Monday, March 31, 2014

Are YOU being plagiarized, too, without your knowledge?

by Jodie Renner, editorauthor

Imagine my shock on Friday when an author I don't know emailed me to tell me that an "editor" and "publishing consultant" had copied a bunch of testimonials off my website and was passing them off, word for word, as her own!

I checked out the website, WordWorks Publishing Consultants, and sure enough, there were the exact words of two reviews of my editing by our own LJ Sellers, as well as other testimonials from MY website, by thriller writer Allan Leverone, CFCer and thriller writer A.M. Khalifa, and thriller client Tom Combs  copied verbatim, but attributed to fictitious writer clients, even Random House! (You should be flattered by that one, A.M. Khalifa!)


In fact, every single example of her testimonials under "Editing" was lifted  plagiarized  straight from my website, on this page: http://www.jodierennerediting.com/testimonials.

Here, for example, are the original top two reviews she stole, by LJ Sellers:



You can see the rest of the original reviews on my website. I worked damn hard for those testimonials, and they were carefully crafted by talented authors I've worked with, whose creations were stolen, just like that!

By the way, aside from those well-written reviews, the rest of the amateurish-looking website is full of typos and grammatical errors.

This blatant plagiarism is awful on so many levels, including that I would never have known about it if an author hadn't alerted me to this, saying in her email, "I got suspicious of this person due to some wild claims they were making in a Facebook group. Then I simply highlighted blocks of text from her 'testimonials' and googled them."

This is shocking and frustrating. But I and my talented writer clients, although insulted and robbed, aren't the biggest victims here.

The real victims are the many aspiring writers who get duped by this so-called "editor" and think she's so good at it that her clients say those wonderful things about her editing! And the unsuspecting writers then send her their money and entrust her with their manuscripts.

Oh, and by the way, on the testimonials page under "Writing and Content," she has reviews by Bill Gates and Steve Jobs!

“Excellent service – Pame has provided quality content and articles for our corporate branding and website for the past 30 years. Her work has always been professional and completed on schedule. I would be delighted to recommend her services to anyone seeking quality articles or other written content.” - Steven Jobs, President/CEO, Apple Inc

“Very satisfied with quality of writing services over the past 25 years. Great communication and all workis always done before specified deadline". -Bill Gates, President/CEO, Microsoft

“Highly recommended! Pame has a very powerful voice and a great writer, ready to satisfy all your needs. She is always available, reliable and they all work hard to comply with your requests. If you are looking for articles, website content, product description/review or a simple blog comment this is the place to order it!” - Jeffrey Baker, Media Mogul, NBC

This company is apparently run by someone named Pamela Wray Biron. Is she a real person? The spelling "Pame" is unusual for "Pam," especially for an editor, who would be familiar with English usage of the "e" at the end making the vowel long, like hat - hate, man - mane, tam - tame, etc. And all that great long list of accomplishments! Since she's apparently been editing for 26 years, has 6 degrees and numerous other qualifications, and has written 62 books, why is her website full of errors, and why does she have to steal someone else's client reviews? Wouldn't she be earning plenty of testimonials herself, and have a huge number built up over the years? Hmmm....

This shocking discovery also made me wonder -- if my testimonials can get lifted from my website like that, what other sites is this person plagiarizing from, and who else might be stealing my craft-of-writing blog posts and passing them off as their own?

And who's stealing YOUR work? And what can we all do about these scammers?

A suggestion from A.M. Khalifa: "Should we pay attention to who is plundering our work like this, or is plagiarism part and parcel of creativity?" I suppose I should be flattered that my editing deserved such wonderful testimonials that someone chose to steal them, and my clients who wrote those great reviews should be flattered, too... 

But what about those unsuspecting aspiring writers who get duped into thinking this person is an excellent editor for their book, because of the theft of these reviews? What do you think?

