Author Topic: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)  (Read 151336 times)  

Offline DonovanJeremiah

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I think my disconnect with all this pen name talk is that I simply don't care about authors' personal lives all that much. I don't care how much they watch hockey, or if their personal life is filled with excitement and adventure of hot air balloon rides and epic visits to foreign lands, or if they simply kick up their heels at the end of the day and binge watch Miss Fisher Mysteries.

All I care about is when is the next book due out because I want to read more.

There was an author I was following. He put out two books and I devoured both of them. I waited and waited for the third book. Years went by with no third book. I thought he was pulling a GRRM and it was just tough coming out and getting down. As a fellow author, I could empathize with that.

Finally, one evening years later, I decided to see if the third book was out yet and uncovered he suffered from severe depression and if I read it right lost the contract with the publisher because he couldn't deliver the third manuscript.

It saddened me to read that and I certainly felt for him. I hope he got help and was on the road to getting back on his feet again. That was the one time I actually cared about an author's life. I'm still very glad he didn't blast that all over his social media. Selfishly, all I wanted was the next book.

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    Offline Rick Gualtieri

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    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.

    Its very easy to say nobody in their right mind should get taken in by those Nigerian scams anymore, but people still do every day.

    You cant view the entire internet through your own eyes.  There are people out there who simply want to believe / trust that when someone says something is real that it is.

    Thats the danger.  People can easily be catfished into believing someone else is their friend or cares for them. I dont follow too much romance, but Ive seen some author groups. There can be a deeply personally connection there, and try as you might, you will get absolutely pounced on if you dare go in there and suggest that author is fake / phony / or only cares about them as dollar signs ... even if its the most true thing in the world.


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    Offline unkownwriter

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    Quote
    If a reader feels that an author is getting personal, they can simply disengage.

    Sure they can, and many do. But many people are very trusting, so when their "bestie" starts asking them about how many times they achieve orgasm, and do they do "it" while reading their books, since it's another woman it's probably okay to talk about it. And then you find out it's some guy pretending to be a woman, pretending to be your friend, using you to get some kind of thrill for themselves? Then yeah. Too far.

    It's easy to be fooled by people, especially on the Internet where you can lie better than a politician and most people wouldn't know what was the truth. That doesn't mean I disparage readers. Hell, I am a reader. I happen to be more cynical than most, but I've been hurt by experts, so I learned to see it coming.

    I really love how someone can take a perfectly rational statement and turn it around. Not. It's trying to disparage those of us who speak out against the bad actors. I don't like Hilary Clinton, therefore I'm a misogynist. Or I hate feminists. No, I don't like her because she's not worthy. She's earned it, believe me. So has Trump and probably 90% of the people in Washington. (Sorry to use politics, but it's the closest thing I could recall to refute some statements.)

    It's like I read someone defending Chance, saying he has to support his family, why are we so mean? He probably panicked when Amazon did something about reviews. HUH? I'd bet most of us have someone to support, if only ourselves, and none of us are too happy when we see some random crap from Amazon that shakes up our world. But you know what? The vast majority of us don't immediately turn to stuffing, incentivizing people to read to the end of a book, much less giving details on how to do it, or break Federal laws on contests. And this didn't happen overnight, people, this has been going on for a while.

    Stop excusing people from their bad behavior. It doesn't matter if it was the stuffing, or not, Amazon is buckling down and it's going to be a bumpy ride. Get yourself right, if you're not, or pay the piper. And stop trying to turn this on us, the ones who want indie publishing to be a good thing, not a black hat nightmare.

    Offline AuthorX

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    Its very easy to say nobody in their right mind should get taken in by those Nigerian scams anymore, but people still do every day.

    You cant view the entire internet through your own eyes.  There are people out there who simply want to believe / trust that when someone says something is real that it is.

    Thats the danger.  People can easily be catfished into believing someone else is their friend or cares for them. I dont follow too much romance, but Ive seen some author groups. There can be a deeply personally connection there, and try as you might, you will get absolutely pounced on if you dare go in there and suggest that author is fake / phony / or only cares about them as dollar signs ... even if its the most true thing in the world.


