I honestly never been one to listen to Podcasts. I’m usually too busy reading or working. Maybe it’s just my age. I don’t mind catching a video here and there on YouTube but I’m not interested in listening to podcasters regularly. So it was interesting when I had a new fan contact me about something that was upsetting him with my book. He said he regularly listened to LitRPGPodcasts where he’d seen my book series lambasted for plagiarism. It’s here for those who are interested https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJ4Pm2uySNk&feature=youtu.be What upset this LitRPG fan was that after deciding to pick up my book to see what the hubbub was about, he discovered that what LitRPGPodcasts was saying were straight up lies. This was the second time I’d heard of LitRPGPodcasts.
The first time was five minutes of posting my new book, First Login, where was assaulted by Dave Willmarth and his buddies: LitRPGPodcast, Adam Shook and A Man of no Consequence. My back cover’s description looked like a similar plotline to Ascend Online and so they accused me of blatant plagiarism and fifteen minutes later I had nasty reviews left on Amazon and Goodreads. Funny how that is. LitRPGPodcast sounds almost legit if you read his post, but even with my amazing reading speed, I can’t read a three hundred and thirty-eight paged book within fifteen minutes. Two hours after that I was banned from LitRPG.
You’d think the story would be over there. These guys went to my freshly published book and dropped the ratings down to one star. Who would bother to take a second look at my story after that? Funny enough, the answer to that is quite simple. Since I’m an Indie Writer doing everything by myself, I’m slow. It took me a couple weeks to get everything lines up on Amazon, the blog, Goodreads, Facebook, the actual self-publishing process … you get what I mean. Well, during that time a number of readers found the series and started reading it from Goodreads. There were all kinds of four and five star ratings and these people also left their reviews on Amazon.
Surprisingly enough, there were a number of people coming from the LitRPGSociety site to check out the story and the controversy these guys made about my book. Before I knew it, readers where battling against these corporate lapdogs and telling them that their accusations were straight-up wrong. Before I knew it my stars were up to four on Amazon for book one and nearly five starts for the other two books in the series. There was a straight up battle between angry writers and editors against LitRPG fans. Guess who won out in the end? My stars were 4.1 and then Luke and his buddies came up with a new tactic. Get my book to be pulled by claiming the book was Luke’s creation and not mine. The only way for me to battle that with Amazon is to have a completed copyright application. So that’s where it’s at now. I am looking for other options on what I can do but everything takes time.
Let me retract this next part. I'd initially clicked on a LitRPG group that suddenly brought me into Alternative Realities Publishing (https://alternativerealitiespublishing.wordpress.com/) I don't have any screenshots. At the time, I thought there was a connection between Alternative Realities Publishing and GreatLitRPG, LitRPG, LitRGPsociety, LitRPG Group, LitRPG Podcast groups. I was wrong. Please accept my apology.
At the same time, I began getting blog posts and messages about other Indy Writers who had the same experiences. That they were banned as soon as they posted their work on the Facebook groups. I even heard that the authors associated with LitRPG tried to ban anyone else from writing within the genre even though they hadn’t started the genre in the first place. It makes me wonder if the invite to these Facebook LitRPG groups is a way for existing authors to knock down any new works that are coming out that could challenge their own works’ success.
If you listen to the LitRPGPodcasts it sounds like I’m a terrible guy. Stealing ideas, copying and pasting parts straight from another author’s series into my book. Hell, by LitRPGPodcasts’s own words the first half of the book is basically Luke’s story copied and pasted into another book. Only the tail end of the novel has any new content. Too bad my overall writing is so atrocious. Unoriginal and a blatantly plagiaristic. Wow, if I heard all of that I’d hate that person too. Sounds like a downright nasty individual. While LitRPGPodcasts makes up a good story, that’s what it is … a made-up story. It couldn’t be further from the truth which was what this ex-fan of LitRPGPodcasts was so angry about. That was the point he was trying to explain to me. He felt betrayed by someone he thought was on the up and up on giving reviews. It made me wonder how many other new writers felt the lash of LitRPGPodcasts’ forked tongue?
