“Imitation is the sincerest of flattery”
Whoever said these words clearly has never been the victim of literary plagiarism because trust me when I say plagiarism isn’t flattering.
I hate to say it but I’m a bit of an expert of plagiarism…that sounds very big headed so let me explain.
When I first started writing seriously I posted my work out into the great wide world of the internet for no other reason than I wanted to know what other people thought of my work. That single decision proved to be the best one I’ve ever made because while I’d been a writer for many years I had never ever completed a single project. Don’t get me wrong…I had lots of ideas and that was the problem. I had lots of ideas all vying for attention and I made the mistake of trying to do them all at the same time. I’d start one book, get an idea for another, try to write both at the same time and fail miserably. One book would win over the other and the first would get left behind, unfinished.
The thing I discovered when writing for an audience was feedback. Consistent feedback is addictive and it motivated me to get the next chapter written and the one after that etc. With an audience waiting for the story to be completed I never allowed other ideas to take root until the story was complete. Because of posting on the internet I managed to complete not one but three stories. It was amazing.
BUT as every writer knows you can’t have a good story without conflict and it came for me in the form of plagiarism. Copy and paste, the basic tools for anyone who wants the credit for writing but can’t do it using their own skills.
Even now, thinking about it makes my blood boil.
Let me take you through the journey that made me an expert in plagiarism.
Case 1 – August 2010
This was the first case of plagiarism but not the most shocking. One of my readers said that she’d seen my story posted elsewhere and my stomach dropped. There was a moment where I thought that she’d made a mistake, a small glimmer of hope. No one wants to be told their work has been stolen after all but the instant I clicked the link I knew she’d been telling the truth. There it was for all to see, my work under someone else’s name! The thing that annoyed me most about this incident was that the plagiariser couldn’t actually spell the main character’s name correctly. Wherever she hadn’t been able to copy and paste, Tobias became Tobais….Very annoying. My work was removed and I thought that would be the end of it. Wrong!!
Case 2 – December 2010
This was by far the WORST incident of plagiarism I’ve ever seen in my life. This person stole from 8 authors including me! Disgusting. She was a little bit better in her attempt to hide her plagiarism. She at least changed the title. If the fact that she’d stolen the work wasn’t bad enough, the fan base she’d developed from passing off other writers works as her own actually had the audacity to tell us we were in the wrong for wanting her to remove the work! I couldn’t believe that people were asking me to justify myself. There were pages and pages of people commenting that myself and the other 7 authors should leave her in peace so that she could finish the stories she was posting! I had to develop a plagiarism template because of that case. Eventually after a few days of arguing with the site administrators her account was removed but because of the reaction I received I decided that if it ever happened again my days of posting my work on the internet would be at an end.
Case 3 – May 2011
And you’ve guessed it, despite all the copyright warnings and me explicitly stating that the third time would be the last straw it happened again! This person turned my work into a Twilight fanfiction by using find and replace to change the character names. She was also the only plagiariser to ever come forward and apologise. Her excuse was that she wanted credit. It’s nice that she said she was sorry but it was also the final straw.
No more Miss Nice Author. Though it hurt to remove my work from a site that had been so good to me and in essence helped me develop into the writer I am today I can’t bare the thought of someone taking my work as theirs again. When you write a series that’s as long and in depth as my Love Bites Trilogy, you’ve spent months of time of doing nothing but thinking about your characters and writing. With each book being at least 100,000 words long it took me on average 9 months to complete each of them. I could have had a child in the time that it took me to write those novels! But still…It was because of the writing community on that first website that I was able to even finish the books and so I want to give something back!
My birthday is on the 6th July and to celebrate I’m giving away a free copy of one of my books to everyone who wants one!!
Now the important question is this….Which book should be given away? That I’ll leave up to you. Give me your opinion in the poll and I’ll get right on sorting it out!