    The difference between Nigerian scams and a pen name is that is that Nigerian scams are actively harming people. Ive seen no evidence of authors using fictional pen names to harm people. There can be an emotional connection between readers and authors using pen names, but until I see an author extorting or abusing people via a fictional pen name, I see no harm.

    Whats funny is that Im guessing 100% of people in this board have read a book by an author under a pen name and just dont know it. Id totally understand if an author was using a pen name to lure people to their house or something of that nature, but we all walk into a book with full knowledge that the name on the cover is nothing but a set of letters from someone we nothing about. And even if we have seen the author at book signings or videos, we dont know that the author actually even wrote the book. It could just has well been ghostwritten by their personal assistant.

    Pen names are legal. We might not agree with the way some authors portray themselves on their fictional pen names, but we dont have to agree. Everyone has a different moral compass. Everyone has different moral and religious views, different views on sex, race, etc. And thats part of what makes writing great... Every book is different and every writer is different. We dont have the right to not be offended, but we do have the right to walk away or not engage.

    Until I see someone who actively harming people or doing something illegal or against a book platforms TOS, it is wrong to shame them, just because you disagree with them. If you really think people are unaware that many of their favorite authors are just pen names, just make pen name awareness day or something. I dont know if anyone would care though, because most readers just want to be fed good content.

    Offline Rick Gualtieri

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    The difference between Nigerian scams and a pen name is that is that Nigerian scams are actively harming people. Ive seen no evidence of authors using fictional pen names to harm people. There can be an emotional connection between readers and authors using pen names, but until I see an author extorting or abusing people via a fictional pen name, I see no harm.

    I dont know if youre being purposefully obtuse or simply not reading whats being said here.

    NOBODY (or at least not a lot) is saying pen names are wrong or illegal.

    What people are saying is that using a pen name in a deceptive or catfishing way is harmful. Ie pretending to be a female when youre really a male and asking your readers for deeply personal information based on the deception that youre just like them.

    And fine, you havent seen it happen. Thats cool. Ive never seen a live giant squid, but I believe they exist.

    Even if its rare, weve already had people on this board confess theyve done it.
    « Last Edit: June 27, 2018, 05:01:42 am by Rick Gualtieri »


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    Offline 101569

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    The difference between Nigerian scams and a pen name is that is that Nigerian scams are actively harming people. Ive seen no evidence of authors using fictional pen names to harm people. There can be an emotional connection between readers and authors using pen names, but until I see an author extorting or abusing people via a fictional pen name, I see no harm.

    Whats funny is that Im guessing 100% of people in this board have read a book by an author under a pen name and just dont know it. Id totally understand if an author was using a pen name to lure people to their house or something of that nature, but we all walk into a book with full knowledge that the name on the cover is nothing but a set of letters from someone we nothing about. And even if we have seen the author at book signings or videos, we dont know that the author actually even wrote the book. It could just has well been ghostwritten by their personal assistant.

    Pen names are legal. We might not agree with the way some authors portray themselves on their fictional pen names, but we dont have to agree. Everyone has a different moral compass. Everyone has different moral and religious views, different views on sex, race, etc. And thats part of what makes writing great... Every book is different and every writer is different. We dont have the right to not be offended, but we do have the right to walk away or not engage.

    Until I see someone who actively harming people or doing something illegal or against a book platforms TOS, it is wrong to shame them, just because you disagree with them. If you really think people are unaware that many of their favorite authors are just pen names, just make pen name awareness day or something. I dont know if anyone would care though, because most readers just want to be fed good content.

