Sapphic Slow-burn romances

Bachelorette Number Twelve has been plagiarized

Bachelorette Number Twelve has been plagiarized

I’m usually a pretty laid-back and emotionally even-keeled person, but I have to admit I’m very upset and furious right now, and I wanted to share the situation with you because I think it’s important, not just for me, but for the entire community of sapphic readers and authors.

Here’s what happened: Yesterday, someone in my Facebook group for readers of sapphic fiction posted anonymously, saying they had come across a fanfiction on AO3 (the biggest fanfic archive worldwide) that is “inspired by Bachelorette Number Twelve,” my newest sapphic romance, which has barely been out for two months. The reader seemed to think the fanfiction was really cool, so I checked it out.

You see, I love fanfiction in general—it’s how I first discovered sapphic fiction, so I’ll forever be grateful for its existence. I can totally understand when fascinating characters from a TV show or a movie or even a book inspire a fan to write a story about these characters.


What is fanfiction?

In case you aren’t familiar with the term, fanfiction (also called fanfics) are stories written by fans, using characters from someone else’s work, usually TV shows or movies. Fanfiction has a long tradition in the sapphic community because we rarely get positive representation in movies or TV shows, and even if we do, lesbian/sapphic characters still often end up being killed off. So it’s no wonder that queer fans write their own happy endings for their favorite characters.

I won’t go into details since I’m not a lawyer, but legally, fanfiction falls into a tricky gray area because fanfic writers use characters from someone else’s copyright-protected work without permission. Some authors and TV/movie producers pursue legal actions against fanfiction based on their work, while others allow or at least ignore it, as long as fanfic writers don’t make any money from it.


But this is not fanfiction!

However, when I checked out this particular fanfic, I discovered that it wasn’t what I would call fanfiction. To me, fanfiction means “borrowing” someone else’s characters and/or story universe to tell your own story.

This story, however, wasn’t merely “inspired by” my novel Bachelorette Number Twelve. Instead, someone took my book and copied it almost word for word, changing just bits and pieces here and there to make it fit the fandom they are writing in.


To give you an idea, here’s the first sentence of Bachelorette Number Twelve, which was published in January:

Ellie stood on her tiptoes on top of the ugliest orange plastic chair she’d ever laid eyes on, stretching to the right as far as she could, when a pair of sneakers squeaked to an abrupt stop behind her.


The first sentence of the fanfiction, which was posted just a few days ago:

Yelena was in the main pantry as she stood on her tiptoes on top of the ugliest yellow rolling chair she had ever laid her eyes on, stretching as far to the left that she could, when a pair of training shoes squeaked to an abrupt stop behind her.


Here’s another example from Bachelorette Number 12 from a scene in which Regina participates in a singles auction:

She wasn’t nervous. Of course not. She handled cardiac arrests, strokes, and subdural hematomas for a living, bringing people back from the brink of death on a regular basis. A silly auction wouldn’t make her sweat.

Standing around, waiting, had just never been her thing. She was a woman of action.

But as much as she hoped for a last-minute miracle that would get her out of this, she knew it wouldn’t happen. The only way out was through.


The fanfiction not only has a singles auction scene too, but the wording is nearly identical in many places:

She wasn’t nervous. Of course not. She handled aliens, magical monsters, and demented robots for a living- this would be a walk in the park. She had been paraded around by her mother at galas for years- she’ll be fine. A silly auction wouldn’t make her sweat. Standing around and waiting had just never been her thing. She was a woman of action after all.

As much as she hoped for a last-minute miracle that would get her out of this, she knew it wouldn’t happen. The only way out was through.


The rest of the story—at least the two chapters of the fanfic that are already posted—follows the plot of Bachelorette Number Twelve exactly. And it’s not just the plot that is identical. Many lines I have written were used word for word.

This is not an homage or someone inspired to write their own story after reading mine. This is someone stealing my story and pretending it’s their own. It’s plagiarism (passing off someone else’s work as your own) and copyright infringement (copying chunks of someone else’s story without permission). Even saying “inspired by Bachelor Number Twelve” in the author’s note of the fanfic (misquoting the title and not even naming the author, by the way) doesn’t change that.


This is getting old…but not less upsetting

Sadly, this isn’t the first time something like this happened to me. A couple of years ago, someone posted my sapphic romance The Roommate Arrangement on Wattpad, changing just the character names to make it appear as if it were a Clexa fanfiction, and claimed they had written it.

I’m also not the only sapphic fiction author this has happened to.


Stealing is easy, writing is hard

To be honest, it feels like a kick to the gut. An entire series of kicks to the gut. I put my heart and soul and an incredible amount of work into each of my books. From the first idea to publication, I worked on Bachelorette Number Twelve for nearly a year—doing research on working in an ER, the setting, disc golf (Regina’s hobby); creating detailed character profiles; outlining the novel; writing the book; revising it for months; and finally proofreading it half a dozen times.

Not to mention all the other people who invested their time and energy into my manuscript—my beta readers, the medical professionals who helped me get the medical setting right, and the editor and proofreader my publisher paid.

And then someone comes along, steals everything I have worked on so hard, changes just a few things, and pretends this is their story. Calling it “fanfiction” doesn’t make it all right.

Writing a novel is hard work. There are no shortcuts. There shouldn’t be any shortcuts. If you want to be a writer, you have to put in that hard work, no matter if you’re writing fanfiction or original works.


Why plagiarism & copyright infringement aren’t “harmless”

I don’t really know what this fanfic author’s motivation was and what they were thinking. Maybe they honestly thought this wasn’t a big deal. But it absolutely is.

For one thing, having your work stolen is emotionally damaging to authors. It feels like a violation—as if someone just waltzed into my home and stole one of my most-prized possessions.

It also takes valuable writing time away from writers. Instead of working on my next book, as I had planned to yesterday, I had to contact AO3 and fill out DMCA takedown notices to get that fanfiction removed from the site. It’s exhausting.

