Author Topic: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)  (Read 151239 times)  

Offline Saffron

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I think this is very welcome. David Graughan tweeted about it the other day. I was wondering though, If you wanted to put two books into one, or make up a trilogy, is that now prohibited?


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    Offline David VanDyke

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    Let me clarify: Pretending to a different gender when engaging readers directly, as in emails, tweets, PMs, smoke signals, etc., is a questionable activity. Just using an alternate gender pen with no further reader engagement is fine, but it makes the Author Central bio a bit challenging.

    This.

    Given that we have a society where names are only loosely sex- or gender-related (Captain Michael Burnham, anyone?), merely sticking a name on a book that obscures sex or gender is IMO not unethical, and is a time-honored practice. It's up to the reader to judge or not.

    Explicitly claiming to be ANYTHING you're not--racially, sexually, background-related (stolen valor, anyone?) ranges from ethically suspect to utterly wrong. That's 101.

    Offline Phxsundog

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    I think this is very welcome. David Graughan tweeted about it the other day. I was wondering though, If you wanted to put two books into one, or make up a trilogy, is that now prohibited?

    Nobody knows for sure until the dust settles. However since there's been no mass purge of boxed sets or new directive from Amazon about it, I think the safest thing to do is title it a series and make sure everything is labeled crystal clear. Be sure the titles of all three books are on the cover, whether it's three dimensional or flat. List all titles in the blurb. If you're not one of the big abusers under KDP's scrutiny, and you're not simply sticking the word collection or compilation onto what used to be a stuffed book, you should be fine. I don't feel good calling anything safe with total certainty but we should have a better idea in another week or two how legitimate anthologies in KU should be presented.

    Offline Speaker-To-Animals

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    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.

    If it "shouldn't matter" then a writer won't need to pretend to be a lesbian if they're a straight man. The reality is that it does matter. Community is an issue and people want to support writers from their community.

    Offline Becca Mills

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    I've edited a few posts to curtail continued discussion of the "jealousy" idea while hopefully leaving people's main points intact. Let's please move on from that now.

    ETA: Edited a few words from a post I didn't notice earlier.
    « Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 05:50:54 pm by Becca Mills »

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    Offline JWright

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    If it "shouldn't matter" then a writer won't need to pretend to be a lesbian if they're a straight man. The reality is that it does matter. Community is an issue and people want to support writers from their community.

    Yes, agreed, and especially where it has been much harder to find stories that represent you and where publishing hasn't always been open to everyone.  For a straight male to masquerade as a lesbian is off putting to me to say the least.  However, if a straight man writes a great book with awesome lesbian characters then I am all for it!

    Sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. are all still very much with us.

    Women historically wrote under male pen names because women were not taken seriously and/or not deemed to be suited to be writers or practically any other profession.  Even today, a woman writing under a male name is not equivalent to a male writing under a female name because sexism is still very much alive and well.  So yes either way it can be done, but I don't think it's exactly the same thing myself and there are different ramifications and considerations to be accounted for.   

    Also, if I were to write a heterosexual romance, I would use a female pen name (I'm female so that is consistent).  I wouldn't claim to have a husband or in any way claim to be something I wasn't.  I'd just have a bio where everything was true and not embellish or try to be something I wasn't.  I wouldn't take a real personal approach on social media or a newsletter.  I'd keep everything about myself very low key and focus on the books and characters I wrote about. 

    Offline Nope

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    « Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 07:57:58 pm by Nope »

    Offline MmmmmPie

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    Even today, a woman writing under a male name is not equivalent to a male writing under a female name because sexism is still very much alive and well.  So yes either way it can be done, but I don't think it's exactly the same thing myself and there are different ramifications and considerations to be accounted for. 

    I respectfully disagree. While I think it's wrong for male authors to use their female pen names to engage in creepy behavior (such as sharing fantasies, etc.), I don't believe in double standards. In my opinion, it's either wrong for everyone or right for everyone. If a woman can use a male pen name in traditional male markets, a man should be able to use a female pen name in a traditionally female market.

