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Jane Litte/Jen Frederick

25 March 2015

PG doesn’t usually post anonymous commentary, but he decided to do so because this post raises concerns that lie at the intersection of social media and indie authors.

The commentary also involves pen names which, of course, have a long history in the book business and are generally considered benign business practices by most authors.

The commentary involves a topic that first sprang up about 15 minutes after the first online communities did – whether participants should be able to use fake names. As regular visitors to TPV will clearly recognize, PG has no problems with comments from anonymous or pseudonymous sources.

Finally, PG visits and quotes from Dear Author for the useful and interesting business/legal material that appears there. He’s never read a DA review.

PG will be interested in the response TPV visitors have to this author’s concerns:

So…yesterday, Jane Litte announced on her blog (Dear Author) that she has been writing new adult romance under the pseudonym Jen Frederick. I’m not going to rehash it all, but here is the link if you’d like to read the reasons behind her decision in her own words.

First off, I want to make it clear that I harbor no ill will toward Jane. I think she’s whip-smart, and a fabulous businesswoman. I also congratulate her on her amazing success as an author. In the past, I have agreed with a lot of what she says about reviews and reviewers rights, and have lauded her efforts to take a stand against author and publisher misconduct. I also know how influential she is in the industry. Which is why I spent pretty much my whole day writing and deleting this and, ultimately decided to post anonymously. Because I KNOW I would lose friendly author acquaintances over this. I KNOW I would get emails and tweets and people coming at me because I didn’t just jump on the kumbaya bandwagon and high five her about her announcement. But when I thought back through the Ellora’s Cave/Dear Author situation, I kept coming back to the hashtag…

#notchilled

And guess what? I’m not chilled with this. I respect Jane. I don’t think her intention was to hurt anyone with her choice not to disclose her author name. I also don’t think she used her unique position to intentionally benefit herself as an author or reviewer, or to benefit her publisher. What I do think is that there are other, much more complex issues at play here that the reading (and reviewing) public might not be aware of. I’m going to lay them out for you now, as I see them.

BUT FIRST!
I want to clarify something here (because I know it will come up). I am not a bitter author who is reveling in the potential GOTCHA! moment for Jane due to a bad review on her blog or some personal beef. Full disclosure: I have been reviewed by Dear Author more than once and have received reviews ranging between a C+ and a B-. I was happy that she reviewed me, thought the reviews were even-handed, and I believe I re-tweeted and squeed when I was notified that I’d been reviewed. I’ve never been lambasted by Jane or anyone else on her review blog (that I know of, at any rate) and I have no ax to grind with her on a personal level.

I’m writing this specifically because I don’t want to.

I’m writing this specifically for all the people I know who feel the way I do and are too afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation.

Here are the two main things I’m #notchilled about:

Firstly, reviews are sacrosanct. Reviewers are sacrosanct. We are told on a daily basis, as authors, that we are not allowed to respond to reviews publicly, whether a review is gushing, fabulous and insightful and we want to thank the reviewer, or the review is cruel, misinformed, or downright threatening and we want to defend ourselves. I agree with this (although, there are times I admit I don’t like it so much, lol, because I’m human) and have spent the last five years as a professional author adhering to this tenet (although, I admit, before I knew better, when my first book released, I did cry on Twitter once and solicit virtual hugs the first time I got a “This author should go die in a fire” type review that laid me low for a week before I grew thicker skin. I did not comment on said review, or send in troops to defend me. I just…cried). Now that I know better, I make sure that, if I vent at all about anything industry or book related, I vent to trusted friends and colleagues and in loops with other authors. In those private loops (and yes, I’m aware nothing online is ever truly private) likeminded authors speak more freely. Because you have to understand, we don’t have an after work softball team, or a water cooler, or a birthday cake for Sally on Tuesday where we get to bitch about old Mr. Jennings and how he’s really busting our hump at work that day.

We just have each other and those loops. Most of us never see another author face to face more than once or twice in a given year, if that.

In those loops, we talk industry and strategy and marketing and pricing and trends and hard sales numbers. We talk about the writing process and how hard it can be sometimes, and acknowledge that the muse doesn’t necessarily pepper our dreams with glittery ideas for bestsellers and that it’s a freaking GRIND sometimes, or how we just HATE our current manuscript and are terrified our readers will hate it too, and what a struggle it’s been, and yes, some authors talk reviews. It’s the place that we get to speak freely and treat our business like exactly that. A for profit business. A place where we don’t have to wear our public hat that, by necessity, requires us to stifle ourselves to some degree or risk ostracizing our readership. A place where we take our bra off and stretch for a minute with other braless writer-types. Not that I’m pretending to be someone else on open social media, but there are definitely things I say to authors in “private” that would pull back the curtain, so to speak, in a way that would make me uncomfortable in public, not unlike a school teacher talking politics on Facebook or something.

Imagine my surprise, then, to realize that Jane is on more than one of these loops with me as Jen Frederick. I find myself…not okay with that. Not because I’m ashamed by anything I’ve said, but because I even have to sit here and worry about it. And I’m feeling even sicker for the authors who thought they were in a place that was safe to share certain things and did so who would NOT have done so had they known Jane was present. Do I believe Jane would or has intentionally retaliated against these authors if they said something negatively about her site, her books, her writing partner, or the EC case or any myriad of things? No. But that doesn’t change the fact that it feels like a violation. And the thing that readers of this post need to realize is that JANE KNOWS THAT. There is no way that a right-minded person would be privy to the posts and information she was privy to who would not realize that they were eavesdropping on a conversation that they weren’t supposed to hear. That they were peeking through someone’s window who wasn’t aware they were watching. Yes, it’s the internet. Yes, maybe we should’ve closed the bedroom door more tightly. Yes, maybe would shouldn’t have left our curtains open. But morally, there is no question in that situation, a right-thinking person knows they should look away. Especially a person as smart as Jane.

And as much as I believe the intention was to “wear two hats” and not let one influence the other, or let what she may have read poison the well, I just don’t think brains are like hats. Jane’s a lawyer, so I’ll use a (fictional) law analogy. I always see these legal shows on TV where one of the lawyers says something KNOWING it’s going to be objected to, or coaches a witness into a response that reveals something inadmissible. The judge slaps their wrist and has it stricken from the record, and advises the jury to “disregard it”. Why would a lawyer do something like that when they know it’s going to get stricken and the jury is supposed to disregard it? BECAUSE THAT’S NOT HOW LIFE WORKS. The same way cases get moved from one place to another because one area has been tainted by media coverage. They can advise the person not to pay attention to that. Not to consider any of that information when making a decision, but that’s just not doable. You can try, but once it’s heard, you can’t unhear it. Just like Jane can’t UNSEE if someone posted they thought her blog was cruel, or that they didn’t support her legal fees gofundme because they disagreed with her, or that they think her publisher’s contract is crappy or herr agent is unethical etc. (Not that these things were discussed, necessarily, but they might have, as they SHOULD be, if that’s what the authors in that loop feel like discussing). Because that’s where we get to do that without censure. That’s where we get to learn and teach and help and support one another without judgment.

I recall one specific conversation on an Indie author loop about the EC/DA case where authors expressed varying points of view. Jane was (according to various members) part of this loop. Would people have spoken so freely if they knew she was there? The answer is unequivocally no. And I’m extremely uncomfortable with that. Like Old Mr. Jennings who was busting my hump was also hiding next to me at the water cooler in a fake mustache and glasses this whole time, listening it.

That’s not okay for me and I feel like I lost something today. Something that I’m already mourning because it’s something that, in this solitary profession, I needed very badly. And it makes me really sad.

The second issue I have is the lack of disclosure on a professional level. Whether Jane promoted her own books, her writing partner’s books, or her publisher’s books, or did or did not review her publisher’s books during the time between the signing of her contract and today, it doesn’t matter. Everything comes into question now, regardless, because what she didn’t do merits as much scrutiny as what she did do and even the potential for impropriety cracks it all open. Everything becomes something to reconsider from a different lens. From choosing to write an exposé on one publisher’s misconduct while wondering if she would do the same, as aggressively or as objectively, to her own, to the DABWAHA nominees, to positive reviews for pub sisters whose Berkeley books she might not have reviewed but who ALSO write for other publishers whose books she did review, to opinions on other authors that would be one thing coming from an impartial point of view become very different animal coming from an author who writes in the same genre she runs a majorly influential review blog about. There are soooo many potential and complex ways that lines could have been crossed here, it would take hours to explore them all, but I do think they shouldn’t be ignored.

Again, do I think that she intentionally took advantage? I don’t think so. And loads of people are going to chime in and say, “Jane would never do that.” Which is all well and good, but guess what? I don’t know Jane. And I daresay most of you don’t either, even if you thought you did yesterday. The way I see it, she’s no different than a judge who recuses himself in a case because he knows the defendant or plays golf with the father of the plaintiff. Does that judge have it in him to not abuse his position and still make an unbiased decision? Maybe he does. But it doesn’t matter. That’s NOT how it works because even the possibility of it would later call everything that happened in that case into question. Jane’s a lawyer. She knows this and she did it anyway.

And it makes me feel…squitchy. Catfished. Sock-puppeted. Hoodwinked, to be honest. And I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I did what I do. I wrote about it. I’m sorry it’s not the popular thing to say, but it needed to be said.

I’m not angry, and I don’t wish Jane ill will. I hope she comes out the other side of this happy and successful, both as a person and as an author. But seeing a person who has built a career on commenting on the quality of romance novels and behaving as a watchdog…a person who has publicly wagged a journalistic finger at every wrong-doing, real or perceived, from every publisher and author in the industry (and would go back for seconds or thirds when an apology came off like not a good enough apology or when she felt that a person hadn’t been humbled enough), watching this pass by with only stunned whispers behind closed doors because authors are afraid they’ll find themselves at the bottom of a bloody dog-pile? That sticks in my craw. She is in a position of power, whether she wants to be or not. Whether she uses that power or not. And we feel silenced because of that power.

But someone needs to wag a finger here.

Someone needs to do what Jane would have done if this hadn’t been about Jane.

Someone needs to stand up and say that what she did was wrong.

So I’m saying it.

You wrong, Jane. You wrong.

Social Media

489 Comments to “Jane Litte/Jen Frederick”

  1. I don’t know what to feel about this. I’m a reader, and I do have a book blog (although it is very tiny). And partly because I love reading and love stories, I started writing. I haven’t published anything for sale, though I was considering intensively revising a novella I wrote and try self-publishing that.

    But the way this author talks about the whole “two hats” thing makes me feel like because I do this book review thing, I have to stay far, far away from the writing side.

    I don’t want to have to give up either activity. I like reading and reviewing, and I like writing too.

    • No. You don’t have to give up either. You just have to be upfront about it when you’re dealing with other writers. The reason why people are upset is not that she’s a writer, but that she joined private author loops without disclosing the fact that she is Jane Litte from Dear Author.

      I wonder if the members have been so quick to let her in if she had been honest.

      • To me as a blogger, I disclose when the book I’ve reviewed was provided to me by the author, the publisher or I purchased it myself. She, from what I understand, did not disclose that she was reviewing books for a publisher that publishes her work. I think that is another issue that is troubling to authors.

      • I feel so betrayed. And pissy.

    • There is nothing wrong with book bloggers writing and publishing. It happens a lot as book bloggers are lovers of books, too. The difference here is that Jane didn’t disclose to the writers she was interacting with and that’s not cool.

      • I’m not sure that it was spelled out in the post above, but if Jane had business dealings with the authors, her extended presence in a semi-private forum is “not cool.”

        It basically amounts to eavesdropping. If a co-worker assumes an identity and befriends you on Facebook, that’s wrong, unethical and amounts to eavesdropping.

    • Another book writer who has written reviews here (although I’ve had to stop it this year due to work pressures). I’ve never had a problem with it, because I’m too bloody-minded not to. I guess I’ve even reviewed Penguin books while my book was published by them (I’m not sure) but it never occurred to me that it might be an issue. Perhaps I wasn’t a big enough fish for that to matter.

      • I can’t see an ethical problem with you or Eustacia here. However, if you did know you were reviewing Penguin wouldn’t you just dash off a quick “In the interests of full disclosure, Penguin is my publisher”?

        • That is one of the issues with the authors is that she did not disclose that she was reviewing books published by the company publishing her works. Reviewers should always disclose if the book they review is provided by the author, the publisher, or the purchased it themselves. That’s “professional”.

        • I should have. If I didn’t, it simply didn’t occur to me to do so (yes, I can be dense like that).

    • Folks reading about this probably need to understand how influential Dear Author/Jane Litte is in the Romance community. That’s not my niche, but I know she’s huge. And fierce, by reputation.

      Is her influence important? This reminds me of the New Yorker cartoon by Richard Decker. The caption is, “The jury will disregard the witness’s last statement.”

      http://www.allposters.com/-sp/The-jury-will-disregard-the-witness-s-last-statement-New-Yorker-Cartoon-Posters_i9162953_.htm

    • Woah, I go to sleep and get so many encouraging replies? One of the best ways to start a day, thanks everyone(:

      I just thought of another issue – what if I hate books in my genre? I suppose I’d either have to just stop writing very negative reviews (which rarely hallen for me anyway), or post another disclaimer.

      But that bridge can be crossed later. Now to read the rest of the thread.

      (Btw, I thought I should let everyone know that the fact I even considered self-publishing was due to the community here. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing anything more/start seriously trying to improve my writing)

  2. Excellent post!

    The author has many points, and the most important is that Jane (especially as a lawyer) should know better.

    There simply is no excuse for her actions. It is an obvious conflict of interest. She’s only human and I would find it hard for her not to be retaliatory if something negative was “overheard” at the “water cooler.”

  3. I agree with everything said in this post. There are other issues at play here, too. Jane claims she never mixed her own books with her blog. That’s false and there are links to prove it. There are also other links that look questionable I won’t mention. One in particular involves a podcast discussing “Jen Frederick.” And as a new unheard of author, “Jen Frederick” has literally thousands, not hundreds, thousands, of ratings on goodreads?!? How are we supposed to parse that? A divine goodreads intervention?

    This isn’t just a simple, humble venture as we are supposed to believe.

    But all this aside, my big question is this: Why not disclose all this up front? Why not just come out and say “I’m writing fiction now, and blogging, too.” There are millions of blogging authors all over the web. I wouldn’t be commenting here if that had been the case. And now I’m questioning everything I’ve seen and read at DearAuthor.

    I find everything about this as disingenuous as Jane Litte has referred to so many others in the past.

    Yes. She’s wrong. She wrong.

  4. The writer of this does protest too much I’m thinking on the ‘I harbor no ill will’ bit for it to be completely true.

    And ‘anyone’ can/could hear what is said in any chat room — if not by being there, then from a friend who was, so I’m having a bit of an issue with them claiming things would have been said different ‘if’ they’d only known …

    Unless Jane used her pen name to argue her side or to stir things up, I’m not sure what we’re seeing other than a person who found out that someone she wasn’t expecting was standing behind her while she was spouting off about them. (and rather than just being shamefaced about being caught at it, she’s blaming the one she didn’t want hearing what was said …)

    .

    If only we could make stupidity more painful…

    edited to add that others have pointed out that it seems Jane was playing both sides more than a bit … but the org post still makes me want to dig out the tartar sauce …

    • You know, we’re supposed to overlook the fact that the owner of a large romance book review web site (not DA) is part of a PR firm that reps high profile romance authors, we’re supposed to overlook the fact that DA is practically in partnership with that romance review blog, we’re supposed to overlook the fact that DA promotes said romance authors who are clients of that PR firm, and now we’re supposed to believe this is all so innocent and there was nothing happening behind the scenes at all.

      This is just one example. A while back Jane Litte and DA called out an author who was using a pen name and fake identity for doing far less than what Jane herself just did. I’m not mentioning names because that author was brutally dragged through the mud. And this wasn’t the first time that happened. The point here is whether or not this secret identity of Jane’s was ethical. I don’t think so, not after all I’ve read and seen at the DA blog over the years. It actually goes against everything DA has argued all this time.

      • I agree, her behavior is and has been unethical. I’ve read her blog off and on over the past four years since I’ve been on this indie path, and I’m questioning a lot of what I’ve read there. What kind of ulterior motives have been behind her writings?

        Squick factor high.

        • Again, I think there is more than just the dual identities issue in play. As a reviewer you disclose who provided you with the book, she did not disclose that the publisher of whatever book she may have been reviewing was the publisher paying her for her book. From their pocket to her hand – paying her. That’s another form of not saying anything bad about your boss or his family.

      • I feel like secret identities are being revealed all over the place. I had zero idea that Jane’s blogging bestie was also in PR — is this an open secret? That’s a pretty big conflict of interest as well, IMO. I’m probably naive for assuming everyone is who they say they are on the Internet, but Jane in particular puts such an onus on transparency …

    • Jane was behaving unethically. Not more than a bit. She was pushing her own books on her influential blog without disclosing the conflict, and only did so because she was forced to due to a lawsuit.

      I don’t find the post catty at all. I’m just surprised that so many in this business respond to revelations of impropriety with a shrug, a sort of, “The world’s always been a violent place,” response when they see someone victimized by violence. At what point do we stop rationalizing bad behavior, and start calling it what it is?

    • And ‘anyone’ can/could hear what is said in any chat room — if not by being there, then from a friend who was, so I’m having a bit of an issue with them claiming things would have been said different ‘if’ they’d only known …

      True, it’s not rational to expect things said on the internet to stay private. There was someone who visited here a while back who was startled by the idea that people read her blog when she was only expecting people she knew to read it. But I think in this case the first anon (hereafter Anonymous Prime since there are so many Anons in this thread) has more of a complaint than you’re giving credit for.

      In this case, Anonymous Prime *rationally* feels spied on by someone who apparently wields a great deal of influence over the audience in her genre. If readers really do care what Jane thinks, if Jane’s good opinion can mean the difference between sales and no sales, then Jane pretending to be a peer of Anonymous Prime & Friends can’t be shrugged off so easily.

      Imagine if, at the Passive Voice, we’ve had disagreements — let’s say it’s about the quality of fountain pens sold on Amazon — but one party was secretly a division buyer at Amazon, specifically the division in charge of fountain pens. Now if your book is on Amazon, you don’t want to have to worry that a rash of bad reviews and one star ratings and disappearances in search results are because you prefer Parker Pens to Noodlers***

      But in the case of Anonymous Prime, every writer in her forum will worry that Jane could take things personally and retaliate with a bad review, a review that many readers could take seriously. Not a fun position to be in.

      I’m looking at this situation as Exhibit A in showing the wisdom of Laura Resnick and Kris Rusch in not naming names when discussing the publishing industry. You just don’t know who’s listening, and who they know or even if the one you’re talking about is actually the one you’re talking to.

      ***I have not tried Noodlers yet. So it’s strictly a hypothetical, Barbara 🙂

      • Authors discuss matters with colleagues they wouldn’t discuss want Jane Litte, even if it’s simply questions or concerns about the industry. Anyone who doesn’t feel that’s valid doesn’t follow her on Twitter. She can and has spun many an innocent statement or question.

        • I’m not sure I follow what you’re saying here.

          My takeaway of this issue:

          1) Authors want a safe place to beta read / talk about the industry (no arguments there).

          2) They wouldn’t want to share this place with a major book reviewer who is secretly competing with them in that same genre and has the power to sink their sales through bad reviews — and apparently isn’t shy about using that power (no arguments there).

          I’m not sure what role Twitter plays here — are you saying that readers who don’t use Twitter will never encounter Jane’s bad reviews of the writers in Anonymous Prime’s forum? Note that I’m not saying Jane has negatively reviewed them; only that I could see why they’d worry that she might.

          • I always felt big romance sites were granted more influence in authors minds than they actually wield. And here it is a good point to note that DA is actually a group of people and not just Jane Litte.

            Nothing DA says in a review (no matter how snarky) can stop you from writing and publishing your stories. Yes, it can hurt you in the feels, but it cannot silence your writing.

            If you speak out about something on the internet, someone will disagree with you, guaranteed.

            I’m leaving out her presence on private author loops – If I was on any of them with her, I didn’t know it (and don’t care). She was an author on those lists, and kind of irrelevant unless they had pre-existing restrictions against bloggers participating in author capacity. I’m sorry that some authors felt betrayed, and those are valid feelings though.

          • Athena,

            I know an author whose book was sabotaged with 1-star reviews from DA readers who hadn’t read the book in question because the Jane thought the book had yucky stuff in it. The author was essentially jumped in a dark alley and pummeled senseless.

            A bad review on DA may not harm sales, but that sort of thing absolutely will.

    • “The writer of this does protest too much I’m thinking on the ‘I harbor no ill will’ bit for it to be completely true.”

      I disagree. The OP is likely terrified that the legions who rabidly follow DA will swoop upon her, as they have other unfortunates, and rip her to pieces, destroying any chance she may have of selling any of her books, ever again.

      It happens, often.

      You’ve heard ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” haven’t you? It’s not just BS – it’s very true.

      • Oh, I believe it; in fact I’m watching what appears to be quite a bit of it right here and now …

        It’s always most interesting to see which way and in what direction people will go when their faith in something is shaken.

        I don’t (yet) have a horse in this race, but I hope to soon, and all this excitement is a good warning of what one might be blindsided with once one dares to stick their toes in the water …

  5. Lots of people who are interested in books aren’t just spectators. I find it surprising that anyone is surprised, frankly. Good for her and I hope she continues to do well.

    • I think we can all agree that Jane’s interest and involvement hasn’t only been in books, and that this PG post is more than just suprise.

  6. Instead of apologizing for her deception, she’s telling authors in a private writing group (which she joined without disclosing who she really is) that she’s going to feature their books on her blog if they email her. Well. That’s really sincere. NOT.

    • I continue to be baffled. Jane Litte would have a hayday with Jenn Fredericks … if they weren’t the same person.

      • Jane Litte would tear Jenn Fredericks into itty bitty pieces and then dance a jig on them while sending out an invite to the party on twitter. Except…

      • anon because sure

        “I continue to be baffled. Jane Litte would have a hayday with Jenn Fredericks … if they weren’t the same person.” yeah, that’s the part that’s hard to swallow. Someone so smart and perceptive about other people’s wrong steps not seeing this.

        She had to know it was not kosher. Maybe it’s actually bothered her? I sure as hell hope so. But she does tend to hunker down and get defensive when feeling under attack (human with bonus layer of lawyer) so we’ll never know.

  7. Let me get this straight. Jane took her critics at their word, wrote a book – and then a few more books, and sold well enough to land a deal with Montlake and sell film rights…

    But we’re up in arms because Jane didn’t abuse her position as a reviewer, and continued to promote other authors via reviews on her own website. How is her reviewing on her own website a problem? She doesn’t have a conflict of interest. Average review scores look to be about the same pre-Jen and post-Jen so there’s no factual argument that she’s using reviews to garner a comparative advantage, and she went out of the way to separate it all.

    She stuck her neck out for readers, helped writers connect with those readers and did it via her own website – and we’re going to begrudge her a little privacy?

    Madness.

    • Well, let’s see.

      We are to believe that there was no temptation to skewer her competitors, or people she just didn’t like. That didn’t happen?

      We’re to believe that for the first time in all of history, abuse of power wasn’t a problem.

      What she did was push her own work using a platform she developed, and which was active and influential in determining how her competitors were viewed by tens of thousands of readers, who had no idea that she had undisclosed reasons for pushing her own work as meritorious, much less that there could be a little venom in the reviewing criteria.

      You’re fine with that.

      Many aren’t.

  8. How would all the reviewer/bloggers out there feel if I, an indie author, joined their semi-private or private blogger groups, wherein they discuss “authors behaving badly” – as a blogger/reviewer, without disclosing I’m an author? And perhaps, the temptation to grind my axe against authors I dislike, competitors, proves too much, and I plant subtle prods that so and so is a no-talent, or a butthead? Human nature being that nobody’s perfect, doesn’t that seem really sketchy behavior, at best? And wouldn’t the reviewers/bloggers be howling with rage at their inner sanctum being violated?

