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Things have taken a different turn since bestselling author Tomi Adeyemi apologized for publicly accusing American literary juggernaut Nora Roberts of plagiarism.

Yesterday, we reported that Tomi Adeyemi called out Nora Roberts for what she saw as an unfair use of her title, saying that Roberts was seeking to “shamelessly profit” from her work. Everything seemed to have been cleared up. She said, in a follow-up tweet, that she’d talked to Roberts. Adeyemi apologized, and it looked like everything had been resolved.

But today Roberts, in a statement posted on her blog, criticizes Adeyemi for using “social media forums to baselessly, recklessly” accuse her of “stealing the title of her book.”

According to the statement, her book had been written and sent to the publisher one year before Adeyemi’s book was published.

She also talks about being relentlessly attacked on social media by Adeyemi’s followers and accuses the debut author of inciting her fans to attack her while refusing to “put out the fire” after several requests sent to her and her agent.

Read the full statement below.

***

MOB RULE BY SOCIAL MEDIA

I’m not on Twitter. I’ve said before and will say again, I’d rather be poked in the eye with a burning stick than tweet. I’m only on Instagram and Facebook because the amazing Laura runs the show.

I write. I spend my days working, my evenings either working or with my family. Or zoned in front of the TV, basically brain dead.

I don’t spend much time on social media. I recognize its power, I appreciate its ability to connect writers with readers. And I also understand how easily it can be weaponized to incite flame wars. So I’m very careful with my use of it–and Laura is even more so.

I write. It’s what I do. What I love and what I’ve spent three decades learning how to do well. Or as well as I possibly can.

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.

I don’t believe, and have never believed in taking personal issues onto public forums. 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.

Recently another writer used her social media forums to baselessly, recklessly accuse me of stealing the title of her book–which is bullshit right off–to attempt to profit from this theft. She had no facts, just her emotions, and threw this out there for her followers.

First, let’s address the particular title which happens to be similar. 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.

It’s just a title.

By accusing me, in public, of attempting to ‘shamelessly profit’ off of her creativity, she incited her readers into attacking me–on her feed, then on my pages, then on the internet in general. She did nothing to stop this. I have been accused of theft, of trying to use this first time writer–whose book has been well received–for my own profit. To ride her coattails as I have no originality. This after more than thirty years in the business, more than two hundred books.

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.

And trust me, I never will now.

This is what happens when a reckless statement is made on social media. It becomes a monstrous lie that spreads and grows and escalates.

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.

We should all take a lesson here. Think, then think again, before you post. Be sure of your facts before you take a shot at someone. Be prepared for the vicious fallout once you do.

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’?

To be accused of plagiarism by some faceless reader on the internet, one who felt entitled to spread that lie gutted me. I’ve been plagiarized, and will always have an open wound from the blow. To me, plagiarism is the most terrible sin a writer can commit.

I have worked my entire career to build a foundation of professionalism, of teamwork with my publisher, to create a community with other writers, and to show readers I value them–not just with communication, but by doing my best to give them good books.

No one who knows me would believe any of these accusations. But that’s the problem. Those making them don’t know me, they simply lash out because they can.

This foolish and false statement has damaged my reputation. Vicious and ugly accusations and names have been tossed at me when I did nothing but write and title a book.

While this writer issued a kind of retraction after I reached out to her, it didn’t stop some of her readers from calling me a liar, and worse. We reached out again, asking her to put out the fire.

We’ve had no response, not from her, not from her agent.

Shame on them.

I had every intention of letting this go, until the flames kept burning, until the attacks kept coming. And nothing was done by the person who lit the match to stop it.

I don’t like taking my issues public. But I will stand up for myself. I will defend my integrity and my reputation and my work.

I’m appalled by this, sickened by it. I’m disgusted that people who don’t know me would feel free to say vicious things about me. I know very well the anonymity of the internet can foster such nastiness, but it still disgusts me.

Words have great power–to harm, to heal, to teach, to entertain. A writer, one who wants to forge a career with words, should understand that. And use them, as well as the tools at her disposal, wisely.

I’ve very deliberately not mentioned the name of the writer who started this, or the title of her book or mine. I don’t want this to escalate any more than it has. I don’t want my readers to go on the attack. It’s not cool. I simply want to set the record straight.

I’m Nora Roberts. I’m a hard-working writer, and an honest one.

That’s it.

 

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13 Responses to “Nora Roberts Releases Statement on Tomi Adeyemi’s Plagiarism Accusation” Subscribe

  1. Jennifer obinna 2018/11/30 at 01:39 #

    This was my exact worry when I read Tomi’s tweet. I was saddened by it. We(Readers) recently fell in love with Tomi’s book but we have loved Nora’s books for decades before she came along.
    What attempt did she make to investigate this before throwing a tantrum on Social Media? Any real fan of Nora Roberts knows that her book “of blood and bone” was already being publicized months before Tomi’s book was released as a sequel to one she had written (I can’t recall the title right away). Nora could just have easily thrown this shade at her when she released her book.
    Moreover, a quick search on Google and book sites will show that books with “blood and bone” in their titles are legion. No one has dragged anyone because we all know and SHOULD KNOW that titles cannot be stolen.
    I’m just disappointed by this and by how Tomi handled this.

  2. Ellen 2018/11/30 at 03:52 #

    Adeyami deserves all the public shaming and ridicule she tried to incite on Nora Roberts. What Harvard grad is dumb enough to think that her title is so original as to have one of the richest authors in the world – with more than 200 books published – plagiarizing her, a debut author with a tiny taste of popularity?