It’s easy to say, the hero was protecting a group of NPCs in the wilds against Goblins Raiders, like it’s some great secret plot point. If that were simple plagiarizing a story, then Luke and so many other LitRPG authors would be at fault for plagiarizing Brent Roth’s Dragon Wrath, Aleron Kong’s The Land and D.Rus’ Play to Win series. Goblins Raiders, Goblins Scouts, Goblin Warriors, Goblins Shamans, there all there in those earlier works. The plot of Goblin Raiders, protecting a group of NPCS in the wilds, that’s the same situation in Dragon Wrath and The Land. If we go any broader, everything in LitRPG would be a copy of D.Rus’ work. Let’s not even discuss things like MMORPG, computer game titles, Dungeon & Dragons or the Lord of the Ring or none of us would be able to write. These have all come before and have every single one of these story concepts? It’s like saying you had a detective protecting his family from the bad gangsters or a crime fighter combating evil on the streets. These things are plot points to a storyline, they’re not plagiarism. Plagiarism is the stealing the exact world, the exact characters or copying and pasting text. How you use these familiar plot points to build a story is where being a good writer comes into play.
Don’t take my word for it. Here I’ll add in the many Amazon reviews, Facebook posts, Blog comments and even emails that I’ve received. These are just the ones that are disputing the plagiarism. Makes you wonder where LitRPGPodcasts is getting their information from? There are even more as times go by. I just won't continue updating here but you can see them for yourself on Amazon
1. Use of a female NPCs that the character meets in-game. On Luke's side it is a goddess that chooses the mc as a her golden children to fight a war against the goddess of death and destruction. On my story, Startum meets and NPC trainer that shows him how to use the controllers of the game as he goes through training sessions to be able to play, since his nightmare start gets no in game auto help.
2. Use of game messages. If we were using game messages, quests or damage meters as the line for plagiarism there would be no LitRPG other than D.Rus' Live to Play series, who happens to be the Father of All LitRPG.
3. MC being sent into the wild to protect a group of NPCs. In First Login, it's a game element for every Nightmare chosen start. In Luke's it's a 'god touched my life and I am her champion.' Now interesting enough, this story element is in many LitRPG authors' books before Luke published his. We're not even talking about Dungeon & Dragons which that is a main focus of so many of their games and don't forget MMORPG. Like I said, sounds good until you truly look at the comment.
4. The use of Military Conditioning. If this equated to plagiarism of half my book by the use of two words, it's an easy fix. Boom gone. Simple change of word hurts nothing in my story and now it's 100% unique. Doesn't alter my story at all. Think about that though for just one moment. You used two similar words so you've copied my entire work. Is the world the same? No. Is the virtual world the same? No. Are the characters or their interactions the same? No. No turn this around, if using Goblin Raider, or quest updates and etc were put to Luke's works. That would be plagiarism huge. But no, LitRPGPodcasts only shines the light in one direction.
5. LitRPGPodcasts said that they contacted me asking me asking me to make changes. There was never any contact. No email. Just an accusation of plagiarism in a review on book one that said your whole use of having the mc protect a group of NPCs against Goblins Raiders is plagiarism. Remove it and I'll take away my negative review. My comments to the link were ignored after that.
6. Lastly, several fans messaged me that they commented on this link. It was the only way I found out there was a link. Their arguments and questions against his broad brush of hate were removed quickly. No sense allowing people view any negative feedback on the video. Even funnier, after talking to several fans and double checking with them, they can see their negative review but no one else can. They're invisible to anyone else viewing the video. Five stars there on professionalism LitRPGPodcasts. Good job on being a bunch of douchebags.
Here is what has been sent to me so far and more are coming. What I see:
Here is your ex-fan Jeff's review that you hide from everyone:
Accusations with terms of plagiarism is quite specific. It is libel. It is character assassination. The law seems to be pretty clear on this. Now I have screenshots of your libel and a video from your own mouth. I can't wait to see where this leads. Luke let you get your hands dirty. Thankfully, I have Luke's official claim to Amazon over my own book. I'm curious as to what my copyright / intellectual rights lawyer will say to all of this.