Resolution Update – February

newyearsresolution_stockAt the beginning of the year I always have good intentions to jumpstart my life and do all the things I meant to do the year before but never actually got around to. This year I plotted and planned and charted with the hope I would find a way to finally get things done. I now have a schedule, tick off my daily and monthly To-Do lists, and intend to use my blog to hold myself accountable and keep motivated. I have dreams and aspirations, so there is no time like the present to achieve them!

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Ghostwriting and Algorithms

If you keep up with the publishing world or even just occasionally peek at twitter you will have seen #copypastecris trending. An author by the name of Cristiane Serruya has recently been accused of plagiarism and readers everywhere are using that hashtag to tweet about the various novels Serruya allegedly stole from. While I do not recall reading anything by Serruya, I did recognize a few of the authors on the list. You can see some of the novels here.

Upon discovery, the best-selling author has since blamed the ghostwriter(s) she hired and pulled all books in which she used that company’s assistance. Rumour has it that one of Serruya’s novels had been up for the Romance Writers of America RITA award, but is now withdrawn because of the pending investigation.

When I hear the term ghostwriter my first thought is of a TV show from my childhood where a ghost helped teenagers solve crimes. In this case, the term means a person writing on behalf of another author. Some people think there should not be ghostwriters at all and others think they should only work in non-fiction —such as assisting celebrities write their memoirs.

In the great ghostwriter debate there has been mention of Nancy Drew novels where a variety of writers were hired to pen the books under the pseudonym of Carolyn Keene. Those books started way back in the 1930s and, particularly in the publishing world, eighty-some years is a long time. So why use something from my grandparents’ era when there are more recent examples of ghostwriting in fiction from when I was growing up? Ghostwriters are also responsible for at least two other beloved young adult series: Sweet Valley and The Baby-Sitters Club.

I was a fan without ever realizing each series had not been written by a single individual but many. As a child I never noticed the very telling “Created by Francine Pascal” or been aware of Ann M Martin thanking her ghostwriters in the acknowledgements, I just liked being able to read about teenage girls who had more interesting lives than I did. I never even noticed how quickly each book was published (though I did notice some discrepancy in the details), but admittedly this was still before the internet.

There may be even more recent examples of ghostwritten series besides the BSC and SV that I am unaware of. To paraphrase an article I recently read “using ghostwriters is an on-the-rise strategy to build book empires” and it all has to do with online algorithms. People are using ghostwriters to ‘beat the system’ because frequent content means better rankings and that equates to sales.

My point is there is nothing inherently wrong with ghostwriters. As long as they are willing, skilled, honest, and clearly acknowledged as part of the process there is no harm be it fiction or nonfiction. On the other hand, I do not think such books should be able to win author awards unless it is granted to both the creator and the ghostwriter. This comes back to the clear acknowledgement thing and that both people deserve praise. As for the algorithms, we should just get rid of those because they are clearly not working in a way that benefits authors. I don’t like the algorithms on social media and I’m not even trying to make writing my profession.

Whether Cristiane Serruya copy-and-pasted bits of other books together to claim as her own or if she was duped by unscrupulous con artists is not for me to say. For all I know some eejit decided to post a bunch of novels online for free but there was a malfunction that created a frankenbook everyone is now using to find proof of plagiarism. I’ll let lawyers and even Nancy Drew figure out what happened.

In the meantime, what are your thoughts on #copypastecris? Do you know more recent examples of ghostwriting? How do you feel about the algorithms used on Amazon, Facebook, and Instragram? Leave a comment!

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Resolution Update – January

newyearsresolution_stockAt the beginning of the year I always have good intentions to jumpstart my life and do all the things I meant to do the year before but never got around to. This year I plotted and planned and charted. I had been told my schedule was going to be set for the same time every day but with one less day a week than usual during slow season, and while that would not be great for my bank account it would be perfect for helping my plans… However, work decided to throw a monkey wrench in the works by instead moving me to a different position with even worse hours than before.

I’m still trying my best though!

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Marie Kondo and Books

mariekondo_netflix_heroimagewebhome_768xWhile I have not yet read Marie Kondo’s book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” or her sequel “Spark Joy” (I’m waiting on them from the library), I have just binge-watched the TV show that came out on Netflix recently. I had only meant to watch one or two episodes the other night before bed, but got hooked and watched half the season in one go. Once I finished the season I really wanted to do a possession purge… this is problematic as I am currently living in Ireland with only a modicum of stuff, while all my excessive belongings are stored at my parents’ house.

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New Year = New Start

screen shot 2019-01-08 at 2.12.25 pmAgain.

It seems like no matter how many times I intend to revitalize my blog, the plan quickly fizzles out. Last year I got a full-time job that has me often working odd hours and overtime, so I did not have much energy for anything else. My entire life became work, eat, read, sleep, repeat.

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Becoming Better Because of Books

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The thing I love most about the Wait for You series by J. Lynn are the male main characters. These guys are gorgeous, a little cocky, but kind and loving. They would be too good to be true if they didn’t have their own flaws and a few secrets, which is likely why the author ensured the men weren’t perfect. However that is not the most important thing, but rather how these guys treat the women in the books:

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Bookish Merchandise

When looking at bookstagram it is not just the books being added to my ever growing TBR list that make me drool. I also see candles, funkos, bookmarks, artwork, pillowcases, book cozies, and all the other wonderful merchandise to be had. It is rather amazing there are so many bookish things available for people who love to read.

I remember when reading made you a nerd rather than a fangirl, when it made you a bit weird rather than part of a world-wide community, when there wasn’t much swag to be had outside of bookmarks and even those rarely depicted book related things –though unicorns and puppies are cute. In fact, growing up, I don’t know of anyone who made such things even just for themselves, because it was just something no one really thought to do. It makes me wonder how this phenomenon started, at what point reading became a major marketing campaign. Does anyone remember or know?

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