Bitchin' Blog Posts
YA Author Sarah Cross has a guest blog about plagiarism and how it sucks a lot (which it does). It's not a bad post, as it discusses the different types of plagiarism.
But it's a guest post on Kristi Diehm's site, The Story Siren, where plagiarism occurred last January, and was discovered last month. Unfortuantely, this guest post, if you're keeping score at home:
1. includes as a description the exact thing Kristi Diehm did when she lifted content from fashion bloggers Beautifully Invisible and Grit and Glamour.
2. includes, as pointed out by AnimeJune, a copyrighted, trademarked, and totally uncited image from Disney's The Little Mermaid… four paragraphs north of the phrase "ARTISTS ARE PEOPLE, TOO."
3.. includes no commentary or introduction from Kristi Diehm offering context for the post, which is a breathtaking display of chutzpah, as Jane Litte described it, on its own.
4. has already attracted plenty of WTFBBQ posts in the comments
I emailed Sarah Cross about the post, to ask if she was aware of the Story Siren plagiarism last month, or if this was an unhappy coincidence, and Cross replied (and gave me permission to quote her email):
Thanks for your email. Yes, I was aware. I found out about Kristi's plagiarism via SmartBitches, actually. Kristi contacted me a week or so ago and said she wanted to do a week-long blog event about plagiarism on The Story Siren to educate herself and her readers, and asked if I would be willing to do a guest post. As far as I am aware there will be other guests posts about plagiarism from authors, librarians, and bloggers this week. I figured there would be an introductory post addressing that but it seems there wasn't. I'm going to email Kristi and suggest that she include one.
Yes. Context is always good. Otherwise, the chutzpah stain gets on everything. A week about plagiarism education would be a fascinating thing and probably rather interesting except that Kristi has still not fully apologized for her actions, owned up to what she did, or defended the victims of her actions against the hatemail sent by Kristi's own fans. Without an introduction or explanation of the context, Diehm has placed Sarah Cross in an awkward and untenable position, and that's just a sad and cowardly thing to do to a guest author.
This is going to be an interesting week.
ETA, 1:00pm ET: Kristi has indeed posted an introduction, and while it's posted prior to Sarah Cross's entry, it wasn't there earlier this morning. It reads, in part:
Hello, my name is Kristi, the Story Siren and I am a plagiarist.
Those are the last words I ever thought I would write when I started my blog in 2007. Plagiarism is despicable, it is cheating, it is stealing. I would never do that. And yet I have.
How did it happen? I’m not really sure I realized I’d crossed the line I’d been so adamant against, but I did. I suppose it happened because there was something I wanted to say, and I couldn’t find the right words to say it. I was asked a question about a blogging topic and went in search of inspiration. I came across a couple of posts that seemed like I could have written them myself — they expressed exactly what I wanted to, in the way that I wanted to. I wanted to make it relevant to book bloggers. I knew I couldn’t use their words — not exactly as written — so I added words of my own and subtracted a few of theirs. In my mind, I had done enough to make it mine; it was my voice. But I was wrong. I screwed up.
And I screwed up even more when they called me on it. I tried to deny it, because I didn’t want to believe it myself. I tried to keep it private, because I didn’t want to be judged. But when it all came out anyway, that just made everything seem even more deceitful. I should have admitted I was wrong right away. But I didn’t.
Oh, good gravy. It wasn't just words added and subtracted. Diehm lifted six articles, plus the formatting and syntax of the pages they were taken from. *headdesk*
It will be interesting to see the upcoming week's content.
ETA 23 May, 10:10amET: Grit and Glamour blogger Vahni has a solidly educational summary on Damage Control: The Fine Art of Covering Your A** in response to Kristi Diehm's week on plagiarism.
ETA 24 May, 8:26amET: Beautifully Invisible has a write up that explains the non-apology that accomplishes nothing. Meanwhile, the week of plagiarism content continues, with factually incorrect and misguided articles from various guest author posters. This is terrible PR for all involved, and it's so disheartening to see how much people don't know about plagiarism.
ETA 24 May, 9:05amET: Jane at DearAuthor updated her previously laudatory review of "The Bro-Magnet" after Lauren Baratz-Logsted's guest entry about plagiarism (I think) appeared at The Story Siren, which includes this line, ironically enough: On the Internet, that kind of thing spreads like wildfire and before you know it, it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not because the stain to your reputation has already been rendered indelible.
I'm not sure how much more plain I can put this: participating in this week's "plagiarism discussion" (and I use the term loosely) in light of Kristi Diehm's non-apology and clumsy addressing of her own actions supports the plagiarist. As I've said before, plagiarism among writers is like treason. Do you really want to support a person who plagiarises and makes the weakest of efforts to address her own actions?
In other news:
Via CuddleBuggery, which is a name for a website that makes me happily snortlaugh: Kate Hart has posted infographics about the colors and the diversity (or lack thereof) in YA cover art, plotting covers by color distribution, by representation of minorities, and by counting up artistic elements such as headless models, fancy dresses, or dead or dying poses.
Interesting piece of her information: nearly 80% of the covers surveyed featured filigree. That's a lot of filigree. The infographics are amazing, and really worth examining, even if you don't read YA.
Hachette is now offering new ebooks to some libraries, according to this article by Laura Hazard Owen:
Hachette, which has not made new e-books available to libraries since 2010, is reconsidering the idea. In a pilot program starting this spring (which is…now?), the publisher is working with two e-book distributors to bring a “selection of HBG’s recent bestselling e-books to 7 million library patrons.”
Hachette would not confirm which distributors or libraries it is working with — whether it is partnering with leading digital distributor OverDrive and/or with an OverDrive competitor like 3M Cloud Library or Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360.
Via Twitter: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt filed for, according to Publishers Weekly, "pre-packaged bankruptcy Monday morning, citing debts and liabilities of over $1 billion. The filing is part of a restructuring of its finances that will cut its debt by $3.1 billion largely by having its lenders exchange debt for equity."
And finally, the Publishers Lunch crew did something rather spiffy and cool: they've produced a BIG HONKING HUGE ebook that presents 30 excerpts from this year's BEA BUZZ BOOKS.
Through a lot of coordination between disparate entities, the sample collection of 33 different fall books is available as an ePub from Ingram, for the Amazon Kindle, and on NetGalley and Edelweiss. Folks from eBookArchitects, iBookstore, Google eBooks, and Sony Reader and OverDrive contributed to make this a possibility, and oh my gosh, I have warm fuzzes at the fact that they pulled this off. The reasoning is quite awesome, too:
"This exciting new experiment is our answer to the BEA discovery problem--now attendees can arrive at the convention having already sampled dozens of the most promoted books--as well as a contribution to improving general consumer discovery."
A round of applause to everyone - that is so freaking cool.
What are you reading about online today?