    I'm saying this as a female romance author. To hold men to a different standard seems unfair to me, and I don't feel comfortable advocating such a policy. That being said, some of these stuffers go way overboard, inventing fake personas, fake pictures, fake life-stories, etc.  That's taking it too far, IMO. But I'd also disapprove of a female doing the same thing, such as pretending to be a former Navy Seal while writing action adventure stories.

    Offline unkownwriter

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    You can have a pen name, and respond to emails or whatever without revealing who you really are. That's not the problem. The problem, which has been explained over and over again to the point we're all going to be arrested for beating dead horses, is that some people have gone too far and are interacting with readers on a far more personal level. Far, far more personal. It's nasty, it's disturbing (especially to women), and it shouldn't be done.

    For the record, I think J K Rowling went too far in her bio for her male pen name, in that she claimed military service and other things she did not have. To me, that's overstepping. Veterans in particular don't like people claiming to have served who didn't. I'm a veteran, I know.

    Offline RPatton

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    Yes, agreed, and especially where it has been much harder to find stories that represent you and where publishing hasn't always been open to everyone.  For a straight male to masquerade as a lesbian is off putting to me to say the least.  However, if a straight man writes a great book with awesome lesbian characters then I am all for it!

    Sexism, racism, homophobia, etc. are all still very much with us.

    Women historically wrote under male pen names because women were not taken seriously and/or not deemed to be suited to be writers or practically any other profession.  Even today, a woman writing under a male name is not equivalent to a male writing under a female name because sexism is still very much alive and well.  So yes either way it can be done, but I don't think it's exactly the same thing myself and there are different ramifications and considerations to be accounted for.   

    Also, if I were to write a heterosexual romance, I would use a female pen name (I'm female so that is consistent).  I wouldn't claim to have a husband or in any way claim to be something I wasn't.  I'd just have a bio where everything was true and not embellish or try to be something I wasn't.  I wouldn't take a real personal approach on social media or a newsletter.  I'd keep everything about myself very low key and focus on the books and characters I wrote about.

    That is your choice. However, some people want to write under a pen, create a mostly true bio that is surface oriented and like writing behind a curtain. They don't want their world outside of writing to meet with their writing world. Just because it is different from how you would do it, doesn't make it wrong or less valid.

    I think the biggest problem I am having with this thread is that it's all or nothing. Very few people are willing to say, "Hey, your way might not be my way, but keep on moving." Instead, they are saying, "Your way isn't my way, therefore it is inherently wrong."

    As of right now, I think most people believe the excessive use of bonus content that is duplicated ad nauseum is at the very least exploitative and bad for the marketplace. It's when we start narrowly defining behavior as right or wrong based on our own personal value system that we get into trouble.

    And for the record, it has nothing to do with pretending. Do you honestly believe that every writer who wrote a Nancy Drew book was a woman? The author is as much a brand and persona and the creator of that brand or persona should be allowed to dictate that brand. Now, when they start to interact in a personal way with readers under that persona I will raise an eyebrow and probably question their integrity. But writing a fictionalized bio under a fake name with an image that is clearly not human, doesn't warrant criticism.

    Offline JWright

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    I wasn't saying males couldn't use female pen names but I don't think it's the same thing.  Sexism is alive and well and men need to be careful about cozying up to women in personal ways that could feel violating to some.  But just using a pen name itself doesn't do that.   

    And no I don't think a female or male writer should claim military service when they haven't done so.  I think that's wrong.

    I respectfully disagree. While I think it's wrong for male authors to use their female pen names to engage in creepy behavior (such as sharing fantasies, etc.), I don't believe in double standards. In my opinion, it's either wrong for everyone or right for everyone. If a woman can use a male pen name in traditional male markets, a man should be able to use a female pen name in a traditionally female market.

