Wednesday, July 3, 2013

IWSG - The Backlash of Plagiarism


It’s the first Wednesday of the month.

And this month, I’m one of Alex’s minions and
will be visiting as many ISWG posts in my assigned section as I can.

Sooooo…I had all these good things I wanted to share regarding my progress on Amazon.  With the assistance of a well-liked promoter who’s helping me spread the word of a forthcoming event, I was able to reach the attention of a particularly influential book blogger who then subsequently posted her intention to read my book on both her Facebook page and my book’s Goodreads page.  


As a result, I enjoyed a profusion of GR TBRs and Amazon sales, and my rank dropped to its lowest level ever in the mid 4-digit arena.  That was an amazing moment for me.


But then this thing exploded on the Internet at about the same time and kind of sucked the wind from my sails. 

Seems there was a new contemporary romance released on Amazon and Barnes & Noble called Amazingly Broken.  It was all the rage and immediately became an Amazon bestseller.  Shortly thereafter, romance book blogger,  Jane Litte of Dear Author, noticed some passages in this new book that sounded eerily similar to two other books she’d read, reviewed, and loved—Tammara Webber’s Easy and Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster.


Of course, the online book blogging community went ape over this revelation, with good reason, I imagine, as they take a great deal of their time to read and review books for many indie and small press authors who otherwise get very little publicity.  The trouble was, these bloggers, especially Jane Litte, who felt somehow betrayed even though they’d received the books for free and enjoyed it enough to give it 5 stars, immediately became suspicious of all indie and small press authors and proceeded to conduct a witch hunt of sorts, calling out authors who use pen names or don’t use headshots for their avatars as probable fakes and plagiarists. Funny thing is, Jane Litte is a pen name, too.  


While I understand their anger at feeling duped and am just as outraged by this brazen incident as they are, the backlash their reactions are having on indie and small press authors is significant.  Many are now being frozen out, or made to prove who they are and that they actually wrote what they’re claiming is their book.  So now these bloggers, who proudly proclaim to support and promote indie authors, are lashing out at them.  And just as word and reaction to this event has spread like wildfire among the blogging community, so has the fear this backlash has created spread among us hard-working, honest, and legitimate authors.

Compliments of GR user Candace

As if it wasn’t already hard enough to find and convince a highly respected and heavily followed book blogger to consider reading, reviewing, and promoting our books, now we have to prove we are legitimate, all because one wannabe “writer” decided to take the lazy way and steal the work of others.  While I am highly irritated at those bloggers who lashed out so hatefully, especially Jane Litte who continues her march on this witch hunt, I also have an issue with this fake author, Jordin Williams, who's making it hard on the rest of us.  But that’s as much time and effort I’m willing to give these thieves and haters.  Okay, rant over.




70 comments:

Steven said...

It only takes one to spoil the fun for the rest. But going on a witch hunt never engenders goodwill and always ends badly, especially for those who engage in the hunt.

Tammy Theriault said...

i'm sorry, excuse me while i load my sniper rifle...

Kim Lajevardi said...

It makes everything harder for the rest of us when one person passes off work that's not theirs, but it will pass. Hopefully, the damage left in the wake of this drama doesn't leave a bad taste in the mouths of too many readers. :(

Thanks for helping host IWSG!

Kim
(This Writer's Growing)

jp said...

How come copying one person is plagiarism but copying lots is research

Mark Koopmans said...

James Frey has a *lot* to answer for...

I know you will, Nancy, but *stay the course.*

You are a terrific author, I *loved* THE MISTAKEN and can't wait to read more from you :)

Happy co-hosting :)

Patsy said...

I've noticed how what one Indy author does wrong is considered to be a problem shared by all, but when an author with a publishing firm behind them messes up, their crime is theirs alone.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Just as there was starting to be an air of respectability towards indie authors, someone goes and ruins it. A witch hunt is surely such a stupid overreaction, it's really not like we're ALL plagiarising everything.

JeffO said...

That is pretty rotten and very unfortunate. Vigilance is always a good thing, but breaking out the torches and pitchforks is not.

Bob Milne said...

Plagiarism is a heinous crime, no doubt, but it's no cause to blacklist an entire category of authors. You can only hope that in witch-hunting the cheats, the angry mob can find the time to celebrate and share the good, talented authors they find as well.

Marta Szemik said...

I actually bought this book to support an indie author who posted on Kindleboards. I'm feeling the backlash as I'm contacting bloggers for my upcoming release - and it sucks. As if it wasn't hard enough to get reviews etc...

Lynda R Young said...

Yikes, it's terrible that these things happen. Poeple don't realise the effect it has on so many others.

Natalie Aguirre said...

