Ethical Author


An Author Program Facilitated by the Alliance of Independent Authors

(“Author” being any writer who has published a long-form work of fiction or non-fiction, either via a trade publisher or self-publishing platform.)


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/buyers of my books. I behave professionally online and offline when it comes to the following practices in my writing life:


I behave with courtesy and respect toward readers, other authors, reviewers and industry professionals such as agents and publishers. 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 behaviour.

Book Promotions

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.

Financial ethics

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.


I take responsibility for how my books are sold and marketed. If I realise 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 behaviour.

Display a Badge & Tweet Your Pledge

I'm an #EthicalAuthor, are you? Join the #AuthorALLi Campaign at Click To Tweet

Ethical Author Resources

Below you can download the Ethical Author badge, in a variety of sizes.

And if you’d like to tell us your opinion, or add your name to those who are signing up, please do so in the comment box below.

Ethical Author Badge – Small

I'm an Ethical Author
– please use the following code to embed in your site:

<a href=""><img src="" alt="I'm an Ethical Author" /></a>

Ethical Author Badge – Medium

I'm an Ethical Author
– please use the following code to embed in your site:

<a href=""><img src="" alt="I'm an Ethical Author" /></a>

Ethical Author Badge – Large

I'm an Ethical Author– please use the following code to embed in your site:

<a href=""><img src="" alt="I'm an Ethical Author" /></a>

Ethical Author: Spread the Word

Share our Ethical Author Graphic

(click on the image to view and download) 


36 Responses to Ethical Author

  1. Taylor Stonely August 14, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    Glad to be a part of this. Proudly displaying the banner on my website!

  2. Helen Kara August 11, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

    Really happy to subscribe to this code. Will flag it on my blog and FB page as soon as I’m ready to launch – sometime in the next couple of weeks, I hope.

  3. Pamela S Thibodeaux August 4, 2015 at 2:09 am #

    definitely signing up!

  4. David Cumming July 17, 2015 at 6:35 am #

    I am definitely signing up. To have my name associated with an alliance of this sort is a privilege. Thank you.

  5. Tracy Sohl May 8, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    Signed up with a smile!

  6. HBK April 17, 2015 at 2:48 am #

    Precisely how I have visioned everything. No hype, no hoopla – I prefer to leave that to the readers. Write for the enjoyment… plenty out there just may enjoy it.

  7. Sophie Davis April 12, 2015 at 2:24 am #

    I may be a little late to the party, but I’m all in! It’s absolutely something all authors should be doing regardless of a pledge, but I know that’s fantasy-land. I love my readers, and respect them enough to not try to trick them in to reading my books. #respectreaders #ethicalauthor

  8. John W. Howell March 28, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    I support the Code of Ethics and believe it is a good idea for all authors to do so.

  9. Aya Walksfar March 16, 2015 at 7:58 am #

    I support the Code of Ethics for Authors and as soon as I figure out how to do it, will add badge to my website.

  10. Gary S. Crawford February 15, 2015 at 5:11 pm #

    Count me in. What a great idea. Will install the badge after a much-needed upgrade of my website.

  11. Antara Man January 19, 2015 at 5:18 pm #

    Great initiative!
    I am on it.

  12. Margaret Skea January 6, 2015 at 11:20 pm #

    Happy to sign up to this.

  13. Jane Cable January 3, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

    I’m definitely signing up and actively promoting – hoping to be able to put the logo on the back cover of my forthcoming book and include in all my promotional stuff. Already using the hashtags ethicalauthor and respectreaders on Twitter.

    This is really important, but also agree it is the first step. To me, a huge part of respecting the reader is producing a book free from basic errors; one that I would be prepared to pay for myself. I don’t mean in a way which is about value judgements, just not full of typos, for example. I realise where the boundary lies is very hard to define but I think the discussion is worth having.

  14. Gabriel Boutros December 23, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    Just signed up and added the badge to my site and FB author’s page. Gabriel

  15. Simon Denman December 23, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    Great. Not only am I in, but I will be adding the option for all authors registered with Readers in the Know, so they can have the logo automatically displayed on their author profile pages on the site.

