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Nora Roberts isn’t happy with Tomi Adeyemi’s accusation, releases Statement

BellaNaija.com

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Nora Roberts isn't happy with Tomi Adeyemi's accusation, releases Statement | BellaNaija

Nora Roberts isn’t at all happy with the accusation made against her by Nigerian-American writer Tomi Adeyemi.

Adeyemi had on Twitter accused Roberts of stealing the book title “Of Blood and Bone” from her own fantasy novel “Children of Blood and Bone” and “shamelessly” profiting off it.

Although Adeyemi tweeted an apology, explaining that Roberts reached out to her to clarify, she did not take the accusation down, leaving fans to continue to criticise the writer.

Roberts, writing on her blog, addressed the issue in a post titled “Mob Rule on Social Media.”

The long post has an obviously upset Roberts revealing that her team reached out to Adeyemi’s asking that the tweet be taken down, and no reply has been given.

Read the post below:

MOB RULE BY SOCIAL MEDIA

I’m not on Twitter. I’ve said before and will say again, I’d rather be poked in the eye with a burning stick than tweet. I’m only on Instagram and Facebook because the amazing Laura runs the show.

I write. I spend my days working, my evenings either working or with my family. Or zoned in front of the TV, basically brain dead.

I don’t spend much time on social media. I recognize its power, I appreciate its ability to connect writers with readers. And I also understand how easily it can be weaponized to incite flame wars. So I’m very careful with my use of it–and Laura is even more so.

I write. It’s what I do. What I love and what I’ve spent three decades learning how to do well. Or as well as I possibly can.

But there are a lot of authors who spend a great deal of time on social media. Some are absolute geniuses with the tools, and use them beautifully.

Others. Not so much.

I don’t believe, and have never believed in taking personal issues onto public forums. I don’t believe, and have never believed–will never believe–in a writer attacking another writing on a public forum. It’s unprofessional, it’s tacky and the results are, always, just always, ugly.

Recently another writer used her social media forums to baselessly, recklessly accuse me of stealing the title of her book–which is bullshit right off–to attempt to profit from this theft. She had no facts, just her emotions, and threw this out there for her followers.

First, let’s address the particular title which happens to be similar. I titled this particular book, wrote this book, turned this book into my publisher nearly a year before her book–a first novel–was published. So unless I conquered the time/space continuum, my book was actually titled before hers. Regardless, you can’t copyright a title. And titles, like broad ideas, just float around in the creative clouds. It’s what’s inside that counts.

It’s just a title.

By accusing me, in public, of attempting to ‘shamelessly profit’ off of her creativity, she incited her readers into attacking me–on her feed, then on my pages, then on the internet in general. She did nothing to stop this. I have been accused of theft, of trying to use this first time writer–whose book has been well received–for my own profit. To ride her coattails as I have no originality. This after more than thirty years in the business, more than two hundred books.

I was accused of plagiarism–for a title–of stealing her ideas–though I had never heard of her book before this firestorm, have never read her book.

And trust me, I never will now.

This is what happens when a reckless statement is made on social media. It becomes a monstrous lie that spreads and grows and escalates.

I don’t know this woman; she doesn’t know me. She lit the match, foolishly. Perhaps being young and new and so recently successful she doesn’t fully understand the relationship between a writer and her readers, or the power of an ugly insinuation posted on Twitter. But, God, you should know how tools work before you use them.

We should all take a lesson here. Think, then think again, before you post. Be sure of your facts before you take a shot at someone. Be prepared for the vicious fallout once you do.

Could you have dug a little deeper to check facts? Could you have contacted the person in question and had a conversation? In this case–writer to writer–could you have spoken to your publisher, your agent, about the fact that a title can’t be stolen in the first place?

Could you have, perhaps, checked the timeline? If your book came out a few months before the other book (and if you know SQUAT about publishing) you’d certainly realize it was written, titled and in production when yours hit the stands. So how could a damn title be ‘stolen’?

