Did Zelda inspire her husband’s writing like a dutiful wife and dependable muse? Or did Scott plagiarize his own wife, sabotaging her career and dreams? This is F. Scott Fitzgerald on trial.
The coronavirus seems to be worsening with each passing week. There may be something just as bad brewing in the book world, however. It’s name? Misinformation. An article published by Allison Flood on The Guardian highlights a recent uptake in self-published books. “How is that bad?,” you may be asking. Well, according to The Guardian, the books being published are ranging from children’s stories to plagiarized cut-and-paste guides of the official advice that we’re seeing from agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization.
image via john roark / idaho post-reigster
As we’ve seen recently, there has been a lot of price gouging for various health-related items like face masks and hand sanitizer on Amazon. Now, Amazon is seeing lots and lots of books being put up for sale that don’t offer any real useful advice for those worried about coronavirus. It’s merely feeding off people’s fears for monetary gain. #QuestionableEthics!
According to Flood, search results for coronavirus on Amazon on Thursday morning gave results like Corbi Yang’s Coronavirus, which allegedly copied most of its information off of a web page. As of right now, this book isn’t on Amazon anymore. Funnily enough, after typing ‘coronavirus’ into the search bar on Amazon, one book that stood out to me was titled “in the end you have to protect yourself at all times mask Notebook…”. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a published notebook before. This notebook capitalizes on fear of the coronavirus by using an image of a mask in order to sway you into buying it (feel free to search for it on Amazon for fun, but I didn’t link to it to prevent people from mistakenly buying it).
image via amazon
Flood also highlights various books that were on Amazon that simply plagiarized off of official sources. Such examples are “Wuhan Coronavirus,” which was published by Tracy Rinehart, or books by Dr. Kelsey Graham which drew information from the CDC. Flood states that Rinehart’s book “features a girl in a face mask standing in front of a castle, which makes use of NBC News stories about the crisis.” It’s really disturbing to think that people are willing to plagiarize and exploit people’s fears to make money.
This isn’t to say that all the new books being published on Amazon are bad, though. If you were to search for ‘purell hand sanitizer’ on Amazon, you can get search results for many books on how to make your own hand sanitizer. Considering that there is a shortage on hand sanitizer, these books offer different solutions. Mari C Alvarez’s book “All Natural Homemade DIY Hand Sanitizer,” is currently a best seller. Flood also links Amanda King’s “DIY Hand Sanitizer” book, which is another best seller on the website right now. As Flood mentions in her article, there is some original content being sold on Amazon, despite the plagiarism.
Amazon states that they are continuing to maintain their content guidelines for books and require sellers, authors, and even publishers to maintain correct information in not only their products but the product details on their sale pages. Amazon is currently providing a link above search results related to the coronavirus titled ‘Coronavirus protection’ for those who want detailed, accurate, and official information about the virus.
featured image via Reuters on ny post
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One of the world’s bestselling authors, romance novelist Nora Roberts is suing Brazillian author Cristiane Serruya for plagiarism, seeking up to $25,000 in damages.
Left: Nora Roberts, Right: Cristiane Serruya | Image via Jornal O Global
According to a US News article, the lawsuit began on April 24th and Robert’s allegations were reported Rio De Janiero’s morning papers. Roberts’ case calls Serruya’s romance novels “a literary patchwork, piecing together phrases whose form portrays emotions practically identical to those expressed in the [Roberts’] books.”
Roberts also stated:
“If you plagiarize, I will come for you. If you take my work, you will pay for it and I will do my best to see you don’t write again.”
Nora Roberts wants to turn the situation around by donating any proceeds to Brazilian Literary organizations. Hopefully that will help spread more original writing and creativity.
On the subject of plagiarism, Roberts made a post on her blog entitled Not A Rant, But A Promise. This post revealed extensive research Roberts has done on the organized system of plagiarized books. We may not see it, but it happens on a “professional” level every day, with teams put together to hire cheap ghost writers and even tutors to teach writers how to scam the system.
If Serruya is proven guilty, her lawyer Saulo Daniel Lopez says that “[she] could be forced to pay from the proceeds of her books”. Cristiane Serruya has defended herself against Roberts’ allegations, stating that she is using software to analyze her books. She stated:
My books are big. In a book of 120,000 words it’s difficult to know how many supposedly came from a work of Nora Roberts.
Unfortunately for Serruya, she already has an alleged reputation as a plagiarist. According to US News:
Serruya has faced allegations from several other writers and even inspired the Twitter hashtag #CopyPasteCris. In February, author Courtney Milan titled a blog posting “Cristiane Serruya is a copyright infringer, a plagiarist, and an idiot,” and cited numerous passages from Serruya’s “Royal Love” that closely resembled Milan’s “The Duchess War.”
So far things do not look like they are in Serruya’s favor, but in the end, if Roberts wins, hopefully the money is put to good use.
Featured Image via CBS
There’s a scam going on in the eBook industry, and, as with most high-dollar missteps, no one is stopping it.
Before we get into the details of these legal evasions, it’s critical to understand that eBook authors make money per pages read. When authors fill their works with special features to drive the page count into the thousands, eBook readers feel like they’re getting a steal: extra content for the same price. But, for the author, ‘steal’ isn’t that far off.
Image Via David Gaughran
There have been a number of tactics to stop self-publishing abuses designed to arbitrarily inflate eBook profits, but few have actually been effective. Authors are banned from directly incentivizing reviews, but some have found a workaround: Chance Carter, a self-described “bad boy who writes about bad boys,” created a giveaway in which reviewers would earn the chance to receive a Tiffany ring. It’s clear he really is a bad boy: he nested six extra books in the back of his Mr. Diamond (the precious gem is as hard and desirable as the protagonist’s, well, you know).