So sorry that one person's mistake got so blown out of proportion. I love the book blogging community but I think they tend to do this. Last year a popular blogger was accused of plagiarism and I'm not really sure she even did it. No matter how many times she apologized, it was never good enough and people went on a witch hunt. I find it very sad.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

What a lot of drama! Who are all these people anyway? Do all of them have fake names?

Damyanti said...

Didn't know about any of this, but now that I do, I feel sad that folks would plagiarise a book. They had to know they would be found out, right?

Melissa said...

Wow. I'd heard about this, but your post added another perspective. The ease of the online and digital world has it's pluses and minuses.

Heather M. Gardner said...

I did read about this but I didn't know about the continued backlash. Don't worry, when they realize they don't have anyone else to hang the mob mentality will move on to something else. You are getting a lot of traffic and great reviews. Keep up the good work!
Heather

Pk Hrezo said...

Oh man, ain't that the way of it ... everything gets dragged down with the lowest common denominator. Sucketh.
But looks like you're doing quite well regardless. :)

Mark Means said...

I guess 'Innocent until proven guilty' doesn't apply in the world of indie publishing.

A shame that people can be so narrow minded.

Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month and have a great holiday :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Book stealing does happen, and I've seen several bouts of public shaming on bloggers' sites. But it always seems directed at the person who committed the plagiarism (and let's not even address whether the person was proved guilty or just assumed guilty). I've never seen it extended to include all other indie authors in that genre ... That must be new.

Siv Ottem said...

Thanks for your hard work co-hosting this months IWSG!Can you believe it has grown so big! Your post was news to me, I didn't think such a thing was possible, than again in today's world we shouldn't be surprised...still, witch hunting a whole genre of Indie writers?

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

I didn't know anything about this. I hate plagiarism AND pirating. I hate witch hunts too. Indie authors and small presses have suffered through many things.

Thanks for the informative post. I plan to do more research. In the meantime, You hang in there ... enjoy your accomplishments!

cleemckenziebooks said...

There's always something that makes this business even more challenging. That's just the way it is. But there are a lot of good writers doing original work, so one won't ruin it.

Great post, Nancy. Great co-host job.

Andrew Leon said...

1. It's not like plagiarism hasn't been a huge issue in traditional publishing, too, so it seems going after "indies" is just because they make an easy target.

2. Plagiarism is wishy-washy. What one person sees as plagiarism may just be a similar idea. Or, even, the same idea from more than one person.

Which is not me excusing plagiarism, because I'm not, but no one accused Paolini for having telepathic dragons in a very similar manner as McCaffrey. What I am saying is that you have to be careful before you start tossing around that kind of word.
This sounds much more like a pissed off reader causing trouble.
Not that I can say, since I haven't read any of the works involved.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Difficult situation. True, there are fakers and thieves out there. Also, true, many fabulous writers and their books have seen the light because of small presses and self-publishing. Keep on doing the best work you can, and you will find success.

Rena said...

I think part of the overreaction is that everyone sort of fears that sort of thing happening to them. So people go crazy.

Also, it really is unfair that indie and small published authors are all lumped together like that. I see it in a lot of other venues too (for instance when a woman crashes a car they immediately indicate whether she is a mother or not).

Thanks for helping out with IWSG!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

If I were going to plagarize, I'd go rip off a best seller. You think anyone would want to buy "The Composition Book" by Nichole Sparky?

Okay, not a laughing matter, but really I'm not going to worry over things I have no control over. Bad apples will always need to be weeded out and in time our integrity will be maintained.

Beverly Fox said...

That is horrible! And, I hate to say, not all that surprising. While the exposure I’ve had to the online writing community has been nothing but 1000% positive, I am unpublished so people don't have to part with their hard-earned cash and therefore don't pay me much mind. But humans, in general, tend to do this kind of thing. That's the whole reason "Witch hunt" is term- it applies frequently. I know that sounds pretty cynical and I don't mean it to, but I do think it's true.
What I've learned, though, is that as many haters as there are stamping their feet and making a ruckus there are those who are quietly continuing their trade- reading and supporting writers, ignoring the witch hunt hysteria, and, in this case, continuing to provide the reviews that indie authors need.
THANK YOU for co-hosting this month, Nancy!

MollyMom103 said...

This is going to keep happening until the end of time. This happens with the "Big Six" too. The pendulum will swing back.

Hi! New to IWSG.

Michael Di Gesu said...

This is OUTRAGEOUS! I don't blame you for being FIRED UP!

This is the first I've heard of this. SO many of my close blogger friends are indy published or small press published, and I my heart goes out to all of you now.

Thanks for the info, Nancy.

And thanks for co hosting the IWSG...

michelle said...

