Today in publishing: Romance writer Cris Serruya is being called out by her peers on Twitter for releasing “Frankenstein novels” made out of plagiarized text snippets from at least 5 other authors. Serruya blames her ghostwriter, hired on fiverr.
#CopyPasteCris is trending, and RWA has opened an investigation.
You DON’T wanna mess with romance writers! They’ll link arms, lawyer up, and burn down the scammers in the time it takes most of us to drink our morning coffee.
Or as one affected author put it:
I’m not special in any other way and I don’t want to toot my own horn to much, but if I were an unethical plagiarist and I was looking to plagiarize a romance author, I would pick literally anyone except the one who clerked for the Supreme Court, taught intellectual property as a law professor, and doesn’t back down from a fight.
Ghostwriting on the rise?
Anecdotally, there’s been a sharp rise in self-published authors using ghostwriters to increase their production speed. Some of these authors seem to do zero writing, instead they become packagers and marketers of slapdash stories written for hire. While these pseudo-writers are still a minority, they dump lots of titles monthly, polluting the pool.
The current scandal may have originated from a ghostwriter with poor ethics, but most authors believe the author-of-record is ultimately responsible for the work, and blaming a ghostwriter won’t salvage a ruined reputation.
Before this incident romancelandia had to cope with the bookstuffing scams of 2018 and the Cockygate debacle. It seems the entire genre continues to struggle with scammers and cheats! But there’s good news too: The romance writing community is pretty damn effective at rooting these problems out.