Monday, January 27, 2014

Thank God for Supportive Readers and Helpful Authors

I don't often blog but I'm so furious I have to vent a little.

I've always been grateful to the readers who support me by buying my books and posting reviews when they enjoy them. Some of them have been with me for years following me from the publication of Dream Lover, my first erotic romance written over twelve years ago. They've followed me from publisher to publisher and stayed with me when I decided I wanted to self-publish my books.
I've become so close to a few of them that we've exchanged phone numbers and occasionally talk on the phone for hours.
I've never been more grateful for reader support than I was yesterday. I was enjoying a quiet Sunday trying to learn how to do pivot tables when I received an email from a reader who told me large portions of one of my books had been published by another author as her own. At first, I thought it was a misunderstanding and that the book in question just had a similar theme to my book. However, when I asked her for examples, she sent me email after email filled with passages from Skin Deep (my book) along with the corresponding passages from the other book.
I was stunned. Many of the passages were literally lifted word for word from Skin Deep and placed in the other book. She didn't even rephrase. She just changed it from first person (Skin Deep is a confession) to third person and added her hero and hero's names to my love scenes and dialogue.
When I confronted her, she told me she'd never heard of me and had never read Skin Deep and asked me to stop the smear campaign against her. Excuse me? I'm not the one who called her out on Facebook. Moreover, that's rich coming from someone who stole large passages from my book, published them, and earned royalties and praise for a book that contained a large amount of my work.
We went round and round until she finally admitted that the passages were the same. DUH! Since I wrote Skin Deep over seven years ago and she published her rip off book this month I think we know which of us actually wrote the scenes.
Nevertheless, she still insisted she'd never heard of me or read Skin Deep. She just magically managed to write a large portion of it almost word for word without ever having read it. Yeah. Right.
Honestly, I'm nuts because I almost felt sorry for her. Almost. Imagine having to admit that you stole another author's work and tried to claim it as your own.
Thank God for the reader who read Skin Deep years ago and then recently reread it before reading the other book. She's the reason I found out I'd been ripped off. Not only did she alert me to the plagiarism but she also went to the trouble of providing all the examples I needed.
When I purchased the other book myself and read the passages, I was furious. I was also disheartened that anyone calling herself writer could do that to another writer. My experiences with other authors have almost always been extremely positive. I've found them friendly and very willing to help a fellow author.
Author Clare Thompson was instrumental in my decision to self-publish so I could have more control over my work. After I'd emailed her asking for feedback on a publisher who had sent me an invitation to write for them, she encouraged me to publish my books myself. I told her I worked full-time and didn't have the expertise or time to self-publish. Even though she had a full-time job herself, she took the time to send me step-by-step instructions on the process of self-publishing. Without her encourage and help I would not have taken the plunge.
Author Kate Douglas (yes that Kate Douglas) once took the time to rewrite one of my horribly written synopsis so that it was actually understandable and suitable to send to a publisher.
Author Margaret Riley (who has the most beautiful head of hair I've ever seen in person) used to listen to my rants when I was having problems with one of my editors and encouraged me when I wanted to stop writing.
Over the years countless other authors has helped and encouraged me. So to have an author plagiarize my work was hurtful and shocking.
But thank God for wonderful and loyal readers whose support keeps me writing when I'd otherwise be running my wrists playing video games instead.
The other book has been removed from publication and I've had her word that she will not publish it again until she's removed all of my work. What do you think? Is that sufficient? You'll notice I haven't named the other author or her book title. What do you think? Should I name her and the book she "wrote?"