Yesterday, when I posted my thoughts and feelings about the Cassie Edwards plagiarism thing, I stayed away from Ms. Edwards’ publishers.  Like most everyone, I was outraged when the letter from Penguin/Signet came out saying she’d done nothing wrong, but they’ve since retracted that statement and said they will investigate.  No word from her other publishers yet–or if there has been, I missed it.  I have no doubt it’s going to be a while before we hear anything else from Penguin/Signet, so I’ll wait until I hear their verdict before I address the publisher issue further.  

As for Ms. Edwards, like I said in my previous post, I feel a small amount of pity for her, and I imagine she just wants this whole thing to go away so she can get on with her life and her career.  Sad to say, that’s probably what will happen.  If she can endure the storm currently raging against her and a slap or two on the wrist, all will be well in her world again at some point in the future.

We have only to look to Janet Dailey for proof of that.  Ms. Dailey is a proven plagiarist, was even gutsy–or stupid–enough to steal from Nora Roberts, the best and the most widely-read romance writer in the business.  She was caught, taken to court, claimed it was a case of psychogical stress or some such nonsense, and a few years later landed another contract with another publisher.  She’s back to writing, her books are being published and all is right in her world.  

I think the same thing will likely happen to Ms. Edwards.  She has a product to sell, she’s made a lot of money for her publishers in the past, and like Janet Dailey, someone, somewhere, at some point in time, is going to offer her another contract.  I don’t agree with it, but the fact is Cassie Edwards sells, and that’s what a publisher is going to look at; how much money her books made in the past and how much money they might possibly make in the future.  Some publisher, willing to take a chance, will sign her and if her first post-plagiarism book makes them money, she’ll be offered another contract after that one–probably for more money–and so on and so on and so on.

The thing is…for me, this raises the question of how do Ms. Dailey, or Ms. Edwards–if my prediction comes true–deal with being a known cheat in their chosen profession?  How do they have the guts to go out there and do book signings after what’s been said and proven about them?  How do they withstand the constant snickers and finger-pointing aimed in their direction when they do?

After giving it a good deal of thought, I think I know the answer; confidence in one’s self and belief in one’s writing.  

I don’t have that, but I’m hoping it’s a learned trait and will come with time.  Janet Dailey has it and I suspect, so does Cassie Edwards.  It’s an admirable quality, one I’d like to have, but if I do ever get to that point, I hope I don’t have to go through the kind of public ridicule these women have gone through to get it.  Not that I feel sorry for them, they’re both cheats in my eyes, and they brought it on themselves.  But after all was said and done, at least in Ms. Dailey’s case, she came out…well, I won’t say the better for it, but she survived and is once again doing what she loves.  The jury’s still out on Ms. Edwards.

So, to all my fellow struggling authors, I hope you take note of the lessons buried beneath the feelings of outrage, disgust, and betrayal in this whole Cassie Edwards thing; believe in yourself and your writing.

Because when you get right down to it, that’s all that matters. 

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