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Offline C Winters

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Re: On the topic of Pen Names
« Reply #100 on: July 01, 2018, 07:02:25 am »
I like reading author bio's. It's fun. Sometimes they are funny, sometimes they are dull as dishwater. I don't give a monkeys if they are true, I prefer the funny ones.

I write under two names, and the author bio's read completely differently, but they are both still me, just different parts of me. One talks about where I live and my family and the other talks about what jobs I've had and what qualifications. Both true but totally different information.

Apart from the cat.

The cat is dead, long live the cat!


I wish this was everyone's position. Whatever happened to having a bit of fun with the author bio, really getting into the CHARACTER of your pseudonym?



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
« Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 12:31:10 pm by Becca Mills »

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    Offline C Winters

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #101 on: July 01, 2018, 07:47:53 am »
    Some people think differently than you do. Sorry. But that's just the way it is. I accept that some people won't see the whole persona deception as wrong. How about trying to accept that some people think the other way?



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca

    Using a pen name is not deception. Creating a fake author bio and supporting that with public posts in guise of the author persona is not that either. It's a bit of fun. An expression of creativity. We're not allowed to have that? Why? Cause some people take it way, way WAAAAYYYY too seriously?



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 12:35:20 pm by Becca Mills »

    Offline JWright

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #102 on: July 01, 2018, 08:33:23 am »
    Some people lie and then totally convince themselves that they absolutely need to lie to succeed or whatever their reason is. To me it seems we live in a time where this is increasing.  And it's not just writers doing it.

    Like the people who have had their accounts closed recently. Some of them obviously are intelligent and resourceful to dream some of this stuff up, so they probably could make decent money by honest means but they would rather be devious and make even more.

    People convincing themselves that they absolutely have to make up an entire persona for themselves to succeed when there is plenty of evidence to the contrary of people succeeding by writing great books and just being themselves - which doesn't mean you have to use your legal name or tell people anything about yourself that you don't want to.

    People convince themselves that they really do need to lie or cut corners or cheat and that seems to be on the rise in our society.  I know it's always been there, so maybe it's not increasing but to me it feels like it is.

    Really, I don't think most writers lead exciting lives and don't think readers expect them to.  I think most readers just want to read great books and if you are just yourself on social media, your newsletter, etc. that's all you need - which being yourself just means revealing whatever you want to.  If you get to the point of JK Rowling level or something and your books are being made into movies then maybe you have something exciting to talk about.

    There are people who blatantly lie about being a member of a minority group that they don't belong to knowing full well that if the truth comes out at least some of their readers are going to be p*ssed.  There are some writers who fake military service or other things to sell more books.

    I swear Kboards is an interesting place.  Right is wrong, wrong is right, up is down, down is up for some people, lol, and the arguments for it never stop coming.



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 12:51:09 pm by Becca Mills »

    Offline C Winters

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #103 on: July 01, 2018, 08:41:36 am »
    Some people lie and then totally convince themselves that they absolutely need to lie to succeed or whatever their reason is. To me it seems we live in a time where this is increasing.  And it's not just writers doing it.

    Like the people who have had their accounts closed recently. Some of them obviously are intelligent and resourceful to dream some of this stuff up, so they probably could make decent money by honest means but they would rather be devious and make even more.

    People convincing themselves that they absolutely have to make up an entire persona for themselves to succeed when there is plenty of evidence to the contrary of people succeeding by writing great books and just being themselves - which doesn't mean you have to use your legal name or tell people anything about yourself that you don't want to.

    People convince themselves that they really do need to lie or cut corners or cheat and that seems to be on the rise in our society.  I know it's always been there, so maybe it's not increasing but to me it feels like it is.

    Really, I don't think most writers lead exciting lives and don't think readers expect them to.  I think most readers just want to read great books and if you are just yourself on social media, your newsletter, etc. that's all you need - which being yourself just means revealing whatever you want to.  If you get to the point of JK Rowling level or something and your books are being made into movies then maybe you have something exciting to talk about.

    There are people who blatantly lie about being a member of a minority group that they don't belong to knowing full well that if the truth comes out at least some of their readers are going to be p*ssed.  There are some writers who fake military service or other things to sell more books.

