dtflpxexgaeg9a8Twitter blew up this week, just as it does every week, really. Specifically, book Twitter blew up a bit as a rather prominent debut author, Tomi Adeyemi, made a completely baseless claim regarding the titles of both her book and a book written by Nora Roberts. The claim and offending tweet can be found here. Now, before you go ahead and start commenting, if you’ve not heard about this yet, I’d like to take a moment to discuss it.

As a very brief introduction to the issue, the statement made insinuated that Roberts used an incredibly similar title to Adeyemi’s debut novel in an attempt to gain attention for her own book and resultingly make a profit from it. And Roberts responded accordingly in a very thoughtful way that, unfortunately, Adeyemi didn’t even consider giving her prior. If Adeyemi had simply done her research and had the forethought to be respectful, this never would have happened.

Now, getting into the intricacies of why this is ridiculous isn’t really that hard. For one, anyone who has ever spent a decent amount of time looking at books or even anyone who has merely put a book title into a search on Goodreads knows that there are often a massive plethora of books published with the very same or similar titles. This is a fact. Titles are often quite similar to others. The possibility that you will have a title that is wholly unique is pretty unlikely.

Secondly, book titles are determined far in advance, therefore a book that was published only a short time after yours could not have possibly a) anticipated the amount of attention your book would get and b) gone through the entire laborious process of changing their book title. Not only would that massively impact the advertising, the ARCs, cover costs and creation, and the release date of the book, but it is so ludicrous that it doesn’t even make sense. Not to mention the fact that a publisher would have to approve such a decision.

At the end of the day, what Adeyemi did was to post a knee-jerk, emotional reaction to something she clearly did not understand and incite a mess full of accusations and hurt. And I understand being angry with her. I understand losing respect for her. I lost a lot. And she definitely owes Roberts a much better apology than the one she gave. She also needs to tell her fans that attacking other authors, especially Roberts who has done nothing wrong, is not okay.

For all of us, those of you attacking Roberts for this ridiculously false accusation need to stop. Those of you who are boycotting Adeyemi’s books, I respect your decision but I would also like to say that Tomi is a young author. She hasn’t been doing this for long and she likely doesn’t know the full ins and outs of publishing. I imagine, very much so, that she was simply having a very strong emotional reaction and it’s no secret that those can occasionally ignore facts.

Emotions speak more to how we feel in the moment than to researched logic. And so, I hope she learns from this mistake. I hope she gives Roberts a proper apology. And I will still read Children of Blood and Bone as I intended to do because I recognize that sometimes people make mistakes. Perhaps Adeyemi will one day regain the respect that she lost from me, but that currently is yet to be seen.

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10 thoughts on “The Nora Roberts and Tomi Adeyemi Debacle

  1. I love your thoughts on this – perfectly worded and I agree 100%. I haven’t read either of these authors books, but I do know that NR has been around forever and does NOT need to copy anyone (not that I think she was at all). Twitter is so misused sometimes and it’s unfortunate because it’s great tool to connect with people. But using it to bash people, or call them out publicly, is childish and really ignorant, and most of the time (as in this case) it backfires tremendously. I just still can’t believe the tweet is still there and hasn’t been deleted. I understand standing your ground, and not wanting to be wrong, but humility goes a long way in the eyes of the Twitterverse. Great post!

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  2. I saw the tweet Tomi Adeyemi posted about it and thought it was bizarre. It’s a title! There are hundreds and thousands of books with similar and/or same titles as other books. It’s not like the content is the same. It’s a shame authors make these accusations publicly when there’s just no need. I saw some of the tweets Adeyemi’s fanbase made about the situation and it was absolutely horrible. I loved Children of Blood and Bone and thought it was a great read. Adeyemi has such talent and it would be a shame for her career to end so quickly, but hopefully this will be a lesson to her and any other authors who feel the need to make such baseless accusations.

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  3. This was a wonderfully worded post! I had been reading up on this drama the other day and was so frazzled it happened. Sometimes it’s best to take a deep breath before reacting! Everyone makes mistakes and I’m now interested in reading a book by Nora Roberts now because she stayed so classy about it all.

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  4. I just read Nora Roberts’ response and I have to say I really, really liked it. I’ve actually had this author on my radar for a while and this definitely makes me want to pick up her books, because I like how she handled this. I’m not angry with Adeyemi though- it’s not my place and, though hot-headed, was clearly a mistake. I’m definitely willing to give her the benefit of the doubt on this one- but I do think it’s important that authors and readers in general are educated on how titles are chosen and not to assume that it’s plagiarism to end up with a similar title. Especially after #cockygate earlier in the year (which was quite a bit worse). What bothers me the most about this is how fans have gone after Roberts and don’t seem to have let up, even after the truth behind this was clarified. Anyway, great post!

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  5. Such a ridiculous situation. As if Nora Roberts, after all these years and all her bestselling books, needs to profit off of a new author like that. It’s unfortunate, but this tarnishes Adeyemi a bit for me. I haven’t read her book although I have a copy and still plan to read it, but I wish she’d shown better judgment and professionalism in this situation.

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  6. I agree completely. I have to admit I’m much less excited about reading Children of Blood and Bone than I was before all of this blew up, but it’s still on my TBR. And now I want to go read some Nora Roberts. When I was growing up, she accounted for at least 90% of my aunt’s library, but I’ve never actually read any of her books. The replies from so many people who have never heard of her have been blowing my mind.

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  7. Totally agree with you, this whole thing was a mess – you should not go around flinging accusations of plagiarism on Twitter, especially when you have no evidence whatsoever. Adeyemi should have gotten in touch with her agent and publisher if she was really concerned about it. Plus, titles cannot be copyrighted! But the extent to which some people are attacking her right now is more than a little extreme. I hope everyone involved can move on from this without too much trouble.

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  8. Unfortunately, it seems like there have been a few writers recently who have lashed out and made baseless claims, later to be walked back reluctantly, on Twitter. The irony is that people who put so much work and passion into creating would rather have a gut reaction or assumption and spread it to their fans than take a second and figure out if there is any basis, at all, for what they think happened.

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