    Jane did push her Jen Fredericks books on her blog, so her assurances that she didn’t are in fact provably untrue.

    I have one rule in life: Once a liar, always a liar.

    Perhaps that’s harsh, but it needs to be said. I don’t need to find fifty places she lied, just one or two. And there are links to her JF books being featured on her blog. What are we to make of that?

    From what I understand, the admission she was living dual identities was not voluntary – it was about to come out due to a lawsuit. So one can safely assume that the only reason she felt compelled to be open about it is because she had no choice. That feels really ethically questionable, if not completely over the line.

    Let’s go back to the reviewer side. There are whole goodreads groups devoted to authors behaving badly. Authors who responded to reviews, or who interacted in other ways the reviewers found distasteful. Who routinely cry bully when authors voice anything at all. How would all those people like to discover that a highly influential author has been in their most private discussion groups without mentioning they were, at the most charitable, conflicted?

    To me this isn’t shades of gray, and I have no particular interest in the DA site or Jen/Jane. What I do have is an interest in seeing that the indie community identifies when it sees something ethically over the line, and condemns it. If we don’t, if we high five influential personalities for their misdeeds, we send a clear message that as long as something succeeds in gaining the personalities an advantage, it’s fine. Just as with review buying, where some took a morally ambivalent stance of it’s no big deal, or many do it, I think we need to determine where the lines are, and ensure that those who cross the lines are called out for it.

    • So J.K. Rowling was or was not unethical when she assumed a pen name? My opinion was mixed: using a pen name struck me as a non-issue. Where I disagreed with what she did was her creation of a fake bio for her pen name — one that could have easily been the reason why readers bought the book. I haven’t created fake bios for any of my pen names.

      • No, because JK Rowling wasn’t operating an influential book review site under a different name where she pushed her own books without disclosing she was the author and had everything to gain by them doing well.

        Pen names aren’t the problem. Conflict of interest in the review process and in the promotion disclosure is the problem.

        • Under my pen name, I tweet links to others’ books, and also my own. They’re not reviews, granted, but it’s a form of promotion without disclosing my real ID. To me, that’s a big “so what?”

          • If you operate an influential book blog wherein you review those books, often negatively, without disclosing that you’re a competitor, and you also use that book blog to tout another of your pen names without disclosing it’s you, then yes, that’s deceptive.

            Because you’re omitting information that had it been known, would have called the veracity of your reviews or your support, into question.

            It’s not a difficult logical thread to follow.

            An attorney would know this. Jane’s an attorney.

            I rest my case.

      • In fact, JK Rowling did get a ton of pushback when her pen name was revealed — not because she used a pen name, but because Robert Galbraith’s bio stated that he had done a number of things that (clearly) he had not.

        If Galbraith’s bio had merely said he was a writer living in Scotland…well, people would have complained anyway (because Rowling), but it wouldn’t have been the same sort of lie.

      • Count me as one of the unsurprised. Book reviewing is a crash course in novel deconstruction. Someone good at it can leverage that into learning what makes a novel work, and then doing it.

        The fake bio thing doesn’t even bother me. You’d be surprised how many indie authors–hell, how many *people in media in general* are out there with fake bios because an identity is a part of your branding. An author owes you a story. An author does not owe you the real, true, uncut story of their own life to go along with it.

        Dear Author is a pretty loud voice in the romance community, but it’s no gatekeeper or divine blessing or lucky rabbit’s foot of success by any stretch. If anything, Jane/Jen gets points for restraint for *not* using her platform more (you know, the platform that *she* built and *she* is responsible for, and the platform, had she used it from the first, would have been the apple in a trad-pub’s eye full of dollar signs, given her blog traffic).

        DA is also not Jane Litte. DA is not the only thing keeping any author (or publisher, for that matter) from success or failure. The site publishes romance book reviews, opinion and commentary, book deals, and industry news. Some of those reviews are written by a person who decided to try her hand at writing the thing she was reviewwing.

        The pearl-clutching is interesting to watch because in romance, we’re not supposed to be leveraging our platforms because Decorum or something, as if this is the first time someone in a journalistic capacity wrote a book on subject matter about which she’d developed expert knowledge.

        • “Jane/Jen gets points for restraint for *not* using her platform more”
          So how much would have been too much for you? What would have crossed the line? I think it definitely would have crossed the line Jane herself drew, so that says a lot don’t you think?

          “DA is also not Jane Litte”
          But it is OWNED by her and the twitter account attached to it is solely hers, so the association is completely justified IMO.

    • Jane did push her Jen Fredericks books on her blog, so her assurances that she didn’t are in fact provably untrue.

      I was about to ask if this was true. And then I went to DA and searched “Jen Frederick,” and this was one of the hits:

      http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/reading-list-by-kati-for-2014/

      What’s interesting is that Kati mentions she beta-read a different book by Frederick — and that Frederick, in the PS of her coming-out, notes:

      I did not use any connections beyond my friendship with Jess Clare and a couple of other people (for beta reading, editing, cover art).

      So I wonder if Kati knew what she was doing citing it as a best read of 2014.

      Me, I don’t care about pen names, or even authors reviewing books. But it’s not really about anonymity and all; it really does seem like Frederick did something totally not cool here.

      • Tina Engler from Ellora's Cave

        1) Jeff, I encourage you to follow the legal proceedings & then if you feel the same way afterwards, fair enough.

        2) I’m not getting into a back-n-forth with posters who make ludicrous claims & cannot back them.

        3) This thread has gotten too long to follow on my phone. Everyone have a nice day.

  9. I have no problem with the anonymity, or the sentiments.

    But honestly, I do wish most writers would get themselves a tinfoil hat when it comes to reviewing. It’s our own fault when we make these things so important to us.

    The world has changed: This is a “who the (bleep!) cares?” issue now. This is like “OMG – those authors are publishing THEMSELVES!” — the feelings expressed in the post is not wrong, but the attitude is that of a control freak desperate to keep the old paradigm alive when it’s long gone.

    We live in a disintermediated world. We’re all amateurs now. Every site is a personal site. If something doesn’t live up to your standards… okay, b**** about it. But it’s not actually important. It’s like bitching about how your neighbors painted their house a color you don’t like.

    I know a lot of people are not ready for this new world, but it’s here. So let’s get over it, and get on with it.

    • Thank you, Camille. The voice of reason.

    • What I actually got out of the post was that she felt that Jane employed deceptive practices that are ethically questionable on her blog, and eavesdropped on authors without revealing that she was, perhaps, reviewing those authors on her influential blog (and that their sentiments about her, or DA, might have been tempered had Jane been honest about who she was). I also got that she is upset at the obvious conflict of interest in touting her pen name on that blog without revealing the obvious financial interest she had in that pen name doing well.

      Did we read different posts?

      • No.

        Welcome to the Human Condition.

        Dav

      • No, we didn’t read different posts. The “ethics” of this situation are predicated on the conditions of the old world. A world where people can expect to know who they are talking to.

        That world simply doesn’t exist on the internet. On the internet, nobody knows you are a cat (as the saying goes).

        So it really is irrelevant whether that person IS a cat or not. Reviewers and writers and retailers and scammers and trolls and just plain readers (and their friends and family members) are all on the same footing — and indistinguishable from one another.

        And… most people have multiple roles. We fall into all of the above categories at once.

        And that’s okay. That’s how it works now.

        The people who are hyperventilating about integrity in reviewing and in book blogging and all of that have a big problem: they are hanging their understanding of the world on pegs that no longer exist. (We pretend they exist, we try to recreate them, but they’re gone.)

        You haven’t a hope of replacing those pegs with something useful and solid until you realize that they are gone.

        Best to do as the song says and “Let it go!”

        Sincerely, your friendly feline,
        Maxim P. Cat

        • If I may paraphrase:

          The world is a crooked place. When crookery is exposed, to express surprise, or contempt, or anything but acceptance and apathy are to clutch pearls and espouse old world virtues that are no longer relevant.

          Sure, I’ll bite then. If ethics are old fashioned then we’re back to might makes right and whatever you can get away with without getting arrested or shot is fine.

          I guess I’m old fashioned. I prefer not to live in that snakepit or condone it. But you enjoy, only don’t complain when you’re the one screwed over, because, hey, it’s a world where everyone’s screwing everyone over, so to aspire to anything greater is silly.

    • But that’s not what happened here. The author may have vented/griped/sought emotional reinforcement in a private space, rather than speaking out about comments on a review. Which is what he/she is supposed to do. Only now finds out that the reviewer was in the room the whole time. That… that’s deflating. When a safe space is suddenly no longer safe.

      • There are places on the internet that are “safe”? If I want to vent/gripe/seek emotional reinforcement, I do so offline, because I figure anything I write or post online can (and probably will) come around to bite me in the backside, no matter how private I think the space is.

        • Word. I think most of us have learned this the hard way. I’m even considering going private or just deleting old blogs, because I can’t remember what I’ve written over 9 years of blogging. Could have had a bad day, poorly worded posts, boneheaded comments, etc. I may wanna take those out of the public eye, just in case. We see how crazed the internet can get when folks go on crusades.

    • ::clapclap:: I find it interesting that pearls are being clutched over a romance blogger (female, in a traditionally female-dominated area of publishing) who published under a confidential pen name to *avoid* letting her blog unduly influence her success or failure is being taken to task for not revealing every aspect of her life and writing efforts beforehand. When we all know damn well that if she had come right out and said, “Hey, I wrote a book, check it YO!” Every particle of her success would be attributed to either the blog’s popularity or the intimidation of hundreds of authors cowed into buying it and reviewing it well to avoid her wrath. Please.

      I’m starting to wonder when we’ll see the first comments on something-something-ethics-in-romance-journalism start to filter in…

      • How about someone soliciting money to defend a lawsuit that she knew would reveal her pseudonym, without disclosing her deep interest in avoiding it and in part what the money was going toward?

        • Hi Elvin, if you’re referring to the Go Fund Me campaign set up to raise funds to help Jane Litte defend the lawsuit, then that was organized by Sarah Wendell.

          • Not sure how much it matters who set it up. What’s material is that Jane’s circumstances weren’t accurately described. Call it a sin of omission, and perhaps an unintentional one on the part of the organizer. But the material part is where donors weren’t told the whole story.

          • It may have been organized by Sarah, but the money was given and accepted by Jane/Jenn.

          • Consequently, and at Jane’s request, I have established and am administering The Dear Author Jane Litte Legal Defense Fund. Sarah Wendell, Oct 3,2011 on Smart Bitches.

        • Here’s where that falls apart for me: if she wanted to keep her pseudonym from coming out in discovery, she wouldn’t have fought the lawsuit in the first place. She would have settled before discovery began. She’s a lawyer; she knows how that works.

          • Or maybe she’d rather die than to retract anything she said and apologize. I doubt EC would’ve settled without that.

          • See, I’m not cool with Jane Litte/Jen Frederick deceiving authors in authors-only spaces, but this? (edited to add: by “this” I mean the idea that Jane should have surrendered to Ellora’s Cave bs.)

            I find it extremely shortsighted.

            She’s a lawyer and she knows how it works, which means she knew it would come out–so yes, she should have disclosed before the fund was organized–but she did not defame Ellora’s Cave, and giving in to them would automatically place any blogger daring to say something a publisher (trad or indie) doesn’t like, smack dab in the cross hairs.

            People already get sued at the drop of a hat–The Oatmeal, anyone?

          • In addition to what azteclady said, any settlement would undoubtedly have required that Jane turn over info on anonymous commenters and sources.

            I didn’t donate to her legal fund, because I worried that it might create a conflict of interest if I got subpoenaed. But I gladly would have donated, and still would, to protect those people’s right to free speech.

            (Which is also why I fully support the anonymous commenters here–and think it’s both ironic and sad that so many writers feel they can’t express their hurt and frustration publicly.)

          • Not quite. Just because a person attended law school, passed the bar, got licensed, and works in legal capacity does *not* automatically make her knowledgeable about the ins and outs of litigation. Presuming such is like saying that an internist should know how to perform heart surgery by virtue of being a doctor.

            Of course, I do not recall seeing anything anywhere that Jane Litte/Jen Frederick is a litigator. If, in fact, that is the case, then I will be happy to retract my post.

            ETA: That’s not to say that the issue was not raised and discussed with her attorney re: the EC lawsuit. Even if JL/JF did not immediately disclose it, I suspect that an experienced attorney such as MR would have asked certain questions upon taking the case.

          • Just-a-Reader, I’m sure she knows how discovery works. That’s a pretty basic legal concept.

          • Carrie,

            Discovery as a ‘concept’ may be ‘basic’ for those who are lucky enough to remember relevant bits from CivPro. But for non-litigators, especially those more than a few years out of law school, the technical aspects and scope of discovery as a procedure are a different matter. For some bizarre reason, I still remember the phrase ‘rule against perpetuity’ but have long forgotten its import other than it relates to real property.

            Still, I’m not in complete disagreement with you. As I noted in my ETA, even if JL/JF did not comprehend overall impact at first (for whatever reasons), I would think that her then-unknown author status became a front-burner issue fairly quickly. In which event, it became a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’.

        • I personally donated money to that fundraiser and regret it now.

          • I personally donated money to the fundraiser and don’t regret it now.

            When I donated, I knew that Jane was a lawyer. That she ran a successful blog. I never believed for one minute that she didn’t have the resources to defend it on her own.

            I just felt that she shouldn’t have to. That Tina Engler is full of crap and was trying to chill speech, which would have a definingly terrible effect on the free and open discussion of books and publishing. I put my money where my mouth is, and I couldn’t be happier to have done it.

          • @Christine: Different strokes then, because lots of people feel the same way I do. Had Jane’s situation been fully disclosed I would not have donated. You live your values and I’ll live mine.

      • Tell you what. When you’re skewered on the internet by a large review site with wide reach across the genre readership, where your livelihood is affected as the troops are rallied behind said reviewer, then you get to decide whether anyone’s clutching their pearls or not.

        Until then? You don’t get to decide how people who *have* been affected should react.

    • Actually, writers pseudonymously reviewing books by people in the same genre used to be very common in the UK newspapers. It was seen as a fairer way to provide reviews, because readers wouldn’t be overly impressed or unimpressed by the reviewer’s background; and the reviewer could speak freely.

      It was equally common for writers to do book reviews under their own names. For example, Dorothy L. Sayers was a book reviewer of mystery novels.

  10. Much ado about nothing. Disclaimer: This is the only place on the net where I am Patricia Sierra (my real name), except for very brief participation on three other book-related sites. On Twitter and Facebook, I become one of my pen names. As an introvert, I find it more comfortable to be a product of my imagination. So sue me.

    • Ashe Elton Parker

      I’m my pen name all over the net. I’m more comfortable with Ashe Elton Parker being “out there” than I would feel with my real name, especially given that I can be more honest about myself (as a trans person) under my pen name than I would ever feel while using my real name.

      But I do nearly everything online under Ashe Elton Parker (aside from some personal things which must be tied to my personal life and another pen name tied to a non-fantasy genre I wish to keep as separate as possible from my main writing, which is under AEP). My site/blog, comments on sites like this, comments on the comics I follow are all under Ashe Elton Parker. If I were to start reviewing books on my site (something I’m considering at this time), I would use my pen name for that purpose as well, and probably post the reviews to my main site. I’m even Ashe on the writers’ website I hang out on every day. Ashe Elton Parker is my public (online) persona, and I would rather be known by it than by my real name online.

      • I am also my pen name all over the internet. The real me doesn’t do Social media or anything else.

        Again, I think people are missing the point or being willfully ignorant.

        What Jane/Jen did was unethical and a conflict of interest because she is influential.

        As a lawyer, she should know that better than anybody else. If she is so unethical as a writer, now I wonder how ethical she is as a lawyer.

        That is why people disclose anything that might be considered a conflict of interest- so that people can make an informed choice while having all of the information, not just some information.

  11. Don’t altogether follow this. I think it’s about a writer also reviewing people’s books. I never review. I think that can backfire. So maybe the anonymity thing is so people cannot get back at her? It would be better if she refrained altogether from giving bad reviews.
    What’s Dear Author?

  12. Registering on ebay as a second account and then using that account to bid on your own items is shilling, and will get you banned from the site.

  13. Actually, the more I think about it the more I find it fascinating that Jane, who is Jennifer in real life, has been faking that she’s writer “Jen” and no one knew it. Think about it. She used her real name as her pen name. That’s HUGE. And they bought and paid for her books!! That crooked little hood pulled off a really good one this time. And it’s hard to fault Jane/Jennifer/Jen for being that smart.

    But I wouldn’t play poker with her 🙂

    • I’m not sure “smart” is what it takes to employ deceptive practices.

      Am I smart if I use an abbreviation of my real name when I create a sock puppet account to tout my books? Am I smart when I use it to dis authors I dislike?

      I can think of a lot of words that better fit that behavior than, “smart.”

      • And how ‘smart’ was this strategy once it was revealed? How many readers, accumulated over years, will never return to DA because Jen/Jane broke their trust? Both names are tainted now and internet-wise they’ll keep that stain forever.

        • I agree with you both 100%. I meant that to be more sarcastic than serious.

        • To be honest I think more authors and other bloggers are upset by this than us plain old readers. And most authors get their panties in a twist anytime Jane Litte says or does anything anyway so..

          • I’m not so sure. I think the true victims are the readers, unfortunately, whether they realize it or not. You know, most bloggers and authors really do take the time to keep it real and disclose everything. They make a point of doing this because they have integrity and they truly do love and respect their readers. That’s very important to bloggers and writers. No writer with any sense of decency ever thinks of a reader as “only a reader.”

          • I’m ‘just’ a reader and I think Jane is a lying liar mcliarpants. And yes, that definitely upsets me.

  14. Jane Litte/Jen Frederick and any other name she goes by is a hypocrite. She has carried herself as this defender of the industry, calling out authors and demanding they “prove” who they are or else… Yet she has done the very same thing. I don’t believe she has kept anything separate. I don’t know that I agree with the lawsuit, but I can say she wouldn’t be the kind of blogger or author I support.

    Plenty of authors right under multiple pen names without telling anyone. If they use any of those entities as a platform to run a commentary of the validity of others’ work or conduct, then they should be prepared for the backlash when it turns out they done the same thing they repeatedly and publicly castigate others for.

    Where is Jane’s mea culpa? It certainly wasn’t in her DA post.

    • Plenty of authors right under multiple pen names without telling anyone. If they use any of those entities as a platform to run a commentary of the validity of others’ work or conduct, then they should be prepared for the backlash when it turns out they done the same thing they repeatedly and publicly castigate others for.

      This is the crux of the matter, in my opinion. I honestly don’t understand why some aren’t able to see the totally effed up wrongness about this situation.

      People, it’s not about using pen names, or making up false bios for said names.

      It’s about setting yourself up as the arbiter of all that is right and holy in the book world (at least the romance part of it), and then using that position to push your own work while you take a high horse against other authors.

      It’s not about an author tweeting using their pen name — unless you’re doing it to diss other authors or their work, to benefit yourself.

      It’s not about an author reviewing books on their blog/site — unless you’re using the platform to tear down other authors so your work looks better.

  15. Once upon a time, way back when I was in college I had to take an ethics class as part of my major. What Jane/Jen did violates what I was taught pretty severely. I’m pretty sure that as a lawyer, Jane/Jen had to take a similar class. She had to have known better.

    Jane in her Dear author hat, as well as her Dear Author groupies have no problem going after Authors on twitter and other social media. She has her friends but a number of authors do not like her. This goes beyond ‘she gave me a bad review.’ This is why, IMHO, she kept her pen name secret. If other authors new that Jen Frederick was Jane Litte then she would not have been invited to private groups and mailing lists, where amongst other things, they felt free to discuss how they disliked Dear Author.

    That’s why so many people feel betrayed now. And before you decide I’m a tinfoil hat wearing nutter about Jane, think about why so many people feel they need to post anonymously if they say anything critical about her.

    • Just a small thing, the ethics class we take isn’t a philosophy class so much as going over the rules of practice a lawyer must follow in order to not be sanctioned by the bar. In some schools it might be different.

      There is a clear distinction in legal practice between ethics (group rules) and morals (society’s rules).

      I’ll not comment on what she did here, but if I did it would be with a head shake and a tone of disappointment.

    • It’s not only that they wouldn’t have welcomed Jane Litte/JenF., they also would have been a lot less generous with their help and support for newbie-writer Jen F.

  16. If Jane had disclosed from the beginning, the STGRB crowd would have torpedoed her with fake bad reviews and drive-by one stars. They’d have down-voted her good reviews and boosted the bad ones. They’ve done it before to others, and they’ve had an ax to grind against her for a while.

    I sympathize with the anonymous writer who posted that, and I’m sorry that she felt she couldn’t say it without being harassed. I do think she was a little naive not to realize that there are many reviewers (and editors, agents and artists) who write under pen names and who are on those loops/groups.

    • Oh, she would have become a victim of her own tactics. Now I see. That makes it all okay.

      • I was just thinking that. Jane/Jenn’s group are just as guilty of that tactic. That could be why she kept her infamous blogger identity a secret and vice-versa, but then again, she would know.

      • Writing critical reviews is not the same thing, even if they make authors uncomfortable. She has done some things I don’t agree with–the Twitter book bashing thing, for one–but if she’s engaged in any of the other things I’ve mentioned (fake bad reviews, one stars, down votes), please link to show your proof.

        • I don’t have to show proof of anything. I’m not going to waste my time trying to track down links on a profile that was booted off a site for being a bully. By her own admission she goes after authors. J.S. Cooper ringing any bells for you? I’m sure since she was smart enough to cover her tracks as an “unknown” author for years, she didn’t do all of her dirty work in the light of day.

          • What she did to J.S. Cooper was wrong–indefensible, even. It makes my blood pressure rise just thinking about it. But if anything, it shows that she’s fine with publicly and directly calling people out, rather than going behind their backs to attack them with bogus reviews.

    • As far as I know, the STGRB “crowd” is fighting against that kind of behavior. I think you may have misinterpreted something here. The STGRB crowd may or may not have called Jane out on the ethics behind this, but I highly doubt they would have hit her with bad reviews and ratings. I think that’s an important fact to point out. So many have been led to believe STGRB is something they aren’t. And if you had been following what they’ve been doing, with a few really well known authors, you would know that. I don’t blame you for not knowing this. The rumors that have been spread take on lives of their own. To date, I have never heard of STGRB giving bad reviews or bad fake ratings to anyone. That’s the entire point behind that web site: to fight against that behavior.

      As for Jane/Jen and reviews, she has thousands of good reviews on GR and Amazon. Which is more than unusual for a brand new indie author.

      • I have followed STGRB from the beginning, and they’re not the white-knight group you’re making them out to be.

        On Jane’s DA post, she says that she made a list of 200+ bloggers and reviewers and pitched the book to them. She also had Jessica Clare promoting her. If she’d used her name and contacts to get those reviews, her identity would have come out a lot sooner.

    • You’re right, they would have. Every author she’s ever written a snarky, negative review about would’ve come out of the woodwork to bash her books (well, at least those so inclined would).

      I can definitely see the reason why she’d have kept her pen name private, even when joining those “loops”. “Hi, my real name is Jane Litte” probably wouldn’t have gotten her into many of those groups, because there would be members in them who’d received “snarky” negative reviews from DA.

      • anon because sure

        They haven’t so far…So that theory is kind of shot.

        In fact, I wrote a review of her book that was positive. Much to my disappointment, I really enjoyed it.

        • If say, STGRB had known when she first released, and blasted the news, they would have.

          Now, “Jen” has a big fan base and a lot of positive reviews. Plus, if what’s being alleged is true, Jane is smoothing ruffled feathers by offering DA promo opportunities.

          One person gets the nerve to hit her titles, others will follow.