    I swear Kboards is an interesting place.  Right is wrong, wrong is right, up is down, down is up for some people, lol, and the arguments for it never stop coming.


    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca

    Don't conflate fake bios with LYING. Just don't do it. It's not the same thing. Is there a difference between an author with a fake bio and an author with a real one? Nope. Read and enjoy the books you like. Fake or real bio changes nothing - unless it's non fiction of course.

    The fact you mention JK Rowling as some example to behold is telling - everyone knows JK started a fake pen name with a fake bio as a mystery writer well after her success. Did some people have a problem with it? Sure. The minority.


    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 12:52:41 pm by Becca Mills »

    Offline JWright

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #104 on: July 01, 2018, 08:45:06 am »
    I read an author bio maybe once.  It's not a massive thing to me.  But really C. Winters, if there is no difference between a real and fake bio then why have a fake one to begin with.

    Yes, people lie when they absolutely don't have to.

    Lol, you are amusing.

    Offline C Winters

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #105 on: July 01, 2018, 08:49:52 am »
    I read an author bio maybe once.  It's not a massive thing to me.  But really C. Winters, if there is no difference between a real and fake bio then why have a fake one to begin with.

    Yes, people lie when they absolutely don't have to.

    Lol, you are amusing.

    Amazon won't delete print books from an author profile. I had to change my name to disassociate from those books. I wrote them when I was young and inexperienced. Pen names are branding.

    Offline JWright

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #106 on: July 01, 2018, 08:52:28 am »
    Amazon won't delete print books from an author profile. I had to change my name to disassociate from those books. I wrote them when I was young and inexperienced. Pen names are branding.

    I have said numerous times in this thread that I don't see anything wrong with pen names.  One person objects to pen names.  I haven't seen anyone else who has.

    Offline SalaciousStories

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #107 on: July 01, 2018, 09:02:55 am »
    What's in a name? A genre fiction author by any other name would...write genre fiction, I assume?  ;D

    Seriously though, use a pen name if you like. You are lying to exactly zero people, and the vast, vast majority of readers (and authors) have historically been (and continue to be) just fine with it.

    Offline C Winters

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #108 on: July 01, 2018, 09:05:11 am »
    I have said numerous times in this thread that I don't see anything wrong with pen names.  One person objects to pen names.  I haven't seen anyone else who has.

    Right you object to the bio. I disagree with both objections for the same reason, so you can see how I will get confused. I don't care about reasons for creating a fake bio. The biggest argument on the board that I gathered was that it HURTS people. The same way lying hurts people.

    Uh, no it doesn't. If you get hurt by fake author bio, that's on you. And readers also don't have the right to a true author bio or whatever and not giving one isn't breaking some unsaid code of ethics.

    My general feeling is that with author bios you can just make whatever up and it doesn't matter, period. And readers should know that what they're reading may or may not be true. That's part of the fun.



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 12:54:58 pm by Becca Mills »

    Offline C Winters

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #109 on: July 01, 2018, 09:07:58 am »
    What's in a name? A genre fiction author by any other name would...write genre fiction, I assume?  ;D

    Seriously though, use a pen name if you like. You are lying to exactly zero people, and the vast, vast majority of readers (and authors) have historically been (and continue to be) just fine with it.

    Yes, I wish everyone felt this way.

    Offline JWright

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #110 on: July 01, 2018, 09:10:03 am »
    I don't think fake personas - notice I said persona not pen name - are in any way necessary to succeed, so yes to me it's unnecessary lying and people convince themselves they need to lie to succeed.

    I agree with Usedtoposthere that it contributes to an erosion of trust and an increase in cynicism and I don't want to contribute to that.  Not everything online has to be fake.  Some of us can be real people and still protect our privacy in ways that we need to and still sell books.

    Now, you've convinced yourself that making up fake personas and running with them are just fine in your book, so there's no convincing you otherwise. I need to go finish mowing my lawn before it gets 100 degrees here.  Have a great day!



    Right you object to the bio. I disagree with both objections for the same reason, so you can see how I will get confused. I don't care about reasons for creating a fake bio. The biggest argument on the board that I gathered was that it HURTS people. The same way lying hurts people.

    Uh, no it doesn't. If you get hurt by fake author bio, that's on you. And readers also don't have the right to a true author bio or whatever and not giving one isn't breaking some unsaid code of ethics.

