abide by said laws and standards). It would be great if the world were one big smorgasbord and you get to pick which laws, regulations, taxes and consumer price points suit you the best – again, sign me up for universal health care – but alas, not that simple.

    Although I guess Australia is thinking about doing its best to test that, at least when it comes to digital content purchases. Interesting times!

  13. Mysterio
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 17:20:07

    Hey, if you look at his Haley Pearce novel His to Shatter, you’ll see that the awesome reviewer quotes were made up too. Google any of these places and you’ll see they don’t exist:

    http://amzn.com/B00C6Q8DFA

    “A very pleasant surprise from an unkown author, not your typical indie stuff. The author created an interesting character in Madison, it’s nice to see an intelligent heroine for once. His to Shatter really had us laughing, anxious, and downright angry at times!” -Gramercy Book Club

    “A tale that opens your heart and suspends disbelief, you want Madison and Girard to be together forever.” -Fallston Book Review

    “Madison’s character hit home personally, it’s a terrible lifelong struggle to overcome alcoholic parents and I really projected myself onto her in this story. A little predictable at times but I couldn’t stop wondering what’s next? and is he ever going to KISS her!” -All Beautiful Books Blog

    Talk about high level sockpuppeting!

    I hope this isn’t a double post. Tried to post the information before but it didn’t seem to go through.

    A lot of hardworking authors feel bad because of the way this clown represented himself as another successful author, but he was just a big liar the whole time!

  14. R.M. Prioleau
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 20:24:11

    It’s really scary to see all of these fake ‘authors’ coming out of the woodworks. These scammers are trying to find the easy way to make money and giving indie authors a bad name…

  15. Winston
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 22:25:10

    I guess I’m confused. I get the sock puppet thing—give reviews to yourself is never good. But what’s the big deal about the same guy publishing books under multiple names? That’s a tried and true publishing industry practice, as is ghosting. Some of our most famous authors have published under multiple names and many of them have ghosted.

    And if this guy is hiring ghosts and entering into a legal contract with these writers, why is that a big deal? The Big 6 hires ghosts all the time. Just about every celebrity book you’ve ever seen was written by a ghost. And house names have been common for decades. The books you read as a kid—Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew—and the spy/adventure novels that men are still consuming—Mac Bolan, etc.—are still written by house names.

    So, to my mind, this guy isn’t really doing anything wrong in that department. Again, faking reviews with sock puppet accounts is bad, but the multiple pen name thing is much ado about nothing—unless I’m misunderstanding something here.

  16. Jane
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 22:28:08

    @Winston: It’s all part and parcel. In this case you can’t separate out one from the other and the constant shifting of names, deleting identities, etc. doesn’t make it look like this guy is a legit publishing house.

    Let’s face it, if this was a “publisher”, how many people would be reporting him to preditors and editors now? $1,000 advance is “good”?

  17. Kaetrin
    Jul 31, 2013 @ 22:53:46

    @AlexaB: I don’t buy it. I’m in Australia. A MMP costs $22 here from a bookshop and I buy it from the Book Depository for $8 (if I buy a paper copy, if I buy it at all. I don’t pay more for ebooks than I would for a paper version).

    The inquiry looked into music, software, books, IT hardware, digital downloads etc. My husband uses Steam which is a digital download system for gaming. He pays the exact same prices here in Australia as you would in the US. They provide an easily accessible product for a reasonable price and are thus beating piracy and making scads of money.

    One of the main arguments by the companies for DRM and geo blocking was to combat piracy. But the thing is, their actions are actually making it more attractive for the regular consumer to learn how to pirate. Someone very smart said if you want to get around piracy, make a product reasonably priced and make it easily available. Steam are doing that and they are doing it very well. If they can do it, I don’t see why other companies cannot.

    Geo restrictions for books are a little different because that has to do with the contracts between the author and the publisher and what rights have been sold. But it still makes products difficult to get for a reasonable price and that is what pushes people to skirting the copyright laws.

    I believe the enquiry wished, by its recommendations to push the companies into making changes so that their prices are more competitive. I’m no economist, but I don’t believe they can regulate what price a company sells an item for (apart from things like electricity and other essential services, I *think*) – we are a free market economy. However, if the laws changed and the government educated people about getting around geo restrictions and made it explicitly legal to do so, then companies such as Microsoft, Apple, et al, would have a powerful motivator to change their business model to bring prices to a more reasonable level instead of the gouging they currently do here.

