Author Topic: I do not consent to the current ToS which was modified without my consent  (Read 10522 times)  

Offline Nic

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Re: On the topic of Pen Names
« Reply #25 on: June 29, 2018, 12:03:17 am »
I have mentioned before that I had a hard time forgiving a female author who writes M/M romances who for more than a decade presented herself a gay man. It waltzes right on the edge of unethical, but I don't think quite crossed over it. It wasn't the male part but the gay part that I hated.

If you are talking about who I believe you are talking, then they never stated that they were gay. No, failure of contradicting people who assume this, isn't a lie. Not even close to one.

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    Offline Nic

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #26 on: June 29, 2018, 12:07:40 am »
    I don't see how it's any more unethical than for a male to use a female pen to gain access to the vast majority of the M/F romance market. Either way you're presenting yourself as someone you're not in order to gain access to a market where readership bias might otherwise prevent your books from being read.

    Agreed. The whole hassle about pen names of the opposite gender or another sexuality is very hard to understand. That's like saying Robin Williams' movies have ceased to be watchable now that we know that he wasn't as funny inside as he pushed outside.  Williams' smiling facade is what sold his movies to the majority of people.

    Offline jb1111

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #27 on: June 29, 2018, 01:38:24 am »
    I don't see how it's any more unethical than for a male to use a female pen to gain access to the vast majority of the M/F romance market. Either way you're presenting yourself as someone you're not in order to gain access to a market where readership bias might otherwise prevent your books from being read.

    If readership bias is the problem, why should authors be blamed for working with/around it?







    Offline Goulburn

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #28 on: June 29, 2018, 02:03:10 am »
    I simply liked to separate my private life from my public life. You don't always want to be asked questions about your creative work in a private life situation, or the reverse. I like using pen names, but make no secret, where it matters, that they are all me.
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    Offline DarkScribe

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #29 on: June 29, 2018, 02:13:53 am »
    I have mentioned before that I had a hard time forgiving a female author who writes M/M romances who for more than a decade presented herself a gay man. It waltzes right on the edge of unethical, but I don't think quite crossed over it. It wasn't the male part but the gay part that I hated.

    I can see a woman who is attracted to men being emotionally/sexually similar to a man who is attracted to men. Physical mechanics aside, is there really a problem with the romantic/sexual aspects?

    Offline unkownwriter

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #30 on: June 29, 2018, 04:03:23 am »
    I think what it all comes down to is, what is the intent? The line from okay to icky is probably a fine one in most cases, might depend on the situation, and in the end comes down to personal opinion.

    If you're not bothered by lying and using a persona to get intimate details of  stranger's personal life, and are prepared to take the heat when you're discovered, then continue on. If not, might be time to rethink the whole thing. That's pretty much the same with almost any situation. If it works for you, great, but if not, regroup.

    Offline DonovanJeremiah

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #31 on: June 29, 2018, 04:40:56 am »
    I think what it all comes down to is, what is the intent? The line from okay to icky is probably a fine one in most cases, might depend on the situation, and in the end comes down to personal opinion.

    How does one determine intent when looking at a pen name?

    Usually, this conversation crops up after someone has been outed.

    Yet I have seen how this whole debacle (not on kboards but out there in socialmedialandia) has managed to point accusatory fingers at people who simply use pen names for business or personal protection, accused of being dishonest and disingenuous and gross for having a pen name at all.

    They try to choose names that point to obvious choices of pen names, and they're smeared.

    They try to choose normal sounding names, and they're smeared.

    Their business practices are called into question and they're accused of acting with ill-intent. They are immediately conflated with people who did use pen names for bad intent as if they all are doing it.

    Do pen names need to carry a disclaimer?

    "This is a pen name and is not intended to present as a real life person. This pen name was chosen specifically to appeal to the current segment of genre readers the writer wishes to write in. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental."

    If you're not bothered by lying and using a persona to get intimate details of  stranger's personal life, and are prepared to take the heat when you're discovered, then continue on. If not, might be time to rethink the whole thing. That's pretty much the same with almost any situation. If it works for you, great, but if not, regroup.

    Sadly, this sort of behavior is not solely in the purview of writers. It's also the risk we all take when interacting online. As people who engage in online social activity, seems to me we hold some self-accountability to be careful who we give our personal information to begin with.

    What gets me is that when I first started on the internet, this was par for the course. Don't give people your real name or identifying information. On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

    Offline Talbot

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #32 on: June 29, 2018, 06:31:34 am »
    I'll always use a pen name, simply because several writers, a porn star, and a seafood restaurant chain share my real name. (Yikes. My poor name.) I gotta differentiate myself somehow.

    Meanwhile, the experiences that shaped my writing are still mine, my style is still mine, the soul of the stories I'm telling are all mine, mine, mine, whether I use a pen name or not. It's called being practical. Anyone that says I'm 'hiding' or accuses me of dishonest wrongdoing is a ding dong.

