A letter to the DA Readership
Dear DA Readers:
As you know, I’ve been running Dear Author for almost ten years. When I started the blog with Jayne, it was from a very naïve reader point of view. No one is more surprised at the evolution of Dear Author than I am because it had been intended for Jayne and I and a few friends. Over the years I’ve learned a great deal about the book industry and market. Dear Author has evolved with the times, but throughout, I have strived to keep the blog as reader-centered as possible.
Then a funny thing happened in November of 2012. After being told countless times that if I was going to review books negatively, I should try to write one of my own, I went ahead and tried it during NaNoWriMo 2012. I didn’t finish writing it during that month, but with the encouragement of an author friend, I pushed through and decided to self-publish it the following year. After years of studying the book market and trying to understand how and why books do and don’t sell, I had the means to try out a publishing experiment. And I was determined to do it like any other new author would: without a recognizable name and platform to draw on.
So I went ahead and created a penname, Jen Frederick, and published Undeclared with no expectations about what would happen. And, much to my surprise, it sold well. So I wrote another one. And another. And began to learn about the publishing industry from an entirely different perspective.
It was important that DA remain its own inviolate entity. I partitioned off the fiction writing from the blogging, keeping my writing identity private. I wanted as little connection as possible between the blog and the book, to protect the integrity of both. I didn’t want anyone at the blog to feel like they had to change what they were doing because I was now an author (as you know, I edited one anthology for Berkeley). And I wanted any success I had with the fiction to be built on the merits of the work, not on the blogging platform. I had a couple of awkward moments where I had to keep one of my books from being reviewed on Dear Author, but somehow I managed to keep them completely separate.
Then I co-authored a series with Jessica Clare (who had encouraged me to finish that very first book), and a lot of different things happened very quickly: Berkley made an offer for the series and it was optioned for film by Tony Krantz (Judith Krantz’s son); Montlake approached me with an offer; and Ellora’s Cave sued Dear Author.
The suit has had many effects on my life, not the least of which is that I have lost every bit of anonymity, including the anonymity of my Jen Frederick penname. And, to be honest, part of me is relieved to make this announcement. From the beginning I struggled with the secret. I have always defended authors reviewing books (and I know other authors pseudonymously review, so this is nothing new), and maintaining the privacy of unconnected pennames. I openly defended readers who gave negative reviews of my books, and I continued to recommend other authors’ books I thought readers would enjoy. And I figured that since Dear Author was still being called anti-author and anti-self-publishing meant that the blog was not compromising its reader-first mission. But I’m still much more comfortable keeping other people’s secrets than I am keeping one like this, and I knew it would need to come out at some point. I was going to announce after the movie option and the Berkley deal were completed, I’d come out with the news but the lawsuit happened and I tabled it because I was dealing with a lot of other issues at that time (and it’s still going on, obviously).
But in order to allow the lawsuit to proceed fully, it’s important for me to be as open as possible.
I know there are people who will feel that I should have told you this from the start. This was a judgment call. I feel I made the right decision, but undoubtedly some will disagree. I completely understand and it is your right to do so. I can only invite you to review the blog’s contents over the past couple of years and make up your own mind about the integrity of the content.
If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them in the comments.
P.S. I read a few comments (not here) that I used my insider connections to publish and to the extent I have them (which I don’t know that I do), I did not use any connections beyond my friendship with Jess Clare and a couple of other people (for beta reading, editing, cover art). The movie deal came about when Tony Krantz’ firm contacted Jess via Facebook (she thought it was a joke). After the option deal was being finalized, Jess took the series to her existing Berkley editor and asked if they were interested and they were.
Montlake emailed me (Jen Frederick) out of the blue and asked if I was interested in selling the rights to two books and then I had to pitch a third one.
When I started out, I made up a marketing plan. I targeted those people who liked New Adult books who I thought might (might being the operative word) like mine. I wrote personalized pitches and emailed about 200 bloggers. I guess my insider connections would be that I took what I knew about blogging and marketing (having been on the pitch end of things for years) and used that knowledge to help me craft a good marketing plan.
Not to be a complete kiss-ass or anything, but my reaction to this big reveal – I just went and bought all of your books. They’d better not suck. ;)
Nice!!! I’ve enjoyed the series thus far & reviewed it on my site. Knowing this is you is NOT going to change my opinion as I read more.
Pssstttt Barbara they’re really good…. IJS
I had a feeling “Jen” was a pseudonym for an author or a blogger. Makes no difference to me. Congrats on all the success!
Oh, wow, this is amazing and so surprising! I’ve read one of your books and liked it, but never would have dreamed of connecting it to you. What a strange and difficult tightrope you must have walked, balancing the blogging with the author identity. I can’t even imagine!
Oh wow, what a shock! I love you Jane, have done for many years but I can say I read one of your books last year and didn’t like it one bit! Hope you don’t mind me saying that, I love YOU but it didn’t read remotely like you normally sound.
Anyway, best of luck, and I still adore your writing and what you stand for and want this law suit to end positively for you!
Hopefully the lawsuit proceeds quickly and smoothly from here on out. You should be able to go back to regular life and enjoy your publishing success. I think it was terribly honest of you to keep the two separate for as long as you did. It shows your integrity.
That’s all wonderful and amazing news! Congratulations! Off to do some book shopping!
Congrats on all you’ve accomplished, Jane. I can’t imagine how you’ve found the time! The heck with a secretive pen name and people not knowing – the time you take! Congratulations. Hope your writing takes you even further and brings you enjoyment.
Congratulations, Jane! Very exciting about the film and Montlake deals. I wish you the best of success with your books and blog. :)
Wow! How does one keep that environs secret!? Absolutely the best decision and I admire your strength. And congrats!
And excuse me beaches I uhm… Need to go to Amazon right now…….
I have only read The Charlotte Chronicles and enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading Unrequited.
Go Jane! Off to buy your books now. :)
What a fun surprise to wake up to! I guess I have some books to purchase today…
What a wonderful surprise! Last Breath was one of my absolute favorites from last year. I am looking forward to Last Kiss.
I am shocked! I have reviewed your books, corresponded with you (as Jen Frederick) via email, Twitter and your FB group, and am just completely…floored. I’ve absolutely loved your books (The Woodlands), and liked a few others with less enthusiasm, and you’ve never responded with anything but kindness.
Out of many other bloggers, I might feel fooled or tricked, but for some reason, because it’s YOU, Jane, I just feel stunned, in a good way.
You should probably apply with the CIA, because wow, you have a great poker face!
This has made my day! As a reader – “quietly” here, I would never call you anti-author or anti- publisher, but rather pro – reader.
Here’s wishing all the best for you, the blog and your family. That goes double for you and your writing partner!
I think my comment went to spam,but anyway, very exciting news!
I love Jen Frederick’s books. I rec them to everyone. Congrats Jane. This kind of threw my head for a spin (I mean, I’ve spoken privately with “Jen”) but that’s okay. I’ll get over it, haha. You deserve all the good things! And please keep writing!
I must congratulate you on being able to keep all those personas separate, and I bet it’s a huge relief to let everyone know at last. As someone who reviewed and loved the Woodlands books, I’m so happy to hear about the possibility of movies. And I wish nothing but continued success for all your various identities. :)
I must congratulate you on being able to keep all those personas separate, and I bet it’s a huge relief to let everyone know at last. As someone who reviewed and loved the Woodlands books, I’m so happy to hear about the possibility of movies. And I wish nothing but continued success for all your various identities.
You go! I have great respect for you and love this blog. I’m delighted to learn that you are becoming more than the sum of the blog alone. I haven’t read your books but now, you’ve peaked my curiosity :)
Congratulations on the contract and film rights sale, but mostly just congratulations on writing. Creating books is kind of awesome and I hope it’s fun for you.
It is unfortunate that you didn’t have the luxury of choosing when your announcement had to be made.
Congrats Jane/Jen :) What an accomplishment!
Congrats!! Very cool.
I’ve been wondering what to spend these Amazon gift cards on!
Jane!! My mind is blown right now. I can’t wait to see you soon. :)
Holy moly! My mind, it is boggled. I really enjoyed the Kerr Chronicles the heroine felt fresh and real, then I glommed the Hitman series. I’m trying to get thru Undeclared, but I gotta say it feels like a first book and I keep wishing the H and h would just have a freaking honest conversation already.
Jane, this information in no way changes how I view Dear Author, I’ve always felt you’ve been on the side of both readers and authors. Also, when I read the title of this post I had an awful sinking feeling in my stomach that you were going to announce you were taking a break or leaving DA. So glad that’s not the case, because I was about to get really depressed. Now, I’m fairly giddy with relief. Good luck with everything.
Wow! I did not see that coming! But I’m excited too, because I love your books as Jen :-) You did a bang up job of keeping it a secret! I’m thrilled that this will hopefully mean a whole bunch of new readers for you, whoo hoo! And In no way do I feel slighted that you kept these two entities separate. I hope you kick -ass on that lawsuit!
I was so worried when I clicked on this post, because I was worried your letter would be bad news. How delightful to instead read that you have written books (and that I have already read some of them). I am in awe of your ability to keep all these plates spinning – congratulations on your success! This is one of my favourite book review sites, and I don’t see that changing. I am sorry that this dreadful lawsuit has caused you such pain and that it is forced this explanation out of you at a time not of your choosing.
Amazing! My mind is blown by your amazing time management skills.
On a different note, privacy is a precious thing and I am very sorry that yours has been taken away. I hope this ordeal is over soon and you are able to regain some form of privacy.
Congratulations, Jane! Who must never sleep. : )
WOWWWWW! I love it!!!!! Congrats!!!!!
I did not see that coming! Holy crap! Congratulations…your books rock, and keeping a secret that long? Gold freaking star. My hat is off to you.
Like Lammie, I was worried this post was going to announce something entirely different. As I read through it, all I could think was how much self-restraint, integrity and intelligence it must’ve taken to keep your two publishing-related careers separate. You’re a truly remarkable person for being able to build both into such huge successes.
I’m sorry to say I’ve never heard of Jen, but I hugely admire you for what you’ve achieved. The decision to go public should always have been your own–made in your own time and your own way. I’m sorry that unpleasant circumstances have changed how and when you planned to do that.
May you continue to enjoy big successes!
OMG this is SO crazy!! lol. I kind of think it’s funny and great. You maintained these walls amazingly well in terms of adhering to sometimes competing missions and I’m seriously stunned, but in a positive way. You did your secret pen name way better than I ever did when it was secret.
I’ve always had a lot of complex and conflicted feelings about authors reviewing negatively and your stance on it, and this adds such an interesting dimension to it all for me. I am just laughing. Seriously, congrats!
I just looked at my calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1. Wow, I had no idea! No wonder you argued so passionately with Sarah on the last DBSA podcast about how to categorize New Adult books. I absolutely love Losing Control and the Last Hit series. Congratulations on your success as an author!
I’m actually glad you weren’t open about this from the start. It enabled me to discover the Jen Frederick books and appreciate them as products of a new to me author, not as something Jane the Dear Author blogger produced. I think my reading of them would have been affected by that knowledge.
I hope the fact that you’re outing yourself but made no mention of changes to the blog means that Dear Author will continue as it has. It is the very first site I visit every day and I greatly appreciate the information it provides and the community it has built.
Undeclared is free for Amazon Kindle. Click.
Because I really don’t care about all the hoopla and craziness in blogland and twitterville, (never really have) I can wish you a huge congrats on the success and really mean it. How exciting for you (the books & movie deal, not the lawsuit, obvs).
Privacy is something we take for granted, and the choice to reveal a pseudonym should always be yours. I’ve always wondered how you managed so many balls in the air (I am completely unable to do it, and my blogging life suffered for it). Now I find myself wondering the same thing again.
Enjoy the success! Off to Amazon now to check out the books..
Oh thank God. I had the horrors when I saw that heading and the intro, about the last 10 years. I thought Jane was presaging closing the site.
Being a successful published author – is that all? Geez there are so many worse things people have to come clean about.
Having said that, managing all these secret identities must have been an awful strain and i’m glad for her that it is over – even if the time was not of her choosing.
I hope her authorial career continues to blossom, and I wonder how much sleep she gets.
My first thought was that I have read some of your books. I like both Undeclared and Unspoken. I have always been fine with authors being reviewers because I figure many authors started out readers and that doesn’t stop once they start writing nor does it make their opinions less valid.
So let me get this straight: in the last few years you’ve maintained this very popular readers’ blog (which includes plenty of social media interaction), what I assume is a busy “day” job as a lawyer, are a busy mom/wife, & have secretly published something close to 10 books too?? Jane, I bow down & beg for your secrets of success!! I’m guessing little or no sleep but I don’t sleep much & think that makes me less productive, not more.
Congratulations on all of your success. I hope DA stays exactly as it has always been, an informative site for readers. I am sorry your anonymity has been so thoroughly compromised & know you will probably suffer some consequences for that but hopefully your continued successes will far outweigh those.
As a longtime lurker (and once or twice poster) I appreciate how difficult a situation this could be for you. For my part, it makes no nevermind to me because I’ve always found you and this site to be as someone else said in the comments – pro-reader and I believe unafraid of actually offering an opinion be it popular or not. Which is kinda rare these days and makes me very glad that you aren’t throwing in the towel.
It’s my belief that you won’t let the admission of this “other life” affect how you treat this site or that you will now tailor your opinions to play the Be Nice To Fellow Authors game. In other words, I believe in your integrity. :)
And as others have said, where you find the time, I surely don’t know.
This is the best secret ever! I love you more! You know I’m replaying my tweets to you and Jessica – Wow, that was you. Oh my gosh, Mel knew, didn’t she? She had to! She’s a good friend, keeping that secret so well. Now I’m realizing, YOU created Nicolai, that was you. *high five* Jane, I’m just…my head is spinning. That whole time I was going on and on via Twitter about how the Hitman series was the greatest thing since sliced bread. ..that was you! You and Jessica Clare are cowriters. This is great news. :)
Ps- How do you have time for all of this? Wow. Expect an email! LOL
Like others have mentioned I was a bit worried for a moment that this was going to be bad news. Happily this is not so! Keeping things private in what some might feel is a conflict of interest is hard, I’ve been in that boat and it isnot an easy hurdle to get over.
Going to check the books out now.
First, you all are so kind. If I had tear ducts, I would be crying right now.
Second, don’t buy my books! That feels so weird. I should just give them all away to you.
Third, for those who didn’t enjoy them, I should tell you I feel so much more comfortable with criticism than praise.
Fourth, you all are pretty awesome. Thank you.
Like everyone else, I’m off to buy your books! Hooray!
Jane- Congrats on everything. Sorry about the way this had to come out but best of luck on the movie deal and future books.
Like others have said, my heart almost stopped when I saw there was a letter to DA readers–I was so scared you were going to announce the closing of the site, or something awful related to the lawsuit, or some such, I hesitated to read on.
And then…holy crap, what a wonderful twist!
No, I have not read your books–I hadn’t heard of your author pen name, actually–but I don’t care. I just keep thinking about all the sour grapes who bitch everywhere about Jane the mean girl, Jane the anti-author, Jane the anti-publisher.
To all those delicate special snowflakes who have cried, “you can’t review books unless you write them”–here you go, precious flowers.
To all those self published authors who cry that any criticism of their books is unacceptable (or that their books are their babies)–see this and weep.
To everyone who has ever (and will, because that’s people for you) accused you of lack of professionalism–take a step back and see what actual professionalism looks like.
To all those people Oh and RWA not renewing your membership whenever it was because you weren’t a writer? *hysterical giggles*
I’m going to be randomly laughing all day–hell, all week long.
Thank you, Jane, and best of luck with everything.
I just *love* a good plot twist! Hot damn! :-)
My head’s spinning a little, but I was totally expecting a different announcement. I was going to be really sad if you were going to announce the end of DA.
I’m glad that’s not the case.
I don’t know how you found the time to do everything you did, but I’m in awe. Congratulations on the contract and film rights sale, but mostly just congratulations on writing and finishing and making it work for you.
(also, I love your books. I just started binging on them this month.) :D
Oh, I am delighted and impressed. I’m sorry your hand got forced on the timing of the reveal, but so pleased for you. Also quite tickled because my niece gave me the Jen Frederick books as part of a reciprocal “no really read this” thing we do to each other episodically and anyway just yay.
So thrilled for you–congratulations!
I should say I’m still using that iPad I won from your first book giveaway. Without I’m sure I wouldn’t have read so many awesome books. So regardless of your ‘secrets’ I found a lot of awesome stuff because of that. So thanks and I hope to read more from you in the future.
Congratulations! This is amazing news! ;)
Wow! Talk about plates spinning and you held them up beautifully. Good for you! Congratulations on all your success!
I think this is great! There’s no reason why you can’t be an author and run a blog like this with integrity, especially with the quality contributors you have. Best of luck with both ventures.
Jane… Yea!! I’m so excited for you. Thank you for sharing. It’s funny b/c I have always wondered who this “Jen Frederick” was that wrote with Jessica/Jill. Now we all know! Although we’ve never met, I feel like I know you b/c you do put your heart into this blog and uphold high standards. Knowing you purposely kept this secret makes sense and I don’t feel betrayed. Congrats on your success.
I’ve been informed that if I didn’t have tear ducts, I wouldn’t stop crying. So there’s that.
Congrats Jane on all your success!
Count me in amongst those who had a moment of panic at “A Letter to the DA Readership.” Whew!
If there’s anyone who can manage this with integrity, it’s you. Rock on with your awesome self.
Oh, does this mean you might actually write the were-gerbil book?
Wow. Just. Wow. What great news!
