On Ghostwriting and Jordin Williams
I usually do my best to try and avoid drama. In fact, I basically just ignore people who try to cause drama, or I separate myself from any excessively dramatic situations. I’m perfectly content with having the only real drama in my life be in the stories that I write, because that’s a fun kind of drama, you know? It’s not tiresome and it doesn’t get old.
My one main exception to this rule is when someone says something that’s harmful to others. If someone wants to be involved in drama on their own, that’s their prerogative, but don’t drag in hundreds (thousands, millions?) of people into your issues by making mean, false statements about other people. It’s not only rude, but it’s damaging.
If you’re unsure exactly what I’m talking about, here is the quick version. There was a “new” author named Jordin Williams who released a New Adult Romance book titled Amazingly Broken. This book did very well and got some great reviews right off the bat from a marketing program they had where they contacted a bunch of book bloggers to promote their book. At one point it was close to #50 in the Amazon Kindle Store, which is A LOT of copies sold a day.
This went on for approximately 6 days before someone realized that whole paragraphs (many, many, much more than one or two or “accidental” mistakes) were plagiarized from Easy by Tammara Webber and Beautiful Disaster by Jamie Mcguire. Basically, what it seems like is that this Jordin Williams person cut/pasted segments from each book together, did some minor additions for cohesion, and “created” a new story that… was basically the same as those other two stories. Amazingly Broken wasn’t just similar, it was exactly the same as -at least- those two books. The cover is also the same as HM Ward’s The Arrangement 3 (with extremely minor changes), but that’s at least somewhat forgivable under regular circumstances, since many indie authors purchase the same photos from photographers. We pay for the rights to use these pictures, so it’s different. It doesn’t change the fact that the book was basically a copy/paste job of at least three different books.
So, that’s the story. Lots of people have talked about that, and you can find a ton of posts if you want to search around. I think the most prominent is at the Dear Author site where I first heard about it. This might actually be the first place to release this info, too, though I’m unsure of that.
The thing that bothers me the most about this are some of the Twitter comments that Jordin Williams tossed up in some attempt to mitigate her blame. One in particular essentially said, “Most/Lots of New Adult Romance authors don’t write their own books and hire ghostwriters.” Their defense towards extreme plagiarism before this was that they “hired a ghostwriter” to write their DEBUT NOVEL and didn’t realize the person they hired had done what they did.
First off, this makes no sense. A ghostwriter is basically someone who writes something for someone else for a price, and lets the other person take credit for their work. It’s kind of shady sometimes, but it’s useful in quite a few cases. The most common example is a celebrity’s book, since… honestly, most celebrities probably have an interesting story to tell, but they probably couldn’t write to save their lives. That’s fine, and we want to know their stories, so they chat with a ghostwriter, who takes their life story and writes it up into a book. That’s a perfectly great use of a ghostwriter.
Other places use a ghostwriter for big campaigns, which is also fine. I can’t give any good examples of this, but fantasy books for kids sometimes do this. Basically they want to have an entire “fantasy world” and keep it written by the same author name so that kids can find the books easier. So they have one or two (or more) authors who ghostwrite these books. That example is more like a pen name, but not quite, since some of those authors move on to do their own thing, or quits writing, or (hopefully not, but it happens) dies, and another takes their place. There’s nothing wrong with this, either.
This doesn’t happen for new authors (because why would it? There’s no audience, and there’s no point), and it’s almost guaranteed not to happen with indie authors, either. Indie authors, myself included, work so hard to tell a story, write it to the best of our abilities, edit it, get cover art done, formatting it for e-books, and so much more that people don’t even think about. To claim that a lot of us ignore all of that and have our books written by a ghostwriter is extremely disrespectful and rude. To me, it almost feels like Jordin Williams slapped all of my books out of my hands and told me that none of what I’ve been doing for almost a year now is real. All of the work I put in is a sham, and everyone should know it!