To be accused of plagiarism by some faceless reader on the internet, one who felt entitled to spread that lie gutted me. I’ve been plagiarized, and will always have an open wound from the blow. To me, plagiarism is the most terrible sin a writer can commit.

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.

We’ve had no response, not from her, not from her agent.

Shame on them.

I had every intention of letting this go, until the flames kept burning, until the attacks kept coming. And nothing was done by the person who lit the match to stop it.

I don’t like taking my issues public. But I will stand up for myself. I will defend my integrity and my reputation and my work.

I’m appalled by this, sickened by it. I’m disgusted that people who don’t know me would feel free to say vicious things about me. I know very well the anonymity of the internet can foster such nastiness, but it still disgusts me.

Words have great power–to harm, to heal, to teach, to entertain. A writer, one who wants to forge a career with words, should understand that. And use them, as well as the tools at her disposal, wisely.

I’ve very deliberately not mentioned the name of the writer who started this, or the title of her book or mine. I don’t want this to escalate any more than it has. I don’t want my readers to go on the attack. It’s not cool. I simply want to set the record straight.

I’m Nora Roberts. I’m a hard-working writer, and an honest one.

That’s it.

Photo Credit: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images fro Unbridled Eve

54 Comments

  1. Thelma

    November 30, 2018 at 1:01 am

    Tomi messed up, abeg

    • larz

      November 30, 2018 at 3:11 pm

      No she didn’t. She gained publicity for it which I suspect is what she wanted.

      Nora Roberts has been writing before Tomi was born with a strong following. Attacking Nora such a respected author of fiction is a calculated more.

      They were capitalising on young black writer being taken advantage of by middle age white woman. That story sells. young ppl everywhere and ethnic minorities everywhere will jump on that bandwagon. I dont blame Nora Roberts for her response either.

    • Fleur

      December 1, 2018 at 1:21 am

      If that is what she wanted, then it is a really low approach. I dont think it is positive publicity. It is negative for someone who is black and stepping foot into the white publishing world for the first time. She can get blackballed. It is not how good your stories are. It is whether the industry cares to publish it. Many excellent writers out there who are unpublished because someone did not care to publish them.

  2. Amaa

    November 30, 2018 at 1:31 am

    Ghen ghen!!! Hanty Nora haff vex. Lesson 1 err on the side of caution. Lesson 2 internet is a tool that doesn’t forget. Lesson 3 if someone has wronged you or you think they might have kindly reach out to them or any one close to them before you light a fire on the internet . Chai sorry hanty no vex na small pikin dey worry am

  3. Sad

    November 30, 2018 at 1:56 am

    This young girl is allowing one successful book to shack her. Lest you become a one book wonder, change your style and act with some class. You are calling out a seasoned writer that she is trying to ride on the tail of your success. Really!!!! Because of one book you have written. You have a lot of growing up to do. No humility what so ever.

  4. wisdom

    November 30, 2018 at 2:08 am

    I appreciate this woman’s sharp response. Guys let’s be wise and responsible in how we use social media platforms. Lives and careers can be ruined by knee-jerk reactions, that the initiator will term “small mistake”. If this lady did not respond the way she has, it will continue to hunt her as people will assume that her silence somehow means guilt, while in truth some folk are just not into social media and all its banter, which is perfectly fine.

  5. Jummy

    November 30, 2018 at 2:10 am

    Ms. Robert Nora vex oh, and rightly so too.

    Where was the other commenter that said she was well within her rights to go to twitter FIRST to incite the twitter mob to Ms. Robert?

    Again, juvenile behavior. Plus from what Nora has written it doesn’t seem like the misconception was squashed the way Tomi made it seem.

    Like I said earlier, I hope she learns from this and does NOT go to Twitter FRIST when she could have just reached out to Nora and her team.

    • TheRealist

      November 30, 2018 at 4:24 am

      @JUMMY, I will not take back anything that I said yesterday.

