Ethical Author Campaign
As part of our ethical self-publishing campaign, the Alliance of Independent Authors runs an ethical author program.
This program provides a code of conduct for authors to follow, in relation to author ethics. The code is voluntary and open to all, and is additional to the required Code of Standards signed up to by ALLi members.
Any author, regardless of publication method or membership, can sign up to this code, once they agree to the guiding principles.
The code cover areas such as book promotion, reviews, financial ethics and plagiarism. All operate from the guiding principle of putting the reader first.
The Ethical Author Code was first devised as a “Big Idea” for The Bookseller's FutureBook Conference 2014. The idea was to give authors a way to signal to readers that their publishing business activities are aligned with industry best practices.
A badge is available for free download for those authors who sign up to the code (see below) Also watch out also for the hashtag #ethicalauthor on Twitter.
The Ethical Author Code
Guiding principle: Putting the reader first
When I market my books, I put my readers first. This means that I don’t engage in any practices that have the effect of misleading the readers and buyers of my books.
I behave with courtesy and respect toward readers, other authors, reviewers and industry professionals such as agents and publishers. I behave professionally online and offline. If I find myself in disagreement, I focus on issues rather than airing grievances or complaints in the press or online, or engaging in personal attacks of any kind.
I do not hide behind an alias to boost my own sales or damage the sales or reputation of another person. If I adopt a pen name for legitimate reasons, I use it consistently and carefully.
Reviewing and rating books
I do not review or rate my own or another author’s books in any way that misleads or deceives the reader. I am transparent about my relationships with other authors when reviewing their books.
I am transparent about any reciprocal reviewing arrangements, and avoid any practices that result in the reader being deceived.
Reacting to reviews
I do not react to any book review by harassing the reviewer, getting a third party to harass the reviewer, or making any form of intrusive contact with the reviewer. If I’ve been the subject of a personal attack in a review, I respond in a way that is consistent with professional behavior.
I do not promote my books by making false statements about, for example, their position on bestseller lists, or consent to anyone else promoting them for me in a misleading manner.
I know that plagiarism is a serious matter, and I don’t intentionally try to pass off another writer’s words as my own.
In my business dealings as an author, I make every effort to be accurate and prompt with payments and financial calculations. If I make a financial error, I remedy it as soon as it’s brought to my notice.
Use of Tools and AI
I edit and curate the output of any tool I use to ensure the text is not discriminatory, libellous, an infringement of copyright or otherwise illegal or illicit. I recognise that it is my job to ensure I am legally compliant, not the AI tool or service I use. I declare use of AI and other tools, where appropriate.
I take responsibility for how my books are sold and marketed. If I realize anyone is acting against the spirit or letter of this Code on my behalf, I will refer them to this Code and ask them to modify their behavior.
The Alliance of Independent Authors' stated mission is ethics and excellence in self-publishing. The ethical author campaign arose out of that mission, instigated by an opinion piece at ALLi's blog, written by ALLi author member Jane Steen:
There are still two stumbling blocks to improving public perception of self-publishing. One of those obstacles—quality—is a constant topic of conversation on self-publishing blogs and forums. The other—ethics—is insufficiently discussed. I’m calling on ALLi to make the public discussion of author ethics a high priority as a corollary to the Open Up To Indie Authors campaign.
In response to Jane's call, the Ethical Author Code was launched and immediately described by The Bookseller, the UK publishing industry's trade magazine, as being “like the proverbial Good Housekeeping seal of approval”
“The insignia can telegraph to reader-consumers and to colleagues in publishing that an author has thought seriously about good business practice, in a digital era pressing writers into entrepreneurial roles.”
<a href="http://allianceindependentauthors.org/campaigns-community/ethical-author/"><img src="https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Ethical-Badge-Large.png" alt="I'm an Ethical Author" target="_blank"/></a>
<a href="http://allianceindependentauthors.org/campaigns-community/ethical-author/"><img src="https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Ethical-Badge-Medium.png" alt="I'm an Ethical Author" target="_blank"/></a>
<a href="http://allianceindependentauthors.org/campaigns-community/ethical-author/"><img src="https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Ethical-Badge-Small.png" alt="I'm an Ethical Author" target="_blank"/></a>
<a href="http://allianceindependentauthors.org/campaigns-community/ethical-author/"><img src="https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Ethical-Badge-Wide.png" alt="I'm an Ethical Author" target="_blank"/></a>
Extra Wide Badge
<a href="http://allianceindependentauthors.org/campaigns-community/ethical-author/"><img src="https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Ethical-Badge-Extra-Wide.png" alt="I'm an Ethical Author" target="_blank"/></a>