    My general feeling is that with author bios you can just make whatever up and it doesn't matter, period. And readers should know that what they're reading may or may not be true. That's part of the fun.


    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 12:57:27 pm by Becca Mills »

    Offline C Winters

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #111 on: July 01, 2018, 09:20:23 am »
    I don't think fake personas - notice I said persona not pen name - are in any way necessary to succeed, so yes to me it's unnecessary lying and people convince themselves they need to lie to succeed.

    I agree with Usedtoposthere that it contributes to an erosion of trust and an increase in cynicism and I don't want to contribute to that.  Not everything online has to be fake.  Some of us can be real people and still protect our privacy in ways that we need to and still sell books.

    Now, you've convinced yourself that making up fake personas and running with them are just fine in your book, so there's no convincing you otherwise. I need to go finish mowing my lawn before it gets 100 degrees here.  Have a great day!

    Cynicism is healthy and folks shouldn't be so trusting to begin with, but where there's a lack of understanding, it is the understanding of what a pen name and author persona is. To some, they're treating it like it's a big deal, that it's going to have an effect on people, that people can be somehow lured in by it and be consequently crushed later on. I'm of the opinion that an author name, bio, persona is not that important, and in some cases can just be a fun way to communicate with readers on a superficial level. The author doesn't take it seriously, the readers don't take it seriously, everyone has a good time.



    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 12:58:37 pm by Becca Mills »

    Offline JWright

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #112 on: July 01, 2018, 10:36:54 am »
    Good grief, people should lie to promote more cynicism? No, I'm not lying.  I'm not putting up fake personas.  I'm going to be honest and would rather develop trust and goodwill with readers. I don't have to divulge everything about myself online, I can still build a consistent brand and I feel I can succeed just fine that way. 

    I've seen lighthearted bios in cozy mystery for example, and yes they are fun and I have no objection to them.  It's obviously lighthearted.

    I object to people doing things like faking military service or claiming to be members of minority groups that they don't belong to and having a full-blown persona to go along with it - especially when it extends beyond the bio.  If they feel they are at a disadvantage as a writer due to "bias" they should try living the life of the people they are trying to fool and take money from and then come  back and tell me who is really the one disadvantaged.

    So far there's only one person on the thread who has objected to pen names.  That's it. One.

    It's hard to have a conversation with you because you conflate things and go around in circles.  Anyway, it's clear we strongly disagree with each other.  So, that's that.

    Now, back to mowing.


    Cynicism is healthy and folks shouldn't be so trusting to begin with, but where there's a lack of understanding, it is the understanding of what a pen name and author persona is. To some, they're treating it like it's a big deal, that it's going to have an effect on people, that people can be somehow lured in by it and be consequently crushed later on. I'm of the opinion that an author name, bio, persona is not that important, and in some cases can just be a fun way to communicate with readers on a superficial level. The author doesn't take it seriously, the readers don't take it seriously, everyone has a good time.


    Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca
    « Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 01:00:22 pm by Becca Mills »

    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #113 on: July 01, 2018, 10:49:37 am »
    Seeing reports. Locking to catch up on the thread.

    Edit: Reopening, after much clean up.

    C Winters, you may not post in this thread again.
    « Last Edit: July 01, 2018, 01:10:19 pm by Becca Mills »

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    Offline jb1111

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #114 on: July 02, 2018, 01:51:18 am »
    Hmm. My author bio is true. But not the whole truth. There are facets of myself not revealed in that bio, some of which might be admirable, others not so much. Is that lying by omission?

    I remember a meek, gentle little fellow on one of these writers' forums who wrote action mysteries. For his profile picture he wore a trenchcoat, dark glasses and a fedora, smoked a pipe, and maintained a grim, threatening frown. That picture of him was as far from being the real him as he could get. Was he lying?

    Technically, I suppose yeah.

    Morally? I don't think so. It's a form of acting, right? Just like people wearing sports uniform regalia (like a Football jersey) and they never played the game in their life, much less in the NFL. There are some forms of behavior that may be technically lying that do not hurt or harm anyone.

