Monday, February 25, 2019

Plagiarism Rears Its Ugly Head Again

I suppose by now most of you have heard about the plagiarism thing that hit the romance community last week.  I first got an inkling with the RWA said something about some plagiarism claims against one of their RITA finalists - although I'm not 100% positive it's the same dust-up there.  Then a day or two later, the shit hit the fan and I started hearing about how some Brazilian chick had stolen large chunks of writing from a whole bunch of authors to create her books. 

The BC claims she didn't do it - her ghost writer did it.  Well, ain't that too damn bad, because she's still on the hotseat for it, whether she did it herself or someone else did it under her name. 

And now there's a BIG thing about ghostwritten books and how these books are being dumped on Amazon.  Which, of course, leads to a call for Amazon to fix it.  Which will, of course, lead to Amazon fixing some of the wrong things again.  Like what happened when they tried to clean up reviews and now I can't review books my friends wrote because they think somehow my honest opinions are lies.  As if I'm getting something out of it besides having read an awesome book written by someone awesome who I can also call my friend.  And now a bunch of people don't review at Amazon anymore.  (Although I'm still seeing ads for people offering to review books for a small fee, so not sure how the Big A stopped anything hinky.)

My fear is that there'll be a witch hunt and honest authors will get caught in the crossfire.  Not too worried about it myself, because I have a paper trail on each of my books a mile long - every draft, editor notes and letters, blog posts kvetching about the process, etc. 

I've seen authors on FB posting about how they write their own f'ing books.  Seems a little harsh to me, but hey, whatever.  I write my own books.  I couldn't envision a time when my control-freakness would allow me to let go enough to have anyone ghostwrite anything for me.  I do know one ghostwriter and she's totally legit, but right now her work is probably getting lumped in with the bad ghostwriters out there.  Which totally sucks.

Anyway, we all know plagiarism is wrong.  It's stealing - whether you do it yourself or have someone else do it for you.  And in some ways it's worse than just plain ol' stealing.  They're taking something incredibly personal - words sucked out of an author's brain, cried over and worried over until a whole story comes alive - and slapping it together into something heinous. 

I'm not sure what I'd do if I discovered someone had plagiarized my work.  I mean, other than be seriously pissed off.  I'm no one.  Not like Nora Roberts who has threatened to rain hell down upon the BC and any others who would even think about stealing her work.  (Go, Nora!)  I'm not sure what any of us indies could do with our limited resources.  Let's hope we never have to find out.


  1. I can't even understand that. It seems to me that it would be a whole lot tougher to sample from a bunch of writers' work than it would be to write the thing yourself. I also don't understand having a ghostwriter if you're a writer (unless you're James Patterson).

    I do register my books at the Library of Congress in case I ever have to send proof to Amazon that I wrote my books. But if the plagiarist pushed back, the LoC thing only works in a lawsuit (and who wants to do *that*?)

  2. Elizabeth, this particular person is NOT a writer. She's allegedly an attorney but she wanted the vanity of being a writer and wanted to cash in on the romance boom. Her ghostwriter--evidently someone she hired off fiverr *rolls eyes*--lifted huge blocks of writing, almost entire scenes, from not only romance novels but from romance novels written by some of the biggest names around. Like Courtney Milan. Who IS an attorney. It's a big mess and Courtney and the others involved are going after her. I have no clue what someone would think putting a story together like that was any easier than just writing it but, hey, what do I know? *makes snarly face*

    I'm so freaking sick of the scam artists. I also have a bone to pick with the "writers" who turn out like a book a week and manage huge numbers of readers, sales, and reviews. I couldn't get past the first page on the ones I tried to scope out because I wondered what they were doing "right" that I was doing "wrong." I just don't flippin' get it. Readers must not care about things like grammar, punctuation, continuity. Frustrating.

    I'm not sure about the RITA finalist deal. I either haven't heard about it or I've slept since them and my brain, being made of Swiss cheese, isn't finding the hole that factoid is buried in.

    Nora won that lawsuit. Big time. You'd think people would learn, but they don't.