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Fanfiction Community Finds Romilly King May Have Plagiarized More Than Paid to Kneel

Fanfiction communities are uniting and looking for answers.

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Last week, reader @KokomRoily shared evidence of erotic romance author Romilly King plagiarizing over 30 pages of her 2020 book Paid to Kneel. The text appeared to be taken from writer Blue_Jack’s Supernatural fanfiction If You Hurt Me, That’s Okay, Baby.

Because it is common for writers (especially in romance and fanfiction) to go under pseudonyms, Roily checked to make sure King wasn’t actually Blue_Jack. Not only were they not the same person, but Blue_Jack also stated they were unaware and didn’t give permission to King to profit off of their 2015 work.

This called into question the originality of many novels King published in 2020 and 2021. As the story has spread throughout the fanfiction community, some writers are finding other similarities by scanning King’s book descriptions and reviews and are asking for help and second opinions.

Not wanting to add to the confusion, fic writer Skargarm added a note to their story Witness, posted on AO3 (Archive of Our Own—a popular fanfiction archive), explaining that it was inspired by King’s Handled series. Skargarm being inspired by King is very different from King taking long passages and plot lines from Blue_Jack’s work. Additionally, Skargarm is being forthright and not taking in profits by selling their stories.

When the public backlash began, there were warnings not to harass people associated with King, such as past co-authors, editors, and audiobook narrators. Their work isn’t above looking over, but an outright accusation without the basic research like Roily’s first post is irresponsible.

In a working relationship, there is a level of trust that is their original work. So, of course, there isn’t automatically guilt by association. Some didn’t get the message or didn’t care.

Once finding out the situation with King, the narrator of the Delphic Agency audiobooks (that includes Paid to Kneel), Gavin McAllister, emailed producer Audiobook Creation Exchange requesting that the book be removed from Audible. He acknowledged that he may likely lose out on additional royalty payments.

Since our first story published on August 5, more works have been accused of plagiarism. More fanfiction writers have joined Roily in taking the lead on this multi-platform, internet-led evidence-gathering campaign. Roily and Nickel Keep have created a Discord community of over 100 people for people to share notes. There, channels are named after King’s books, and series are grouped together.

Because the evidence is a bit muddy after the first book in the series, some have speculated that the later books, if plagiarized, would be harder to decipher. This is because the premise is still built from the original novel and story thread.

One of the fanfic readers, Unforth, contributing to outreach, wrote on Tumblr, “don’t assume it couldn’t touch your fandom! Romilly was picking based on kinks that would fit their audience. Please, please, help – if it was your story, if it was your fave, you’d want them to get credit. ”

The ripple effect of this attention has been the spotlighting of other writers who put their work online for free also getting attention for being ripped off by theft. The most common place to find these works so far has been Amazon. While self-pushing has lowered the barrier to access, it has also made it easier to exploit writers publishing online for little to no pay.

King’s fan group on Facebook has been deleted or made private. King deactivated her Twitter account, as well. That hasn’t stopped the conversation, as fanfiction and MLM (men loving men) readers across the internet have continued searching for more evidence and for King to answer for this.

(via Twitter, featured image: Anna Shvets from Pexels)

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(she/her) Award-winning artist and blogger with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. Starting as an Online Editor for her college paper in October 2017, Alyssa began writing for the first time within two months of working in the newsroom. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3. Still trying to beat Saxon Farm on RCT 3 (so I can 100% the game.)