Stolen Words

I’m incredibly naive, I guess, but until today I had no idea it was a thing to pay someone to ghost write fiction.  I mean, I know a lot of autobiographies are ghost written, but fiction?  Nope, I did not know of this.  I’ve considered the reasons why authors (and wannabe authors) might do this, and I’m trying not to judge.  But, I can’t deny feeling cheated by this revelation, it kind of almost ruined my morning.  It got worse, however.

Along came some for real, legit cheating.  And that is the scandal that has become known as #copypastecris on Twitter.  Short version, a romance author, whose Twitter bio describes her as a USA Today bestseller, was busted blatantly plagiarizing the work of numerous other authors.  She promptly apologized on social media.*  And laid the blame on the ghost writer she hired.  Thus admitting she didn’t actually write her books.  And perhaps doesn’t even read them?

Or worse, she didn’t care that her ghost writer was stealing the words other writers worked so hard to weave into stories.  Or even worse, she stole the words herself and handed them off to her ghost writer with the instruction to piece them together into new books she could put her own name on.  Whatever.  There is so much dishonesty on so many levels either way.

For me, this calls into question just how often this might be happening.  As indie authors struggle to put out more and more content in order to make a career for themselves, I don’t find it difficult to believe it’s happening a lot more than this one case.  And that just looks so bad for independent publishing.  And that makes me angry.  So many talented, hard-working authors out there self-publishing their work, the words they actually wrote, you know, themselves, and along comes this.

This is really disheartening.  It must feel so violating for the authors whose words were stolen.  And the thing is, this author has stolen more than just words.  She’s stolen trust and credibility from all indie authors.  She stole from her readers too.  That USA Today bestseller she takes credit for?  Yeah, stolen words.

There is some good news in all this, and that is the ways the writer and reader communities have come together to support the victims of this author’s theft.  That, at least, gives me some hope.

*I can’t link to her apology as her Twitter account is now down.

 

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

 

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