      The US is not Nigeria where theft and even horrible things like domestic violence and even sexual assault are quietly “settled” behind closed doors. Again, the reflex of anyone who has been led to believe that her intellectual property or primary source of livelihood is being stolen (or even just diluted) is to kick as fiercely as humanly possible against it. If, as it turns out in this instance, the person is mistaken the only responsible response should be a similar public apology (and she frankly should have since taken the tweets down) – and to LEARN from the misstep. That’s how human beings GROW (partly from mistakes)! Sadly, the paralyzing fear of not making mistakes is often the defining characteristic of failure. TOMI, abegi apologize and MOVE ON. Do not make the mistake of some Nigerians and get bogged down by the past. Best Wishes!

    • Smh

      November 30, 2018 at 8:57 am

      **kick as fiercely as humanly possible against it*”
      Whatever happened to going the legal route like a sensible person would do? No one is condoning intellectual property theft, the grouse is THE MANNER Tomi dealt with it. I’m with Jummy on this one.

    • Cocoa

      November 30, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      Please JUMMY is right…you’re defending what cant be defended . THERE ARE CHANNELS FOR COMPLAINT TO BE FILED on any issue. SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT IT..unless you’re an ERRATIC juvenile. Certainly not the route to take as a PROFESSIONAL. And worse still…as one WITHOUT FACTS.

      This culture of people thinking they can just talk anyhow online is only merciful to the FACELESS( even though the fact that you’re anonymous still gives you no right). But when you’re KNOWN..you better handle things the professional and matured way.

      To whom much is given ..much is expected. The fact that she won’t remove the baseless accusation and tell her followers to STOP attacking Roberts…..SAYS A LOT ABOUT HER.

      Don’t let your TALENT take you where your CHARACTER can;t sustain you…that should be everyone’s daily prayer.

    • ANONIMO

      November 30, 2018 at 3:56 pm

      I beg to differ. This is not just some person. This is someone that has years of experience; that has been writing before Tomi was born. One moment of contacting her would NOT have hurt Tomi Adeyemi!! Whether out of respect or even mere curiousity.
      I am a lawyer and trust me I would rather have preferred if Tomi had reached out first; documented her discontent so that when we go to court, it will boost our claim. Most times when before a court, the judge is inclined to ask if any attempt was made at settlement or reaching an understanding.. And now guess what, titles cannot be copyrighted!! See life! Tomi messed up big time..

    • Ajala & Foodie

      November 30, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      I get @ Realist POV here. Many of us are quick to ask and plead for Mercy, WHEN we make mistakes, but fail to extend same mercy when it involves others. I put “when” in caps cos we all err, it is not generational or success specific. From NR’s response I think she also accepts that, it is however what TA and her team have done or in this case not done that is the issue here. She should not only have taken down the tweet(s) but posted one saying: I naively posted accusing another author of “stealing” my work. I was wrong. While I appreciate your support and how your support for me as resulted in the success of my first work. I want to state here that I was the one in the wrong and have since apologized to the author involved and would appreciate it if you all stop attacking this author because of my mistake” or something like that. The lesson TA should however take away from this is caution in harnessing the power of Social media.

    • Nneka

      November 30, 2018 at 6:52 pm

      The problem with your argument is that both Tomi and Nora reside in the US. Tomi should know better since she is a part of a more civilized society. Nora is well within her rights to sue Tomi for defamation and the legal costs can run Tomi mad. No amount of book sales will redeem her.

      This idea that it’s ok to run one’s mouth, then “apologize and move on” is gravely juvenile.

      A whole NORA ROBERTS. Egbami lo’wo omo yi!!! Tomi Adeyemi is utterly utterly ridiculous.

    • Fleur

      December 1, 2018 at 1:23 am

      Since we are talking about the difference between NIgeria and the US, Nora Roberts can actually file a defamation law suit and win. In that case our brand new writer could be in the red with her earnings for a senseless tweet before she even learns how to hug her new bank balance. Yes, Nora could have to spend money doing damage control PR for an unfounded assertion. The story may not have seen its end yet.