It’s not, though. The work is real. I do all of this myself. I don’t hire out a ghostwriter to write my newest novel. First off, I’m kind of bossy and I micromanage a lot, and I really don’t think a ghostwriter would want to work with me (haha). They’d probably get tired of it fast. Besides that, though, I love writing. I love making the stories my own. I don’t copy/paste people’s ideas. Some of my books might seem similar to other books, and I might have found inspiration in something I’ve read, or watched on TV, or listened to on the radio, but every single word I write is purely my own, and I would NEVER want it any other way.
I think a lot of indie authors are like this, too. It’s honestly a lot of hard work, and some of us have been rejected by big publishers in the past. I’ve never sent a book manuscript into any of the big publishing houses for this reason, too. Lots of people in the world want to make you feel inadequate and bad, just because it’s their job. I doubt that any of the editors at Random House or anywhere have anything against me, but if they don’t think my books will sell hundreds of thousands of copies, then they don’t want to see them and to them, that’s not good enough.
I have books that have sold less than a hundred copies, and I have some that have sold hundreds of copies. I even have some special books that have sold thousands of copies. But, you know what? I like all of them, and someone, somewhere, has also enjoyed each and every one. A big publishing house might not care about a book that’s only sold 83 copies (just making up a number there), but the 83 people who bought that book enjoyed it, and I love that. I love that I’m able to do that.
I admit that I want to write books that more people enjoy, and I’d love to write books that thousands upon thousands of people buy, but I just love to write. I love the time and effort put into it, and it’s extremely enjoyable to me. I love everything about being an indie author, even if some of it’s difficult or confusing or it upsets me sometimes. It’s a good kind of upset most of the time, you know? It means it might be hard now, but I’m doing something right, and in the end it’ll be more satisfying.
Basically, Jordin Williams ignored all of that. They plagiarized some books and published it as their own, and if that’s what they felt like doing, I don’t want to be a part of the drama involved. But the fact that she came out and BASHED other authors, taking away all of their hard work and effort, all of the time they spent perfecting a story, hoping that readers would like it… just throwing it out the window and claiming that lots of us hire ghostwriters?
It’s rude and disrespectful and mean. Most of us don’t do that. Most of us love our stories as much as you love our stories, and we wouldn’t disrespect other authors or readers by trying to place the blame on someone else.
Why do you write in so many different genres and styles?
Hello! Happy Monday!
I don’t know if anyone is actually curious about this, but I feel like it’s an interesting topic, and one that you don’t see a lot of writers talk about or do. Mainly, why do I write in so many different genres and styles?
Well, honestly, I don’t think they’re all that different, but here’s what I’ve got so far. Monster stuff is a big one, and then contemporary romance is the next. I recently finished my paranormal romance series(Soulless, Heartless, Hopeless), which was fun. I’ve also got some fairytale stuff, too. Historical, romantic comedy, noir detective mystery, urban fantasy, and a few more things that probably fit into one of the above but are a bit different, too.
All of these have erotic content, though, so I guess that’s the thread that binds them? I don’t know if that’s a good reason and I don’t really accept it, myself, but it’s there.
Anyways! I write them because I like that. That sounds kind of like a cop out answer, I guess, but it’s just fun to me. I enjoy exploring new genres and taking my own spin on them. I think that’s what this boils down to, really.
If I’m being perfectly honest, I prefer medieval fantasy-style stuff. Or I used to prefer it, anyways. I don’t think that’s a good mindset to get into with this kind of thing. I mean, hey, if I just wrote medieval fantasy all the time, I’d have a lot of that, and that’d be great, but… then what? I know authors who do this and have read more than my fair share of books from authors who basically never branched out from any one genre. It honestly gets stale and you can tell in their writing.
One random example–and I’m only using her as one because I honestly really love her writing, so it was kind of a love/hate thing, but I’ve got tons of respect for her–is Elizabeth Haydon. The first three stories in her Symphony of Ages series were WONDERFUL. I absolutely adored them and I would suggest them to everyone and read them over and over again(and I think I have). They’re kind of fantasy romance with adventure and action and all of that. After the first three, though, it started going downhill. I believe I enjoyed the 4th, but the 5th was kind of lacking, and I can’t say I enjoyed the 6th at all.