If a book is in Kindle Unlimited—as The Roommate Arrangement was when it got posted to Wattpad, that also means the author signed a contract with Amazon, promising to not make the ebook available anywhere else. Amazon’s bots comb the Internet. If they find a version of the story—or even just a story with plenty of identical text—anywhere but on Amazon, the author is in breach of Amazon’s terms of service. Amazon could take down the original book from their sales platform—which means the author loses income and readers can no longer read the book. Amazon could even close the author’s account for good. All of the author’s books would be gone from Amazon forever, and that would destroy the author’s career!

So copyright infringement and plagiarism aren’t harmless. They endanger an author’s livelihood. This is very serious for every writer, but especially for authors who make a living from their writing and need that income to pay the bills, as I do.

For the same reason, sharing ebooks on pirate sites isn’t harmless either.


What can you do to support authors as a reader?

If you come across a story—published or fanfiction—that you are sure plagiarizes the work of another author or infringes on their copyright, please report it to the author of the original work so they can take a look and take action, if necessary.

In fact, when The Roommate Arrangement was posted to Wattpad, it was a reader who alerted me, and I’m still very grateful for that.

It should go without saying, please don’t download pirated ebooks. (Not just to protect authors, but also to protect yourself, by the way. These sites are often full of viruses and malware). If you ever hear a fellow reader talk about reading pirated books as if it were a totally fine thing to do, please speak up.


How to know when to alert an author

To help you understand when you should reach out to an author and alert them, here’s an explanation of what is—and isn’t—copyright infringement.

Copying chunks of someone else’s work word for word and posting or publishing that work without permission is copyright infringement—and that’s a crime. Even if the person paraphrases here and there, adds a few words, or rearranges sentences to make it a little different, it’s still copyright infringement.

Of course, I’m not talking about short, common sentences such as “She smiled.” I’m talking about copying unique, complex sentences and paragraphs like the ones you can see in my examples above.

What’s not copyright infringement are stories that use the same basic premise. Ideas aren’t protected by copyright, only the exact words to express that idea. Two stories that are based on the same trope will often have similar scenes because those scenes follow logically from the trope. For example, fake relationship romances will often have a scene in which the characters have to kiss to convince others they are a couple. So if two different fake dating stories both include a scene like that, it doesn’t mean one author stole from the other, as long as the descriptions within that scene aren’t copied verbatim or near verbatim from another author’s work.

Every writer knows that coming up with a story idea is the easy part. The writing and revising to make it a published book is the hard part. 99% of the work is in the execution, not the initial idea.


What happened isn’t just about me or only about this one fanfic author who might or might not have been aware that they were doing something wrong and presumably even committing a crime.

It’s about respecting the hard work that goes into creating stories and protecting authors from emotional and financial harm.

Thank you for your support!



Update from March 13, 2024

I had really hoped to leave this entire incident of my novel Bachelorette Number 12 being plagiarized behind.

But I had a hunch. Back when The Roommate Arrangement had been stolen and posted on Wattpad, the author didn’t just steal my book; they also stole from several other sapphic fiction authors.

So last night, I took a closer look at some of the other fanfics the person who plagiarized Bachelorette Number 12 had posted on AO3. I wanted to make sure those weren’t rip-offs of sapphic books by fellow authors.

I read bits and pieces of three fanfics, and the plots didn’t seem to resemble any sapphic novel I had heard of. However, every now and then descriptive passages stood out to me because they didn’t fit in with the rest of the person’s writing style.


Here’s the first one that stood out to me:

The lake shimmered in reflective blues and greens, the willing canvas of mountain and sky, brought its own artistic watercolour effect to the daytime.


I noticed they were suddenly using British English (watercolour instead of watercolor), while the rest of the fanfic was written in American English (e.g., organize, not organise). So I had a feeling that sentence was copied from someone else. With a little bit of googling, I found that they might have stolen it from a website called The Descriptionari:

Here’s the original sentence:

The lake in reflective blues and greens, the willing canvas of mountain and sky, brought its own artistic watercolour effect to the daytime.


Just in case there’s any doubt: That’s a copyright violation too. It’s not just published novels that are protected by copyright. Any story or article you find on the Internet is copyright-protected, unless it’s in the public domain. That’s the case when the copyright has expired, which happens 70 years after the author’s death (in the US).

But the really shocking thing is that I found the same sentence or very close variations of it in four other stories posted online, three of them on Wattpad.


Then I found another phrase that stood out in the same fanfiction:

It started very innocently at first, but the sky was packed tight with gray cloud and gradually the drops grew bigger and heavier, until it was autumn’s dismal rain that was falling- rain that seemed to fill the entire world with its leaden beat.


I googled the phrase “autumn’s dismal rain” and found out that it was stolen from a published novel by a Nobel Prize-winning author, Independent People by Halldór Laxness. The book was described as “one of the best books of the twentieth century” by Jane Smiley, so I guess I’m in good company!

Here’s the original paragraph:

Shortly afterwards it started raining, very innocently at first, but the sky was packed tight with cloud and gradually the drops grew bigger and heavier, until it was autumn’s dismal rain that was falling—rain that seemed to fill the entire world with its leaden beat…


Another fanfic posted by the same person included this phrase:

The sun blooms on the horizon, golden petals stretching ever outwards into the rich blue. The rooster crows as an invitation to a new day and Kate peaks an eye out of her blanket to the sunrise that was so ordinary and extraordinary.


I googled “the sun blooms on the horizon,” and again it seems to have been copied from The Descriptionari:

The sun blooms on the horizon, golden petals stretching ever outwards into the rich blue. It is the brilliant flower of the sky that warms our days. It is the invitation to a new day, that sunrise so ordinary extraordinary.

Once again, a story posted on Wattpad had apparently copied from the same source, using a very similar variation of the sentence.


Another of the person’s fanfics starts with this sentence:

The moonlight shone down, a diffused glow, lighting the forest in a charcoal grey.


I wasn’t able to find the original work the sentence was copied from, but various fanfics on fanfiction.net as well as several stories posted on Wattpad and Webnovel and even a few published novels had clearly “borrowed” from the same source.