    • Dayo

      December 1, 2018 at 10:29 pm

      @FLEUR, free legal counsel – anyone can file a lawsuit, but if Nora Roberts does so under these facts she will most likely LOSE (for much the same reason that Trump and the multitude “defamed” daily on SM do not bother to file lawsuits), not least because public figures have a much HIGHER treshold of legal proof for a successful libel lawsuit.

    • Bidsy

      December 1, 2018 at 10:47 am

      This isn’t about the unaccountable pattern in Nigeria. Just because critical issues are not addressed properly doesn’t give you the grounds to accuse someone falsely with no firm proof. Nothing justifies being rash. See how Tomi looks stupid at the end of the day. A quick scan through amazon book titles would have saved her the embarrassment. There are several books on Amazon with that similar title.

  6. Cocolette

    November 30, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Eyaa! Tomi has bought market. This is why I believe in giving people a benefit of doubt when they seemingly hurt me. If Tomi had confirmed privately before concluding that NR stole her title maliciously, this wouldn’t be happening. Or if this is a legal issue, she should have had her lawyers reach out privately. Now the deed has been done and I feel people will want to make this a black vs white thing.
    Nora has had loyal fans for yearzzzzz and I hope they don’t truncate Tomi’s career before it has properly taken off

  7. Ajala & Foodie

    November 30, 2018 at 3:43 am

    Rightly so!!! That’s why having the right people in your circle and making wise use of said people and listening to them is key. Silly Social media warriors that go to war without due diligence, yep, that’s the down side of Social media. While it is great to be passionate about a cause. Make sure there is a cause to be passionate about first!!! This young lady just made a colossal mistake not a well known, prolific writer like Nora Roberts too. You get small success, you let it get into your head. Choi, wise counsel is very important. Who are her agents sef? They should have made a more public statement and at least appear to try to put a stop to it. Unless, this was their intention right from the get go, i.e garner publicity. I mean some believe that bad publicity is better than no publicity at all. I never heard of this author until this Nora Roberts drama, so I am sure she is getting something out of it. Nora may just teach her a lesson by dragging her to court. I am sure she can find something to sue her for even if it is only emotional trauma.

  8. Marsala

    November 30, 2018 at 7:24 am

    A classic example of how a “Generaion Z” has stuck a foot in the mouth. Very reactive and entitled. Tomi better get her PR on point to fix this mess. Nora is known for being calm and private, so for her to get to this point, it must be a big deal. Sighhhh

  9. Mercy

    November 30, 2018 at 7:58 am

    I’ve read Nora Roberts’ works since I was a kid. There is no way she could have copied or used the title of this lady’s book.
    Don’t be angry, Nora. Shit happens.

  10. Sunshine

    November 30, 2018 at 8:01 am

    Such childish behavior.. I’ve been reading Nora Roberts since I can remember and when I saw Tomi’s tweet, I laughed my ass off. How? Nora Roberts riding on the coattails of your success? Did anyone tell you how long ago she became a successful writer? Did anyone tell you how successful she still is?

    You wrote one book and your shoulder is so high.. I wish Nora would sue her for libel and defamation of character, let’s see how much will remain of the “success”. Next time, fact check before running your fingers. Nonsense!

    “Shamelessly profit”? . How are you a writer and don’t know who Nora Roberts is? Her fan base is bigger than anything you can imagine.

    I really hope she gets sued, she needs to learn that Social Media is not the first place to go when you have an issue.

    • Chinenye

      November 30, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      As in ehnnnnn, how will a writer not know Nora Robers. When even ardent readers like me know her well. Issokay sha.

  11. Udegbunam Chukwudi

    November 30, 2018 at 8:01 am

    That awkward moment when you think you are Beyonce. Chai

    • Nneka

      November 30, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      lmao!!!! As in.

    • akama

      December 3, 2018 at 11:16 am

      Even if she were Beyonce, would that make her actions justified?