This is how authors game the system: filling their publications with bonus content to artificially inflate the length of each book. It’s called ‘book stuffing,’ and it’s no game—the top scammers are making $100,000 per month.
Image Via Medium
There’s some measure of justice, even if that measurement is more an inch than a mile. Bad boy Carter was banned after #tiffanygate made its way into the public consciousness… but not for long. Many suspect Carter now writes under the pseudonym Johanna Hawke, who writes about “bad boys and hotties.” He’s back with a different name… and the same game.
Well, how bad could it be if an author includes a few bonus chapters? Given that it’s far more than just a dozen extra pages: pretty bad.
“Pregnant By My Boss” by Cassandree Dee/Kendall Blake is at #20 in the Kindle Store. The advertised book finishes around 7% of the way through. . This author is a Kindle All Star – earning tens of thousands of dollars a month from the communal author fund. @AmazonKDP #tiffanygate pic.twitter.com/sGcLyK71eJ
— David Gaughran ✍ (@DavidGaughran) June 9, 2018
Self-published Kindle Unlimited authors receive their income from a ‘communal authors’ fund,’ the distribution of which is largely dependant both on what percentage of a book readers complete AND how many total pages readers turn. Amazon has made limited attempts to stop this abuse of the system, enacting a rule that no more than 10% of a book can be bonus content. But many authors have circumvented this system with ‘compilations’ or ‘collections,’ allowing them to hit that 3,000 upper page limit.
This bit of ingenuity is hardly the end of these scammers’ tricks. Many such eBook authors engage in ‘mosaic book stuffing,’ the practice of repackaging previous releases into one new (and derivative) work. While some authors engage in active plagiarism, others will re-use passages of their own works, stitching together some botched Frankenstein’s monster and re-selling it to the public. Others use false links in their novel, which trick readers to skip directly to the end. These authors then get a bonus upon the novel’s completion.
It’s a cheap trick, but the consequences are costing authors who don’t engage in such deceptive policies. The communal fund is, as you may have imagined, communal. Amazon may benefit from the increased sales, and readers may appreciate the extra content. But the authors don’t—at least, not the ones who are honest.
Featured Image Via ElegantThemes.com
This year has been a wild one in terms of publishing scandals… and, of course, February isn’t even over yet. So far, we’ve got the Jill Abramson plagiarism scandal; the cancellation of a YA debut due to accusations of racist themes; and the cancer lies, urine cups, and possible plagiarism nightmare in the whirlwind of Dan Mallory’s well-documented B.S. Just before the month comes to an end, we’ve got another scandal for you—plagiarism allegations against bestselling romance novelist Christiane Serruya. Fans might’ve fallen in love with her books, but they’re not head-over-heels for her behavior.
Image Via Goodreads
Christiane Serruya may have written the Trust trilogy, but she doesn’t exactly seem to be trustworthy. Fans of Courtney Milan‘s The Duchess War alerted the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author to similarities between her novel and Serruya’s newest release. Sorry, did I say similarities? I meant that these passages are so similar they look like a children’s spot-the-difference game—is it the comma hiding in the background? Is it the slightly different word order? Take a look at the plagiarized passages and see for yourself why Milan’s next war won’t be fictional:
Milan: “Her nostrils flared; he almost thought she might stamp her foot and paw the ground, like an angry bull.”
Serruya: “Her nostrils flared; he almost thought she might stamp her foot and paw the ground, like the bull that had attacked Siobhan.”
Milan: “‘If you’re any good in bed, I might fall in love with you. If that is going to be anathema …’ ‘No,’ he said swiftly. He looked away from her, and when he spoke again, there was a slight rasp to his words. ‘No. That would be perfectly … unobjectionable.”
Serruya: “She stared back, both fascinated and appalled. ‘And if I fall in love with you? Is it going to be anathema?’ ‘No,’ he said swiftly, and looked away from her. There was a slight rasp to his words, when he faced her again. ‘No. That would be perfectly … unobjectionable.’”
Image Via San Diego Tribune
Milan has made her official statement on the situation—and it’s mostly (and understandably) an expression of anger:
I have not listed all of the similarities because, quite frankly, it is stomach-churning to read what someone else has done to butcher a story that I wrote with my whole heart … I wrote The Duchess War in the midst of a massive depressive spell and I bled for every word that I put on the page. But you know what? Cristiane Serruya has to be the biggest idiot out there. I’ve sold several hundred thousand copies of this book. I’ve given away several hundred thousand copies on top of that. Does she think that readers are never going to notice her blatant plagiarism?
As for Serruya’s own, original work, Milan dug deep: “no wonder you’re copying other authors, girl.” Yikes!
Serruya might have been a royal pain for Milan, but at least her response has been more appropriate than her actions. Immediately after the allegations went viral, Serruya pulled Royal Love from sale. Though she offered an apology, she also gave an excuse: according to Serruya, the ghostwriter she hired is responsible for the plagiarism.
Image Via Writers and Authors
Ghostwriters are legal and somewhat commonplace, particularly when it comes to bestsellers. World’s wealthiest author James Patterson has a whole team of ghostwriters (so, a team of Christmas elves who only talk about murder) to maintain his prolific output. Many celebrities use ghostwriters for their own memoirs as, let’s get real, it’s rare to be famous and a talented writer at the same time. While famous writers don’t need to be talented (which we can all agree on unless your Fifty Shades of Grey opinions are particularly intense) we can assume the combination is an unlikely one. Some fans may not be pleased with this explanation: ‘don’t worry that I didn’t write the book; it’s just that I didn’t write the book.’ But the explanation is logical, if not entirely satisfying.
Serruya called the allegations “distressing,” resolving to pull the book “until [she has] made certain this is solved.”
Featured Image Via New in Books