Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Busted! - Plagiarism in Publishing

Sigh. Two steps forward one step back. Independent publishing has come a long way, in case you didn't come to light that a certain successful debut novel by a certain independent author was merely a plagiarism of existing content from two previously published books.
know. It's going mainstream. It's getting recognition where it used to get ridicule. And then something happens and you smack your forehead. "But we were doing so well!" Recently, it's

Plagiarism isn't a new problem in the publishing business. Where there is written language, there will always be plagiarism of one form or another. However, in today's day and age of copy and paste and simplified electronic publishing platforms, the task is simpler and, I imagine, much more tempting to the potential perpetrator. Find some successful books, mesh similar plot points together, fill in some blanks, draft up a cover, upload to Kindle Direct Publishing and voilĂ ! You have only to get people to read it. Here is where the potential for success begins to fade. You see, this country (and others) is filled with voracious readers. And those readers like to read the same genres. And, if they read something similar, it doesn't take them long to sniff out a rat.

Some folks are suggesting (some seriously, some not so) that this was a conspiracy to put down independent publishing. While I wouldn't put it past Big Publishing to resort to dirty tricks to get their way, I highly doubt this was staged to besmirch indie publishing. While there was definitely some thought put into the act (and a lot of money spent on marketing to the New Adult bloggers who praised the book just prior to its release), I think it was just someone who thought they could trick the system. Luckily, it's harder to trick the people than it is to trick the system. In this case, the people prevailed. It was caught in such a short timespan that no check was cut to the perp and funds will more than likely (I hope!) be redistributed to those who bought the book.

The whole thing is very disappointing to an indie like myself. I'm not perfect, but my mistakes are mine. I own them and live with them every day. Sure, I use a pseudonym, but it's not to hide behind. It's purely marketing and anyone who wants to know my true identity doesn't have to look very far. So, to those folks out there who think they can cheat their way to the top. Well, go for it. Sure, I'll mourn the black mark you temporarily put on the face of steadfast independents, but I'll laugh when your facade comes down and you're left scampering away naked into the darkness of failure.

For some heated (and inquisitive) discussion on the topic, check out the thread.

Thoughts? Feelings? Please share!

1 comment:

  1. Those that plagiarize admire the writing enough to do so. But there is difficulty if the writer hasn't taken care to protect their interests with still applicable copyright and trade marketing licenses.

    It actually seems harder to be a copy writer with the modern internet. In fact for composition in college we submitted work through an online program that worked to determine copy's. This system is available to true publishers.

    On top of that readers get the flow with a writer's style and thieves who take the words also take the style. And that separates the copywriter's true work from the fake work they share.