The earliest use I found is from Wolf’s Temptation, a story published to Wattpad in 2018:

The moonlight shone down, a diffuse glow, lighting the forest from pitch black to charcoal grey.


Here’s another paragraph from one of the person’s fanfics:

Small folded pieces of paper begin to gather in her vest. There are flowers, dinosaurs, cute puppy faces with tiny noses drawn on them when the restaurant had a pencil to spare, various sized spiders and birds.


It seems to have been copied from a Supergirl fanfic posted on Tumblr:

Small folded pieces of paper begin to gather in her wallet. There’s swans, cute puppy faces with tiny noses drawn on them, various sized stars and there’s fish, frogs even a dinosaur.


I’m sure I would find more copied passages if I went through their fanfiction more thoroughly, but I think you get the drift.

Apparently, the person who plagiarized my novel started out copying passages they found either online or in published books and then progressed to copying an entire novel!

And what’s more, I was flabbergasted at how common copyright violations seem to be, especially on Wattpad and other sites publishing “web novels.” I knew it was not a rare thing, but seeing the results of a few quick Google searches was still shocking.

It seems a lot of people think copyright is merely a suggestion, not a law—something they don’t have to respect, just as they don’t respect another author’s hard work and original creations.

Some days I’m so disappointed in my fellow human beings and my fellow “writers,” although I hesitate to call these people that.

On the bright side, I got emails, comments, and messages from hundreds (!!!) of readers and writers from the sapphic community, expressing their support. It was really great to see others being just as outraged and shocked as I am and to see them speaking up against plagiarism and copyright infringements.

A big thank-you to everyone who reached out! Your support and kind words really helped me through this entire ordeal.


What’s next?

I have emailed the creator of the Descriptionari and the legal department of Halldór Laxness’s publisher and all other authors when I could ascertain the copyright holder, alerting them to these potential violations of their copyright. I’ve also reached out to AO3 again to let them know of these additional copyright violations, after filing a DMCA takedown notice with their legal team.

I haven’t heard back from AO3, but the story that plagiarized Bachelorette Number 12 has been removed! Yes!

I’m not sure if the thief deleted it after seeing all the comments by furious readers or whether AO3 has removed it. I do hope to hear from AO3 soon.

However, all other fanfics posted by this person are still up. Their AO3 account hasn’t been closed.

I’ll add another update to this post once I hear from AO3 or any other news.

Again, thanks for your support!



Update from March 17, 2024

This has been one of the most exhausting weeks in my entire writing career, and I’ve had many exhausting weeks in the 16 years since I first started publishing, so that’s saying something.

I re-read my blog post above, and I think: Ha! Little did I know! Because the problem is much worse than just one of my books being plagiarized. Since the beginning of the week, I found a total of 7 of my novels, which were all plagiarized, the character names changed, but otherwise posted word for word under different author names on various online platforms.

In addition, two of my books were also pirated and put into a large bundle of 450 LGBTQ romances sold for $10 on another big platform. If you come across an offer like that that sounds too good to be true, it most often isn’t done with the permission of the author. If you aren’t sure it’s legitimate, reach out to one of the authors and ask before you buy.

But that’s not all. I spent three days and three nights digging through those platforms, sleeping very little for most of the week, and found 118 sapphic books that were plagiarized and posted without the authors’ permission.

We have since managed to get most of them–included all plagiarized versions of my own books–taken down, but the people who have posted our stories will no doubt continue to post stolen works. They will just create new accounts and continue. They are entirely unrepentant. They think it’s all “just for fun” and it’s okay since they are (mostly) not making any money from it. But as I explained above, it’s not “fun” for the original authors at all. It endangers our careers for those of us who have books in Kindle Unlimited (some of mine are). Even if we aren’t in KU, it takes a financial and emotional toll. I’m exhausted. Instead of writing, I had to spend the week identifying the original works and contacting the authors to let them know their book had been stolen.

Last night, I came across a comment by a reader in a Facebook group where another affected author had posted about the plagiarism. That reader stated:

The truth is that library books, free excerpts online, free copies, etc… boost sales not deplete them. More people talking about a book, more word of mouth etc, leads to more sales.

Being miserly and thinking every ear or eyeball on your work should translate into dollars will, ironically, usually result in LESS sales and less revenue. Someone sharing your work for the most part generates interest and sales… but by all means, authors, throw a hissy fit and shoot your own success in the foot.

So to wrap up this update, let me share what I replied to put the myth that stealing books is great for authors to rest:

I’ll try to answer your comment from a merely evidence-based perspective, without any of the outrage that I’m feeling. These people post the stories they steal under their own names, either pretending to have written the stories or at least not revealing the name of the real author. Few of the people reading these stories will ever go to the trouble of finding the real author. I am one of the authors whose books were plagiarized this way. One of the books has more than 70,000+ people on the platform read it. I can tell you from experience it did not boost sales.

Regarding your comment about authors being miserly: I just did the math, and I have given away a total of 36,275 ebooks for free during the pandemic alone. That’s just my novels, not counting any of my short stories. My books are also available in libraries—in paperback, ebook, and audio format, so anyone who can’t afford them can borrow them. Whenever I hear a reader say they are saving up to buy one of my books, I send them a free copy. I do all of that out of my own free will, and I’m happy to do it.

But having my books stolen and posted under another person’s name—a person who didn’t spend months on that book, who didn’t pay for the editing or the proofreading—I’m not happy about that.

All it does is endanger my livelihood. Some of my books are in Kindle Unlimited, and Amazon doesn’t appreciate KU books posted elsewhere. They don’t care who put them there. They have closed authors’ accounts for breaking the KU rules…just for having their books pirated!

So no, plagiarism is NOT a good marketing tool. Only people who want to make themselves feel better about posting or consuming stolen books keep repeating that argument.

If someone breaks into a bakery and steals all their lovingly created cakes, pies, and pastries, no one would dare tell them: But hey, it’s great marketing! I’m sure the thieves will be back to buy more treats!