I've contacted Preditors & Editors, and also Victoria Strauss of Writers Beware, who's publishing a blog post today (Monday, Mar. 31) about this fraudulent site: http://accrispin.blogspot.ca/2014/03/pamela-wray-and-wordworks-publishing.html.

Unfortunately, that's all I have time for, as I'm racing around getting ready to move across the country as well as preparing to present a webinar before I leave (in fact I'm traveling today). So I urge all writers to read websites carefully and watch for "red flags" like this, and if you're looking for an editor or publishing consultant, do check their references thoroughly. And be sure to get a sample edit of at least five pages, then get an expert in both English usage and fiction techniques to check it over before hiring the editor for your whole book.


Jodie has published two books to date in her series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: Writing a Killer Thriller and Fire up Your Fiction (Style That Sizzles & Pacing for Power), which has won two book awards so far, and is a finalist for two more. Look for Immerse the Readers in Your Story World, out soon. For more info, please visit Jodie’s author website or editor website, her other blogs, Resources for Writers and The Kill Zone, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. And sign up for her newsletter.

15 comments:

  1. Holy cow, Jodie! 0-0

    This is terrible and you have every right to be outraged. I consider piracy more than plagiarism to be part and parcel of creativity (for those worthy enough to be pirated!).

    In this instance, this person is a con artist, plain and simple. She (if it is indeed a she) is

    a) stealing from you and the others who contributed their testimonials to your site and
    b) lying to potential clients to scam them.

    Are you considering a cease and desist letter/order as well?

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    1. Thanks for dropping by and commiserating, AD. This was shocking to me, and according to Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware, who's researched this person more, she has plagiarized from many more people, and been called on it before.

      I'm traveling today so haven't had time to do anything else about it. I really hope writers will spread the word to avoid more being duped! Check out Victoria Strauss's blog post today, on Writer Beware.

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  2. Jodie -
    A shameless hustle. It's also an undesired compliment (they steal from the best). Hope there is no harm to you.

    I think the Jobs and Gates comments might be pushing it...oh, gotta go, I have James Lee Burke, Steven Hawking, Pope Francis and Meryl Streep dropping over for cocktails - yeaaah, sure :-)

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    1. Yes, and some of those so-called glowing reviews by famous people don't seem all that well-written! Skunky.

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  3. And I kind of wonder about the short form for Pamela being "Pame" (to rhyme with "shame") instead of "Pam" (to rhyme with "sham")...

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  4. Her design portfolio is also hilarious. Apparently she designed things before she was even born.

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  5. That's totally disgusting. There's a service I subscribe to that sends a weekly report and tells you when content leaves your site. I can't think of the name right now, but the next email I get from them I will forward you.

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    1. That'll be great, Sheila! I appreciate it.

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  6. And she/he/it/they can't even spell Simon & Schuster :)

    Thanks, Jodie and hope your trip was smooth!

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    1. An editor who can't spell the name of a major publishing company?!!

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  7. Thanks for calling her out, Jodie! She's so over the top, I hope no one will take her seriously. And I'm glad she didn't actually use my name!

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    1. LJ, I'm afraid there are probably a lot of aspiring authors new to the whole scene that have been and will be taken in by the promises and claims of this bogus website. And I'm glad she didn't use your name, too!

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  8. The horrible thing is that someone might actually hire her. The farther and wider you can spread the word, the better.

    As writers, we're used to having bits and pieces (and entire books) sold for someone else's profit. It happens and I hate it. But for a professional service? Unforgivable.

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    1. Peg, I imagine lots of people have given this outfit their money for substandard service. I say "outfit" as I'm not sure this is a woman - possibly a front.

      And I'm really hoping you and others can help me spread the word about this site, as I'm going crazy getting ready for my upcoming move. Victoria Strauss wrote an excellent, well-researched expose of this person/site, and people have added lots more info on her in the comments below. Please click on the link to WRITER BEWARE above in my post, and share Victoria's excellent article. Thanks!

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