    I think the problem some may have is when a person's faked persona (lying) may harm others, or harm others by misleading them. I think most of us can agree that something like that is unethical. At the same time, an over-the-top bio by a romance or other light-fiction genre author that doesn't do any harm? = Small potatoes.

    Offline sandysocks

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #115 on: July 03, 2018, 11:23:17 am »
    The standard of moral/ethical behavior is not whether or not it hurts someone. Something can be immoral or unethical without demonstrably hurting someone.

    This is very interesting to me.

    If it hurts no one, what exactly makes it immoral or unethical?

    Offline sandysocks

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #116 on: July 03, 2018, 11:51:28 am »
    That's a much larger discussion about philosophy and religion. I would say if you don't believe in God and therefore some arbiter of absolute truth outside of humanity, you might not be inclined to agree with me on this point. But that's a discussion well beyond the scope of this thread, I think.

    So basically what you're saying is that God said so, so it's immoral.
    Okay, that's fine.
    I was hoping this might be a discussion on, you know, actuality and real life consequences (if there are any) rather than God says don't lie so it's immoral.

    If someone else wants to chime in to answer the question, I'm all ears!
    If it doesn't hurt someone, how could it possibly be immoral?

    Offline JWright

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #117 on: July 03, 2018, 12:17:59 pm »
    This is very interesting to me.

    If it hurts no one, what exactly makes it immoral or unethical?

    I don't do anything I think is wrong, whether anyone finds out or not, or whether I think anyone will be hurt in anyway by it.  If I lied about being Asian and no one found out I suppose you could technically say no one was "hurt."  However, I think it's wrong, so I won't do it.

    Offline sandysocks

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #118 on: July 03, 2018, 12:39:01 pm »
    So basically you're saying you don't believe God exists and therefore my point is stupid. Which is kind of exactly the point I was trying to get across. In order to debate whether something is ethical, the parties involved must have some base level agreement on where ethics even come from to get anywhere in the discussion. We don't. So you simply dismiss my viewpoint because you don't agree with where my viewpoint comes from and demand an argument based on your own viewpoint. It's silly to have this argument on a board about writing. What you want is a college ethics class, I think.

    I do believe in God, actually. But I also believe that morality exists because you should not hurt someone. Wrongs hurt someone or something, or else they're not wrongs. Why would they be wrongs if they don't hurt anyone? How could they be wrongs if they don't hurt anyone?

    If all you wanted to do was interject with a "because God says so", then that's fine, but don't pretend like I'm dismissing you because I'm questioning you.
    If you don't want to debate it, then that's fine, too, but that's also on you, not me.
    You're the one who brought up God's morality, after all. Not me.
    I'm looking for consequences on how a persona effects the person reading your book.

    If I call myself John Robert III and say that I'm writing this steamy gay romance from my beach house in California where my husband and I farm succulents with our four freakin' poodles but really I'm just a lady from Saskatchewan, who's snowed in, living a silly fantasy to get her through the winter, how does that effect literally anybody?

    Begging for donations under the persona? Sure. Immoral. You're stealing from people. You're tricking them into thinking this person needs money when this person isn't even real. You're a fraud. You're conning them.
    Asking for their personal information and taking advantage of them under this persona? You're catfishing them. You're just being nasty. You're defrauding their friendship in a way. You're conning them out of something that they probably wouldn't have given up otherwise, even if it's a little naive of them to have done so.
    Pretending to be black and have black experience and speaking from authority about blackness when you're not black and interacting with "other" black people and asking them for donations and support. That's wrong. That's a big fat lie. You're conning them. You're taking advantage of them. Catfish.

    But creating a little persona in your author blurb to match a specific genre so the reader has a nice little cherry on top of their entertainment, so the whole package comes together nicely and looks complete.... Who's that hurting?

    I think the other issues are not so much about the persona, but the actions taken after. I don't think that this is about personas, I think this is about con artists.
    The VAST majority of people who create fake little blurbs for there pen names are not con artists looking to take advantage of people, so I don't think that it's unethical or immoral to do so.

    Offline WHDean

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #119 on: July 03, 2018, 12:45:12 pm »
    So basically you're saying you don't believe God exists and therefore my point is stupid. Which is kind of exactly the point I was trying to get across. In order to debate whether something is ethical, the parties involved must have some base level agreement on where ethics even come from to get anywhere in the discussion. We don't. So you simply dismiss my viewpoint because you don't agree with where my viewpoint comes from and demand an argument based on your own viewpoint. It's silly to have this argument on a board about writing. What you want is a college ethics class, I think.

