A hell of a lot of people are trying to make bank from Taylor Swift’s current romance with footballer Travis Kelce. The NFL is milking it. So are various brands. The doting lovers themselves are hardly unaware of the image boosts it offers them both. Still, it’s always kind of ghoulish to see that one person who has to take it too far.
This week, I wrote about the growing phenomenon of traditionally published romance novels that either started life as fanfiction or advertised themselves heavily based on their use of a real-life celebrity as the romantic hero. None of this is new, of course, but the sudden prevalence of titles that were blatantly fic or have the author as the self-insert hero next to the likes of Adam Driver and Prince Harry opened up some questions of creative ethics. There was a spirited debate on the issue, which ties into decades of fandom history and literary freedom. But I’m pretty sure we can all agree that ‘bestselling author’ Ivy Smoak trying to get a Swift/Kelce book out in three days, using quotes from the latter’s own podcast and interviews is extremely icky.
writing a travis x taylor "inspired" "extra spicy" book in the span of 3 days, & lifting quotes from kelce's podcast/interviews. just say you don't care about celebrities as people and you just think of them as fictional characters for you to ship & project booktok fantasies on. pic.twitter.com/i208sfHmzT— cossette (@heartsmosaics) September 30, 2023
This is about a book called 'Roughing the Princess'' by Ivy Smoak where the author copied and pasted details of Taylor Swift's private life to use as book content. It's a huge invasion of privacy - and Amazon has removed it from sale. https://t.co/pSAWiXcs8E— Decent Fellows Press (@DecentFellows) October 1, 2023
Roughing the Princess de Ivy Smoak. Un libro con el trope de football romance y popstar, las vibes de Taylor Swift y Travis Kelce. 💌 pic.twitter.com/mzwPek6DxP— lily; nikobran ִֶָ ꩜ʾ (@indyryansgf) September 29, 2023
Wow Ivy Smoak wasted no time putting out the Travis Kelce/Taylor Swift fanfic. 😬 pic.twitter.com/rtQbKe8759— Jessica Malone Grider (@mrs_g_rider) October 1, 2023
First of all, that is an ugly cover. It’s a rush job, much like the book. I’m kind of surprised she didn’t use AI, given the level of professionalism at play here. And she’s not alone!
Um…I don't think this is going to end well… pic.twitter.com/9yFiGCr7qt— Romance Rehab (@RomanceRehab) October 5, 2023
Using an actual image of Swift too? Does she think that copyright is optional? Honey, I’m pretty sure Taylor Swift’s lawyers can smell a possible claim from 500 miles away. Tree Paine would have the papers ready for you even looking at her client a bit funny.
Both of these books have since been removed from the internet, with Smoak desperately trying to scrub all signs of its existence as quickly as possible. As if the internet forgets. She’s on Instagram acting as though nothing ever happened, which is certainly a strategy. If Ivy Smoak had decided to simply take inspiration from the notion of a popstar having a secret romance with a football player, that wouldn’t have sucked. It’s a fun set-up. The issues are that she churned this out in three days to cash in on the current hype around Swift and Kelce, AND that she just copy-pasted chunks of Kelce’s own words to fill out her junk. The laziness of it all is as embarrassing as the sheer nerve to think that Swift and her fans would love what she’s offering. If you’re going to publish your fanfic, at least take the time to change it enough so that it’s not blatantly fic. Honey, sports romances are a thing and they’re very popular. You could have taken your time. Instead, this error in judgment (or massive display of arrogance, plagiarism, and pure creepiness) is forever a stain on your career.
Again, just keep it on Wattpad, guys. And be glad that Swift isn’t suing. And that you survived the Swifties.