    The sheer egotism combined with massive ignorance is incredible, not to mention the half hearted apology whereshe didn’t even admit to her mistake, not to mention tried to play it off as just exonerating Nora Roberts.

    How interesting that she didn’t see fit to “call out” other well known authors and book series published YEARS before she even wrote her book, with that exact title:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_and_Bone_(novel)

    The only one trying to shamelessly profit off Nora Robert’s fame and reputation, which was developed after 30+ years in publishing and multiple bestsellers, is Adeyami. What disgusting behavior. It says volumes when she never even deleted her tweet or apologized, despite vaguely claiming to in her response. Her idiotic fans continue to attack and she allows them to by staying silent like a coward.

  3. Jerry 2018/11/30 at 04:48 #

    Ellen has completely spoken my mind. This is a completely sad episode that hasn’t ended in my opinion. Tomi Adeyemi needs to delete her original tweet, call her followers to order, and tender unreserved apologies. I was looking forward to reading her debut novel, but now I’m not so sure. I like to be inspired by authors I like, and Ms Adeyemi has lost my respect with her antics so far.

  4. Crystal 2018/11/30 at 13:25 #

    We as Nora Roberts fans should be classy and kind like she is and not name call or put down they other writer. Instead let Nora’s fans show up the other fans and prove who’s better by not stooping to their level. Thank you Nora for always giving 100% to all of us with your amazing books!

  5. Ellen 2018/11/30 at 23:29 #

    I’m not a big Nora Roberts fan. I’ve read some of her books and some of her series but even if I had never heard of her before (though it would be stunningly hard not to have), I would still despise the “other writer” for such an immature and attention-seeking move. While Adeyemi’s initial tweet was utterly stupid to begin with and I’m convinced was disingenuous – what English lit major, let alone a Harvard grad, has apparently never realized that titles of creative works can be similar and even the exact same? – her non-apology and handling of the aftermath spoke volumes about her character & intent.

    But seriously, her fans are trying to convince me that she has never, EVER realized that two books can have the exact same title. Really, now.

    The only options are that either Adeyemi is that idiotic and egotistical as to somehow genuinely believe she’s the only one to ever have put the words “blood and bone” together, or she’s that shameless and egotistical in choosing to try this publicity stunt.

  6. Hannah 2018/12/06 at 06:43 #

    It saddens me that a beloved writer like Nora Roberts would be so attacked. But she proves yet again that she’s a master.Not only of words, but also of taking the high road. I haven’t read any of her books in a couple of years, but now I want to rush out and get one!

    Really, this statement she put out is everything. Mature and cutting to the heart of the matter. Rather like an adult with an impetuous child. Just that both writers in this case are adults, or are supposed to be.

    I’ve read Children of Blood and Bone. Great book. But not to be compared with over thirty years of writing consistency and years on bestseller lists. I mean Nora Roberts began writing in 1979! Long before Tomi was even a thought. I hope Tomi does the right thing, the adult thing.

    Love, love, love Nora Roberts. That takes years of a relationship between reader and writer. Tomi should learn.

  7. Nichole Long 2018/12/07 at 11:47 #

    Tomi Adeyemi is young, just getting her start. She’s still learning. I’m still on her side. There is no need for this piling up Adeyemi. She will learn. I’m not going to side with Roberts, who is an established writer, against a newbie. We need all the black writers we can get, and the idea of black readers siding against Adeyemi is disgusting. You can simply email Adeyemi and tell her how you feel. Give her advice.

    That’s all.

  8. Nichole Long 2018/12/07 at 19:10 #

    Correction of above reply: “There’s no need for this piling up on Adeyemi.”

  9. Rae 2018/12/08 at 17:06 #

    It tells a lot about a person’s character how they deal with owning their mistakes. If this was a mistake Adeyemi needs to own it and her fans’ reaction 100%. She has not. I question her research skills and this comes off as nothing but a publicity stunt attempting to ride the coat tails of a luminary in the publishing industry. Black, white, purple polka dotted or what have you, individuals need to do the right thing. I will not be supporting Adeyemi with my hard earned dollars.

  10. Catherine 2018/12/08 at 18:14 #

    Mtcheeeeew. Pretending you’re classy and above pettiness while doing the exact opposite and slamming a younger writer who has already apologized to you.

    So what if you didn’t name and shame? EVERYONE knows EXACTLY who you’re talking about. You can fool your fans all you want. Your true colors are showing.

    Not impressed.

  11. CHERYL 2018/12/12 at 15:26 #

    I’ve read the apology and sorry but I’m not too impressed by it – just doesn’t have a sincere note of apology to it at all. To me, this all sounds like a publicity stunt dreamed up by a new author in an attempt to gain free publicity/promotions for their new book to increase book sales. What better way to get it (the publicity for book and new author, I mean) than to accuse a well-known person/author of plagiarism without spending a whole lot of money in promotions for the new book?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How books get published, a primer | The Amazon Iowan - 2018/11/30

    […] get lathered over publishing drama), you may have missed the prompt for this post, which is the misunderstanding between a rising star of critical acclaim and Nora Roberts, the former thinking the latter copied […]

  2. Entertainment's Trainwrecks of the Week – 12/6/18 | idobi - 2018/12/06

    […] See the full story of the interaction, along with Nora’s statement, via Brittle Paper. […]

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