UPDATE: As of 04/06/2015 the blogger referred to in this post has had their blogger account deleted and all reviews taken down with it. Her response regarding her snatched reviews? Her 'cousin' apparently took over her account and forged everything. Ehm. Yeah. I guess once an idiot, always an idiot. Blame it on the poor cousin...
My dearest Authors and Reviewers,
We, as authors, have a very close and very complicated relationship with reviewers. Reviewers enable our books to be discovered in the chaos of the vast Internet world. Those reviews can make an author giddy with joy (someone loves me!) or cry in pain (someone hates me!). Whatever your perspective on the relationship between authors and reviewers, there is one thing that binds us: our honesty about our love for books.
So what happens when that honesty is violated between reviewers? Allow me to vent and lay out what just happened and why it needs to be addressed.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a reviewer in Portugal requesting a copy of one of my books. Nothing unusual. It is always at the discretion of an author whether they want to trust/spend the money to do so. It could be a scam, but I am a firm believer that when a reviewer goes out of their way to contact an author, an author should make the time to honor that request. Because there is one universal truth about reviewers. They are doing it for the love of books and most do not get paid a single penny for their love. So it is my way of returning their passion for books by giving them a copy. It doesn't matter what the review outcome is. All that matters is that a reviewer took a chance on my book. It is their precious time. Much like my writing is to me, reading is to them.
So what happens when a reviewer decides to violate ANOTHER reviewer? *gape time* That's right. I'm not talking about author/reviewer relationships anymore or how some have spiraled out of control because neither side is willing to be gracious. I'm also not talking about the scam of taking a book and never reviewing it. I'm talking about a reviewer violating another reviewer by plagiarizing another reviewer's review. Are you still with me?!
These are the clues that started coming together as to what had actually happened:
-I was contacted by a reviewer from Portugal who had a blogger website listing beautifully well worded English reviews.
-The reviewer from Portugal who contacted me spoke very choppy English. Her emails were like reading Google Translate on crack. Hm.
-The reviewer from Portugal contacts me to say she received said book, still in choppy English. Okay.
-A week later, she sends me a link of a beautifully written review for Once Upon a Scandal. Double hm and something doesn't feel right.
-So I had a friend help me find a plagiarism checker online (Duplichecker) and it appears my review for Once Upon a Scandal was lifted word for word from ANOTHER reviewer's blog. And it wasn't just for my book. She was lifting reviews left and right for countless other books when further digging was done.
My jaw dropped and I started seething. Holy shit. Because we always talk about books being plagiarized, but we never talk about a reviewer's own words being plagiarized. Never mind that I got screwed out of money or getting a real review, what about the reviewer whose words were lifted word for word? The time she/he put in for the love of what they do. Their passion is being used for the gain of another who just wants to read a book but is too fucking lazy to even sit down and write the review. So she snatches it from others.
Some of the reviewers were already contacted about the plagiarism and it is my hope that her site gets shut down by blogger. Blogger is being contacted and they will hopefully address this.
Needless to say, I want reviewers to do the following things:
-Make sure on your site, you have a copyright statement.
-Make sure you have a contact on your site so when others find something to report to you, you can be contacted (it was difficult contacting some of you!).
-Do random checks of your reviews (especially older ones) by running through a plagiarism checker.
-If you feel your reviews are being lifted by another reviewer, contact blogger or wordpress and have that sucker taken down.
Bottom line, I'm being the bigger person and not posting this reviewer's blog BUT if her website isn't shut down by blogger in the next few weeks...her ass has been warned. It's WRONG.
*This shout out is for all reviewers who work so hard to share their love of books. We authors love you because you put your love into YOUR words. Not someone else's.