Plagiarism is defined as representing one’s words or ideas as your own.  To put it bluntly, it is STEALING ~ a serious offense that is not to be taken lightly. The consequences of accidental plagiarism are just as daunting as the admonishing results of intentional plagiarism. So when writing a book, it is very important that you take the necessary precautions to avoid plagiarizing. Taking these measures will ultimately keep you out of trouble in the long run.

When writing a book, it is especially easy to fall into the trick bag of plagiarism if your topic requires a lot of research.  And if a particular theory or piece of information you are presenting is not common knowledge, plagiarizing antics will stick out like blue jeans at a fancy affair!  So despite the fact that you may use your own words, you still need to credit the source when using their ideas and information within the content of your book. You’ll of course still inject your ideas and points and make mention of conclusions you’ve drawn. You’ll also still include your own theories or perhaps your own list of steps if you’re explaining a particular process. The point is, if you drew your ideas from another source, you need to acknowledge and give credit to the source in order to avoid being guilty of plagiarism.

When collecting information for writing a book, it is essential to keep track of your sources in order to credit them with their proper due.  It’s a good practice to print a copy of the information from all sources that you obtained electronically — making sure that you note the complete URL, as well as the date on which the material was printed. If you prefer to save the trees, you can store the documents in a folder on your computer so they are easily accessible when it’s time to reference the source. You should also copy/paste the web address link in a separate document when consulting a website to obtain information for your book. Doing this will allow you to easily return to the website if needed, and it’ll also help you cite it in its proper form.

Keeping sources in correct context is another vital practice to avoid plagiarism when writing a book. The key to this is understanding the source in which the context was written.  This can be especially tricky when using online sources as opposed to printed ones. Some websites include content from other sources without proper accreditation, so it’ll be nearly impossible for you to know the original source.  However, in cases where the website being used includes a link to the content’s original source, make sure you properly cite the link (not the website) as your source.

Plagiarism is an offense that should be taken seriously and avoided at all costs. By taking the necessary measures to: gain a clear understanding of plagiarism and what it entails, keep track of printed and electronic sources, and keep the sources you use in proper context, you can minimize the chances of plagiarizing when writing a book. Remember — Always give credit where credit is due!

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