    I'm saying this as a female romance author. To hold men to a different standard seems unfair to me, and I don't feel comfortable advocating such a policy. That being said, some of these stuffers go way overboard, inventing fake personas, fake pictures, fake life-stories, etc.  That's taking it too far, IMO. But I'd also disapprove of a female doing the same thing, such as pretending to be a former Navy Seal while writing action adventure stories.

    Offline JWright

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    That is your choice. However, some people want to write under a pen, create a mostly true bio that is surface oriented and like writing behind a curtain. They don't want their world outside of writing to meet with their writing world. Just because it is different from how you would do it, doesn't make it wrong or less valid.

    I think the biggest problem I am having with this thread is that it's all or nothing. Very few people are willing to say, "Hey, your way might not be my way, but keep on moving." Instead, they are saying, "Your way isn't my way, therefore it is inherently wrong."

    As of right now, I think most people believe the excessive use of bonus content that is duplicated ad nauseum is at the very least exploitative and bad for the marketplace. It's when we start narrowly defining behavior as right or wrong based on our own personal value system that we get into trouble.

    And for the record, it has nothing to do with pretending. Do you honestly believe that every writer who wrote a Nancy Drew book was a woman? The author is as much a brand and persona and the creator of that brand or persona should be allowed to dictate that brand. Now, when they start to interact in a personal way with readers under that persona I will raise an eyebrow and probably question their integrity. But writing a fictionalized bio under a fake name with an image that is clearly not human, doesn't warrant criticism.

    If you will notice I wrote what "I" would do.  I also choose as a reader to not read writers trying to pass themselves off as something they are not.  So if others want to do something different that is their choice.


    Offline RPatton

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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.

    That was me who recommended a payout cap. One based on the royalty of what looked to be the highest price with the significant enough density (4.99). I could see capping it royalty rate of 5.99.

    So once a book hit 4.19 worth of page reads per reader, it wouldn't count any more page reads. (Hurk, correcting this to correspond with my original post - it would still count pages, but you would no longer earn more money for those additional page reads.) If this is more than a book would earn as a sale and a lot more than what a book earned for a borrow, it was sort of a compromise. I wasn't saying everyone needs to support this, I was merely responding to the criticism that no one was offering reasonable alternatives.
    « Last Edit: June 26, 2018, 03:59:48 pm by RPatton »

    Offline Nope

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    « Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 07:57:22 pm by Nope »

    Offline Speaker-To-Animals

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    Yes, agreed, and especially where it has been much harder to find stories that represent you and where publishing hasn't always been open to everyone.  For a straight male to masquerade as a lesbian is off putting to me to say the least.  However, if a straight man writes a great book with awesome lesbian characters then I am all for it!

    I will say one thing based on a couple of books I metaphorically threw across the room. (Metaphorically as I'm not busting a good kindle voyage!) If you're a dude and you're going to write lesbian sex scenes, you damned well better know something about female anatomy. Not only was I sure one guy wasn't a woman, but I am pretty sure he's never even met one.

    Offline 101569

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    I will say one thing based on a couple of books I metaphorically threw across the room. (Metaphorically as I'm not busting a good kindle voyage!) If you're a dude and you're going to write lesbian sex scenes, you damned well better know something about female anatomy. Not only was I sure one guy wasn't a woman, but I am pretty sure he's never even met one.

    Rofl!!!!!!

    Has sooo. His mom is upstairs right now making him a sandwhich!

    Offline JWright

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    I will say one thing based on a couple of books I metaphorically threw across the room. (Metaphorically as I'm not busting a good kindle voyage!) If you're a dude and you're going to write lesbian sex scenes, you damned well better know something about female anatomy. Not only was I sure one guy wasn't a woman, but I am pretty sure he's never even met one.

    Lol, yes don't bust your Voyage!  And seriously, you can often tell in one glance just by looking at the book and description that it was not written by or for lesbians. 

