Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A Plagiarist, A Thief, and Definitely NOT a gentleman.

A few weeks ago, I received two new comments on a blog post I had made in January. It concerned a writer/editor named ‘Iron Dave’ Byron. At the time, I was too inundated with work and having some health issues. So I went to the best place I could think of to post an alert, The Rusty Nail. Rusty's snark blog is one of the closest things we currently have, at least in our little corner of the publishing community, to an investigative reporter. Warnings from Rusty have been picked up by upper echelons like Writer Beware and at Absolute Write Water Cooler. Rusty came in like the cavalry with guns blazing, now has two posts up about ‘Iron Dave’ and deserves a loud cheer.

As people began digging Iron Dave's alternate online identities and crimes came tumbling out, among them are plagiarism and theft. I feel that a writer’s name is just as important as a writer's words; it can be considered as his brand and as a recognizable seal of quality. It tells people what they can expect from the writing they are considering buying or looking at free on the web for pleasure. When it comes to producing collaborations, one writer's name always seems larger. This perception is not often considered and it is challenged even less.

Matters that came to light today have shifted me from being an interested observer of the chaos, dropping a comment here and there, to an active participant. I was alerted to an old blog in which ‘Iron’ Dave added Jane Timm Baxter's name to one of his tales as "co-author" even though she had never had any contact with him personally. On looking more deeply into the matter, we also found that he had included her stories in some of his anthologies without her knowledge or permission.

Jane is one of our authors. Her books are currently in the care of C. A. Keller, one of our best editors. These thefts affect more people than just our author. It also affects the company that publishes her. The publisher pays the author royalties and the editor either a fee or a salary depending on how the agreements are set up. The publisher also pays the cover artist. Theft compromises the ability of the company to pay these people and afford to pay people in the future. This is especially true for the small press. None of the pieces ‘Iron Dave’ published collaboration or otherwise, were authorized by Jane or Daverana’s staff.

I heartily suggest that you hop on over to Rusty and witness the full extent of the damage that Iron Dave has caused.

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