Historical novelist Jane Steen recently wrote a very good opinion piece on ethics in self-publishing for the ALLi (Alliance of Independent Authors) website. I'll link to it HERE.
I'm sure very few readers are strangers to the fact that "authors behaving badly" incidents have been a sore subject for the last several years. Authors have stalked reviewers and then proudly written articles about it, hit them over the head with wine bottles, bought false reviews or written sock puppet reviews, and mercilessly spammed potential book buyers by email or in social media. And that's a short list of what's going wrong.
Several years ago I wrote An Open Letter to Authors on this blog, offering my opinion on what to say in response to a bad review. (Hint: NOTHING!) Unfortunately, we are still swimming in the same issues today.
A few important things to remember:
- This is a tiny segment of authors causing problems. Most authors are polite and ethical. As with all "news," you just don't hear as much about the good news.
- This is not exclusively an indie author problem. However, in the past, publishers have tended to rein authors in. And in decades past, mountains of criticism and rejection have faced authors long before their books ever saw the light of day. We learned to deal with it before hitting the public eye. Now, I'm afraid, some are learning to hear criticism in public.
- Like most bad trends, fighting against it yields poorer results than committing to its solution.
So I'm speaking out on this positive new trend of the Ethical Author Code. The code is available on the Alli website. I think my readers already know that I bend over backwards not to violate any points of this code. For example, for years I've been encouraged to keep an email list of readers, but I have always refused. I feel that emailing you to tell you I have a new book out is spamming you. So, though you give me your email address for the purpose of giveaways, I don't save those addresses or use them for any other purpose. I put news on my website, on this blog, and on my social media pages, so you know where to find it. If you want it. That's the key.
I publicly commit to all points of The Ethical Author Code, and encourage other authors to do the same.