And what azteclady said + 1,000.
Congratulations Jane. I am very happy for you. I certainly have no issues with your wanting to keep your various personas separate, and it certainly hasn’t had any impact on how I experience your blog as a reader.
My only question is : do you think that at some point you could write a book on time management – I don’t know how you do it all, but I sure could use the advice :-).
Best of luck in all of your endeavours.
@SonomaLass: No, but I did offer to write Kimchi, the coming of age story of a young Korean girl traversing the difficult foodie culture of the big city (a spin off of the Chardonnay, et al series yesterday).
Wow, Jane, I had no idea you had this author alter ego! Congratulations on all the fantastic book news. I hope your success continues under each and all of your superhero identities.
Wow, Jane, that’s amazing and so, so awesome. Congrats and all the best for the future.
This post and the comments are giving me all the feels! Very uplifting– and way better than I feared when I started reading the letter.
Like Lynnd, I want a book on time management. ;)
The news is shocking! However, if anyone knows Jen Frederick knows she’s AMAZING and would do ANYTHING for you. If you’ve never read anything of her’s do so now!!! She is one of my fav authors EVER!!! Who know you had an alter-ego :) I still won’t call you Jane ,Jen will forever be your name :)
OMG, I’m so excited for you!!! Congrats and now I have to go look up the books. I know I read the first one when Jessica Clare recommended it (I freaking love her books). Good for you and I’m glad the news is out because I love to hear success stories and that doesn’t make this site any different.
Congratulations, Jane! You’ve been juggling a lot, and although you are dealing with some difficult stuff right now, I’m so happy there’s been lots of success for you too! Not only have you learned about the publishing industry from different angles, but you’ve been generous enough to share what you learn as you go (love all your posts in NAAU). Congrats. Thank you. Wishing you the best!
I really thought this would be an “I am leaving type” message and dreaded reading. However, it isn’t. Yay.
Congratulations on your success as an author. I can see why you did not say anything initially. I am sorry you could not release the information at your preferred time.
I do want to read about Kimchi though. :)
Congrats on all your successes!!
Wow, I’m not sure what to think. I’ve heard of Jen Frederick because I’m a Jessica Clare fan, but I’m not a big fan of NA so haven’t read any of the books. I really like that DA is pro-reader, and I hope this news doesn’t cause any major changes. I rely particularly on your reviews so when I saw the letter to the readership, I was worried you were leaving.
I really want to know how this came out in the lawsuit and why they haven’t blasted it all over the place.
You’ve got my support. Clever of you to announce this as my TBR pile was down to a mere bookcase. ;)
Wow! I’ve been following Dear Author (love the blog) for a long time and had absolutely no idea you were also an author. I’ll definitely purchase a Jen Frederick book.
I understand your reasons for keeping the two worlds separate but would have liked you to share your journey as it happened. Wishing you a speedy conclusion to the drama and kind words from everyone! Remember you have tons of fans and supporters on both sides of the fence.
Jane, you blow me away. Lawyer, Wife, Mom, Reviewer, Author… Seriously, you inspire my lazy ass. I’m so proud of you, I’m squeezing you from Toronto.
What a great turn of events! I wish you even more success in your writing career! :)
This turned out to be soooo much better than what I thought it was going to be from the headline and number of comments.
Although I wish you had allowed a review here b/c I must be the only person who hadn’t found Jen Frederick’s books – she hasn’t been reviewed over at SBTB either, has she? Or on the podcast – and those are the ways I find most of my new reads.
Congrats! (And really, would someone be annoyed? Who? That would be so lame and like a 13 year old to be mad at you — b/c everyone has a right to a pseudonym and privacy.)
I can’t wait to read all of your books! Like many others, I was afraid you were about to close Dear Author. I’m so grateful that isn’t the case. And I have no doubt about who will prevail in this lawsuit — YOU. The judge is smart enough to see through the ridiculous perversion of justice coming from the other side.
I’m also in awe of your time management skills — care to share them with us? :)
:heads off to Amazon to buy the Jen Frederick backlist: :)
You know I adore you and stand with you!
— Jill aka Jessica Clare
I am in awe of your ability to keep this secret so long and so well. I completely understand your reasons for doing so. Good luck with all your endeavors, and I’m so glad Dear Author will continue as usual.
I’ve always admired you but your ability to keep these two identities separate just made me admire you even more! Like others, I was so nervous when I saw the “letter” and now I’m relieved it’s good news. I am sad you didn’t have the luxury of choosing your time and place, however.
Off to go buy a few of your books! (Luckily I still have a few duckets left in the monthly book budget).
Late to the party, but like others I am so relieved the site isn’t closing.
Also, I feel like such a slacker. You have a full-time job, a family, run the blog, AND write. I am in awe.
Haven’t read the books as I’m not into NA, but congrats on the film rights being optioned. Still sending good vibes re: the lawsuit. Good luck!
I loved Undeclared. I don’t usually read this blog but I know your reputation. I actually don’t have a problem with you doing both. It’s hard to be in this community without ending up involved with more than one part of it. The lawsuit is unsettling though. Hopefully, that gets settled for you. Good luck.
I think a public person’s desire to publish under an unknown name in order to have honest evaluations is laudable. Keeping all those identities separate isn’t easy, and having the pressure of a lawsuit forcing your hand must have been very stressful. I’m not a bit surprised that your books were never mentioned here or on SBTB. That’s just basic ethics. Let them find their readers on their own. I’m over to Amazon to check them out since when you and Sarah disagree, I’m always on your side. I still hold a grudge, though, for Last Hour of Gann. OMG, I read for days straight, switching from one eReader to another as the batteries ran down. Finally finished, exhausted, at 5:30 in the morning.
As a reader, I consider you my advocate and admire your persistence and strength. Go, you.
PS: My heart lurched a little, too, when I saw the title of your post. I was so afraid you were going to pull the plug on the blog. I’m glad you didn’t.
What a fun revelation! Wishing you all manner of success, Jane.
From expecting the worst news to reading most excellent news, what a morning so far. Add my sincere and heartfelt congratulations and thanks for all you’ve accomplished, known and unknown. You truly rock.
Mind blown. Fangirl spaz attack. Okay, I’m all good. Nice reveal!
Wow Jane, I am in awe of you. Seriously, you next book needs to be one on time management – do you sleep? On a more serious note, this blog is fantastic and you have clearly managed it with integrity showing all sides of any potential argument. Congratulations on the movie option. I’ll keep reading as usual :).
And there I get for not reading Fb properly. I just saw something Clare posted, and a pic, but I read everything to quickly.
I’m so proud of and happy for you.
Damn, woman!! Way to overachieve everything!! I continue to be amazed by all that you accomplish and like everyone else am soo happy that the letter was a declaration not a resignation.
Mind blown. Fangirl spaz attack. Okay, I’m all good. Nice reveal!
You forgot: would purchase again. A+++
My mind is blown truly, truly blown I’m not angry or anything like that I’m just in awe wow!
Wow do I feel lazy now! LOL
I know all about keeping identities secret and having your reasons so no harm, no foul. Good for you and congrats on all your success. I’ve always been a Jen Frederick fan and consider her an online friend so…this is kind of wild. :)
Congratulations on the success of your writing career. You’ll have to tell us how you came up with your pen name?
I’m just so relieved DA isn’t going anywhere. Congrats on your success, Jane, and I’m excited to see where it goes!
Oh, wow! What a wonderful reveal, but I’m so sorry it was forced on you. No one should be forced to reveal a pseudonym if they don’t want to. I do applaud the integrity you’ve displayed in keeping “Jen’s” books and “Jane’s” blog separate. Congratulations on your successes! I know you have more in your future. (And I’m another one who had a moment of trepidation when reading the title of this post. So glad it was something wonderful, instead.)
Wow! Congrats Jane. I’m not totally shocked to find out you are an author too, just shocked that you manage to do it all and do it well. Superwoman, you. I’ve enjoyed your books and wish you much writing success.
This was my reaction, too.
You forgot those who say that if an author writes a negative review, it will tank her career!
Those who say that all reviewers review because they are frustrated hacks and haters who can’t write a book of their own!
And so many other drama queens.
But I’m also so happy for Jane!
Good for you! As a Jen Frederick reader and a reviewer of your Jessica Clare/Jen Frederick collaboration, I really enjoy your writing! Just because you read doesn’t mean you can’t objectively review others! Thanks for letting us know☺
Wow!! Congratulations! Everyone loves a success story, but this one is just amazing. Very happy for you!
I’m very grateful to you as Jane for starting this blog (which reviewed my books even when I was a noob self published author) and sticking up for author’s rights with the Ellora’s Cave mess. And I’m so grateful to you as Jen for both writing awesome books and for being super helpful and kind in NAAU. I’m sorry your pen name had to come out this way, but for me at least, it doesn’t change anything!
Yup. What everyone else said. All of that.
Many congratulations, and hope for your continued success! You deserve it.
Gee, way to take the wind (what little there is) out of your detractors’ sails.
Now, they discover that the anti-author blogger is indeed an author, and a successful one at that, and do they say, “oh, I totally misjudged her?” Nooooooo, they say, “she must have used her connections.”
Shabby, shabby people, Jane – but they’re all on the other side. I wonder what Madam Riz will do with this new info.
I scared my cat with my scream of laughter. I don’t know how you managed this, what with all the work you do (and I too was afraid this was a letter of resignation or the closing of DA), but hats off to you, Jane. Can I be a teensy bit upset that you don’t write historical romance? lol
J., Janine sent me over here to read “an important blog post” and my heart was sinking. I laughed like crazy when I read this. It’s fantastic! And anyone who thinks your ethics or pride would allow you to take advantage of any of your other positions in order to push your books has no idea of your character, which I’ve always found to be irreproachable. You go on being your superwoman self! And btw, can you do something about world peace while you’re at it? ;D
OMGosh I was so worried this was a post about leaving or shutting the doors on DA. But instead I get to shriek, “Congratulations!!!!” And as others have said, wow, you are indeed Superwoman. So happy for you, and I now I have more books to read. Yay!!
I know, right. It’s also so unfortunate for all the authors who put themselves out there, first name and last, real identites, and have another competitor ripping apart their books on a daily basis while pretending to be a reader, and now this poor, poor, poor, poor, poor dear author must withstand the risk inherent to one who does the same.
Oh no! An author is now being known as an author who attacks other authors. How dare she not be allowed to attack from a mantle of anonymity!
It’s so obvious why this other identity was hidden. It was to shield herself from criticism so that she could leave horrible reviews on the books of other authors while herself being one.
“For readers by readers.”
@Bitter Irony: and your name would be?
When the new commenting policy was put into effect a couple of years ago, I did wonder if it had something to do with maintaining workable or relations with a growing network of publishing contacts, besides, obviously, reducing the time and strain caused by blog dramas and blow-ups. So I cannot say I haven’t noticed a shift in tone at Dear Author.
That said, my mind boggles at how much you fit into your life, I admire your achievements, and I continue to be grateful for Dear Author. The revelation – or not – of your author identity should obviously have been yours to make, and it’s distressing that it came about this way. I wish you all the best in all your chosen careers.
It’s obvious you’re “just jealous.”
I’m in awe of you! Yeah for you!
@MrsJoseph: I’m just wondering at gripping about someone using pseudonyms while making snide comments…anonymously
@Bitter Irony: Is that you, Jade – I mean, pubnut?
Very exciting news. I only wish you the best, you deserve it! I haven’t read anything by Jen Frederick (yet), but as I am a big admirer of you and your writing via this blog and the DBSA podcast, I will definitely be reading a few at the beach over spring break and summer vacation. Just keep ‘doing you” Jane…don’t let anyone try and knock you down or silence you. You have a HUGE amount of support from people all over the world.
Just want to add my congrats here!
So what if you DID use your “insider” connections! There’s nothing wrong with that. Best of luck!
Like everyone else, I, too, clicked on the story with dread.
But this is great news.
Congratulations on the deals, and I hope things only continue to be onward and upward!
Like a few others, I feared you might be stepping down from DA when I first saw this article. I’m so happy that’s not the case, and even happier for your success. Congrats!
@Bitter Irony: Gosh, I see you’re putting your real name out there. Oh wait.
I saw some concerns about the lack of disclosure and the reviews of books from Berkley. I did a search all the way back through August and I did one review for a Berkley book: REVIEW: Rules for a Proper Governess by Jennifer Ashley in October. The rest of my reviews were for non Berkley books. (I signed the contract in October I think).
Boy, ‘bitter’ is so accurate, huh?
So happy and thrilled for you. You are definitely one the most thoughtful and ethical people I’ve ever had the privilege of running into on the internet.
I’m not generally not too much into YA but I will definitely check them out and see if they could be my cup of tea.
Congratulations on all of the success with your writing! I admire your ability to keep both worlds separate and remain objective at Dear Author.
@Jane: Thanks for the disclosure. I imagine one book review during a gray area of time might upset some, but for me your 10 years of honest reviewing and pro-reader stance says all I need to know.
I’m jealous. I also love you to death and admire you to the moon and farther so I’m happy that you’re providing us with more of you. You show your detractors what professionalism looks like and keep grace and humility while doing so.
Wow, what a great surprise – congratulations to you! To me, this is just another example of the utility/power of pen names. I’m off to try Undeclared…
Well, how about that! Good for you, Jane. I’m very happy for your success. And why not? You’re a wonderful blog writer and a smart lady. Congrats!
Cheers to you! I’m glad you worked so hard to keep your writing identity secret from Dear Author. Kudos to you for being able to maintain that anonymity. Best of luck!
Jane, what excellent news! I’m so happy for you for blazing a new and successful trail in your life. I’m awed at how much you manage to fit in your day. Given how scrupulous you are with keeping all the different aspects of your life separate, I have no doubt that there were no conflicts of interest or professionalism with your various identities. Hats off to you for successfully wearing so many different hats.
I love this blog, and I check it out every day. I was so worried, like everyone else, when I saw the headline! Then I was so massively relieved that it took me a minute to process the rest of it.
Good for you!!! You shame many of us with your ability to wear so many hats… or at least, you shame me:)
Oh, and for the single “bitter” person…. do you not understand the meaning of irony? That would be your ridiculous insinuations posted under a pseudonym.
Jane and Dear Author have always been my go-to blog for honest reviews… written by real people. I don’t always agree with the reviews, but I don’t agree with anyone 100% of the time. I have, however, discovered some wonderful books, and writers through this blog. So, it works wonderfully for me, as a reader, and for the authors I have had the joy to discover through discussions here.
Thanks Jane, and best wishes in all your endeavors!
I read this with my mouth hanging open then I emailed Jane … “Well, son of a bitch…lol…congratulations and good on ya…”
Apparently, I’m imitating aussies today.
I think this is fan-frickin-tastic.
Best of luck, Jane.
Congratulations! And Lol, because I’ve chatted with you in FB groups and never had any clue, so you did a GREAT job of keeping the secret. Good luck with all the upcoming deals!
First and foremost, congratulations on your successes. I’ll admit though, it finds me giving the whole thing a bit of the side eye considering that a few of the books were promoted on this site in one way or another, unless the people who did the posts had no idea that it was a pseudonym for you. Also, i am still sorry the lawsuit tipped your hand.
I don’t comment very often, but I read every day and like everyone else I was absolutely blown away by your announcement :) (I also started with dread so this was such a great twist) Congrats, congrats, congrats!!! I really enjoyed Jen Fredericks’ books and like everyone else, I’m floored by how much you’ve accomplished!!! So, let’s just go all Taylor Swift on this and Shake It Off cuz “haters be just be hatin'”. This site is the epitome of professionalism and objectivity and as a reader, this is my go to for information and well rounded, objective reviews. Kudos and you need to write an info book on how to accomplish it all! Thanks so much!
Congratulations, Jayne! I think this is awesome and I’m a bit in awe of how you managed to do so many things.
And I even have a couple of your books! They’d drifted way down into the TBR pile, because books are added almost daily, but I’ve netted them and have started reading Undeclared.
Since the user name was ‘Bitter Irony’, I had to reread the post, thinking I’d missed the irony. Alas, it just wasn’t there. A definite misnomer.
Wishing you continued success with your publishing career.
Dear Author is one of my go to blogs for unbiased reviews.
Congrats on the film deal! Neato cheatos!
Huge congrats, Jane!
And now I’m off to re-read your post on how you time manage/do so much since you’ve squeezed author in with everything else!
Grats on your success, Jane! I hadn’t heard of your pseudonym, but I don’t read NA.
Keep on keeping on… I was also starting to think this was you saying goodbye, so very glad to see DA will not be changing.
I’m sure it was a really tough decision, but keeping the integrity of the “experiment” demanded it, in my opinion. Good luck with all those possibilities opening up for you. And with that lawsuit.
I am strictly a reader, not a writer, and I have always enjoyed reading your blog posts – the books your recommend seem to align more with my taste than others. I have also really enjoyed your co-authored Hit books – never would have connected the voices, though. I will have to finally read Undeclared, which has been in my TBR Kindle file, even though I am not a huge NA reader. Bravo to you for the books and for always considering the ethics of what you do.
Congratulations, Jane! All the best for the opportunities coming up and the lawsuit.
I’ve read the comments regarding disclosure, both here and on Twitter. I have to say, I don’t see a problem here. I’ve been a lurker for a quite a while now, making a few comments here and there, but I’ve been reading the posts every am.
From my perspective, you have sustained personal attacks here, Twitter and on the website not to be named. Then there’s the very expensive lawsuit which not only hit you, but Dear Author as well. Followed by the emailing to to your employer. When looking at all this from a personal standpoint, not only do I not blame you for keeping your writing self off Dear Author, I think I would do the same. We all should be able to protect our privacy as we choose. This has been taken away from you in a wholly vile way, in my opinion.
