This is not a meme, but just a way for me to express myself and my views on book blogging. You can think of it as a discussion post because everyone is more than welcome to comment.
I won't be posting a HCL Confession every week, but I will be posting them when I find that I have something to share with the book blogosphere. They might be about blogging news, or even about a book that I might have disliked even though it's popular. Bottom line - anything and everything can be discussed. I encourage you to join in the conversations, and leave comments. You can even suggest topics for a HCL Confession. All I ask is that you be respectful if you disagree with my opinions.
HCL Confession on Plagiarism:
Today's topic is about plagiarism. I saw this a few days ago on Twitter and on another blog, The Steadfast Reader. I even commented on the blog post because I felt so bad to see how much this had hurt a blogger in our community. Of course, I always have a lot to say, so instead of just leaving an immensely long comment, I thought I'd open this up to more people.
As a teacher, I know all about how students go out of their way to sometimes use something that isn't theirs because they might be in a hurry or because they don't want to do the assignment. I also know about how so many of them unknowingly plagiarize just because they are unaware of how to credit the proper sources. This is what teachers are for; they teach their students how to avoid plagiarism. But still, it's illegal, and we teach our students that plagiarism is punishable by law.
The sad thing is that plagiarism is happening in the book blogosphere.
I've even seen that some bloggers are saying that their entire reviews have been copy and pasted and are being used by other people! That's ridiculous! Do you know how hard some people work to write a review? It's inexcusable to sit behind a computer screen and take someone's work and use it as your own. And for what? So a few publishers might notice you and send you ARCs? Many of us book bloggers are here because we love reading and sharing our own thoughts on the books we read. That's why we blog.
Personally, I've always loved writing. I've been writing my whole life - fiction, nonfiction, pretty much anything that I've wanted to write. Many of my teachers and professors encouraged me to get published. Eventually I turned that love of writing into this book blog.
Now I'd been writing book reviews way before my time as a book blogger. For me, I sometimes put hours into a review. Obviously there is the reading part, but as I'm reading, I take notes on everything in the book - plot, characters, writing style, point of view. After I'm finished with all of that, I turn it into a review that makes sense for my readers.
What people need to understand is that blogging is a form of self-publishing. Bloggers are putting their work out into the world for people to read and enjoy. I can't even imagine what it would feel like to have an entire review stolen from me. I'd be crushed.
If you haven't already guessed, I am one hundred percent against plagiarism. As an English teacher, I know I must tread water carefully to teach students to learn the differences between citing someone and plagiarizing, but as a blogger, I cannot condone it. You know what you're doing when you copy and paste someone's materials into your own post. You know it's not yours and that it's wrong.
How to Avoid Plagiarism:
- Don't copy and paste from another blogger - Seriously... this is like a cardinal sin in the blogging world. Write your own reviews. Come up with your own writing style. Your readers will see your unique voice and take notice. Publishers and authors may even take notice and ask you to review. Dr. Suess had it right when he said, "There is no one alive who is Youer than You," so be yourself and have fun.
- Write - Even if it's not for a review or a blog post, writing every day helps. If you take the time to write, you're strengthening your skills. I'm telling you as a teacher and as a lifelong learner, this works. Even authors will tell you to write every day. Practicing is the only way to improve, and writing each and every day is the best way to create your writing style.
- Ask for advice - There are plenty of veteran and new bloggers out there who are willing to help. They can direct you to tutorials or places where you can find themes for your blog or even offer advice so you can strengthen your own writing style.
- Feature guest bloggers on your blog - If you really enjoy someone's review style, ask them if they'd be interested in posting a guest post on your blog. It's a way to bring new readers to both of your blogs, and everyone gets their rightful credit. Even if the blogger declines, you have let them know that you enjoy their posts, and it lets them know that they are appreciated.
- Credit someone if you borrow anything from them - Bloggers get really annoyed when they see something they've written or said in another post. Leave a link to their blog so people can be directed to them. (Do you see how I credited April at the top of this post? Did you know that you can find the credit for the templates I use for posts in my About Me?) If you use an image (meme logos) that belongs to someone else, make sure that you create a hyperlink within the image that will take readers to their blog.
If you have been plagiarized, April and Allison have some suggestions for you. It is not legal advice, but it may be able to help you deal with content thieves. Please visit April's wonderful post to see how to handle it.
Wow... that was a lot to handle, right? Feel free to discuss plagiarism in the book blogging world in the comments. I'll reply to them. Also, don't be afraid to reach out to another blogger in the comments. Discuss with them. This is all about getting to know more people in the book blogosphere.
If this feature is popular, I'll definitely be doing more HCL Confessions.