Let me also add that libraries buy copies of the books, so authors are compensated. I basically grew up in libraries since I couldn’t afford to buy books. Libraries are great. They are not the same as pirating books.

I really hope this blog post helps spread some awareness about the kind of harm book piracy and plagiarism do. The people stealing those books aren’t harming big companies like Amazon; they are harming the authors who create the books they love. Please take it seriously and speak up whenever you see it happen.

The Romance Bet by Jae

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133 thoughts on “Bachelorette Number Twelve has been plagiarized”

  1. I’m so sorry this is happening to you, Jae. I appreciate you giving the detailed explanations so that maybe those that aren’t familiar with what happened are educated about this ongoing problem. Good luck with the take down request.

  2. Ugh, I did not like reading this update. Hugs from Portland. You deserve better. Way to stand up for yourself. You’re a Rockstar, Jae.

  3. I’m so sorry you are going through this. It sounds like they put it through AI in certain parts to regenerate. Other cases it seems like a total copy of your work. I hope it gets resolved for you quickly for your peace of mind as well. It is a wonderful book and I loved it as well as the sequel.

    • It doesn’t seem like AI to me. I’ve seen cases of AI plagiarism, and they look different. Just someone changing a word here and there or adding in a short phrase. I have no idea if they honestly think they are “writing.”

      • I’m sorry this happened to you now and in years past. I wish there was a way to punish people who willfully steal an authors work. I too appreciate your thorough explanation. I don’t want to loose access to you on Amazon either. I love all your books and as long as you keep writing I’ll keep reading.

  4. I’m gutted. yes I could find a better choice of word but it wouldn’t convey the feeling half as well.
    I loved this book. Best this year by far.

  5. WOW! The nerve. I am sorry this has happened to you and to all of the fantastic Sapphic authors. Please take some action, you work too hard on your books to have someone come along and grab the credit out from under you.

  6. Jae, this sucks!! We want to help protect you and other authors. Thank you for explaining the differences between fanfic and plagiarism.

  7. Jesus!!!! I have no words. So sorry and angry that this happend. I love your book. It is the best book i’ve read this last year.

    • The first thing I did was contact AO3 and send a DMCA takedown notice. So far, I only got an autoresponse, saying they’ll look into it but it might take some time since their team is small. Now I’m watching the site closely to make sure they take it down.

  8. This is horrible, but it says a lot about your character that you’re taking time out of your busy day to explain what happened and educate the readership.

    • I thought I might as well make a teaching moment out of an awful situation. Apparently, there are people who can’t tell the difference between fanfiction and stealing. I don’t know if that’s the case with this particular fanfiction author, but just in case, I thought I would make the distinction very clear.

  9. I am angry on your behalf.
    Why can’t people respect the hard work of an author? All I can do is buy your books and pay a decent price.

  10. I’m so sorry Jae!! No author deserves for their hard work and a piece of their soul to be wantonly stolen like that. Please take some time for self care! You’re an incredible write and wonderful human. Thank you for sharing this with us all.

  11. This is awful. I know that it has happened to a lot of authors before and it’s emotionally and financially damaging. I don’t read stories on AO3, but I did begin following your writing when you began writing fanfic. I always like to support authors who begin in fanfic and move onto being published authors. I feel like I am giving back to the ones who gave me so much pleasure reading their stories. If there is anything I can do to help in some way then I am sure that collectively we could support your actions. Keep on writing and please keep us informed on what happens.

    • Thanks so much for following my career and for your continued support! I’m grateful you took the time to read this lengthy blog post. I have contacted AO3 and am waiting for them to, hopefully, take down this “fanfic.” I’ll also continue to speak up and make people aware of how harmful copyright infringement and plagiarism are.

  12. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this again, Jae. People don’t really think about consequences when they steal. Some people would probably even try to make light of it, say you’re overreacting. But it does real damage.
    I think it’s so remarkable that your instinct was to take this opportunity to educate people about this issue, highlight the difference of plagiarism and FanFiction, of outright copying vs paying homage. Even after this unpleasantness, your response was being thoughtful and kind.

    • The first thing I did when I discovered this “fanfiction” was to reach out to three trusted friends, send them the link, and ask them: Am I overreacting? They all responded with a clear: “WTF?! No! This person stole your book!”

      I waited until today so I could calm down and write a post that, hopefully, will help the entire community instead of just shouting out how angry and sad I am.

      • What’s infuriating is that not a lot of people have respect for the literary arts or any art form for that matter. Having someone steal your work and make it theirs is just plain disrespectful and you as a hardworking writer have the right to feel however you feel in this situation. I’m sorry you got to experience something like this and I hope that whoever did this gets to stop or is forced to stop when legal action is taken.

  13. If you contact AO3 support they will be happy to take it down. It’s the one thing I love about that site is that they have zero tolerance plagiarism policy on there. I’m so sorry that you are going through that.

    • I did reach out and send a takedown notice yesterday. So far, I only got back an automated response, but I know they get thousands of complaints each month. I do hope they will take it down very soon.

  14. Jae,
    This is absolutely unacceptable! You don’t deserve this and I’m sorry you’re having to endure it. I sure hope it gets resolved quickly and doesn’t happen again to any author but especially you!

  15. I am so sorry this has happened to you. Perhaps the problem does not just exist with the individuals doing this but with AO3 as well. I think these websites need to be held accountable as well. I wish there was some way to stop this. You have complete support from the community so let us know if we can help.

    • Fanfiction sites always walk a fine line, but I have heard AO3 do a good job taking down plagiarized works. I have alerted them, but so far only got an automated response letting me know they will review the issue.

  16. I’m so sorry this happened to you Jae! I can’t fathom why anyone would do something like this knowing they are stealing. I hope you can get it taken down.

  17. Thanks for posting this Jae. It’s good to let everyone know this is not an isolated event. We can combat it to a point but what telling Amazon it’s stolen work after they kick you off the platform takes months.

    Very glad your reader told you about this. Take care!

    • Thanks, Patty. I think our readers are our best line of defense. They read an amazing amount of books and some read fanfiction too, so sooner or later, chances are they will stumble across a stolen book.

