Inventing the Author of your Ebook?

24 replies
I am planning on writing an ebook to release on Clickbank and I know I can do it under a pen name but I also wanted a picture of the author on the book.

Is it possible or even ethical to get an actor to pretend to be this person?

If the book is offering advice and I want to make my author out to be a Guru and I ideally need someone who looks 55+ to pose for the pic.

Would i get into trouble for this?
#author #ebook #inventing
  • Profile picture of the author DanielleLynnCopy
    Originally Posted by Rambo007 View Post

    I am planning on writing an ebook to release on Clickbank and I know I can do it under a pen name but I also wanted a picture of the author on the book.

    Is it possible or even ethical to get an actor to pretend to be this person?

    If the book is offering advice and I want to make my author out to be a Guru and I ideally need someone who looks 55+ to pose for the pic.

    Would i get into trouble for this?
    I don't know the legal ramifications, but you're certainly damaging your credibility - and playing with dishonestly.

    You're not just creating a fake author, you're creating a fake 'guru.' Which means... you're essentially using fake credibility to back up the book.

    Maybe you'll make a quick buck, but you're hurting your business reputation in the long run. How would you feel if you bought info from a 'guru' only to find out it was all smoke and mirrors?

    Marketing and building your business on honesty and positivity will pay off much more and be more rewarding. Just food for thought.

    Danielle
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  • Profile picture of the author andynakamura
    Unless you're already a hot author what's the problem with using your picture and your name? Oh its because you don't want people to know you're doing this or that? Why not?

    I would venture to believe that any guru today would have just banged it out using their name and their own picture. Just get it out there, rather than worry about little things like that.

    I'd hate to burn all that energy and then have 0 sales. If you can't sell it, even if you're Brad Pitt, no one would care anyway.

    Andy
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by Rambo007 View Post

    Is it possible or even ethical to get an actor to pretend to be this person?
    It's not a trivial issue. What you're asking is actually different from just "the pen-name question" which is typically answered here. There are circumstances under which it's ok and circumstances under which it's not. Using an "artificial identity" is generally ok as long as the identity itself isn't "material".

    Originally Posted by Rambo007 View Post

    I want to make my author out to be a Guru and I ideally need someone who looks 55+ to pose for the pic.
    You seem to be saying there that the appearance of the person is actually material?

    Legal advice is needed here.
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    • Profile picture of the author bretski
      I'd offer my pic (for a price!) but I'm not 55+

      Here is the danger of using stock photos though. http://www.warriorforum.com/off-topi...ck-photos.html

      And internet marketers do tend to see a lot of stock photos so the chances of putting one over on someone in this niche is pretty slim if you're thinking of going the stock photo route.

      As far as why he doesn't wish to divulge his identity? It's really nobody's business. I personally wish that my ex wife never found out that I was doing internet marketing. Can you say "goodbye to 33% of my gross income"?
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  • Profile picture of the author cliveohagan
    Hi Rambo,

    I know what you are asking alright but what is the reason behind it. I have some experience in this area but I would like to know why you are reluctant to use your own persona? Work, recognition, fear etc. If this is the case I think I know a way to work your own identity in and make it work for all. PM me if you wish to discuss further.

    Regards,

    Clive.
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  • Profile picture of the author TomC123
    I'm not sure about the legality of this. Ethically though, I think it's fine. As long as you're an expert in this field yourself and you're just using a different name and photograph.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rambo007
      This would be a book giving people advice on a certain career path. I would say I am qualified as I have studied this at university and have a degree in the field now but I am only 22.

      I think it would sell much better if i packaged it as being written by someone who has now retired from that field who would have years of experience to share. So I would need an older looking person for the pic rather then myself as I dont think people would take me as seriously.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Rambo007 View Post

        So I would need an older looking person for the pic rather then myself as I dont think people would take me as seriously.
        I have this exact problem with many things I do online. Many people simply don't appreciate what a huge issue this can be (not trying to sound like "I beat you" but I'm 21 and apparently look 18 and I completely understand your point).

        However, if the apparent age of the person is "material" to the ostensible authority of the author, you do have a legal issue there and need legal advice. And this forum isn't the place for that. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news (if it is), but personally I advise you to ignore people telling you "Of course you can do that" and "It's the same as using a pen-name". These are well-meaning people who don't have the problem and (unlike me) haven't taken legal advice about it. I'm just saying: there is a potential legal issue there and it's not a trivial one ...
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        • Profile picture of the author DanielleLynnCopy
          Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

          I have this exact problem with many things I do online. Many people simply don't appreciate what a huge issue this can be (not trying to sound like "I beat you" but I'm 21 and apparently look 18 and I completely understand your point).

          However, if the apparent age of the person is "material" to the ostensible authority of the author, you do have a legal issue there and need legal advice. And this forum isn't the place for that. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news (if it is), but personally I advise you to ignore people telling you "Of course you can do that" and "It's the same as using a pen-name". These are well-meaning people who don't have the problem and (unlike me) haven't taken legal advice about it. I'm just saying: there is a potential legal issue there and it's not a trivial one ...
          OP, If I were you I'd listen to Alexa on this one.

