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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Thin Line

At what point does an author cross over the line and betray the trust of their fans?

I know quite a few authors who write under various pen names. One, in particular, I enjoy sparring with online. The persona is that of a testosterone-laden, muscle-building male while I know in fact, it's a petite woman behind the mask. The persona matches the books she writes under the male pen name. But she will be the first to set you straight if you begin to believe the rhetoric, informing you who she is and who the pictures she uses as her avatar really belong to.

But I sat up and took notice this week when I overheard a church community put out the call to pray for another female author's family member. To this church, this author was a male who had developed an entire online alter ego. Turns out, he/she had been blogging about a very ill family member - so ill that the community was ready to raise funds and pray for the member. But there were no family members at all and in real life, this author is single with no siblings.

To me, it came down to simple honesty. Authors write under various points of view, some male and some female, some old and some young, some with completely different religions, backgrounds, culture, and makeup. But it's clear that these are characters, not the author himself/herself.

To me, crossing the line came when the author began to mislead, knowing full well that the audience believed the stories posted on the Internet to be true and factual.

What do you think? At what point does it cease to be all fun and games? When is that line crossed?

p.m.terrell's 13th book will be released this week! Vicki's Key can now be purchased through all fine book stores, amazon and other online stores. It is also available for the Kindle, Nook, iPad, and other electronic readers. Find out more at www.pmterrell.com.

2 comments:

onespoiledcat said...

It's true of course that authors often choose to publish under several names/personas. But the instance you describe when a church community was trying to provide support to someone's non-existent family member was crossing the line. It's OK for us to wear lots of hats but it's not OK for us to mislead/misdirect and abuse the "fan" relationships most of us enjoy as authors in ANY way. People respect honesty and everyone understands the use of pen-names particularly for different genres. Why not just be up front about it?

Interesting blog Trish!

Pam

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow! Now that really crosses the line. Why on earth would the author make up stuff like that? And to get a church praying about it...