Again, huge congratulations and best wishes for continued success!
You’re an inspiration and you continue to set a positive example. I’m in a unique position where I’ve received both criticism and praise from you. I’ve learned and grown from each experience. There is a way to offer criticism that’s entertaining to readers while giving insights to authors. I think you’ve mastered that mix. Can’t wait to check out your books! Thanks for sharing your unique journey and fighting the good fight!
Congratulations on all your successes and best wishes for the future.
I haven’t read any of your books (yet) but have always loved your blog. Even beyond your impressive accomplished list, there is something you failed to list.
Your post above doesn’t change the way I feel about Dear Author with the exception of being even more impressed.
Congratulations and much success.
That lawsuit is the gift that just keeps giving, isn’t it?
I put off reading this post because I thought you’d be saying, “I’m blowing this popsicle stand!” after your deposition this past weekend. Of course, I went from feeling bad that you might be stepping down to feeling like the world’s biggest slacker. :-) Medical researchers need to study you since you’ve obviously learned to function without ever sleeping.
I’d never heard of the JF pseudonym, but am so happy for your success. I confess that I’m not a big NA/contemporary fan, but what I’ve read has been due to reccies from DA/you. Maybe you’ll make me a true convert eventually.
I wanted to wait and think about this news before I commented. My knee-jerk response was “You go, girl!” but I wanted to make sure this wasn’t because I personally really like Jane (or at least her online persona) and I was really infuriated by the EC lawsuit; how would I feel reading this same post from some other online reviewers (naming no names) whom I personally dislike but whose sites I regularly consult?
After sitting on it a while, all I can say is that it increases my respect for Jane, and my happiness at her success. I have always felt that DA has always consistently championed the interests of readers, and ( if anything ) it errs by not giving ENOUGH weight to the very valid commercial and artistic interests of authors. I hope that Jane and all of DA community continue both to maintain these high standards and also to enjoy and express the sheer FUN of reading.
tl, dr: In short, my considered response is “You go, girl!”
Oh, and my response has *nothing* to do with checking out your books and finding one that punched all my “id reading” buttons. ;-)
After the initial gut-clench and “Oh, *hell no* is she shutting the site down” panic, I have to say this did…not surprise me (in a totally “not that jerky guy in the movie who claims he knew whodunit all along” way).
Running a review blog this big has basically given you a crash course (well, not really a “crash” since you were on the ten-year plan, LOL) in novel deconstruction, and a big education on genre and commercial fiction, outside of the standard literary criticism experience. To not put that to use would, I think, be the greater surprise (and, quite frankly, the greater pity).
Congratulations on your success with your publishing efforts, and if it’s something you truly love to do, the ups and downs of the industry won’t drive you away from it. I’m sincerely sorry that you weren’t in complete control of your “outing” timeline, and that the lawsuit has caused such chaos in your life. That sucks, but living well is the best revenge, as they say.
I would love to read about some of your experiences in dealing with bloggers from the other end of things, if you choose to share. It would be nice to have a review blogger’s “do’s and don’t’s” for authors seeking reviews that takes into account both sides of the fence. The more examples of good behavior and practices we have out there, the happier we’ll all be, I’m sure. :)
Enjoy your success!
Congrats Jane! That’s so cool! A pen name makes perfect sense. Now when you go to future book conventions, will you go as blogger or author or both? :)
lol Mary, that is a good question.
What first came to mind was that I wasn’t terribly surprised by this. You’re articulate and passionate about books. Writers always start out as readers. I’ve never met an author who hates to read.
After all these comments, all I can say is ditto! Relief that you’re not leaving the blog, congrats on the great news, and amazement that you manage to do all that you do!
Congratulations! Wow. So is your superpower super organizationness or is being able to function without ever getting sleep? Cuz you rock, girl.
Wow, “get in where you fit in…do you…can’t knock the hustle…don’t hate the player, hate the game” and all of those cliches and more. However, when considering the implications and motivations, this news really casts a shadow over this blog. Readers were in the dark about this situation, but to think this situation had absolutely *no impact* on the focus of this blog, the whys and the wherefores, how it’s been run? Really? That strains credulity, and I just can’t suspend disbelief.
People have been eaten alive on this blog for non-disclosure or shall we say, less than satisfactory disclosure, and even now, this disclosure was forced? I thought this place was a bastion of integrity…for readers, lol. Umph, umph, umph. I am shaking my head.
Well, I’m just reacting, because I truly “feel some kinda way” about this news. It makes me think that “something in the milk wasn’t clean” all along. Oh well, I don’t begrudge success, so to that end, “make that money, but don’t let that money make you.”
I am a reader and I started following DA first for book reviews then recs and book news. Through the years I’ve only commented a handful of times on here and I don’t know you personally but you’ve always helped me, a stranger, when I email you with questions. You are beyond generous and considerate with your time, knowledge. Haters will be haters, casting suspicion on whatever they can get their hooks in. Congrats on writing, successfully writing, and the film rights. All of this is wonderful news and shame on EC/the lawsuit for forcing you to give it up before you were ready. I hope you will kick the lawsuit ass.
Bravo! I read very little if any NA, so I have not read or purchased any of your books but a huge congrats.
It’s wonderful to see anyone grow artistically and add to their interests as they move further through their lives. Continue to thrive and explore. So much to be said about learning new skills and growing as a person and artist. My fear upon seeing the headline was that DA was ending but upon reading my main thought was “Huzzah! I think you’re awesome. Sorry for all the compliments because I know you don’t like them but…. you’ll just have to take it :)
That is so cool. It may suck giving up the anonymity, but I think that you did it is extra cool. I’ve loved DA since it first started and come back daily to read pretty much everything. I bought 2 of your Woodland books just because I love this site, and I’m looking forward to reading them.
P.S. I hope you kick EC’s butt!
I am so late. Congratulations, Jane. I am in shock like everyone else.
From 2006 to now. What an amazing journey this has been for you. Wish you continued success in your future endeavors.
Aw, this is like kittens in baskets on rainbows for me! I’m so thrilled to find this out about you, even though it sucks that you didn’t get to choose when (or if) you would mention it — honestly, it just adds to my heaping piles of respect for you, because you’re not just uber-professional, you are amazingly productive as well. Do you sleep? Are you a robot? If you’re a robot, you have to tell us, it’s in the rules.
I have been eyeballing the Hitman series as I really enjoy Jessica Clare/etcnames books, so I’m absolutely giddy to read them now, as well as the rest. I mean, I love your writing as a blogger, so I’m excited to see it as a fiction writer as well, y’know?
Congratulations for the good things, thank you for standing up and fighting with the bad, and for your continued grace and untouchable class with the ugly.
I get to add a new hero to my hero list, yay!
Awesome! Congratulations, Jane! And never mind that I’m over here feeling even more like an underachiever…
Also, I trust that there’s a reference to a were-duck somewhere in one of those MULTIPLE books you’ve written in the last 2 years and 4 months.
That is amazing, congratulations on your success!
Wow! I didn’t know what to expect when I opened this. Seriously, I already knew you are amazing, and this reveal only adds to my admiration and respect for you. As a DA reader, I appreciate your efforts to protect DA and to be transparent. As a reader, I’m excited to scope out a new author. Congratulations on your success (both here at DA and also as an author) and best of luck with your future endeavors!!
Wow. I was definitely worried it was bad news, so this was a great surprise. Congratulations on the successes as an author!
I am really in awe of this juggling of multiple careers and personas. Off now to go re read your post on time management skills… (No, seriously. In awe. I was just entering my 2nd chance DABWAHA bracket and saw you responding to comments there to fix people’s problematic brackets. Very impressed.)
Congrats! Best. Kept. Secret. Ever!
One thing I must know, where do you find the time?!?!
You handled this situation with aplomb, Jane. Impressive.
@Bitter Irony: @Bitter Irony:
I’m not sure why you singled out *@* Ilona Andrews in your response unless you were using her as an example of an author posting as her real name. If so, Ilona Andrews is a pen name.
To JL, congrats on all your successes. I wish you all the best in your court case.
OK, so I took some time to look through the site.
I totally get why Jane/Jen wanted to keep her blog-self and author-self separate. I think letting the books sink or swim on their own merit was an understandable and admirable decision.
Where I get a bit bothered is with one of the co-authored books Last Hit being featured in the Daily Deals when it was on sale for 99¢ (post dated Mar 30, 2014) and Charlotte Chronicles being featured on Kati’s Best Reads of 2014 list (post dated Dec 29, 2014) without disclosure being made. And with the latter I am making the possibly incorrect assumption that Kati knew Jane was Jen.
But even if she didn’t, preventing the appearance of impropriety is what disclosure is supposed to be about.
The only other non-comments mentions I found were the 2nd Chance Tournament 2nd Place prize for last year’s DABWAHA contest (A Kindle Fire, donated by Jen Frederick) and the If You Like Men in Uniform by Guest Melissa Van Dover (posted Nov 25, 2013) which was a guest post that featured Unspoken. I personally don’t have an issue with either of these instances.
I’ve been a reader of the blog for a lot of years and will continue to be. And I’m happy for Jane’s success as an author and will continue to read the blog. I believe DA has always been big on the need for transparency and has strived to do so. So I can view the instances as a misstep which do not undermine the integrity of a blog as a whole. But the instances do underline the reasons why transparency is so important.
Whoa! Way to go on the book and movie deal!
“I know there are people who will feel that I should have told you this from the start. ”
And I’m one of them, because I believe reviewers should *always* reveal their vested interests.
Having said that, I’m unaware that your reviewing has been affected by your new career. So while I think it’s something I wish you’d avoided doing, for your sake (given how many shitheads are after you) as much as anything, what’s done is done. I hope it’s not going to change the tenor of this blog, but if it does, it’s your blog, of course, to change.
“After being told countless times that if I was going to review books negatively, I should try to write one of my own”
Also, it’s never necessary for a reviewer to give into this kind of nonsense. Ever. Reviewers are readers, not authors. Once you become one, the nonsense becomes “oh, well, you’re an author, you should NEVER criticise another author’s books because you’re just jelus/taking food out of their mouths/must be running a vendetta to push your own books instead.” The correct response to a butthurt author telling anyone negative reviews must come with some kind of professional gilding is, “póg mo thóin!”
I’m sure you know this though.
But, moving on – holy crap, when do you find time to eat? :) And what a way to stick two fingers up to the carpers.
I wish you more luck with the writing (not that you need it from the look of things) and once again, I want to say good luck with the EC case. It was brought to silence you, and it’s already failed. Good.
Her name would be Melody Clark. STGRB fan of course, and author. Who wanted to hurt the market with *not* publishing her books.
@Jen, Congrats. I have several of your books on my Kindle. I had no idea. :D
Jane, you are an inspiration: Women Can! Women can be many splendored things and wear many-splendored hats, and it’s totally ok. :)
So sorry you have to deal with all of this. Congratulations on all your success and don’t let the bad stuff get you down. You just made me an instant fan:-)
Wow. So sorry it had to come out this way, but I’m glad for your success in writing. Congrats on the movie deal, and I wish you nothing but continued success!
I was thinking about this a lot last night, because I know it makes people feel weird to find out a reviewer wrote a book, but the point I keep coming back to is CHRIST ALMIGHTY, THEY’RE JUST BOOKS! Listen, I’m a librarian and I love books as much as, if not more than, anyone other voracious readers. But this isn’t life and death, it’s not millions of dollars (sure the publishing industry makes millions, but your review site doesn’t control or influence millions). It’s not like you’re a politician not disclosing their conflicts of interest or a doctor not disclosing taking large sums of money from a company whose drugs they prescribe. I think for most of us, you’ve demonstrated that you did your best to separate your two lives and act with integrity. (And those who don’t feel you did enough will stop reading your reviews, simple as that.) Good lord, that’s enough! It’s just books–entertainment. While I can absolutely appreciate that authors pour their heart and soul into books, we can’t lose sight of the fact that they’re just something fun/interesting/thought provoking etc for readers. If ANY author feels the need to protect their privacy, it should absolutely be their right, for any reason. (Authors have been writing under pseudonyms since the beginning of writing! Nothing new here.) Plus, I can see why you would have wanted to write anonymously. If you hadn’t, people would have been complaining that you were just trying to promote yourself via the blog. It was kind of a no win, and I can see how once you started down that path it would have been hard to get off it.
So good luck on all your many endeavors! I am sorry you were forced to out yourself, but I hope in the end it makes your life easier and you end up happier for it.
It’s such a catch 22. I’ve heard all the bullshit connected with reviewing. “Reviewers should be readers. Writers shouldn’t review.” and then “Reviewers don’t understand what writers experience, so how can they give bad reviews?”
I review under my author name mainly because I’m NOT very good at having a pseudonym and so I just went ahead and said “Yep. I’m a writer. So…grain of salt.”
My personal belief is that I’m a reader first and a writer as well.
However, you are Jane from D.A. and THAT has a lot of weight behind it due to the hard work and effort you’ve done to get this blog on the map. So, yeah, it makes total sense to me that you’d want to release the book and let it ride on its own merits.
So, CONGRATULATIONS! *throws confetti* You have kicked ass and taken names, using those smarts that made this blog so damn popular to create a writing career.
I am sorry that you had to reveal it in this manner.
and @Jennifer Leeland: this:
I think you both nailed it.
Hats off to you, Jane! Can’t wait to read your novels and I’m super excited with your success. You followed your heart, and worked hard to make it a reality. Movie deal – so very exciting! Wishing you the best,
@Jen: Agree with all of this and with @Jennifer Leeland.
I think it’s pretty cool and thanks for being open about it.
I come here on a daily basis to review book reviews, here about the book news, and read some of your think pieces. And of course to read the comments :-)
New Adult is not really my jam, but congrats to you for being so successful. Hope the lawsuit works out okay.
I actually don’t care at all whether or not someone is an author when they review books. I find the idea ridiculous that fiction writing is so special it can’t handle peer review, so on that front, I’m cool with this news. I love reading authors review other authors’ work.
I am also cool with using what you know to make your project a success (what else is experience good for?). So on that front, fine.
But here’s the thing I’m not cool with…just as I feel that authors should disclose that they are friends with someone when reviewing their friend’s work, I feel that if you have a business arrangement (ie they publish you and pay you money) with an entity, you should disclose this when you’re reviewing something that entity sells (i.e., reviewing books published by your publisher).
I feel that Jane reviewing books published by her publishing company without letting us know she was in business with them was unethical. I understand why it happened, but I’m disappointed that it did.
Congratutions! Now I think you should be a roofer next. Then we could be Jen and Jenn, rooferauthors, Inc. Heck, we don’t need to sleep, it seems :). What do you say?
I’m not going to read all those comments, so forgive me if I’m only repeating what has already been said. I think that you have acted perfectly properly. If you hadn’t published anonymously you would always have wondered whether your books (and, as it happened, possibly a movie) sold on their own merits — they did. Congratulations on being able to make time to write, given how busy you are already, and on your success.
Good luck in the lawsuit.
@leftcoaster: For those who do not know I am a reviewer here, so obviously I am biased, but from what I understand Jane reviewed one book (her comment 125), not books by Berkley since she signed a contract with them. So I am not sure where “books” plural are coming from. And that review came out in October, the same month when she signed the contract according to her. So it is quite possible that review was scheduled to go up months in advance (I can tell you that it happens many times with my reviews – or should I say happened, because now I do not do arc reviews anymore, but still I can put review in Q and it will be up few weeks later easily. Scheduling depends on many things) and Jane just forgot about it when she signed a contract?
Wow! As a reader I am boggled by the fact that you managed to maintain this blog as a pro-reader space, regardless! I’ve felt so free to air my views which I think others could construe as “anti-author”. I have never had a problem with authors writing reviews — this is very very common in the “literary fiction” world. In fact, I think most reviewers in print are authors themselves. I only worry about disclosure when authors review friends — and that’s the only time I can remember a big fuss being made on this blog about transparency, but I could be wrong.
Anyway this has gone a loooooong way in muting my anger about authors hostility towards readers and review sites. May DA live long.
@Sirius: I too wondered if it was a pre-scheduled review written weeks prior. The reviews for Berkeley books did stop at that point, so I am not getting the ‘unethical’ vibe either. Maybe an ‘oops’ vibe, but that is it for me.
Honestly, I think many of us would love to have Jane’s current problem: how to merge TWO successes!
I’m a romance author. And I have lost all respect I had for Dear Author.
This is not okay. It is unethical for such an influential romance reviewer to also be an author, and to never breathe a word of it to anyone in the community. We as authors have been lied to.
I totally understand protecting privacy, but this has gone past that. One book and staying quiet I get. But to continue it with multiple books out, multiple publishing contracts, and a possible movie deal? No. Not okay. I get the feeling that if not for the Ellora’s Cave lawsuit, we still wouldn’t know. That is also not okay.
@Rachel Leigh Smith, why?
I can see absolutely nothing that makes it unethical for a prominent reviewer to be an author. Nothing. If anything, it should make her a better reviewer. She didn’t review books from her publisher except a single possible overlap the month she signed the contact. None of the other reviewers knew about it and they post without oversight so the one or two mentions of her books is understandable, though she did notice actual reviews and prevent them. All of this shows just how ethical she had been.
So how does the fact that she’s an author cause her reviewing of unrelated books to be unethical? Because they’re a similar genre? Would sf or non-fiction be ok? That makes no sense. She drew the line appropriately so that she didn’t *have* to make disclaimers.