After she “finished” that series(because honestly it just kind of stopped, and I’m not sure it ever really fully concluded anything), she started up a YA series set in the same world. I haven’t read those, but I think that’s an interesting thing to do. Mostly, the other books were VERY adult, with sex and violence and all of those kinds of adult things. I have no idea how her YA fantasy books are, but I’m sure they’re nice because she has a wonderful style and tells a good story.
That’s really the thing, though. She got herself stuck in the Symphony of Ages books and I think it showed. By the end of the 6 book series, I don’t think she was as into it as the first three books. It feels like she wrote more because she felt like she NEEDED to write more, and not because she wanted to. Sometimes this can work out, but I think a lot of times it leads to burn out and disappointment.
I’d still read her books if she continued with the series, but I’m not sure if that’s a good idea on her part.
In the same kind of genre, Jacqueline Carey does an excellent job of writing the same but switching it up, too. Her Kushiel’s Legacy books start with three wonderful books, then continue on with three more great ones(my favorites of hers actually), and there’s three more after that. They’re all in the same world, but each set of three switches the main character, and so provides a new and interesting fresh look at her world of Terre d’Ange. Though, to be honest, I’m not sure the last three worked out so well with that, but they -were- interesting, just not really my favorites. Or, I’ve only read the first on of there(the seventh overall), so maybe I’ll change my mind when I get to the last two? I don’t know.
And even still, she has other books that are great, too. Her more traditional epic fantasy books kind of fit with the Kushiel’s ones, and then she completely throws you for a loop with some urban fantasy/paranormal stuff later on. I think this is great and a good idea.
So that’s where I stand, really. For my own writing, I want to write interesting things and continue writing them. If I’m really into an idea, I think I’ll tell a better story than otherwise. I want you, as a reader, to love what I’m writing as much as I do. I do “force” myself to write things, also, but I try not to push it too far. I try to explore new genres and test out ideas because I want to. It’s more of a “forcing myself to do this because I want to” instead of a “forcing myself to do this and I hate it,” which I think is a key difference.
And, honestly? I think it’s turned out well. I never liked contemporary stuff much before, so I rarely wrote it, but I wanted to try one. My best friend isn’t really into reading anything fantasy and she sticks to just contemporary stuff when she reads(which isn’t a ton, but she does read a few books a year), so I wanted to do it for that reason, too. I wanted to write something that she would want to read, so I wrote my Billionaire’s Ultimatum series.
I didn’t really like it at first, truthfully. I didn’t like it because it was HARD for me. But, on that same note, I think it became a much better story because of that. It made me think and decide on different things and try out new ideas and a new style of writing. I never liked first person point of view much before writing that, either, but I thought I’d try that out, also.
Now? I like contemporary. I think The Billionaire’s Ultimatum is a fun story and I’ve received a lot of good feedback on it, so I think I probably did a good job writing it, too. I didn’t like how hard it was for me to write it at first, but I got better with practice and I really loved the idea of the story itself, so I kept up with it. It’s different, it tested me, and overall it was fun and a good experience.
The same with the Soulless series, too. The same with most of my stuff, honestly. The only thing I can’t really get too into is the gay shifter story I wrote, because it was just kind of difficult to really get a handle on the idea, but I think it turned out well. I’d like to write another gay male story in the future, or at least maybe bi-curious or something.
Anyways! I write in these different genres and styles because I like them and I want to try them. I don’t think any of my stuff is so far out there that you’ll be absolutely appalled if you see it in my catalogue along with something you’ve liked, either. I mean, some of it seems pretty far out there, but it’s still me writing it. I have standards and a general style and I promise to try to never disappoint any of my readers with sub-par, worthless junk.