    Offline jb1111

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #33 on: June 29, 2018, 07:04:51 am »
    Meanwhile, the experiences that shaped my writing are still mine, my style is still mine, the soul of the stories I'm telling are all mine, mine, mine, whether I use a pen name or not. It's called being practical. Anyone that says I'm 'hiding' or accuses me of dishonest wrongdoing is a ding dong.

    I use a pen name, and I feel the same way as you expressed here. I also draw from my own experiences at times. A lot of what I write about comes from real life, mixed with total fiction and made up fantasy elements.

    I don't think one using a pen name necessarily mean everything about that person is phony. Like anything, any field, it's a mixed bag. There are un-genuine people out in the world with real names.

    I chose to use a pen name because of the genre I write in, plus I needed a name that was more memorable than my own. After all, you want people to remember the name of the author in case they have trouble finding your books using the regular search functions. A memorable name will make it easier for them to find your work in that case.

    Offline Not any more

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #34 on: June 29, 2018, 07:28:40 am »
    I'll always use a pen name, simply because several writers, a porn star, and a seafood restaurant chain share my real name. (Yikes. My poor name.) I gotta differentiate myself somehow.

    Wow! You are the real Olive Garden?!? ;)
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    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #35 on: June 29, 2018, 11:29:34 am »

    Reverse discrimination is every bit as evil as discrimination. Trying to have it both ways is pure hypocrisy. As long as groups of readers are heavily biased against outsiders writing in "their" genres writers are going to adopt whatever personas they need to successfully write in the genres they love, just as women and PoC did back when science fiction was considered a playground for White Men Only, and men have done in romance since Mills&Boone first started. It simply isn't fair to blame the writers for a situation created by reader bias and prejudice which either shuts them out of the market completely or holds them up to an unfair higher standard in order to be even moderately successful. It's wrong when it's done to female science fiction writers, it's wrong when it's done to male M/F romance writers, it's wrong period. But the reality is that it exists, and writers are going to do what they have to do to get around it, as they have done ever since the invention of the novel.






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    « Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 12:53:54 pm by Ann in Arlington »

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    Offline JWright

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #36 on: June 29, 2018, 11:33:58 am »
    Reader bias?  Yes, as a lesbian I am much more likely to pick up a lesbian-themed book that is written by a lesbian than a straight person.  Why shouldn't I?

    Someone profiting off a community when they get sit back and enjoy their heterosexual rights and pretend to be something they are not is not cool with me at all.

    If a straight person writes a good book with LGBTQ characters I am all for it.  If someone wants to put up an author bio that doesn't claim sexual orientation in any way in lesbian romance go for it.

    Obviously I don't get to dictate what others do, but yeah I think it's wrong to try and profit off a minority group that doesn't have the same rights and privileges that you do.  You get to make money but not have to  take both the bad and good that comes with being a member of that community.


    Reverse discrimination is every bit as evil as discrimination. Trying to have it both ways is pure hypocrisy. As long as groups of readers are heavily biased against outsiders writing in "their" genres writers are going to adopt whatever personas they need to successfully write in the genres they love, just as women and PoC did back when science fiction was considered a playground for White Men Only, and men have done in romance since Mills&Boone first started. It simply isn't fair to blame the writers for a situation created by reader bias and prejudice which either shuts them out of the market completely or holds them up to an unfair higher standard in order to be even moderately successful. It's wrong when it's done to female science fiction writers, it's wrong when it's done to male M/F romance writers, it's wrong period. But the reality is that it exists, and writers are going to do what they have to do to get around it, as they have done ever since the invention of the novel.
    « Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 11:39:21 am by JulesWright »

    Offline JWright

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #37 on: June 29, 2018, 12:24:47 pm »
    I don't know about the specific author ShelleyK mentioned but agree with everything in the post. 

    I am white and I would never try to claim I was African American, Latina/Latino, Asian, Native American, or any other ethnicity other than being white or just not saying anything.  I think that would be totally wrong.  I have faced homophobia including being denied service and direct physical threats along with other things and now many of my civil rights are directly on the line, but I do not live my life as a person of color every day and face what they have to face.

    I would never claim military service.  Have I ever faced the horrors of war directly or come home with PSTD or face other issues that veterans do?  No I haven't.

    I wouldn't claim I was in a wheelchair or any other physical disability.  Do I know what it is like to not have use of my legs or face physical challenges every day of my life?  No I do not.

    I don't know where people's life experiences and the things they face every day trumps trying to make money off of them by claiming you are like them when you really aren't to try to increase your sales in a niche that you think might be less crowded.

    I don't think pen names are wrong at all but when you try to start profiting off of people who live lives that you do not by claiming to be like them I do think that is unethical.     


    « Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 12:29:53 pm by JulesWright »

    Offline Queen Mab

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #38 on: June 29, 2018, 12:50:48 pm »
    I particularly love Josh Lanyon's writing, so I was disappointed when I found out, but I had suspected. Her writing has changed, too. It's darker now and less sexy. It's like she enjoys it less.

    But what really got me was I remember being on a forum, I can't remember where, unfortunately, and one of Josh's female writer friends piped in to angrily say that she knew and could confirm JL was a man! I presume she knew she was lying. It was an unhealthy masquerade, in the end.

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    Online Ann in Arlington

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #39 on: June 29, 2018, 12:55:16 pm »
    some purely political commentary has been excised from the thread . . . .
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    Offline R.U. Writing

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #40 on: June 29, 2018, 01:09:08 pm »
    We are talking about fiction, correct? If the entire book is make-believe, then why does it matter if the name is real?

    Nonfiction, where the author's ethos is an integral part of the book's credibility, is a different story.

    Offline AuthorX

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #41 on: June 29, 2018, 01:24:53 pm »
    I only write under one name nowadays, but if I ever have the urge to write under a pen name again, Ill use whatever gender, race, and sexuality I want for my fictional pen. Ill claim to have cats or dogs or like hunting when Ive never shot a gun in my life.

    If someone reads my book, loves it, and then suddenly changes their 5 star review to a 1 star because they find out *gasp* Im not having sex with the people they thought I was and I havent had a cat in years, then thats their own personal demons they can deal with. Talk about first world problems... lol

    I wouldnt ever lie about my background if I were writing non-fiction, because that can be seen as fraud. But when Im writing fiction, I can be Dr. Suess, Dr. Suzette, or Dr. Whatever-I-Wanna be.


    Offline GPB

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #42 on: June 29, 2018, 01:37:32 pm »
    I've had two novels and novella with a female protagonist in the urban fantasy category commercially published by a Harlequin imprint. My very well-known editor pretty much required a more gender-neutral pseudonym (I'm male). For them, it's just branding and marketing strategy. I still listed my legal name on the copyright page and in my author bio. Almost no one notices. I get referred to as "she" in online discussions all the time, though there's usually that one person who will inevitably chime in with "she's a he" if the discussion goes on long enough.

    I think the vast majority of readers don't care, and another fraction is accepting of some ambiguity. If you construct a fictional biography to deceive the remaining fraction that does care that you're someone you're not, especially if that someone is part of a marginalized group, then I think you've crossed an ethical line. Not that crossing ethical lines is uncommon in marketing, of course.

    I don't really judge people for their biases. I have some. I enjoy SFF written by men more often than I enjoy SFF written by women, and yet some of my favorite SFF authors are women. If Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden puts "Robin Hobb" on the cover of her excellent SFF novels to save me from my own biases, I should probably just thank her for it. If she'd constructed a whole fictional male persona and biography for "Robin Hobb," I'd feel differently about it.
         

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    Offline boba1823

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #43 on: June 29, 2018, 03:31:48 pm »
    Those feelings of deception are not feelings I ever want to put any of my readers heads. But if that's okay with you, then I guess that's just who you are.

    The trick is, don't let the readers find out that you've never had a cat  ;D

    Really, though, if an author is going to go through the trouble of creating a fake persona to go along with a pseudonym - something I wholeheartedly endorse - it's kind of self-defeating to subsequently reveal to your readers that it's all fake.

    Offline boba1823

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #44 on: June 29, 2018, 03:58:27 pm »
    I'm sure it's not happening by choice. Most of the stories I've come across are similar to the Josh Lanyon story. It comes out, whether you want it to or not.

    Things really don't just come out by magic though. Things come out when people let them out. Yeah, some people just aren't any good at keeping a secret I guess. But if someone is privacy minded to begin with, it's not really that hard to not let things come out.

    Offline MyraScott

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #45 on: June 29, 2018, 05:10:04 pm »
    I'm actually pretty surprised at the amount of people I've seen say it's unethical to have a persona for a pen name.

    Who are these people? Are they the ones with the straw man factory?  They are never around to speak up for themselves.
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    Offline NedMarcus

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #46 on: June 29, 2018, 05:32:56 pm »

    Nonfiction, where the author's ethos is an integral part of the book's credibility, is a different story.

    I can't see why it would make any difference.


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    Offline NedMarcus

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #47 on: June 29, 2018, 05:36:35 pm »
    Who are these people? Are they the ones with the straw man factory?  They are never around to speak up for themselves.

    They don't seem to be here, but I've seen heated discussions on FB about this in the past.


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    Offline R.U. Writing

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #48 on: June 29, 2018, 07:39:29 pm »
    I can't see why it would make any difference.

    Uhh..cuz I'd prefer not to read a book about brain surgery written by a brick layer.

    Offline Hoop

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #49 on: June 29, 2018, 07:57:19 pm »
    I think what it all comes down to is, what is the intent?

    No, that's not what it comes down to.

    It's no one's business why an author uses a pen name.



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