I’m an occasional reader of Dear Author and I’ve enjoyed the Jen Frederick books that I’ve read so thank you for both.
It must have been incredibly hard in the beginning to resist using the DA platform to get the word out about your books. I admire what you’ve done and think your handling of the situation is above reproach. Congratulations and thanks again for your contributions to the community.
@Sirius: thanks for the clarification, I missed the comment from Jane regarding reviewing books from Berkeley. It’s great that she didn’t review any more, and I totally get it that it slipped her mind then, but I still would like to see a little more ownership now.
And I’ll say again that I call shenanigans on anyone who says reviewers shouldn’t be authors. Total shenanigans. Romance doesn’t get special snowflake status, peer review is standard practice in other areas of literature and in other fields of work. I find that stance infuriating (obviously).
I thought about this a lot and now I’m going to make the most useless comment ever.
I don’t care is exactly how I feel about all of it. I can see why others would be upset, and all feelings are valid. Yeah, I think there’s probably some gray area meandering here. I don’t care. You wrote some books and people liked them, and while that’s cool….unless you are Jane Austen or LM Montgomery I’m not going to get out of my bean bag chair. Don’t judge me, it’s comfy. I haven’t read your books and I’m not exactly going to rush out and do so. Don’t feel bad, I haven’t read Tolstoy, either. If I never read Robinson Crusoe or Moby Dick again, my life will be better for it. I don’t think being an author interferes with your ability to write a review about someone else’s work. I don’t really let reviews stop me from loving or hating a book anyway. I mean, just because YOU love a book doesn’t mean I will, and vice versa. Quite frankly, I occasionally have awful taste in literature.
Where I WILL care is if this has negative impact on my “Constitutional right” to be a d*** on the internet. By which I mean “have an opinion and express it even if others don’t like it”. Since I can’t see that happening, I’ll continue to sit here in my bean bag chair and read historical fiction instead of doing my Asian history homework.
tldr: Long hair don’t care.
This is not about a pen-name. Not at all. Write on.
But when I think about AJ Llewellyn, Ruthie Knox, JS Cooper, your strict stance on transparency and ethics. NOT. COOL.
@Rachel Leigh Smith:
Are you aware that her husband also owns a publishing company who has only published HER books? She wanted to take down EC as their business threatened the family business.
SHE IS TRYING TO HIDE THE EVIDENCE. HER HUSBAND OWNS THE PUBLISHER WHO PUBLISHER HER BOOKS. SINCE THIS STORY BROKE, SHE HAS EDITED ALL HER AMAZON BOOKS TO REMOVE IT.
^^ Look at publisher
Now look at the page as it stands NOW: http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Kissed-Jen-Frederick-ebook/dp/B00HEL5OZO/ref=la_B00CKH119U_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1427321169&sr=1-10
She is in DIRECT competition with EC via her HUSBAND’S publishing company
Or should I call you ‘Tinanut’?
The owner of this press is Christopher Obert. You will note “Chris co-wrote with his wife, Nancy”
One of the distressing things about the suit you…er, EC brought against Jane is the shredding of her privacy, so we all know what her name is. And it’s not Nancy
Also, EC doesn’t publish NA, does it? I’m pretty sure it sells itself as “the first [sic] and foremost publisher of erotic romance”.
Now unless EC sees every self-publisher in the universe as “in DIRECT competition” with itself regardless of genre, your claim is bullshit. Even if EC does see things this way, doesn’t make it true.
Back into your cave, batgirl. You’re a walking, babbling demonstration why Jane kept quiet about her writing.
@Bitter Irony: You were just waiting in the wings, hoping someone would make a comment you could latch on to so you could unleash this … caps lock diatribe?
I have no idea what any of your claim means–honestly, I don’t care–but I will say that Jane’s integrity and openess just went up even further in my opinion, because, look, you’re posting here, no one stopped you.
You know what SOME of her names are. Not all of them.
Her real name is *deleted for doxxing*
And no, I am not anyone named Tina.
^^ There you go. Her husband’s publishing company is HER publishing company.
It is so UNBELIEVABLY unethical for a publishing company to also be a reviewer. This is the sort of conflict of interest that undermines all credibility. And I used to love reading this blog, too.
In view of some of the things I’ve learned today, via this post at The Passive Voice, I have to qualify my earlier glee. After learning some of the things Jane Litte as Jen Frederick did–such as interacting with authors, in authors-only spaces–the “keeping the two personas separate” argument feels a lot less like a reason and more like a justification.
There are a couple other things I’m looking into (podcast with writing partner, apparently with mention/promotion of Jen Frederick books for one), but I’m now extremely uncomfortable with this twist.
For the record, though, I feel that Jane/Jen did not defamed Ellora’s Cave–Jaid Black has been digging a hole for herself for many years.
As Ann Somerville commented above, an erotica and erotic romance publisher is not in competition with a NA author. However, I don’t know whether the collaboration novels with Jessica Clare are erotic romance or not.
Time to question everything I thought I knew about this issue, and about a number of the people involved aside from Jane/Jen herself–which sucks for those among them who were innocent bystanders, by the way.
Ann, I like you even though I probably shouldn’t. You’re very harsh, but you’re fair, which is why I… well, that’s something else.
Believe me when I say that, despite your desire to support DA, you’re wrong on this one. She technically owns this publisher as well by virtue of marriage, and it was never disclosed.
I’m not Tina. You know me, though you also don’t know who I am right now. And I’m not anyone you expect, though my identity would not likely shock you. But you do know me: not well, but you do.
@Bitter Irony… Your assertions are HUGE stretch. You really think she created that blog post to take out ONE publishing company in an effort to reduce the competition for her husband? You really think that single blog post would topple a publisher that didn’t already have problems? I haven’t read her books, but it sounds like they’re New Adult. That’s not even a genre Ellora’s Cave has dealt with. Or maybe they started when it became a popular genre, but I wouldn’t know because I haven’t been to their site in a long time (even prior to the blog post) because THEIR BOOKS ARE TOO EXPENSIVE FOR WHAT YOU GET, AND THEY’RE POOR QUALITY BECAUSE THE EDITING TOOK A NOSEDIVE. Why would she focus on EC? What about Totally Bound? What about Samhain? What about Loose-Id? There are SO many other publishers out there, and she set her sights on killing EC for her husband? Hardly. And I still find it rude for people to post Jane’s real name, even though it can be found in court documents. HERE she is Jane. In the books she authored, she’s Jen.
What difference does it make if she self-publishes using an LLC or a sole proprietorship? The company structure doesn’t change anything, does it?
“Ann, I like you”
I think you’re a fucking idiot. Which is not a violation of the commenting policy but a statement of fact.
I don’t care who you are, though I’d love to know if you paid a street artist to fax this to DA.
What you are, is a grudgy wanker, and I have a zero tolerance for them.
I wouldn’t believe you if you said the sky was blue. Anything you said is fruit from the poisoned tree.
And Aztec Lady? Given the Passive Voice also has a massive grudge against DA, same goes for that site.
All of you should remember Jane isn’t allowed to comment on the suit, and isn’t going to be able to answer all these allegation until the suit is over. Bitter nuts can sling shit all she wants, and Jane can’t reply. How is that fair?
Just for a point of clarification, yes, I have an LLC and an EIN because my bank requires that in order to have a separate account (and for tax purposes that seems easiest) and yes my husband’s name is on it as well.
I’m not going to go to Passive Voice, but here’s what I recall doing involving Jen Frederick:
1) interacting with authors in their author space – yes, because I wanted to learn about the business as much as possible.
2) hosting Jess on a podcast -I thought that I discussed at the beginning of the podcast that we were friends. I can’t remember now. usually (almost always) when I recommend a Jessica Clare book, I qualify it with “she’s a friend of mine.” Should we have deleted out the part where she talks about the project? In hindsight that seems fair. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it because it seemed like such a tiny part.
3) I reviewed a Berkley book – I did. I can delete it. I’d reviewed Ashley’s historical series for a long time. I rarely pay attention to the publisher but I read that book months before and had a review done.
4) There are Berkley books in the DABWAHA – I don’t think I nominated even one of them. I put in Elle Kennedy’s book because I really liked it, Claudia Connor, and a couple of the NA books.
5) Kati D mentioned my book in a year end list – She did. She had beta read a book for me in the past but she didn’t beta this one as I wrote it weekly in a newsletter and gave it away for free. In hindsight, yes, I wish I’d deleted that from her list.
6) A guest post included a book of mine in a post she did. This person emailed me out of the blue and asked if she could do this post. I said yes. When I got the post, it had my book in it. I felt like it would be weird to have her delete just this one title.
7) Deals mention: I don’t feel like I did anything wrong there was I am always searching for deals. It’s actually quite hard to put together four new deals every day. I included the criticism that I knew about (re the language and the hero’s creepiness).
I have made mistakes. Yes. I’m very sorry for those mistakes. I’m not sorry I tried to do this without using DA. I felt like that was the right decision at the time and it still feels right today. But I am sorry for those I’ve misled.
“I think about AJ Llewellyn, Ruthie Knox, JS Cooper”
Apart from reporting on AJ Llewellyn’s messy situation in 2011 (a year before she started writing anything) I can’t find a damn thing where the other two authors are criticised in any way by Jane.
If you lot are going to start dragging up every grudge against Jane, following the noble Romancelandia tradition known as “kicking them while they’re down” the least you could bloody well do is reference the wank.
And if I never see Llewellyn’s shit referenced again in any other unrelated argument, it will still be too soon. So tired of the people who see him as a poor, put upon little boy and not the raging tosspot he clearly is.
Ok… I went and read that post in the interest of being fair and that was a lot of pearl clutching, bless her heart nonsense. It’s all do what I say! and disregard what I do. What difference is that thread vs the blog that shall not be named? Are you that easily swayed? And I’m highly, highly amused that they are concerned for READERS! LOL… readers don’t care! The only ones with a bee in their bonnets are the self righteous blog/author self appointed internet policia. Good lord, talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill….
Lord. That Passive Voice post is *exactly* why I tend to avoid author-focused sites. I simply cannot see the high value in things they go on and on about. Comparing Author Loops to Facebook (some sacrosanct bastion of societal identity now, apparently)? This is so bizarre to me with the long history of pen names. Analogies from law tv shows…this strange fuss about publishers. What will they all do when it’s just the self-published and Penguin-Random-Hatchette-WhatevertheHeck? LOL I can’t. Coming from a literary fiction/academic review space…I just can’t.
“following the noble Romancelandia tradition known as “kicking them while they’re down” ” aint that the truth. Ok. I’m done… Here’s a round of bless your hearts for everyone and I’m gonna go put the faux pearls away.
@Bitter Irony: Nice try. There are many self-pub authors who are registered as a legal business, complete with an exclusive publishing name, just for their own titles. It doesn’t mean these authors are running an active publishing company in the same sense as EC. They are not soliciting for manuscripts, hiring editors and graphic designers…etc.
Self pub authors who register themselves as a business, complete with a publishing name for their own titles, is extremely common and considered an industry best practice. It tells me nothing other than Jane is a smart business woman. Keep digging.
Here’s the link about Ruthie Knox. Jane never argued about transparency, she questioned the publisher’s business model. Two authors formed a publishing company and they’re asking subscribers to pay to get access to early pre-orders. This Twitter comment isn’t similar to the topic at hand.
@Jane: Thanks for the clarification.
I guess because you can’t find it, it doesn’t exist. Ask Jane.
I asked you to provide the links. I looked, and can’t find it. If you can’t provide a citation, I’m going to call this bullshit. You’re the one slinging shit, not me.
I just want to point out that some of the content people are complaining about and attributing to Jane is MINE, not Jane’s. Like the critique of Ruthie Knox. And the post about authors having more power than readers. DA is not the borg; bloggers here are not, nor have ever been policed by Jane. We review what we want the way we want to, and give our opinions without interference. In other words, I was never asked to change, tone down, or refrain from saying anything here. My experience blogging at DA over the past two + years is the same as it’s always been. Someone mentioned a change in tone, but if anything, I think my tone has become much harsher and more critical over the past few years. And again, I have been allowed to speak my mind freely.
People are allowed to feel whatever way they feel about this. I have expressed my feelings about this situation to Jane and she heard me. I have plenty to respect and admire her for and that has not changed.
And I’m sorry, but using The Passive Voice to impugn Jane’s ethics is the pinnacle of bitter irony.
Jane, since your announcement yesterday, I have debated whether or not I should comment. I certainly didn’t want to rain on your parade of well-wishes as a, so it seems, successful NA author. (I don’t NA, so never heard of JF.) But congrats, al the same, on your books/movie deal. I know only to well what it takes to write a manuscript, edit it and submit a polished version for publication, trad or indie notwithstanding. And I do understand your reason for a pen-name.
However, at the time of the “go fund DA against EC campaign” came about, I feel you had an ethical duty as the owner of DA and as a *successful* author who also had a movie deal in the works to disclose this fact.
But more the fool me, I suppose, for donating my hard-earned money to the DA vs. EC cause, on the presumption that you were hard up for money, and could not afford to battle the lawsuit.
You, Jane Litte/Jen Frederick robbed me of my hard-earned wages, when *I* could least afford it. My monetary contribution was based on your conscious decision to omit facts. Shame on you.
The above comment is my major concern also, and I feel bad saying so. But with people being heavily encouraged to fund legal bills for the EC case, this probably should have been disclosed then. Most people are not successful lawyers with big blogs, best selling books and a husband who apparently owns a publishing company. I feel a bit cheated that so many donated hard earned money to fund your legal bills. There should have been disclosure at the point donations were asked for.
I mean, I’m happy for you Jane, but I also feel a little betrayed.
Email me *deleted* and I’ll give you every cent back that you paid. No questions asked.
Offer goes for you too.
I donated to the fund because I believe in free speech and I HATE what EC are doing. I know Jane has a job and a working spouse, so I was under no illusion she was poverty stricken. At the same time, no one, rich or poor, should have to stump up tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars because Tina Engler has her panties caught in her snatch.
I emailed Suzanne immediately after she commented and made the offer of the refund. And just to clarify my husband and I own a LLC that is used to track the income and pay the taxes on the self published books. That’s the only “publishing company” that is owned by either of us.
Agreed, I’m not in the rainbows and happy-happy joy-joy camp regarding this announcement, but that’s a separate issue from the free speech issue, to my mind.
“using The Passive Voice to impugn Jane’s ethics is the pinnacle of bitter irony”
Actually, using a PV post which uses an *anonymous* comment as its source is the pinnacle.
And all those freeze speech advocates whooping it up on Twitter over that post need their butts smacked. The Passive Voice is *not* a reader’s advocate in the slightest.
Sign me +1 to the above. I used to state on a regular basis that we are not a hive mind and we don’t speak with one voice. I stopped years ago because it started feeling like a lost cause, but let me shout into the wind one more time.
My experience in eight and half years at DA has been in direct contrast to the conspiracy theories I’ve seen espoused today. At no time have I ever been told what to review or how to review it. I’ve had an open invitation to contribute op-ed pieces for years, on whatever topic I like, even though I rarely take advantage of it. From the day she and Jayne first invited me to join this blog in the fall of 2006 to today, my content has never been edited by Jane.
@Janine: Me too, although for only two and a half years. I came to DA wanting to review m/m. Jane told me that at any time I am welcome to review anything I want (and only now I am starting to slowly take advantage of it, because am so worried that I will screw it up – reviews in other genres, where I also read widely, but mostly afraid to review).
Same with opinion pieces – I am not sure if I will ever take advantage of this offer (see above why, I am a reviewer with defect as is, so opinion piece feels like the whole other level of complexity language wise:)), but the offer was made and at no time my content was edited by Jane.
I mean she looked at my first few reviews and it took her several times to remind me that I have to start my reviews with “Dear author” because I forgot that lol, but that was it. I review any book I want, any way I want without any directions from Jane. We honestly are not Borg :).
I’m flabbergasted by some of the comments on here. The last of which re: the campaign to help Jane fight the lawsuit from EC. Wasn’t the GoFund initiated by someone not Jane to support Jane in a suit meant to suppress free speech? I wasn’t aware there was any mention of Jane needing or requesting financial assistance. It’s been pretty common knowledge that Jane is an attorney and can assume that she makes decent income. The news that she has several successful self pub books and she/her hubby owns a company doesn’t mean that now all those earnings should be used towards fighting a lawsuit.
Ok back to bring a lurker. I know that it’s moot to speak up when certain minds are made up. But… I just don’t understand why good news can never be shared without faults.
Re: “You, Jane Litte/Jen Frederick robbed me of my hard-earned wages, when *I* could least afford it. ”
What kind of nonsense is this? No one pressured anybody to contribute to the fund for DA and Jane. If you recall, the goal was reached within what, four or five days? No one was painting any pictures of DA or Jane personally being ruined by the suit. The fact that Jane is an attorney was pointed to repeatedly.
The amounts most of us gave were modest, because our means are modest, but we felt it was critical that a SLAPP suit-wielding bully see straight away that it was fighting a losing battle.
I say again, will Ellora’s Cave, and other companies, be able to threaten those who report their shoddy business practices through specious lawsuits? If so, darker days loom ahead for not only the romance book community, but consumers and citizens of all stripes. As more big media falls under corporate control, we need our bloggers and independent journalists more than ever.
You can speculate all you want about which hat Jane had on when the article was writted, but why waste your time? It has nothing to do with whether or not what Jane reported was true. Everything I’ve seen suggests that it was true, so EC’s suit has always been bogus. I believe that this is the truth that will out and collapse the whole misconceived legal action.