    And may I dare say that some heterosexual women may have similar concerns.  I'm sure there are men who can write good romance, but... could be some legit reasons for some of the wariness out there.

    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Lol, yes don't bust your Voyage!  And seriously, you can often tell in one glance just by looking at the book and description that it was not written by or for lesbians. 

    And may I dare say that some heterosexual women may have similar concerns.  I'm sure there are men who can write good romance, but... could be some legit reasons for some of the wariness out there.
    I cannot tell you how many times in the years since I joined kboards that I've seen men trying to publish romance when they've never cracked a romance novel and haven't the faintest clue what the genre is about. The common misconception that romance is easy to write draws in people looking to make a quick buck without doing any research, and by far the worst offenders seem to be male. The romance readers know this, and so when they see a male name on the cover their immediate reaction is to pass it by. It sucks for the men out there who do write good romance because they've got a hard slog uphill to gain any readership. But it's an understandable reaction.

    Olivia Blake | Lessons in Love

    Offline JWright

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    Yes, definitely.  I have no doubt there are men who write good romance and some others make it tougher for them, but I can't blame readers for being wary either.

    I think it's obvious that women can write really good male characters and men can write good female characters in any genre, but also that readers don't like being burned.  I am not a big lesbian romance reader but I do read some, and yes I am wary to read one by a straight man but it doesn't mean a man couldn't write a good one or if I heard that it was good that I wouldn't read it and enjoy it.

    So I can see the use for pen names, but I just don't want to be fooled by a fake persona.  Other readers might be more forgiving than me.


    Meanwhile in content-stuffing land, I did just notice that a couple of the big stuffers - some of their books have the dog page now but some of their books are still showing  as unavailable. So things seem to be in flux. 


    I cannot tell you how many times in the years since I joined kboards that I've seen men trying to publish romance when they've never cracked a romance novel and haven't the faintest clue what the genre is about. The common misconception that romance is easy to write draws in people looking to make a quick buck without doing any research, and by far the worst offenders seem to be male. The romance readers know this, and so when they see a male name on the cover their immediate reaction is to pass it by. It sucks for the men out there who do write good romance because they've got a hard slog uphill to gain any readership. But it's an understandable reaction.

    Offline 101569

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    I cannot tell you how many times in the years since I joined kboards that I've seen men trying to publish romance when they've never cracked a romance novel and haven't the faintest clue what the genre is about. The common misconception that romance is easy to write draws in people looking to make a quick buck without doing any research, and by far the worst offenders seem to be male. The romance readers know this, and so when they see a male name on the cover their immediate reaction is to pass it by. It sucks for the men out there who do write good romance because they've got a hard slog uphill to gain any readership. But it's an understandable reaction.

    The first thing I hope for when I see a guy writing a romance novel is a book from the male perspective. These are written so infrequently that when done we'll they are some of my favorites. Why don't male writers think to do this. There are very few guys that truly understand what a woman thinks, but so many women that would love to know what a guy is thinking.
    Why pretend to be something your not and instead work to your strengths. Just my 2 cents.

    Offline KelliWolfe

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    I have seen readers complain about pure male POV books on blogs and forums because it's harder for them to identify with the female character. Dual POV is much more popular, although there are a few people doing well with male-only POV like Lauren Blakely, mostly in erom or very steamy romance. I believe that was Chance's forte as well.  ;D

    Olivia Blake | Lessons in Love

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    The first thing I hope for when I see a guy writing a romance novel is a book from the male perspective. These are written so infrequently that when done we'll they are some of my favorites. Why don't male writers think to do this. There are very few guys that truly understand what a woman thinks, but so many women that would love to know what a guy is thinking.
    Why pretend to be something your not and instead work to your strengths. Just my 2 cents.

    I don't think romance readers want any old male perspective. There are plenty of books written by men about the male perspective, but they aren't usually written in a way that makes the men appealing.