    I don't really care if the person is male, female, or even human that writes the book I read. As long as  its a good read, I'm happy. I have always understood that the names on a book aren't always peoples real names even as a child. I don't care who writers are as people, but then I don't follow them tweet them or check to make sure they ate breakfast and their cat didn't steal their knitting. Be whoever you want to be when writing a book. Once you hit social media that is a different story. People believe what you are telling them to be true. The more you relate to them the more they feel they are getting to know you better. That is the purpose of social media. People have made social media into a marketing forum, but it wasn't created with that intent (maybe). When you portray yourself as something you aren't, you are betraying people's trust. Whether that's the way you view it or not. Does it usually matter. Probably not unless its a touchy/emotional topic for people. Do I care that you told me that  you had toast for breakfast, but really had a full English. Nope.  On the other hand if you are talking about something emotionally poignant. I care because it matters. No faster way to alienate a person then they feel betrayed by someone.
    Does it matter to me? As an author it should. The last thing I want to do is risk alienating my readers. That seems to be the fastest way to kill a career. We can moralize it all we want, but it doesn't matter what we think either way it matters what they feel. So risk total annihilation if its worth it to you.

    Offline Elizabeth S.

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    There was recently a husband and wife team who pretended to be a bisexual man. They created a whole persona and even a kid for him, iirc. They used that persona to get a foothold in MM romances. They also had a Patreon where people could support them.

    Just one example of someone doing this and actively harming people. Look up the controversy if you want all the details; saying anything further here is probably beyond the scope of these forums.

    There's also a white man who pretended he was Asian early in his career to get a foothold in the comic book industry. These things actively hurt other creators.

    Something being legal doesn't mean it's ethical. Catfishing and appropriating aren't any more ethical just because an author is the one doing them.

    Offline Justawriter

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    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.

    I think she went too far in the bio too. A bio is talking about a real person, not a character. A real person wrote that book and to say that person had military experience when they didn't, to me crosses the line. I'm also not a fan of authors using stock photos as their bio pic. I've seen some of the scammers doing that, the men pretending to be women who use a stock photo and totally fake bio.  If you want to have any kind of a relationship with your readers, I think it's hard to do that if its based on lies. 

    Offline AuthorX

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    What people are saying is that using a pen name in a deceptive or catfishing way is harmful. Ie pretending to be a female when youre really a male and asking your readers for deeply personal information based on the deception that youre just like them.



    The moment you create a pen name, you are catfishing and being deceptive, since you're claiming an identity of a fictional entity that isn't your true identity. It's not at all harmful to do this, but according to your claim, it is.

    I did see the posts about a romance author who was supposedly male who wrote under a female pen name and sent emails to his readers asking silly questions like when their first orgasm was. Was it ethical to do this? Of course not... Was it even necessary? Probably not. Whether it was wrong or not is in the eye of the beholder, but he didn't do anything illegal.

    But claiming that people were harmed because of something like this is reall over-the-top. I'm certain that a lot of readers were butthurt or offended that they told some guy about their sex life but harmed? Lol... Anyone who responded to him did so with full knowledge that they were responding to someone they had never met. I'm certain that a lot of readers were butthurt and maybe even mad at themselves for blindly thinking they knew someone they never met, but no one was actually harmed.

    Being deceived, butthurt, offended, etc. doesn't constitute harm, and trying to say that every time someone gets angry or has a boo-hoo moment is harm is setting a dangerous precedent.


    Let me put it in perspective for you here. If I went on a date with someone whom I thought was a woman (due to outward appearances), and during that date, that person asked me personal details about myself. If I share those personal details with that person, and later on during the date, someone whispers in my ear, "You know that's a man, right?" Does that mean that I was harmed? Of course not. It means I was deceived. It means I am butthurt, and maybe even a little embarrassed that I talked to man as if she were a woman. It means that the person I went on a date with probably should have revealed to me that she was a man prior to going on a date with me, but she was under no obligation to do so. Nothing harmful or illegal happened, and the only person I have to blame is myself. You know what? I'll know better next time...

    And that's a real life scenario where there are actual physical dangers associated with being deceived. We're on here talking about fictional books from fictional pen names of people in fictional places that readers will never meet. If it weren't for other authors trying to impose their own personal ethics onto other authors, readers would probably never know who the real identity of their pen names are unless the owner of those pen name chose to divulge that information.

