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  • Writer's pictureBill

Author Hall of Shame

Folks, I've got to tell you I've been busted for the crime of the century. Plagiarism?--nope. Procrastination?--not busted yet on this one. Poor punctuation?--well yeah, by editors. My crime will consign me to hell where all I do is shelve ebooks or be forced to look at my six digit Amazon overall ranking all day.

The details later, but below is a bookstore worker's recent tweet:

Hi, Authors? I just want to make sure it's really clear how totally unacceptable it is to sneak your book into a bookstore's window, then take a picture, then post it on social media, and imply that the book is available there when it's not.

Now here are just a few of the gasps of horror from readers of her/his tweet:

Ick! That's awful!

Wow the perfidy of this. Never crossed my mind people would do it. Where is their honor?

People do this? That's like a really strange form of nerdy catfishing.

This is clearly terrible behavior, but also what purpose does it serve the author? I mean, I get it. Wooooo my book is in stores, yay!

Reminds me of my PR days when I had to tell authors NOT to reshelve their books in "Best Sellers" cause then clerks wouldn't find it (or readers) cause the computer lists it in "New Arrivals" or "Regional" or "Crime."

Wait. Authors do this?? I would never. Shocked.

Oh man, barred for life!!!

Should be named and shamed

100% This is top naughty-list behaviour.

That's not how it works. How lame of them.


Holy shit, we are a desperate bunch.

hen Here's what I did. Well okay. One day long ago, in my ecstasy of holding copies of my paperback in my hand, I walked by a big box bookstore. I guessed the devil grabbed my shoulder, when I walked in with my novel under my shirt and stuck it in their upfront shelf of New Arrivals. Then I took a picture of my book, the full front cover, not the spine, among all those future best sellers. Did I publish my pic on social media? I honestly don't remember, but I don't think so. If so, it obtained less than no interest by my so doing. And reader, to claim the remaining shred of honor I cling to, I left my book there, free gratis, to give a bump to the bookstore's profits for the day.

Several days later I was confessing my act to one of my few advisors known for his rectitude. He asked what would have happened if someone tried to buy my book at the store. That hadn't occurred to me. We were sitting outside at a coffee shop that doubled as a small bookstore. I said, "Should we find out?" I suggested that I sneak the book onto a shelf. He could wander in after me, pick out the book, act out a moment of interest while he perused a few pages, then calmly hand the book to the clerk for payment.

My advisor thought for a moment. "Don't see how anyone gets hurt." So we pulled off the caper flawlessly.

Hold for the denouement... Detectives racing out of hiding to arrest us both? No, the drama was much more subtle.

The clerk, a young student sort, took the book in hand and scanned its QR code, (that's a type of barcode that can store information as a series of pixels in a square-shaped grid, and can be read by a simple scanner). She smiled at my accomplice nee moral advisor (he is good looking) and asked for $14.95 plus tax. He returned the smile, gave her the cash and walked out of the store with his purchase. He handed me my book. I gave him $14.95 plus tax. (I'd already given him a copy.)

Thus endeth my confession. And thanks. Yes I do feel better and I'll never do it again for awhile.

And if you are one of those who can see your way to rehabilitate evil doers, you can buy Baby Doe, the book featured in the new fiction shelves of a nameless bookstore. You can get the paperback, ebook, and (just out, the new audiobook!) here.

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