  12. Big Tee

    November 30, 2018 at 8:14 am

    Condescending write up oshi…. “she lit the match stupidly” …. What gives you the right to know if someone is stupid or not? White women always wanting to sound superior, so your view is superior to her’s? Her book came out to the public first and yours came out later, end of story…. I’m sure if the situation was reversed, this white woman will be the first person to cry out. And she keeps saying “first time writer”, so what? Madam Nora…. have several seats…. infact I’m coming to your pages and your website to post my mind, Oloshi….

    • Sakura

      November 30, 2018 at 10:06 am

      Your naivete is showing.

    • Oh please!

      November 30, 2018 at 11:18 am

      Not everything is about race. Relax and realise that your “black” person messed up and is being called out. Ugh!

    • Cocoa

      November 30, 2018 at 3:30 pm

      Big Tee…I.m ashamed FOR you. sigh.

      If you only knew better…i know you would do better. The devil has lied to you brother.

    • Ajala & Foodie

      November 30, 2018 at 3:48 pm

      @ Big Tee, saying someone acted did a particular thing stupidly does not mean the person is stupid!!! Gosh some of us are just looking for who to fight unnecessarily. I will also advice that if your intention is to show support for the author, yes who stupidly started something then rethink your going to “Express your thoughts” on her page, because the more this goes on the more likely a lawsuit will take place and one madam TA will not win. This is exactly the issue here, people not thinking before reacting. This issue has NOTHING to do with race so bringing race into it is what make some caucasian claim we people of color are aggressive and just looking for who to fight.

    • Anonimo

      November 30, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      i am a black woman who read Nora Roberts religiously. She does not seem racist and I hope to heavens she is not but even that cannot erase what her literature did for me. That being said I beg you not to bring up the race issue, this is what they say about bringing the race card up. Tomi was or would have been the victim here, if she had a claim trust me I would forget my love for Nora and rally behind her pronto! But here is a woman an agabalagba both in age and profession and you just jump right on to twitter, do a nice picture stich of your book and hers, no reading no background check no nothing, it was stupid. And I know ageism is wrong but Nora is old enough to tell her off abeg (the Yoruba girl in me I guess)

    • Nneka

      November 30, 2018 at 6:57 pm

      You sound just as stupid as Tomi.

      Don’t shoot me… I’m just telling you what everyone thinks about the crap you posted.

    • Torie James

      November 30, 2018 at 10:10 pm

      Did you even read the blog? Because, by your answer, clearly you didn’t. Fact is, Nora’s book was written and TITLED one year BEFORE Tomi’s released..NR’s rel date just happened to fall after Tomi’s but was already on calendar for a full year. Pay attention..

    • Fleur

      December 1, 2018 at 1:25 am

      A person’s actions gives others the right to determine their imbecility

    • Manny

      December 4, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      Haha I love this. It should go on a t-shirt

  13. OgeAdiro

    November 30, 2018 at 8:43 am

    She can write.

  14. Michy

    November 30, 2018 at 8:52 am

    This is how lawsuits are started.

  15. Smh

    November 30, 2018 at 8:54 am

    This girl will just end her career before it even starts. O ma se o.

  16. Asa

    November 30, 2018 at 10:10 am

    From the time I saw what Tomi posted on twitter, I said it straight up that she was wrong. We have been reading Nora Roberts since forever, she is a renowned author deserving of respect. She is also far more successful than Tomi and her book has been read across continents. Tomi should have reach out to her first before going on twitter.

  17. Adepeju

    November 30, 2018 at 10:11 am

    I love both of you works, but I really do not like the attacks going about on social media. Not cool

  18. Marie Antoinette

    November 30, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Tell them NR! You can’t steal titles.
    Toke Makinwa should have called out Michelle Obama then! On Becoming/Becoming…

    • Chinenye

      November 30, 2018 at 3:56 pm

      LMAO… For real.