    Very well put. If two people don't agree on first principles, the debate is over.

    Even the line about bios is hard to draw sharply and straight from ethical principles. I happen to think an author falsely claiming to be "decorated U.S. Marine" falls under stolen valour. That doesn't physically harm anyone, but it violates social conventions around respecting military service. Others will probably disagree, but I don't particularly care.



    « Last Edit: July 03, 2018, 12:47:30 pm by WHDean »

    Offline WHDean

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #120 on: July 03, 2018, 12:56:41 pm »
    If I call myself John Robert III and say that I'm writing this steamy gay romance from my beach house in California where my husband and I farm succulents with our four freakin' poodles but really I'm just a lady from Saskatchewan, who's snowed in, living a silly fantasy to get her through the winter, how does that effect literally anybody?

    And when snowed-in lady gets reader emails, will she keep up the pretense? How far can she go before she steps over the line into conning? The real world doesn't conform to the simple demarcations you assume, as JR Tomlin says above; it can get ugly.

     

     

    Offline sandysocks

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #121 on: July 03, 2018, 01:14:22 pm »
    And when snowed-in lady gets reader emails, will she keep up the pretense? How far can she go before she steps over the line into conning? The real world doesn't conform to the simple demarcations you assume, as JR Tomlin says above; it can get ugly.

    Quite frankly, not everyone responds to readers. I don't. Even then, a simple "thank you for reading my book!" should suffice. It doesn't need to go further than that and honestly, when readers want to ask you personal questions, like you're friends or something, it creeps me out, like a lot. So I just don't entertain that. Fans get weird and entitled.

    So here's my question... is your problem with the persona, is your problem with making a little author blurb or are you taking it one step further and having a problem with conning and interacting with people while using that persona?
    Because I think those are two completely different things.

    But I actually really don't have a personal problem with any author responding to readers in that persona. I don't think you're conning anybody by pretending to be John Robert III by answering superficial questions about your story or about your persona because that's who the reader is asking. If you take it further than that and are like 'hey I'll let you into the mind of John Robert III for $15 a month', then I do think that's scammy, but I do also think it's an entirely different issue.

    Offline EggMcMuffin

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #122 on: July 03, 2018, 02:55:32 pm »
    This may be off topic, but I spent my childhood in a dictatorship. A good friend of my parents was an author. He wrote science fiction that could have been interpreted as being critical of the regime. One day, he just disappeared.

    I live in a free country now, but even after all these years, sharing anything about myself online makes me sick with fear. Especially in this age of misinformation, every little thing that's freely and innocently shared can be turned against you in a variety of ways. To me, using a pen name is not about hiding, or deceiving anyone. It's pure self-preservation, and it's so deeply ingrained that I don't think I'll ever be rid of it.

    So to anyone who thinks using a pen name is somehow unethical or scammy, I want to gently point out that perhaps you're speaking from a place of privilege. Just a thought.

    Offline Glis Moriarty

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #123 on: July 03, 2018, 03:27:52 pm »
    Would you think it was OK for a beggar to claim to be disabled and homeless if that weren't true?
    It wouldn't hurt anyone. Just a false bio.

    Offline jb1111

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    Re: On the topic of Pen Names
    « Reply #124 on: July 03, 2018, 06:27:36 pm »
    You are pretending that all authors act like you.

    If you blog for years under this persona, frequently interacting with readers on it presenting yourself as something that you are not, and I don't mean just snowed in, is that all right? Let's say you pretend you are a black man from an underprivileged background and much of your blog is about your black experience even though you're a middle-class white woman living in Orange County, CA, have you stepped over a line? I say yes. At the least, every single one of your sales was made under false pretenses, and if you think it won't get ugly WHEN you are found out (and you will be), I promise it is going to get ugly. And you will lose fans.

    OK. Point made. But how many authors go to that particular extreme?

    Most of the fake bios I've seen (at least the ones that look fake) are in top selling categories, where the fakey looking bios seem to be a non-issue to the readers.


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