  18. This “fan” didn’t know you at all if they thought you’d never know and wouldn’t do the right for your true fans and all authors! And, I would think that if they were truly fans, they would have approached you for permission. Have some ice cream and cheesecake!

  19. Let’s call it what it is…a Betrayal…of you and us, the readers. As readers, we have a bond with the writer. We enter into a “contract” as it were, every time we invest our minds, time and hearts with the writer who creates a world and invites us in. To steal a writer’s words threatens the writer/reader bond. If everyone could write, then we would all do it. But we can’t, so we appreciate those who can. Just my opinion…

    • I’m incredibly touched by all the kind and supportive messages, comments, and emails I’m getting from readers. Thank you so much for your support!

  20. Well, at least one good thing came from this: Now I’ve discovered you and can buy all your books :)

    I hope this gets resolved soon and you can go back to writing what I’m sure are amazing stories!

    • That’s great indeed! Thank you for checking out the blog post of a complete stranger and for checking out my books as well. I appreciate it.

  21. It’s so disappointing. They say imitation is a form of flattery but this is intellectual theft. It puts at risk authors livelihood. So sorry you are going through this and appreciate the information. Hope you take legal action
    Take care
    Let your imagination roar
    Only one you

    • Fanfic might have been flattering, but you’re right–this is simply theft.

      I sent a DMCA takedown notice to the legal team of AO3, requesting them to take down the fanfic. Now I’m waiting for their response.

  22. Ugh, I’m upset FOR you! I’ve had people try to take my ideas or try to pass off my work as theirs at different jobs and it’s really awful and almost feels helpless sometimes to watch it happen right in front of you. And this is a relatively small community so it’s ridiculous to think it wouldn’t get back to you. So sorry this happened but just know you have a ton of supports who love and respect all the hard work you do for us readers AND other authors. I hope that’s somewhat comforting at least and that this can be resolved in some way.

  23. This is horrible and I’m so sorry it happened to you (and others). I love fan fiction, but it’s never okay to blatantly steal someone’s work.

    A very small silver lining for you…I’m now very interested in your book and will go download it on Amazon. Sounds like a great one!!

    Keep your head up, Jae. I’m a believer in karma. It will all work out.

    • It was important to me to make it clear that this isn’t an anti-fanfiction post. I read thousands of fanfictions. In fact, I have even written a couple of them many years ago. It damages the reputation of all fanfic authors when someone steals an entire story, though.

      I don’t wish this person ill, but I hope they have learned from this and will stick to writing their own stories without copying from now on.

      I appreciate you checking out this blog post and my books! I hope you’ll enjoy Bachelorette Number Twelve.

  24. Thank you. It must be incredibly frustrating. This was highly informative. May I ask if those who publish fanfic are financially motivated or is it just for popularity?

    • Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Fanfic writers don’t earn any money. They get “Kudos” and comments from readers who read their posted chapters. How this author is able to enjoy the praise, knowing they don’t deserve it, is beyond me. Or maybe they think changing a few words here and there actually is writing. Hard to tell what’s going on in their mind.

  25. Well, that’s horrible. I bet some readers of the fanfic thought the “writer” was incredibly talented. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this. I’ve experienced it, and so I’m glad your readers caught it right away, allowing you to take action quickly. You might want to check the fanfiction.net site to see if it’s posted by the same person. Many times people use the same writing handle for several fanfic sites.

    I’ve also dealt with my books being pirated and shared on illegal sites. When I’ve reported pirated books in the past, the site is closed down, but another pops up a few days later. It’s so tiring.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s a reminder for all of us to keep an eye out to help each other.

    • Yes, the story (or the 2 chapters that were posted so far) was incredibly well-received by readers on AO3. I take that as a compliment, but it’s infuriating that another author was credited with my work.

      I did check Fanfiction.net but didn’t find the story there or on any other fanfic sites.

      It’s tiring indeed.

      Thanks for your support!

  26. Jae!

    This is beyond disturbing to me! I am so glad you shared this information to get the fact that this happens out there!!!
    I find myself upset and angered on your behalf!!!
    I can’t imagine having someone steal my characters and their stories. They are my people! Different names and minor changes certainly do not make it less of a theft!!!! Truly, a violation!!!!! I hate that this happened to you!!!!
    And my virtual hug will not help.
    I know that.

  27. Thanks for informing and educating us on what you and other writers go through. It is really theft. As you said you spent so much time to create and then put in your business time to publish and ensure it is as successful as it can be. It really is intolerable. Glad someone was able to notice it and inform you.

  28. Dearest Jae,
    This is absolutely someone stealing your work, trying to pass it off as their own talent. If they truly wished to improve their own writing, they wouldn’t have just copy/pasted your writing almost word-for-word. Whatever their motivations were, what they did was not fanfiction, it was straight-off theft of your writing talent.

    You are a talented author who treats everyone as fairly as you can, with brilliant insights into the diversities of the readers and their interests. You have a fantastic representation of many types of people in your books, and it was a bright light in my life to come across them years ago.

    Thank you… thank you so much for sharing your talents and stories with us all. <3

  29. Wow, it’s unbelievable how incredibly deliberate and yet lazy this act was – changing single words here and there to their opposites, as if saying “left” instead of the original “right” somehow makes it not plagiarism.

    I’m sorry this happened to you, and all I can say is this pushes Bachelorette Number Twelve up to the top of my TBR list. Keep us posted on what happens with AO3.

  30. Does this happen with audio books? Since I’ve been losing my sight I’m pretty much audio. Do audio companies steal from each other or are stolen books put on audio?

    • With audiobooks, it’s mostly that they get stolen and put on pirate sites or on YouTube without the author’s permission and without the author being compensated. I haven’t seen it happen yet that someone claimed an audiobook as their own that they hadn’t written. It’s still a copyright violation, of course.