    I 100% agree with you that some authors disregard ethics when they create certain pen names, and I also disagree with authors (under pen names or not) requesting deeply personal information from their readers. But just because I disagree with what they do, doesn't mean people are being harmed.

    Online Anarchist

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    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.

    I used to have a female friend who was laughably gullible. She followed the same pattern: she'd meet a guy, proclaim how nice he was, and ask my opinion. I'd usually say "he's probably just trying to get in your pants."

    She'd dismiss my opinion, go out with the guy, and come crying because he bailed after they'd had sex.

    Some people trust everything they hear and everyone they meet. It's bizarre.


    Being deceived, butthurt, offended, etc. doesn't constitute harm, and trying to say that every time someone gets angry or has a boo-hoo moment is harm is setting a dangerous precedent.

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    Offline David VanDyke

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    Sorry, AuthorX, you're conflating two obviously different things, and definitely different degrees.

    1) A traditional, non-unethical pen name's purpose is to provide simple, noninteractive harmless cover persona for an author who'd rather not be a public figure--for whatever reason.

    2) The unethical part comes in when the real author brings that persona to life by interacting with people with the purpose of gain , whether that gain is monetary or personal/emotional. The examples cited clarify the principle--trying to market a book by having different pen names talk it up, and using a pen persona to worm its way into someone's personal life that would otherwise be inaccessible. There are no doubt other examples.

    The fact that 1 is okay does not make 2 okay.

    The fact that 2 is bad does not make 1 bad

    You said "The moment you create a pen name, you are catfishing..."

    That's where you've gone wrong. Maybe you don't understand the common definition of catfishing:" To lure (someone) into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona." Only be twisting the definition of "relationship" to its breaking point could merely having an ordinary pen name be considered "catfishing". Ask 100 literate people that question: "Does creating a pen name constitute catfishing?" and I'd be shocked if you got even one serious "yes" answer.


    Offline KelliWolfe

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    I don't think it's so much that these readers are gullible people; I think a lot of them are just desperate to connect to someone who they feel understands them and their experiences. There is a sense among many of them that because you wrote something that they connected with on a deeply emotional level that you get them and share a connection. At least it seems to be the case with romance readers where the novels tend to deal with very intimate emotions and situations. I don't have enough experience writing outside that realm to know if it's true for other genres or not. But I can tell you that I've had readers tell me ALL kinds of things that I would never dream of telling a perfect stranger. This has been in unsolicited fan mail, and some of it gets personal to the point of being disturbing - there are a lot of damaged people out there. I have since removed my email from my books and largely limit interactions to my Wordpress blogs where everything is public and it's safer for everybody. But this connection they feel makes it very easy for the unscrupulous to take advantage.

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    Offline boba1823

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    As we're already off on a tangent (and I'm having deja vu  :P), I thought I might as well bring up an earlier question that is also tangentially related - and that maybe recent developments have shed greater light upon:

    What are the implications of this whole debacle for the Romance market in particular?

    I recall, maybe a year ago or so, looking at the Amazon bestseller list for Romance and wondering, Is this what most Romance readers really like? At that time, the 'stuffer' type authors were even more prominent on the list than they have been recently; I started noticing maybe six months ago that the list was changing, with books from Amazon imprints and trad pubs more frequently appearing. In any case, it struck me as strange. Especially because Amazon's top Romance list looked really different from B&N or Kobo, and the kinds of Romance books that tended to show up on the NYT and USA Today bestseller lists.

    I have no doubt that some readers like books of this sort. The 'stuffer' variety, that is. But the situation is so nutso confusing that I hardly know what to think beyond that. Do the stuffers get their books to the top of the list because there are in fact hordes of readers who love them - more than readers who like what would generally be regarded as the higher quality types of Romance? Or are the stuffers just supremely good at reaching their niche of the reading market through expert and intensive marketing? (And on a related note: How much are they really earning from page reads per average borrow to fund this marketing? Some critics cite the potential maximum payout of $13 as if that's the average per borrow, which seems.. implausible in most any scenario. Surely precious few actual readers are reading 3000 pages, especially when 90%+ of those are coming from the same titles that have been stuffed into the author's last dozen releases. How much 'click to the back' type trickery is still going on, and how much does that impact the average?) Or are the rankings the result of even more nefarious activities, e.g. botted borrows and reads? If so, do these account for 10 percent of borrows? 50 percent? More?

