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Can people PLEASE just stop the sock-puppetry (and plagerism) already!

31 Jul 2013
The book world is always surprisingly full of scandal and recently there seems to be even more than usual. You remember the "Jordin Williams" plagerism/sock-puppetry scandal from last month? Some people are thinking that "Jordin" may have returned.

Firstly there are three other things that have come to light this month. An author was discovered to have created several fake reviewer aliases that befriended lots of other reviewers to attempt to convince them to buy the book. Huge lengths were taken to make the reviewer seem legitimate and powerful but the amazing Steph @ Cuddlebuggery along with some other people, discovered what was going on. You can read the whole story here - How To Trick Bloggers Into Reading Your Book

Today Dear Author exposed a scam of ghostwritten books being "repackaged" and sold under different names. The person behind this is using multiple pen names, fake publishers, and several sock-puppet review accounts. The worst part of this is the fake reviews and mass down votes of real reviews on amazon the rest of it is some bizarre one man publisher type thing. To read the whole story go here - http://dearauthor.com/news/wednesday-news-ghostwritten-stories-solicited-and-repackaged-as-individual-authors-australian-recommendations-for-lowering-media-costs/

Author Jessica Beckwith was discovered to have been plagiarising from authors on fiction press. You would expect the writers who had been plagiarised to have been upset, and they were. So upset in fact that they verbally attacked a blogger who had a promotional post up for the author even though said blogger (who has a great blog that does not support plagiarism in the slightest) had no idea the book she was promoting had been plagiarised. You can read the bloggers take on everything here (it was written in the original post so you can see all the abusive comments) -  http://www.memyshelfandi.com/2013/06/my-indie-monday.html

Now possibly the worst - though only speculation at this point - is that the person behind Jordin Williams and all other associated names may be back. Here is a great summary of all the original drama. Very recently quite a few NA reviewers (not me) received a review request that sounded shockingly familiar. This request was apparently worded almost identically to the one that people received for Cherry Popper by K.A. Andrews, one of the books by "Jordin Williams" that never got around to being released. The plotline of this new book also sounds identical to that of Cherry Popper (although admittedly there are a few NA books with similar themes). I have also heard that the request was also worded very similar for the one sent for Amazingly Broken by Jordin Williams. Also making people suspicious is the fact that two beta-readers have appeared completely out of nowhere and joined goodreads within the past few days to review this book. This looks very similar to the sock-puppet reviewer tactic employed with all the original books though these could be real people.

It does like the person behind Jordin Williams/K.A Andrews decided to give releasing one of the books another try under a new title and author name. I REALLY hope that this isn't the case and that this is a completely innocent author.

All this sock-puppetry is getting to the point where I don't know who I can trust anymore. I don't want the blogging world to turn into a place where we distrust new reviewers because they might be sock-puppets and worry about promoting authors in case they turn out to be plagiarists and we get dragged down with them. I want to trust everyone and I will try to but to be honest, it is hard to tell who is real anymore.

Authors need to feel safe in sharing their work without fearing it will be plagiarized or posted onto an illegal book downloading site. Reviewers need to not fear being attacked for unknowingly promoting a plagiarist. Plagiarism and sock puppetry will probably never go away so we will have to be vigilant yet also not too quick to place blame (hence why I did not name the maybe/maybe not "return of Jordin Williams" book).

If you have not already guessed, I do not condone plagiarism in any way, shape or form. Hopefully everyone in the community will continue to support one another and plagiarist can be stopped as soon as they are discovered.

Say no to plagiarism!

9 comments:

  1. That's one major downfall of digital files - it's too easy for people to get away with this! hopefully this isn't a repeat case...

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  2. This just makes me sad. *Huge Sigh*

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  3. This whole scandal with Jordin Williams/K A Andrews now makes me worried for my next release in September, which has a similar title to Cherry Popper and maybe even a similar premise. I desperately hope I don't end up tarnished, but thankfully have the benefit of some reputable bloggers and authors looking out for me :-S

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    1. You should be fine as you have been around for a while and appear to be WAY to reputable to be a fake person :P

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    2. Thanks Laura :)

      I've noticed that Cherry Popper has been updated again, with a release date set for November and a new blurb.

      Oh well, mine is now out for pre-order on several e-retailers, and it's also up on Goodreads - all minus the cover which Harlequin want to 'reveal' first.

      So far, so good...

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  4. Sigh, I got contacted but since I did not read this genre I did not even notice. Cuddlebuggery's stuff, well I was in on that little incident too from the tour side. All I can say is if you are going to give review copies out, and ARC's MARK THE HECK out of them as review copies! OR wait and don't do ARC's and gift your books. If you have sales for 99 cents, buy a bunch and use them for your reviewers. I know its a lot but it makes things more secure. The thing is, there easy ways around everything, I can rip a DRM out of a file easy, as can anyone with programs like Calibre but I don't ... however tons do!

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    1. One of publishers automatically sends out DRM free files to a whole host of reviewers, plus we as authors are also encouraged to email files to reviewers we have contacted. Funnily enough, I'd been pirated within a day of release.

      At least for my impending release, the ARCs will be via netGalley, so should hopefully work better.

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    2. Ooops, one of *my* publishers...

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