There are a few blogs that I check out religiously–The Smart Bitches, The General Hospital Wub Tub, and Dear Author–so when I came online on Wednesday and made my way through my go to sites, I was appalled to find yet another instance of plagiarism, documented on Dear Author. These types of scandals are like candy for me; the first time I visited the Smart Bitches was during Cassie-gate 2008, when Candy and one of her friends stumbled upon plagiarized sections in one of the many Savage books written (well, in parts) by Cassie Edwards. That instance (even with the ferrets and Hiawatha) pales in comparison to the crazy that was unleashed over the last couple of days.
At first it appeared that it was just another lazy “writer” deciding to steal wholesale passages from another author (Tammara Webber, whose book, Easy, is apparently very popular with the New Adult crowd), but then it morphed into a shit storm of crazy. It turns out that Ms. Williams also took large portions from Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster. Okay, so that’s not too crazy–I mean Cassie stole from a ton of authors, but hang with me because things are about to get wild. When people reached out to Jordin B. Williams on twitter, she (or he–we’re still not quite sure if this is a man or a woman), the response was that the book–his/her debut novel–was ghostwritten. Let’s leave alone the fact that Amazingly Broken, is Williams’s debut novel for the time being. What I am more interested in right now is the fact that Williams’s author bio says that she (still not certain this is a woman–there is a lot of evidence that Jordin is a man, baby) started out as a ghostwriter and decided that she wanted to get the credit for her work. Why exactly would a ghostwriter, who wanted people to read her words and know that they are hers, hire a ghostwriter? It doesn’t make sense. Then, there is the tweet that Williams sent to McGuire and Webber claiming that she cannot write and that’s why she hired a ghostwriter. What, then, happened to the successful ghostwriter, whose stories were so popular that she became jealous of the real writers’ success? Was the bio a total lie or is the lie the idea of hiring a ghostwriter, who went and plagiarized.
You still with me? I hope so because this is going to get all Inception on your ass. Some other reader at the Dear Author site recognized the allegedly non-plagiarized portions of Amazingly Broken and ran them through google to find that it was Twilight fanfiction posted online, which if you’re still following all of this means that there is more than just one instance of plagiarism going on here. It appears that the fanfic was copied word-for-word and pasted into the book and that Williams didn’t even bother to change the name of the fanfic when she published it. What does all of this mean? The fanfic author that plagiarized Webber and McGuire was plagiarized by Williams. I told you it was Inception–Plagiarism INSIDE Plagiarism! The only thing to make this weirder would be if we found out that the two books that the fanfic author plagiarized also plagiarized something else–not that this is the case. (There was some confusion on the Dear Author site about whether McGuire had plagiarized Webber, but that is NOT true.)
Now that we’ve got the crazy all sorted out, it is time to get serious. Plagiarism isn’t a joke. In the world of academia it can get you kicked out and ruin your entire academic career. Unfortunately, outside of school it isn’t taken very seriously. Cassie Edwards (PLAGIARIZED too many to list), Janet Daly (PLAGIARIZED Nora Roberts), and Cassandra Clare (PLAGIARIZED J.K. Rowling) still have books circulating and Clare even has a movie in the works. Until last week, Cassie’s books were still available WITH THE PLAGIARIZED PASSAGES via amazon. (This has since been rectified–once Amazon was made aware of the plagiarism the books were taken off of the site and were no longer available for purchase.) Amazon and Barnes and Noble have both removed Amazingly Broken from their sites and like the Cassie backlist are no longer available for purchase. Unfortunately, unless we as a society do something about plagiarism more and more people will have their work stolen from them by amoral assholes, who think that it is perfectly acceptable to do that. We need to make plagiarism punishable by law–and not just when Copyright has been violated. Unless these thieves face actual PRISON TIME and MONETARY DAMAGES they are going to continue stealing the product of someone else’s blood, sweat, and tears. The fact that they can get away scott free is absolutely disgusting. We CANNOT let this continue.