    Yeah, I'm late to the game and it probably shows  ;D But the stuffer type books are just.. pretty much bewildering to me. I started out reading a mix of some of the classic Romance authors (Woodiwiss etc.) and random stuff from the Harlequin lines. I always thought that books from the Harlequin lines pretty much represented the low end of Romance: inexpensive books for people who liked to read a lot and weren't super picky about quality. From what I've read, many of them aren't all that good. (There are some pretty good ones mixed in there, though.) But almost none of them are really terrible. Now, I admit that I haven't read a huge selection from the stuffers, but I've read some. And.. wow, were they bad. Like are-you-sure-this-is-a-Romance? bad. Like 10x more text describing bodily fluids than text focused on anything emotional, bad. But maybe nowadays, that kind of bad is.. good? Hopefully this is something that will become clearer if Amazon continues to take action against the extra-naughties and creates a more level playing field.

    Offline AuthorX

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    Sorry, AuthorX, you're conflating two obviously different things, and definitely different degrees.

    1) A traditional, non-unethical pen name's purpose is to provide simple, noninteractive harmless cover persona for an author who'd rather not be a public figure--for whatever reason.

    2) The unethical part comes in when the real author brings that persona to life by interacting with people with the purpose of gain , whether that gain is monetary or personal/emotional. The examples cited clarify the principle--trying to market a book by having different pen names talk it up, and using a pen persona to worm its way into someone's personal life that would otherwise be inaccessible. There are no doubt other examples.

    The fact that 1 is okay does not make 2 okay.

    The fact that 2 is bad does not make 1 bad

    You said "The moment you create a pen name, you are catfishing..."

    That's where you've gone wrong. Maybe you don't understand the common definition of catfishing:" To lure (someone) into a relationship by means of a fictional online persona." Only be twisting the definition of "relationship" to its breaking point could merely having an ordinary pen name be considered "catfishing". Ask 100 literate people that question: "Does creating a pen name constitute catfishing?" and I'd be shocked if you got even one serious "yes" answer.


    I have to wholeheartedly disagree with you on this one. Pen names have been used for indirect personal and financial gain and have been for centuries, not only because people don't want to be public figures. Just because people use pen names to get their books in front of more eyes, doesn't mean that they're doing something bad.

    Here's a good reference of well-known women who've taken on male pen names so that their books would be taken more seriously:

    http://www.webdesignschoolsguide.com/library/10-famous-females-who-used-male-pen-names.html

    A quick quote about one of the mentioned authors:

    Quote
    Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin: Born in Paris in 1804, Dupin is known in history almost solely by her male pseudonym George Sand. Her first novel Indiana was published in 1832 under this pen name as well as every subsequent publication that followed. Sand wrote dozens of novels and memoirs as well as several works of literary criticism and political discussion. Interestingly, Sands adoption of male qualities did not stop with her male pen name. Sand made a significant stir during her time for wearing mens clothing in public and smoking tobacco in public (two activities that women during this time were not permitted to do). Sands fame has lived on through history with several references in modern culture and several different portrayals in film.


    For centuries women wrote under men's pen names so that more people would read their books. Nowadays, a lot of men write romance under female pen names so that women take their books seriously and women still write under male-dominated genres with male pen names so that their books are taken more seriously.


    The only reason this is getting attention now is due to the #cockygate #tiffanygate #bookstuffers and other unrelated things that are causing a firestorm in the author community. Authors are obviously very upset at the idea that they may be facing financial harm due to this, and people are using the heat from the firestorm to somehow shove their personal/ethical disagreement with pen names into the same scamming and TOS violations box, which makes absolutely no sense.

