Thanks to one of Courtney Milan’s readers, a disgusting act of plagiarism was brought to light recently—over 52 books from 34 authors have been stolen, mashed together, and regurgitated as original works by a single “author.”
Now, I’m all about happy and fluffy so I debated even writing about this. (It infuriates me to an inferno level.) But I can’t not write about it for two reasons: it’s unfair to readers and it’s unfair to writers. If you don’t know, you should: criminals are blatantly trying to sell you stolen goods. (And, if not stolen goods, there are also several practices going on right now in publishing that I find manipulative and questionable.)
I have joked that I spend more time researching my words than actually writing them—but I do write every single one of them.
This should be an obvious statement. We take at face-value that the name on the book is the name (or pen-name) of the person who wrote it. This isn’t always the case, so it’s my prerogative to affirm:
I write my own books.
(After that, I edit my own books. I proofread my own books. I format my own books. I design my own books. I program my own books. I cover my own books. And, finally, I publish my own books. My parents beta-read, critique, and tell me to add more cats.)
If you’d like to read more about the #CopyPasteCris plagiarism scandal, check out CaffeinatedFae’s list for updates on impacted authors and the blogs of Courtney Milan, Nora Roberts, and Suzan Tisdale for summaries, opinions, updates, and insights. (These are personal blogs with opinions and strong language at times.)
The IWMOB heart design and sentiment originate with Crystal / C. Jordan @crystaljordan who released them to Romancelandia for use.
If you’re curious as to what you can do as readers, I’m certain you do most of these things regularly—but now that you know you’re being targeted, do them with an eye for flags that might alert you to take a closer look before buying:
- Try the Sample! Read a bit and see if you like the voice.
- Unless the book or author has had some excellent marketing, be leery of an instant success.
- If the price for one author’s books is regularly too good to be true, it probably is.
- Review reviews (with a grain of salt)! If there’s a gap between 5- and 1-star reviews (with few in-between) or if negative reviews repeatedly mention grammar or plot issues, take a second glance.
- Check the page count and the author’s previous release date. If it’s a full-length book and the last book was released only a month ago, take a closer look. Some authors are fast! Most aren’t. Rarer still is an author who is consistently fast.
- Continue to be awesome. Courtney Milan and Nora Roberts were both informed of plagiarism by honest, caring readers who couldn’t stay silent when they recognized blatant theft.