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Most erotica authors stay within the genre, so Sharazade was surprised Cruz had ventured into horror.

Amazon lets customers click inside a book for a sample of text and Sharazade was impressed with how literate it was.

She extracted a sentence fragment, googled it, and found that Cruz had copy and pasted the text from Bram Stoker's It turns out Cruz isn't the only self-published plagiarist.

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If any Kindle Select members borrowed her book—they are entitled to one title per month—she would receive a proportional sliver of the $500,000 Amazon set aside in December to pay publishers and authors.

Then, once her book wasn't free anymore, it would be tied to things like "Customers who bought X also bought Y," plus readers might post glowing reviews and buy backlist books.

She decided to test drive the service with , a book by one of her authors, then watched it climb the rankings in "gratifying leaps." But Sharazade was dismayed that a number of books, a few with nonsensical titles, were beating hers, even though they were hamstrung by twisted grammar and perverse punctuation.

Some sported covers comprised of low-resolution images with no lettering. "Even in porn, customers come down on books that are totally incompetent," Sharazade says, "but this wasn't happening with these."After checking the author page for Maria Cruz, who that day had the top-selling erotica book in Amazon's U. Kindle store, she counted 40 erotica ebook titles, including .

As recently as early January, Robin Scott had 31 books in the Kindle store, and a down-and-dirty textual analysis revealed that each one was plagiarized. Haven, a purveyor of incest, group sex, and cheating bride stories, was selling 11 pilfered tales from a variety of story sites.

Eve Welliver had eight titles in the Kindle store copied from Literotica and elsewhere, and she had even thought to plagiarize some five-star reviews.Luke Ethan's author page listed four works with titles like , and it doesn't appear he wrote any of them.After publishing 20 non-fiction books with mainstream publishers, Sharazade (her pen name) decided to try her hand at erotica, and over the past year has published two sex- and fantasy-themed ebooks, both of which are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords (Warning: Linked pages may contain explicit content.) Her stories often involve travel—a passion of hers—and are set in exotic locales.Recently she began publishing other authors through 1001 Nights Press, a small house she founded, and last month she learned that Amazon was letting indie publishers and self-published authors into its Kindle Select program.Sharazade, who requested anonymity because she also works as a freelance writer, editor, and teacher and doesn't want clients or students to know about her erotica exploits, recognized several benefits to working with Amazon.She could offer a title free for up to five days, and that's great publicity since her book would inevitably shoot up in the rankings.

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