Good morning, all. I’m going to take the easy way out this morning and go back to my first role at MGC, that of pointing out interesting stories and linking to them. The reason is simple. First, I believe this is an issue we should all be aware of, whether we are writers, readers or both. Second, this book is eating my lunch and demanding my full attention. So, without further ado, here we go.
Last Friday, I posted a quick link to Nora Roberts’ blog where she discussed her history with plagiarism and the latest instance of it. To say Ms. Roberts was furious is probably putting it mildly. If you haven’t had a chance to read what she had to say, do so.
Ms. Roberts referred to Courtney Milan as being one of those who not only has fallen prey to plagiarists in the past but who takes the hurt to them when she finds out. Here’s what Ms. Milan had to say about this latest instance. Read it. Compare the examples Ms. Milan notes. When you do, I have a feeling you’ll agree with Ms. Milan that the plagiarist is an idiot on so many different levels.
The plagiarist in question, Cristiane Serruya, has come up with excuses, of course, for what happened. The main one is that she relied on ghost writers hired from Fiverr and they were the ones who did the bad deed. From the Guardian:
Responding on her now deleted Twitter account, Serruya initially expressed surprise at the accusations, and then blamed the overlap on a ghostwriter she said she had hired from freelance services marketplace Fiverr. The Guardian has contacted Serruya for comment.
“Wow, wow, wow. I just wake up to this. How could I have been plagiarizing 5 authors? I love your books, @TessaDare and I am a lawyer. I’d never do such a thing,” she wrote. “I just woke up to distressing news that my work has plagiarism from other authors. I am taking down all the works I did with a ghostwriter on Fiverr – who btw has closed the account – until I have made certain this is solved.”
Serruya is facing more than just Milan and other authors considering legal action. Romance Writers of America is investigating the situation. That is not something any romance writer wants to be the subject of.
For more on the Serruya’s claim that it was the ghost writers who did the bad deed, check out this post from Plagiarism Today. It also has a good breakdown of how the story started unfolding.
Edited to add: This is a pretty damned good response to the situation from Author Suzan Tisdale. I think she pretty much knocks it out of the park when she talks about novelists using ghostwriters. Warning, the video is approximately 20 minutes long.
Courtney Milan has two more posts of interest on the matter. The first is a step-by-step guide on what to do if you have been victimized by Serruya or any other plagiarist. If you are an author, bookmark this page. It is an invaluable resource should you ever find yourself in this situation.
The second of Ms. Milan’s related posts is an apology from the editor of one of Serruya’s books. I give kudos to the editor for stepping up.
This is a sad page in publishing, one we see all too often. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.