    In any event, these are just recommendations. It remains to be seen whether the government will actually do anything about them. I’m not holding my breath.

  18. Winston
    Aug 01, 2013 @ 00:45:13

    @Jane – Some ebook publishers don’t give any advance at all. Some magazines give copies as payment. If this guy is paying advances and paying royalties as well, and he’s above board about it all, then I see nothing wrong with it. People don’t have to sign the contracts. Lord knows some of the big publishing contracts should be sent to predators and editors.

    That said, if he’s ripping people off then he should be exposed. But it seems to me as if some of this is a bit hyperbolic.

  19. Jane
    Aug 01, 2013 @ 00:53:21

    @Winston – I’m well aware that some digital first publishers don’t give advances. Why don’t you point out the text that you feel is hyperbolic, i.e. overstatement or exaggerated? Or is it that you feel the mere exposure of this type of set up is somehow “hyperbolic”?

  20. from oz
    Aug 01, 2013 @ 06:36:22

    Australian book prices are insane. I regularly walk into a bookstore, don’t find the book I want and walk out. When they order it in it will cost me $33 for a paperback. I refuse to pay that. I go online and buy it from Amazon for $8 including shipping.

    I’ve bought hundreds of dollars of children’s books online, rather than in a store. Free shipping is great. There is one bookstore in my local shops and I never see anyone in there. Prices are triple what they are in the US. When my kids want books to read, I buy online. Buying from a bookstore here will send me broke.

  21. Mysterio
    Aug 01, 2013 @ 12:16:50

    @Winston Ian Moreno’s fraud goes beyond ghostwriters and sockpuppets. I know some writers who were a big part of the SomethingAwful erotica/romance thread before it was closed. He posted there under BreeBellucci/Ghostwriter80/Lacertine and always acted like a hardworking author making incredible amounts of money through HIS work.

    He had many people looking up to him. He passed himself off as one of them and accepted their praise for getting books into the Kindle Top 100 and producing such prolific output. He pretended to be this great author the whole time.

    I know most of you can’t see the forum because it’s behind a paywall, but anyone who can view his post history will see that’s truly what was happening. Moreno is a liar, plain and simple.

    This is one big way he differs from a regular publisher. They don’t lie about being writers themselves. And by now he’s lied about so many other things, how do we even know he offered the terms he said to his ghostwriters? They may have been much worse.

    I, for one, am very glad this shady “one man publishing house” is getting exposed for all the things he’s done. He set the bar impossible high for authors who once considered him a friend, when he actually never wrote a word of fiction himself.

  22. Barbara
    Aug 01, 2013 @ 13:21:49

    I have no idea if it applies in Moreno’s case, but in the case of “Jordin Williams”, he was found to be a plagiarizer. In that case, as far as I’m concerned all of his ghost writer identities were fair game to be boycotted. He shouldn’t make one red cent off of any reader, period. I believe he’s continuing to try to game the system so he’s obviously learned nothing.

    My personal issue with this issue is that I’m tired of picking up books that end up being the same piece of junk written by the same person in the end. I don’t trust that the book I’m buying is by a new author I can follow, that it’s someone real. What pen names or ghost writing are for some people is cheating to others depending on how those identities behave once the book is written.

  23. Mysterio
    Aug 01, 2013 @ 13:46:07

    @Barbara that’s the important issue here. Poorly paid ghostwriters have done lots of toxic things like outright plagiarism.

    Wouldn’t be a surprise if the same thing is going on with Ian Moreno. Maybe now that his name is out there some people who have thoroughly read his books will tell us if there’s even more dirt than what we’ve already seen with this case.

  24. Jen
    Aug 05, 2013 @ 08:22:53

    I’ve had some of my more negative Amazon reviews receive large numbers of down votes within days of posting, obviously too big of a coincidence to be anything other than author or publisher intervention. I would think Amazon would at least want to attempt to combat the practice, because while it might help get short term sales I wouldn’t think it was a good strategy long term. If readers keep getting duped into buying mediocre books, their trust in Amazon ratings will erode over time, wouldn’t it?

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