  31. I am absolutely LIVID for you, Jae! I’m so sorry this has happened. I hope it gets taken down ASAP. Not only do you make the painstaking effort to prep and write wonderful books for us to enjoy, you are about the most generous author I know! Unacceptable. Thank you for writing this blog. Hopefully if anyone is doing something similar they will realize what harm they are actually doing.

    • It’s still up, but I contacted AO3 again because I found more evidence of the person stealing from other authors. I really hope their legal team takes action fast.

  32. Speaking as a librarian and an academic, plagiarism is a huge deal and there are real world consequences. Every student in every university should have been taught by multiple professors what plagiarism is using examples like the ones Jae used. A student who plagiarized in a writing assignment will fail whatever course the writing assignment was in at best. If they stole an entire paper, they would be placed on academic probation or expelled. Academic papers have to cite the research that came before when publishing their own research. If you don’t cite your sources to properly credit the author(s) of the work you paraphrased or quoted, it is plagiarism. Stealing an entire paper like what happened to Jae will see the stolen paper retracted by the publisher. If that person is a professor at a college or university, they will be fired. Plagiarism is an ethical violation so bad, it is one of a very few ways to fire a tenured professor. Libraries make an author’s work freely available to people. What makes this legal and not piracy are the copyright and licensing fees the library pays to publishers for the legal rights to make the book freely available to their patrons. The publisher will make sure that the author is paid royalties and the author benefits from having people read their book and tell their friends and some of those people buying their own copy. It is illegal and unethical for libraries to digitize anything they didn’t secure permission from the copyright holder, which includes paying copyright fees and not altering the original book.
    Jae, is there any legal action you or your publisher can take to identify the individual and sue them for copyright infringement beyond the DMCA notice?

    • Very likely, we won’t be able to find out who’s behind it. People create an account on AO3 without having to state their real name or any personal data. Unless this person comes forward and confesses, I don’t think we will find them. And if we do, they might be in a country with different copyright laws, which would make it difficult to sue.

      • That is truly awful. I spend a significant portion of my time dealing with copyright issues because libraries do not want to get sued. IP theft makes me really angry on behalf of the author involved and on professional principles. I am sorry this happened to you and there is no real way to find the thief. The advantage of American copyright law if you are in America is the ability to prosecute. I am sorry this is not an option for you.

  33. This is so sad. You, especially do so much for new authors. You spend a lot of time boosting other up and building a community of sapphic book readers. I am sorry you are having to deal with this. Thank you for all you do !!!

    • On the bright side, readers were behind me 100%! I got so many lovely comments and emails, which really helped me through this entire ordeal. Thank you!

  34. I saw Lori Prince’s insta post regarding the plagiarism..so I came here to understand what happened. I’m so sorry you have to deal with this BS. Jae, you are an icon and me and all of many many many fans worldwide will keep supporting YOU. YOU are one of a kind. Thanks for sharing your gift of writing.

  35. As someone who found her way into the great world of lesfic via the fanfic sites of yore, not to mention the original fic shared for free by so many future stars of published lesfic (I’m looking at you, Jae), I’m angered by this opportunistic attempt at pretending to write by stealing a real writer’s words. I say opportunistic because our laptops and ipads and smartphones make it so easy to grab text, so I’m also not surprised it’s done, especially now that real writing skills are optional (at best) even in college. But it’s another level of lazy appropriation to grab text and then make a show of having written it. Your story-thief has no shame to be posting your work as theirs, but it shows how little they think of their own abilities that they didn’t even try making work of their own.

    • I’ll update the blog post in a minute because I found out this person has copied, to a smaller extend, from other authors. It seems they started out copying an especially beautiful description they found online, then progressed to published books and finally stole my entire work.

  36. OMG! This is truly awful. As wannabe writer I have struggled for years and months to get the ideas in my head into a format that I can (hopefully!) share with others. I cannot understand the motivation of someone who steals the work of others and represents it as their own. If this happened to me I would feel as if someone had broken into my home and invaded my thinking space, before pocketing my laptop, notes, and research, crossing my name out, and slapping their own across each component. Well done you for standing up to it and calling it out.

  37. This is really infuriating! If this people who plagiarized would put their energy into creating their own work, they would have something to be proud of! Instead of robbing you of your much deserved accolades. I loved Bachelorette Number Twelve and I thought it was fantastic! Good for you Jae, making the world aware of these charlatans who steal your hard work!

    • I do hope they learn from this, but it seems they have a habit of stealing. I will update the blog post in a minute to add some new information I gathered.

  38. You know, I always had this idea that people who invests their time on reading a book are a little more educated than others.
    I don’t think this person thought they were writing. I’m sure they knew exactly what they were doing.
    It’s incredibly sweet of you to give them the benefit of the doubt, but they don’t deserve it. This was a deliberate infringement of your work from an attention grabber.
    I think I would be less mad if they were doing this for money. In extreme situations people are capable of stealing to feed themselves (this is stealing). But doing it, and hurting the sapphic creative mind that we should be supporting, for the praises alone? That just pi$&% me off.
    P.S.: I love your teaching/calling out moments. They’re very eye opening. Like the one about that author pretending to be someone they weren’t to get your support.
    Well, you have my support. And the support from all of your readers (minus the attention grabber).

    • It’s infuriating and we need to speak up clearly to tell everyone how wrong and harmful it is. But I also can’t help wondering what is going on in someone’s life that they need the praise of strangers so urgently that they resort to stealing someone else’s work. Clearly, this person is not okay.

  39. Wow! I can certainly understand how traumatic this experience has been. I too am sorry that you have had to deal with it all. I deeply appreciate and respect the time and effort you spend on each of your books.

  40. That’s terrible, Jae, I’m so sorry 💔

    I’m glad the plagiarised work was taken down at least, but hopefully Ao3 will take further action.

    • 3 more fanfics of the same “author” were taken down, but I have a feeling it was the person themselves who deleted them, not AO3. I’m still putting pressure on their legal team to adopt a “one strike and you’re out” policy on plagiarism.

  41. Thanks for having such a commitment to the writing community. It’s one thing to watch out for your own writing and warn others. It’s a whole other level to take the time to search and find other authors who have been similarly treated and make them aware. Thank you for your tenacity. It’s hard enough to write a book without having to deal with all of this crap.

