Recall that Nigerian-American author Tomi Adeyemi called out American writer, Nora Roberts accusing her of stealing her book title. She later explained that Nora Roberts reached out to her and explained to her why she used the title.
However, Nora has now taken out time to react in a lengthy post on her blog.
She writes: “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 a 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.”
Click here to read Nora’s complete reply.