Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Reads and blogging etiquette

Happy Friday!  It's like November here all of a sudden, all grey and rainy, which makes me want strong tea and thick books, and I'm a bit sad I'm at work.  Le sigh.  I plan to hole up all weekend though.  I'm reading a lot of historical fiction: The Gilded Lily by Deborah Swift (1660s, girls run away to London!) and The Map of Lost Memories: A Novel by Kim Fay (1920s treasure hunters!).  What are you reading this weekend?

I've got a blogging etiquette question to bounce off all of you.  A blogger friend posed this query to me, and she and I came up with one solution, but we both realized we don't know what prevailing attitudes might be, so...what do you think? 

Blogging friend reviewed a book by Author A, and upon going to Author A's website, noticed the author picture on the website was the same picture for Author X.  Blogger realized that Author A is a pseudonym for Author X, and said so in her review.  Author A/X emailed the blogger to say that it isn't public info that she's writing under a pseudonym, and would blogger remove that tidbit?  My thinking is that if the author is using the same photo of herself for both author names, it isn't that much of a secret -- but as blogger friend and I agreed, we wouldn't necessarily want to alienate the author or publisher by being bratty.  What would you recommend?  Capitulate and remove mention of discovering the pseudonym?  Refuse?

37 comments:

  1. Hmm... you've made a good point, the author is using the photograph for both names, they're not exactly hiding it. And it's nice to know when an author uses a pseudonym for other books because if you're a fan of one genre you might be a fan of their other books, too. I wouldn't say you're being bratty, your friend wrote it without malice and I think most people would find it useful info. It's up to you, but personally I'd say the author is being a bit silly, the only person to blame for making the connection your friend did, is the author themselves, and it's hardly a bad thing to say (unless of course they have some sort of hideous book past they want covered up).

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    1. In this case, the author is changing genres and is worried fans of her Author X books will be disappointed in Author A books. Which, fine, but maybe don't use the same author photo?

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    2. Yes, exactly. Though I do think judging fans may be the wrong thing to do. The books may be completely different, but it would be better to just say so.

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  2. If it's "not public info" that the same author is writing two different books, why in the world would they use the same photo for both author names? That seems very silly and bizarre, honestly.

    If it were me, I would probably just remove the mention from my review -- but not without making my point of, "Hey, if you're really wanting to keep this a secret, you might want to rethink how you're going about it." In a private email, of course. Because seriously: that's weird.

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    1. Even more annoying, the publisher of Author X includes tidbits in the Author X bio about how Author X is a very famous author under a different name -- so there's already a lot of buzz about Author X being a pseudonym. It annoyed me that there's interest in having both worlds -- reassure readers that Author X is a "popular" writer but keeping the identity a secret. Still, this is why I ask the world -- everyone is more reasonable than I am! ;)

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    2. I have to agree with Meg. I'd probably remove the mention because it's such a little thing, but make a comment to the article pointing out how easy it is to figure out they're the same person, what with the exact same picture and all.

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    3. I would probably say the same thing - but if they don't want anyone to know, they should certainly change the photo! That is no ones fault but the author's. If your friend didn't discover it, someone else would have and said something

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  3. Hmmm. Strange! I agree with Meg, I'd remove the mention but contact the author.

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  4. Ive only had to change a review once for an authors request and it was to not spoil a characters identity. I didn't mind changing it, as long as I'm not asked to change my opinion I'm ok for honoring other requests from authors :)

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    1. See, that's interesting -- on one hand, I do appreciate why the author might want that info kept private, but people share that kind of stuff on GoodReads and other venues -- is the author asking every reader to keep the surprise a surprise? I just feel like sometimes book bloggers are asked to be more pro-industry than other readers...

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  5. Yup I agree with meg too, exactly what I was going to say.

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  6. I would remove the mention, but suggest that the author use a different photo or not list one at all. That it was confusing to see the same photo for two different authors.

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  7. All of you are so much more accommodating than me! My first response was some stubbornness -- why remove it when the author makes no bones about it?; and does the author plan to harass every reader who puts 2 and 2 together? -- but I'm nothing if not a brat.

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  8. That's a good question. I'd probably do as the author asked but probably wouldn't be to happy about it.

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  9. It's interesting to see how many would remove the mention as we all like to be accomodating. The #1 thing that bothers me is how this borders on authors and publicists controlling reviewers making a simple observation which is indeed readily available on the internet in this particular case.

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    1. yes -- that's what bugged me about the request -- was the author going to stop any reader who figured it out? -- I just wonder if it was a different blog, if the author would still ask -- ie, if the blogger was less well-known in the book reviewing blog circle...

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  10. Marie, you make a great point. I was about to say I'd remove it but I'd think the author was kind of a jerk and kind of naive too.

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    1. Why, thank you, Marie ;)
      I agree that it is definitely uncool.. it is just another example of authors overstepping in my opinion. They seem to forget that Reviewing/Blogging is an unpaid hobby that we do for fun, and we should be able to blog about what we have observed and encountered about the book in question.