    • Community means a lot to me, and that’s not just empty words but something I back up with my actions. Plagiarism and copyright infringement can destroy authors’ careers, and I don’t want that to happen to a single fellow author.

      Thanks so much for supporting me in that endeavor!

  42. I just don’t get it… like what’s the point of stealing someone else’s work just to post it on fan fiction website. And to that extend, where one copies whole book with minor changes… so bizarre.

    As someone who is a member of AO3 since 2012, and reads quite a lot fan fiction there on semi regular basis, I would like to know who that “author” is and if I have ever unknowingly liked or even subscribed to their page/work.


    Hope you get them fully removed from there Jae x

    • I don’t want to share their name to avoid readers “piling up on” them. You never know what mental health situation someone might be in. But rest assured I’m putting pressure on AO3 to take their entire account down for good. Three of the 6 fanfics they had posted have already been removed, including mine.

      • Fair enough and totally understand that.

        I’m sure I’m not subscribed to them anyway, as I would have received a notification about that plagiarised story to start with.

        Also as I’m not that much into commenting etc and as I have a chance now… Happy Birthday for Tuesday 😊

  43. geez, I’m so angry right now! I’m sorry this happened to you & to other authors. That is just so low for someone to do.
    I wish people would just write their own books rather than riding the coattails of great authors!

  44. Thank you for the information as to what is happening in the writing world. I have a question for you or others who knows AI. What are the writers protections against AI generated materials posted for public reading? Although I am not a writer I am a reader and I really appreciate originally authored books, eboooks, and magazine articles that are not fake ” news.”Thank you. Ann

  45. I am sorry this is happening to you and other authors. I know how things like this can effect you mentally. My computer was broken into 6 months after I brought it from Best Buy. I wrote one book and three short stories that I planned on turning into full books in the future. Someone pretended to be a staff member from Best Buy. They knew all of my account info and told me that they forgot to upload an app in my computer. Me not knowing anything about updated technology believed them and gave them excess to my computer. I found out the next day when I turned on my computer that everything was missing off of it. All I had was a screen full of letters and numbers. When I took it back to the store I found out someone stole everything off of my computer. A lot of customers reported it and they had to close the store down for investigation. My computer was replaced with a new security system but I never got my stories back. This happened in 2018. I haven’t written another story since. All I do now is read books. I still wonder what the person did with my book and short stories. Did they sell them to another writer or just delete them? Only God knows. Stay strong and keep fighting for what is rightfully yours. Peace and blessings to you.

  46. I find it soul destroying when someone steals somebody else’s work. I’m sorry that it happened to you. Like you said:”writing is hard work…” There should be stricter plagerism laws in place.

    • It takes an emotional toll for sure. If you read my latest update which I just added, you can imagine how exhausted many authors feel right now.

  47. I’m truly sorry to hear about your experience, but I’m impressed by the way you’ve addressed the issue, transforming it into a public service by alerting other authors and readers. Despite my love for fanfiction and its community, plagiarism has unfortunately been a longstanding. Just do a quick search for “Cassandra Clare plagiarism” and you’ll see some tea from the 90s. Thanks again for shining a light on this!

  48. My first book, even a free one was available on a free download site within 48 hours after I had started my promo. Jae, I have been a long time lurker of your blog and Fb page, we are not in the same genre but I like your writing and I can only imagine how exhausting it must have been for you to find out that this was happening, shocking! When it comes to plagiarism and copying/rewriting work of others (that they worked hard for!), I find that the direction of the misdemeanor seems to work in favour of the person copying it. I had quite a discussion with friends about this and they argued (they’re solicitors, you can’t blame them) that ‘closing the internet’ is the only way to get control over who does what, which could be true. Closing as in ‘controlling’ would be an option. One of my other friends stated that it would be necessary to use a ‘AI’ tool to detect plagiarism for sites like Wattpad, but then the question remains: who controls the AI? And what recourse do you have once you find out?

    I feel, as writers, we live in the Wild West, everything is wide open and we need to guard ourselves from the wolves who steal our cattle, parading along the fences of our territory with guns and stones we assembled ourselves, knowing that when push comes to shove, none of our weapons will help.

    • I do believe it would be hard to find every single illegally posted story on those platforms. But I do also believe there’s a lot more that could be done. Such as having a “one strike and you’re out” policy, closing accounts after the first time they get caught plagiarizing. And taking a closer look at certain fandoms when they start to receive a higher-than-average number of copyright infringement complaints. I have shared half a dozen suggestions with some of the platforms, but I know they won’t adopt any of the suggestions.

  49. It is horrible that so many people in the world today are so blase about ripping people off. And so wonderful that there are people like you who give so much of your time looking out for others. You do that every day and now you’ve done it all day every day for a week! Please take your birthday off tomorrow and have a day just for you! Happy Birthday!

  50. Personally, I feel if a website, knowingly or not, publishes a pirated intellectual property, the site itself should be prosecuted and abolished. perhaps that would make them more cognizant of their content. I don’t read fanfic as I would rather have the real thing. I support all authors. Fanfic to me is like getting a delicious looking cake and it turns out to be sawdust.

    • I have nothing against fanfiction as long as the authors write their own stories instead of copying published books.

      The people running those websites know they have a problem with plagiarism and stolen works, but they profit from it, so they have zero motivation to protect the real authors.

  51. I wonder how these persons will feel if all their favorite authors who have created characters they love stop writing and the only books they can find are written by AI.

  52. The free publicity boosts sales is an argument libraries have used over time to negotiate lower prices when purchasing or buying books. It keeps the library price at 5 x list price instead of 10 or more because it benefits publishers, authors, and libraries by balancing booksales with library mission. So the people who use a legitimate argument made by libraries taken out of context to justify theft are stealing our ideas and harming libraries in addition to authors and publishers. Libraries get their money from taxes paid by the public to benefit the public. Plagiarism and piracy erase the very claim they are promoting and libraries pay more for materials as a result, which means fewer materials, our users suffer and our budgets get cut for not meeting user needs. Unfunded libraries close depriving their communities. Equating what they do with what libraries do is both insult and injury to libraries. No part of the publishing ecosystem benefits from lies and outright theft and everyone but the thieves pay the price. I am sorry this is happening and there are few ways to stop it. Technology makes theft too easy.

