In the previous couple of weeks, the Witch/Wiccan/Pagan web world has blown up with a dialogue concerning suspicious Witchy authors. Basically, increasingly more consideration has been given to a slew of extremely questionable books on the subject of Wicca and Witchcraft being launched on Amazon. These books have raised suspicion because of all sharing the identical titles whereas being written by authors who’ve weird pen-names (together with mash-ups of well-known authors like Scott Cunningham and Raymond Buckland in addition to objects like candles and gems). Moreover, there may be ZERO data given about these authors – resembling who they’re and what qualifies them to jot down such materials. Because the investigation has continued to unfold, there was a comparatively optimistic response from the group. Folks have generated their very own discussions on the subject and inspired others to be conscious of the books they’re buying. Nonetheless, there was a miserable quantity of others who’ve utterly misconstrued the dialog and lambasted these of us who’re working to assist make clear an upsetting development within the publication of Wicca/Witchcraft books on Amazon.
In case you are unfamiliar with what I’m speaking about, please seek advice from my fellow Patheos blogger Aine Llewellyn for a complete timeline of this dialogue (together with the unique articles revealed by companion Nathara).
Now let’s get one thing clear straight away, the investigation into these books is just not about any of the next issues:
- It’s not about self-publishing. The difficulty right here is NOT that these books are self-published. Self-publishing is a legit business and there are numerous self-published books on the subject of Wicca and Witchcraft which might be real and well-received.
- It’s not about pen-names. The difficulty right here is NOT that these books are being written by authors utilizing pen-names. The usage of pen-names is extremely widespread, particularly on the planet of Wicca and Witchcraft. Trace: Kelden is a pen-name. There are numerous essential the reason why somebody may use a pen-name, together with privateness.
- It’s not about ghost-writers. The difficulty right here is NOT that these books might need been written by a staff of ghost-writers. There’s a lengthy historical past of ghost-written books and people books are not any lesser than every other e-book due to that truth. My favourite e-book collection as a baby, Nancy Drew, was famously written by ghost-writers and that didn’t detract from their high quality.
- It’s not a couple of lack of group engagement. The difficulty right here is NOT about these authors not partaking locally. There are numerous authors who are usually not well-known and who don’t have interaction instantly with the Wiccan/Witchcraft group. That doesn’t make their books lesser than another person’s.
- IT IS NOT ABOUT LISA CHAMBERLAIN. Whereas her identify did initially come up initially on this investigation, it rapidly grew to become obvious that Chamberlain is just not the issue right here. Actually, it now appears that she is a VICTIM on this, particularly that the opposite authors being mentioned have been ripping her off.
What’s it about then? It’s about FACTS and the UNANSWERED QUESTIONS which have resulted from these details coming to mild.
After I joined Nathara in her investigation, I noticed that there was a necessity for a database of knowledge concerning these books and their authors. So, I took to Amazon and commenced to compile an inventory of authors in addition to their books and publication dates. Sure, the standards for that listing included: being self-published, having a suspicious pen-name (Severely? Nobody finds it suspicious that no less than 16 of the authors have the primary identify Lisa? Once more, an apparent rip-off of Lisa Chamberlain), lack of creator data, and having the identical title as different suspicious books. However a e-book needed to have ALL FOUR of those standards with a purpose to make the listing! No e-book was chosen just because it was self-published or as a result of the creator was utilizing an apparent pen-name.
From the listing that I compiled, I used to be in a position to pull knowledge numbers with a purpose to totally illustrate simply how alarming the development is with these suspicious books. PLEASE NOTE: The listing I created solely comprises the books I used to be capable of finding on the time. As such, the listing is constantly rising – particularly since extra of those books are being launched every week – and so the numbers could also be much more staggering as time goes on.
Since 2015, no less than 229 of those books have been launched on Amazon. In 2019 alone, 143 had been launched. And for the reason that begin of 2020, no less than 45 have been launched.
The most well-liked title selection seems to be Wicca for Newcomers. Of the 229 books on the listing, 66 of them share this title. In 2019, no less than 42 books titled Wicca for Newcomers had been launched on Amazon. For the reason that begin of 2020, no less than 14 books titled Wicca for Newcomers had been launched. It must be famous right here that Lisa Chamberlain’s e-book, Wicca for Beginners was revealed on September 10, 2014. Previous to this time, there may be an absence of suspicious books on Amazon- once more suggesting that Chamberlain’s books are those being ripped-off.
Different well-liked titles embody:
Wicca Natural Magic: 28 books on the listing share this title.
Wicca Crystal Magic: 13 books on the listing share this title.
