I mentioned the recent literary plagiarism scandal in my last update about Shattered Honor, so I figure I owe people more an explanation of why it factors in my decision to delay or possibly cancel the release. I’ll give you the quick version, because honestly, I’m tired of thinking about it.
Back in late February, an astute reader notified romance author Courtney Milan that a writer named Christiane Serruya had copied entire passages from one of her books. You can read the sordid details on Courtney’s website here. From there, it spiraled out of control. At last count, it seems Serruya has plagiarized 85 books, 36 authors, 3 articles, 3 website, & 2 recipes, sometimes including entire passages word for word in her romance novels. Whoa.
It seemed, at first, to have little to do with me–most of the plagiarized books were romances (and yes, the authors in question are fighting back). Only, it turns out, it affects me more than I ever imagined.
So what does this have to do with me?
Well, there’s been a huge backlash against Amazon (understandable), Kindle Unlimited (also understandable), and the indie community (huh?). Yep, you read that right.
Here are just a few readers claiming they won’t review or read indie works until “we” clean up our act (I guess they missed the point of being indie–and that those of us who have been speaking out against ethics issues have been told to shut up and sit down). There are more (and worse!) that I blocked before deciding to write this post, so apologies for the limited examples.
Let me be clear: the problem is not with indies. It’s with plagiarizers and scammers.
As you can imagine, it’s difficult to plan a launch when readers and bloggers are vocally stating they won’t buy and review indie books. Beyond that, it’s hard to watch people blame you for something you had absolutely no part in. I think my emotions over my writing prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I write everything myself–and if I was scamming Amazon, I’d sure be doing it with written-to-market books instead of niche space opera!
I have no idea if the group who is vocal about this is part of my readership. I doubt it. But for every one reader who’s adamantly against indie books, there are likely ten more who feel the same but are silent about it. Poor timing is poor timing. Hopefully the climate will change a bit, and I can drop this from my list of release concerns, but for now…it would be irresponsible to not consider it.
So, to actually do something about this problem, I’d like to end by suggesting a few indie books, if you’re so inclined. Some I’ve read, some are on my list, but I’m sure the authors would love for you to give their books a try!