It's so unfair to paint every single Indie author with the same brush...
Let's also keep in mind the fact that some people thrive on the hullabaloo caused by this incident...
Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG Nancy!
Writer In Transit

Nigel G. Mitchell said...

That's kind of sad that they've started a witch hunt on indie authors. Plagiarism isn't unique to self-published authors. Lots of paperback and hardcover books have turned out to be plagiarized. Sad

Meredith said...

When will we ever learn!?!? As usual one person ruins things for so many. You can see it every where, the ONE cop that gets out of hand makes them all bad, the ONE teacher that does something inexcusable makes them all untrustworthy, and the list goes on.

Calling the ONE person out for the bad behavior is fine, but then lumping a large group of hardworking people into the same group is unfair and wrong.

But it happens over and over again. Maybe one day we will all learn that there will always be bad apples, but it should never take away from those that put everything they have into what they do.

Meredith
Meredith’s Musings

Cherie Reich said...

As if we didn't have an uphill battle as it was .... *sighs*

I've been following the situation, and I must admit I'm worried at the backlash, especially when it comes to book bloggers. They work wonders for books, and it hurts to think they won't accept a book because of the way it's published.

Lexa Cain said...

First, big congrats on your publicity and climbing the Amazon ranks. I hope you continue to have lots of sales!

Second, what does a pen name or avatar have to do with plagiarism? There are many famous, bestselling authors who've used pseudonyms. It's called branding, and it's legitimate and professionally accepted. But I'm sure you know that. It's Jane Little who needs to stop being an alarmist.

The Golden Eagle said...

I understand a blogger's impulse to want to verify an author's work--but the reaction to the one instance sounds extreme.

J.L. Campbell said...

Good job on your movement up the charts.

Totally missed the brouhaha. I don't know how long people think they can get away with stealing other people's work.

jamieayres.com said...

Although I was aware of the original Dear Author post, I wasn't aware of the witch hunt. Now I'll have to go check her site again and see what's up. Anyway, congrats on your book moving up charts! I'm in awe of your success--you are one savvy author, missy!!!

Yolanda Renee said...

Truly a sad state of affairs. No one wins, but hopefully the culprit goes away and stays away.

Lots of controversy. Paid review - plagiarism - you have to wonder what's next.

Congrats on your success!

Christine Rains said...

I've heard a bunch of stories about various cases recently. It's sad that some people are stooping to that level when legitimate writers work so hard to create their art. Rant away!

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

what amazes me is the 'author' assuming no one would notice.
CD Coffelt ponders at Spirit Called
And critiques at UnicornBell

Lisa said...

I'm with you. This is hard enough as it is. I think Jane Litte is somehow embarrassed and is now taking that out on everyone else. Too bad she's taking it out on those of us who are actually honest and hard working. Congrats on your sales and promotion!!! Keep going and ignore those who would like to take us down. Also remember, if we buy into their fear, we let the "terrorists" win.

Julie Luek said...

This was fascinating. I'm always amazed at what new controversy is popping up. Where are the scruples people? And why are some people so eager to stir the waters to a boiling mess? Anyway, bottom line, congratulations to YOU on your book and success. Through the muck, that is what matters.

Mel Chesley said...

Wow. You know, indie authors have it rough! I don't know why they can't get a break. It seems like the indie industry finally becomes accepted and stuff like this happens. Good grief.

LD Masterson said...

The digital world. So many chances to succeed, so many chances to be shot down. It's so hard.

L.G. Smith said...

Yep, I read about that on Galley Cat. Seems the plagiarist is hooked into a few shady sites as well. These things are gonna happen, though. People always try to cheat the system and get rewarded for things they didn't work for. Too bad their mess has to spill over onto everyone else.

klahanie said...

Hi Nancy,

Have you missed me? Yes, it's that time again. "IWSG" aka "I Was Seeking Gary" :)

You had every right to rant. I'm not going to repeat what others have said. They've said it all. At least your rant gets it somewhat out of your system.

I'm going now.

In peace and a happy Fourth to you, Nancy.

Gary

Al Diaz said...

Thanks for co-hosting and for visiting. It's awful each time people start a witch hunt for whatever reason but it sucks that one person can do so much harm to this already difficult market. Still, I'm sure the good authors and their books will prevail.

Dani said...

One person ruins it for everyone! I enjoyed your rant btw, and agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for minioning this month!!

Cynthia said...

First, thanks for being one of the IWSG monitors today.

Wow. I'm not sure what to say, except that I don't think it's fair to judge a whole group of people based on the error of one person within that group.

Cherie Colyer said...

It is unfair to lump all indie authors together because of one author. It's frustrating for the rest of us. Congrats on your Amazon ranking. That's awesome!

Thanks for co-hosting IWSG.

celeste holloway said...