  19. LOL

    November 30, 2018 at 11:24 am

    When I first heard the accusation, I said to myself, it’s Nora Roberts, for Christ’s sake. Besides you can’t copyright a title. The issue is are the contents similar? Also, the title is in public domain. It is based on a saying. It can never be copyrighted and I suspect that if investigated, there will be still more books that exist (before either of their books were published) with similar titles. Now, Nora Roberts can sue Tomi for Defamation and rightly so. If Tomi is wise, she should quickly speak with her lawyers and reach out to Nora before her short-lived success becomes significantly tarnished by a debilitating law suit.

    • Manny

      November 30, 2018 at 4:33 pm

      There are other books with “blood and bone” in the title. I don’t know what Tomi was drinking when she tweeted that nonsense. But then she’s always yarning dust.

  20. Dorothy Bush

    November 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    I suspect it was done on purpose to promote her own book. How better to raise awareness that she and her book even exists than to link to a famous person.? You are wise to limit your social media.. it is a bottomless pit.

  21. mie

    November 30, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    BN, please post my comment. You’ve been chopping my comments (not 100% confirmed but I think so)

    I really do not know who is more ridiculous (read “dimwitted”) – TA or her followers who could not realize that “titles” are not copyright/intellectual property. A big massive sonorous LOL to “Nora profiting off her creativity”. SMH. Judging by the number of titles with “Blood and Bone” that had been out there before CBB, is it then safe to say that TA is really not creative/ingenious? Aha, ghen ghen, this right here hits home! Her so-called successful book – which I liked, I will admit – reveled in YA tropes. There was nothing significantly different asides the very basic Yoruba “ajasi”. Talmbout “creating something special” Ha.Ha.Ha. Mschew. Let me just not continue about ingenuity and creaitivity…

    Anyway, me I am not a Nora Robert fan and do not take things like this personal so I will still read the sequel to CBB. Trope or no trope, it was a feel-good book. I find it even hilarious that people are saying they will boycott her(TA’s) books. Babes messed up, but she sure must have learnt now. Hopefully she has sha. Good luck to TA’s PR team. Hopefully no lawsuits come up…

    • John Lyttle

      December 1, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      IF she had learnt she would have apologised by now, so I’m guessing she hasn’t. On the evidence she can’t admit to fault, so God alone knows what sort of actual depth her writing has.

  22. Rhonda

    November 30, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    First of all, titles are not copyrighted. I am not a professional writer, and I know that. Secondly, This newby has damaged Ms. Robert’s reputation and professional career and should be sued for defamation and possibly libel, since she did through a written, public format.

    • Dayo

      December 1, 2018 at 10:22 pm

      @Rhonda, since Tomi did not a copyright claim, your post is substantively meaningless. Abegi, let’s stick to the facts under discourse…

    • Elle

      December 2, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      @Dayo
      What exactly are you saying? Read the comment you replied and then read yours again.

  23. TosanOsh

    November 30, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    Just a simple Google search and voila! There are tons of previous publications with the same title. Tomi needs to do serious damage control unless of course this was a stunt!

    https://www.google.ca/search?q=blood+and+bone+books&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj6_aH9-vzeAhX8FzQIHelFAQEQ1TUIswE&biw=1680&bih=933

    • John Lyttle

      December 1, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      If it’s a stunt it’s still going to need damage control.

  24. John Lyttle

    December 1, 2018 at 2:24 pm

    It’s stupid because it’s clearly stupid, as Roberts establishes by simply stating the facts. Or it’s a very cheap publicity stunt. Those are your only realistic choices, so choose. What it does prove is that you don’t have to be white to act privileged and entitled. Seems those unattractive character traits transcend nation, race, creed and culture. PS Not everything in life is about the colour of your skin or even about the class you come from or have worked hard to ascend to. This, for instance, is about writing, professionalism and the sheer plain unfairness of a base accusation easily disproved. Why you’d try to male it be be about something it isn’t speaks volumes about you and your preoccupations but it says nothing – nothing – about the actual situation,

  25. Rebecca Buckley

    December 4, 2018 at 3:21 am

    Negative marketing is still marketing … cruel, and she may someday regret it, but she is definitely drawing attention to her first published book, yes? Maybe her agent and publisher are in on it too? $$$$

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