    Again, I'll reiterate that I don't think it's ethical to ask readers that you've never met personal/sexual questions about their life, whether you're writing under a pen name or not. I find it creepy. But my ethical viewpoints don't matter... They're just my opinions that would equally be unethical for me to force down someone else's throat. And writing under any pen name you choose and assuming any identity you choose for fictional writing has been commonplace since well before any of us were born. Indeed, it is a different world now that we live in a world where we engage with each other on Social Media... But as adults with brains, we should know better than to share our whole lives with just someone just because they have a female pen name, male pen name, or a picture that we like on the internet.


    If/when an author actually commits a crime by using a pen name or actually does cause harm to someone by use of a pen name, my opinion may change. But as far as I know, there has never been anyone hurt by use of a pen name. I feel like a lot of people are looking at pen names as a gateway drug to murder or sexual exploitation, when in reality, people are just going the pen name rout so that people of whatever genre take their books more seriously. Some authors do take the roleplaying too far (in my opinion), but so long as the readers love reading their books, that should be all that matters. Readers can vote with their feet when they feel that an author crosses the line, and readers shouldn't be divulging personal information to any strangers in the first place.


    Offline MyraScott

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    If/when an author actually commits a crime by using a pen name or actually does cause harm to someone by use of a pen name, my opinion may change. But as far as I know, there has never been anyone hurt by use of a pen name. I feel like a lot of people are looking at pen names as a gateway drug to murder or sexual exploitation, when in reality, people are just going the pen name rout so that people of whatever genre take their books more seriously. Some authors do take the roleplaying too far (in my opinion), but so long as the readers love reading their books, that should be all that matters. Readers can vote with their feet when they feel that an author crosses the line, and readers shouldn't be divulging personal information to any strangers in the first place.

    I don't know if you really are just so stuck on this that you refuse to understand the argument, or you are purposefully fighting behind a straw man.

    No one is saying pen names cause crimes.  No one is saying pen names shouldn't be used, even if they imply a person entirely different from yourself.

    People ARE saying, over and over and over, that using your Asian woman pen name as a white man to farm your social media for kinky stories or build pseudo personal relationships IS WRONG.

    If you think that using your super fakey-fake pen name to create a persona and trick people into sharing intimate details with you and create a cult-like following of emotionally manipulated readers is fine and dandy, tell us why.

    But try not to post yet another "pen names are not bad" post because no one cares.  We don't think pen names are bad. 
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    I think this thread has derailed.


    Offline SalomeGolding

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    I don't know if you really are just so stuck on this that you refuse to understand the argument, or you are purposefully fighting behind a straw man.

    No one is saying pen names cause crimes.  No one is saying pen names shouldn't be used, even if they imply a person entirely different from yourself.

    People ARE saying, over and over and over, that using your Asian woman pen name as a white man to farm your social media for kinky stories or build pseudo personal relationships IS WRONG.

    If you think that using your super fakey-fake pen name to create a persona and trick people into sharing intimate details with you and create a cult-like following of emotionally manipulated readers is fine and dandy, tell us why.

    But try not to post yet another "pen names are not bad" post because no one cares.  We don't think pen names are bad.
    :D

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    Offline AltMe

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    I think this thread has derailed.

    Quite an epic highjack I thought.
    Gone to WriterSanctum.

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    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Well, gotta do something to kill the time until we find out more about why Amazon did what they did with those accounts, and whether the bans/suspensions will remain in place. And it's not a complete derailment since it does go towards the behavior of some of the people who owned the accounts in question.

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    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Kindle Unlimited. The KU readers tend to be much more forgiving of mediocre quality books than people shelling out $4.99 or more per title are. It's like a Chinese buffet place. The food may not be quite as good as at the restaurant down the street, but it's still going to be full of people there for the all-you-can-eat deal.

    Reminds me of the old John Pinette standup bit. "You go now! You here four hour!!! Four hour!!! You go home now!" Which is basically what the Scribd guys said to the romance readers there...

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    find out more about why Amazon did what they did with those accounts, and whether the bans/suspensions will remain in place.

