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Helix

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And the more lucid part of Ms Bennett's (or...um...mramos') blog post bears a similarity to a post by someone else.

Bennett: When Does Writing Become Unbecoming (2014)

Grisham wrote legal thrillers based on his experiences as an attorney; Patricia Cornwell worked in a medical examiner’s office and turned this experience into a series of medical examiner thrillers. The inside knowledge these two authors possess contributed to their success and made their fiction believable. By ‘disturbing’ the real-life plot on a good dose of literary techniques, it can be pretty convincing that these can happen in real life. But what is the inherent motive in egging on their thoughts to live characters? Is it plain entertainment? Aren’t they telling us something else? When the Fifty Shades of Grey shut the door for other books in the New York Times Bestsellers for 18 straight weeks, ? It united people all over with common interest alright.

Writer's Relief: How to Write Fiction Based on Real Life (2009)

There are many well-known authors who have used their work backgrounds to create believable, technically correct fiction. John Grisham and Patricia Cornwell come to mind. Grisham made a name for himself writing legal thrillers based on his experiences as an attorney; Cornwell worked in a medical examiner’s office and turned this experience into a series of medical examiner thrillers. The inside knowledge these two authors possess contributed to their success and made their fiction believable.
 

Filigree

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SEO workers are probably going to take exception with me for saying this, but cut-n-paste plagiarism has been a feature of lower quality search engine optimization for years. Anyone who learned to write copy for the SEO and article-farm business will probably have a tendency to keep on doing it.

This is just one of the saddest examples I've seen recently.
 

aliceshortcake

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Whoa!

First rule of being a call-centre employee using an American/English name: don't use it in conjunction with your real name on the internet.

http://uk.skillpages.com/sales-representative/cebu-city-philippines/ernestine.paredes-kc-normanns

Ernestine Paredes/K C Normanns has worked as a Customer Service Professional, Telemarketer and Sales Representative. She lives in Cebu, the Philippines. But what's this? On Facebook Ernestine changes sex and becomes Ernest Paredes (aka DonDon Paredes):

https://m.facebook.com/people/Ernestine-Paredes-Kc-Normanns/1830134960

Ernest lives in Mandaue City and claims to be from Newcastle, New South Wales.

Has anyone actually met Portia Peterson, Jill Bennett or K C Normanns in the flesh?

Oh, what a tangled web we weave...
 
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aliceshortcake

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Call me paranoid ("You're paranoid!" said the voice in Alice's head) but I'm fascinated by the names these people have dreamed up.

Tori Mesh:

A torus interconnect is a network topology for connecting processing nodes in a parallel computer system. It can be visualized as a mesh interconnect with nodes arranged in a rectilinear array of N = 2, 3, or more dimensions, with processors connected to their nearest neighbors, and corresponding processors on opposite edges of the array connected.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torus_interconnect

Tori is the plural of torus.

K C Normanns: I may be reaching here but Google turned up a book co-authored by Dag Normann dealing with, amongst other things, the Kalmogorov Complexity function:
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=...=0CEcQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=k c normanns&f=false

Just as I was beginning to think that a computer whizz with a weird sense of humour was behind LitFire my theory fell apart - Jill Bennett was a distinguished English actress. There was also a character of this name on Knots Landing but neither of these ladies had any connection with computers. Damn!

Oh, and congrats to Helix for noticing that Jill Bennett's partly-plagiarized article about the evil gatekeepers of publishing was the work of 'mramos', who has to be the Met Ramos associated with Portia Peterson on Google Plus.

We're left with the question - who is Portia Peterson, International Woman of Mystery? Here's another Google Plus profile:

https://plus.google.com/106870547153161609368/about

This Portia, also an Australian, works at the Australian Film and Multimedia Industry as a 'Senior Marketing Specialist and Talent Scout'. A YouTube vid uploaded by Peter Gagliardi appears to be all that remains of AFMMI, if it ever really existed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi5bw99u32o

There's a company called AFMI.Global Philippines but it has nothing to do with publishing.

LitFire's Twitter account is almost as dead as Portia's, by the way - a mere seven Tweets with no replies, the last one dated 11th September.



*goes in search of tinfoil hat*
 
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TheArchives

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What seems odd about all of these people is that there seems to be no "crumbs of a life" about them anywhere on the web. Forget just professional listings--what person does not have old posts to websites, net groups, ancient photos, etc strewn along the net? The net's been around almost a generation, people live online--and yet not one shred of a life anywhere. At least not under these names.
 

Helix

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This Portia, also an Australian, works at the Australian Film and Multimedia Industry as a 'Senior Marketing Specialist and Talent Scout'. A YouTube vid uploaded by Peter Gagliardi appears to be all that remains of AFMMI, if it ever really existed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zi5bw99u32o

There's 20 seconds of my life I won't get back. You'd think they'd have hired an Aussie for the video.

