By Kyle Perkins.
First off, let me start by saying that using a pen name is ABSOLUTELY OKAY AND SOMETIMES NEEDED! There is nothing wrong with using a pen name.
With that out of the way, let me explain something that really bothers me about the indie community.
My problem is when authors pander to their audience for sales by manipulating their fan base into believing absolute absurdities about them. You know the types, the authors that create elaborate stories about themselves to seem interesting to their audience so that they can sell books. I get it, all indie authors need to make money, but when you do it at someone’s expense, it’s really careless and shady behavior.
If the author you are following looks like this:
Chances are, he isn’t an indie author.
Not to say that really attractive people aren’t writing, but just how many do you think exist out there? Protip: The answer isn’t, “all of them.”
You see, the indie community are die hard and loyal fans and I think they deserve better than the deceit they are getting. Furthermore, authors that take their work seriously deserve better. If there are hundreds of women shouting out from the rooftops about a male author and it finally reaches the desk of a publisher and they decide to look into it, they are going to find this:
Which means the author is using a fake image and misrepresenting him/herself.
There is nothing an employer likes more than someone that is openly deceitful.
Soon, the publishers and agents stop taking this community seriously, and it becomes poisonous to be associated with, which is a shame considering how amazing the people in the community are, they just don’t realize they are being lied to.
Furthermore, if an author has to rely on a gimmick to make sales, it says one thing to me, they don’t believe in their work, so why should you? Real authors, they love their work, they believe in it and are passionate. Many of them have spent their whole lives believing in this as their dream. Then to get overlooked because there is some bullshit male model parading around with fake pictures as the shittiest cliche version of a man, well… It’s a gut punch.
It’s called pandering. It means they act or behave in a way that will elicit some emotional response or attachment from their audience because they believe they are too stupid to figure it out, see this clip for more: Click Here.
Now, I don’t want to take money from these people, and I wish them all the success in the world, but they need to do it honestly. Otherwise they undermine the entire community as a whole, and cheapen it.
Another type of author that really bothers me are the ones that are always crying out for attention, and using false personal tragedy to get likes and sympathy. You all know who I’m talking about. The authors that always have some new ailment, family members constantly dying, and always on the verge of “just quitting being an author forever.,” etc.
The reason this bothers me is because they are using their friendships to garner sympathy and to pull the spotlight back onto themselves. I mean, that’s what we are right? I look at my fans as my friends, and I would never abuse their trust and loyalty. Some authors lack that tact however, and always seem to have a new problem they want their hundreds of fans to rescue them from and to console them. It’s disgusting. “I can’t make my takeover today because three of my kids are sick” but just last week they said the same thing, and the week before. If you don’t want to fulfill obligations you signed up for, just say you don’t feel like it. At least that’s honest. Using your fan’s sympathy to get out of an obligation YOU fucking signed up for is appalling, and it happens far too often.
Anyway, I’m getting off track. If the author you follow makes a million reasons for why they can’t prove their identity, and it’s not “I am using a pen name because I write smut and I don’t want to shock my family, or coworkers” then chances are they are full of shit. Agents and publishers want their authors to be seen, because if they make it big, they will need to attend conventions, signings, shows, public speaking events, etc. You as a fan are being catfished.
You can read more about catfishing here.
If you suspect your author is creating bullshit fabrications to pad who they are to abuse their fanbase, use this neat trick. Simply reverse image search the photos that they surely say are them, and you will find all of the places these images pop up, that they stole the photos from. You can do so here. Just save one of their pics and upload it right to google.
Now in closing, like I said, I don’t want to take money from anyone, I want these people to do well, I just want them to do it honestly. If you’re using a pen name, say you’re using a pen name. There is no reason to misrepresent yourself unless you are trying to con your fan base into paying for your books. Try writing a book and making money off of its merit, instead of some cheesy gimmick. Making your fans believe you are some supermodel single dude that is interested in them is fucked in the head, and you should be ashamed of yourself if you participate in this sort of behavior. It’s dishonest, and worse, abuses the very fans that care about you and your success.
If you have sex with someone while they are under the impression you are someone else, it’s called rape.
If you make money under false pretenses for personal gain, it’s called fraud.
So why are you as a community allowing this behavior?
EDIT: I have gotten a few people that have whined about this post and felt the need to defend themselves or someone they know. Look, I don’t hate these people. I said that right from the start, but if this was truly only about the writing, why would someone use a fake male modeling pic to begin with? Furthermore, not correct women when they assume they are who the pictures portray? If you felt the need to personally write me to defend yourself, chances are, you’re one of the guilty ones and felt defensive. I’m not trying to be an asshole, instead, I am trying to stand up for people that I feel are being conned. I said several times in my article that pen names are absolutely fine and have been used for hundreds of years. If you use a pen name, say you use a pen name, who cares? If you however have created some bullshit persona to string women along for the purpose of making cash, I’m sorry, but I can’t respect that. I didn’t name anyone in this article or call anyone out specifically. So to the people that believe they are under attack, it’s very telling. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
SECOND EDIT: Oh, and if you just think I’m jealous of their success, no. Just no. People like Chris C. Genovese have a lot more fans than I do! Lol. I’m not calling him out, mainly because he seems like a good dude and is honest. I just started in January, right at the end of the month. I don’t expect to have heaps of fans. I’m just trying to look out for a community that I have grown to love, from what I see as potential predators. The only people that would get upset by what I’m saying are people doing exactly what I’m saying they are. Normal authors, or people using pen names that don’t con their audience would have no problem with this. Don’t think it’s a problem? Just ask any one of the girls ripped off by “book models” that weren’t real so they just took the money and ran. Or people that said they were the book model and gave permission to use their pic, except it wasn’t theirs and the real model contacted the author pissed off because they used their image without their consent.
THIRD EDIT: I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH PEN NAMES, I HOPE SOME OF YOU MAKE IT THROUGH THE WHOLE ARTICLE BEFORE FORMING AN OPINION BUT I DOUBT IT. MY COAUTHOR USES A PEN NAME. I am looking out for authors that both use and don’t use pen names. These types of deceivers make them both look bad. The point is being up front about the pen name, and not using deception to sell books. The only people that will be upset by this post are people that use deception to makes sales. So, be on the look out. This blog made no mention of names, so if you feel attacked, then it’s probably you. I’m sorry you have nothing going for you but your shitty gimmick, but I didn’t plan your marketing strategy, you did. You had to know at some point this would come up. Did you think you could make excuses and brush it under the rug forever? Have you even seen catfish?
LAST EDIT: My coauthor that uses a pen name, has made some very good points here.
Finally, another awesome post supporting this one.
Found these in case anyone wants to read more on the subject. Thanks for all the support!
If you or someone you know have been Catfished, please visit this website.