  17. Pen names are part of the business, and I have no issues with anyone using one. I know the real names behind some, and never tell anyone.

    I thought that was a “rule” for writers: Only the author outs their own pen names.

    However, I do see why the anonymous OP is upset. While she may not have received a bad DA review, she may well have sympathized with those that did.

    I’ve never been reviewed by DA, but I have read some of the reviews over there, and well, they can be rather mean. I can see why authors who get them would vent in what they believed to be a “safe place”, and understand how they feel now, knowing that Jane saw their venting.

    Yeah, I’m seeing a conflict of interest here on Jane’s part.

    Something else bothers me: I think this little disclosure may have been in order before now. As in, while asking for donations to fight the EC suit.

    Let me add, I know that suit’s an important one, and I know that legal issues can be super expensive.

    But how many people who don’t necessarily care for the DA site donated, who may not have if this was known before?

    That’s kind of a “false pretenses” thing, isn’t it?

    • I don’t begrudge her success with either the review blog or as an author. Neither personally affects me, so why should I?

    • I think this little disclosure may have been in order before now. As in, while asking for donations to fight the EC suit.

      I may have missed something — why is the suit relevant to the disclosure timing? I’ve been assuming that the best earliest time would have been once she started penning her books. At the latest it should have been whenever it was that she joined the writer groups. Would it have made a difference with the suit if people had known she was a writer?

      • Her pen name was about to be outed in the suit discovery. So one might infer that one of the reasons she wanted to have a war chest to fight the suit was to keep this tidbit from leaking out. I have no doubt she’ll say it isn’t relevant, but if you’re soliciting money so you can battle partially to keep your dirty laundry from being aired, isn’t that also a conflict when soliciting money to carry on the battle, and not disclosing what you’re fighting for? Put another way, let’s say you find her practices deceptive now that all is known, but you also contributed to her cause. How would you then feel, knowing you’d paid to help perpetuate a practice you disagree with?

        That’s why deception isn’t good, in a nutshell.

      • From the Dear Author/Jane Litte Defense Fund: “Jane will need financial assistance.”

        She’s a successful attorney AND a successful author, who was given over $54k by others for her legal defense.

        She disclosed the fact that she’s an author ONLY because of the suit.

        She had to know she’d be under scrutiny, and that her pen name would be discovered, and eventually outed. Why wait until absolutely forced to?

        Because it’s highly likely some of those who donated wouldn’t have, such as possibly, those who don’t care for DA’s “mean girl” method of reviewing.

        As the poster below points out, Dear Author is a very influential review blog in the romance community.

        • She disclosed the fact that she’s an author ONLY because of the suit.

          Ah-ha. So she would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids!

          I still think she should have disclosed sooner than that, but now I get why the suit mattered in this instance.

        • I donated – and wouldn’t have if I’d had this information.

      • Further wrinkle: Frederick notes that she started writing November 2012. The whole suit is based on a post she wrote about EC in September 2014.

        Seems she was already publishing at that point (Amazon lists Undeclared as published May 2013).

        Doesn’t that make Frederick a competitor in the marketplace? Competing in arguably the same genres as EC publishes/d in (I have no idea if they still do).

        As influential as Dear Author is, that seems like it would be very problematic. Especially since in that original post Frederick didn’t disclaim that she was a competitor.

        • I opined when the disclosure thing came out that there was something being fished for by EC. Maybe this was it? Having all this blow up in Jane/Jen’s face will diminish her in the community, and may have an effect on the lawsuit, for reasons you stated.

          DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on any venue, and I haven’t stayed at any Holiday Inn in decades.

  18. as a long time reader and follower of Jane, DA, and SBTB, I kind of feel like most of the people blowing this off or saying, ‘good for her!’ have little concept of how much influence DA has in the romance book community.

    I’m glad someone came out and said what undoubtedly many are thinking. And it speaks volumes that most of the criticism is well-thought but anon. if I were an author I’d be scared to speak out, too.

    Ironic, considering how the book review community is so insistent about a separation of reviews from authors.

    This is so not cool.

    • I don’t know about “the book review community is so insistent about a separation of reviews from authors,” unless it’s in an area I’m not aware of. Authors routinely review other writers’ work. At the end, the reviewer is identified as such, including the title of the book.

      So the issue here is not that she wrote books under a pen name. The issue is that she used the pen name to go into places where she would not be welcome otherwise. She represented herself under false pretenses. And because she runs an influential book reviewing site, it could affect what books she chose to review and how.

      Even if she was certain that after reading Author Annie slam her for a bad review, that she could read and praise Author Annie’s new book, we don’t know that for certain.

      What we do know is that she had no ethical problems with infiltrating these loops under an assumed name.

      • I think Ryu meant the “authors should stay out of reviewers’ spaces” part, where a lot of the “Badly Behaving Author” drama has come from.

      • But it’s ethical for reporters to go undercover, isn’t it? So as a blogger, can’t she go under journalist rules if she wants?

        One of the whole points of the Internet is that it’s okay to have pseudonyms for various hats, and one of the whole points of being a writer of novels is that you don’t have to use your real name. I’m not really seeing this as upsetting.

        • Well, how about participating in soliciting money without disclosing that she’s not a broke blogger defending herself from the big blue meanie, she’s a trad pubbed bestselling author with a movie deal? Is that also cool with you? Bet it isn’t with many who contributed and aren’t any of the above.

          • Guess I'll be Anon Too

            Except she never represented herself as a “broke blogger.” You made that up.

          • I think anyone who thought Jane was a “broke blogger” either had no idea who she was or didn’t bother reading up on the EC v DA case. It was pretty well known that Jane is a lawyer and therefore far from “broke blogger.”

            I think people are forgetting that this lawsuit is so much more than just about a publisher going after a blogger. It’s about a publisher not paying their authors and trying to silence anyone who spoke up.

            Many people didn’t like Jane when they donated. But they did so anyways, not for Jane, but for what that lawsuit representated. The Romance community banded together to help fight an unjust publisher trying to chill free speech. Let’s not forget that very important part in all this.

  19. For better or worse, the internet is the playground of the anonymous. Th very idea of a ‘real’ name on the internet is a farce. I always found it funny that a site ‘required’ you sign in to comment – the old ‘no anonymous posts rule’.

    If I say my name is Joe Blow, the site, the admins and all the posters are taking my word for it. I could be Barack Obama posting here as Ed Ryan and no one would know it.

    How many site shave you or I been on that ‘require’ registration and threaten to delete anon comments and have a bunch of registered users names HarryPotter21, Skizzle and ChuckNorrisRulz??

    Way to hold a guy’s feet to the fire.

    I can see the points folks are making about someone engaged in reviewing authors as a business joining their social groups under false pretense. But let’s be honest, do you really know who the people behind the names are anywhere on the internet?

    I can tell you I’m a young, beautiful blond girl from Texas and would love your phone number. Am I lying? Are you sure?

    For the record, I’m actually a middle aged guy who really needs slow down on the Oreos…

    • Wow, just wow …

      If the NSA (if they really had it) dropped ‘the bomb’ and posted for every blog and comment who had really sent what and when to whom, I wonder how many pots and kettles we’d be comparing …

      .

      (and you seem to have stolen MY ID! As I too hide in TX, on the wrong side of 50 and eat more than I exercise off! 😛 )

      • ** I too hide in TX, on the wrong side of 50 and eat more than I exercise off! 😛 )**

        Ah yes, but when the zombies come and society dissolves, food will be scarce and we will have reserves to make it through!!

        Or run slower and be eaten first by said zombies….

        • Ah, but Texans are known the world over to be ‘gun nuts’ (I saw it on the interwebs!) so we won’t have to fear no dumb slow zombies …

          (Zombies attacking would be good in fact, I don’t get nearly enough target practice … 😉 )

          .

          “Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.” -Isaac Asimov

  20. Yes. This. All of this. Well said/written.

  21. I 100% agree with everything this author said. Well stated.

    It hasn’t affected me, since I’m not big into my romance pen name yet. The private author loops where I hang out aren’t likely to attract anybody whose main focus is the romance genre. But if I belonged to a larger, romance-heavy loop, I can imagine I’d feel exactly the way this author feels.

    I’m 100% for reviews, even snarky reviews on a blog like DA. I’m 100% for readers/reviewers also being writers, and holding both ventures separate (as separate as you CAN hold them.) But the ethical thing to do would have been for Jen Frederick to avoid the private author loops altogether. How can she separate what her author-self sees there from what her reviewer-self feels and communicates on her review blog?

    • Not sure of what to think of all of this, I Control-F ‘libbie’ for some much needed insight.

    • We had a discussion last year on an author group (secret/private) where there were authors who were also reviewers and also agents. They were upfront. One agent/author even offered to leave the group if it made the others uncomfortable. The key being: they were UP FRONT. However, I did add a comment to the group that with hundreds of members, there may be stealth members who were not disclosing, and every person should think twice about what they state and how.

      No matter the group, caution is in order. There is likely always a stealth member. If you don’t want it widely known, don’t say it in a large group. Period. Vent in email to pals.

    • We had a discussion last year on an author group (secret/private) where there were authors who were also reviewers and also agents. They were upfront. One agent/author even offered to leave the group if it made the others uncomfortable. The key being: they were UP FRONT. However, I did add a comment to the group that with hundreds of members, there may be stealth members who were not disclosing, and every person should think twice about what they state and how.

      No matter the group, caution is in order. There is likely always a stealth member. If you don’t want it widely known, don’t say it in a large group. Period. Vent in email to pals.

    • This.

  22. People are so quick to cite sour grapes.

    But look, there are ethical problems here. It’s not about someone achieving success with a pen name. If you extrapolated that from the post, you are missing the point. So I’ll list the issues as I see them:

    1) Lack of transparency and disclosure:
    There was a podcast where Jane (and Sarah) interviewed Jill Myles / Jessica Clare. Jen Frederick was discussed / promoted at length with no mention that the co-author is also present. Furthermore, and MORE troubling, this information was NOT revealed before the fundraiser took place. The community should have been advised that Jane had access to resources / monies as Jen Frederick. People in strapped circumstances may have chosen NOT to donate if they’d known Jane/Jen was doing so well financially.

    2) Who is watching the watchdog?
    Jane has built her platform around demanding ethical behavior from authors. She denounces sock-puppeting (as any reasonable person would) and shames authors for bad behavior / poor promotional practices. However there a number of inconsistencies in her claims that Jen Frederick in no way benefited from Dear Author promotion. Yet her own ethical shortcomings are denied and swept under the rug.

    3)Catfishing
    There are a number of authors who were friendly/helpful/cooperative with Jen who would not have assisted Jane. If you create an online persona and hide a previous identity, conceal the fact that you’ve interacted before, it is deceptive at best. It’s also a an ethical violation. Authors must behave a certain way in public, but in private loops, we can vent. This amounts to infiltration and now authors need to worry about retaliation. This is also why nobody is speaking up under their own names.

    • Yes, you highlighted what troubles me as well. It’s a shame that JL/JF continued to straddle the fence beyond the time when identifiable conflicts of interests arose.

  23. People are so quick to cite sour grapes.

    But look, there are ethical problems here. It’s not about someone achieving success with a pen name. If you extrapolated that from the post, you are missing the point. So I’ll list the issues as I see them:

    1) Lack of transparency and disclosure:
    There was a podcast where Jane (and Sarah) interviewed Jill Myles / Jessica Clare. Jen Frederick was discussed / promoted at length with no mention that the co-author is also present. Furthermore, and MORE troubling, this information was NOT revealed before the fundraiser took place. The community should have been advised that Jane had access to resources / monies as Jen Frederick. People in strapped circumstances may have chosen NOT to donate if they’d known Jane/Jen was doing so well financially.

    2) Who is watching the watchdog?
    Jane has built her platform around demanding ethical behavior from authors. She denounces sock-puppeting (as any reasonable person would) and shames authors for bad behavior / poor promotional practices. However there a number of inconsistencies in her claims that Jen Frederick in no way benefited from Dear Author promotion. Yet her own ethical shortcomings are denied and swept under the rug.

    3)Catfishing
    There are a number of authors who were friendly/helpful/cooperative with Jen who would not have assisted Jane. If you create an online persona and hide a previous identity, conceal the fact that you’ve interacted before, it is deceptive at best. It’s also a an ethical violation. Authors must behave a certain way in public, but in private loops, we can vent. This amounts to infiltration and now authors need to worry about retaliation. This is also why nobody is speaking up under their own names.

  24. Something I’ve been chewing on as an author who is part of private loops like the ones mentioned in the OP, Jane is a journalist. If authors are sharing information about their publisher or editor or a negotiation or any other aspects of the business, is what we’re saying off the record? Does she cull those loops for information to make a case for an article she’s writing or are the complaints aired in “private” a catalyst for writing one? I would feel bad for her if she could;t enjoy the camaraderie and many benefits of author discussion loops, but at the same time, her being there changes the entire dynamic. I’m sorry, it just does. Like having your mom at your bachelor party.

  25. The issue here isn’t the pen name. The biggest issue to me is that yes, Jenn Fredericks was in several private author groups where she knew that had many of those authors knew she was Jane Litte, the tone and level at which they shared would have been significantly lower.

    This also leads to Jenn Fredericks friending authors on Facebook who she has very publicly roasted, like this anon author says, wagging her finger and many times going back for more (i.e. harassment). Jenn Fredericks has friended authors who have Jane Litte blocked. What was the agenda there? Spying? The glee of knowing she was getting one over on authors she knew wanted nothing to do with her? What about authors who might have supported Jenn Fredericks books, and spoken to Jenn on Facebooks as friends, and were even involved in box sets with her, all the while Jane Litte was on Twitter making fun of their writing, behavior, etc? These are all things authors are discussing behind the curtain, so although it may seem that the overall feedback is positive, no one is hearing the negative side because no one is saying it out loud. If Jane Litte/Jenn Fredericks was so ethical, I don’t think speaking out would be so feared by so many.

    • *Snake In The Grass* definition..A treacherous person, especially one who feigns friendship.

      Sound familiar. Anyone??

    • thank you for saying this. It needs to be said and heard. Widely.

  26. A couple of other thoughts. How is this not going to adversely affect her side of the EC lawsuit? Jane turns out to be a successful romance author and owner/writer of a blog that reported some pretty harsh findings about a (potentially/technically competing) romance publisher. Regardless of facts, there’s a huge conflict of interest there.

    Also, I find it a little laughable, the, “I did it without connections, just my friendship with another very successful and welll known romance author who has at least nine pen names herself,” and only all of the knowledge and info she’s amassed over the years of DA.

    The more I think and read about it, the more it looks like a massive screw-up on her part.

    • The thing is, truth is an absolute defense against defamation accusations. Even if you believe what she did was a conflict of interest (I’m still debating it, myself), it doesn’t change the fact that her blog post was materially true.

      • I agree with Carrie on the lawsuit. What Jane said was materially true and truth is an absolute defense against defamation accusations, whether or not Jane is also an author. There have been questionable things going down at EC for awhile, reported by many other blogs and by Publishers Weekly. In fact, much of what Jane wrote was in the public record already.

        The possible infringements on the First Amendment are troubling in this case and have the possibility of creating legal precedents. Regardless of any conflict of interest issues, Jane didn’t make this stuff up. She simply brought it into the light.

      • Good to know (I’m not up on law so my question was legitimate curiosity). I guess it comes down, then, to actually proving that what she posted was true. Which, if I recall, will require EC authors to willingly come forward and vouch for her, outing themselves in the process. I hope this doesn’t affect that.

  27. So under duress, Jane admitted that she’s Jen and used her post to give a halo-topped “I worked SO hard to avoid issues” roundup of events. However her post fails to mention the ways she DIDN’T avoid issues.

    As far as I’m concerned, she’s STILL lying by omission.

    – As the OP said, she didn’t disclose that she sockpuppeted her way into closed author groups.

    – She didn’t disclose that she was then privy to conversations she wouldn’t have been invited to otherwise.

    – She didn’t disclose that a HUGE part of the reason she kept her pen name secret even after her JK Rowling-style “experiment” of seeing what she could do as a pen name completed was to AVOID the negative aspects of her Jane Litte persona. Jane is disliked and outright hated by many authors because of the attacking she’s spearheaded on her substantial blog platform, and for that non-insignificant percentage of authors, the Jane Litte name would taint her efforts to fit into the author world. Instead, she tried to have it both ways. After she’d completed her “what can I do with no name?” experiment, she had NO reason to keep the secret except her selfish reasons.

    – She outright lied about how well she kept her books separate from her blog. Her books were featured on Daily Deals, her pen name showed up in important posts about their DABWABA contest, etc. She didn’t admit to any of this in her “come clean” post.

    – She didn’t remind her blog readers that she pushed the New Adult genre on her blog and actively called for the EXTINCTION of competing genres (like historical romance) right when she starting selling New Adult.

    – She didn’t point out to her blog readers that those posts must be read in a new light now, as she essentially created much of the buzz surrounding New Adult through her DA blog, and when taken together with her trashing of other genres, must now be seen as self-serving and not simply an innocent opinion.

    – She didn’t mention in her post the fact that she reviewed books by her publisher without disclosing “hey, these people pay me.”

    In short, she mentioned all the “good” things she did to keep her personas separate but didn’t mention what she FAILED to do. Is that a lie of omission? Or is she really that clueless to see the conflicts of interest?

    Anyone familiar with Jane knows she’s not clueless. Therefore she lied and is CONTINUING to lie.

    Plus, one of her major soapboxes has been that she thinks there’s a power disparity between authors and book/review bloggers. She’s stated that authors have all the power and that reviewers are powerless.

    She’s used that attitude to justify using the very real power of her blog (one of the biggest romance-centric blogs with a huge readership) to attack authors for stepping out of line. She’s acted like the police force of the romance community.

    She actively uses her blog’s power to attack authors because of her rationalization that as DA is one of the only truly powerful book blogs, she’s in a unique position to go up against “those horrible authors” and therefore has a responsibility to do so.

    Now we find out that she not only has the power of her blog’s platform, but also the power of being one of those “all-powerful” authors (and with several contracts and a movie deal in the works, she IS more powerful than most authors), and no one feels comfortable speaking out against her. She’s now DOUBLED her power.

    The only people I’ve seen publicly speak out against her for this are other book bloggers. Authors know she has them over a barrel in two ways now and can’t risk saying anything.

    And because of how much she’s LED the power imbalance discussions, she KNOWS about this issue better than anyone, and yet she hasn’t addressed it at all. Another lie of omission?

    If any other author/reviewer had done this, she would publicly rake them over the coals on her blog, and her attack dogs would berate the author on social media. I’ve watched that happen numerous times.

    Honestly, I don’t know Jane and only peripherally read DA, so I don’t have a personal vendetta against her. I haven’t published, so she’s never even had the chance to reject me, my books, etc.

    However, I do see these issues, and I do see the need for someone to point them out and raise the red flag. So here you go. 🙂

    • All great points. I continue to be baffled. I can’t help but think that Jane Litte would have a hayday with Jenn Fredericks … if they weren’t the same person.

  28. I have to wonder to if this will have any effect on the EC lawsuit. Before DA could say basically ‘I just call them as I see them, I don’t have a dog in this fight.’ but that is no longer true. Jane/Jen publishes though ECs competitors, one of whom, Amazon, Tin Engler has called out as a direct reason for ECs problems (not that I believe her).

    Could EC now make the argument that the DA article about ECs woes was at the behest of Amazon in return for some kind of quid-pro-quo that benefited Jane/Jen’s Montlake books?

    • Jane/Jen publishes though ECs competitors, one of whom, Amazon,

      But it’s more than that, though. Frederick is a competitor of EC. We don’t even really need to bring Amazon into it.

      At the very least that post must have violated some journalistic code of ethics or other.

      I also wonder — she mentions quite a lot of author commentary/info in it; how much of that came from her participation in author groups she wouldn’t have been able to be part of had the other members of the group known who she actually was.

      • The stuff I’ve read regarding EC’s bad accounting practices predates 2014 and even 2012 by a longshot (although maybe DA didn’t post anything before then–too lazy to look). And the DA stuff focused on bringing to light the fact that some authors weren’t getting paid. Not as competitors for business, but as advocates for other authors. Does her status as an author (in a different genre) change that?

        • Athena, she used her influential blog to tout her own work, without disclosing that the reason it was touting it was because it was her own work. That’s deception in its purest form. Now, you can argue that the deception was warranted, because of X, Y, and Z, but it’s deception.

          She also solicited money to defend a lawsuit that she knew would reveal her dirty little secret, and didn’t disclose that about her solicitation, either.

          I completely understand that people lie and deceive to get what they want. And those doing so often have rationalizations for why it was necessary, especially when caught.

          That doesn’t make it okay.

        • I think her status as a publisher and an EC competitor changes the context, yes. Of course EC’s bad accounting predates even 2012, but I just think it’s ethically problematic that Frederick didn’t disclose she’s a publisher when she wrote about EC. Also, when she and her co-author praised her during the podcast.

          Heck, her status as a publisher changes the context of literally every single book she reviewed — positively or negatively — since she started publishing her books. Every author whose book she’s panned on the site — they’re her competition.

          Mind you, I’m not sure there was an easy solution, but as far as was bent to disclaim this post makes Frederick’s action seem even more problematic:

          http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/review-slave-to-sensation/

          And no, Frederick didn’t review her own books on the site (the podcast seems overboard, though), but Dear Author seems to have regular featured them, and as I mention above, one of the site’s authors highlighted one of Frederick’s books as a best of last year. Not sure how Frederick could have gotten around that without outing herself, but I’m not sure we have to come up with solutions, only call out a problematic situation as such.

          And is it a different genre? It appears Frederick writes romance, as EC does. I confess I don’t know the romance genre well enough to parse, but looking at her books versus EC’s, they look like they’re the same or similar genre to me.

          • I’m not in the thrilled camp when it comes to this disclosure. But New Adult romance is a very different genre than erotica. Readership really doesn’t overlap much. It’s almost as big a gap as say, science fiction vs historical. Are there people who read both? Sure. But it’s not very common.

    • Tina Engler from Ellora's Cave

      I can’t comment on most of this right now, but Jeff, why do you not believe me? Is it because of anything factual or because you’ve heard so much gossip that you just assume it has to be true? I’m genuinely interested in your answer.

      • I don’t think anyone should respond to this considering that Ms. Engler has proven willing to sue people for defamation based on similar posts.

      • Seriously? You’re coming here and asking this question? You, who have not once in your entire brouhaha behaved with any sort of credibility? Dignity? Responsibility?

        You’re really going to do this now?

      • Since you asked, my lack of belief that Amazon caused ECs troubles is due to my own read on the situation. I have no facts being working for neither Amazon or EC. But I can see an explosive growth of erotic titles and along with a drop in prices, resulting in pricing EC books out of the market.

        To me, this seems an adequate explanation for the decrease in EC sales. I just don’t see any motive for Amazon to specifically target EC, hence my lack of belief they are behind ECs troubles.

        • EC has also been (and again, this is 100% from absolute observation) slow to respond to trends, and the current market is very fast-moving and trend-based.

        • I’m not defending Tina Engler. HAve no dog in that fight. But what she says about Amazon is true. Once the Zon began pushing its own imprints and its KDP authors, everything changed for small and medium-sized publishers, who have a fraction of the power that protects the big houses. Algorithms changed. Our books were shoved down in the search engine. Promotions for one of my press’s titles had put each book of the author at No. 1 on Kindle. Suddenly she could only make the top ten — with nothing but Amazon imprints above her in the rankings. Promotional features (which are guaranteed to publishers in their contracts) became harder to get, and the churn knocked books out of the top rankings the moment the promotion ended (unlike in the past.) This didn’t happen because our books were priced too high. It happened because Amazon is, in my opinion, actively trying to harm and eventually destroy small publishers. The more authors it can drive into KDP, the better for Amazon. Engler may have mismanaged her company–I have no clue — but Amazon definitely damaged her business starting around 2012. It happened to the rest of us, too.