Sometimes you just want to try something new, you know? Sometimes it’s easier to get eased into that new thing, though. If you like my writing, you’ll know generally how I write, and so it’s a nicer process trying something different as opposed to having to find a completely different author that you’re unsure about, and then reading their stuff, too. I know how much of a turn-off that can end up being, where you want to try, say, a science fiction book or something, but you end up finding the one that’s super confusing and weird and you have no idea what’s going on. Then you think you hate science fiction! And, honestly, I’m not actually a huge fan of science fiction, but I absolute love some of it.
It’s good to try new things sometimes. And maybe to take slow, baby steps, so you don’t get overwhelmed.
That’s the reason I do what I do, at least.
It’s Normal to Doubt Yourself (Weekly Sale)
I think everyone goes through phases of doubting themselves. You never really know, right? Are you doing the right thing? Could you do something better? What if you’re wrong?
Maybe it’s a depressing topic, but I think it’s an interesting one, too. That’s also the mindset I used when I started writing the Monster Within series.
Drop of Doubt is the 4th story in the series, and it’s also the one I decided to put on sale this week. I know it might seem a little odd to have the 4th story of a series on sale, but I have a reason for that, too. The 1st is permanently set at $0.99, the 2nd and 3rd are $2.99, and the 4th is currently $0.99 until the end of the week. Overall, if you want to grab all 4, it’s only going to cost you around $8. All four parts are close to ~220 paperback book pages in length, which is longer than a lot of romance novels nowadays. You’re definitely getting your money’s worth.
Saying that, the Monster Within series isn’t finished yet. There’s more to come for Solace and Bastion and their story is one that’s really close to me in a personal sort of way. Yes, they’re just characters, but I’ve put a lot of my heart into them and some of the themes I wanted to explore are ones I’ve had to deal with on a personal level. There’s a very large amount of emotion put into these stories.
They are fantasy stories with demons, goblins, ogres, wisps, angels, elementals and all of that. I understand that’s not everyone’s thing, but I tried to make it nice and accessible. I didn’t go too overboard with the magic stuff. If I had to compare it to something, I’d say it’s similar in vein to Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Trilogy(though not quite, but they do explore some similar themes and ideas now that I think about it). Brent Weeks is a great author, too. I really respect him and I love his writing. He doesn’t really write romance, but if you enjoy interesting fantasy stories with a bit of spice sometimes(not often, but sometimes), then you should check him out, too.
The Monster Within series is about doubt and hope, learning to trust, finding a glimpse of happiness and holding onto it as tight as you can. It’s about finding that one person who accepts you for who you are, no matter what, and is willing to learn and explore the world with you. I really think it’s a wonderful story.
I’m tearing up a little here because of how emotional this story makes me. I have a lot of doubts sometimes(a drop or more), and sometimes I doubt what I write. I doubt if anyone will enjoy something and I doubt if I’ve written well enough. I want to do better, always, and maybe it seems like a silly thing to admit here on this blog post, because, who cares, but there’s a point to it.
Drop of Doubt(and the Monster Within series as a whole) is somewhat of an autobiography of sorts. Not –actually– since I’m nothing too similar to any of the characters, but the emotion behind them is real.
Which, I think, is interesting! Many writers are afraid to put too much into their writing. They don’t think they can, or they are scared, or whatever. I don’t know the reason. It’s hard, though, it really is. But if you want to read that kind of thing, which I think is interesting and I think a lot of others might find interesting, too, these stories are definitely for you.
The fantasy, monsters, and all of that are a part of them, but the real story is about emotions.
Drop of Doubt is a Fantasy Erotic Romance novella and will be available for $0.99 until February 22nd, 2013 at these select retailers!
Amazon | B&N | Kobo* | ARe | Smashwords (Use Coupon Code: QP65X )
*Kobo is lagging behind in price changes for some reason. I went ahead and requested they do it again, so hopefully it’ll be changed soon. If you prefer their shop, I apologize for the wait!