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.