The AFMMI appears to be Gagliardi. I thought it might be a talent agency, but it's just Gagliardi and a hypnotist called Shane Hill. I haven't heard of either of them. Mind you, I haven't heard of lots of people, so that's no criterion on which to judge anyone.

But I'm not sure how there would be a position for either a senior marketing specialist or a talent scout in such a niche operation.
 

Maryn

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What seems odd about all of these people is that there seems to be no "crumbs of a life" about them anywhere on the web. Forget just professional listings--what person does not have old posts to websites, net groups, ancient photos, etc strewn along the net? The net's been around almost a generation, people live online--and yet not one shred of a life anywhere. At least not under these names.
FWIW, there are lots of people who do not appear anywhere online. Many of them are older adults who don't get online themselves nor do anything which causes others to mention their names in either a personal or professional setting. (My sister. Two of Mr. Maryn's cousins.)

But some are 20-somethings who do not have an online presence for a variety of reasons. Our daughter's former boyfriend has never been mentioned online, and he's in his late 20s. He went to a "special" high school (because someone deemed his stutter an indicator of mental issues), never participated in sports or theater, works entry-level jobs, and essentially just lives his life under the radar in terms of the internet.

Maryn, who just googled him again, to be sure
 

Filigree

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I know some info-sec specialists who go to great pains to keep as low a digital profile as possible. And like Maryn, I have older relatives who don't have much of an online presence. Some of us just don't interact that much.

Back (sort of) to the OT. Is it just me, or are we seeing an upswing in the vanity publishing entries in the last year or so? Including some really clueless ones who seem to be making basic mistakes?
 

TheArchives

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FWIW, there are lots of people who do not appear anywhere online. Many of them are older adults who don't get online themselves nor do anything which causes others to mention their names in either a personal or professional setting. (My sister. Two of Mr. Maryn's cousins.)

But some are 20-somethings who do not have an online presence for a variety of reasons. Our daughter's former boyfriend has never been mentioned online, and he's in his late 20s. He went to a "special" high school (because someone deemed his stutter an indicator of mental issues), never participated in sports or theater, works entry-level jobs, and essentially just lives his life under the radar in terms of the internet.

Maryn, who just googled him again, to be sure

True, but here we are talking about go-getter networkers and marketers TRYING to make a name for themselves. Hardly any social presence at all.
 

aliceshortcake

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True, but here we are talking about go-getter networkers and marketers TRYING to make a name for themselves. Hardly any social presence at all.

Exactly. These people spend hours on the phone and internet trying to convince writers to buy LitFire's publishing services - you'd think they'd be using Facebook and Twitter to spread the word as widely as possible.

Unless they don't really exist, of course. In which case it's understandable that they'd want to keep their real identities as quiet as possible...
 

TheArchives

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Exactly. These people spend hours on the phone and internet trying to convince writers to buy LitFire's publishing services - you'd think they'd be using Facebook and Twitter to spread the word as widely as possible.

Unless they don't really exist, of course. In which case it's understandable that they'd want to keep their real identities as quiet as possible...

Exactly and even if they do use fake names, there is hardly a scrap of their presence under those names on the net. So, they are either social media idiots (doubtful), or too busy cold calling dupes to bother doing any real building and branding of the company (more probable).
 

aliceshortcake

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What the heck? There's something very, very strange going on here. Meet Caroline D Greene:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/womenshealth

The author is a dedicated women's health researcher with a long-running interest in helping women.

It is the author's intention to help develop a sense of understanding surrounding topics which many have been afraid to discuss openly.

Not content with being merely a dedicated health researcher, Caroline D Greene is supposedly an agent who represents all the authors (including herself) published by LitFire or its 'Another Name But Also Published in Atlanta' pseudo-imprints.

Her website is basically an ad for one of her books, Permanently Beat Bacterial Vaginosis:

http://www.beatbv.com/

The photo makes it look like a hefty tome containing about 250 pages but it's actually a glorified 42-page pamphlet published through CreateSpace:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1483903168/?tag=absowrit-20

The site is registered to importer Perpetual Creative Works LLC of 1625 Pleasant Hill Road, Duluth, GA 30096:

http://www.enom.com/whois/beatbv-com.html

Confused? My God, I know I am.
 
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aliceshortcake

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Many of Caroline's authors are so shy they use stock images instead of photos of themselves and don't mention anything other than their books on Facebook and Twitter...
 

victoriastrauss

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It's well known that Author Solutions makes its Philippine staff use American or US-style aliases. So it wouldn't surprise me at all if a bunch of ex-AS staffers starting up an AS clone did the same thing.