  16. EJ Jackson December 21, 2014 at 8:40 am #

    An excellent idea, I will be signing up shortly!

  17. Tony Hawkins December 20, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

    I’m very happy to sign up to that but I feel it’s only the beginning of a discussion about ethics, which must extend to what we actually write. Hitler could have agreed to those rules and still have written a book which put 100 million people in their graves.

    Here a giant discussion begins about freedom and responsibility. For instance, Sony. I’m all for freedom of expression but if somebody had made a movie about killing me I would make one almighty fuss about their right to do so. The fact that a major corporation made such a blistering mistake and no one along the way managed to call their attention to the ethics of doing so is astonishing.

    I wonder if many of us are fundamentally aware of the ethics of what we’re actually creating. A discussion around this would be good. Many of us perhaps pay lip service to political correctness while being unaware, or ignoring, the poison we are dripping into the world.

    For instance, a games world of imaginatively enhanced virtual war must be producing some very weird people.

    I’m not suggesting we arrive at any conclusions but being free to talk might shift awareness and give the world better creative output and healthier human beings. For instance, a games world where warfare is the last resort and containing some self-critical dialogue. No doubt some such exists.

    An argument that this would have low marketability should be seen as an ethical warning. If the market ruled, both tobacco and other addictive drugs would be unrestricted best sellers. I’m not suggesting censorship just free discussion conducted according to the rules of politeness – to the best of our ability. None of us are saints or robots.

  18. Shannon Taylor Hodnett December 20, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    Signing up and putting the badge on my site! Thanks! ^_^

  19. Ernsto San Giacomo December 19, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

    Thanks, this idea is too good to pass up.
    Seeing ads for reviews and the like can really turn my stomach and raise my blood pressure.

  20. Cynthianna December 6, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

    All authors should practice these tenets!

    Cindy A. Matthews, also writing as

    Cynthianna and Celine Chatillon

  21. Linda Lee Graham December 3, 2014 at 1:13 am #

    I love this–but agree with John Yeoman–can the badge line to the code?

  22. N. N. Light November 25, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

    I’m signed up and proudly displaying my badge on my blog. 🙂 MRS N

  23. John Yeoman November 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    An excellent idea but… if we embed the badge on our site, as I hope to do, surely a visitor should be able to click on the badge and see a summary of what the code means? At present, clicking on the badge merely brings us to the ALLI site. Or am I doing something wrong?

  24. Brenda Lee November 25, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    I love this! Joining up now and proudly displaying my badge. Will reblog as well!

  25. Norah Colvin November 25, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    Great! Definitely practices that should be accepted as standard.

  26. Colleen Michelle Johnson November 24, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

    Perfect! I agree 🙂 Well thought out and very honorable to both readers and writers.

  27. Holle Dolce November 22, 2014 at 11:38 pm #

    I like.

  28. Dixiane Hallaj November 21, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

    I agree wholeheartedly with the code. I support the ethical author initiative both as an author and as a small publisher and am proud to add the badge to both websites.

  29. David Gladwin November 20, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    I always thought that apart from a few mavericks most authors followed this code anyway. Certainly us older people did as the profession was always regarded as an honourable one; and that we had a duty to further educate those who wanted to learn. To do this you must have (as far as possible) accuracy and clarity. Still I will happily sign up – and hope to learn.

  30. Bren Littlewood November 20, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

    Signing up now.

  31. David Rory O'Neill November 20, 2014 at 11:11 am #

    Great idea I’m in and it’s going on my website and blog

  32. Kathy Kulig November 19, 2014 at 5:16 pm #

    Great job! I’m in too and will spread the news.

  33. Glynis Smy November 19, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Adding it to my December newsletter. Badge on my blog.

  34. Alison Morton November 19, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    I’m in! Blogging about it tomorrow.

    It’s all common sense, really…

  35. Jessica Bell November 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    Badge proudly displayed on my website. 🙂

  36. Ann Swinfen November 18, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

    Signing up! Ann Swinfen