@ Ann Somerville, “Email me *deleted.*”
‘K, here’s my e-mail to you: You’re deleted.
Jane edited out my email out of concern for my privacy. I did not ask her to.
But she emailed you direct. Did you take her up on the offer?
I’m betting you didn’t donate a damn thing, and you’re just grandstanding. So…piss off, little sockpuppet.
And she (a) didn’t even want to ask for help and had to be badgered into it (unless you think Sarah Wendall is lying) and (b) has put in $20000 of her own money to begin with and (c) is probably going to need a *lot* more than the money donated thanks to the shenanigans of @pubnt and (d) fuck all these sour grapenuts and the horses they rode in on.
It’s one thing to be disappointed that someone didn’t tell you the whole story – I know that’s how I feel. It’s quite another to be petty and vindictive and plain fucking bitchy just because someone you don’t like is having a bad time. What gets me is the level of viciousness from people who *aren’t* facing a lawsuit and having their privacy shredded by a company with no discernible ethics. Do they imagine that Jane has been swimming around in dollar bills like Scrooge McDuck on the back of this gofundme? Are they *jealous* that they weren’t sued and didn’t get access to all this magic money? Because that’s what all this faux outrage sounds like to me.
And they’re getting into bed with some really revolting comrades, if the comments at the Passive Voice are anything to go by. TIna Engler and STGRB, yeah, now that’s a combination I always look to for ethical standards in publishing and blogging.
Anne Somerville, not only is the response above *horrible* your original offer wasn’t remotely the point.
The fund was set up by Sarah (I believe) and was heavily promoted on SBTB, on the podcast (which I think of as a joint entity) and here on Dear Author (I believe but I could be wrong), it just seems a bit sketchy to me.
However, no one really did anything wrong, and this is Jane’s site, she can promote anything she likes, Sarah’s site is her site and she and her PR company can promote anything they like, same with the podcast.
For me, as someone who has been reading and listening for many many years and always considered the site an advocacy platform for readers, well, I am feeling a little bit betrayed, as if the people I always imagined were on my side have really been a lot more powerful than they ever made out. Which is completely fair enough, why would you put so much work in unless you were getting an advantage? That’s my problem and I can go elsewhere.
Stand up, Ann, for you missed the missed the sarcasm in my direct reply to you.
And not that it is anyone’s business, but Jane and I have been contact, since my original post. So I am not a sockpuppet.
As this DA vs. EC is all about “freedom of speech” I say, Piss off, yourself, Ann Somerville.
I disagree that the GoFundMe was “heavily promoted” either at DA or at Smart Bitches, unless merely providing a link is heavy promotion. Jane had to be TALKED INTO starting it, and used GoFundMe so that she could provide refunds for any unused funds. 10 years of running DA; even with advertising I doubt Jane is gleefully tossing DA cash around the room. Lawyer? That might mean a nice salary, but again…….lawyer isn’t synonymous with the big bucks. Published author? I’m thinking back to Cara McKenna’s awesome post on just how much/little she’s actually making.
I see some people looking for reasons to be butthurt. Jane betrayed me!! Jane reviewed one book by her now publisher-shame!horror! Jane isn’t her real name!
Visiting DA is completely voluntary. Always has been. Those readers who feel so betrayed can stop visiting, but I bet they don’t. While it’s a popular site, DA doesn’t have the power to destroy careers, alienate readers, or kill puppies. Authors do those things all on their own, although hopefully not the puppy part.
As for Bitter Irony, Jaid your act is old. Your disguise is thin. Your company is doing poorly because of poor management and crap books. I’d donate twice what I did originally to see your bully attempt shut down.
Okay folks with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight very possibly Jane now thinks she should have disclosed her JF persona earlier and edited out any comment about JF books on the DA site. I’ve lost count of the times in my life I would have loved to have 20-20 hindsight before the event. I have read through both the comments here and on the passive voice site and can clearly see some people are hurt because they have now found out the JF on their author discussion groups is JL from DA and are worried about any possible consequences from this. It is for JF authorto deal with her fellow group members and provide them with the assurances of privacy they seek. No doubt some will use any opportunity to dump on JF author and some will give her the benefit of the doubt and assess any book she writes on its merits. However moving forward, as a reader who relies on sites like DA to find out about books and authors I might like to read I am wondering if Jane could, in a blog, restate the purpose of the DA site and what checks and balances are/ will be in place to ensure the content is fair and balanced. I would be interested in knowing if for example reviews are moderated before going live, if reviewers and bloggers are required to declare any business ties to parts of the publishing industry or are friends of an author whose book is being reviewed. If DA is transparent about process and commercial ties perhaps other reviewing sites will follow suit. Then maybe we readers who rely on review sites to follow the industry and find new books to read will feel more confident about the quality of information we rely on to decide how we spend our book budget .
I suppose with all this the curious thing for me is this idea that readers are “betrayed” bc Jane is more “powerful” than she first appeared.
What? Because she wrote a book? What amazing wand of might did that place in her hand? I thought the power lay in Dear Author (apparently the most powerful commercial machine in the publishing world) and it’s clear Jane made a concerted effort to avoid that despite slip ups. Anyone who reads DA knows that reviewers declare friendships, beta-reader statuses or whatever. I have no idea where this super special snowflake romancelandia feeling that authors ought not to be involved with reviewing their peers, even from the same company — it exists nowhere else. Feel free to mention it but it’s no reason to recuse oneself. (Imprint, maybe, but that’s about it.)
I just…these romance world dramas! They are a puzzle to me. On a personal level I can see why some authors might be irked but professionally I don’t get it. Sometimes it seems more like a sorority than an industry. (I say this as a sorority woman myself.)
As someone who donated more than once I have to say I did so because I know how expensive lawsuits can be. I would have donated even knowing that Jane was an author since that has little to do with the lawsuit. Jane wrote a blog about EC and based on the comments in it and elsewhere many authors, editors, artists were not being paid. The lawsuit was brought to stop DA or any other blogger for daring to say a word about anything that was critical with EC and EC has apparently done this once before.
I guess I haven’t been around as long as some of you in the community but I honestly am confused that some of the commenters feel betrayed. I know of several people that I met online I had no idea were an author when we first started chatting or when I read their reviews. And casting back my brain I usually found out by someone other than them. To me they are still readers and my only rule to myself is not to review their work because…awkward if I don’t love something.
Based on what I read Jane wrote one review for someone published by her same publisher and that’s it. I can honestly say I have never heard of JF and I dont recall any promotions pushing JF here or on SB.
And since DA is not only one contributor and based on how vocal the reviewers are I can’t imagine Jane really went and said to them negatively rate this other who has a book in the same genre as me.
I stay away from the PV since I think its garbage and it still looks that way to me. I dont know who these followers are that go and downvoted authors on DAs say so are since I have never seen a review say do this. And authors scared of reprisals from DA because now it is revealed Jane is an author? I am just confused how A gets you to B here.
I plan to keep reading reviews and other articles here. This has become one of my favorite sites to read during my morning commute and nothing that has been revealed recently is changing that.
THIS! I’m reading these “power” comments and going whaaa? Like everyone else here has also stated, Jane may be the more public face of DA, but she is not the whole. And she did not promote the gofundme acct, which as everyone else has already stated, isn’t really just for Jane, it’s for the defeat of this ridiculous lawsuit. And I’m entirely confident that Jane is creating an accounting of all the funds. And she has also stated that all unused funds would be refunded. And @Laura… agreed. You don’t like, you don’t lurk!
Jaysus… people will look for any ol’ reason to dust off the pitchforks. And who cares how successful, rich, beautiful, powerful or if Jane has the correct amount of toes? It’s *her* life, which she graciously shares *at her discretion*. This is a free (to readers) book blog, it’s not the state department! She doesn’t have to disclose hardly anything if she doesn’t want too! I applaud the use of discretion and pseudonyms and all that entails. It shows prudence and caution and that she tried to be as ethical about DA as she could. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE TRANSPARENT ON THE INTERNET. In real life, in certain situations, but people… THIS IS THE INTERNET. It baffles the mind that people demand transparency on the internet from practically complete strangers, even after all we’ve seen.
As a couple of others have said in relation to the GoFundMe, First off, she didn’t start it, and from what I read, she was hesitant to accept it. Secondly, I don’t think it would have mattered to me that Jane is an author under a different name, because that’s not what the lawsuit is about. And yes, I am aware that Jane is a lawyer IRL and that likely means she has funds available, but why should she have to shell out all this money to defend a ridiculous lawsuit? I didn’t give a lot, but I gave because stopping EC as a bully (and possibly helping to preventing some really dangerous legal precedent from being set) was important to me. Her being a published author is irrelevant to that.
I can see that some of the authors who were in the author loops Jen Frederick joined might feel a little betrayed, especially if DA was particularly harsh to them. I don’t see her joining these loops as a nefarious thing. She wanted to write a book. What better place to learn about being an author/crafting a story than from other authors? And would they really have welcomed Jane Litte with open arms? Or even if they welcomed her, would they really have treated her the same knowing she’s a popular blogger? My guess is no. And contrary to the PV article/comments, I do not see creating Jen Frederick as creating a sock puppet. Authors use pseudonyms all the time.
But I don’t get why fans of this site are up in arms. I just don’t. I’d feel different if JF’s books were plastered over the whole thing with glowing reviews, but they’re not. I don’t even have a problem if Berkley books are reviewed.
I truly hope that Jane wins the lawsuit, and I wish her all the best as an author and reviewer, too.
What strikes me as funny is that a lot of romance authors have had their ass handed to them when they’ve publicly had a negative opinion about a book, and the ass has been handed to them by readers who has told them how unethical it is, that reviewing authors are BBA, and that authors should not voice their negative opinions about other peoples’ books publicly.
While I hope that this massive support for Jane is a sign that there’s a change coming and that romance authors can feel comfortable with having opinion on books just as authors in other genres, I still have a nagging feeling that that’s not the case.
I don’t have a problem with authors reviewing books. They have opinions, just like anyone else. I don’t agree with authors who do a “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” thing and trade positive reviews without even reading the stories, just because they have an agreement to support each other. I’ve seen authors try to set that kind of thing up. Give an honest, objective review, and there should be no problem.
I think it’s crazy people don’t think authors can’t have opinions on other authors work. I have a problem if they use author review circles or sock accounts to punish a competitor which has happened. Where did this whole you must always speak enthusiastic about every book in Romance and YA come from this year? Not all books are great and not all readers can agree on a book let alone authors.
I chitchat with authors all the time and they are pretty open about books they like and don’t like. Someone I was chatting with doesn’t care for Dean Koontz’s writing and talked about how he felt he has phoned it in, in recent years. He also self publishes horror/fantasy. Does that make his opinions as a reader less valid? If so I find it silly.
Amazon and I think GR has the policy against authors reviewing those in the same genre because of that DAM nonsense from a few years ago from what I understand.
I think Jane could have disclosed her status as an author when she published her first book without naming her pseudonym. That way she could let everyone know she was an author without using DA as a platform. I don’t see the problem with Sarah Wendell writing a book and being completely up front about it on her blog. If Jane didn’t want the backlash associated with her reviewer name, I understand that. But I can’t support the decision to hide such an important detail. I’ve always felt that part of being a reviewer and a person with integrity is owning your words and actions. That has been a huge theme on this site. So has transparency.
When you share strong opinions and criticize other authors, you take your lumps. You accept the consequences. You don’t turn around and join loops or get involved in a box set with authors who wouldn’t have welcomed you otherwise.
@Anon: I have to say, I see this complaint coming from authors much more than I see it coming from readers. There are plenty of romance authors (and authors from other genres) who review and have a huge following. I would venture to guess that most of the backlash they receive for negative reviews comes from authors.
As more of a lurker than a commenter, CONGRATS JANE! What a fabulous career you’ve created as Jen! The the book success, the movie deals–That’s awesome!
The GoFundMe thing has been brought up at a lot and that has pulled me out of lurking. I was someone who donated and had zero ties to EC. I would donate again, even if I knew all this stuff. Heck, another fund could be set up in a month announcing all the previous funds had been gone though and I’d still donate again.
I didn’t donate because I thought you needed the money. I donated because I didn’t think you should have to empty your savings to stand up for what was right. I have friends caught up in that suit and this was how I could support them.
@Obsidian Blue (@obsidian_blue): And if Jane ever told me (and I cannot speak for anybody else but me, but my suspicion is they would have reacted same way) to negatively or positively review any author, I would have left DA right away. I love love love reviewing here, but if the owner of the site would have deemed it okay to give directions like this, it would not have been a good fit for me. Also, correct me if I am wrong, because I never been to “Passive voice” and only saw mentions of that site here, don’t they copy the articles from DA on the regular basis and then discuss it as their own content? I could be wrong, as I said I only have vague recollection and never went there, so maybe I am confusing this site with something else. But if I am not confused, well yeah, judging Jane’s ethics based on *anything* that site came up with strikes me as deeply ironic.
And that’s what I think the fuss is about at the end of the day, really: not ethics, privacy, or blah blah but more centred around authors and their relationship with bloggers, which online, at the moment, seems fairly combative. I don’t get how, or why (as a reader) but DA seems to reaaaaaaaalllllllllly tick some authors off. Strange dynamics.
I imagine that is the way it would be for the other reviewers here and if that had happened prior to now I am sure not only would you and others have left you would have let others know why you were leaving. Like I said, I still don’t get why many are saying betrayal. This is still a blog about books and the last time I checked authors have been invited to and do comment here all of the time. Jane being a SP author doesn’t mean the site is changing.
Regarding the Passive Voice, yeah they do publish other people’s blogs, writings, whatever and invite discussion on it and when I first went there months ago I thought that it was original content too. There may be times that PV does write their own pieces, but I can’t recall any of the top of my head. They (PV) posted an anonymous comment from an author that wasn’t pleased with Jane’s reveal. So they didn’t publish her blog just a response to it and invited commenters to come and discuss the concerns raised.
First of all congratulations on being a successful author. It should not come as a big surprise as your writing here is great. An author writes- books or blogs.
Second-we all have brains and can make decisions whether we agree with your reviews or not. We are not little mindless followers. We disagree-leave a polite comment, or don’t read the blog. We can choose the books we want to read or not.
Third-In the 80’s it was quite the thing for authors to write under pen names if they were writing in another genre. I don’t see how this is any different. Different genre-different name. I have read other blogs written by authors reviewing other author’s books. I can accept their review or not. I don’t have to agree.
Fourth-I donated because of Freedom of Speech. My way of saying I agree with Jane’s stand, and it is the one way I can show my support. I can’t be in the courtroom but I can show my support this way.
Not a reader of NA so I am not sure if I will try your books. I appreciate your research on your articles and your opinions on the books you have reviewed. I will continue to read your blog.
Because I don’t have the time or energy to read through all of the comments, I’ll simply say this: fantastic news and congratulations on your authorship. I have always thought that your decisions on DA came from a place of caring for the readership and protecting us. Thank you for being open here. I look forward to reading Jen Frederick!
@Sirius: That’s pretty much ALL TPV does, posting articles from elsewhere and allowing comments to follow. It’s straightforward—links to originals posted and no attempt whatsoever to pass material off as original.
I started following the site because the legal aspects of the EC sues DA case were fascinating. In fact, most of the comments on the case developments last fall were quite supportive of DA and Jane as I recall. Seemed to be a shared interest in protecting the rights of bloggers to report news.
It wasn’t until this thread that I had heard of any ill feelings between TPV and DA. I suspect it’s more likely to be grudges on the part of some TPV’s more knee-jerk reactives toward a woman who has the temerity to speak bluntly. (And yes, I do believe that there’s a much lower level of tolerance for women who pull no punches than there is for men.)
Will Jane also get a yellow banner on her reviews now?
@Mzcue: TPV does not lack for women (or men) who speak bluntly, so I don’t that’s in play.
Thanks guys for information about “Passive voice”.
@Keri Ford: I feel the same way. My support of the lawsuit against EC does not change with this news.
I’m a reader and I used to spend a lot of time at DA and SBTB because I felt I got great and honest recommendations from these blogs (though less at DA after a couple of kerfuffles last year). After hearing about Jane/Jen and also the fact that Sarah of SBTB knew about this, I feel betrayed somehow. I’d already taken DA out of my bookmarks, but now SBTB is going away as well. I can’t quite explain why I feel this way, but it could just be that I’ve grown out of these two blogs, as nowadays I get my reading recommendations from other places anyway. Don’t know why I bothered to comment as I’ve mostly been a lurker here. I’d overlooked many things here that made me uncomfortable over the years, but no point hashing them out now. it just feels sad as this really is the end of an era for me. Anyway, good luck with the lawsuit against EC, I’m on DA’s side in that.
Ann Somerville- I really don’t think you are doing Jane any favours by acting as her attack dog. It’s making her look really bad when she hasn’t said a single thing.
It’s not about doing Jane or anyone else *favours*. It’s about the people leading the attacks, and their agendas, and what the success of their shitty hate-filled agendas would mean.
I very much doubt anyone would mistake my opinions for Jane’s, when she has been pretty blunt about not approving of them or my way of expressing myself – three year ban, remember?
And I am no one’s ‘attack dog’, you anonymous coward. I speak for myself, always have. I just really, *really* hate bullies.
So I’ve been a reviewer at DA for a long time. Almost 8 years now? Something like that. I’ve never been edited by Jane, which you should be able to guess given how many egregious typos I’ve made over the years! Not once has she ever told us what we can and cannot review. We have a lot of freedom here. If you look through my reviews, you’ll see that I was originally brought on to review urban fantasy but have since moved on to other areas. She has occasionally asked me to do an op-ed piece, which I’ve never quite delivered on. Oops. One day, maybe.