          • “Once the Zon began pushing its own imprints and its KDP authors, everything changed for small and medium-sized publishers, who have a fraction of the power that protects the big houses.”

            If you listened to the ‘big houses’, you’d find they didn’t have any ‘fraction of the power’ they thought they had over Amazon either.

            What many fail to realize is the ‘books’ of any type are really small potatoes to Amazon, whose only real interest in them is to ‘sell’ them to eager buyers. The big five and apple tried to gain some little bit of control over how Amazon does things — and we all saw how well that worked …

            Yes, Amazon has opened their own little publishing corner, but that’s not the two main things that are eating the small, medium (and large) publishers for lunch. It’s the fact that ‘hype’ doesn’t work on the Zon machine, if a book isn’t really one of the top ten sellers at Amazon it won’t be found in the ‘top ten’ at Amazon, and the list can be updated hourly if they so desire. The second thing is Amazon leveled the entire playing field for books and ebooks. As in being a big publisher doesn’t mean you automatically get to put your books in the front window — your book has to ‘earn’ that spot, and any small, medium or self publisher has the same chance — if their book is ‘good enough’.

            And that last bit is the most harmful to your small, medium and large publishers, the fact that talented (and yeah, talentless) writers can sell a book on Amazon without a publisher having any say in the manner; and if they do manage to sell a book, they get a bigger chunk of the buyers’ money — and not six months after the sale and all the ‘special bookkeeping’ that some publishers have been accused of.

            Amazon is a machine, it’s primary purpose is to connect a buyer and a seller and collect a small commission for doing so to the satisfaction of both. Blaming Amazon for ruining it for the old way publishers is like complaining how slowly you have to drive on a rutted old dirt road when there’s a non-toll ten lane expressway right next to you. (Though having seen some of the publisher websites, they won’t be going any faster on the old super-slab … 😉 )

            Thanks to Amazon, everyone has a ticket to ride that train — if they only dare!

            .

            “Somewhere between the ages of eleven and fifteen, the average child begins to suffer from an atrophy, the paralysis of curiosity and the suspension of the power to observe. The trouble I should judge to lie with the schools.” — Thomas Edison

          • Zon is not in business to improve the business of small or large presses. They are in the business of keeping their customers happy and making money. The algorithmic changes affect self-pubbers, too, and even some in KDP and KU. So, it’s not that they are targeting small presses or indies or whatever. They fiddle to make their business bigger and customers happier. As a customer, they make me very happy.

            I don’t see how this is much different than a bookstore designing their space to showcase very few and most languish on shelves. Publishers pay to get prime spots and what sells most (ie, brings the bookstore more money) gets key placement and discounts and signs and etc. No place that sells books is totally egalitarian. They do what they do to sell and earn. How is this a surprise?

            If someone doesn’t like Amazon’s practices: create a better store or find a better way to reach readers without Zon. (Eventually, someone(s) will. They’ll make $$ as long as it serves customers.) Amazon isn’t anyone’s friend. They are a business. We hear all the time of publishers abuses of authors. Well, I guess Amazon does things that feel abusive to self-pubbers, smalll presses, large houses. Because their focus is on themselves. Not on Jane Doe Small Press. Or John Smith Indie Author. Or Megamega Huge House.

            And publishing has undergone changes and will undergo changes. If a particular way of doing publishing doesn’t work, it may need to adapt or die. And if an author finds they can make more on KDP than with a small press, then they should go with KDP. If they make more with a small press, they should go with them. In other words, authors needs to see where they can make more money and get more readers, not do what has been done for decades. Whether it’s lizards, humans, or publishers: adapt or wither and die.

  29. I find the anonymous author disingenuous. How can she write:

    “And it makes me feel…squitchy. Catfished. Sock-puppeted. Hoodwinked, to be honest. And I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I did what I do. I wrote about it. I’m sorry it’s not the popular thing to say, but it needed to be said.”

    When she immediately follows with this:

    “I’m not angry, and I don’t wish Jane ill will. I hope she comes out the other side of this happy and successful, both as a person and as an author.”

    That sounds angry to me. Plus it makes me feel “squitchy” to realize that her commentary is being made anonymously.

    • I agree – if you want to say anything about anyone, or review books etc at least have the courage of your convictions and do so openly and honestly. Reveal all conflicts of interest etc

      Both DA and this blogger need to understand that.

      It’s that thing about being able to say what you are saying to someone’s face. If we all followed that saying in the blogging and reviewing world I’m pretty sure a lot of things wouldn’t be said. Or maybe they would….

      • the power differential here makes what you’re saying patently incorrect. If we compare this to a government, Jane is a high ranking politician in the romance world. She holds unbelievable amounts of power and can incite any number of reactions from kudos and huzzahs for an author or publisher, to creating a genre-wide dialogue about issues in the industry, to working up an outraged mob who will eviscerate those she feels have done wrong, to raising tens of thousands of dollars to fund her legal team. The people who choose to not name themselves here are not pretending to BE someone else. They’re just choosing not to say who they are, and they almost certainly do not hold the power that Jane holds.

        • Both Jane and her pal Sarah Wendell (Smart Bitches) will gleefully gut an author and invite their fangirls to pile on. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly.

          • Could you or someone else offer a couple links? I’m not saying it’s not so, btw. (I’ve heard enough to believe there has been brutal snark.) I just want to see an example.

    • Bothered and disturbed and feeling like someone hoodwinked you is not the same as angry. Having often felt both, I know they are not identical feelings, though for some people they go hand in hand.

      I think she wants to be completely separated from Jane/Jen and both of them to be happy in their very, very, very separate ways. Wanting to have nothing to do with a person is not the same as wishing them ill.

  30. As an author we are told never to review other author books as it can be construed as a conflict of interest. I used to like to review, after all I am a reader and purchaser too, and I did so under my own name, but soon realized the problems that this entails. It looks petty, it looks like I’m dissing other writers etc When really all I’m giving is my opinion. But I agree, an author should not give bad reviews – good yes. If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all. As I review under my writing name, it was full disclosure though. Unlike here…

    How is it then that someone who has a far bigger following and influence than I, can be an author and still review other authors without disclosing that fact. It can lead to trouble. Here’s an example: A while ago I gave a book a 1 star review and then got threatened with the publishers very large street team that they would trounce my books if I didn’t take it down. The publisher was also an author but not the author of this book.

    I took it down and now never review a book I can’t give 4 or 5 stars to.

    • And there you go: That’s why I don’t review often, and if I do, it’s only books I really, really enjoyed.

    • There was no ‘right’ way for Jane to go with this situation BECAUSE of the whole basis of her blog: Reviewers leaving honest public opinions about the romances they read. Not sugarcoating everything.

      DA(and SBTB) allow their book-cranky into reviews and that’s probably why people value their opinions. That’s certainly why I read their blogs and give weight to their reviews, and it’s also why I’d be happy to be reviewed at either site: because it would be coming from a place of honesty and I want opinions that to help me improve my craft.

      But for those who don’t know: This is still pretty unique within Romanceland(where I reside). The romance community generally tries to be supportive of one another, but it can get taken to extreme and there was a time(not terribly long ago) when leaving a review anything short of rainbows and kittens for ANY romance was the equivalent of slathering yourself in chum and jumping into the shark tank. People got(get) ticked. Honesty in reviews didn’t matter as much as being nice and sweet to everyone. DA and SB aimed for honesty, even when that meant critical (or possibly hilariously snarky) reviews.

      But there’s a pervasive belief within the community that if you leave a negative review about romance books–Any. Romance. Book—then you’re doing a disservice to the whole genre. We(readers of/writers of romance) already get enough slamming from people who paint the whole genre with some 1970s bodice-ripper stereotype that basically amounts to: If you write/read romance, you write/read trash. So people are primed to defend—they jump hard and they jump fast.

      Jane had been reviewing without that sugar-coated-filter for ages before she was published. And she absolutely has people who hate her for it. In fact, there was a very high-profile author who squealed gleefully on Twitter the day she found out that EC had filed the defamation suit. Author admitted not knowing what the whole thing was about, but she was just glad that someone had filed a suit against DA. Jane had a legit reason to keep her pen name secret.

      When I review as Amalie Berlin, even as a nobody within the genre, I keep two things in mind:
      1) The above mentioned fallout from any who have an axe to grind.
      2) That maybe my words of praise or grump might have an itsy bit more weight as an author than as a reader… and if it’s negative, I don’t want to be the cause of someone’s writing life becoming harder. It’s hard enough. If I feel compelled to leave a negative review for a book, I don’t do it as Amalie.

      I have the luxury of not leaving negative reviews under my name within the community, but Jane didn’t have that luxury because of the nature of her blog.

      There was no easy choice for Jane, it looks to me that she just tried to navigate some scary waters the best way she could. Doing all the things that authors do(like joining loops) seems like a natural extension to me.

      Should she have stayed in the loop after seeing posts about DA? Probably not.

      Did she even read every post in the loop? I don’t know but I doubt it. I certainly don’t. I delete without reading more than I read because loops can get overwhelming to me.

      Unless there’s some hard evidence showing that something went up on a loop she was on and then DA called out the hounds on that author in some fashion, I can’t be moved to make this molehill into a mountain.

      Finally, open advice to anyone: Never vent in any kind of open forum. This is why it’s good to cultivate personal friendships where you know phone numbers and email addresses—safe places to have a small moan & wallow when you need it(and we all need it sometimes).

      • You’re correct, that there was “no right way” for Jane to don an author hat, due to DA.

        However, that is a “hole” she dug herself into, thus, all of what’s been said since her disclosure should’ve been expected, due to her/DA’s stance on transparency and disclosure. Basically, the waters wouldn’t have been nearly as “scary”, if she hadn’t chummed them for years via her DA activity.

        There’s not a dang thing wrong with her deciding to write and publish, or to use a pen name to do so.

        What was wrong was doing so without disclosing it until forced to, via the lawsuit. I read several posts and comments last night, from other bloggers/readers, and more than a few aren’t happy with how Jane handled this situation.

        They feel betrayed, that DA wasn’t “by readers, for readers” after all, and that Jane’s proven herself to be a hypocrite, after setting herself up as the readers’ “watch dog” against authors.

        And their feelings are perfectly valid, as are those of the authors who’ve realized they were in author-only spaces with “Jen” who is actually Jane from DA, big influential, snarky reviewer/author watch dog.

        I congratulate Jane, and anyone else, who can make a success of blogging, and/or writing fiction. Neither is easy to accomplish.

        I can’t remember if I donated to the fund or not, but if I did, I consider it money well spent, for a good cause. I *think* I did, but ain’t gonna swear to it.

        The only reason I mentioned that Jane should’ve disclosed that she was also a successful author prior to Sarah setting the Gofundme up, is because I knew the failure to would really tick off some people who’d donated.

        And it has. News like this, coming after you’ve given money for something, will ALWAYS tick off some people.

        • Correct way for Jane to don an author hat could be to announce on the DA that she has just published the book, but withhold the information about her pen name until she was ready to share it, and also staying away from writer groups would help too.

  31. I agree that the poster sounds like she felt fooled but I don’t equate feeling fooled is the same as being angry and wishing someone ill-will. I don’t feel angry at Jane either. I don’t even know her. But the whole thing does make me very uncomfortable. *shrug* And the fact that the post is anon. makes perfect sense to me. There is no question that the author would get blowback for this in a major way, as would commenters who agreed with it (which is why there are so many anon. here as well. Not worth it.)

    Just my .02

  32. Reading some of the more pointed anonymous comments above, I have to wonder how many of them are coming from the EC side of suit against Dear Author.

    There have been a number of poisonous personae engaging behind the cloak of anonymity in EC’s defense on Facebook and Twitter since EC brought suit against DA. Seems very likely their ire would be directed to fan the flames here at TPV as well. If they are not TPV regulars, I have to wonder about motivation behind demurring to use even recognizable screen names.

    • not hardly a blip on the radar

      Because as Jane, she didn’t engage in the same poisonous personae slaughter when she wasn’t admitting to being Jen, right?

      Go back to Jane and hold her hand, dear. She needs the support right now. All these big poopyheads who have an axe to grind have things to discuss.

    • The reason I’m not using my usual moniker is because I don’t want to be boiled alive by her supporters, and my book(s) one starred into the ground. Simple.

      For the record, I’ve never been reviewed by DA. And I don’t follow them much. But I do smell something funny, and get my back up when I see patently deceptive practices being defended as somehow okay.

      They aren’t okay.

    • I can assure you that I know many authors who supported Jane’s legal fund against EC who are definitely not okay with what Jane has done here.

    • I think EC has behaved in a deplorable way, and I also think that DA has behaved unethically. Just because two unethical actors despise each other does not mean you need to support one side or the other.

    • Na, EC and friends would never do that! (and it would be nice if we knew which ones are normally here and which ones just came to gate crash this party. 😉 )

      .

      A truly powerful and truly intelligent conspiracy will never be exposed or suspected.

    • Tina Engler from Ellora's Cave

      Almost nothing has been mentioned here about EC, and what little that has been was neutral at best. Labeling the anonymous posters EC sympathizers when very few even talked about any correlation to EC is seeing what you want to see rather than what is.

    • The anonymous comments here probably have nothing to do with EC–nobody is even mentioning EC, certainly not to defend them. EC has behaved deplorably and I hope Jane succeeds in her defense against their suit.

      That being said, Jane has behaved unethically. In particular, joining private author groups as Jen when she never would have been welcomed as Jane was inappropriate. Jane has campaigned relentlessly for authors to stay out of reviewers’ spaces, and I’ve agreed with her that reviews are for readers and not for authors. But private author groups are not for one of the most prominent reviewers in romance, then.

      She says she kept the identities entirely separate, but I don’t see how that’s possible. Can you skewer someone’s work in a very public review as Jane one day while chatting them up in a private conversation as Jen the next? It’s no surprise some people feel upset or betrayed.

      As to why I’m anon, it’s because I don’t want to take a hatchet to my writing career. I assume other people have the same reasons.

  33. I think what I’m enjoying most is seeing the wool fall from many of Jane’s admirers’ eyes as her true colors are revealed.

  34. What she did was indeed unethical. I can see why some of the loop participants feel as if they were taken advantage of.

    If she’d wanted to do things completely ethically, she would have recused herself from her review blog the minute she decided to publish. Reviewing competitors’ books on your own popular review site in the way that she did is not much better than giving them middling reviews on Amazon without disclosing in the review that you also write in the same genre (whether you’re hoping to damage their sales or not).

    Barring complete withdrawal from reviewing competitive works, she should have been 100% honest about the fact that she was going to put books out there as an author, so that anyone visiting her site understood that she had her own pony in the race, so to speak.

    That said, this is yet another object lesson in why it doesn’t pay to be too open on the internet, especially on loops and listservs. You never know who is behind that user name.

  35. I have been reading Dear Author for a very long time. I agree with everything that Anonymous “So under duress, Jane admitted that she’s Jen and used her post to give a halo-topped “I worked SO hard to avoid issues” roundup of events. However her post fails to mention the ways she DIDN’T avoid issues”
    I just wanted to point out this one because there are many. Anon pointed out all the reasons I have issues with how things transpired. I am not a blogger nor am I an author. I find everything about this situation disgusting. This is a site a truly trusted.
    Looking back when the tone changed over there makes sense now. I am not into New Adult so I wasn’t swayed over to reading all the 100’s of NA that was pimped over there. I am really sad that no one blogger on that site with the exception of one can be trusted. The amount of deceit is too numerous.
    Readers of that blog were manipulated whether they want to wrap that around their brains or not. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice and I’m the idiot. For that reason I won’t be reading DA anymore nor will I bother with Smart Bitches Trashy Books as well. Talk about abusing the readers that follow, read, and purchase the daily deals that make that site a lot of money!

    • I have been skimming much of DA recently because I didn’t get the New Adult focus. Now it makes a lot more sense.

      I am wondering which DA blogger you think can be trusted.

      • What is “New Adult” anyway?

        • New Adult is about ages 18 – 25, older than YA, and with a lot more sexual content, though the sexual content is not obligatory, as far as I know. It can cross genres otherwise: it is not specifically a romance sub-genre.

          (I gleaned the above from Wikipedia and other sources, though it agrees with my vague impression of the genre.)

      • Willaful. She left Dear Author when this came to light.

  36. I’m in one of those anonymous super-secret groups. I got a bad review on DA a couple of months ago. Railed about it. Authors share, a lot. I know almost everyone writes with a pseudonym. Some have a super-secret-pen-name for erotica or dino porn or whatever, but I’ve met a LOT of these people in person. Most I know their real names. This stinks to high heaven. I’ll be asking the group owners to remove her. The chill is too great.

  37. There have been filmmakers and screenwriters who started out as movie reviewers. What’s the big deal?

    Nothing.

    • Clearly, a casual skimming of the story and the subsequent comments. That’s nothing like this situation.

    • Not the point at all. The issue isn’t that she can’t review and write or transition from one to the other. The issue here is disclosure.

    • Maybe you should read the post again.

      This is not about reviewing and becoming an author.

      It’s about deceptive practices.

      I’ve never been reviewed by DA either, so no sour grapes here.

    • This is Roger Ebert going into a screenwriter’s forum as a fellow screenwriter and pretending he’s not Roger Ebert. In this forum, some of the screenwriters mention they don’t like his reviews, and that of his co-reviewers, Siskel and That Other Guy. They may also happen to like someone Ebert considers an archrival.

      Later the screenwriters find out that Ebert has been pretending to be “one of us,” but in fact has the ability to tell all of America [well, the portion that reads movie reviews] that their movies are crappy — even if the movies aren’t crappy.

      If no one cared that Ebert made a movie while still reviewing movies, it’s probably because he never attempted the masquerade scenario.

      • It’s also Roger Ebert becoming a producer, creating and distributing movies, and then continuing to:

        1) Promote his own movies via his own influential site without revealing that they’re his movies, and

        2) Negatively review other filmmakers’ movies without noting that they are his competitors in the marketplace.

        I couldn’t care much less about private authors groups, but the business stuff seems hugely problematic.

        (Tangent/Fun fact: Ebert was, in fact, a screenwriter. His illustrious work includes Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. #totallynotmakingthisup )

        • It was a fun fact! I thought he’d written a screenplay, I didn’t know it was that one. And I checked on IMDB — it seems he did most of those things either before becoming a big time reviewer, or in full disclosure after. So, good business ethics from Ebert that Jane/Jen could learn from.

  38. I feel like the negative response in the comments is disproportionate to the violation. I read that blog semi-regularly, and I think it would be a stretch to say the blog “promoted” Jen Fredericks. Maybe I’m naive, but I also find it credible that book reviewers can fairly review books of authors they find personally objectionable. Kind of like you can recognize genius in the music of Richard Wagner while condemning his anti-Semitic views. I would agree that it’s wrong that Jane/Jen used her pseudonym to gain access to author loops that would have denied entry otherwise. But seriously, people are worked up about the “real” identity of someone they have only known on the internet?!! I feel like I have time-traveled back to the era when Fabio was on all the romance book covers!

    • I would agree that it’s wrong that Jane/Jen used her pseudonym to gain access to author loops that would have denied entry otherwise.

      That’s the part I think the original poster was so bothered by and it’s the part I’m bothered by.

    • Yeah, the outrage over this is 100% because of Jen/Jane’s use of a pseudonym to access places where authors were discussing author stuff–including the fact that she trashed them on DA–in a place they thought was relatively safe. And the fact that when some authors blocked contact with Jane Litte, she initiated and maintained contact with those same people as Jen Fredericks. Presumably, since she was blocked, she understood that those people didn’t want anything to do with her.

      • I agree that’s the upsetting part, Libbie.

      • This is the only part that upsets me. I don’t care if authors review or reviewers turn to writing. If it’s their honest opinions, they have a right to them. But to enter groups under a pen name, knowing members would NOT feel safe venting about DA reviews and also friending those who blocked her other identity: Bad Jane.

        I don’t see clear delineations in the social media age. People wear many hats and you have to let them. I don’t care that she didn’t admit a pen name while reviewing. If she had given herself 5-stars, then I”d holler. I dont’ even care that folks talk about her pen name (positive or negative) in a podcast where she’s present. So what? As long as she wasn’t praising her pseudonymous writer self and dragging out self-promotion, meh. Just letting them talk and remaining silent–so what?

        A good rule: Don’t say something about writer in public that you would not say to that writer’s face: period. If you would not tell the author that in person, then don’t say it in public. Then you don’t have to deal with the fact that you were unknowingly telling the author herself that she has the talent of an illiterate brain-damaged babboon.

        Jane’s gonna have to deal with the fallout. And she should be tossed out of those author groups, imo. I’ll still read the DA reviews of interest, which means sporadically, but I suspect she’s gonna be losing a few readers.

        I’d advise any author to be careful what he or she says in author groups. Internet spaces full of a bunch of folks you only know online that includes those using pen names, many of whom just lurk, are not and never will be utterly safe. Can’t really know who is reading your comments. To assume it’s all safe is kinda naive. Even after Jane/Jen is gone, another Janus may be hanging around. Or a dozen.

  39. I first found the DA blog when there were those hugely entertaining posts by a male British author reading romance, and giving his honest reactions about them. Then there was some kind of kerfuffle about some potential conflict of interest of this guy (I don’t remember the actual details) and he was dropped, quite suddenly, by DA. I was so annoyed at the holier-than-thou attitude of DA, and the loss of my favourite contributor, that at the time I came close to deleting the blog from my favourites.

    A while later I mentioned my own book series in one of those “DA for writers” threads on the DA blog. I don’t know if it was coincidence, but shortly afterwards I found someone had left negative one-line reviews on all books of the long series. This person, very active on Goodreads, apparently writes up to three mostly negative but sometimes gushing reviews daily, year-in, year-out. I learned my lesson, and since then stay far away from DA with my pen name.

    I agree with those who see impropriety and unethical behaviour in Jane’s conduct here. Like others, I would be a lot more understanding if Jane herself had not been so hypocritically strict herself. Now she’ll have to be measured with the same yardstick, and I doubt she will like it.

    • That wasn’t DA. That was SBTB.

      • No, it *was* DA, and the reviewer/author was Alexis Hall, who was my absolute favorite DA reviewer too. And it should be noted that Alexis never hid from her or anyone that he wrote romance; she was clearly aware of any potential conflict of interest when she hired him. Jane also banned any reviews of an entire publishing house’s books for an entire year because one of her reviewers left DA to take a job with that publisher. And she was quite open about the fact that she’d done it to avoid a potential conflict of interest–lest, I suppose, an old friend of the reviewer end up reviewing one of that house’s books that the ex-reviewer may or may not have worked on in some capacity. And I can understand that choice made by a person who believes themselves an ethical paragon (because even though the odds of a conflict there are incredibly slim, even one small iota of potential ethical conflict has always been presented as too much for Jane), but given what she’s done here, the hypocrisy is astounding.

        Jane had a MUCH stronger conflict of interest than the ones above, and muddied the waters significantly by not disclosing.

        And therein lies the most serious issue for an awful lot of people who are upset over this–that she positioned herself as the ultimate in ethics police, to the extent that even incredibly minor PERCEPTIONS of a conflict of interests (rather than an actual conflict) were enough for her to set her dogs on people, and then she went on to commit a significantly more egregious ethics breach.

  40. I agree. I remember how DA handled similar situation with AJH’s reviews:

    http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/review-slave-to-sensation/

    So, if I can use this as a standard of what Jane/DA think it’s ethical/right, it raises some questions:
    “Because AJH’s book is now published, there have been blurbs provided to him by various authors. In order to maintain fairness and impartiality, I have asked AJH to not post reviews of books by those authors as it would appear too much like quid pro quo. ” – Katy Evans provided blurb/quote for one of JF’s books.
    Waters are muddled.

