More drama in the romance publishing world. I know; what a shocker, right? This time, it’s the same old, same old, because plagiarism. One author who is possibly a group of authors (maybe) lifted huge chunks of other writers’ books, cobbled a Frankenbook together and blamed the copying on her (their?) ghostwriters when she was (they were?) found out.
Except, it’s not the same old, same old, because this time, the plagiarist picked on the wrong writers. Who are the wrong writers, which suggests there are correct writers to plagiarise? Well, the big names, who get pissy when you fail to bow and scrape to them, and sympathise with, and fawn over, them.
Do I sound bitter and angry? That’s because I am. It’s not so much the plagiarism aspect of it all that gets to me – it’s wrong to steal others’ work, end of. No, what really boils my piss is the allegation that, *gasp*, “This has never happened before! Or if it has, no-one has talked about it!”
No-one’s talked about plagiarism or bad treatment in the publishing world, huh? Or could it be…and you may want to take several seats for this…but could it be…self-published erotic romance authors have been talking about this for years but the self-appointed Governing Body of romance publishing haven’t fucking listened?
Last month, in fact, a friend of mine (whom I won’t name but you probably know to whom I’m referring if you’re following me on Twitter but I don’t want to drag her into my blog tantrum) talked at length about her own very recent experience of another author riding her coattails to success. This is an experience that has involved cover art being copied and yes, while I acknowledge there are always going to be genre-based similarities, if it happens time and time again, you begin to wonder exactly how coincidental this bitch’s career can be. Pseudonyms, set pieces, cover art…gosh, there are a lot of coincidences in this here situation. How unlucky.
Trouble is, someone who wasn’t asked to contribute her opinion decided to descend from Mount Sinai and declare this friend’s experience as all a bit of a nothing, really. Irrelevant. Sheer coincidence. Well first of all, a) fuck off because no-one asked you and b) please refer to point a then come back here and get stuck in an infinite repeating loop of fucking off.
Fast forward to last week on Twitter and one of the people being plagiarised this time around is…the very same writer who dismissed my friend’s experience as unimportant.
And yet now, now, we’re all supposed to rally round and show support.
I’ll say this again for the benefit of anyone with a reading comprehension problem: is plagiarism wrong? YES. ALWAYS.
Which is why I find it difficult to sympathise with someone when they want sympathy, after this very same person rode roughshod over another author’s feelings without being asked to contribute her fucking opinion on the matter.
So it’s not that I’m saying “Ha ha ha, you got your work copied!” No. It’s the hypocrisy of expecting sympathy for that which you dismissed in others.
I was quite vocal about this. As the title of this blog post would suggest, my fuck harvest will be low this year as I neglected to sow my fucks. My fuck field is barren. My fuck crop has been ruined. I’m all out of fucks. I shall be gathering zero sheaves of fucks.
Which has clearly upset some folk because a well-meaning friend sent me screenshots of words uttered by the aforementioned ‘big name’ author’s friend and colleague, who objected to me dismissing their troubles.
Golly gee whizz – it must be really difficult to have a complete stranger dismiss your friend’s plagiarism trouble on social media. I have no idea how bad that must be for you.
And to complain about me expressing my opinion without coming to you directly even though I’m not obligated to have anything to do with you…while admitting quite freely that you’re subtweeting me, instead of…coming to me directly?
Bless your heart.
That’s not the only instance of hypocrisy (yeah, I said it) – too, there has been the allegation from authors with a far bigger audience than I, that Romancelandia has always supported the little authors, has always rallied round.
I refer the ladies and gentlemen of the jury to the aforementioned dismissal of my friend’s experience.
Oh, and if nothing this bad has ever happened before…what need was there for bigger authors to claim they’ve always supported the little people? Except…it has happened before. You just weren’t listening. Because the people speaking were self-published, beneath your notice. (Except for when it came to making false claims of knowing all about it, then dismissing it as nothing.)
But now, suddenly, because it’s happened to folk with a bigger audience, a wider reach, more recognisable names, those who are traditionally published rather than us self-published scum…oh, now we care? Now we’re expected to talk about how awful it is to have someone else use your work to advance their own writing career?
If only someone had mentioned this years ago. But I already know what reply I would have received. A big fat nothing from the oh-so-supportive romance community.