The occasional giveaways & promos I do — those are on me. I’m the one who gets approached by publishers & publicists. I’m the one who decides which ones I want to do and which ones to turn down. Again, Jane gives me a lot of freedom regarding those. Not once has she ever told me what to do, what content to write for those posts, etc.
@Pete Morin: You’re right. I wasn’t specific enough, and I certainly didn’t mean to single out women. I was talking about those posting anonymously.
Still, one of the toughest hurdles for women to overcome is the fact that both men and many women accept forthrightness, even brashness in men that they won’t tolerate in women. A lot of the complaints I’ve read about Jane and other DA reviewers is that they are “not nice.” It’s hard to accomplish a lot in this world while trying to be tactful and nice all the time. Offering opinions about the quality of creative work inevitably means hurting some people’s feelings. It’s understandable that people nursing bruised egos succumb to resentments, but it’s not admirable. Seems to me that a lot of the venom in lashing out at Jane has to do with her frankness.
I’m just going to reiterate what my DA reviewer colleagues have already said, but it bears repeating. I have been reviewing here for five years. In the first year or so Jane recommended books to me for review, but once I found my feet I reviewed whatever I wanted, as often as I wanted. I’ve never been asked to review anything I didn’t already want to, and I’ve never been asked not to review an author (unless there was a site-wide policy about an author or publisher, and those policies were arrived at after DA reviewers as a group had discussed the issue, freely and vociferously).
Like Jia, I’ve had giveaways, all of which I’ve initiated. I don’t think I’ve posted any giveaways that I didn’t choose. I always asked Jane if it was OK, but I don’t remember ever being turned down, including for authors Jane didn’t read or know well. Like Robin, I’ve written op ed pieces, and the only question that has ever come up, usually at my instigation, is whether the issue is one of interest to the larger DA readership. I’ve bagged topics on occasion because they weren’t, but that was always my final decision, not Jane’s.
When I’ve wanted to do something off the regular path, Jane has been unfailingly supportive. The week of fanfic posts in 2012 was something I wanted to do and Jane and the rest of DA made it happen. I review fewer genre romance novels now, but no one has said anything to suggest my reviews aren’t valuable. That doesn’t mean all my DA colleagues read them, but then I don’t read all of theirs either, so it seems only fair!
So, as Janine said, we are not the Borg. I realize that’s not the central question being debated right now, but I think it’s worth remembering that one of the strengths of this site has been its breadth and scope.
ETA: I forgot to add: the actual running of Dear Author is pretty decentralized. For many people Jane=DA and DA=Jane, but the way we operate contravenes that in any number of ways. For those of us who are sufficiently practiced with WordPress to upload, edit, and finalize our posts, all that’s left is for Jane or Jayne (and occasionally one of the rest of us) to schedule it. When I was filling in doing the Daily Deals, I did everything from start to finish. If I screwed something up, it was all on me.
I donated to the Jane’s gofundme (twice, actually). When I did it I believed that Jane ran a successful blog and was a lawyer. I never had any reason to believe that she was starving, or even, honestly, that she needed the gofundme in order to defend the lawsuit. I donated because it is my opinion that the lawsuit was a transparent attempt by Tina Engler to shut up someone she perceived as an easy target, which offended the hell out of me.
I’d donate again, right now, for that same reason.
As for this brouhaha, well, I can only say this: Jane Litte had the right to publish a book and when she did it, she was in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t position. If she had used DA – and she would have been well within her rights to do so, it’s her platform – she would have been “transparent,” but she would have been accused of trading on her connections and behaving unethically with respect to the DA brand. Now, since she decided to go a different way, and to try to – as much as possible – build a Chinese wall between DA and her author persona so that she couldn’t be accused of a lack of ethics with respect to her reader-centered blog, the exact same people who would have eviscerated her if she had been “transparent” are still eviscerating her for not being “transparent.”
What this proves, once and for all, is that it is always about the negative reviews. Authors don’t like them, DA sometimes posts them. And that, and that alone, is why there was no way for Jane Litte to publish a book in a way that would have satisfied her critics – because it isn’t about her writing or her publishing, it is about negative reviews. It has always been about negative reviews.
Ann Somerville, thankyou for this explanation of who all those people who posted are and what their agendas are. My vote of trust goes to DA. I don’t always agree with what Jane and her fellow bloggers write but they don’t hit me over the head with their point of view as though I’d be a nitwit not to instantly realise how right their POV is. I don’t always, after having read a book a reviewer likes, agree with their assessment of the book. That’s not the end of the world because over time I have learned which reviewers at which sites like the same kind of books I do and use this to guide me when trying new authors. However I do believe the DA blog or the review represents their honest thoughts on the subject and appreciate that their views are delivered with a lack of vitriol. I didn’t donate to the fund but am thinking I should. If there is something this reader, not author, believes in passionately is that authors should be treated fairly by their publishers and remunerated well, and promptly, for their efforts. I want my favourite authors to keep writing without worry about paying the bills and for beginner authors, some of whom will become favourites, to be encouraged and supported by their peers and/or publishers.
After reading and processing the morass of comments here, the Passive Voice and elsewhere, I continue to have very positive feelings about Dear Author and Jane herself.
I think it took a boatload of guts to post the “EC” piece. Jane had a lot on the line obviously. But the issues were more important than keeping quiet to protect her own interests. In my book, that is integrity.
Perhaps it’s small of me, but I can’t help question why Jane was the only one to say something about “EC”. I find it hard to believe this hadn’t been discussed by other authors. It wasn’t until that piece was published that people started discussing this openly and providing material support to the struggling authors.
Were mistakes made, yep, I believe Jane made mistakes and will have to accept the repercussions. But all the anger and drama doesn’t negate the fact that no one else spoke up openly before Jane did. That I find just as troubling.
(Basically copying and pasting my comment from SBTB)
I understand why people are upset about this, and they are perfectly entitled to be. However, I think that people (like me) who are not upset about it, are also perfectly entitled to be upset about it. What is not okay is the vicious attacks from both sides.
Considering the number of Daily Deals posted on both sites, I really don’t think 1 daily mention is a big deal. Kati recommending it in her “Best Of” list is more of an issue for me, but at the end of the day I have to say it’s not a big deal to me. I think I would be more upset if Jane turned out to be, say, Courtney Milan, or someone like that…
But if people feel like they can no longer trust DA or SBTB, then that’s that and they can do whatever they want.
OH and also I’ve never read NA and probably never will. But I will still read this blogs.
Because it reviews a shit ton of stuff that isn’t NA. Like, I don’t read NA reviews and I still read reviews from DA everyday. So this NA conspiracy thing is very weird to me.
Also I can not think of many occasions upon which a negative review at this site prompted readers to go and leave horrible comments on an author’s Amazon or GR page. I can think of several where a poorly reviewed book actually sparked people in the comments to go buy it!
(I’m a reader, not a blogger or writer. If that matters at all, which again, it shouldn’t)
@Sunita: oh heck since you mentioned not reviewing policies can I mention even more derailing topic because I still see it coming up here and there as if it is the truth. There is *no ban* on reviewing Dreamspinner press books in fact one of the very first books I reviewed since I joined DA more than two years ago was the book from this publisher. And here is another example of how flexible DA is. I remembered that you and Sarah stopped reviewing them and I asked if I still can do so, the answer was yes of course. So yeah – I have reviewed several books from this publisher and will continue to do so when I so desire. Hey maybe now it will at least be coming up less frequently :).
@Christine: It does seem that the most vocal people expressing their indignation and outrage, even the one’s posting as ‘anonymous’, all had a bone to pick with Jane prior to this big reveal. These people will NEVER give her a break, and right now they are being extra loud and drowning out what could be a great discussion. So I don’t think we are seeing a true measurement of the public’s opinion regarding an established reviewer moonlighting as an author under an alias.
I have never thought to become an author, but if I did I would no doubt do it the same way Jane did. My reviews on Goodreads are nowhere nearly as well known as Jane’s, but in some circles my name would be recognized. That would feel awkward for me. So if I ever did decide to become an author (which will never happen), I would start a new and separate identity. So I get why she did that. I have read of many authors claiming to review under pseudonyms to keep their professional author name separate. This isn’t a new concept, and it doesn’t mean nefarious acts are at play.
I am also not overly concerned about what amounts to a few tactical errors (which were explained) over a three year period. Yes, they were wrong. Hand’s-in-the-cookie-jar wrong. Not hanging-offense-she-killed-puppies wrong. I personally don’t see how it could add up to some much animosity unless you already had a strong opinion of Jane in the first place.
And as far as her joining author circles, or accepting invites to author circles, I have just one thing to ask those upset about it: when did you start believing that the internet was a safe place to spill your gut of secrets? I highly doubt Jane is the only member of an author group with some secret identity to hide, and I have seen nothing that proves she violated anyone’s trust. This is the internet folks. Use it wisely. I do understand that it feels like you had your privacy violated, but she really was in these groups as the author named Jen Frederick, and it appears to me she was there for all of the right reasons. Let go of the pearls.
for reasons I choose not to disclose, I’ve asked that my comment above be deleted. I stand by all the views expressed therein, and those views are (a) entirely mine and (b) were not discussed in advance with anyone, let alone anyone involved with DA.
Contact me privately if you need more information.
Your job, your business — good luck with the films. Ever see that cartoon of a cat at the keyboard and the caption, “On the Internet, no one knows you’re a cat?” I don’t see that it’s any big deal, and I’m keeping my indignation energy for the real world stuff like that asshat in California who wants to make murdering LGBT people legal, or the “religious protection” laws the american taliban are pushing all over the country.
This is just not in that league.
Good luck with the lawsuit, too. I’m amazed it hasn’t been thrown out of court by now.
Somerville, I’m not getting comments, so if you want to continue your internet stalking by ranting at me, knock yourself out.
@Lee Rowan: ” if you want to continue your internet stalking”
oh god, you are pathetic. and so not worth ruining my nail varnish over.
It’s bewildering to me too. I just went through and looked at all my posts from the year 2014 and here is the breakdown by genre:
Historical Romance — 11 reviews
Fantasy Romance — 5 reviews
Fantasy — 4 reviews
YA Fantasy — 3 reviews
Paranormal Romance – 3 reviews
Science Fiction — 2 reviews
Urban Fantasy — 2 reviews
YA Historical — 1 review
Romantic Suspense — 1 review
Historical Fiction — 1 review
Erotic Romance — 1 review
Category Romance — 1 review
Steampunk — 1 review
Mystery — 1 review
“What Janine is Reading” — 2 columns with mini-reviews in the following genres: 1 Contemporary Romance, 1 Historical Romance, 1 Steampunk Romance, 1 Paranormal Romance, 1 Science Fiction
And 1 op-ed, titled “Does Length Matter?”
I did list 1 NA novel, Kristen Callihan’s The Hook Up, on my Best of 2014 list, but that was it for the whole year. In 2015 I also did 1 “What Janine is Reading” post about my recent Sarina Bowen binge, with mini-reviews of 3 books and 1 novella. So admittedly, I praised a handful of NA novels, but not as much as I’ve raved about The Goblin Emperor. I read and review what I’m in the mood for, and always have.
I want that last sentence on a T-shirt.
What I am seeing on other comments elsewhere are authors are mad because she or DA negatively reviewed them and called out things about authors bad behavior so therefore if Jane had revealed herself they would have made sure to leave negative reviews….did I get that right?
So authors anonymously are saying I would have totally used a sock puppet account to ruin her via reviews and one star ratings.
I need to take a break for a while. This whole thing is getting so accusatory and people keep saying things that I haven’t seen backed up anywhere. And that’s why I dont like TPV its a lot of mud slinging and accusations. Same thing happened with the Kathleen Hale piece and the Kickstarter piece too I believe. I dont get why one can’t be a reader and support and have dialogue with authors? I’m friends with several SPAs online. Does that make my reviews less trust worthy?
And I do like that here and on SBTB the comments are being left and people can and are discussing this.
If you (general you) feel like Jane revealed to be an author means you can’t trust DA on book reviews that’s a whole separate issue and people can make that judgement. I myself don’t get it, but that’s only me.
@Janine: there is a new adult books conspiracy here on the DA? :). Seriously I don’t go almost anywhere and that’s a good thing I guess – weird things remain unknown to me. What did we do? Reviewed too many of them or not enough? Come to think of it I certainly remember reviewing some New adult /YA mm books. Since Jane does not write mm would people believe me that she did not ask me to review/ not review them or is this also a sign of conspiracy?
@Sirius: I think the assumption is that we’re all in on it. Or something.
@Sirius: Oy, the comments I’ve seen on Twitter, purporting that Jane used her superpowers to unduly influence us reviewers and get the whole world aboard the NA train. I guess that little book named Fifty Shades of Grey had nothing to do with it…
@Jia: on what? On the conspiracy of reviewing any books in new adult genre? I am just trying to unconfuse myself I swear :).
And now people are citing STGRB as a credible source. Really taking a break now. Off to have wine.
@Janine: oh oh okay I think I understand now. Basically because Jane writes in New Adult genre she reviewed ( and made us review) more New Adult books than anything else? Putting aside the fact that she does not make anybody review anything as several reviewers said is the assumption here that because she writes in that subgenre she should have not reviewed *the whole subgenre* of romance? If that’s the assumption isn’t it way too harsh? Not just her publisher but the whole subgenre?!
@Sirius: People can believe what they want to, but I have never felt pressured to review or to refrain from reviewing any subgenre of romance. I pick what I read, post what I want to, and no one edits what I write for DA but me, although I have sometimes turned to Sunita with questions about historical accuracy.
And re your last question, although I haven’t yet published a novel, I also write historical romance, and I review historical romance ALL THE TIME. Because I believe it benefits the genre for reviewers to review in the genres they love and are familiar with.
@Janine: oh I agree completely. I was just really taken aback by imaginary conspiracy accusations .
@Janine: I just learned that DA and SBTB *killed* historical romance. Apparently you didn’t get the memo either.
I’m still figuring out how I feel about this, but right now I come down somewhere in the middle. I don’t have a problem with Jane being a blogger and a writer. I’m inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she started reviewing more NA for the same reason she decided to write it – because she genuinely likes the genre. I don’t regret donating to Jane’s defense fund. I’m not going to stop reading DA.
All that said, I wish Jane had disclosed sooner, because she had a clear conflict of interest that I think we had a right to know about. I get why she wanted to succeed as an author without using DA and I respect that, but once her writing persona was established and started to overlap with DA, I think she should have come clean. On the one hand, only 3 mentions of JF on DA in 3 years is pretty minor, on the other hand, it’s a little squicky (to use Wendy the Super Librarian’s technical term).
I’ll probably regret it, but I’m sticking my toe back in the water here because of some stuff said upthread.
My opinion may change, of course, but I’m pretty ambivalent about the JF revelation. As a reader, I don’t see how it affects me. It really doesn’t appear that the content of DA was affected in any substantive way. Other people may fall elsewhere on the spectrum, and I’m not going to say they’re wrong to feel as they do. Granted, if nothing else, it’s a bit unnerving to discover someone has a secret identity. (That’s the basis of a lot of fiction, right?) But I’m not seeing anything actually unethical at this point.
It *was* interesting to me that the AJH situation was brought up because I never did understand what the heck happened there. I liked his reviews and the resulting discussions and was sorry about his departure. I figured there must have been a lot of behind the scenes stuff the readers weren’t privy to, but it left me confused and unhappy. It wasn’t clear to me how his situation differed from Janine’s, and I never saw anything problematic about her multiple hats. The Jane/Jen thing adds another layer to the confusion. But, again, although I’m not clear where the line was drawn, I don’t think the blog content was compromised.
I’m not sure how the people who were in the know and had to keep the Jane/Jen identity a secret felt about the whole thing, but that’s between them and Jane, not me.
And the DA/EC suit? Apples and oranges–not seeing a linkage at all. From everything else I’ve read about EC elsewhere, it sounded like a very factual statement of their history and current practices. I can’t imagine anything positive coming out of the subsequent shenanigans (suit, comments) for them. Contributing to Jane’s defense funds was not a contribution to Jane personally but to a blogger being threatened by a douchey publisher who was trying to manipulate/shut down public discussion. Nothing about that is changed because of the JF revelation, so why the buyer’s remorse now?
I dunno, maybe my outrage-o-meter is off whack but the thing that still pisses me off the most about all this is that I can barely drag my lazy ass out of bed each morning to shamble thru my life while Jane is seemingly effortlessly setting the world on fire under multiple identities. Sucks.
I posted this on SBTB but I think it bears mentioning here too… and the more that I think about this.. you all say that you should have been told, there should have been disclosure. In context, you all didn’t *need* to know anything, you feel entitled to know. Which are completely different things if you can think rationally about it…
This is not about entitlement or irrationality. Jane championed disclosure and held disclosure out as a standard to be followed. She did not disclose for years, until forced to do so.
“She did not disclose for years, until forced to do so.”
And no allowance to be made for her unique situation – creating a highly public and popular blog long before the idea of writing entered her head?
People are saying it could have been done – disclosure could have happened. Yeah, and the same screams of deception, and the same grudgewankers would have been at it, with the only difference being Jane’s nascent career would have been killed at birth.
Fine, you say. A price worth paying. Should have been done.
But now what exactly do you want? Because from all I’m reading, nothing less than the closure of this blog and Jane giving up her writing would satisfy half her critics. The other half won’t shut up whatever she does.
Still waiting for any actual evidence of harm arising from her actions, despite masses of scaremongering.
