Author Topic: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)  (Read 151223 times)  

Offline JWright

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Being transphobic is when you discriminate against someone who is transgender.  If you have a female pen name when you are male, that has nothing to do with being transgender.

Some men masquerade as women on social media and I know that many women would be uncomfortable with that if they found out. 

Some people try to pass themselves off as a lesbian or gay man, and some readers of lesbian or gay male fiction would not be at all happy about it.  Many readers do not like being fooled or lied to.

Personally, I'm not straight, so I don't pretend to be, either in real life or as a writer.  I wouldn't make up a "straight" pen name myself.  I also wouldn't pretend to have a cat named Chester or pretend I was baking cinnamon rolls when I wasn't, no matter how harmless it might seem.  I don't lie to my readers. 

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    Offline Rick Gualtieri

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    or pretend I was baking cinnamon rolls when I wasn't. 

    Good plan, because Pepperidge Farm remembers.


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    Offline KelliWolfe

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    But there's a glaring problem with your logic. If you're hiring ghost writers to write those books, and you as the publisher are editing them and cleaning them up to fit a brand, a brand that readers are clearly reading, you aren't doing anything wrong. You are in effect just what your job described. A publisher. You could make the argument easily that it is entrepreneurship at it's finest. So doing cross brand promotion is just smart marketing, and ethically is 100% on board.

    Now, that's only if the books are each following the new rules of the store. But in theory, the lot of you who were happy with the black hatters being taken down should be okay with someone doing this, if it was ever really about the store being fair.
    I never said it was unethical. I was merely explaining why these people would want to use multiple pen names within the same genre and cross-promote them. The black hat part comes in when they begin using very questionable means to promote their books, cross-promote, get reviews, generate bogus page reads, etc.

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    Offline JWright

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    No, I would feel lied to and wouldn't appreciate it one bit.

    Obviously men can write great female characters and vice versa.  Gay people can write great straight characters and vice versa.  So no need to lie.  If so, you are trying to get some extra community love that you don't deserve.  Be a straight person who writes great queer characters.   I don't want someone passing themselves off as someone they are not.

    So, if someone tries to pass themselves off as a lesbian who really isn't and I found out, I wouldn't read any more of their books. If other people wanted to, that is their choice.


    writing romance novels for an LGBTQ audience while not being queer is not lying to them, or making a fool of them. You're not lying to them when you create a persona and stick to it, for that pen name. If you write books your audience loves, it shouldn't matter. That's kind of the whole point of being a good writer in the end. The ability to jump into other view points, other people and tell compelling stories from their points of view, or about them. If you're calling that lying, then literally all writers are liars.

    Offline BGArcher

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    I never said it was unethical. I was merely explaining why these people would want to use multiple pen names within the same genre and cross-promote them. The black hat part comes in when they begin using very questionable means to promote their books, cross-promote, get reviews, generate bogus page reads, etc.

    Fair enough. No offense meant.

    Offline Crime fighters

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    Nobody is saying AD campaigns are unethical, with the exception of the ones stealing copyrighted photos and videos for their Facebook ads. It's a part of the larger discussion, though. The problem isn't the ads. It's how they get the money to spend on the ads, raising costs for everyone else. The only reason they can bid so damn high is because of $13 payouts per read. It's a piece of the Pyramid.

    People keep taking what they want from a conversation and twisting it. I'm not sure what purpose it serves other than to confuse.

    Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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    Now, I completely understand defending someone's RIGHT to do something unethical, if it's legal or allowed. That's not the same as claiming the unethical is, in fact, ethical, merely because it's legal or allowed.


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    Offline RPatton

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    People keep taking what they want from a conversation and twisting it. I'm not sure what purpose it serves other than to confuse.

    Everyone is doing this across the board. Not one person or one opinion, but everyone.

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    This, above.

    In any controversial, long thread, there's always at least one person who defends unethical practices, claiming they're ethical.

    Now, I completely understand defending someone's RIGHT to do something unethical, if it's legal or allowed. That's not the same as claiming the unethical is, in fact, ethical, merely because it's legal or allowed.

    For example, representing pen names as real persons and having conversations between them... Yeesh. Just...yeesh. That's a no-brainer, yet we still see people defending that practice and others. Legal? Sure. Ethical? No way.

    And indefensible. I'm constantly appalled by defense of such practices.

    While I find all of these practices unethical, I don't think you can say "there's always someone defending unethical behavior." There's always someone defending behavior you personally find unethical. But they may have a different take. We aren't lawyers. We don't have a code of ethics we have to follow. There isn't any standard set of ethics for writers.