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  11. I'm of the same opinion that if the same photo was used, well... it's not the blogger's fault or issue. I would feel strongly uncomfortable in removing anything from my site, and most likely would not.

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    1. That's kind of what I was thinking, too -- one, with the post published, it's out there, and editing it after the fact seems a bit sketchy (like editing the historical record) -- I'd only want to do that if I were openly incorrect but even then...

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    2. I agree with Natalie. If the author is so intent upon deceiving readers (which in a way, she does rather ineptly), why should an astute blogger be asked to participate in the deception...

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  12. I love weekends when I can just shut out the outside world and do books or movies or whatever... they are so rare!

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  13. That's definitely an odd situation! Personally, I wouldn't remove that part of the post without some sort of explanation.

    How about removing the mention of Author X's name, but add in a note to say that the author requested removal of her pseudonym (something like: "This post has been edited by request of the author to remove mention of her pseudonym.") This way, your friend is acknowledging the author's wishes but not alienating her blog's readers by making part of her post disappear altogether with no explanation. Although maybe this approach would make the author even more annoyed... Hmm.

    What was the solution your friend was thinking of?

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  14. I would respect the use of the pseudonym. There is a reason for it. I know someone who has two other identities under which she writes two different types of work. For example, one publisher may not want her client epubbing. And maybe that is not breaking a legal contract, just a convenience.

    I won't even ask the person about it on line for fear someone will see it. Besides, what is the point of blowing their cover?

    Ooh. I see Katherine on the background bookcase.

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  15. As a matter of logic, no, don't remove it because the author's being silly to use that photo, BUT, I capitulate easily and hate people being mad at me, so I'd take it down immediately.

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  16. I am ridiculously scared of offending people (in life as a whole, not just in blogging) so I would probably remove that part of my review. I would never alter my opinion on request though. Author A/X needs to remove the photograph if they want to keep the pseudonym secret.

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  17. Interesting as I have a pseudonym also. My first book was a non-fiction natural history. My second was a gristly murder mystery. My bookish friends said I ought not publish the second under the same name as it might alienate readers of the first. So I did that. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't. The whole point of publishing books is to share them. I'd rather people at least know who I am, then decide they don't want to read me. And who am I to say that readers of genteel natural histories might not also enjoy the occasional gnarly mystery?

    I think your author is being silly and maybe doing this just to generate some buzz. I'd leave it as it will probably drive people to her website (s) and help her sales. Free country, you haven't disclosed any State secrets, and if she's worried about anonymity for heaven's sake why does she have the same pictures? But very thoughtful of you to ask...

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  18. That is a really interesting situation. Using the same photo and putting it on the web and they still think that its not public information?

    Since the information was accurate I'd prefer not to take it down, but in an effort to avoid conflict I'd probably take the approach that Rayna mentioned. That way if a reader truly wanted to know they could either find the information themselves or we could discuss it "offline".

    I'm curious as to how your friend handled the situation.

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  19. That situation is appalling. And I would not take it down. Period. You leave it in the public domain, it's fair game. Besides readers are not idiots...they can deduce from photos if you are the same person with different names.

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  20. very weird! Not public, and she puts it on the net?!!! What does she expect?!!

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  21. I mean if you use the same pic then people will figure it out. I would not take it down

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  22. Now that's really strange! I'd be inclined to comply with the author's wishes, but would also suggest she change the photo one one of the websites.

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  23. This is very odd to me. I'd say that disclosing that info, which seemed to be fairly obvious, isn't all that big of a deal. You're mentioning that she has books written under another name may generate some book sales for said author which is always a good thing, right?

    I would probably remove it myself though, since the author did ask privately and nicely. However, I do think asking such is very short sighted for the reason I stated above and because I don't see how she can stop others from finding out and disclosing it. It's almost an insult to readers, as if she's assuming that they're not smart enough to follow the trail of breadcrumbs.

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  24. Perhaps it's my journalist background, but I'd keep it up. I would write back to the author nicely and explain my reasoning, but as long as the information was obtained ethically (as it seems it was), there's not an ethical obligation to take it down. I would also, however, keep copies of the web pages to back up my evidence. I'm dying to know: which author is it?

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  25. I'm a brat. I wouldn't take it down. I state in my reviews that I haven't been influenced in any way in my review. I think it's dangerous for authors to begin trying to control what reviewers write. What will they ask for next?? I wouldn't even change the character request mentioned above by "Fiction State of Mind."

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  26. That an interesting question. On one hand I always say if its already public the what's the difference. Now for me personally though if she asked me nicely in the email to remove it then I likely would.

    I don't know if you started The Gilded Lily yet but I thought it was really quite good. I look forward to your thoughts on it.

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  27. Wow, that author sounds completely ridiculous. I would probably call her out on how easy it was to figure out, but remove it because who the fuck cares. Maybe throw a sly nod to it by saying Author A's books remind you of Author X's. Also, I really wish I knew who this was.

    WHY DO THEY CARE?

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