1. Q. R. Markham
He made a splash with his debut novel, Assassin of Secrets, but it turned out the book was a patchwork of plagiarism, with sentences stolen from multiple other authors.
Seems like it would have been easier to write your own book than to try to cobble dozens of snippets from other people into one coherent whole, but then again, the New Yorker described Markham as an “addict” to plagiarism. Even a blog post he wrote wasn’t entirely original.
2. Kaavya Viswanathan
Half a million dollars for a two-book deal before she had graduated from college. Too bad the first book contained so many passages similar to another author’s work.
The plagiarism, Visvanathan said, was “unintentional and unconscious." Hope she checked her term papers carefully for any other innocent, automatic instances of copying.
3. Janet Dailey
Janet Dailey, who plagiarized Nora Roberts, bounced back from the lawsuit that followed. The two books which she admitted contained stolen material were pulled, but she has dozens more published. She blamed a psychological disorder for her crime.
4. Cassie Edwards
This is the one I think of as “Savage Plagiarism”.
In 2008, Cassie Edwards, author of multiple Native American romances with titles like Savage Joy and Savage Devotion, was found to have plagiarized multiple authors—she was pretty indiscriminate, since she copied fiction, non-fiction and poetry. All in complete innocence, of course.
In a January interview, Edwards admitted that she "takes" material from other works, but said she didn't know she was supposed to credit her sources.
Signet severed its relationship with her and if she's had any other novels published after that year, it hasn't been under her name.
5. Shey Stahl
Plagiarising a Twilight fanfic may not land you in legal trouble, because fanfic authors doesn’t hold any copyrights on their work, but it can still make your name mud. As of today, Shey Stahl’s books are unavailable on Amazon. I checked one to be on the safe side, and a one-star review claimed that book had copied the reviewer’s fanfic, a different one than the Twilight fic (then again, most plagiarizers don’t limit themselves to just the one
I’m sure she can and will try again under a pseudonym, but again it makes me wonder why anyone would go through all this. Especially when they’re reaching an audience of millions who read widely and who can use software to check words in seconds.
Oh, plagiarizers can get away with it for a little while. All these authors did. But the house of cards inevitably comes down in the end—and the longer they’ve done it and the more successful they are by then, the harder they’re going to fall.