Katiebabs is a self-proclaimed present day bluestocking with her head always in a book. She runs her own book blog called Babbling about Books and More!
Welcome to this week’s WTFckery that starts off with yet another disturbing case of a self-published author plagarizing her fellow authors, both self-published and traditionally published…
Plagiarism is disgusting, and the worst type of thief and fraud an author can do to another author. A plagiarism controversy has struck again this week with a self-published author, aka as of now, an alleged thief known as Laura Harner, a prolific author of Gay (M/M) Romance, who has published 70 titles in 2 years (right there the amount of book published in 2 years should give some pause). NYT and USA Today best selling author, Becky McGraw first noticed Laura had plagiarized one of her titles, and from there, the investigation continued into Laura’s other books. The latest information now shows that Laura may have plagiarized well know erotic romance author, Opal Carew as well.
Laura isn’t like some self-published authors who have no real social media presence and uses ghostwriters for their books (which is usually the case when a case of plagiarism happens). She is well known in the romance community, including at writer and reader conferences, like Gay Rom Lit and other romance centric groups and events.
Whenever an author plagiarizes another author, or multiple authors, and happens to be self-published, it puts a black mark or a stain on the self publishing industry as a whole. The sad thing is, the thieving author may get caught and and stop publishing, but all the money that fraud author made from their theft is never returned to the rightful authors of the original work that the thief author stole. If the proof does show that Laura plagiarized most of her 70 titles, and she has had great sales from her theft, can you imagine how much money she made in royalties in the past 2 years? Might be hundreds of thousands of dollars. The sad thing is she’ll keep what she made, because I really can’t see her handing over her ill-gotten gains to those she stole from because of her guilt. She probably doesn’t feel any guilt other than getting caught, which hopefully has put an end to her con.
More about the unethical Laura Harner:
“Laura Harner, fellow MM author and someone I listened to on a panel at GRL, plagiarising a MF book in entirety by simple exchanging pronouns. That’s heartbreaking. Not to mention insulting to our genre.
I’ve seen the story unfold from the side of Becky McGraw, the author of the original book, but as of today (22 October) I have seen nothing from Laura in defence or dismissal, or even to own up. All I have seen is Laura’s book being removed from Amazon, and now rumours of another series being taken down as well.
I’ve seen the evidence, of what Laura’s book said along side Beck’s orginal. I can tell you it’s a near perfect match, apart from the she/her becoming he/his and some obvious name changes. If this happened to me, I would be a sobbing violated mess. And I would be angry. I would be spitting and furious and I would rant EVERYWHERE. To her credit Becky Mc Graw is staying very calm and leaving things to her lawyers.
I’ve seen some excuses appear to defend Laura Harner.
That maybe she had a ghost writer, and didn’t check that the ghost writer had stolen the story? Or that Laura has been hit by a drop in sales on Amazon because of KU, and wanted to stay at her earning levels? That she had writer’s block? None of these reasons fly with me.
People want a reason so bad, because the idea that someone we know has been lying to us all, authors and readers alike, in the worst possible way is just terrible to contemplate.
There is no excuse. Plagiarism like this, where words are taken as a whole, is breaking the law and hurts authors and readers alike.”
Author Jenny Trout also spoke out in a blog post titled: Don’t Do This Ever (an advice column for writers): Plagiarism Warning edition:
“If you’re an author of paranormal, cowboy, SEAL, firefighter, highlander or motorcycle club romances, I urge you strongly to look through the extensive backlist of one Laura Harner, an unusually prolific author of M/M (male/male) romance. So prolific, in fact, that her GoodReads author page lists seventy-five releases since 2010.
If you’re not quick with math, that averages out to 15 novels a year. Some authors do put up those numbers, but their output is considered exceptional. Harner’s output is exceptional for a wholly different reason.
Because Harner writes M/M, and McGraw’s book is a straight pairing. Harner’s clever trick here was to pick a book that was not M/M, but M/F contemporary romance. As far as readers go, there isn’t a lot of overlap between the two genres; M/M readers will in general read M/M voraciously, while M/F readers won’t stray to M/M often, either. What were the chances of a reader from both genres just happening upon both the plagiarized book and the book it was plagiarized from? With seventy-five books to her credit, she’s certainly skated by for a while without getting caught.”
also: “A commenter on my original post about Harner recognized Opal Carew’s Riding Steele in Harner’s Deuce Coop serial. Though the Deuce Coop series was pulled from most major retailers, as of this morning it was still available on All Romance eBooks.”
Through the grapevine, I've heard a couple of cockamamey excuses she's tossed up like softballs, but I'm not buying either of them. For one, they are totally ludicrous and unbelievable, but a lot more creative than her writing, however. The first was that she kept an 'inspiration file' on her computer, and accidentally pulled my book file from there. 1> What the hell was she doing with a writeable file from another author on her computer? 2> Did the book magically get changed to m/m, the character names changed without her realizating it? 3> She had to intentionally create that writeable file probably by cracking a mobi file because NOBODY other than my editor and me have a pdf or a Word file of that book.
SECOND EXCUSE presented this morning is that her evil daughter did it. Yeah, she split Opal Carew's Riding Steele into a six-part serial, published it over time chapter-by-chapter on Watt Pad under LH's name and account, interacting with the fans as she 'wrote it'. She had covers made for it, had it edited, then published it on Amazon on LH's account. NOT BUYING IT.
I was born at night--just not last night. The more excuses I hear from her madder and more determined I get. The best thing she can do is suck it up, admit what she did and stop trying to con us even more, make reparations...and for God's sake STFU.