It isn’t #TalkShitThursday but I needed to talk…

Tonight I was happily browsing through Facebook and posting in some groups when I came across this article titled “Indie Community, You’re Being Catfished.” Being an avid member of this community, with the intention of staying, I naturally was intrigued and clicked to read.

Well, to say I was unimpressed is a HUGE understatement. Appalled, ashamed and above all infuriated, this article has left me disappointed and completely let down by people I thought were like-minded, honest and above all supportive. All I’ve managed to take from this, is a whole lot of confusion, a serious desire to cause tension and to knowingly invite distrust between author and reader.

Ok, so let me see if I can summarise what has been said in the article:

  • Pen names are SOMETIMES ok.
  • One is  not allowed to have a profile picture of something else other than your face. In the article you show a photo of a six pack, stating if their profile is this, it is likely that they are not an indie author. It is safe to assume you are only talking about male authors?
  • It is mentioned that pandering to your audience and telling interesting stories about yourself to sell more books. And that it is dishonest if done at expense of others.
  • One is supposed to be honest and open with all their readers about their WHOLE life, inclusive of pictures, but the next point states that personal issues are also not allowed to be mentioned. Because authors obviously do not have a real life beyond the indie community and shouldn’t expect sympathy (Which one is it?)
  • Anyone that relies on a gimmick to sell their work doesn’t believe in their on work, so why should the reader?
  • The only reason you can have a pen name is because “you don’t want people you know to know about your alternative career.” And if you’re published your publisher expects you to show who you are.
  • And lastly, my favourite (NOT), the comparison between pen names and a decision to not show your face to getting raped.

Did I get that all correct?? There seem to be a lot of conditions on what requirements you need to be an Indie Author and even though I think the real gripe here is with male authors, I’m going to address what is mentioned issues with reference to both genders, because I believe in equality for all – that means rights, rules and expectations.

  • Pen names are ABSOLUTELY ok. Everyone has the right to privacy – it really is that simple.
  • I think the above response covers the need people have to use profile pictures that are not of themselves. PRIVACY.
  • Indie Authors are people and doing takeovers and promoting is a full time job. Like any other job, we as employees take sick days – so if your PA has to do your takeover because your family needed you, then so be it.
  • Maybe we have different understandings of what pandering to your audience is. Correct me if I’m wrong but as an author you are a sales person for your work and you sell it anyway that works. Like any salesperson that tries to sell someone anything. You emphasise the good and steer away from the bad. Hell, let’s even think of it as a job interview. The employee asks why do you think your best for this job and you respond with all the great things about yourself to make yourself seem interesting, available and successful. Am I wrong?
  • I don’t know if I agree that selling yourself and having “fake” profile pics can be defined as a gimmick. which makes it difficult for me to support your argument that this is dishonest and therefore means you do not stand behind your work or are not as equally passionate or talented. Now let’s delve deeper and give mention to some Indie Authors who do not show their faces on social media and indulge in the hype of the mystery: Max Monroe, Rae Lynn Blaise, JD Hawkins, Alex Lucian, Lucian Bane, Blake Austin, Cecilia London, AJ Compton, Cole McCade, Ava Harrison, Aria Cole… I could keep going but I decided that by now everyone has gotten my drift. There are best sellers in this list and both women and male authors – so do you still stand by the fact that indie authors who do not show their faces and use generic profile pics do not believe in their work and are not passionate about writing??
  • I can also give a list of published authors that do not show their faces, specify gender and are not breaking any rules or upsetting fans by deciding to remain anonymous, but lets just name two big names – M, Pierce and Sylvain Reynard. Do these two best sellers, both picked up by publishers, not have written words to be proud of?
  • Lastly, is your comparison of maintaining privacy to be consistent with rape. Honestly, this makes your whole argument invalid. Let me define it. Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration perpetrated against a person without that person’s consent.  (legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com. April 15, 2011). The trauma brought on by this is life changing, crippling and fear inducing. It ruins lives, relationships and is often responsible for PTSD and suicide. To compare the decision to not share bits of information to your readers as rape, is quite frankly, rude and insensitive to all victims of sexual assault.

So, I think I have made my point pretty clear.

Above all it seems that the love of reading has been forgotten and disregarded. The love of the written word, the ability to be sucked into a different world and taken on a journey of emotions is why we all read. To say that all readers only read based on a profile pic and personal information is undermining the passion of the reader. We don’t read because an author is attractive, male or female – we read because we are passionate, because living a thousand lives is better than one.


Note: ALL AUTHORS, BOTH MALE AND FEMALE HAVE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE HOW MUCH INFORMATION THEY CHOOSE TO PUBLICISE. IT SHOULD NOT CHANGE THEIR STANDING IN THE INDIE COMMUNITY – THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HUNDREDS OF READERS CHOOSING TO OPEN UP BOOK ACCOUNTS UNDER DIFFERENT NAMES SO THEY CAN SEPERATE THEIR FAMILY AND FRIENDS. WE ARE ALL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT A WAY TO INDULGE IN WHAT WE ALL LOVE – BOOKS
* I would like to add that after posting another blog post called “How far would you go?” Was published, also supporting the previous article mentioned. My question to you is, if you need to pull apart the mystery to justify someone’s success, how far will you go? 

6 thoughts on “It isn’t #TalkShitThursday but I needed to talk…

  1. Michelle Sarra says:

    You missed the point. Entirely. He specifically said at the very beginning of his post that pen names were perfectly fine and an author using one to maintain privacy is ok. You know what’s not ok…writers making up a fake persona and using it to try and form romantic relationships with there readers in order to gain a following. Writers claiming multiple issues and medical emergencies that never happened in order to make sales. The analogy he used regarding rape and fraud ( a point you seemed to have glossed over) was in fact correct. Here I’ll explain…if I’m at a costume party with my husband….and I have sex with him only to find out afterwards that it wasn’t my husband but someone dressed the same way and they knowingly misrepresented themselves as my husband…that’s considered rape. Same thing with fraud cases. So of those two things are wrong…why are you ok with indie authors doing the same thing. No…you don’t have to put a picture of yourself in your profile….but if you put a picture of another person and then claim that it is you…that’s wrong….and also illegal. That is the poi t.

  2. Elizabeth Barone says:

    Obviously the guy who wrote the original post is very misinformed about what a pen name, privacy, and rape are. I think you about covered it, Vivian, and I agree with you 100%. I also agree with Michael, that the original post just seems bitter and angry. I’m never comfortable with sweeping generalizations, and I’d expect better behavior from an author. Especially the rape comparison. That is rape culture at its finest right there. Unlike rape, using a pen name and a stock photo avatar are not even remotely crimes, and in all the years I’ve been reading and working within the indie community, I’ve only heard of one or two instances where an author deceived and ripped off readers—certainly not “whole communities.”

    The “authors” who do screw over readers are almost always outed, anyway. Readers are not stupid, and their grapevine is lightning fast. If this really was happening all the time, you’d think this guy would’ve included some actual anecdotes. For sure, we all would’ve heard about these large groups of scamming, anonymous authors by now. 😉

  3. peekturesblog says:

    Who are you?
    I think you misunderstood the point he was trying to make.. but it’s okay.. you’ll get your fifteen minutes.
    side note- you probably are one of the ones who believes those hot new male authors are actually males. the thirst is real, friend.

  4. Michael Hudson says:

    I took that Catfishing post to mean the author had been outsold by another and he was trying to find reasons why, or was insanely jealous. There was a lot of anger in it, and it all seemed directed at one person. I hope no newcomers listen to any of that advice he was offering.

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