It seems as though there’s so much drama happening in the book community lately.
I wanted to take a moment to talk about the latest, involving the author of one of my favorite books of 2018: Tomi Adeyemi, author of Children of Blood and Bone, and Nora Roberts, a prolific and well-known author that you’ve probably heard of.
A few days ago, I was wasting time on Instagram when I came across Adeyemi’s Instagram story about Nora Roberts’ new book, Of Blood and Bone. Adeyemi was upset because she felt that Roberts had plagiarized the title and cover of her book. She spent several stories fuming about this, and also posted the following on Twitter:
Since then, Adeyemi posted this:
As of the time of this writing on December 3, Tomi Adeyemi appears to have deleted the tweets directed at Nora Roberts. The above tweet is a pretty pathetic apology if it can even be called that. Adeyemi has been quiet on the topic since November 28th.
I’ve never read any of Nora Roberts’ books, so I cannot claim to be a fan, but Roberts released a perfect statement on her website later on the 28th, which you should go and read in its entirety, but I’ll highlight a bit of it here:
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.
No one who knows me would believe any of these accusations. But that’s the problem. Those making them don’t know me, they simply lash out because they can.
This foolish and false statement has damaged my reputation. Vicious and ugly accusations and names have been tossed at me when I did nothing but write and title a book.
While this writer issued a kind of retraction after I reached out to her, it didn’t stop some of her readers from calling me a liar, and worse. We reached out again, asking her to put out the fire.
I want to say a few things about this entire fiasco:
First, it’s hard to plagiarise a title. There are billions of published books in the world, and a lot of them have very similar or even exactly the same titles. It happens all the time. As Roberts correctly put it in her statement, you cannot trademark or own a book title. It’s a ridiculous thing to call someone out on. The only thing that matters is the story, and while I would 100% support an author for being angry about their story being plagiarized, I cannot support Adeyemi’s accusation.
Second, I feel that Tomi Adeyemi handled the entire situation in an entitled, petty, unprofessional, and childish way. If she suspected that Roberts had stolen her idea, she should have contacted Roberts privately or brought up the matter with her agent. Calling someone out publicly on social media before knowing for sure if it was copied is un-called for and completely unfair.
Third, anyone that wrote Nora Roberts angry emails or left nasty comments on any of her websites or platforms should be ashamed of themselves. There’s no reason to add more hate to the internet than there already is, and it’s really low to direct so much hate to an author (or anyone else) without hearing their side of the story or having any proof. The same goes for anyone that has written angry messages to Adeyemi. Stop spreading so much hate.
I’m really conflicted about this entire situation. Children of Blood and Bone is one of the best books I’ve read in 2018, and one of my favorite young adult fantasy novels of all time. That said, right now, I’m hesitant about reading or purchasing the sequel unless she issues a public apology to Roberts.
I’m usually a fan of separating the art from the artist with authors that are long-dead, but with something current like this, I don’t wish to support authors who put forth unwarranted hate. I can’t say for certain if I’ll read Adeyemi’s sequel in January or not, because I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about the entire situation, but it definitely made me respect her less as a person.
4 thoughts on “Book Drama: Nora Roberts & Tomi Adeyemi”
I so agree with you! I haven’t read her book and I still will and try to review it based on the writing itself. That being said, I think she was extremely childish and petty. Also, she said in a podcast interview that she got the title from Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older, so this whole thing is very strange to me.
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I hadn’t heard of the comment Adeyemi had made about getting her title from Shadowshaper; I’m definitely going to look into that.
I hope you enjoy the book. It’s definitely a great story.
This reminds me of my own different experience. Earlier this year I read a book by someone with many award winning novels under their belt. I was simply late in my discovery of this author. The book was so good, and I got really excited about reading their other work. I started following this person on social media, but then I noticed that they would occasionally make rude and condescending comments to some of their followers. I was really surprised, and it turned me off from wanting to read any more of their work. It’s really unfortunate, but there are too many wonderful books out there waiting to be read and not enough time. I find it hard to support anyone who would act like that.
On a positive note, except for this one bad example, virtually every author I have followed on social media has shown themselves to be humble and down-to-earth. IMO one of the nicest and most gracious writers out there is Neil Gaiman, which is all the more impressive given his immensely successful career.
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I’m sorry that you had to experience that as well. It’s always unfortunate when you discover than an author whose books you love is not a respectable person. As a side note, I have so much fun following Neil Gaiman. His Twitter feed is almost always positive.
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