    • Katy Evans is known to be friendly with Jane Litte. It’s likely Katy knew who she was blurbing for. It’s likely several people knew about Jenn’s other identity, and that she was involved in private author groups without the knowledge of other authors and had friended authors who had previously blocked Jane Litte.

      Muddy waters, indeed.

  41. I’m an author who has no beef with Jane or DA. I’ve been reviewed positively there and I agree with most of what they write on ethical issues. I donated to Jane’s legal defense fund and I’ve defended DA to friends who regard DA with suspicion and dislike.

    This news really dismayed me. Why?

    1. I wouldn’t have contributed to the defense fund had I known. Possibly that’s not rational response, but she has a book deal and movie deal? That would have affected my perception of how much she needed assistance. This is linked to point (2) because:

    2. Jane’s (often unpopular) agenda has been one that is explicitly and aggressively anti-author and pro-reader. I’ve supported that because, even when I think the DA position is too extreme, I’ve felt that there are very few places that put those viewpoints strongly and heaps of places that put the opposite view. Jane has been the outspoken voice of the reader, pointing the finger and taking authors behaving badly to task. She has occupied the moral high ground without flinching,

    And all along she’s author? In a genre she’s strongly promoted over other genres?

    You know what? I don’t actually believe she’s done any of this intentionally or cynically. I suspect she’s done what lots of people would do in the same position: rarionalised it to herself. Convinced herself it’s not a problem. That any benefits she’s received are too incidential to merit mention. That she benefits the community more by continuing to be that big important reader voice than disclosing the truth.

    But the fact is, if you build your whole persona and agenda in the community on ethics and transparency and disclosure and all that stuff we’ve heard her talking about at DA over and over and over?

    You look like a big fake when the truth comes out.

  42. Jane should rename her blog.

    Dear Sock Puppet

    There. Fixed it for you.

    • “Dear Catfish Sock Puppet”

      Even better.

      • What I wonder is, how much Jane used DA’s mailing list to pimp her own books without disclosing that they were hers.

        Might be a TOS violation in there if someone looked close enough.

      • And TE should finally admit she’s Pubnt. That will come out in discovery, too.

      • And TE should finally admit she’s @Pubnt.

    • Or:

      Dear Author Solutions

      … given how much they have in common, ethically.

    • Grow up. It’s comments like this that make me not take a lot of what’s being said here seriously. It does sound like a lot of sour grapes and glee that someone who gave you a bad review did something you can disapprove of. Whether it deserves to be disapproved of is something I haven’t been able to determine since I can read into the agenda of those making most of the accusations when I see comments like these.

      I came here to get an honest opinion about this issue. Instead I find name-calling and grousing. If you want people to credit your opinions, you may want to present them as an adult.

      • It sounds like you’ve got me all figured out, my dear fellow-Anonymite.

        Except for the fact that:

        A) I’ve never been reviewed by this Dear Author blog or this Jane Little reviewer,
        and
        B) I don’t even write Romance

        Nobody cares what you do or don’t “take seriously.” Maybe you should learn how to have an adult conversation before drooling all over the keyboard again.

  43. Double standards irritate me, so my only complaint about this situation is; she should have act in accordance with the same codex that she demands from other authors, because is this kind of no-disclosure really something that DA would have approved?

  44. Why does anyone assume there are only two identities at play here?

  45. What I know is that if I decided to start a reviewing blog, I’d do it under the same name I write, and more than likely, would ONLY review books that I enjoyed. They’d be honest reviews (I’d mention typos, etc.), but they’d only be good reviews.

    Why? Because people would instantly bash me for bad reviews, claiming I only gave them because I’m an author, therefore in competition with other authors.

    Even genre doesn’t really matter, what matters is whether the other authors are more successful than I am, because that’s what would instantly be assumed if I wrote a bad review.

    The flip side is that people would instantly assume I was sucking up, if all I ever wrote were good reviews.

    You really can’t win at the author/reviewer combo.

    I do promote other authors’ books. Some I know, others I don’t, same with the reading. I offer my blog up for guest interviews, etc. I like to help people in any way I can, even if that’s a tiny way.

    All of the above is why I seldom write an actual review. I rate, and leave it at that. If someone really wants my opinion, they can message/email me and ask why I gave a certain book this or that rating. No one has. 🙂

    What Jane did was build a huge following via her shared review blog, and any reviewer who manages that IS going to have some influence on readers, thus, some influence on how the books they review do.

    But that isn’t all she’s done. She has been knee-deep in all of the “Badly Behaving Author” drama, and has castigated BBAs/alleged BBAs for their behavior, including “hiding behind pen names”.

    She has a rather rabid fan base, which includes many authors. That would be why so many here have been posting under “Anonymous” or other nicks. They don’t want to get blasted for stating their honest opinions of the situation.

    I really don’t have a dog in this fight. I’m not an EC author, I’m not a DA follower, nor has DA ever reviewed any of my work.

    On the other hand, I DO admire anyone who can make a success of themselves online, and Jane has certainly done that, twice over now, both with her review site and as an author.

    It’s just, well, there’s this personal responsibility thing. If I start a blog and fill it with “snarky” reviews, then turn around and begin writing, I’d certainly expect to receive some fall out when I published.

    If I decide to use a different name for the writer side, to protect my work from all of those I’d snarked as a reviewer, that’s sensible, yes.

    But it’s still misleading, and I would fully expect people to upset if they discovered the truth.

    Especially if I’d joined in their secret groups and seen them griping about the reviews I’d given them.

    And if I’d been riding the “Transparency Trail” against other authors, I’d totally expect to be reamed from all sides when the truth came out.

  46. Specifically, this is what we’re being told. Obviously, I don’t agree with being told to sit down and shut up like good little children.

    1) I saw a post elsewhere online where someone in the comments section anonymously shared information about something brought up on this loop. Not cool. Naturally, everyone has a right to their own feelings/opinions, and I’d never try to deny you the right to post your thoughts and opinions elsewhere…but this is a closed group, and sharing information you see on here is against the spirit of what we intend this place to be. Without trust, we’re going to lose our meaningful conversations and interactions, because no one will feel comfortable enough to share information that’s vital to so many of us. And those things are what make us so special. Let’s not lose that, okay? I don’t know about you, but I value the connections I’ve made in here and, more importantly, the friendships. So please be thoughtful about what’s mentioned on our loop and don’t bring it up anywhere else.

    2) That said, it seems a good time to reiterate that we ARE online, so you need to be careful about what is posted on here if you think it might be sensitive information. Our group has a lot of members, and we know in the real world that not everyone will respect rules. frown emoticon

    3) If you have questions, comments, concerns that involve our group, you can reach out to me ANY TIME via private message or email. I care about you guys, and I’m doing my best to make sure this is a supportive and nurturing environment. That said, I know it isn’t possible for everyone to be 100% happy with decisions that are made on here. Just know that the mods and I discuss almost everything thoroughly, and we try our best to be fair to everyone. We want this to be a haven, a wonderful resource, and a place to let your hair down and talk real. Please be respectful of us, and of our fellow members.

    • Who’s telling you this and where?

    • This^^^.

      She was kicked out of one. Two are cheering and asking for sympathy. One remains silent. And those are only the groups I’m in. Maybe we’ll sing kumbaya and get good reviews.

      The authors I know who dug out of their own lint filled pockets to help a state worker atty/blogger want their money back.

    • Hi, anonymous. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how you can construe that message as being told to “sit down and shut up like good little children” when item three specifically says that if you have concerns, you can bring it to the owner of the group or the mods at any time. Indeed, feel free to do so — my email is at the top of my website and you can always message me on FB. I look forward to hearing from you. We are very concerned about the needs and comfort of our group members, and that includes their privacy and our privacy. I’m not friends with anyone at Dear Author and prior to yesterday I, like everyone else, was not aware that I’d ever dealt with Jane Litte in her author persona, even though I was in a box set (which is no longer on sale) with Jen Fredericks.

  47. Jane Litte writes regularly about Amazon news but never disclosed she received a contract offer from Montlake (Amazon) or that she sells Jen Frederick novels via Amazon and Audible.com (Amazon.) She has publicly eviscerated authors for what she considers to be their deceptions, including author Kathleen Hale–for tracking down the real identity of a reviewer who harassed her. Her blog takes an anti-author approach to many issues, and her biggest fans routinely use the forum to bash authors. She has used her influence and her relationship with the incendiary Smart Bitches blog–another extremely powerful blogger who routinely and gleefully trashes authors–to promote her own work. She joined author forums without revealing her identity. She commands a fearsome reputation among authors, who are afraid to cross her. She has enormous power in the romance genre. A quick check of her Amazon page shows that she’s published TEN BOOKS SINCE 2013, most showing large numbers of reviews and high rankings. How much did her connections help make that happen? And how many of those connections might not be scrupulous about reviewing the competition badly while reviewing Jen Frederick’s books well? Her disclosure of the Jen Frederick pen name was not voluntary; it came out during proceedings for the lawsuit filed against her by Ellora’s Cave. All of the above adds up to a massive misuse of her standing as a blogger and raises serious questions about her motives and ethics.

  48. Richard Pemberly

    One thing I’ve noticed is that, unlike video games at least no one is threatening her. Good job writers.

  49. Probably because she’s handing out promotional opportunities like cookies. Small world.

  50. Anon/NOT AN EC SYMPATHIZER

    From Jane’s own blog in her own words. So my question is, who was there to do this to her?

    http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/review-slave-to-sensation/

    AJH is not just a muser of books but also a published author. When he first approached me to do guest reviews on Dear Author I was hesitant because I did not want the guest reviews to be a platform for promoting his work. The DA readership did not deserve to be used in that fashion. I was also concerned because of the potential conflicts of interest.

    Because AJH’s book is now published, there have been blurbs provided to him by various authors. In order to maintain fairness and impartiality, I have asked AJH to not post reviews of books by those authors as it would appear too much like quid pro quo. He has agreed to refrain from posting them here although he may post them at another venue.

    There may be a time when AJH’s conflicts are simply too numerous for us to manuever about and at that time, we will likely have to say goodbye to AJH as a reviewer. Please keep in mind that the review list of books AJH has is not set in stone and can, and likely will, change as time goes on and we must accommodate further publishing relationships of this reviewer.

  51. Tina Engler from Ellora's Cave

    Dear not-Jeff,

    You make a lot of accusations, but offer no proof.

  52. I am not a Jane Little fan.
    I read her column enough to decide it wasn’t my cup of tea. I found the “finger-wagging”quality to be a turn-off.

    So I’m not personally upset, nor do I feel betrayed particularly.
    Jane has met my expectations in fact. In my experieince, those who make a habit of finger-wagging and passing judgment on others, especially those who gain power as a result, and have some weight to push around, often end up the ones who are the most guilty of that which they accuse others. (i.e. hypocrits)

    Haven’t you observed this phenomenon?
    Maybe not all the time, but often enough so that I’m not surprised to find Jane Little guilty of the kind of thing she would likely chastise others for–being sneaky and not up front about her role and potential for conflict of interest.

    So if I have little respect for Jane at this point, it doesn’t matter since, as I said, I was never a fan.

    However it appears that she’s squandered a good portion of the respect she had if the response here is any indication.

    Seems like maybe there’s some justice in that.

    Thank you for publishing this interesting commentary PG. As usual, your column is interesting and Good. A fair place to speak up and be heard.

    • I am not a Jane Little fan.
      I read her column enough to decide it wasn’t my cup of tea. I found the “finger-wagging”quality to be a turn-off.

      So I’m not personally upset, nor do I feel betrayed particularly.
      Jane has met my expectations in fact. In my experieince, those who make a habit of finger-wagging and passing judgment on others, especially those who gain power as a result, and have some weight to push around, often end up the ones who are the most guilty of that which they accuse others. (i.e. hypocrits)

      Haven’t you observed this phenomenon?

      This!

    • …those who make a habit of finger-wagging and passing judgment on others…often end up the ones who are the most guilty of that which they accuse others.

      When you point your finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you. 😉

  53. I am a long term reader of DA and SMTB. I have now deleted subscriptions to both blogs and to the joint podcast.

  54. I just wanted to inform everyone here that this goes deeper than what you realize.

    This is NOT A LAWSUIT OF BLOGGER VS PUBLISHER

    This is about PUBLISHER VS PUBLISHER

    Jane’s husband owns Pear Tree LLC. She has begun hiding the evidence.

    As of 3 days ago, her books have had Pear Tree LLC removed. Why? Because her HUSBAND owns the company.

    Fortunately, wayback archives knows all!

    http://web.archive.org/web/20140819110455/http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Kissed-Jen-Frederick-ebook/dp/B00HEL5OZO?

    ^^ This is how this books appeared THEN

    This is now it appears NOW: http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Kissed-Jen-Frederick-ebook/dp/B00HEL5OZO/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

    It is so unbelievably unethical for a publishing company to tear down the books from competitors, which is the case here.

    • Unless Pear Tree is publishing more authors than just Jen Fredrick (which I could not find in my 5 minute google search) that’s just the LLC she created to self publish her books. I doubt she’s the only one where her husband runs the business side while she does the writing.

      There’s plenty of good reasons to ding her, using a LLC to self publish isn’t one.

      • Yes. You’re right, Jeff. As dubious as all this is with Jane/Jen, many indie authors do this and they aren’t actual publishing companies.

        • Then why is she editing her books to remove it?

          Why hide the evidence?

          • Guess I'll be Anon Too

            Maybe she didn’t want her husband’s name dragged into this, which you just did.

            Why did you do that?

            This strikes me as some STGRB-style revenge doxxing.

        • many indie authors do this and they aren’t actual publishing companies.

          All indie authors are independent publishers whose lists include at least their own titles and, further, some indie authors are independent publishers whose lists include more than their own titles.

          So I’m not sure what standard you hold that keeps you thinking indie authors “aren’t actual publishing companies,” but I fear it may be flawed.

          That said, the LLC thing isn’t in itself unethical (really it’s a smart business move, and in terms of advocacy I advocate that all indie authors should form LLCs to publish their work). What seems to be unethical (as I mentioned above) is that Frederick posted to DA a rather damning post about EC without disclaiming that she herself was one of EC’s competitors. And I’m not going to read through DA archives, but I wonder how many negative reviews of her various other competitors Frederick published over the years.

          • You can still see some of the audiobooks and paperbacks with Pear Tree LLC as publisher.

          • Thread on LLCs here — good advice therein for indies, non-sinister reasons for having them for readers:

            http://www.thepassivevoice.com/01/2014/the-first-month-of-publication-a-reckoning/

          • I don’t think you can really call them competitors. Jane/Jen writes NA. EC publishes Erotica. Very different.

          • Lexie –
            EC publishes erotic romance and Jen Frederick writes NA erotic romance. I just read a review on another review site. Not different at all.

          • I think Lexie has posted a bit higher that EC doesn’t publish romance only erotica. That is false they even have a line called Blush I believe that publishes ‘fade to black’ aka non-graphic old school harlequin style romance. Also please see Selena Kitt’s Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed Series, which is New Adult ‘erotica’ New Adult can be erotica this is called a sub-genre.

    • Guess I'll be Anon Too

      Bitter_Irony, I saw you also went crazy with these accusations over at Dear Author.

      People there and here pointed out that self-publishers often have LLCs.

      You need to apologize.

  55. It seems to me yesterday’s Jane Austen quote is quite relevant here.

  56. Thinking this through, how many would have contributed to Jane’s legal fund if she’d framed it like this:

    I’m a traditionally published author in a lucrative genre, with a film deal. I need money to defend a defamation lawsuit against a competitive entity I made claims about on the blog I operate using my secret alias, which also trashes competitive authors and touts my own work, all without disclosure. Please help fund me so I don’t have to deplete some of my plentiful cash.

    You think about it for a while and it starts looking worse and worse. I’m sure that accurate appeal wouldn’t have gotten much traction so way better to frame it as the beleaguered blogger defending herself from the meanie publisher. I’m starting to see a pattern of possible duplicity that’s difficult to argue.

    • I am surprised that everyone thinks being “trad pubbed” in a lucrative genre and having a film deal means she’s rich. Trad pub, some film deals included, are pretty notorious for not making writers rich despite the fact that they should. And legal fees get enormous. So no, I’m not going to judge her cash flow at this point.

      • Jane recently trashed An indie author for using kickstarter to raise 10,000$. The author openly stated she’d use the money to pay her bills during a 3 month writing period so she could complete a book her fans had requested. Jane and her readers gutted that author and decried any author who asked for support that way. At the same time, Jane had 50 grand donated to her legal defense fund –and I was one of the donors. She allowed herself to be portrayed as needy.if I’d known she had ten bestselling books and a movie deal I would not have given $ and I feel sure others would agree. The author she gutted was fixed via satellite pix of authors house, so janes crowd argued the author probably had Lots of money. The author removed her fundraising campaign and slunk away.

        • Guess I'll be Anon Too

          Jane never represented herself as needy, and most of us knew her blog makes good money in advertising and affiliate fees.

          However, I never agreed with the way she tore into that poor author with the kickstarter. That was wrong, not to mention hypocritical given her use of gofundme.

          I hope this helps her understand her power and influence. She needs to understand that when she airs her opinion, she has the power to create mobs.

          Jane was shocked by the way some people threatened the kickstarter author, but she didn’t examine her role in it.

        • I have stated in these comments that I find her hypocrisy disturbing. I just don’t find bestselling novels an indicator of wealth because, historically, it is not.

          • Just to say, some of her best-selling books were self-published (I think at least those she co-wrote with the other author). She likely did/has made pretty decent money from those.

          • Probably, Scath. The comments I read all said trad pubbed NA, so having no bone in that fight, I did no research. I don’t think she’s poor, don’t think she said she was, and don’t really know the size of her author income, just that I’m not going to assume it’s wealth.

        • The kickstarter thing is a lot more complex than how you present it here, for one–including the amount the indie author in question was asking for. A hint: if memory serves, it was several times what the Dear Author defense fund has.

  57. I’m reminded of the saying “power corrupts”. How sad she stooped so low.

  58. Here is the proof that Jane’s Husband owns this company. I posted this on Dear Author’s blog, and it was both deleted and censored (some comments were deleted, others are now censored for doxxing)

    Jane Litte is not even her real name. That is ALSO a pen name, much like her author name.

    Jane’s real name is Jennifer Gerrish Lampe

    Her husband, Douglass Lampe, owns the publishing company known as Pear Tree LLC

    https://sos.iowa.gov/search/business/%28S%28b4mjthz20ty2jyvpkppyrp45%29%29/filings.aspx

    ^^ As you can see, her husband owns this company, and she is more than just a traditionally published author, but she is an author who also owns a legitimate publishing company.

    • Yes. This is the first time I have ever seen anyone mention the way they censor comments on DearAuthor regularly. Jane let’s people think she posts everything, but I’ve personally been censored on her blog in the past and I was only making a civil comment about an important fact. Someone is always censoring comments on that blog 24 hours a day.

    • Guess I'll be Anon Too

      Show me proof that this LLC publishes authors other than Jane.

      SPers with LLCs are fairly common.

      • Who knows what her plans were with that publishing company. According to her blog at one point she never had any desire to be an author.

      • She said on her blog at one point she had no desire to be an author. Who knows what they had planned as a publishing company? I’m sure no one will ever know. I suppose she should be given the benefit of the doubt.

  59. From a reader’s perspective, I don’t see that Jane acted unethically.

    She wrote a blog and reviewed books under a pseudonym, and wrote books under another. The blog *does* have considerable influence in the romance world but I don’t see any evidence that she used that influence to benefit herself or her book sales.

    As to the gofundme effort, I donated not so much to support Jane, as to provide a blogger the opportunity to defend claims of defamation made against her. I am happy to let the court decide the merits of EC’s claims.

    • So you’re saying you think it’s okay to be a book reviewer that hides his/her identity as an author, and then makes defamatory comments about her competition, catfishes other authors to help promote her books, and uses the same sockpuppet mentality she slams everyone else for using? I just want to be clear about that.

      • Yes, I don’t think book reviewers who are also authors are required to disclose that. I don’t think they should “swap” reviews, or promote their own books pretending they are someone other than the author, but I don’t see any evidence she’s done that.

        What defamatory comments?

        How did she “catfish” other authors to promote her own book?

        As far as I know, she didn’t use her Jane Litte persona to promote her books, which is what readers abhor as “sock puppetry”.

        Just to be clear.

        • “but I don’t see any evidence she’s done that.”

          There are links that prove Jane/Jen promoted her own books on DA. There are links that prove Jane/Jen promoted her own books on a podcast with SB. And that’s only what we know so far. But those are valid links and I’m not sure more proof is necessary in this case. How much proof do you need?

          She catfished in groups to other authors who probably wouldn’t have promoted her if they knew her identity.

          Just to be clear. Here’s a link showing she used her Jane Litte personna to promote Jen Frederick.

          http://dearauthor.com/need-a-rec/if-you-like-misc/if-you-like-men-in-uniform-by-guest-melissa-van-dover/

          • Guess I'll be Anon Too

            I can see without clicking on the link that it’s a guest post. The name is right there.

            Is it because the guest used Jane’s WP account?

          • To be fair, she didn’t exactly use her Jane Litte persona to promote Jen Frederick. Guest posters promoted Frederick (and several times, it looks like. Katy highlighted one of Frederick’s books as a best of 2014).

            But if you follow that link, it opens with an introduction to the guest post. And that introduction would have been exactly where Frederick should have noted “Hey, this book Melissa mentions below? It’s mine.”

          • You keep using this word catfish. I do not think the word means what you think it means.

        • I don’t think they should “swap” reviews, or promote their own books pretending they are someone other than the author, but I don’t see any evidence she’s done that.

          One of DearAuthor.com’s writers highlighted one of Frederick’s books as one of the best of 2014. It’s not exactly promoting her own books, but there should have been a disclaimer.

          There should have been a disclaimer on Dear Author the moment it connected with any of Frederick’s books.

          • Someone blogging on DA that they liked a JF book is not the same thing as Jane Litte promoting her own book. If that is the basis for claims that she used DA to promote her books, she “used” it in the most insignificant way possible.

            I can understand authors being upset because she didn’t reveal herself as the blogger who founded DA in online interactions with them, but I don’t think it rises to the level of “unethical” unless she repeated their statements elsewhere. Are we obligated to reveal information online that we know others might want to know but that we’d rather keep private?

          • There should have been a disclaimer on Dear Author the moment it connected with any of Frederick’s books.

          • Ah, but how could they ‘disclaim’ without giving away what they were trying to hide?

            .

            Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. — Shakespeare

          • And then it gets even deeper, which is are we sure that all the guest posters didn’t know of the connection, or even better, aren’t yet more IDs?

    • “From a reader’s perspective, I don’t see that Jane acted unethically”

      As a fellow reader, I do. I trusted DA to provide honest reviews, insight and news, and that trust is gone. Personally, while I have felt increasingly out of touch with the New Adult lovefest, I never for one second imagined that it was due to crass commercial self-interest. Now I do, and frankly, I feel like a fool. This is just one of the reasons. I also feel like I’ve been lied to because her books WERE promoted on her blog and she denied that. The fall-out won’t be limited to her but also to those who were complicit in her duplicity – her fellow bloggers, Jessica Clare, Sarah Wendell, Meljean Brook, who else?

      PS. I am anonymous because it is not only writers being targeted for speaking out. I have seen a blogger, one who has admittedly clashed with Jane frequently in the past, attacked on twitter by fangoons.

      • For what it’s worth I’ve followed DA long enough to see trends come and go. When I first started reading reviews there seemed to be nothing but paranormals. I don’t think the NA focus was about Jane; I think it was about jumping on a new trend as I’ve seen the blog do before. But it’s not surprising that people are linking her own writing with her blog writing on NA.

        I’ve no friendship or acquaintance with anyone at DA except for making a few comments there now and then. But I find the “Jane personally crucified/eviscerated authors and ruined their careers” to be totally overblown. Most DA reviews are barely snarky at all, and stating your strong opinion online does not equate to bullying. Lots of people agreeing or disagreeing with that opinion does also not equate to bullying.