- Victoria
 

aliceshortcake

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What I want to know is - who is writing these books, some of which are little more than pamphlets? Quite a few Amazon reviewers comment on the poor quality of the writing and the fact that much of the information is very basic stuff they could have found for themselves on the internet. I'm convinced that most LitFire authors are as bogus as the stock images they use in their books and on Facebook.

For example: here's Litfire author Andrea Huffington:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Andreahuffington

If Ms Huffington is a real person I'll eat my copy of Atlanta Nights. Her photo has been lifted from Rick Warren's The Daniel Plan Cookbook:

http://www.pinterest.com/thedanielplan/community-kitchen/
 

aliceshortcake

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Ah, thanks for pointing that out. So it's just another stock image being used as an author photo!

This tomfoolery can also be found on Goodreads:

Caroline D. Greene
Author profile
born in Atlanta, The United States October 22, 1970
gender female
website http://www.womensrepublic.com
twitter username beatbv
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5763968.Caroline_D_Greene

Poor Caroline has only one fan - herself:

details Age 40, Female, Norcross, GA
birthday October 22, 1974
website http://www.womensrepublic.com
activity Joined in February 2012, last active this month
interests women's health, babies, pregnancy, child birth, diet, cooking, health, fitness
favorite books non-fiction, autobiographies, true stories
about me Caroline D. Greene is a mother of 2 wonderful girls and a wife to a supportive husband. She has dedicated the past seven years to researching the various women's health topics that are not being openly discussed and providing help and support to the women dealing with these issues in their daily life.
https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/7990766

Caroline (the fan) is also a fan of Pierre Dubois, another LitFire client who's represented by Caroline D Greene and prefers to use a stock image rather than an author photo. Pierre's Goodreads page presents the reader with an impressive selection of books, most of which were actually written by another Pierre Dubois:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Dubois_(author)

Our Pierre is supposedly the author of 1,001+ French Language Flash Cards: The Fastest Way to Get Started in French, published by Successful Linguistics of...brace yourself...Atlanta, Georgia.
 

Helix

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Unsurprisingly, Caroline D. Greene's photo appears on a stock image site. The only twist is that it's a Russian site.

ETA: Same for Mr Dubois. Some of those photos are also available through Shutterstock. I'm going to have to select an author photo for myself.
 
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aliceshortcake

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I'm afraid my avatar won't be suitable for use an author photo as I'm not Oscar Wilde, nor do I play him on TV, but I'm sure I could come up with something intellectual yet alluring.

But enough of this banter. Yesterday "Jill Bennett" added another article to the LitFire site:

Got your own story to tell? Then, it’s time to let the world know about it. With the growing trend of E-books and the development in the self-publishing industry, there is no other perfect time than now.
https://litfirepublishing.com/guide...-know-for-greater-success-in-self-publishing/

She's taken down her previous articles and kept her giveaway use of poor English to a minimum by quoting at length from a free download entitled Hard Truths Every Self-Publishing Author Must Know (That Advocates Don’t Tell You). Has she learned her lesson about plagiarism? No!

When cartoonist Lars Martinson submitted the first of a series of webcomics to Reddit, his site’s visitors jumped from 100 a day to 48,342 within a single day. That’s a 25,000 percent increase in website traffic. He took this spike as an opportunity to sell shiploads of eBooks.

You’d think he would sell a ton of books, yes? Well, actually, no, he sold 23. That means only 0.048% of the extra visitors purchased.
https://litfirepublishing.com/guide...-know-for-greater-success-in-self-publishing/

From Six Tough Truths About Self-Publishing (That The Advocates Never Seem To Talk About) by Rob Hart, posted on Lit Reactor two years ago:

Cartoonist Lars Martinson submitted a webcomic to Reddit, and as a result his website jumped from 100 visitors in one day, to 48,342. Given the 25,000 percent increase in traffic, he figured he'd sell a ton of eBooks. Stands to reason, right?

Nope. He sold 23. That means a 0.048 percent boost in sales.http://litreactor.com/columns/six-t...g-that-the-advocates-like-to-avoid-discussing

Unbelievable. It may not be a word-for-word copy, but it's about as close as you can get.

The ironic thing is that Rob Hart went on to deliver a warning about the rose-tinted view of self-publishing like that peddled by LitFire:

There is an entire cottage industry built upon writers churning out articles and guides and essays about the benefits and how-to's of self-publishing. Notice, nearly all of those articles include links to the books they've self-published.
 
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Helix

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She's not only taken down the other articles, but she's changed the location from ....mramos to ...jillbennett.

Just as well that screenshots are A Thing.
 

aliceshortcake

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She's not only taken down the other articles, but she's changed the location from ....mramos to ...jillbennett.

Just as well that screenshots are A Thing.

You took one as well, eh?

*chuckles*
 

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