Saturday, 23 April 2011

An author's voice

In the last year there have been two incidences of plagiarism that have rippled through the ebook community. One was handled quickly and quietly, the other has been made public in the most obvious of ways.  I have one question for the 'authors' involved. What were you thinking?

Readers are loyal, they read an author's books and enjoy the cadence of the voice that the author uses. If they come across a book in the same genre that uses that voice, they know it. Emails are sent to the publishers, publishers compare notes and a ripple of books disappear from the internet.

That's right. The only place that these books are now available is from the pirate sites that had copies of them.
Since I am not naming the authors here, those who are curious will have to remain so.

The cases I am referring to involved the plagiarist ripping close to or an entire chapter out of a book...how could they not know they would be discovered. Those who read in a genre are devoted and intense. A new author is a potential treasure. To find that author has ripped off one of the most beloved of their grouping sends a shock wave of fury through them. This is not something that the readers will ever forgive.

Some folks turn to the publishers and ask why they didn't catch the plagiarism before it went to print. There are a few reasons for this. One of which is that the time it takes to run a complete scan looking for duplicates of the words is prohibitive. The other main point...is that the AUTHOR signs a contract stating that they own all the rights and all the words in the document are their sole creation. (I am paraphrasing.)And that the work is not based on any work of existing fiction.  If someone counterfeits a bill, do you blame the person who gets it in payment or the one who passes it off as real?

Though theft may have been what seemed like a good idea at the time to get the story going, having folks on the lookout for the latest plagiarist in any incarnation is going to make re-entering the publishing world almost impossible. To steal the fruit of someone elses thoughts is the lowest of the low, and this community will not forget or forgive.

To bring a book to completion and out into the world is a labour of life energy, of love, enjoyment, and is a lot of work. The moment someone steals that effort from you and claims it as their own is the harshest of outrages. Would you do a job if someone else was getting the paycheque?

As anyone who has ever met me knows, my speaking voice is the same as the one in my books. I take pride in my words, and I know each and every source.

Thank you for listening,
I do all my own stunts. :)

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