    I'm sure some of those accounts are now in arbitration and, if successful, will return. I think Amazon's main goal was to cut the head off the snake.

    I noticed a few "proper" box-sets in several newsletters this morning. Their marketing appeal echoes the stuffers and sets are priced at $0.99. As long as each box-set holds non-redundant content, they're in the clear. I don't know that the expense of having six or eight new ghostwritten stories for each box-set really sets them back. They'll still make loads in KU. There's plenty of incentive for them to continue.

    Until box-sets are taken out of KU stuffers will persist, but they'll become known as, what? Boxers? They probably won't have the same success topping the ranks, but it will probably kill box-set opportunities for truly independent indies.


    Offline Phxsundog

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    I'm not too worried about boxed sets taking over the way stuffed books hiding under the collection label did. The main group of stuffers already tested boxed sets months ago when they were at their height. Several of them published sets with 3D covers and proper labeling. In every case the sets ranked far below what could do with stuffed books hidden under single titles. There's plenty to debate about boxed sets in KU. However they don't worry me like the collection and compilation retitling trick did before the hammer fell. It looks like the market is far less eager to pick up a properly labeled boxed set than a mess of stuffed content disguised as a single book.

    Offline Rick Gualtieri

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    It looks like the market is far less eager to pick up a properly labeled boxed set than a mess of stuffed content disguised as a single book.

    From what I can tell from my own test and time in the market, box set buyers are, at least partially, a separate (and likely) smaller audience.  The idea behind a properly labeled box set is you're offering an alternative method to buy for those who are specifically searching for that stuff.  The stuffers got greedy and wanted their massive sets to be front and center for everyone, regardless of whether customers wanted them.


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    Offline AuthorX

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    People ARE saying, over and over and over, that using your Asian woman pen name as a white man to farm your social media for kinky stories or build pseudo personal relationships IS WRONG.

    If you think that using your super fakey-fake pen name to create a persona and trick people into sharing intimate details with you and create a cult-like following of emotionally manipulated readers is fine and dandy, tell us why.



    Before I respond to these two points, let me first say that I don't have an Asian woman pen name, nor have I ever asked people for intimate details of anything, so your pronouns are completely wrong.

    And direct answers to your points:

    1.) I believe that pretending that you're someone else to build a psuedo-personal relationship and/or 'farming kinky stories' is wrong.

    2.) I believe that tricking people into giving you intimate details for whatever reason, whether you're doing it on a pen name or your real name, is wrong.


    I thought I pretty much clarified that in my previous posts, but I know that sometimes things can get past readers when they are emotionally charged about a subject. Hopefully it's very clear for you now.


    Let's also make it very clear to you that this discussion has not only been about psuedo-personal relationship building, farming kinky stories, or asking for kinky details. It has involved the broader topic of people using pen names that do not reflect their true identity and engaging with their readers as their pen name's persona. Just because a man uses a female pen name to write romance doesn't mean he is doing it for kinks. Just because a woman uses a man's pen name to write suspense doesn't means she is misleading the masses. Just because a straight white female writes a book about a Latino gay men, doesn't mean she has created a manipulative plan to mislead minorities and the LGBTQ community. The vast majority of pen names are simply writing books and using that identity to have a broader appeal to the genre's readers.


    Hopefully, I don't have to clarify that stance anymore. It is starting to derail the thread.

    Offline JWright

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    The book stuffers want to be able to release a new novel or even a short story but max out on page reads and regurgitate old stuff over and over again.  Single new novels sell the best so they found a clever way to package it to try to get the best of all worlds - which is deceptive to the reader who thinks they are getting a new book. 

    If it had just been legit box sets from the beginning then no one would have a problem with it.

    I also don't think readers are going to read the same stuff over and over again so the stuffers have to be getting illegitimate page reads because there would be no reason to have the same stuff in books over and over again if not that many legit readers are going to keep reading it.

    And as Phoenix and others have pointed out, many of the stuffers are also doing lots more than just stuffing - including illegal activities.

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