Dark topic today, folks. We’re talking pirates and plagiarists! Why? Because the drama in Romancelandia has been alive and well, these past few days. Drama itself is a fairly typical event and one that I try to stay away from but when it comes to these specific topics, I feel it’s important that we all step up.
This week, news got out that an “author” stole word-for-word passages from another well-known author. It’s certainly not the first time that this has happened, and sadly, it probably won’t be the last. Typically, when this situation occurs, ghostwriters are blamed. The accused will say that they had no idea and completely trusted their ghostwriter. And, in this week’s case, the so-called author has done just that and more. She has even gone as far as to insinuate that her editors and proofreaders had a part in it as well. Not only is it despicable that someone would steal the words of another, but it is ridiculous for them to think they can get away with it. The truth always comes out.
The Ghostwriter Debate
Now, many will say that ghostwriters should not have a place in our industry. And when it comes to romance, I agree 100%. However, I do believe that ghostwriters are essential in other genres, such as certain non-fiction books. For example, self-help book authors tend to be experts in their field, but they may not be writers. They might be experts in fitness, business, cooking, mechanics or any other topic under the sun. And for these people, ghostwriters can be very helpful in getting their message out. They can aide them to organize their thoughts, plan out the sequence of the book and take their expert knowledge and word it correctly, so that their readers will remain engaged.
However, when it comes to fiction, romance or otherwise, this is where I believe that to be an author, one must write their own words. Because if you aren’t doing so, then you are simply not an author. You may be a five star marketer that gets books to the top 100 lists, but you are not an author. An author slaves over their words, laments the various ways to portray their characters, runs the gamut of emotions alongside their characters! An author gets up early and stay up late tearing out their hair, trying to get it right. An author is constantly searching for the best way to convey their story. A way, that will ignite a firestorm of emotion in their readers! And when we do… and it all comes together into a book that we cannot wait to share with the world, that’s when we have the right to call ourselves authors.
The second topic that I want discuss today, are the pirates. They have been around for years and as fast as one pirate site is shut down, another pops up. But there are real people behind those keyboards and although they might think they aren’t doing any harm, they really, truly are. Sure, people have been stealing music, movies and books since the dawn of the digital age, but that doesn’t make it right. Every time an artist’s work is stolen, it is comparable to breaking and entering. These pirates have broken into our lives and stolen the very art we create to maintain our livelihood.
This is especially true of indie authors. As indies, we do not have access to large publishing houses who pay for everything. Often, every dollar we make, we must reinvest in our books. Stealing them and posting them for free, directly impacts our businesses and our families.
Readers vs the pirates and plagiarists
As consumers of digital entertainment we have to ask ourselves some serious questions. Is it nice to get free stuff? Absolutely! But at whose expense are we doing it? Authors, creators, musicians and artists of all kinds are spending hours, days and weeks creating their art. To have it then plagiarised or stolen right out from under them, is heartbreaking and has a lasting financial impact. So, if you wouldn’t break in to someone’s home and steal their possessions, or steal from your local department store… then please do not support plagiarised work or download books from pirate sites! It is only by being enlightened consumers, that the artists you love, can continue to create for you.
Author and freelance writer Cassidy London, has been in love with scandalous steamy romances ever since she can remember. When she’s not writing or reading dirty books, Cassidy can also be found masquerading as a wine drinking, suburban mom in Montreal, Canada.