Wow, that's crazy! I'm surprised anybody would be brave/stupid enough to commit plagiarism in this day and age. And it's totally lame for anybody to label the rest of us as frauds. Thanks for the interesting post and for co-hosting this months IWSG. :)

Emily Moir-Genther said...

And this is why everything should have a copyright. Makes it easy to prove who wrote it first.

Carrie-Anne said...

That's a really crummy, lazy thing to do. I think most writers have, consciously or not, copied the style of someone they like, or even adapted/borrowed favorite passages or events, but I'd hope one would be over that by adulthood and greater writing maturity.

Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!

Donna Hole said...

The option of indie publishing has shed a negative light on a lot of self published authors. It is assumed that "all" disgruntled/rejected authors self publish, and the work is less than expected quality.

Well, as a reader, I can attest that this is sometimes the case. But, I've also found several new authors I've enjoyed and read several books in a series. So, it is a two edged sword.

You know Nancy, there is nothing good that cannot be used with evil or detrimental effect. Every "system" has its abusers. This is the social worker in my talking, not the author/reader, although I sometimes have to wonder if pen-nammed authors are not trying to deceive readers in some way.

I post my real name and picture because I know some tech savvy blogger/reader will eventually find my demographics somewhere. I write both fantasy and womens fiction, and I don't use a pen name cuz I know eventually - if I get famous enough - both names will be found out. I'm me, and only me, no secret identities.

But I understand why others might think they can remain separate with the identity switch. I understand the intent is innocent enough.

I can't abide plagiarism though. It seems so hard to pull off in this electronic age, but I'm sure some people still attempt it. Shame shame. I think the practice is an anomaly though. You know how the press is; only the misguided deeds are publicized, not the successes.

.......dhole

Julie Musil said...

Oh no! That is so sad! I tell ya, I'm so naive sometimes. I have a hard time believing someone would really do that, but there it is in black, white, and highliter :(

Suzanne Furness said...

Thanks for co-hosting this month. I hadn't heard about any of this. Saddening to hear about.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Thanks for being an IWSG minion! I had heard the news about the plagiarism, but not how it was impacting self/indie-pubbed authors. Unfair and unfortunate! One person does not represent a large group of people.

Congratulations on your rank climb!

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

Liza said...

Hate when the act of one hurts so many. Thank you for helping to host IWSG Nancy!

Elise Fallson said...

I heard about the Webber/William scandal and it sucks, as does plagiarism in general. However, I hadn't heard about the subsequent witch hunt and backlash. Striking out against a whole category of people because of what one asshat did is taking things too far. I think part of the problem is that indy/sp authors tend to be easy targets since they don't have the backing of a major publishing house.

Jill Haugh said...

OHMYGOSH! I think I live in a perpetual Pollyanna land because my main reacting to this post was one of sheer disbelief! There are people out there who would steal words and claim them to be their own? How do they live with themselves? Losers--all.
(Including Millie Vanillie.)
~Just Jill(ie)

Nancy LaRonda Johnson said...

There are all types out there! which hopefully people are realizing there's no way to control who or when someone will get bitten and will learn how to set things right in an easy fashion.

Thanks for your work in this blog hop, and may your ratings keep soaring and the dips be few and far in between. Writer’s Mark

Shell Flower said...

Sorry to hear the road to indie publishing has just had another bridge crash down. Plagiarism has been around for ages, even in regular publishing, and I'm sure the backlash against indie authors will blow over in time. I'm sure a respected author such as yourself with a strong blog presence can navigate this newest hurdle. Thanks for being a minion!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

That's all utterly ridiculous. Anyone with half a working braincell knows that the actions of one person do not equate with the actions of a million or so of us writers/authors.

Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG, Nancy.
Continued success to you.
xoRobyn

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Watched a film the other night that had combined scenes from Die Hard One and Two with Speed and then tried to pass off their movie as original. Sadly, there will always be cheating and lying.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Ass. I'm not even going to rant, these thieves need to just drop off the universe.

Debra McKellan said...

That's awful on both accounts. I'm sorry this is happening to you. eHug.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Unfortunately that's the way of it. One bad apple ruins the bunch. But it will pass. Things will get better and those who are producing quality work will get recognized. :)

Stephen Tremp said...

I have no problem calling these people out. I do not use a pseudoname and I use my face as my avatar. Plagerism really bothers me and the real fragrant ones need to be exposed.

David P. King said...

Oh snap! For realz? That is really unfortunate that the actions of a few ruin the experience for everyone else playing by the rules. At least now people are aware that they are aware, so that might make the indie scene stronger. :)

Lisa Regan said...

Hopefully this will blow over. In the meantime, my momma said if I don't have anything nice to say, I shouldn't say anything at all. :P