Wicca Candle Magic: 10 books on the listing share this title.
Wicca Moon Magic: 14 books on the listing share this title.
Wicca E-book of Spells: 16 books on the listing share this title.
It also needs to be identified that a few of the authors have been releasing quite a few books on a single day. One author launched 5 books in someday, amounting to over 400 pages of written materials. Some could argue that these books had been written over a time period after which they had been all launched on the identical day. However, who does that? I’ve but to see any creator exterior of this investigation launch their books in such a way.
I’m personally dumbfounded that anybody might take a look at these numbers and nonetheless attempt to defend these books as being real and written by trustworthy authors.
However what in regards to the reviewers on Amazon? I began to have a look at the profiles for the individuals reviewing these books – and I extremely encourage you to take the time and do the identical, particularly in case you are nonetheless making an attempt to defend these books and their authors.
Many of those individuals had been leaving quite a few evaluations on a big number of books on a day by day foundation. One reviewer left 27 evaluations in ONE DAY. Not not possible, however definitely bizarre. But it surely will get weirder as a result of these individuals had been additionally leaving evaluations on suspicious books exterior of the Wicca/Witchcraft style. For instance, this e-book on the Keto food regimen written by an creator named John Carb. Or this e-book on studying Spanish written by Patrick Spain. However please, proceed to argue that these are trustworthy reviewers and never bot-generated evaluations on books which might be part of a bigger rip-off.
So what is occurring? I’ll seek advice from Nathara’s article during which she completely breaks down our present theories. However in sum, it appears greater than possible that individuals are placing Lisa Chamberlain’s work by means of re-spinner (a program that rewrites already written materials, typically with a purpose to bypass plagiarism scanners) and promoting it as their very own.
Closing Ideas: I’m tremendous disheartened, however sadly not stunned, on the destructive responses to this investigation. I’ve been accused of being an elitist and of making a “hit-list” of harmless self-published authors. When actually, all of this was performed with the well-being of our group in thoughts. I’m saddened to see individuals being uncovered to books that aren’t solely poor in content material (one book actually explains on “Alexander Sanders” was a feminist and the creator of Dianic Wicca) but additionally a rip-off of the work of others – INCLUDING LISA CHAMBERLAIN. I’m saddened to see high quality books written by hard-working authors being overshadowed on Amazon. Search outcomes for books on Wicca and Witchcraft flip up most of the suspicious books first, with real books being pushed again by pages which vastly lower their probabilities of being bought. That is very true for self-published authors who’re already competing for gross sales in opposition to books being launched by big-name publishers.
However of the destructive commentary, I discovered Leandra Witchwood’s response to be significantly disappointing – not simply because it’s based mostly totally on a misunderstanding of the state of affairs. Witchwood’s tackle the matter is full of hyperbole about how myself and others are gas-lighting, instigating Witch-Hunts, and fascinating in “tabloid-style considering” whereas missing any precise details concerning the precise situation at hand. Moreover, she complains that Nathara, Thorn Mooney, myself, and others are “blasting” self-published authors and going for the low-hanging fruit. However in the meantime, she compares “small bloggers” writing on the matter to “ravenous child crows determined for consideration.” Actual mature. Moreover, Witchwood confidently states that these of us writing on this subject haven’t performed their analysis, but when she had performed hers she would know that ALL of the problems introduced up in her article have already been addressed in quite a few locations. Moreover, it’s extremely uncertain that she has learn ANY of the books which might be being mentioned. As a result of if she had, and he or she remains to be selecting to defend them, then there isn’t a hope in reasoning together with her. It’s additionally price noting that Witchwood is writing a e-book with Lisa Chamberlain – so why she is selecting to defend authors who’re clearly ripping-off her new companion is past me…
As I wrap-up this blog-post, I’m exhausted and so performed with this subject. I consider that the discussions which have generated are extraordinarily essential. We’re a comparatively small group, and we have to care for each other – together with anticipating exploitative habits and developments. That’s all that I wished for this investigation, to assist deliver a problematic development to mild. However at this level, it has been so deeply misconstrued that I’m left questioning others’ capability to assume critically or to easily use their very own commonsense. So, I’ve performed my half and me and my compatriots have put the details on the market for all to see. Now it’s as much as individuals to determine for themselves what they’re going to do. However I’ll depart you with this query: who’re you going to belief extra? The authors (INCLUDING SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS WHO USE PEN-NAMES AND ARE MORE PRIVATE ABOUT THEIR IDENTITY) who’re working arduous to place out high quality content material or the “authors” who’re pumping out poorly written, misinformed, blatantly ripped-off books?