I’m a reader, I live in NZ, I don’t twit, I don’t FB. I’m about as far removed from the laterals you can get. I have two observations to make 1. my evidence of actual harm is that this site appeared to rigorously encourage transparency but did not demonstrate it on itself – so the harm done is that I don’t trust it anymore; I would like Jane to explain how she thinks her position was any different from AJH and why people’s disappointment/acceptance of that situation didn’t invite her to disclose. 2. I have bought many books by Ann Somerville, I don’t know if this is the same person posting here, but can I point out that while Ann may not like bullies, her language is extremely bullying and browbeating. Finally, I’m commenting here, because people are asking why comment, what are you looking for. Well, I’m probably going to sign off DA, I might pop in again but I will never comment again, this is no loss to anyone here I’m sure, I only occasionally made a comment, but mostly felt too uncomfortable and outside the group to do so, so this is goodbye. The internet is a big place, I’m sure I can find other places where there is not so much intent to fabricate personalities around expectations. I’m not looking for the site to shut down, but change happens, and bitter change leads to bitter changes. I wish everyone: readers, authors, reviewers all the best.
Wowzers, what a read! I like to pour myself a G&T, sit down every Friday night here in Sydney, Australia and read over the last week’s worth of DA. I do it for the pure entertainment value, mostly to be found in the comments section. I don’t know how long I’ve been reading here, but my youngest is 7 and I know it was before he was born. In that context I have to say the comments to this particular edition of the blog were a 2XG&T experience – and that doesn’t happen often! I am honestly amazed that so many people think they have a right to speak down to Jane and tell her what she should and should not be able to do here on her very own blog. Does no one grasp the concept that we are all guests here and she is hosting us in her place? People are carrying on as if they’ve just found the scullery maid with all the silverware shoved down her knickers. She’s the hostess, not the maid, and she paid for the damn silverware herself. She can shove it where she likes.
Personally, I found Jane’s revelation to be sublimely entertaining and it may well end up being my internet highlight of the year. After all the shit she’s eaten from authors and publishers over the years about her so-called ignorance about the nuts and bolts of publishing, it was an absolute delight to read that she’s been successfully writing and publishing for herself. Too delicious! I have no interest in the YA or NA or whateverthehell they’re calling it this week that she apparently writes, so I will probably never know what kind of author she is, but kudos to her for having a go at it and finding some success.
I must say that the insistence of some commenters that Jane somehow “owes them” an accounting of how she spends her time, lives her life or earns her money – purely because they deign to spend some of their spare time perusing her blog – to be deeply insulting to both Jane and her readers. Are we not all adults who can read a review or opinion piece and decide for ourselves if we agree or not? The bun fights that regularly break out in the comments section would suggest that we are. Some commenters in this thread also seem to believe that all romance readers are so bovinely stupid, so pitifully lacking in intellectual capacity, that we cannot even formulate an opinion about a book for ourselves, and must therefore just mindlessly parrot whatever DA has to say. If they truly believe this, why on earth are they even slumming around here where we share (bleat?) our opinions – surely DA must be beneath them? I for one thank Jane for providing a robust forum here in DA that allows for such lively and entertaining discussion about all aspects of romance books. I wish DA well, and I wish Jane and all her fellow bloggers well in whatever endeavours they undertake in their lives. I hope to be coming here for information and entertainment for many years to come.
Firstly, anything I say here is said with the sincere intention NOT to offend. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m an author, and I contributed to the gofundme campaign – neither of which I regret. I contributed because a) contrary to popular opinion, the issues at EC were not secret, and b) I think if there are issues like this, it’s in the reader and author interests to know about it, particularly if authors are looking at potential submission channels. I believe this is separate to the DA/JF issue. As an author, I can completely appreciate Jane’s decision to use a pseudonym. It makes sense, for so many different reasons, particularly if you’re wanting to separate your writing from your family (eg; kids) or other business interests. From my naïve eyes, it appears Jane has done her best to compartmentalise her writing and reviewing, and I can quite easily do this, also. To be honest, I have never bought a book based on a review (sorry, Jane). Reviews are opinions, and I still like to form my own, but I believe authors can have opinions about books – but full disclosure is always preferred. Perhaps, now, going forward, that can happen. For those who feel they would have censored themselves if they’d known JF in the forum was actually DA Jane, I can appreciate the sentiment. I don’t share it (because I’m of the view that there is no expectation for privacy for anything online), but I would say it’s perfectly valid, and I certainly don’t dismiss those reactions. Saying that, as an author, I think Jane should have access to industry-related forums, etc, in the efforts for her own career development. IMHO. With regard to the publisher on record, as an author who is also self-published, this is more of a norm than an issue. It makes sense to set up a business entity when starting a business, and publishing your own books is a business. Look at any number of authors, and they’ll be doing the same thing.
Oh, and congrats on the books. :)
@eggs: Well said . I wholeheartedly agree with you .
A little OT, but Ann Somerville… I am totally adding grudgewankers to my vocabulary.
And Shannon… I’m not an author, but I agree that if someone wants to be an author, they should be where authors are. I totally understand why she created a separate pseudonym for her writing, and I understand why she joined groups with that name. It’s maybe a little questionable why she reached out to authors who had specifically blocked her as Jane Litte, but hindsight is always 20/20. I’ll bet she wouldn’t make that choice again. Or maybe she would. Maybe those particular authors had specific knowledge she needed for her writing career. But I do understand why those authors would be a little peeved once they found out.
There are a couple of things readers have brought up here in the comments that I think I can address.
1) I do not recall reaching out to someone who blocked me as Jane. This is likely the result of my own ignorance. I don’t keep track of people who block me. I don’t keep track of follows/unfollows and other than going through each person on Twitter, I wouldn’t have the first clue how to check who has blocked me. So I’m not saying that it didn’t happen but only that I didn’t do it intentionally.
2) My participation in a couple of author loops was for the sole purpose of learning about self-publishing and sharing my experiences as a new author. These are not small loops. They are hundreds and hundreds of authors. (Most are close to 1000). Only a tiny portion of any group participates and there are hundreds of lurkers. One loop has journalists, editors, and agents on it. I think there are likely bloggers there too. It’s completely open. On these loops I offered what information I could that I found helpful (such as how Google Play runs its sales or how I built my newsletter with free fiction). I offered my input on covers from time to time. I did not, and would not, use information that wasn’t public unless I was given permission to do so. Just as I do not share or use the private info sent to me on a regular basis from a variety of sources.
“And no allowance to be made for her unique situation – creating a highly public and popular blog long before the idea of writing entered her head?”
For myself, I can understand the reasons why Jane/Jen did what she did, even down to the more spurious actions of entering private author spaces where “Jane Litte” would have been unwelcome or prohibited. This understanding does not make what she did okay. Many people throughout the course of life have faced conflicts of interest and ethical dilemmas. Many people are challenged to balance self-interest against other motivations and obligations. Many people have reputations and histories that make people react to us in a certain way, and wouldn’t it be nice/helpful if we could put that baggage aside, be someone else and create new relationships based on a new persona?
However, not many people have positioned themselves as and created a reputation as an industry watchdog, a champion of disclosure, and foremost reader advocate who carefully examines and sounds an alarm about ethical issues and integrity. Not many people have vigorously put forward standards in such a public way, year after year, while at the same time violating those same standards in the name of self-interest.
Jane’s/Jen’s behavior reflects staggering hypocrisy, and the fact that the disclosure was forced just adds to it. It should not be swept under the rug.
As far as what can be done now, what would *she* have done to someone else who behaved as she has? What would she have demanded of them? How would that person have been treated? What exposes and essays would have been written? What apologies would have been sufficient? What acknowledgements would have been required? What relationships would need to be detailed? How long would the Romance community have been given to process this before being pressured to get over it and move on? Would reader reactions have been minimized and dismissed? Would everyone have been encouraged to speak out and do “something” if it wasn’t Jane/Jen?
Stopping the hypocrisy and justifications would be good. Admitting the hypocrisy would be good. Treating her as she’d have treated someone else would be good.
I saw this post the other day when I was pressed for time, made a mental note to come back and say “Hey, Jane, that’s cool and congrats” and now…I’m shaking my head. I’ve read through a lot of the comments and I still don’t understand the angry ones. If Jane “competed” with EC because she self-published, then so did millions of other self-pubbed authors, myself included. The publishing business is competitive by nature. It’s also difficult by nature, so I’m happy for anyone who has success in it, whether under their real name, their blogger pen name, or their double-secret author pen name.
So, back to what I originally intended to say…hey, Jane, that’s cool and congrats. Best wishes to you with your writing.
@eggs: Thanks for your comments, I agree
@Eggs – Thank you. My sentiments exactly.
Deljah wrote: “However, not many people have positioned themselves as and created a reputation as an industry watchdog, a champion of disclosure, and foremost reader advocate who carefully examines and sounds an alarm about ethical issues and integrity. Not many people have vigorously put forward standards in such a public way, year after year, while at the same time violating those same standards in the name of self-interest. Jane’s/Jen’s behavior reflects staggering hypocrisy, and the fact that the disclosure was forced just adds to it. It should not be swept under the rug.”
This. 100%, this. Jane has yet to acknowledge her hypocrisy. I do not expect her to. Like I commented on the Smart Bitches blog, I’ve found that hypocrites rarely own up to their hypocrisy. Jane set herself up as a community watchdog, going after anyone she felt was acting in a way she deemed Behaving Badly. She demanded transparency from others while concealing herself as an author on private groups. It’s Jane’s right to justify her actions, to try to make it seem less than sneaky by saying the groups had hundreds and hundreds of members and by excusing her bad choices away with whatever reasons she decides to give…even though she rarely gave anyone else that same respect if someone was in her crossfire. The truth remains, though, Jane demanded a certain standard from others all the while acting in a way that is less than that standard herself. Jane would have pounced on anyone she caught catfishing. Yet there she was, doing exactly that to authors who had no idea they were interacting with Jane Litte. No amount of self-publishing information Jane shared as Jen Frederick on those groups can erase the way she lied by omission to authors who, Jane must know, might not have welcomed her as Jane Litte.
Sarah (SB) wrote: But no one is just one thing. We are all complex humans who are making decisions based on what we know and think is best at the time.
My reply to that was: You and Jane reduced countless authors/editors/publishers to ‘one thing’. You and Jane gleefully crucified ‘complex humans’ who might have made decisions based on what they knew or thought was best at the time.
It would be refreshing to have Jane apologize for reducing others to ‘just one thing’ if she felt they acted badly, and to have her treat people respectfully and with a bit more care now that she’s acted in a way that, by her own standards, is an Author Behaving Badly.
Hall used this platform merely as a way to promote his books. Jane didn’t. That appears to be the difference to me. I find Jane’s behavior aboveboard and marked with integrity. Hall’s, not so much.
Nice flounce, by the way.
“How long would the Romance community have been given to process this before being pressured to get over it and move on? Would reader reactions have been minimized and dismissed? ”
I guess thats my only question. Who is pressuring you to move on and who is dismissing your reactions? The comments are open here and on SB and people are saying all kinds of things that they are feeling. And Jane is not closing the comments (Disclaimer – I have no idea when/if she is planning to close the comments). Sara is not closing the comments (same disclaimer).
Are you feeling pressured because there are people who disagree with you ? (And I am not talking about myself or other reviewers, there are seem to be a lot of comments from readers in this thread) Well, they should be allowed to have their say too, are they not?
The only comment in this thread which was deleted was from the commenter who asked for that comment to be deleted as far as I remember. There was another comment which was partially deleted from the asshole who doxxed Jane. I have no idea whether he/she was banned, but I certainly hope so.
You know, I’m super tired of equating criticism with crucifixion. I’ve stated that I think some of Jane’s behavior was unethical and crossed some lines. But to equate criticism with crucifixion of someone else is just bullshit. It’s insulting to imply that authors are such weak and helpless creatures that once their work is out there you have to treat it with kid gloves or you’re a bully. Give me a break. Review, debate and criticism happens in all fields, and romance should be no exception. There’s no rule that says if you’re critical you have to bend over backward to be nice. Why should there be? Everyone has different styles.
But worse, the implication that people who read either DA or SBTB are such infantile lemmings that they run to do their evil overmistresses’ bidding or that 1 star reviews can ruin an author’s career is just infuriating. I’m a regular reader of both sites. I’m not a published fiction writer but I read the hell out of it. I rarely like the same books Jane does, her taste is very different than mine. I’m sure I’m not alone here. And I feel like a broken record, but a 1 star review is more likely to get me to consider a buying a book than a 5 star full of squee review.
To put the quoted questions back into context:
“As far as what can be done now, what would *she* have done to someone else who behaved as she has? What would she have demanded of them? How would that person have been treated? What exposes and essays would have been written? What apologies would have been sufficient? What acknowledgements would have been required? What relationships would need to be detailed? How long would the Romance community have been given to process this before being pressured to get over it and move on? Would reader reactions have been minimized and dismissed? Would everyone have been encouraged to speak out and do “something” if it wasn’t Jane/Jen?”
I’m not feeling pressured b/c of disparate views on this issue. I have seen commentary that says people shouldn’t feel hurt, they shouldn’t expect transparency b/c “it’s the internet”, asking why did they care so much anyway, asking why other people were expressing support for someone who explained how she was deceived and hurt by it, saying people are being too emotional, even being irrational, it’s not that big a deal, they’re being naïve, etc. If you’ve read all the comments here and at SBTB and elsewhere, you’ve seen the comments too. I found them to be very dismissive.
I think on some level, even the question of “what do you want her to do *now* can be silencing. I’ve mainly seen the question put forward by people who seem to be staunchly “TeamJane” and don’t have a problem with this situation. So it’s like “shrug, well, what do you want her to do now? stop writing? shut down DA?” That comes across to me as a push to get people with other viewpoints (that they didn’t seem particularly interested in hearing anyway) to move along and start talking about something else, but then to partially derail that too by throwing out options that are on the very far end of the spectrum and making people backpedal from a point they didn’t raise.
Bravo-I feel the same way as you eloquently put it.
But seriously, what *do* you want her to do now? She can’t unpublish. She can’t take a trip in the way-back machine and announce she’s Jen Frederick at some other point in time. She can’t even go back and decide to try to publish as Jane Litte or even her real name (which few fiction authors, especially in romance, do). I don’t think there’s anything she can do at this point to satisfy her critics.
@Deljah: I was not taking your question out of context. I see rest of your questions as inapplicable to what I think about the situation. That does not mean that I am dismissing them. What you see as dismissive comments I see as comments disagreeing with those who criticize Jane. I do not see dismissal – I do not always see *validation* of those feelings, but to me it is not the same thing. I am not obligate to acknowledge that your accusations are valid, right? All I have to do is to respect your right to say them. I do not think that Jane behaved hypocritically in the first place, therefore asking her to apologise for her hypocricy makes no sense to me. I am not dismissing, I am just strongly disagreeing. Once again, am a reviewer here, so feel free to ignore how I feel, but I think it is possible that at least some of the readers may feel the same way.
P.S. Also none of the comments about “what do you want her to do” even came from Jane. She opened the floor and let the readers, happy and unhappy say pretty much whatever they want – bar only her real name. I honestly do not see how this is pushing anybody to move on. Again, I am only addressing the “moving on” issue, nothing else.
@Deljah – ” but then to partially derail that too by throwing out options that are on the very far end of the spectrum and making people backpedal from a point they didn’t raise.”
But both sides are doing this… I know the sides are very firmly set now, anyway, but there have been wild accusations thrown out that no one in any thread has actually substantiated. I know that you’re not a fan of my blunt hammer verbage – this is me in all my glory – but how much of this is knee jerk emotional response and how much of this is actual discussion on ethics and alleged wrong doing? I reference Hapax, Kelli and Courtney Milan’s posts on SBTB as comments that are actually discussing the issue and not playing wack-a-mole with the “listen to me! Jane So Bad” or to be fair “GO Jane” stick.
“can I point out that while Ann may not like bullies, her language is extremely bullying and browbeating”
You can point it out but that doesn’t make it right. Language isn’t ‘bullying’ – bullying is a pattern of behaviour.
Your comment strikes me as deeply sexist, actually.
As an example:
“I don’t believe Jane acted hypocritically.”
“I don’t believe Jane acted hypocritically. You shouldn’t feel hurt by this. It’s the internet. What did you expect? You’re being too emotional.”
It’s those personal comments that I find dismissive. People, mainly those who are hurt, are being told they shouldn’t feel hurt or upset or whatever. To me, that is invalidating and has really gone beyond the situation itself. Yes, people still have the right to their opinions or perspectives, but some people are essentially being told they don’t have a right to their emotional reaction. That’s dismissive to me.
Are people who believe Jane/Jen is being treated unfairly, being told that they shouldn’t feel upset at the way she’s being treated? I may have missed it.
Did somebody actually say this whole thing, or did you add the bolded part as your interpretation of the first sentence? Because “I don’t believe Jane acted hypocritically” is not, in any way, dismissive. It’s a statement of opinion.
The rest of it, unless it is an actual quote, is projection or defensiveness on your part. That’s not something that anyone else can take responsibility for.
Rats. I tried to bold the last three sentences, and failed.
@Wahoo Suze: I believe that Deljah was comparing the first phrase (that I said) to the second and showing what she finds acceptable in the debate versus what she finds unacceptable, but I could be wrong.
We can talk at length about what we think someone should do, what we hope will happen, but that doesn’t change the final truth: We must all choose how to go on from here, now, because that is the beginning and end of any control we have or can seek to have.