        That said, it seems like there’s an obvious conflict of interest that should have been managed differently, especially given that DA aspired to set standards for everyone, and if I was an author who had a friendship with Jen Frederick and was now discovering that she was Jane Litte, I would feel very odd about that.

        Knowing that Jane is also an author makes me view DA differently, too – less trustfully, less likely to take the blog at it’s word.

        • People have been saying this, but what I’ve seen and also heard from other authors is not soreness over a review. Most authors are mature enough to handle that. Rather it was her twitter persona, which I’ve seen her use to call out authors whom she thought had stepped out of line, or for a tweet she didn’t approve of.

  60. Tina Engler from Ellora's Cave

    Oh I almost forgot… Last thing I have to say is I am not pubnt & I have no idea who is. As the defense’s lawyer has subpoenaed pubnt that will be common knowledge soon enough. In the meantime believe what you choose because in the end I won’t be the one with egg on my face.

    • Guess I'll be Anon Too

      You called various authors, editors, and artists liars when there are pictures on the internet of backdated checks mailed in envelopes that conveniently omit a date in the postmark.

      http://blog.dreneebagby.com/2014/10/proposal-reversions-denied-two-series-die-notchilled/

      You’ll understand if we don’t believe you, especially when the pubnt account stated it will not honor a subpoena and believes it covered its tracks so well it will not be found out.

      • There is no evidence in that link that the checks were backdated.

        The fact that the envelope doesn’t have a date on it is evidence of only one thing: that they use envelopes that don’t have dates on them

        I have yet to see ANY EVIDENCE whatsoever that EC doesn’t pay their authors.

        In fact, the link you sent proves that they do pay their authors by virtue of the fact that there’s a picture of a check.

        Are we supposed to just TRUST that that person’s check came late? Where is the evidence?

        • The evidence is with the court. Pictures were taken.

        • Guess I'll be Anon Too

          In fact, the link you sent proves that they do pay their authors by virtue of the fact that there’s a picture of a check.

          Bitter_Irony, admit you haven’t been paying attention. You have no idea what the DA article said.

          Which would be hilarious if you’re actually Tina as the DA comments are saying.

      • Honestly, what planet do you people come from and what color is the sky?

        Where in any of that mess you just linked do you have even a shred of evidence that was is being stated is true?

        The argument being made here seems to be as follows: You KNOW that EC doesn’t pay its authors properly due to EC’s poor taste in envelope selection.

        That’s basically the gist of what you’re accusing them of.

        If she wanted to prove that her royalties were late, she could have done so very easily. She could have taken a picture of her picking up that envelope (or having her husband whatever) and timestamping it, and also showing the dates of when it was supposed to arrive.

        I’m not going to believe someone’s story just because they promise it’s true.

        • Guess I'll be Anon Too

          Google is your friend. Use it. Also reread what I said. I said “pictures.” There isn’t just one report. There are multiple pictures. Some of the envelopes actually do have a date, which is way ahead of the date on the checks they contain.

          http://bonnievanak.blogspot.com/2014/11/elloras-cave-what-month-is-this.html

          Some of these reports made it to testimony.

          Do you seriously buy Tina’s story that people are lying?

          • I honestly don’t think you’ve ever published a book before. I am not an EC author, nor am I related to EC in any way, and even I can see how foolish this post is.

            Are you aware that B&N, Kobo, and specifically the Kindle, only send payments to publishers 2 months after the sale date?

            So if a book was sold in June, then the publisher would only receive the money for that book on August (actually, tomorrow is Kindle pay date)

            Then, I know from a simple Google search, that EC’s contract states they get up to 3 months per payment based upon when THEY are payed. Thus, they have, contractually, to the end of November (in that case) to dispense royalty checks.

            Honestly, this is the problem here. We’ve got people who know literally nothing about the publishing world making claims they can’t substantiate.

        • A proper name you chose for this event! 😉

          Since you thought you needed to point out the ‘envelopes’, let me add what I recall from DA’s issues with them …

          When EC’s writers were getting paid, it was months late with post-dated checks — or so the claim went.

          Where the ‘envelope’ comes into play is the postage paying system EC uses should automatically add the date it was made — and the USPS won’t mail a letter if that date is more than a couple days ‘old’. As the date is added be default, EC must have disabled that function on their little stamper — so you couldn’t tell when it was made/mailed.

          So, Bitter_Irony, you wouldn’t mind the checks from your employer always being ‘lost in the mail’ (or so your boss claims — but maybe they just haven’t bothered to cut you a check yet) for months at a time, would you?

          .

          Women are always anxious to urge bachelors to matrimony; is it from charity, or revenge? — Gustave Vapereau

        • Bitter Irony, I have personally received a check from EC that was dated weeks before it was mailed. Are you going to call me a liar? Do you think the dozens of authors and editors this has happened to are making it up for…what? What possible reason? Do we gain anything at all for saying it? No. The only thing we’ve gained is a whole lot of misery and the continual threat of being sued or dragged into court for daring to speak up.

          This has nothing to do with “how publishing works.” If you believe that most financially sound businesses regularly date a check and then wait weeks or even months before giving it to their contractor or employee, you are either naive or ignorant. Or blinded by your own personal agenda.

          • Guess I'll be Anon Too

            IKR? Why cut a check and then mail it a month later?

            Today is November 4, 2014.

            The check is dated September 30, 2014.

            The Ellora’s Cave check was mailed October 31, 2014.

            The royalty STATEMENT is for books sold June 2014.

          • Hypothetical answer:
            Well, one reason a publisher might do this is to stay within those contractual ranges. If the sale is June, then the publisher has to cut the check by X months if the contract requires it. So, they write the check and let it sit or write a check late and backdate it so it fits the contract terms, but the author may not actually get it until weeks or months later than the date officially on the check.

            I assume this is a good reason to take photos of the checks and the envelopes and log the date received. If a check is dated a month+ from when it was cut, that’s weird. It doesn’t take that long for even the snailest snail mail to get it to a US address. (Maybe all authors should band to require electronic payment. If it’s due within 2 or 3 or 4 months of a sale, it’s pretty easy to have a bank statement showing if the deposit was done in a timely, contractually mandated manner.)

          • Mir, I was an editor. Why hold on to an editor’s check for weeks or months after cutting it?

          • No reason at all. An editor’s job is DONE and is not dependent on sales. That check should cut and go out, no excuses. I somehow doubt the publishing office/accounting staff would put up with not getting paid for months. Ahem.

          • Guess I'll be Anon Too

            Specifically about editors. From Julie Naughton’s testimony:

            with a check dated August 22, 2014 but with a Cleveland, Ohio postmark of October 2, 2014, which was received in Hoboken, New Jersey, where I live, on October 8, 2014. I took an iPhone video of myself showing the date on my computer, the postmark on the envelope opening the envelope and drawing out the pre-dated check as proof of this statement on October 8, 2014.

            Source: http://www.courtneymilan.com/ecda/exhibite.

            Bitter Irony should pay particular attention to the iphone footage of the envelope opening. Didn’t BI ask for that?

  61. I completely disagree with people being afraid of Jane’s power. That’s laughable. They are professional and intelligent enough not to engage internet trolls.

    • You don’t always have to engage with trolls for some of them to decide to come after you.

      It’s the “look for a reason to be offended” phenomenon: Sometimes trolls engage with you, whether you’re aware of it or not, because they were looking for something to get their knickers in a twist over.

  62. The private forum that JenSFred and I are both on requires a personal vouch, and neither she nor her vouch, who is almost certainly Jessica Clare and who had to have known who she was dealing with due to that podcast, have been kicked out yet. #notchilled

  63. Only the special snowflakes get to be both, didn’t you know.

  64. Don’t confuse those who see her as a joke as someone with power. she has none. Most authors/bloggers are smart enough not to engage in her obvious traps. I’ve never seen someone so thirsty for attention in my life. I hope she’s happy with it. It’s a shame it didn’t bring her more success than those she tried to destroy.

  65. I suspect that Jane probably realises, with the benefit of hindsight, that to have advised her status change from reviewer and blogger to reviewer,blogger and author earlier would have been wiser. No doubt she was caught between the need to be candid about any perceived conflict of interest wearing her Jane Litte hat and her wish for her books to be evaluated fairly when she was wearing her Jen Fredericks hat without any of the vitriol her DA persona could attract from people who felt they had been unfairly treated by the DA site. I am disappointed to read in the posts above that many of the sites are connected to public relation firms or some other entity in the publishing world. As a reader, not an author, i read reviews on DA, SBTB, AAR to help me sort through the mass of books out there to find out about books from authors I don’t know about but might enjoy. Like most people I have budgets in both dollars to spend on books and time to read so I want to spend both money and time for maximum reading pleasure. I am disappointed to find that I need to now research (where I’m not sure) whether my favourite review sites have vested economic interests and are using their power to advantage particular authors or publishing companies or giving space to/ignoring arguments for and against traditional publishing Vs self-publishing or discussion about business practices eg ebook royalties paid to authors, reversionary rights in author contracts, prices of books, especially ebooks etc. I have relied on these sites and others like Courtney Milan’s, Passive Voice, J.A. Konrath’s to keep me up to date on issues like EC Vs DA, Harlequin royalties, pricing of ebooks discussion, Amazon Vs Big5 etc. Now the silence on some sites about issues such as high price of ebooks from traditional publishing is explained. It occurs to me that if the sites came clean on any real or perceived conflict of interest I can make an informed decision on whether I believe they are really pro reader and whether I read that blog or their reviews, and if I do read them I know the name of the dog they have in the fight (to mix metaphors). Similarly if I was a reviewer who aspires to authorship and joined one of those author link thingies it would probably be best to declare upfront I was a reviewer as well as an author and, should I be accepted into the group, not use any of my real/perceived power as a reviewer or knowledge gained as a member of the group against any of my fellow group members. In other words if I couldn’t give their book a positive review don’t review it at all, and, where appropriate, make sure their books were mentioned in any list of daily deals, I.e. support my fellow group members. My understanding is that the author links are a group of authors who support each other through sharing business experience, a safe place to rant etc. Original Anonymous aka Anonymous Prime, did DA ever treat you unfairly in the period after Jen Fredericks joined the group?

    • Original Anonymous aka Anonymous Prime, did DA ever treat you unfairly in the period after Jen Fredericks joined the group?~~

      That’s a good question.

  66. I’m another who has no dog in the fight. DA has never reviewed me and I have never worked for EC. I think what Jane Litte/Jen Frederick has done is slimy and unethical. I don’t care that she has a pen name or wrote books anonymously. I care that she is a hypocrite. That she has repeatedly and vigorously gone after authors like a dog with a bone, screeching about ethics and transparency, while she was a vile offender herself. She used her connections to promote herself, tore down her competition and was deceitful and dishonest in how she presented herself and her situation.

    If an author had done what Jane has done – if an author used a pseudonym to gain access to reviewer hangout/loops, Jane would have eviscerated them. She knows better. I know she knows better because she repeatedly says on her blog that she does. She’s recognized in the past when a conflict of interest could have existed and took steps to remove it. But she didn’t do that here because she didn’t want to taint her own career, as she has now inevitably done despite her insistence to the contrary that she was super-ethical and did nothing wrong.

    It’s enough to make me want to jump on the hypocrite bandwagon and go over to Goodreads and Amazon and leave her a string of one-star reviews (as she so often had her minions do to others) just to see if she likes it.

  67. Can we just go on record here as agreeing (among PVers, not drive-bys) that this is NOT about Ellora’s Cave?

    • Indeed.

    • Yes, agreed. EC is a whole other kettle of fish.

      One of the scenarios I find objectionable is Jane trashes a book or author on DA and then possibly (probably?) chatting and commiserating with the same author in a private loop under another name.

      Another scenario – mentioned earlier today on TPV – is Jane using private author loop conversations as fodder for her DA personality’s blog posts? Does she harvest information while in her Jen-mode on private loops and then exploit it on DA in her Jane-mode?

      One can easily imagine feeling exploited or violated if they had confided something to Jen about how they were poorly treated by Jane. What an awful thing that would be to experience.

      It’s unfortunate that those who comment on DA find their words deleted or edited to keep the commentary unchallenging.

      To recap: it’s not about EC. Among other issues (soliciting the money for the lawsuit), it’s about deception and a creepy private ogleing (under one persona) of the pain one has publicly caused anther person to go through (under a different persona).

    • Yep!

    • Agreed. Thank you.

    • Co-signed.

    • :nods:

    • Yes.

  68. Kim K’s butt didn’t break the internet (Darn!) but I think Passive Guy just might with this post.

  69. My name and my work have only been mentioned briefly a very small number of times on the DA site over the years, as far as I know, and not in a negative capacity. But that’s not my disclosure.

    The way I first became aware of DA some years ago was when friend of mine (a writer) one day reTweeted a link to an interesting media article about publishing… and consequently, DA (which apparently didn’t like the article) blogged about her and attacked her for that. This led to -days- of reply posts on the DA blog insulting and criticizing my friend, speculating nastily about her, vowing not to read her books, etc. All because she had reTweeted a link to a media article about the publishing biz.

    First impressions count for a lot and are hard to change. Although I keep seeing DA described here (and elsewhere) as a “review blog,” and although I thought Litte’s expose of EC was/is important and merited–and still merits–support… My disclosure is that I have always thought of DA as primarily a hate-blog that attracts attention by attacking authors. That was my first impression of it; and as someone who does not follow DA, that is the capacity in which I have most often heard it discussed among writers ever since then.

    So I do indeed think Litte’s non-disclosure of her true/complete identity when entering private writer groups as an author is an obvious conflict of interest and ethical misstep. Her identity as Jane Litte and DA owner/publisher created a persona which would indeed NOT be warmly welcomed in a “one of us” way among a variety of writers and writing communities.

    That’s the fate she chose when she established a blog like DA, a choice which includes consequences–such as, a number of writers dislike her, mistrust her, and don’t want her around–least of all in their private member-only communities.

    Every choice carries consequences–but Litte appears to have decided that lying about her identity was preferable to accepting the consequences of the choices she had already made. And now that the truth has been exposed, she’s facing the consequences of her deceit.

    It is entirely possible, after all, to be a novelist WITHOUT belonging to such communities. (Or at least without belonging to the ones that decide they don’t want to include Litte/DA in their ranks.) Lying (including lying only by omission) to get into them and be accepted among those writers was also a choice–one that, as someone else noted above, damages whatever credibility and respect Little may have had even among people who disliked her DA persona but who nonetheless recognized that she took some important public positions (such as the EC matter).

    I don’t follow DA or Litte’s activities, but reading this blog and the 100+ comments, it also seems that there are a number of other ethical lines crossed by concealing her writing identity while maintaining her Litte/DA persona–one which, I agree with someone else’s description above, is often perceived as anti-writer.

    • Indeed, if you look at all this and ponder it a bit, she appears to have taken on the pen name not just to write, but because she didn’t want to BE Jane Litte. It’s… sad.

    • Agreed. DA is commonly known amid writers as a hate blog, and as Jane Litte, Jen has taken to Twitter to lead attacks on authors for questionable reasons. For those authors to wake up to the news this morning, and then to see Jen in their friends list (when they know they haven’t added her) after blocking Jane? That goes beyond ethics. That’s predatory behavior.

    • It is entirely possible, after all, to be a novelist WITHOUT belonging to such communities. (Or at least without belonging to the ones that decide they don’t want to include Litte/DA in their ranks.)

      This is my view. I’ve gotten by fine without any major writer groups, just personal writer friends and I review away if I feel like it without feeling like I’m betraying anyone. If she had just stayed out of the groups, personally I think that would’ve covered 90% of any ethical issues. If she deliberately and never, ever disclosed to any of her guest writers that she was Jen, then I don’t care if they review her.

    • You probably wouldn’t want to point to the specific blog post and comments in Dear Author where your friends was skewered, but I would be interested in seeing proof of glee and actual malice against authors.

      I’ve been a habitual reader of Dear Author from almost the beginning, though I haven’t read every word posted there, plus my memory is not so good I remember every word I have read there, but I honestly don’t remember gleeful, directed skewerings.

      Please do note that I am not defending Jane’s lack of disclosure, and I find myself looking at everything on the blog with a very jaundiced eye.

      • The link below was the last time I visited Dear Author…it was a public skewering of Trinity Blacio. I am not sure if it is this post, but there was a point where the comments got so cruel about Siren Publishing that someone who had an upcoming release at Siren got pulled into the comments. Bits and pieces of this author’s work were torn apart…and it wasn’t even the book being reviewed. Mean, catty, horrible stuff. Jane Litte encourages bullying and cruel comments. Giving a bad review on a blog is one thing; allowing comments to go on and on and wreck an author is unprofessional, IMHO. After that post, and others that offended me, I stopped visiting.

        http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/review-the-claiming-by-trinity-blacio/

  70. I am having a bit of schadenfreude. The only time I commented over at Dear Author, I was castigated by Robin/Janet and Jane for not disclosing the fact that I was, at the time, involved in a venture to offer services to self-published writers. It was clear to me then that the site wielded ‘lack of disclosure’ charges as a weapon to attack people who disagreed with them. What wasn’t clear was the fact that Jane was, at the time, engaged in a ‘lack of disclosure’ that was somewhat more consequential.

    http://dearauthor.com/ebooks/is-genre-fiction-creating-a-market-for-lemons/

    • Revisiting that exchange — still amazing, but on like seven new and different levels.

      • I will admit to having picked the fight. ‘This is wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to start’ is not a good way to introduce yourself to a community. But, yeah, it reads a little differently today.

        • William, you need to start a blog of William Ockham’s Greatest Hits, filled with links so we can stalk you around the internet and find your sparing(s) with others.

    • Ouch.

      From Jane herself about William:

      The fact that he doesn’t disclose is the problem. he has a vested interest in selfpublishing as a business. That’s how he makes money. He’s not a writer. He’s a writer service provider. Bias matters.

  71. I feel duped for contributing to Jane’s defense fund now, too. When I read her post at DA yesterday and skimmed the comments, I was dismayed by how unwilling people were to point out her non-disclosure was unethical. I realize most of the authors were intimidated, but how come readers and reviewers didn’t speak up? I’m not a regular at DA and have never left a comment, so I figured anything I tried to say would be targeted as coming from one of her ax wielding distractors.

    As a reader I appreciated that DA had the semblance of critical review which now feels compromised, and I’ve finally come the conclusion that for a host of reasons there is very little value or merit in reviews or the reviewing process any more period.

    • “how come readers and reviewers didn’t speak up?”

      Simple. DA deletes comments they don’t like.

      This is all about how Jane/Jen wanted to control the perception others have of her. She kept her personas secret so the impression of one wouldn’t taint the impression of the other.

      Now, she’s doing the same thing in the comments on DA. She wants to create an impression that everyone is Oh-So-Happy-For-Her!, that she blocks and deletes any comments to the contrary.

      She wants random readers who come across her blog to think “no one else had a problem with it, it must not be a big deal.”

      • Thank you for saying that. I read that congratulatory comment thread on DA and threw up a little bit in my mouth after witnessing all the rampant a**-kissing. I couldn’t believe there would be no dissenting voices. Of course, if they’re all being deleted, that explains it.

      • Funny, my third comment, which is pretty damning, particularly when contrasted with my first two comments, is still there–as are Bitter Ironies comments. The only part removed from BI’s comment was the doxxing.

        There’s plenty wrong going on without adding sins that haven’t been committed.

    • Make that “detractors”.

  72. This reminds me of a scandal a few months ago in the sf/f community when it was revealed that a new, well-reviewed “young” writer with a friendly, innocuous personality who got nominated for the prestigious Campbell Award (Best New SF/F Writer, given out during the Hugo Awards ceremony)… was actually a notorious reviewer, hate-blogger, and online troll (one who had torn apart multiple online communities) who’d actually been very active in the online sf/f community for about a decade (despite claiming, in her persona as pleasant young writer that she was very new to the sf/f community), operating under multiple online handles–the best known of which was (wait for it!) “Requires Hate” (RH).

    This was a more colorful example than Litte, in the sense that no one seems to know the true, real-world identity of RH. No one seems to have met this person, who has used at least 4-5 different online identities, and there are apparently no photos of this individual. It does not seem to be known reliably by anyone what gender or nationality RH is, what continental mass RH is located on… or even if RH is only one person. Whereas I gather that Jane Litte does have a real-world, known, verfiable identity.

    It was also a more extreme example, in that RH and his/her/their various personas were astonishingly vicious. You can google and find a bunch of links if you’re interested, including various writers’ first-hand accounts of being harrassed and attacked by RH, but the short version is that whole online communities shut down because of RH’s toxic behavior, some writers say they quit writing because of him/her, another writer recounts pulling a book from submission based on warnings from RH not to see it published (the writer subsequently changed her mind and the book has been published), someone (a real person, using their real name) attributes an online attack by RH as being a factor in her suicide attempt, a rape victim tells the story of being cyberstalked by RH for months, and RH’s negative reviews didn’t stick to suggesting you skip a book she didn’t like, but sometimes included recommendations that you physically maim and even kill the author.

    So there were obvious differences between RH and Litte, whose blog can be unpleasant, but who has never seemed a dangerous or unbalanced person, certainly.

    But there is certainly a similarly in the chill factor as people discover that a controversial blogger gained access to writer communities, unguarded communication from other writers, and recognition as a writer all while deliberately concealing a better-known, original, and still-active identity as that blogger.

  73. What are the “loops” mentioned in the original post? If they’re discussion groups on the net, how can there be an expectation of privacy? I don’t understand how these things work — open to writers, but not others. What is the process for being allowed to participate in the loop?

    • I can’t speak to Anonymous Prime, but I know of one Closed FB group she is a member of that you can’t just join–you have to be vouched for by another member.

    • Yahoo has a lot of closed, private e-lists. Only members can see what’s said there, and the rules are usually that you do not share anything elsewhere that is discussed there.

      It allows for a very free, frank exchange of information and is valuable. I belong to several such Yahoo communities. Two of them have been underway for more than 15 years, so there’s a high level of experience, information, and -trust- there, and we discuss a lot of things that none of us would ever discuss on the open internet where several billion people can access what you say.

      (RE membership, one of these e-lists is attached to Novelists, inc.–anyone who’s a member of the organization can join the loop; non-members cannot. The other is just a few dozen writers who’ve known each other for years, and many of us know each other on a face-to-face basis.)

  74. Here’s the thing I find, well, insane on the part of those who are so upset about this:

    We all knew Dear Author was an anonymous insider. She is revealed to be… well pretty much exactly what was implied. Actually something even more innocuous.

    She did a great service to the community — and she did it by anonymity. It would not have worked otherwise.

    And the thing I find utterly insane are those who suddenly feel they shouldn’t have supported her in her effort to help those authors and editors cheated by a scummy publisher.

    Seriously? Suddenly we don’t care about truly scummy behavior, and the fact that the effort to reveal Dear Author’s identity was a totally scummy thing to do , which was done in defense of totally scummy behavior is now suddenly forgivable?

    • I don’t think being uncomfortable with Jane’s decisions means that a person supports EC. The issues with EC have been discussed ad nauseum. That’s not what this post is about, which is okay, not every post has to be about that, but that doesn’t mean anyone has forgiven or forgotten anything, you know? Two people can be wrong at the same time, and to varying degrees.

    • The traditionally pubblished bestselling author with the movie deal accepts money raised for her as the presumably broke, victimized blogger to the tune of over $50 grand, and we’re supposed to be fine with that deception?

      Is that not a deception by omission? If not why not? And if we’re supposed to be fine with it, well…

      Why?

      • And all this came out because she laid out the dirt on what EC was doing to their pen of writers and EC attacked her. Should she have said ‘Don’t worry about me, I’ve got more than enough cash on hand to fight EC!’? Hate to tell ya buddy, but ‘having a movie deal’ doesn’t mean she has any of the money in hand just yet (and unless she got a better contract than most, don’t bet on her buying a new house with the bonus check …)

        Was warning others about EC’s actions a worthy cause? Is it worthy enough to donate to to see that she doesn’t have to fold and let EC get away with suing her for giving out that warning?

