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.
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 voilà! 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 KBoards.com thread.
Thoughts? Feelings? Please share!