  53. Jae I’m so sorry this is happening to you and to all of my beloved authors! I am dumbfounded by the ridiculous ways people justify stealing!

    I completely relate to going down a rabbit hole trying to find the injustices and then share the info with others! It says so much about you as a person that you didn’t just look out for yourself but also are looking out for the community as a whole.

    Hopefully engaging and empowering people with information will help reduce the impact.

    Thank you for being you!

  54. Jae, you are the best. thank you for all that you do for this community. I am so sorry for how much pain and frustration this has caused for you and all of the other authors who have been affected. I really loved your response to the Facebook comment. with poise and grace you shut that down hard. 😍 hope this whole situation helps change some minds and gets people to think twice about reading on sites that have so many plagiarized works. also I hope you have the happiest birthday 🎂🎈

    • I really hope so too. As a society, we need to appreciate creative work more and understand that authors and other creatives should be compensated for their hard work. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and leave a comment!

  55. I am sorry that this happened to you and other authors.

    I myself don’t have a lot o money to buy books, but I made the choice to get a Kindle Unlimited subscription each month, that way I get to read all the books my heart desires (well those available on KU, mind you).

    I am also busy writing my own novel and have been at it for a year already and I can agree that it is hard work. Keep up the good work Jae, and thank you for all the other competitions and giveaways that you host.

    • Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! Wishing you the best of luck for your own book. Please reach out if you ever have any writing/publishing-related questions.

  56. I’m so shocked and disturbed by this still. . .
    I had no idea it was so many books! Though one is too many!!!! It’s all so eye opening, appalling and disappointing. (I write sapphic romance, albeit unpublished. I just can’t imagine going through this!!!).
    I find it inspiring the work that you did all week, the time that you took to search out so many instances of theft and uncover this for all of the authors who didn’t realize. And I find myself saddened that it took away so much time and energy from what you were born to do – or one of the things – write.
    Also, your reply to the idiocy of theft being marketing, well, no one says things quite like you do. Smile.
    I hope you have lots of peace and cheesecake and can recover from this mess!!!

  57. Happy birthday, Jae. I hope you can enjoy your day thoroughly. Thank you for alerting all of your readers about this problem — now that we’re aware of the problem, we’ll be your extra eyes and help to report any further copyright infringements.

    I love your books and wish you much success. Thanks for bringing us so much joy!

  58. Messing with another person’s livelihood and talent is unacceptable. In a fair world, people who do this sort of thing should be jailed. But this isn’t a fair world and the best we can hope for is that the perpetrator is caught, fined and dealt with so this doesn’t happen again to other hardworking authors like yourself. I hope this stops and people start respecting and appreciating the amount of hard work you invest in writing your work.

    • Somehow, I think many people see it as a harmless kind of stealing. Even people who would never even think of breaking into someone’s home and taking things that don’t belong to them seem to think it’s perfectly find to steal a story. They expect the author to be fine with working long hours for free, just for the sake of art. It makes me sad to think how little creative work is valued in our society.

  59. I’m sure you’re tired of all this and probably don’t have the time or energy to read another comment, but I feel compelled to write one.
    Thank you so much for writing such a thoughtful and detailed account of this initial incident as well as the never-ending project it became. I have seen those advertisements for multiple books for cheap. I’ve never bought them, but I’ve also never thought about how they could be plagiarized books. It’s just not something I thought about. You’re writing has raised awareness for me and hopefully many others. You may be exhausted but hopefully you feel proud of you’re leadership to the writing community and for educating of so many more beyond.

    Also – As an aside: I’m a big fan of your books! 😊

  60. I am very sorry to hear that this happened to you. I want to express my deepest condolences about the abhorrent theft of your works, and those of other authors.

  61. As someone who is a full time broke student who had no issues adding your books to my wishlist the second they were recommended to me (please let this scholarship payment for this year be sorted), I am so sorry this happened to you and so many others. So many of my generation feel entitled to other people’s work and don’t want to do any of their own. Plagiarism is so normalised now. I’m at a point of not being very surprised at the audacity of copy paste. People want adoration but don’t want to put in the real work required to get it.

    Stealing work simply communicates to the author that you do not respect them and the hard work that they have put in to produce the work you found worthy enough to steal.

    • Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you want me to send you a free book. I’ve been a full-time broke student, so I can relate.

  62. I hope all the supportive comments notes help a little, because I am certain this violation of your copywrite feels horrible. If anyone thinks of a way to shut down this kind of behavior, I hope they will let everyone else know. Your books are fantastic; they make a real difference in our lives.

  63. I am so disappointed in humans that take advantage of others. It seems our world is infected with greed and laziness. I am an avid reader, I have purchased every book I have read and then donated them to local libraries where ever I have lived. I often write reviews and recommendations on the books I have enjoyed and occasionally on books I disliked! In my stilted view, crimes of theft and plagiarism should be dealt with equally having the authors works tallied up in value of expected sales may show the potential cost so law enforcement may see the value as real and punishments may deter more theft. Problem is no one would believe the value of the written words unless they themselves have written them!
    I applaud the time commitment you have made to try to stop this from continuing.
    I hope your birthday celebration is a joyous one. Please keep writing, I love your style and own almost all of your books, mostly on kindle now, my library at home has a much smaller place now that I have downsized! Blessings!

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to read this long blog post! I won’t let this stop me from writing, and I hope that my post helped make people more aware that intellectual property is still property and piracy and plagiarism is not a harm-less crime.

  64. I’m sorry that your birthday this year was kinda ruined by these plagiarism on your works. I feel bad for you too that you have had such exhausting days after that. Hope that they stop doing what they’re doing to all you authors. Oh… Happy Birthday to you.


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