    We aren't going to agree on everything. Some people here think reporting other authors is wrong. Others think it's the only way to create change. Lots of authors who were using bonus books believed they were fine. Others thought it was cheating. Etc., etc., etc.

    Offline BGArcher

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    No, I would feel lied to and wouldn't appreciate it one bit.

    Obviously men can write great female characters and vice versa.  Gay people can write great straight characters and vice versa.  So no need to lie.  If so, you are trying to get some extra community love that you don't deserve.  Be a straight person who writes great queer characters.   I don't want someone passing themselves off as someone they are not.

    So, if someone tries to pass themselves off as a lesbian who really isn't and I found out, I wouldn't read any more of their books. If other people wanted to, that is their choice.

    I'm sorry you were feeling lied to, (in this hypothetical scenario) but just because you feel it's that way doesn't mean it is a lie. I find it odd that you get to decided what an author does or does not deserve, (again in this hypothetical scenario).

    Offline JWright

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    I said if others wanted to read the books that would be their choice - so you obviously didn't read my whole post.  So if someone isn't really a lesbian and the pen name says they are a lesbian that's not a lie?  How is that not a lie?

    If no one had a problem with it then no one would need to lie.  I think that's telling right there.   

    I'm white.  I'm not going to pass myself off as an African American writer.  I think that would be totally wrong.  However, I could have African American characters in my books.   

    We obviously have a difference in opinion as to what is okay and not okay.



    I'm sorry you were feeling lied to, (in this hypothetical scenario) but just because you feel it's that way doesn't mean it is a lie. I find it odd that you get to decided what an author does or does not deserve, (again in this hypothetical scenario).

    Offline BGArcher

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    While I find all of these practices unethical, I don't think you can say "there's always someone defending unethical behavior." There's always someone defending behavior you personally find unethical. But they may have a different take. We aren't lawyers. We don't have a code of ethics we have to follow. There isn't any standard set of ethics for writers.

    We aren't going to agree on everything. Some people here think reporting other authors is wrong. Others think it's the only way to create change. Lots of authors who were using bonus books believed they were fine. Others thought it was cheating. Etc., etc., etc.

    I haven't agreed with everything you've posted in this thread, but I 100% agree with this statement. To take it a step further, there's a lot of talk about ethics and what's fair in this thread. It also seems fairly obvious that a lot of it seems to come from people who are jealous of others success, regardless of the ethics of how they got there.



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 12:56:25 pm by Becca Mills »

    Offline Rick Gualtieri

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    It also seems fairly obvious that a lot of it seems to come from people who are jealous of others success

    And there comes the jealousy card.  Sorry, but it's both overplayed and completely bogus. There are plenty of full-time writers on this board, many of whom are arguing against these practices.  We don't go out of our way to target or attack each other.  Instead we celebrate each other's successes ... except when those successes are obtained via questionable methods. Why? because those methods harm us all. They paint the entire industry in a bad light.

    That doesn't make us jealous. That makes us concerned citizens of our chosen industry. 


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    Offline Becca Mills

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    I haven't agreed with everything you've posted in this thread, but I 100% agree with this statement. To take it a step further, there's a lot of talk about ethics and what's fair in this thread. It also seems fairly obvious that a lot of it seems to come from people who are jealous of others success, regardless of the ethics of how they got there.

    Giving one another the benefit of the doubt as to motivation is the KBoards way.

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    Offline BGArcher

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    And there comes the jealousy card.  Sorry, but it's both overplayed and completely bogus. There are plenty of full-time writers on this board, many of whom are arguing against these practices.  We don't go out of our way to target or attack each other.  Instead we celebrate each other's successes ... except when those successes are obtained via questionable methods. Why? because those methods harm us all. They paint the entire industry in a bad light.

    That doesn't make us jealous. That makes us concerned citizens of our chosen industry.

    And again, I'm not talking about the policy's we've all agreed in are bad, or that Amazon has now changed their policy's about and we are all agreeing to stick to. Those points have been made, over and over again. I'm talking about then people adding things in like having ghost writers, or a publishing company is somehow unethical. Or writing as a female or male (or whatever gender you decide to write under.)  Or putting a cap on payout on K.U.

    Offline Becca Mills

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    I'm talking about then people adding things in like having ghost writers, or a publishing company is somehow unethical. Or writing as a female or male (or whatever gender you decide to write under.)  Or putting a cap on payout on K.U.

    Positions we are going to assume are all genuine and not motivated by jealousy.

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    Offline DonovanJeremiah

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    I'm white.  I'm not going to pass myself off as an African American writer.  I think that would be totally wrong.  However, I could have African American characters in my books.   

