Unless you have been living under a rock you would have heard or seen by now the gist that had the whole twitter-sphere all - pardon the pun – atwitter.
24 year old Tomi Adeyemi, a first time bestselling author of “Children of Blood and Bone” accused Nora Roberts of riding on the coattails of her success by copying her book title and naming her recently released book after hers in this here tweet:
Yes Nora Roberts. THE NORA ROBERTS.
Longtime bestselling romance author Nora Roberts, who ranked 50 on Forbes’ 2018 list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women, $300m worth writer of over 200 novels and 30 years in the business was accused by a wet behind the ears fledgling of plagiarism.
This generated an unprecedented attack on Nora Roberts all over the internet. However Tomi and her avengers of the universe were quickly made aware of certain facts:
1. No one holds a monopoly over book titles. You cannot copyright a book title. Tomi should have known this. Her publishers/advisors should have known this.
2. Tomi is not the first person to title a book with the phrase "Blood and Bone" in a book. A simple google search reveals at least 30 books with the same title.
3. Nora Robert’s book is a second in a series submitted to the publisher in 2017. she explains as much in her blog: “I titled this particular book, wrote this book, turned this book into my publisher nearly a year before her book–a first novel–was published. So unless I conquered the time/space continuum, my book was actually titled before hers. Regardless, you can’t copyright a title. And titles, like broad ideas, just float around in the creative clouds. It’s what’s inside that counts.”
Even after Nora’s people reached out to her to take down the tweet, over a week later, she has refused, instead proffering a backhand explanation (no I won't call that an apology).
If you ask me, I believed it was a PR move. She’s about to release the second part in the series and now everyone is talking about her. Whether this will pay off in the long run remains to be seen.
What excites me however is Nora Roberts response. This was a read if I've ever seen one. She used words to take Tomi over her knee and gave her a good spanking. I expected no less from a seasoned writer. My mouth kept opening and shutting at the not so subtle literal spanking coated in classy words.
Check out these excerpts:
But there are a lot of authors who spend a great deal of time on social media. Some are absolute geniuses with the tools, and use them beautifully.
Others. Not so much.
Some people have common sense with social media usage. Others lack common sense. Doesn't take a soothsayer to know who she's referring to here.
I don’t believe, and have never believed–will never believe–in a writer attacking another writing on a public forum. It’s unprofessional, it’s tacky and the results are, always, just always, ugly.
You are unprofessional. You are Tacky. You are ugly.
I was accused of plagiarism–for a title–of stealing her ideas–though I had never heard of her book before this firestorm, have never read her book.
You are a nobody as far as I'm concerned. This is serious shade tho. Tomi's book became an
instant bestseller and she has been getting a lot of media attention worldwide. Aunty Nora however let her know she's still a nobody. Aunty Nora is pissed.
I don’t know this woman; she doesn’t know me. She lit the match, foolishly. Perhaps being young and new and so recently successful she doesn’t fully understand the relationship between a writer and her readers, or the power of an ugly insinuation posted on Twitter. But, God, you should know how tools work before you use them.
You are foolish. You have recently tasted fame and have let it get into your head. You better check yourself before you ruin yourself.
Could you have dug a little deeper to check facts? Could you have contacted the person in question and had a conversation? In this case–writer to writer–could you have spoken to your publisher, your agent, about the fact that a title can’t be stolen in the first place?
Could you have, perhaps, checked the timeline? If your book came out a few months before the other book (and if you know SQUAT about publishing) you’d certainly realize it was written, titled and in production when yours hit the stands. So how could a damn title be ‘stolen’?
You call yourself a writer but you zilch about publishing.
I could go on but you get the gist.
Read the full write up here and let me know what you think.