        Now yeah, the sour grapes about her sneaking back in where she’d been banned/kicked out I can understand — up to a point, but these 250+ posts of butt-hurt about it is rather interesting in just how much everyone ‘cares’.

        What I’ve seen/heard of the EC/DA thing is that if DA has the funds and can stand up to them, EC will be forced to open their books to prove DA is wrong. What comes out of this might then help EC’s writers get pay they haven’t received — which sounds like a good thing to me.

        .

        “The important thing is not the finding, it is the seeking, it is the devotion with which one spins the wheel of prayer and scripture, discovering the truth little by little. If this machine gave you the truth immediately, you would not recognize it.” ~Ursula K. LeQuin

        • That’s assuming that everything Litte said is true. And that if there are any happy authors at EC they would not have been attacked and had all of the nasty vitriol rain down upon them should they dare contradict what that blogger has to say. Because everything she says is true. Seems like what many people are saying here is that they are afraid of the repercussions from her and her friends. I’m not saying that EC is right or wrong or in between. I am saying that what she has said and the way she has said it may or may not be true. Who knows? I imagine that may be why they filed the lawsuit – to defend themselves against what was said in her blog. Now, it seems she is a competitor and works for competitors, so motives may or may not be blurry. Basically, all I am saying is that there are two sides.

        • How about being a bestselling NA author? Does that equate to having plenty of cash? Most I know do. How about being a bestselling author with a traditional publishing deal from a big company? Does that generally mean they write you an IOU and maybe pay you years later?

          Twist and contort all you like but material facts were omitted and definitely would have changed many of the people I’ve talked to’s decision to contribute. You can argue that it wouldn’t and you’re entitled to your opinion, but it’s just that, and is contradicted by the contributors posting in this board that they wouldn’t have donated had all facts been known.

      • I never heard it like that, and I contributed. Maybe I’m remembering WRONG, but I don’t recall any whining about how she was poor and needy. When someone admits they are a lawyer and they have a blog with lots of advertising, one assumes they are not poor. But litigation is expensive and from what I recall, Jane was going to pay the first 20K and use the crowdfunding to cover expenses AFTER that. Obviously, if she had 20K to spend, she was not knocking on poverty’s door.

        The people who donated were, from most of the comments I recall, wanting to support the litigation of what they believed was speech-silencing litigation and to defend outing bad publishing practices. It was for all authors who had complained, not just Jane. And all bloggers who wanted to be able to speak about what they thought were author abusive practices.

        At least, this is how I recall it.

        • This. Besides, as anon pointed out just above, a movie deal does not mean a heap of cash. Not in this trad pub world.

          • Does a traditional publishing deal equate to heaps of cash? How about being a bestselling NA author with lots of titles out?

            Movies, bestseller in hot genre, in addition to which she’s traditionally published by Amazon and Berkley…

            If none of these do, what in your mind does?

          • Actual cash.

            Most trad pub authors do not make a living at it even when they’re bestsellers. There’s a reason those that do are called the “1%”. She never represented herself as poor, but also those sources of income may come in sporadic intervals and may be a lot less than she deserves (and less than legal fees unless she wants to be poor).

            Various bestselling authors have already revealed their actual writerly incomes. Unsurprisingly, there’s a financial reason for the mass exodus to indie.

          • Let’s face it, you’re speculating, as am I. But consider this: NA is and was one of the biggest genres of the last few years. Bestsellers like H.M. Ward in the genre pocketed many millions. Jen was indie in the genre and sold well enough to be offered an imprint deal by not only Amazon, but also another traditional deal by Berkley. You can pretend that isn’t a smoking gun of a lot of cash but I know enough NA authors to know differently and I suspect you do too. Not sure what your agenda is here but the odds of Jane being less than pretty comfy from her writing are slim and none given the evidence.

          • Remarkable.

            I’m not speculating. I have no idea how much money she has. I simply do not judge a trad pub deal to be a specific indicator of wealth because I know plenty of bestselling SFF writers who share their numbers and are not wealthy.

            I know a bunch of indies who share their numbers and are wealthy.

            I don’t actually know a bunch of NA authors as I pretty much hate the genre. (Sorry, ladies, I tried it; not my cuppa.)

            I’m refusing to speculate. I suspect she has income from being a lawyer (categorically, they do) and some income from being a writer (though I refuse to speculate how much as it varies wildly and is rarely what it seems if you’re not a household name) and because she was paying 20K for a lawsuit.

            I have no agenda other than “her behavior is disturbing for x reasons” and “historically, bestselling novels don’t make you wealthy.”

            If you had read through my comments here, you could have written that summary of my “agenda” yourself. I have made two points: the hypocrisy and sneaking into groups like that is wrong and how did we jump to saying she lied and said she was poor?

            Oh, I guess I made a third: defending EC in this thread is off-topic.

            Call that unreasonable, but I’m refusing to do any judging beyond that.

        • When Jane’s pal Sarah Wendell of SBTB announced the fundraiser she definitely implied that Jane needed help with legal expenses.

          • Guess I'll be Anon Too

            Why do one or two people in these comments believe Jane should have dropped 70K+ of her own money to fight this frivolous lawsuit?

      • I didn’t contribute to her because I thought she was a broke blogger – and neither she nor anyone who actually did set up the gofundme campaign suggested it.

        That dog don’t hunt.

      • I never assumed Jane was broke. She’s an attorney and intended to pay the first 20K of her defense herself. A broke person wouldn’t be able to do that. I just don’t think someone should have to bankrupt themselves to fight spurious allegations of defamation.

        I don’t think EC thought Jane would have the support she ended up getting. I don’t regret helping to give Jane the opportunity to defend herself and DA against those allegations.

        Also, from what I’ve seen, I don’t think DA is anti-author, I think it is pro-reader. Many authors are.

    • I am terrible with names, so I did not realize that “Jane with the snarky reputation” and “Jane who tried to help writers get paid” were the same people until this thread came up.

      I don’t care that she was anonymous with the Ellora’s Cave matter. I thought it was great that she was trying to help writers, editors, etc. get paid. That part stands on its own. I don’t care if people are anonymous in general. The only reason I’m “Jamie” on the Passive Voice is because I don’t have to register. Otherwise, my name being so common (I’m Google-proof), I would be forced to be “Alia Atreides” in lieu of Jamie176354.

      For the other matter, I agree there is no privacy on the web. Elementary school taught that you can never be sure if Girl A’s best friend, Girl B, is walking up behind you while you talk smack about Girl A. This is doubly true on the internet.

      From an ethical standpoint, though, I think it’s one thing for a good queen to pretend to be a commoner, to get a better understanding of the people she rules and what they need from her. It’s another thing when a Stalinesque queen pretends to be a commoner and finds out what they think of her. There’s a bit of danger for the second set of commoners, no?

      From the way Anonymous Prime et al are reacting, I gather they don’t consider Jane to be the Good Queen. It would be strange for them to take the revelation about her calmly in that context; it wouldn’t be congruent with human nature. Would it be great if writers didn’t grant people like Jane so much power? Yep. And maybe going forward they’ll try not to. But I can understand why this is easier said than done.

      • I never heard of Jane until the EC thing exploded–at least to the best of my middle-aged muddled recollection–and I haven’t read many of her posts. I subbed to DA for the reviews, and I only read the ones that look interesting in the emails I get for updates. So, really, I can’t even name reviewers on DA. I quick-scan reviews and deals and occasionally some news updates on publishing. So, I had no idea she had a “hater” reputation. I don’t like snarky reviews and author put-downing. I do like honest reviews that point out issues with the stories. Personally, I won’t review a book if I can’t give it 3 stars, meaning it’s at least “okay,” because I don’t finish books I’d rate lower than that. (Why would I keep reading something I dislike or hate?) But I understand that a reviewer doing it regularly for a review blog has to finish books they can’t stand. I figure they have a right to say why they disliked or hated it.

        I don’t think it’s laudable to do it in such a way as to utterly rip or humiliate an author. I think that crosses lines of propriety. And having done a couple of snarky reviews 10+ years ago in my early Amazon reviewing days (call it the influence of Harlan Ellison and other acid-tongued reviewers), I can say I regret even the touch of snark–except for 50 Shades, since it’s not gonna harm that author at all if I consider the prose less-than and subject matter icky.

        While I warn those who ask for reviews that I will be honest and won’t review a less-than-3-starrer, so don’t ask if what you want is glowing feedback, I really think courtesy in reviewing needs to come roaring into style. (And tit-for-tat 5 star reviews need to be crushed out of existence.)

    • I think people can still support DA against EC in principle and also regret giving money to the fund. Feeling personally deceived by Jane doesn’t mean you now support the bad behavior of EC.

      I think what Jane/Jen did is unethical. I also think DA is right about standing up to EC. I didn’t contribute money but I understand those who now wish they hadn’t.

      • I agree. One person is capable of different kinds of acts, not all-good or all-bad. Litte has shown herself capable of a wide variety of acts and behaviors, from the admirable to the highly questionable (to put it tactfully).

        • Barring my hubby, who is so ridiculously guileless and goody two shoes that I think he’s an alien, most folks are like this. Good and bad mixed in. Capable of noble things and then s***** things. Support folks when they are doing/saying good stuff. And say, “Hey, get a grip” or “Apologize and fly right” when they are assholes.

  75. Okay, show of hands: how many here think that Roger Ebert paid to get into the movies he reviewed? How many think that reviewer Harold Bloom buys the books he reviews at Barnes & Noble? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

    Let’s grow up a little here. The gold standard for reviewing was set long ago by reviewers like Pauline Kael, Roger Ebert, and Flannery Connor. They were paid for their reviews. Sometimes they reviewed books published by their parent companies. They NEVER PAID FOR THE THINGS THAT THEY REVIEWED. It was considered normal for reviewers to get free copies of a book.

    Why? Because they were professionals. No one expected a glowing review from Roger Ebert or Gene Siskel just because they got a free movie ticket. Everyone understood that they were too professional to sell their integrity for a movie pass or a free book. That’s why their reviews carried so much weight, that’s why even today people turn to rogerebert.com for a review even though the man is dead. He had a reputation for integrity. You didn’t have to agree with his opinion (I often didn’t) but nobody seriously questioned the man’s honesty.

    The problem with amateur book reviews is that we don’t know these people. We don’t know if we can trust them. We don’t know if they’re giving us an honest review, so we expect crap like “disclaimers” that are essentially meaningless. Professional reviewers get paid to give honest opinions, so they won’t be influenced by a free book or a free movie pass. The growing loss of paid, professional reviewers in American culture is the real heart of the credibility gap between readers/viewers and reviewers.

    It’s not that they “hide behind a pseudonym”, it’s that we can’t trust them even when they don’t.

    • Good points!

    • Yes, this is a part of the point I was making earlier: it’s a different paradigm.

      But I disagree only in that there isn’t so much a credibility gap as there is an irrelevancy gap. Readers don’t feel the loss. Reviewers are, to them, entertainers in and of themselves. (Especially the serious reviewers.) People didn’t listen to Roger Ebert because he followed rules of ethics (though that was important for other reasons which I’ll explain in a minute). People listened to Roger Ebert because he was entertaining, and once we knew his tastes, he gave us a data point on whether we would agree or not.

      Ebert’s reputation was built on what he said, not on whether he really was who he said he was, or whether he had a vested interest in the movies he talked about.

      Ethics enter into it only when affects access. In the old paradigm, there were very few places to find information about movies. Individual reviewers were all there was in terms of getting the word out about a movie. So their ethics were important.

      Now, we live in a Rotten Tomatoes world. Every movie has equal access, and so does every voice. Readers look at the score — which is too large to be affected by a biased reviewer — and then they look at the people whose tastes are like their for more information.

      Old time bias doesn’t enter into it any more — the system assumes that and makes it irrelevant. It’s now about analytics, and about what individuals actually say, not about their credentials.

      • Right, but if the individual is competing with those who she’s reviewing, and doesn’t disclose it, and has the ability to sway markets, then the “wisdom of the many” idea is invalid. Because some pigs are way more equal than others even though we’d love to believe we’re all equal.

        • No, not at all. It USED to be that some pigs are more equal than others.

          And that’s the problem — there are some people who are under the delusion that it still is that way. That’s the false peg they are pinning their beliefs to, the one that will collapse on them.

          • So when we encounter deliberately deceptive practices that result in the deceiver gaining financially (that’s my take on this) as well as from a power base standpoint, we should nod, recognize that’s just how things work, and go figure out how to deceive as many as possible so we can have all the cool stuff we wouldn’t if people knew the truth. I wonder if there are picture books to teach my kids that new reality? “Lying liars win while all the idiots lose”

    • Lol that’s what people are mad about here, that Jane Litte received free books. You heard it hear first.

      • Uh, no?

        The only problem I saw even mentioned regarding that was that she didn’t say she was reviewing books from her own publisher. Disclosure matters to a point, at least according to the FCC. It’s a different thing than free ARCs, which frankly all major book blogs receive and everyone knows it and no one here is huffy over.

        The only thing that bothers me is how she basically snuck in among people who didn’t want her and joined communities she shouldn’t have by her own standards. People feel betrayed or bothered by that and I don’t blame them.

  76. Hey PG, did you realize this would blow this high — or were you just checking to see if your system could handle a minor flame-war? 😉

    .

    If you are honest because honesty is the best policy, your honesty is corrupt.

    • As you are new here, Allen, I will tell you that PG posts things that he thinks will interest his readers. He also posts things that interest him. Sometimes he posts things he probably knows will start a major discussion. Sometimes things we think are red meat for readers just fizzle away into anonymity.

      Blogging is as unpredictable as any other medium that deals with people. Some days, you just shake your head and say, “I did not expect that.”

      • From your mouth to God’s ear, Meryl.

        Or as Flaubert put it: “The success you obtain is never the kind you wanted. It was the farcical bits in Madame Bovary that made it a success.” (He was referring to the sex-in-the-closed-carriage scene for which he and his publisher were hauled into court.)

      • I was wondering after all the fairly quiet discussions.

        Eh, reminded me of some of the flame-wars from a couple yahoo groups I was with, often for such seemingly ‘little’ things …

        .

        A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject. — Winston Churchill

    • FYI – Mrs PG writes romance, so this is relevant for Mr & Mrs PG as well as those of us who write romance.

      There is a similar flame war in the SciFi community at this time.

      IMHO it’s been a long hard winter and people are cranky.

  77. http://www.oliviawaite.com/blog/2015/03/our-dear-author/

    This post sums up exactly how I feel about the whole thing as a reader (disclaimer: had never heard of the author or seen her blog before, have never read her books, just found the link on google) and it says exactly what I think. Reader spaces are crucial and Dear Author isn’t one anymore.

  78. Tina Engler from Ellora's Cave

    Back on my laptop…

    1) The continued insistence that EC did something despicable before waiting to see our side presented in court is rather odd and troll-like in nature. You can post this pic and that pic, but until court you still don’t have all sides of the story. Obviously I cannot comment on any aspect of the case, which puts me at a disadvantage here.

    2) The ONE and ONLY thing I have asked is for people to reserve their judgments until after the court proceedings. I didn’t ask anyone to take my side, to believe me at all costs, or anything remotely similar. I have only asked for you to reserve your judgments until you see all of the facts. If you’re so certain you’re correct… and you have no hidden agenda… why on earth would anyone want to discourage people from waiting to arrive at conclusions until they have heard from all sides? Isn’t that a basic courtesy you would HOPE others would extend to you? The fact that every time I bring this up the conversation is immediately closed down by sarcastic, trite commentary and prejudgments should set off warning bells.

    3) The EC case is not a 1st Amendment issue aimed at stifling free speech. (That’s ludicrous spin-doctoring.) Everyone has the right to free speech, myself included, but if I publicly accuse you of something heinous (e.g. PG is a pedophile) are you seriously telling me that if he sued me for defamation he’d be “chilling” my free speech? That it’s a 1st Amendment issue and he’s a monster for wanting his name cleared? Even if we (EC) weren’t confident we could prove legal malice, which we are very confident of, who on earth wants to live in a society where you don’t have the right to defend yourself? Again, no one from EC has asked you to believe us; we’ve only asked you to reserve judgment.

    For those of you truly interested in seeing the total picture, I urge you to follow the court proceedings. And as you bought DA the best attorney money can buy, nobody can argue that the defense lacked aggressive representation. For those of you wanting to get your little barbs in and have zero interest in the total picture… enjoy.

    Either way, I thank you for your time.

    • I have to admit, I keep wondering why you’re talking about this here. It’s off topic. We’re not talking about you. We’re talking about Jane.

      • What Liana said.

        The fact that Litte has a secret identity as romance author Jen Frederick is irrelevant to the EC matter, and the EC matter is not under discussion here.

        • She is henceforth Anastasia.

          As far as EC, I don’t even follow the case anymore. I figure it’s in the court’s hands and I hope the judge is keen and wise and justice is done. Whatever justice is, may it be done and good come from it. But I’m not really interested in the minutiae.

        • Is it? Doesn’t it recontextualize Frederick as EC competitor rather than merely investigative “journalist”? At DA, Frederick updated:

          EC is seeking injunctive relief (which I presume means I stop blogging about them), monetary damages in excess of $25,000 for harming their business, and identity of commenters.

          On hearing the news, Sarah at Smart Bitches noted:

          But in the larger context, this means a publisher is suing a blogger for reporting about business matters. Effectively, EC is suing Jane for practicing journalism and also demanding the identity of her anonymous commenters.

          But now it means, in larger context, that a publisher sued another publisher/competitor for reporting about business matters, because by now it’s clear neither Frederick nor Sarah were “practicing journalism” — or, if they were, not very well (as it’s worth noting that, by Sarah’s admission in her most-recent-as-of-this-writing post, she was made aware of Frederick’s secret in 2013).

          When once Frederick could claim position objectivity in her post, she now can’t. She wasn’t an independent journalist; she was an author and publisher who failed to disclaim the conflict of interest presented when she leveled criticism (however true or false it may have been) against a marketplace competitor.

          (I’d link to the relevant spots, but I know TPV’s filter is sensitive to multiple links. Took me a few seconds of googling, though, and I copied-and-pasted, so I’ll let that stand as citation in this context.)

          • The lawsuit is still for defamation. Truth is an absolute defense regardless of the motive of the speaker. I’m not sure that even the fact that Jane was Jen it would strip Jen of her protections as a blogger in any case.

          • @ Josh

            “The lawsuit is still for defamation. Truth is an absolute defense regardless of the motive of the speaker.”

            And as the last time EC was to show up in court and open their books to prove their case they were a no-show … (or so past case notes show) I’d have expected EC to want to drop the charges by now — if DA hadn’t slipped in a counterclaim which will also force EC to show off their bookkeeping practices to prove it false.

            .

            If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything. — Mark Twain
            (nor does one have to fear opening their books to be seen …)

    • Ms. Engler, this convo is not about EC. It’s about other matters. Yours isn’t the only matter out here. Please stop, or take it out onto the playground.

      • Tina Engler from Ellora's Cave

        1) EC is not just me. Hundreds upon hundreds of livelihoods = EC.

        2) Just because my reply didn’t show up where intended doesn’t negate the fact there has been a plethora of posts about EC in this thread. Like it or not, I have the right to defend my company. I’m staying out of the DA debate, but can and will defend EC when it’s mentioned. If PG doesn’t want me to do so, I assume he has a ban button.

        3) “Take it onto the playground.” Really? This is the sort of matronizing, misogynist commentary that’s aimed at dismissing differing opinions. The intent is to shut down conversation so nobody thinks about the points that’ve been raised.

        Have a nice day.

        • Got it in one. Enter the convo, or not, at your pleasure, but keep to the topic at hand. Which is (for the third time) NOT E.C.

        • Out of curiousity does your attorney know you are talking about your case in blog comments? Would he or she think it’s a good idea? 🙂

          • We should buy the poor man a spa weekend or a bottle of the day alcohol club. Between pubnt and Ms. Engler’s outspoken nature, the man has his hands full.

          • Excellent question, Mia.

          • She’s betting on the fact that anyone could have set up an account here as ‘Tina Engler from Ellora’s Cave’.

            So if it comes up she’ll claim a ‘fan’ did it.

            Though depending on how much control PG has over TPV, he may be able to see which IP addresses gave which comments. It would be quite interesting to see how many of these (now at 456!) comments came from the same place. (and even more interesting if DA’s lawyer made a request for those logs as well as wherever else ‘Tina Engler from Ellora’s Cave’ has been popping up …)

            .

            It is often the case that the man who can’t tell a lie thinks he is the best judge of one. — Mark Twain, “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar”

  79. Elvin Bishop, are you the anonymous author of this blog post? Because you’ve come out of nowhere and you sure seem to have a dog in this fight.

    • because no one else can be affected by this, right?

      • No, Joe, I’m not. I am a self-published author who believes that those who sit in judgment of others in public forums, via reviews or commentary on author behavior, should be subject to the same scrutiny to which they subject the objects of their attention.

        I only care intellectually, not because I’ve ever been reviewed by DA, or much care about the personalities involved. But the pattern of apparent deception caught my interest and the defense of what seems to me to be deliberately misleading behavior by a prominent critic of self-published authors who’s on record for castigating them for deceptive practices got my back up.

  80. I wholeheartedly agree with everything said. She was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG not to disclose who she really was, and it will be hard to trust her again.

  81. This is the same woman who was outed as a bully on Goodreads years ago. Sociopaths live in every profession.

  82. I’m not surprised one bit. This is the same person who was exposed as a bully on Goodreads years ago. She’s diabolical.

  83. As a distant but sympathetic observer of indie romance publishing, I see a couple of head-scratchers, here:

    1. Y’all, for good business reasons, use pen-names and in many cases numerous of them. You folks tend to interact with each other, as in those ‘loops’, using that same pseudonymity. With that as background, a bunch of you are expressing upset over the possibility you were dealing with someone you didn’t know was present.

    Really? You say it’s a shocking betrayal because normally everyone else in your circles is known? Seems to me, no, the whole basis of your normal peer relations involves dealing in noms de plume and hardly anyone being a known quantity. Not simultaneously being (say) an author and a reviewer cannot possibly be a norm, when the norm is that almost all names are flags of convenience to begin with.

    For all you know, every other author besides yourself, in your typical ‘loop’, is already a separate pseudonym of a single professional reviewer who has eight or ten author aliases.

    2. Most people in this thread are asserting a breach of ethics (which certainly seemed to this outsider possible), and I’ve been reading comments here with interest, to hear about these ethical norms. My profession has ethics guidelines; every trade develops some sooner or later, even if they’re implicit and never codified.

    With any specialty’s ethics, there’s something specific you can point to, even if it’s just a general understanding, but in this discussion nobody’s citing any consensus, nothing even a tiny bit specific, let alone rules from publishing houses walling off pseudonymous reviewers from pseudonymous authors. What consensus am I missing? If none can be yet pointed to, then maybe one should be developed, but cannot fairly be claimed to exist yet, let alone have been violated. Good luck developing one in a market where almost everyone’s a nym, but it could happen.

    • Soliciting money without disclosing you’re a bestselling author with a publishing and movie deal clear enough or do you require an explanation of why that’s plain old wrong?

      • You mean the FundMe that Sarah Wendell (not Litte) set up, that was to help pay for defending Dear Author against the lawsuit? Yes, I guess I need to have explained to me why omitting disclosure of completely unrelated business deals under a different pen name is ‘plain old wrong’.

        Though, if I had my druthers, I’d actually prefer pondering of what I actually said, rather than a non-sequitur diversion that utterly ignores what I said.