    Romance heroes have a really idealized perspective. The way the perspective is idealized varies greatly, from guys who are obsessive to the point of law breaking stalker to guys who are sweetly broken to guys who are funny and over the moon in love, but they are certainly idealized.

    Gender roles are a huge thing in romance and there's a lot of room for us to improve. Romance heroes are only allowed to show vulnerability in certain ways, but that is a conversation for another day.

    Offline AuthorX

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    You can have a pen name, and respond to emails or whatever without revealing who you really are. That's not the problem. The problem, which has been explained over and over again to the point we're all going to be arrested for beating dead horses, is that some people have gone too far and are interacting with readers on a far more personal level. Far, far more personal. It's nasty, it's disturbing (especially to women), and it shouldn't be done.

    For the record, I think J K Rowling went too far in her bio for her male pen name, in that she claimed military service and other things she did not have. To me, that's overstepping. Veterans in particular don't like people claiming to have served who didn't. I'm a veteran, I know.

    J K Rowling is a fiction writer. Pen names are fiction.

    I don't understand why people expect that anonymous names on the internet or books that are clearly labeled as fiction are supposed to have any ounce of truth. Hundreds of thousands of people are getting catfished on Social Media every day. Hundreds of Thousands (or maybe more) pen names have made-up fake bios. And 'til this day, most people have no idea who those pen names really are.

    I will say this with the warning that I don't and have never interacted with my readers on a personal level. I don't ask them personal questions or anything like that... But how does it harm anyone if another author does? If a reader feels that an author is getting personal, they can simply disengage. They are (I assume) adults. And any adult with who was raised with even the most basic education should know that a.) they are talking to stranger they've never met, and b.) they're under no obligation to talk to anyone on a personal level.

    Sometimes it seems like people hold readers to such a low bar... Like they aren't adults capable of knowing that they don't have to engage with strangers and trapped in a system that they can't walk away from. Are readers really that stupid that they automatically assume that they personally know someone because they've read a bio an authors bio? Let's give readers an ounce of credit here... Only the dumbest of the dumb should know that everything they see on the internet and in a book isn't true.

    Offline caitlynlynch

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    A while back, I read a book by one of the biggest stuffers who disappeared in the recent purge. I was reading it for market research, wondering what was in this book which had it in the Top 100 on Amazon.

    (Naive little me didn't know bookstuffing was even a thing back then).

    I was 100% convinced that this purportedly female pen name, who claimed to be a lawyer in New York, was male and has literally no clue how female anatomy worked. Either that or the book's heroine was actually MEANT to have hips with 360% rotation like a Barbie doll.

    Also, definitely not a lawyer considering the medical malpractice by a 'doctor' in the book, but that's small potatoes in comparison to the rest.

    Offline JWright

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    Yes, I've had people with fake Facebook accounts try to befriend me, been lied to on dating sites, etc.  I don't like fake authors anymore than any of that.  So if you aren't who you say you are I don't want to read your books.  If it's a female name with a low key bio that doesn't try to get personal with me and I enjoy the book fine - whether you are male or female doesn't really matter.  You start embellishing and making stuff up, then I'd rather not read you.  And it does matter to me when you try to pass off as someone in a minority group that you are not a part of, or to pass yourself off as having served in the military.  There's probably some other stuff too. I'm a reader as much as a writer and I do have opinions on what and who I want to support and spend my time reading. 

    My main genre is epic fantasy.  Two of my favorite authors are Brandon Sanderson and N.K. Jemisin.  I don't really think their gender, race or sexual orientation really matters in terms of me enjoying their books although I'm sure it informs their work just like all of our own personal experiences do.

    I personally am never going to put out a huge chunk of my personal life on the internet - including any author stuff - bio, social media, newsletter, but what I will share is going to be real. If you want to do something different, go for it.  I don't really get those who like to hang out in the gray areas getting upset. 

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