Plagiarism Checker Busts Writing Fraud

I’ve been outsourcing different aspects of self-publishing for several years now. Much of it has been an experiment of sorts. Early on, I decided to try hiring a ghostwriter.

After all, I was doing well with my writing on my own, so how difficult could it be to hire a freelance writer?

It turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated and nearly catastrophic to my self-publishing business!

Back then, I wasn’t as experienced. I was still in the mindset that you could cut corners here and there to make things easier on yourself. It nearly cost me my entire business.

So, I’m here to use what I learned to help you avoid making the same mistakes.

Gather around and listen up, because you don’t want to miss this.

Outsourcing the Writing Processplagiarism checker

In 2015, I decided to try outsourcing for some of my Kindle publishing business through Upwork. Upwork is kind of like Fiverr’s more professional big brother. The two aren’t connected in any way and don’t work the same, but I’d have to say at the time, these two were the go-to options for outsourcing.

If you were broke, you chose Fiverr, if you had a little more to spend, you picked Upwork.

Things have changed since then. Fiverr is a force to be reckoned with, and that’s why they’re still around.

After vetting numerous applicants, I found 1 person who fit my needs. This freelance writer had experience publishing books and had a great portfolio. Within 3 months, we’d worked together to produce a full series of books and I could almost taste an instant return on investment.

In fact, that series still makes money today, so I have no complaints.

However, there was a of the process that I became way too comfortable in and made an egregious mistake.

Don’t Skip This Step!

About 3 steps into the 5-part project, I became lazy and started skipping one vital step.

You might be thinking:

  • I skipped editing
  • I gave the freelancer access to my account
  • Or, I allowed the freelancer free range over the entire project

It was one simple step that requires very little work…

I didn’t check for plagiarism.

What is Plagiarism?

You probably already know that plagiarism is essentially passing off someone else’s writing as your own.

The theft of someone else’s creative content that is copyrighted. Plagiarism has dire consequences if detected by Amazon or other online book retailers and even worse repercussions if the original content creator discovers it. Amazon basically has a no-tolerance policy. They will shut you down, no questions asked.

Original creators tend to also have this same “no quarter” attitude when it comes to the theft of their work. Can you blame them?

I completed the 5-part project and started another 5-part series with the same writer. Without a second look, I approved the first book, released the funds for my freelance writer to be paid and gave the green light for part 2.

Plagiarism Checker Saves the Day

Part of my pre-editor process includes a round of simple corrections through a grammar checker. At the time, I used Grammarly. Now, I prefer ProWritingAid.

That being said, Grammarly’s plagiarism checker is free. Even if you have a PWA plan, you’ll need to buy credits for plagiarism checks. The OG of plagiarism checkers is Copyscape. it requires credits as well.

I commenced to make small adjustments in grammar, sentence structure, and word choice. Then, I thought about how it would be a good idea to check for plagiarism on Grammarly. It was nothing more than a passing thought.

Now, it should be noted that the plagiarism checker on Grammarly is super sensitive and will detect commonly used phrases and sometimes sheer coincidental phrases.

This time, though, Grammarly detected an entire sentence and a half of word-for-word plagiarism. The nice part is Grammarly provided the exact source and a hyperlink to the original text. Thinking nothing of it, I clicked the link and was horrified to discover Grammarly was correct.

In a panic, I went back and checked the first five-part project to discover no issues. Immediately, I contacted the freelance writer to discover that she was guilty of the infraction. She never confirmed nor denied the accusations, but was kind enough to refund my money.

The Aftermath of Plagiarism

I severed the business relationship and left a 100% honest review of my experience with the writer on Upwork. To say I was disappointed was an understatement, and the experience swayed me away from working with outsourcing the writing process of Kindle publishing books.

This story is a cautionary tale I hope you use it to grow and protect your business.

If you choose to outsource the writing of ANY part of your business, whether it’s books or just your book description, don’t skip the plagiarism check!

It’s well worth the few extra minutes. Amazon will terminate your account for plagiarism and once they do that, it’s game over on their publishing platform for you…forever.

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