Sam Taylor Mullens, a pseudonym, began promoting her third novel in the usual way—taking sign ups for a blog tour, passing out advance review copies to bloggers. Unfortunately, one of the bloggers noticed something strange about The Auction Deal.
It bore an absolutely uncanny resemblance to another novel she’d read. And by uncanny, we mean almost sentence-by-sentence copying. The “author” had taken someone else’s clean, Christian romance and altered it by changing it to first person, switching out character names, paraphrasing virtually every sentence, and adding in sex scenes.
|Original, Love to the Highest Bidder ©1998 (republished in 2012 as A Bid for Love)||The Auction Deal advance reader copy|
|The Dark brown curls were everywhere. They were a curse, and had been for twenty-eight of Cassi’s twenty-nine years. They puffed out from her scalp and plunged halfway down her back as if they had lives of their own, helplessly tangled and twisted together. The bathroom lights above the double sink reflected from the brown tresses, bringing out the subtle gold highlights.||Dark brunette curls were everywhere. They were a curse, and had been for the thirty-one years of my life. They puffed out from my scalp and plunged halfway down my back. They helplessly tangled and twisted together. The bathroom lights above the sink reflected the brown tresses.|
The blogger who discovered this contacted the author of the original book, Rachel Ann Nunes. Rachel tried to contact Sam Taylor Mullens to receive an ARC but Mullens informed her the book would not be published, and declined to provide the ARC. (Eventually another book blogger sent Rachel a copy of the ARC.)
Other bloggers then read Rachel’s original novel, which was already available for free, and verified the prima facie plagiarism themselves. But when one dared to post on her Facebook page about it, three different Facebook profiles with the middle name “Booklover” as well as Mullens’s profile defended her actions, insisted the allegations were unfounded, even when the blogger posted side-by-side comparisons, and began to turn accusations back on Rachel.
Another blogger expressed her support for Rachel, and one of the “Booklover” accounts used her personal profile to accuse this blogger of selling ARCs to pirate sites (making the accusation at least four times in twenty-four hours).
Since then, at least one more “Booklover” has joined the fray (though amazingly, these profiles—75% of which were creating this spring—disappear as soon as they get involved). Rachel has received a number of harassing, accusatory messages, threats to go to prominent and powerful members of her local community, abusive (and obviously fake, IMO) reviews, and increasingly bizarre excuses for how and why Mullens copied her work. Meanwhile, all of Mullens’s novels have disappeared from Amazon.
Truly, if I had a character go to the lengths that these people have gone to protect their “friend” the plagiarist (if they’re even real people at all; careful observation of their comments suggest they’re not), readers would never believe it. Rachel has shared the full story on her blog.
Rachel is now gearing up for what may be a long legal battle. If you want to help take a stand against plagiarism, please consider donating to her cause!
Image by opensource.com