Apparently, Yes…Anyone Can Self-PublishBy Mercy Pilkington
GoodEReader staffers and readers alike are still recovering from the week of infamy in which things got a little heated in the discussions about self-publishing. While one camp of staffers pointed to all of the uplifting and validating reasons authors choose to publish their own works, still other staffers brought to light their arguments about the lack of quality, the lack of editing, and the overall harm that flooding the market with self-published titles will do to book discovery.
We thought the issue was put to bed.
Now, it seems, today’s bombshell that author Jordin B. Williams commissioned a ghostwritten new adult romance title and then published it, despite much of it having been plagiarized from two other well-known and bestselling authors’ works, lends a little support to the belief that some sort of vetting process may be in order.
According to sources and much of the social media world, Williams’ title, Amazingly Broken, actually contains entire passages stolen from Easy by Tammara Webber and Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. The widely popular blog Dear Author has actual screen shots of the passages, highlighting the portions that were copied verbatim and posted along with the original works.
Williams’ defense on the issue has been to post a statement that the book was ghostwritten and passed its plagiarism test, ostensibly through some service like Copyscape. Williams’ blog and social media accounts have been shut down, and Amazon is issuing a full refund to anyone who bought Amazingly Broken.
So how does that play into the need for stricter controls over self-publishing? It doesn’t. Justice will be served. The fans have spoken out and the bookseller is making it right. As for the authors whose work was blatantly stolen, the evidence they need to pursue monetary damages is sitting right in front of us. What we cannot do, at this point, is place blame squarely on the shoulders of all self-published authors. Yes, someone out to make a quick buck and live the persona of a bestselling author scammed a lot of readers. That is not the fault of self-publishing, as anyone who has followed the saga behind the alleged scams of Three cups of Tea can attest to. And hopefully, this experience will serve as a warning to anyone else considering such a callous move.
Mercy Pilkington is a young-adult author and a teacher in a correctional facility. She does not have a single textbook in her classroom. With the top-of-the-line technology at her disposal and the low reading ability of many of her students, there’s no need for standard paper texts. Instead she relies on e-readers, iPads, desktop PCs, Polycom video conferencing equipment for virtual field trips, live streaming for science demonstrations, and text-to-speech read-aloud software to teach English and science. Within the next ten years, public school classrooms across the country are going to look a lot more like Mercy’s classroom because the educational possibilities with these kinds of technologies are limitless. Have a question? Send an email to email@example.com
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