I do not minimize what anyone else is feeling. I applaud the authors who spoke sincerely under their own names about their reaction to Jane’s news. I respect Jane and Sarah for letting people fly their banners unfurled and unchecked.
At the end of the day, each of us has to decide how we approach the next day, the next hour or minute.
erinf1, I can handle bluntness. It seems that you have set yourself up as the arbiter of what comments and reactions are valid, worthy or relevant to the topic at hand. In a thread of 200+ comments at SBTB, only about 5 of them pass muster for you? I know how to separate the wheat from the chaff myself, but at this point, I’m starting to think we’re having two different conversations.
Did Jane/Jen violate or follow the standards of disclosure that she espoused on this blog and throughout the romance community?
Did Jane/Jen violate or follow the standards of disclosure that she’d held other authors and reviewers to?
Has Jane’s/Jen’s handling of this matter hurt or harmed others in the romance community: other readers, authors, etc?
If someone believes they have been hurt, is it okay for them to share why they believe that and to express their emotional response? Is it okay for me or for you to tell these people that no, in fact, they haven’t been hurt, and they should keep their emotional responses to themselves?
This is where I am in this. “What Jane/Jen should do now” is also an important question, but that doesn’t mean that other questions must be given short shrift.
@Wahoo Suze and @Sirius
Sirius and I were discussing dismissive comments and dismissive responses to dissenting people. My post attempted to provide an example of someone is being dismissive towards someone else. I prefaced it with the words “As an example” and provided those sentences for contrast.
I think dismissiveness can cheapen a debate/dialogue, derail a debate/dialogue and silence a debate/dialogue, so not really helpful in the interest of furthering debate/dialogue. However, it does further other objectives, as I’ve seen recently.
@Deljah – so you’re the only one “allowed” to express opinion now. And *I’m* setting myself up as arbitrator? I’ve commented a handful of times compared to you and I have not singled anyone out in the manner that you accuse me. I respond, yes, but isn’t that the whole point of having a thread? And I made blanket statements about what I observed, *as have you*. The difference is, I might be blunt, but I’m not bludgeoning you over the head with my opinion and becoming increasingly hostile. But I guess I missed the main point of this… No one is allowed to disagree with you it seems.
:If someone believes they have been hurt, is it okay for them to share why they believe that and to express their emotional response? Is it okay for me or for you to tell these people that no, in fact, they haven’t been hurt, and they should keep their emotional responses to themselves”
I never once said that “they weren’t hurt” or to “keep their emotional responses to themselves”. I said that the point of making the arguments was being lost and drowned out by people not making arguments but using this as a soapbox. If you wanted to give me reasons why I should drag Jane or anyone else for that matter, into the street to tar and feather, I want logical, *substantiated* reasons. Not hearsay, not knee jerk emotional response but valid reasons.
And I might come off as a dog with a bone because I’m trying to understand this… I’m a linear person. If you want A to get to C, you need to do B. So that’s why I asked the “what now” questions. Just trying to understand the motivations here. And not that you’ll believe me, but I’m not blindly and 100% on “Jane’s side”. I do see where there were questionable decisions and blurring of ethical lines.
But not to keep going in circles here, I’ll leave it to agree to disagree… if that’s allowed…
@Deljah: I’ll give my thoughts on the things you think are important
“Did Jane/Jen violate or follow the standards of disclosure that she espoused on this blog and throughout the romance community?”
Yes, in that she didn’t reveal she was an author while she was reviewing. That’s really bad. (I’m 100% sure that like me, she didn’t let being an author affect her reviewing, but being an author is a vested interest to be disclosed.)
No, in that she didn’t use her dual identity to attack reviewers or readers or authors either over her own books or anyone else’s. (That’s the actual issue, not the dual identity itself.)
“Did Jane/Jen violate or follow the standards of disclosure that she’d held other authors and reviewers to?”
That’s the same question as above in essence, so same answer.
“Has Jane’s/Jen’s handling of this matter hurt or harmed others in the romance community: other readers, authors, etc?”
Define ‘harm’. A lot of people are upset, so yes, they’ve been harmed, however transiently.
Did she damage any authors through this? I believe not deliberately, and I’ve seen no *evidence* of actual harm – just a lot of ‘well, she could haves’. (Disclaimer – Courtney Milan is making some comments over at SBTB’s post on this which (a) I consider a breach of ethics and (b) falls into the ‘well it could be harmful’ category. Not being a lawyer, I’m not going to discuss this here.)
Did she damage any readers? No, but some people have said they wouldn’t have donated to the EC case defence fund if they had known. If they feel defrauded, they deserve a refund.
But did she attack, stalk, distress, criticise readers or anything else? No.
“If someone believes they have been hurt, is it okay for them to share why they believe that and to express their emotional response?”
“Is it okay for me or for you to tell these people that no, in fact, they haven’t been hurt, and they should keep their emotional responses to themselves?”
But – they don’t have the right to make accusations without evidence or strong foundation. Claims that Jane /DA has ‘ruined’ authors and now Jane needs to pay, are just ridiculous. Many of the claims in the original anonymous comment at the PV and in anonymous comments on the post, are not sourced, and I know for a fact are actual lies (like DA deleting critical comments – *I’ve* never had a comment deleted without consent, and boy, if I’ve never had one deleted…nor has Ridley, Author on Vacation, mari, or a bunch of other hostile trolls- and statements that STGRB has never instigated one star reviews and utter bullshit of that order).
I have a perfect right to demand that people making such claims back them up. Jane has a perfect right to ignore them until they do.
“This is where I am in this. “What Jane/Jen should do now” is also an important question, but that doesn’t mean that other questions must be given short shrift.”
Yeah but it’s still an question that needs an answer. What do *you* want Jane to do now?
“I said that the point of making the arguments was being lost and drowned out by people not making arguments but using this as a soapbox”
This. Expressing disquiet or criticism is one thing, but just using this mess to bash Jane for all the butthurt from misbehaving authors (and she didn’t invent these people or their actions) DA has written about, or all the authors who didn’t like their DA reviews, or just don’t like Jane for whatever, is puerile.
There are substantive issues. And then there’s just childish whining. I don’t see why whining should be treated seriously. I don’t see why substantive issues can’t be addressed in full. I see Jane has attempted to do that somewhat in comments here, but perhaps a separate post would be better.
I commented earlier (a comment which I deleted for unrelated reasons) about the coalition of the damnable lining up to use Jane’s situation for their own agenda. Those people doing that do not deserve attention or respect or time. Since there are *so* many people in that group, it’s really difficult for the rest of us trying to tease out the actual issues, not to feel that the ’emotional’ critics may be just playing to a private agenda too. DA has made a lot of enemies by its exposure of bad practice and bad actors over ten years , and there are a lot of very self-interested, dishonest people taking a pop at it and Jane over this. *That* has to be considered too.
Could someone please explain what these “author loops” are? I’m confused about what seems to have been an expectation of confidentiality in an Internet setting. Are they boards with special passwords or something? Are people supposed to have been vetted before they were allowed to join? Since JB/TE is a published author, would membership have been open to her?
Thanks in advance.
Gosh, I wasn’t going to comment here but @BitterIrony I’m sure the LLC you’re seeing is what many authors–including myself–create to self-publish. I don’t think her husband truly owns a “publishing company.”
@Ann, when I read your comments I thought you were probably saying something I needed to understand that would help reconcile how I felt about this topic. But the tone (for me) got in the way and as the tone followed through the comments it felt (to me) like someone in the group talking over the top of everyone else until people start trying to avoid that group and moved elsewhere. I would tell my kids that that was bullying behaviour, but I get that I don’t understand the psychology of all that happens in web language and I get that I used the wrong words. Really, I just wanted to understand your points. I don’t understand the sexist label, and that I would find helpful, if you could explain. Those labels have been very interesting for me to learn about here at DA.
I am one of those 40+ yr old, housewife cliches who reads for pleasure to escape the mundane, whose discovery of this site validated my love of romance. I have learned a lot about what I am reading from some interesting discussions here. I was trying to just share how I felt about the lack of transparency (and I don’t even mean disclosure, the books could just have never been mentioned on the site). This means for me that today when the daily deals came out, I wondered which of these deals were in Jen’s author groups, and whether the comments under the deal have some agenda I can’t see, and it doesn’t matter who put the page together, it’s on the site. I recently rearranged my books to include a category for the NA & YA books that I didn’t used to read. No one is making me read anything and I DNF if I don’t like it. But when there is frequent conversation on a genre, I like to try to understand what I am learning. It just means I’ll give the side eye to that folder for a while. So it’s been said that I flounced and was sexist. I was just sad, and I obviously don’t have the skills to describe that well, but it seems others are happy to ascribe motivations and I’ve hit some kind of glass ceiling here when all I am trying to do is reconcile how I feel now, with how I loved reading and learning here.
“I don’t understand the sexist label, and that I would find helpful, if you could explain.”
Women’s anger is very often more penalised and criticised than men’s identical language. And nothing I’ve said IMO is bullying or bullying language – I won’t disagree that it’s strong and vehement and at times insulting. But since I’m not following anyone to their private space and haranguing them, or forcing them to interact with me, that can’t be bullying. And I am so not in a position of power over anyone, let alone anyone here.
couple of links
I don’t know what comments of mine you couldn’t understand because of the tone. I’d be happy to explain if you need me to.
“Could someone please explain what these “author loops” are?”
There are two sorts – ones run by publishers for their authors to chat amongst themselves, often about promotion and to bitch (disgracefully) about reviewers. The other are ones set up eg at Yahoo or Goodreads or some other third party forum by authors themselves to talk about promotion and to bitch (disgracefully) about reviewers. The idea is that they can talk about how to market to readers without readers being allowed to see what’s going on.
The idea that readers should have spaces that authors can’t intrude on, is of course absolutely shocking and insulting to authors [/sarcasm].
We’re not talking about some secret defence establishment. The idea that Jane would have been excluded because she’s a blogger/reviewer too is pretty shitty but on a par with what I’ve experienced in these places, because so many authors are horrible people. These same people would have been delighted if Jane had reviewed their books, of course.
I also am rolling my eyes at the idea that Jane alone would have used private information gained this way (no evidence she *did*) against another author. Because all the *other* authors have no secrets, no axes to grind, and never, ever do anything to stab another author in the back. Jesus.
@Ann, thank you for replying. I guess I don’t see everyone as equal on this site and some people’s personas here very strong and are validated and (I’m guessing here – I can’t be the only one) others are the lurkers, maybe a Mary Sue like me. I think that if you (and I mean this generally, not you, you) comment here often, your opinion is validated and has weight. I do think there is power in that, I certainly feel that. Regarding the explaining, I’m not going to take your time further, I’ll go back and reread in the context of what you’ve said to me. Thank you.
Dear Jane/Jen/Jennifer – I would have had a lot more respect for you if you’d just said, “You know what? I did a hypocritical, shitty thing. Apparently I had two sets of standards – one for every other author in the world, and a set for myself. That was wrong, and I shouldn’t have acted the way I did. I’m really sorry.”
All I see is a desperate politician-esque type spin story going on. I wish you would be honest and truthful about the hypocrisy. I understand if you didn’t intend to do it, and it sort of happened from making a lot of small, bad decisions, but the reality remains that you behaved very badly as an author, and people deserve more than some BS soundbite that you wrote in an attempt to rationalize, justify and excuse yourself.
Shame on you for not being woman enough to own up to your true and actual mistakes instead of hiding behind half-truths and lies.
And now, bring on your rabid pit bulls to insult me and call me names, because heaven forbid anyone actually hold Jane accountable for her actions, as she has so often held others accountable for theirs.
“bring on your rabid pit bulls to insult me and call me names”
God forbid anyone use insults, heavens to betsy.
Actually, I agree with you that Jane needs to give a better account, and a better apology than she has. That doesn’t excuse some of the hyperbolic dishonesty being slung in some quarters though. If you’re concerned with hypocrisy as you should be, there’s plenty of hypocrisy to criticise there too.
Eggs, I think that this evening as the sun goes down here in Brisbane (Australia) I will pour myself a G&T and toast you. I totally agree with your comments. I will also toast Erinf1, Susan and several other commentators whose comments I believe were spot on. I think Jane is to congratulated on becoming a published author on top of running such a successful blog and review site. I really appreciate sites like DA,SBTB, AAR, etc without whom I may have never discovered Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs, Kelley Armstrong, Jeaniene Frost, Mary Balogh, Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Grant, Janice Kay Johnson, Carla Kelly, Courtney Milan, Julie James… Wow I really do owe a big debt to the ladies who keep us up with what’s happening in the world of romance.
“as the sun goes down here in Brisbane (Australia)”
Holy shit. Does that mean I can see Russia GayLauren from my house?
I am a reader and a lurker, who visits the site primarily for daily deals and the daily news. I’m a relative newbie to the site. I don’t interact with authors or bloggers or anyone in publishing on social media.
As a result of this post and the variety of comments about standards and disclosures, I looked to see whether there was a written conflicts of interest policy for this site. I did not find one. Is there one? Is it available for people who visit the site? If not, perhaps DA should consider making the policy available so that it is easily accesible to readers?
The same questions apply to joint ventures with SBTB — both the podcast and the DABWAHA tournament. Do you have a policy? Is it available to people who visit the site? If not, perhaps you should consider making the policy easily accessible to site readers.
Please note that I don’t consider various comments and postings over the years that this blog has been open to be a policy. Those may be explanations of policy or position on a particular subject, like disclosure or context or bias, but aren’t the same as a written policy. (I practiced law for over 20 years in 2 different jurisdictions and am a firm believer in putting policies that you plan to follow in writing.)
@Ann Somerville: not sure what you mean by ” Russia GayLauren ” but yes I do live in Brisbane Australia. Are you a Brisbanite too?
@ AnneS: Your suggestion of putting disclosure etc into a written policy sounds very common sensical to me, especially as there are so many people contributing reviews and blogs and commentary. However since I assume Jane owns the site and we are visitors she is probably not obliged to do so if she doesn’t want to.
“not sure what you mean by ” Russia GayLauren ” ”
Failed HTML, sorry. ‘Russia’ was supposed to be strikethrough, riffing off the Sarah Palin ‘quote’ that she could see Russia from her house (actually from the SNL parody https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSOLz1YBFG0 )
Yes, a Brisbanite, or close enough as makes no difference.
“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.” Mark Twain.
Sometimes it is just that simple.
Imagine all the scathing blog posts and Tweets you’d be writing right now if somebody else had done this instead of you.
P.S. I hate that I’m leaving this comment anonymously but i’ve seen how you’ve relentlessly lambasted others and don’t care to deal with anything like that.
” i’ve seen how you’ve relentlessly lambasted others and don’t care to deal with anything like that.”
If you were really afraid of Jane’s vindicativeness, you woudn’t comment on her blog when that gives her access to things like your IP address.
But the reason you feel safe making this ‘anonymous’ attack (like the insult flinging coward above you) is that Jane and DA has *never* used personal information to attack anyone.
There’s only one blog around that does that, and this isn’t it.
So be upset with Jane if you want, but claiming you’re soooo scared, is just crap.
I’ve been meaning to say this for a while, but there were so many insightful comments that I didn’t want to disturb the discussion. (Which I just realised is my MO on this blog. Usually, it really just doesn’t matter anymore, when other people say those things so much better than I could.) Seeing as it has died down (for now?) just: Thank you for telling us now. I think I understand why you did it, and although I can see why others are upset, I personally am not. Congratulations on the book and movie deals! (I read some of your titles and really enjoyed them! Spent almost a week narrating my life with a Russian/Ukrainian accent, too. So I think it’s well deserved.)
Also, Happy Easter, in case you celebrate. :)
I read this post when it was first posted, and I didn’t see a problem with it. After I keep hearing things, I wanted to make sure I said something.
I started writing books last year, but I still think of myself as a reader first. I read over 300 books last year, as well as writing a few. Being an author changes nothing about whether I like someone else’s book or not. Do I catch every misspelled, missing, or wrong word? Yes, because I am so used to looking for my own mistakes (which I sometimes miss, too-we all do). But that has no bearing on how I view a book as a whole. I still love the same things in books (HEA primarily), and hate the same things (love triangles and cheating are #1). For me, nothing has changed about how I review a book-I’m a reader when I’m reading, not a writer. I think the majority of us would say the same thing!
To be honest this whole thing bothers me.
How many people would have contributed to the fund if they had known that they were not just helping J in a romance blogger, but Jen Frederick a best selling author.
Regardless, she has taken the choice away from them and she must be held accountable for that.
I wonder if she will offer a refund
Khalid, if anyone asked for a refund, she was giving them. I still don’t see why it should make a difference. I donated because I felt the cause was worthy, not because I felt like a romance blogger couldn’t afford it. For that matter, I know she’s an attorney IRL, and maybe this is a bad assumption, but most attorneys do pretty well for themselves. I didn’t think she *needed* the money, but I just felt like the EC lawsuit was ridiculous and she shouldn’t have to defend it all on her own. But apparently, others donated with the idea that she needed the money, and perhaps the “best selling author” thing would have made a difference to them. I’m not sure, even if I thought she needed the money, if that would have affected my decision to donate. “Best selling author” doesn’t always equal big bucks, either. Just ask the EC authors. :-/
Another issue I have is that as Jen Frederik, she interacted with authors in authors only spaces.
What I am trying to say is that people have a legitimate right to feel hurt or betrayed by what she did, and ignoring them or pretending they don’t exist will help no one in the long run.
You’re right: people can feel how they want to feel about this disclosure. Each person will have to decide for him/herself how much — or even whether — this disclosure affected him/her personally.
Hippocracy, thy name is jane.