    We obviously have a difference in opinion as to what is okay and not okay.

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    Offline BGArcher

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    Positions we are going to assume are all genuine and not motivated by jealousy.

    Fair enough. Should I just delete those past comments? I in no way want to breach the rules of the forum

    Offline Becca Mills

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    Fair enough. Should I just delete those past comments? I in no way want to breach the rules of the forum

    No need to delete. Just keep the KB Way in mind going forward. :)

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    Offline Crime fighters

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    On the topic of gender, nobody is advocating against creating a persona of the opposite gender. There's a clear-cut difference between hiding your identity to sell books because of market expectations in genre as opposed to someone abusing that identity, which is what people are referring to. In romance especially, readers and authors have been burned one too many times by people using these identities to solicit conversations and personal matters they never would have shared elsewise.

    If you're going to sell a persona, it's wise to keep distance from your readers and to disclose the truth to authors if you're building a budding friendship. If you claim to be something you're not and readers find out, they're not going to be happy. Whether that makes it unethical, well there's room to debate that, but if you're appropriating the identity of a minority, then absolutely you've crossed a line and I hope you manage to avoid being caught.

    Some of the people we're talking about in this thread have actually been honest about the fact that their names are personas. I can at least respect that if I respect nothing else they do. 



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 02:48:16 pm by Becca Mills »

    Offline BGArcher

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    No need to delete. Just keep the KB Way in mind going forward. :)

    Good reminder, thanks :)

    Offline SalomeGolding

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    One of the persons who is taking the hardest line in this thread, and in other similar threads, is one of the most successful indie writers on Kboards and perhaps just generally speaking.

    Some people are just straight-arrow, black and white, with a heightened sense of morality. They believe what they believe, regardless of whether or not personal gain is involved.



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 02:48:54 pm by Becca Mills »

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    Offline KelliWolfe

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    And again, I'm not talking about the policy's we've all agreed in are bad, or that Amazon has now changed their policy's about and we are all agreeing to stick to. Those points have been made, over and over again. I'm talking about then people adding things in like having ghost writers, or a publishing company is somehow unethical. Or writing as a female or male (or whatever gender you decide to write under.)  Or putting a cap on payout on K.U.
    Just to clarify a bit, a lot of these issues have come up before in similar discussions many, many times. For the most part people here have agreed that these things are not unethical on their own, even if a lot of us don't personally care for things like content mills because in most cases we find they both provide a poor customer experience through poor writing and the bargain basement pricing based on cheap content tends to drive prices in general lower. And while these practices in isolation aren't unethical, they are often coupled with unethical behavior as has been amply demonstrated in this topic. A lot of the statements people have made here about these ancillary matters were due to those many, many prior discussions, but without the context included.

    I personally have no problem with content mill publishers - provided that they behave with the same business ethics that we would expect of any individual author. Unfortunately we have seen time and time again that most of them do not. I have absolutely no problem with a man creating a female pen name to write romance, because female romance readers are extremely prejudiced against male romance writers and the vast majority of them would never buy his books. I do however have a big problem with a male romance writer using a female pen name to interact with his readers to solicit very personal information about their sex lives and experiences. Which we know has happened.

    These reactions are driven by distaste for the lengths that some people claiming to be members of our profession go to while defending their actions as perfectly reasonable. And anger at the blowback that inevitably lands on the rest of us when the distributors and readers discover them and react.



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 05:49:36 pm by Becca Mills »

    Olivia Blake | Lessons in Love

    Offline Taking my troll a$$ outta here

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    I think it's good that some big name authors have taken notice, and I think it made a difference. As for how it's being handled now by Amazon, it's a good first step, hopefully one of many to keep the KU program attractive to readers and viable for authors.



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 02:50:10 pm by Becca Mills »
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    Offline David VanDyke

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    I'm confused. So I can't write a book using a pen name, and then interact with the readers at all?

    I use a pen name. I'm a real person. I have to use a pen name for personal protection reasons. Readers write to me/interact on social media, I can't respond as my real name. All I have is the pen name and face.

    And that makes me unethical?


    Or am I missing something?

    Yes, you're missing something. We're talking about one pen name talking to another pen name (both owned by the same real person) as if the pen names were real people.

    This is a pen name. I talk to my fans all the time using this pen name. It's not a secret that it's a pen name. But that's not whet we're referring to. We're referring to trying to make the fans believe two or more pen names are each real people with real opinions--basically sock puppets--generally for the purpose of trying to make it seem as if a bunch of authors are in agreement.

    Think infomercial, where the "interviewer" and every "guest" ends up gushing over the product--none are real guests or interviewers.

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