        Rick Moen
        rick@linuxmafia.com

        • Rick, it’s wrong because it omits several pertinent facts. First, that this wasn’t a blogger being sued by a publisher, it was a competitor using her blogging alias to attack another publisher of similar material. Some might argue that she was or wasn’t, but to my ear, she was publishing NA erotic romance, competing with EC. So that puts the suit in a different light. Second, it speaks to her financial reserves – a bestselling NA author in the hottest genre going at the time, who got two traditional deals in addition to a film deal, is doing rather well, to put it mildly. I’d personally be very surprised if we aren’t talking hundreds of thousands, if not high hundreds of thousands. That is a material fact for many, although not all. By omitting it, the appeal was to me somewhat deceptive.

          And soliciting money using deceptive sins of omission to me is plain old wrong.

          You might not think so, which is your prerogative.

  84. Sorry, you lost me at the word ‘romance.’

  85. http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/review-slave-to-sensation/

    With regards to this and the quid pro quo thing I’d like to point out something else.

    NYT Bestselling Author Katie Evans gave blurbs on Jen Frederick’s books. Jane Litte positively GUSHED over Katie’s books on Dear Author in reviews, social media etc.

    That’s quid pro quo right there, people.

    And yet another reason to call her a hypocrite. She’s disgusting.

    Dear Author is a farce of a blog that should be boycotted.

  86. Anon due to fear of backlash

    The issue isn’t DA vs EC. The issue here is that Jane set herself up as judge, jury and executioner of anyone she deemed Behaving Badly. She demanded transparency from others, all the while being deceitful herself. It is deeply troubling that she had invaded private author spaces as Jen Frederick knowing she would never have been welcomed there as Jane Litte. Shame on her for that, and for her hypocrisy. Jane Litte has decimated others for a lack of transparency, yet there she was, being duplicitous herself.

    Jane Litte/Jen Frederick/Jennifer Gerrish-Lampe, you are an Author Behaving Badly. .

  87. I don’t have a problem with authors reviewing other authors’ books. It’s been done for ages and I think authors are well-qualified to review books. But Dear Author does have a problem with it. Over the years, DA has railed against authors reviewing and promoting other authors’ books. Now we learn that Jane/Jen has been doing just that. Obviously, she doesn’t really have a problem with authors reviewing other authors — so what else has she written about that she doesn’t really believe? DA is very influential in the romance community and I think a lot of people just lost their trust in her.

    • Another Anonymous

      I question the ethics of someone who runs a very influential blog in the romance community publishing extremely negative reviews of other New Adult books without disclosing that she has competing products in the marketplace. She has never reviewed any of my books, but I would be very angry if I was one of the authors who she eviscerated on her blog with her snarky reviews only later to find out that she’s not “just” a reader/blogger as she led so many to believe, but also an author with something to gain by “eliminating the competition.”

  88. Holy crap. This has been like binge watching House of Cards.

    And all I want to do is tell stories and hopefully, someday, earn enough to do just that full time.

    Dan

  89. I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know that entire side of things, but could Jane Litte/Jen Frederick/Jennifer Lampe find her records for obtaining information subpoenaed? Not sure. As a blogger, she may or may not fall under the shield law.

    These are the criteria to fall under the protection of the shield law. Whether she had a connection to news media, whether her purpose was to gather or disseminate news, and whether she obtained her information through “professional newsgathering activities.

    It’s possible some of the authors in these closed loops spoke about similar issues with EC, and they may now be wondering if she documented the things that were said unknowingly to her could now be included in the “discovery” process. Should they’re private conversations be brought to light, what impact might this have on them in the future?

    What if it wasn’t EC but Simon & Schuster she decided to expose? If she used only information that was provided to her as Jan Litte with the knowledge of what it was being used for? Okay, the people who communicated with her knew the risk. But you can’t apply that to people who had no idea she was in their midst. She’s not an investigative journalist with the expectation her sources will remain confidential. She’s put a lot of people at risk and none of them know if they may be one of her “sources”, so I can understand their sense of betrayal and their worry about whether or not anything they said to her or within her sight could become public knowledge.

    I don’t think anyone is upset that she received a free book to review. It’s how she wielded her position within the community and then didn’t make a full disclosure. It’s that she, the most vocal call for honesty, transparency, integrity, and higher standards has been caught doing the very thing she has railed against from her pedestal on high. In essence, she is the fallen-from-grace televangelist of the book community.

  90. Sheesh. Remind me to never start a review blog.

    • When you’re a bestseller with a book and movie deal I’d advise you to disclose that before you do or have a buddy solicit money for you.

    • I have a review blog. Now I know that if I ever actually write a book, I have to use this name–my blogging name– even though Amazon won’t give me a “Real Name” badge with this name.

      • Or… if you were truly wanting to write under a different one than your blogging name, you could just disclose that fact on your blog. i.e. Full disclosue: I’m a New Adult author who writes under the pen name xyz.

        ETA: And why would you need a “Real Name” badge for your books that you write? Unless I’m not understanding what you meant.

      • You can use whatever name you want, just point out that you’re an author as well as a blogger. “This is my review blog. I also write cozy mysteries as Rainbow Kitty”. There, you’re covered.

    • That’s what I’m taking from all this!

  91. For all the people going on about the initial post being anonymous. Are you kidding? Do you not see the irony in what you are saying? Jane Litte did the exact same thing in author groups. Hiding behind a pen name to enter these groups knowing that she was not welcome is being anonymous as nobody except her cohorts who helped her with this ruse knew who she really was.

    Her explanation about joining to learn more about publishing. What a bunch of BS. She’s been around long enough to know how the industry works.

    The only reason she fessed up was because it would all come out anyway because of her lawsuit with EC. That is so obvious at the way she constructed her blog post.

    All the other underhanded stuff aside, what she did in author groups is creepy.

    And this nonsense that anyone who disagrees with her and her cohorts over what happened, and doesn’t kiss her a** and think she’s so wonderful that they are jealous or sour groups needs to stop. Having a difference of opinion is not sour grapes.

    She hasn’t even apologized for tricking people into letting her into a group where she damn well knew she would never be welcomed.

  92. You know, it feels to me like using a pen name for your books is one thing—and a conflict of interest that critics who want to write in the field they also criticize have been dealing with since time immemorial—but creating an online identity for that pen name and joining social circles with other writers who might be inclined to discuss things she did in her real-life identity is quite another.

    Of course, you have to social-network in order to promote your books these days, so it’s kind of a catch-22. But still…

    • And hindsight is famously precise, but success as an author might be rendered easier if one didn’t become famous for bullying authors and encouraging one’s friends and fans to join in, as bullies are wont to do. Jane had no choice but to become Jen (or someone else) or face some massive instant karma for her bad behavior.

      She did have a choice about whether to join groups who wouldn’t otherwise have her (‘cos bad behavior), or whether to friend people who had blocked her(‘cos bad behavior). How could she not know she’d be outed one way or another and face ridicule and worse for some fairly hypocritical and stalkerish actions? A dangerous line to walk for one who seems to have delighted in declaring the behavior of others to be bad, and subjecting them to public stonings in print.

      • Her semi-partner, Sarah Wendell at Smart Bitches Trashy Books, has now posted a detailed list of what she, Sarah, knew and did, and has apologized. (She knew about the pen name by 2013 and helped promote Jane/Jen’s books.) Sarah is also the person who set up the defense fund.

        I’ve watched her and Jane gleefully gut authors over the years. I’ve watched them call on their followers to pile on. I’ve watched Sarah publicly ridicule authors who did nothing except have the misfortune of being assigned some ludicrously bad cover art. I’ve watched Sarah’s and Jane’s forums trash authors in general. Most recently Jane bashed a young indie author for using kickstarter to raise money. Such irony, n’est pas? Or, as I posted at SBTB, “I have no sympathy for either of you. Karma is a b****.”

        • As long as there are people who will believe Sarah and Jane/Jen, they know they have nothing to worry about. Let’s face it, Sarah and Jane/Jen have built a cult and they know how to serve up the Kool Aide better than anyone.

        • Actually Sarah isn’t just a semi partner. They have an LLC together called To Be Read that is registered in New Jersey. That is what their podcast collects money from sponsors under.

        • Also, I believe that in Sarah Wendell’s post she now somehow is implying that the gofundme thing went to some legal defense fund for journalists. I also believe that when she originally opened the charity, she said it was for Jane and whatever was left (if anything) went to that fund. I did not go back and read it again, so I could be mistaken. There was something else on Sarah’s post that confused me as well. She said something about changing the wording of the podcast so it wouldn’t be confusing or something, but that just seems a little weird to me. I think that people should be able to judge for themselves what is relevant to them and what is not.

          • I donated and originally, yes, the process was as you say, that if Jane did not need the funds (ie, the legal fees did not exceed the donations), that the remainder would be donated to a fund for legal defense for journalists. But considering how long this is going, I’m guessing that money may be already gone or going fast.

  93. “But seeing a person who has built a career on commenting on the quality of romance novels and behaving as a watchdog…a person who has publicly wagged a journalistic finger at every wrong-doing, real or perceived, from every publisher and author in the industry (and would go back for seconds or thirds when an apology came off like not a good enough apology or when she felt that a person hadn’t been humbled enough), watching this pass by with only stunned whispers behind closed doors because authors are afraid they’ll find themselves at the bottom of a bloody dog-pile? That sticks in my craw. She is in a position of power, whether she wants to be or not. Whether she uses that power or not. And we feel silenced because of that power.

    But someone needs to wag a finger here.

    Someone needs to do what Jane would have done if this hadn’t been about Jane.”

  94. Yes..YES YES YES … Everything you said but especially that last paragraph about authors being afraid.

    Violation of people’s privacy aside (because yes, it matters), she wagged her finger, and took people down, and ENJOYED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!! And I guarantee there are a lot of authors silently enjoying the Karma of it all, and who can blame them?

  95. There are additional considerations. For example Amazon and other outlets have rules about sock puppet reviews. Just saying… (I don’t even want to think about Goodreads– I am not now a member and never will be. Nasty place…)

    I suspect some people, i.e., reviewers and bloggers, knew her real identity. Again, just saying.

    These same people, including people associated with DA, frequent the Amazon boards and recommend books, including her books. Again, just saying.

    I’m not making accusations. I’m saying there are so many things wrong with what she did I don’t even know where to begin. Had I done the same and been outted, I’d have been virtually crucified. You know it’s true.

    I’m talking extreme gaming of the system, at the very least I’m saying the perception is that of gaming the system. Again, just saying.

    I have no problem with writers reviewing books. I think writers are some of the best book reviewers. I have big problems with reviewers who hide the fact that they are writers yet style themselves gatekeepers, make themselves arbiters of what readers should read, take on the roles of thought police and PC police, make it a point to point out authors behaving badly, actually make a career out of ruining other careers.

    This is the exactly why people hate politics and politicians – politics reeks of corruption. So does this.

    I’m neither a DA fan nor a subscriber, and yet I feel tainted, like I need a shower. I fear this will paint the entire romance community with the same dirty brush.

    • “I have big problems with reviewers who hide the fact that they are writers yet style themselves gatekeepers, make themselves arbiters of what readers should read, take on the roles of thought police and PC police, make it a point to point out authors behaving badly, actually make a career out of ruining other careers.”

      ^^ This. This isn’t about pen names or being a reviewer and an author. I have no problem with that.

      It’s that she’s the ringleader against this kind of behavior, and she decided her own rules didn’t apply to her.

  96. @Bitter_Irony, how, then, do you explain how cover artists, and editors got paid in January 2015 for work they did in May and June? The proof is in the certified mailed checks many said they got, and showed on social media. Previous payment schedules were 2 weeks post delivery of the files, not 8 months.

    I have friends still waiting for checks reflecting September’s or October’s sales, who are on monthly payment schedules. No answer from anyone at EC about anything, much less payment schedules. How does that work?

    • ZirconiaPublishing

      Wow can we stop making this about Ellora’s Cave at all? I’m no fan of authors or other workers not getting paid but this issue has really nothing to do with that and is just muddying the issue.

  97. Over at the #notchilled hashtag, we’ve been discussing Pub Net’s possible prior knowledge of Jane Litte’s pen name.

    Months ago, we scratched our heads wondering why Pub Net kept referring to Jane as if she was an author. We even asked it why it said things like “Real publishers will touch neither Jennifer Gerrish-Lampe nor the slush pilers here. All burnt. LOL.”

    “But Jane is a reviewer who edited an anthology once,” we replied. It was so bizarre.

    Now it makes sense. I think Pub Net knew stuff. Y’all can speculate how.

    I just directly asked Pub Net about this on Twitter. Pub Net is ignoring me and choosing to talk about this post. Hi, Pubz!

  98. I just wanted to respond to some of the questions people have been asking re: my original post. First, I’m not an EC supporter. I’m a former EC author who has asked for my rights back on the books I still have there due to issues that have been discussed ad nauseum. Bringing them up again only threatens to derail this thread, but I’ll repeat: I am not an EC supporter, not even close, and questioning Jane’s decision in no way implies that I am.

    Secondly, no, this post really isn’t “sour grapes”. If my name came out, I daresay (based on our occasional interactions over the years via social media here or there, and her reviews of my books and reactions to them (which were always positive)) Jane herself would say that she and I have never had any negative words between us. The grapes are just…grapes. Literally not an ounce of sour anywhere between us. This is actually about exactly what I said it was about. Bringing to light the issues I had with how things went down the day Jane announced and the fact that many authors felt like they couldn’t speak on it for fear of retaliation. Not even necessarily by Jane herself, but we all have seen what can happen when troops (bidden or not) rally. It can get very ugly, very fast. I am the sole support of my family through my writing and, at the time that I sent this to PG to post, the texture of the conversation was very VERY different than it is now. It was a risk I couldn’t afford to take. 90% of the community was (outwardly) unequivocally supportive to the point that Jane herself was moved to near-tears but it, and all I saw were back pats and high fives. Everyone else was either silent or whispering and I was honestly thinking that, if I did this, I could be committing career suicide. My hands were literally shaking as I was writing. I planned to do it, pull the trigger with my name and all, and at the last second, I had a long talk with my husband, and some valued colleagues and decided not to. I have two kids in college right now, and as much as I felt this was an important dialogue to have, it’s not more important than my family. I think it’s great if those of you reading are braver than I am, but just because I chose to remain anonymous doesn’t mean what I’m saying isn’t valid or that I’m lying about my motives. I should also add that PG is aware of my identity and could easily check DA to vouch for the veracity of my statement regarding my reviews there. Lying in this case makes no sense at all.

    Lastly, someone asked if I was ever in an author loop with Jane/Jen where she used something I said against me. No. I don’t think I’ve ever had any personal interaction with Jane as Jen on any of the loops we both frequent (or used to frequent. I believe she’s been removed from the majority of them at this point).

    In closing, I just want to say that, while I’m not sorry I posted because I think it opened a dialogue that was sorely needed on this issue, I AM sorry that some of the comments in this thread have gotten so…cold and have veered offtrack. I feel bad for Jane imagining her reading them. I imagine myself in that bed right now and, whether she made it or not, I’m truly sad for her. She must feel very alone. I would implore the people reading to remember there is a human being on the other end of this. Expressing disappointment, hurt or outrage is totally fair, but some of this is just downright ugly and I wish it didn’t have to be that way.

    • You mean the way Jane remembered that there were human beings on the other ends of all those books she gutted and authors she mocked as part of #RomFail?

      I appreciate your empathy/sympathy for Jane. I think it marks you as a person of very fine character.

      For myself, I find that schadenfreude is crunchy and good with wasabi and ginger. 😉

    • Guess I'll be Anon Too

      Anonymous Prime,

      I think it was naive to not realize that STGRB, recipients of Jane’s criticism, and Tina Engler would seize the opportunity you gave them here. Have you never visited the comments section before?

      It would have been better to air your issues on another site.

    • ~~I’m not sorry I posted because I think it opened a dialogue that was sorely needed on this issue, I AM sorry that some of the comments in this thread have gotten so…cold and have veered offtrack. I feel bad for Jane imagining her reading them. I imagine myself in that bed right now and, whether she made it or not, I’m truly sad for her. She must feel very alone. I would implore the people reading to remember there is a human being on the other end of this. Expressing disappointment, hurt or outrage is totally fair, but some of this is just downright ugly and I wish it didn’t have to be that way.~~~

      Thank you for that. We do tend to forget there are people at the other end of all sorts of things-reviews, blog posts, comments. It’s a mob mentality. And we are all at risk of falling prey to it. I certainly have in the past and keep trying to remind myself that’s a bad human habit. VERY bad.

      I like second chances and redemptions. Redemption being a fave theme. 🙂 I’d like to think that DA the site could totally come out of this BETTER from Jane having her dishonest dealings shown up–less snark, more fairness. And that benefits the whole reading community. She could do more good by having a humbling moment.

      Humbling moments can be very illuminating and instructive. But they shouldn’t be an excuse for destruction.

      I don’t believe anyone–not Tina E or Jane L–should be destroyed. But if they have done wrong, ethical or legal, that should be addressed and they should do better as they move on. Better to their readers and employees and colleagues.

      I love Phoenixes. I love to see folks rising from ashes shiny and new. So, when comments get really snarky, schadenfreudy and cruel-even MY OWN–reminders such as these are proper and needful. Thanks.

    • I just want to say: thank you for speaking up. I think you’re right that the discourse needed to happen. And, while I wish the situation had been different, I am glad everyone’s getting a chance to air out their feelings on it.

      I’m sorry you feel so afraid to speak up, but I do empathize. I just wish things were different.

  99. THIS JUST IN… Jen/Jane lied about not using her “blogger contacts” by the way.

    The BOOKPUSHERS a very popular romance blog, work closely with Dear Author and according to this tweet (which I’ve also screenshotted) they knew all along about Jen’s secret.

    https://twitter.com/MinnChica/status/580403360181985281

    And if you follow this link, you’ll see that same reviewer (Nicole) reviewed almost every one of Jen’s books on release week. Including the debut novel. There are features and at least 2 reviewers named Jen’s books on their “best of” the year list.

    http://thebookpushers.com/?s=jen+frederick

    Things that make ya go HMMMMM.

  100. I want to clear something up.

    1. Jen contacted me as Jen Frederick when her first book came out and asked me to review it. As I’m a big fan of NA, I was happy to do so, and continued reviewing her next few books.

    2. About a year ago, I started my own business working as a virtual assistant to help provide for my growing family. In October of last year, Jen contacted me about acquiring my services, and I immediately quit reviewing her books publicly.

    3. Yes, I’ve known for some time that Jane is Jen. However, as my job as her assistant, i felt it was responsibility to keep her secret, as I do with ALL my clients. It wasn’t and still isn’t my place to reveal any confidential info regarding my clients.

    4. None of the other book pushers knew, and while they weren’t shocked I was aware, they were just as surprised by the reveal as all of you.

    5. As none of the other book pushers are involved in my business, they are free to review whoever they want, as they should be.

    If anyone has a problem with that, please feel free to do so, or contact me personally, but know that my minimal involvement has no bearing on The Book Pushers.

    • If you don’t think you deserve any fallout, you’re wrong. You could have refused to represent her once you learned her identity. This does reflect poorly on both yourself and The Book Pushers.

      • I’m with you, Anonymous. It shows The Book Pushers are only interested in pushing books and they draw no lines where ethics are concerned.

  101. I can’t help but wonder a couple of things… First, I wonder if anyone has gone back to the funding site that hosted the campaign for her legal fund and tried to get a refund. I’m sure there are rules around getting refunds, of course, but I’m also sure there are rules around being honest in your funding campaign. Not that there were any outright lies, but from what I can see, many folks certainly feel duped…a misrepresentation, maybe. A lie by omission maybe? And many of those folks have outright stated that they would not have given money if they had known she wasn’t just a blogger for the romance readers, but was actually a competitor of the publisher suing her. Second, I wonder if there are any FTC issues here. For example, when I see commercials siting studies, they disclose if the study was paid for by the company running the ad. I don’t know anything about it, but it does make me wonder… If bloggers have to disclose things like they got the books or products for free, for instance, it seems like maybe they’d also have to disclose if the thing they were recommending (seemingly as a disinterested party) was something they actually had a financial stake in. To me, it makes me think of some hypothetical popular food review site being secretly bought by Kraft Foods and never disclosing that the cheese they’re recommending as more enjoyable than the other cheese is actually not an uninterested, third-party opinion. Even the news discloses when their parent company owns the thing they’re reporting on, and I guess as journalists they do that so you don’t lose trust in them if and when it’s discovered that they have a vested financial interest in what they’re “reporting”…

    • Technically, all authors/publishers are in competition with each other.

      However, Jane writes in a different genre than EC publishes. That’s not direct competition.

    • They absolutely have to disclose if they have a financial stake in something they’ve recommended. You can go to nearly any blog that recommends anything and read their affiliate disclaimer. The law requires that they do so. Another thing I’m pretty sure Jen/Jane knew and ignored.

  102. […] If you are curious, Jane’s original post is here, and there is an interesting discussion at The Passive Voice here. The meat of the discussion (also the veg and dessert) is in the comments on the posts. Another […]

  103. I have only just discovered Jane Litte is Jen Fredericks.

    I was absolutely disgusted the entire time I was reading her blog post on DA. She blithely contradicts every single standard she has ever held up for authors to follow.

    She has used the influence and might of her blog to post her books, add exposure to them and gain sales. I am an author myself and it’s not easy to get that kind of exposure. Jane didn’t stop because deep down, she didn’t see a reason to–she kept going with the subterfuge until it threatened to burst out from someone else.

    Let’s consider her deceit here. As an author myself and a reader, I am just so disgusted. I’m not talking about her books. I’m talking about her abuse of her platform and they way she deceived other readers and authors for so long. The moment her book was to appear on her blog, she should have confessed she was the author. But then, she would have opened herself up to all the vitriol from other authors she has ravaged in her reviews. She didn’t want that. See it’s okay to name and shame other authors for bad behaviour, but not when it’s her lurking behind a veil and attacking other authors of the same genre.

    It is like Jane Litte was Jen Frederick’s sock puppet. In her blog post on DA, Jane just blithely states that she didn’t think it mattered her books were featured on Daily Deals, yet AJH got a massive, yellow warning at the start of their review because they are an author.

    The hypocrisy is astounding. What makes me mad as hell is that she had this blog that can direct sales and she claims that she didn’t want to use it for her books. THEN she did. She claims that her reviews are nothing bad, THEN she hides being an author so that other people she savaged don’t negatively review her. She claims that she didn’t use the blog for her writing, but all her connections in the industry came from her blog–so in no way did those books succeed without the help of her blog, her connections, and a lot of log rolling with other authors and publishing professionals. She claims transparency is important. THEN she creates a fake persona to infiltrate private author loops where Jane was blocked, because other authors didn’t want to talk to her. But, you know, Jane wanted to learn everything about being an author–except, she wanted to do it the easy way. She couldn’t resist using her blog, her connections, lying, and generally using her power as a blogger to draw in publishers. It sickens me. There are authors out there who have a following, a platform, and they acquire it through honest means. She cannot say that she didn’t use her blog to help her publishing efforts.

    She has taken no responsibility for the consequences of her actions. And in the blog post on DA concerning her letter, the hypocrisy of the entire thing makes me want to point out all the instances she fried other authors for every single thing she admits to. It’s galling that she thinks she is so powerful she can set rules of authors behaving badly, then she can turn around and hide behind the power of her blog to break every one of those rules.

    She was trying to save her own butt this whole way through. She didn’t want to be roasted over using her blog–but the temptation was too great. Then she justified it to herself, by thinking it was no big deal. Tell that to all the other authors who would love such exposure!

    • I think this is the most powerful, honest, heartfelt comment in the entire thread. Katie, you’ve expressed the hurt, righteous anger, and betrayal so many people are feeling.
      And you’re right, she makes no apologies.

  104. […] a coalition of the damnable nicely represented in the PV post’s comments, supplemented by the people who’ve retweeted links to it either accompanied by […]

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