Would the ‘Real’ Stephen King Please Stand Up?

 

By C.M. Saunders

 

 

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I don’t know if you’ve noticed (okay, people with actual social lives probably haven’t) but there’s been a storm brewing over on Amazon for some time now. It concerns the prolific writer Stephen King, who has sold somewhere in the region of 350 million books since his first novel Carrie came out way back in 1973, and another writer, also called Stephen King, who hasn’t sold quite that many.

The thing is, he’s sold a few. Probably a few thousand. Mainly to people who think they are buying books written by the other Stephen King. The famous one. Or, as they like to call him, the ‘real’ one. People are upset. Some call bullshit, others throw words like ‘fraud,’ ‘charlatan’ and ‘fake’ around. Some have even alluded to some kind of Amazon conspiracy geared to selling more books. As if the ‘real’ Stephen King didn’t sell enough for them as it is. The vast majority of these readers feel they have been duped and leave scathing reviews mostly centred around the fact that they didn’t receive what they thought they would be receiving, i.e. a book by the right Stephen King. Some sample review headlines include: Buyer Beware! NOT the real Stephen King! Beware of Imitation! Why Try and Fool the public?! Fake! Outright Lie! And my own personal favourite… Muck from a Loser!

I think it’s fair to say this guy is really suffering at the hands of the buying public. There have been masses of complaints, a lot of discussion, and it’s a hot topic on various forums and message boards. Even one on the ‘real’ Stephen King’s website, which was forced to issue a response. 

It’s also a common topic on fan sites, and personal blogs, where people, quite simply, be losing their shit…

Even other well-known writers are having their say. 

It probably doesn’t help that when you search Amazon for Stephen King books you get a selection from both blokes, and a lot of the ill-feeling seems to stem from the fact that Amazon ‘recommend’ books by both blokes to readers, based on their buying and search history. This begs the question, would you buy a Morris Minor just because it had a Rolls Royce badge on it? Of course you wouldn’t. Unless you either wanted a Morris Minor with a Rolls Royce badge on it, or are just dumb as fuck. Amazon as an organization are very strict when it comes to fraud and other such matters, and rightly so. You can bet after they received the first batch of angry complaints they investigated the issue thoroughly.

Now, here’s what I think happened…

Amazon approached the ‘fake’ Stephen King and demanded he prove his identity. And you know what? He did. Because his name really is Stephen King. It’s quite a common name, believe it or not.

I might be in the minority here, but I can’t help feeling a bit of sympathy for the guy. Imagine his delight when his book suddenly started selling by the proverbial truckload, then his dismay when he realised most, if not all, those people who bought his book did so accidentally. And then blamed him for their mistake. It’s hardly his fault he was given the same name as one of the greatest writers on the modern age. It might not even be his intention to try to ride the ‘real’ Stephen King’s coattails. We don’t know, because he hasn’t broken his silence yet. He’s probably in hiding because of all the people who want to string him up by his balls.

Of course, he might just be trying to make a fast buck. Maybe he doesn’t even like writing. Judging by most of the reviews, he isn’t very good at it. In which case he deserves everything he gets, but let’s err on the side of caution and go with ‘innocent until proven guilty.’

I can’t help thinking most of the fault lies with the people who allowed themselves to be ‘duped’ then kicked up a storm over it, probably because they are angry with themselves. I mean, any release by the ‘real’ Stephen King is big news. You hear about it all over the mainstream press. His books don’t just slip into the Kindle Store unannounced. And if people had enough common sense to do the most basic research before hitting the ‘click to buy’ button, none of this would have happened. How about checking the ‘real’ Stephen King’s website, or doing a quick Google search to see if there are any new releases?

The more savvy might note that the ‘fake’ Stephen King’s books aren’t put out by Simon & Schuster, the ‘real’ Stephen King’s publisher. Or, indeed, any publisher. On top of all that, the covers are amateurish. At least, they aren’t what you’d expect from a major publishing house. And any self-respecting ‘real’ Stephen King fan should be able to smell a rat just from reading the book description. To make it REALLY easy for the dullard consumer, Amazon even post a disclaimer next to fake’ Stephen King’s books.

Please Note: If you are looking for books by Stephen King, bestselling author of Doctor Sleep and The Shining, please visit his author page.

Yet, ‘fake’ Stephen King still has three books in the Amazon #10 at the time of writing. That’s more than the ‘real’ one.

Isn’t it ironic?

 

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8 thoughts on “Would the ‘Real’ Stephen King Please Stand Up?

  1. Your premise is flawed, though. I haven’t bought anything by the “fake” Stephen King, because I recognized right away he wasn’t my favorite author, whose style is quite distinctive and which I’ve been able to recognize just by reading a few passages since 1983. However, i *am* outraged by this man for one simple reason. In the past, his ad copy and book descriptions have either implied or outright stated he WAS the “real” Stephen King. That’s not “riding coattails” , that’s fraud. He could easily repair the situation himself by adding a middle initial to his author’s profile, but he chooses not to. He is *obviously* and transparently attempting to deceive in order to sell books. And, as observed by many, he isn’t even very good at it (writing or deceiving)
    So expect this tempest to continue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Which premise is flawed? I couldn’t find anywhere where he stated he was the ‘real’ SK. Besides, if that’s really his name, and it apparently is, wouldn’t that make him at least A real one? Maybe he chooses not to ‘add a middle initial’ because he doesn’t have one. I would also suggest that your premise is flawed: He sells A LOT of books, so he must be pretty good at either writing or deceiving.

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  2. Not too accurate to say Amazon care about this in any way. If a book is withdrawn from sale, Amazon will go right on selling second hand copies even though it is in breach of copyright law…they will say they are only doing what a corner bookstore is doing.
    Is saying we break the law because he does, really the standpoint for a multi-billion dollar company?

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    • If a book is second hand, it’s been sold already and is now the property of someone else to do with what they want. Including re-selling, via Amazon or any other channel. This has nothing whatsoever to do with copyright violation. 🙂

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  3. I’m sure he just has the exact same name as Stephen King, and also the exact same bio, which he puts on his jacket covers, and I’m sure it’s utter coincidence that he actually used the exact same words in his bio that Stephen King from Maine used in his books. Probably having the same name was the reason he had the same bio, too. Makes sense. He’s not trying to misrepresent himself; he’s just the identical person as the other guy. Totally legit.

    Or, you know, you could be utterly reaching here to defend a plagiarizing imposter.

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    • Is based on supposition and hearsay or facts? Do you have any actual proof that he uses a false bio on his jacket covers? Because that actually would be a crime. Likewise, I think accusing people of crimes they haven’t committed is equally scandalous.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. First off “Jacket Covers” ??? On eBooks shit ain’t technology progressing well… Second the author bio that was Sai King’s (Dark Tower fan soz) was placed on that specific books page by Amazon not the author himself. Amazon are responsible for the page layout of their website and the author Stephen “.R” King’s author page doesn’t contain anything other than a list of the, honestly piss poor, books he has written. Yes I think if he had any interest in longevity he would have changed his name, or any respect for himself for that matter to anything that allowed him to shine (or not) as an individual rather than constantly being accused of plagiarism (which this actually isn’t as he hasn’t copied the works of Sai King at all) or fraud. But it’s 2017 and the age of the internet fuckwits who never research anything, fuck things up and never learn from their mistakes because apparently these days it’s not only perfectly ok to blame everyone else for your fuck ups, it’s your god given right to be compensated for the mistake which you made. Good God these people annoy the piss out of me

    Liked by 1 person

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