Scandal in Romancelandia

By Marie on Mar 27th, 2015

A few days ago, Jane from Dear Author disclosed in a blog post her other identity as author Jen Frederick - a fairly successful new adult writer. In her post she writes: 'It was important that DA remain its own inviolate entity. I partitioned off the fiction writing from the blogging, keeping my writing identity private. I wanted as little connection as possible between the blog and the book, to protect the integrity of both. I didn’t want anyone at the blog to feel like they had to change what they were doing because I was now an author. And I wanted any success I had with the fiction to be built on the merits of the work, not on the blogging platform. I had a couple of awkward moments where I had to keep one of my books from being reviewed on Dear Author, but somehow I managed to keep them completely separate.'. In the comment section this disclosure was at first met positively, people were congratulating Jane on her success. However, what initially seemed to be just a little side note soon blew up into a proper scandal when more and more voices spoke up against Jane's conduct in all this. These seem to be the allegations so far:

- Her being a writer is the exact opposite of what Dear Author stands for, to be for readers by readers. - Jane has always been about transparency and full disclosure when it came to other authors and was critical about potential conflicts in cases of authors working as reviewers. However, in her own case she abandoned those principles. - Under her pen name, Jane allegedly befriended & networked with other authors who would have never interacted and shared their knowledge with her had they known that she was Jane Litte from Dear Author. - The disclosure should have been made before people started contributing to the Ellora's Cave law suit legal fund. Knowing that they were not just defending a blogger against a publishing company, but a bestselling author with a movie deal who is a self-publisher to boot, might have made a difference in their decision making. Soon after, SBTB's Sarah clarified her knowledge of the situation and point of view on her blog. For a contrary take on all this by an anonymous author click here. In a way, I am not surprised that a community that delights in romantic drama will sometimes create its own dramatic narratives. However, joking aside, when I was reading all the different reactions in the comments of the aforementioned blog posts I was struck by the depth of emotion that came across. The pure level of hurt and disappointment, the fear that this disclosure and subsequent fallout will change the spirit of the romance community and might rip the already existing rift between authors, readers & bloggers wide open is disheartening to witness. Readers seem to feel betrayed. Authors are concerned about the violation of their private spaces. Bloggers compare Jane's actions with their own code of conduct. Then there are those who don't consider themselves to be wronged at all, neither as readers, writers or bloggers. To be honest, I would not be able to tell you on which side I am on. I have read compelling arguments from all sides. I can understand why people are angry, or don't feel affected at all. But you know what? Conflicts don't necessarily require positioning, sometimes you can just be upset that they broke out in the first place. Considering the fighting that already takes place all over the blogs and comment sections, it certainly seems that right now there are no winners at all in this situation.