          She's established that she has experience in this area. You don't want to roll all this out then get hit with a lawsuit. Go contact a lawyer now before you end up in 'Gee...I wish I had contacted a lawyer before" land.
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        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          if i packaged it as being written by someone who has now retired from that field who would have years of experience to share
          I think you plan to go beyond a simple pen name or a photo. Sounds like you want to create a fictional character with a background of experience and a story (retirement).

          Pen names are common - a photo (friend or relative with their permission) could be ok. Creating a full story and background that is totally fiction to boost your credibility as an author is lying - and that can come back to bite you.

          It's easy to research people online. One dissatisfied customer can blow your cover and label you a scammer. You might also want to check to see if there might be legalities involved as well.

          kay
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  • Profile picture of the author Rambo007
    Surely if I dont actually mention an age but just show a man who looks old then that will be a loophole?

    Since I am not using his age to sell it but his look.

    I could actually be a really old looking 22 year old for all anyone knows?
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  • Profile picture of the author Christophe Young
    Just put a picture of Rambo on it! People will definitely take it seriously and will be afraid NOT to buy!
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  • Profile picture of the author Rambo007
    Will it cost to speak to a lawyer before hand?

    Basically, I am using an image of someone who looks more intelligent and experienced then I am. Is this any different from anyone else who uses a stock image of a person on their clickbank product?
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Originally Posted by Rambo007 View Post

      Basically, I am using an image of someone who looks more intelligent and experienced then I am. Is this any different from anyone else who uses a stock image of a person on their clickbank product?
      Yes. There is a difference between using an image of a person as an illustration and using an image of a person to endorse a product and using an image of a person as though they are you.

      Most stock art sites only cover the first use.

      Using an image to endorse a product requires the permission of the person in the image.

      The third instance would also require the permission of the person photographed.

      Now, if you work out the permissions and legalities, it may be *legally* okay to use someone else's photo to represent your fictional guru, but it may pose credibility issues if you are ever caught.

      In any case, I would not use a stock image for this purpose, even if you can get the appropriate permissions. Because anyone can use a stock image, and, sooner or later, someone else will use that image too. At some point, you may find your guru appearing in ads for all sorts of things--possibly including promotions by your competitors!

      If you choose to go down this route, work out an exclusive agreement with someone to pose as your guru. Maybe an older relative or neighbor. Then, no one else will be able to use that same image.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rambo007
    Its possible I could scrap the whole Guru idea and have the author of the book anonymous?

    So I could market it as "an industry insider reveals secrets". Then say he cant use his real name for legal reasons etc
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    • Profile picture of the author Terry Coombes
      What you could do is wait until you become a guru, by which time you may be 55 and you can use your own photo with a clear conscience.

      Regards,

      Terry
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe J
    I don't know if this would work for you but, how about just putting up a picture of an "older man cartoon character."

    Joe
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  • Profile picture of the author pizzatherapy
    Lots of very famous authors used pen names:
    Richard Bachman was actually>> Stephen King
    D. Suess was actually >> Theodor Seuss Geisel
    Mark Twain was actually>> Samuel Langhorne Clemens

    So there is no problem using a pen name.

    What you are proposing is to create a whole different persona... and to me that is dishonest.

    If you have good solid information to offer. That offers good life-changing advice, you should not be afraid to be yourself.

    You also explained that you have lots of experience. That should count for everything in marketing your product.

    And your age has nothing to do with it.

    Create a pen name if you wish...but don't create someone so that you can sell your products.

    Become a marketer with honesty, and integrity who values his customers.

    If your information over delivers and you have a great sales letter in place, you will be successful.

    Use a pen name if you wish, but be yourself always.
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  • Profile picture of the author ScottTMk
    One of my pet hates is people pretending to be "Gurus"...

    If you know your stuff then be proud to sell it with a picture of yourself, yeh its cool to have a pen name Eben Pagen is famous for his books and uses a pen name... But he knows his stuff, and his books work, If i bought yours after being sold that you knew what you were talking about and you didn't... I'd be finding the refund button.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rambo007
    I would say its fair to say I am a "guru" on the subject since I have a degree on it.

    I just dont want my own picture for personal reasons and also think a picture of an older looking man would help sell the product better.

    I think my best bet would be to go with a cartoon of an older looking version of me. That way I am not technically lying about anything as I wont mention age or invent a persona. The fact the cartoon looks old isnt my fault, its a poor drawing.

    I would just say I am a person who "has studied this subject for YEARS" which is the truth!

    The pen name wouldnt be my real name.

    Anyone see any holes in this?
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Rambo007 View Post

      I think my best bet would be to go with a cartoon of an older looking version of me.
      Personally, I think this is an absolutely excellent idea.
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    • Profile picture of the author Joe J
      Originally Posted by Rambo007 View Post


      I think my best bet would be to go with a cartoon of an older looking version of me. That way I am not technically lying about anything as I wont mention age or invent a persona. The fact the cartoon looks old isnt my fault, its a poor drawing.
      I would just do it in a way to where it doesn't draw much attention to the fact that your not the "old and wise person" that alot of people think you have to be. Also, do as much as possible with the rest of your project to keep attention away from it.

      Glad you liked the idea !
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  • Illegal, certainly not. Unethical, not quite certain. Pen names are used all the time.
    Richard Bachman = Stephen King. And you can pay for the use of people pics on many sites. I'd be willing to bet that 95% of the pics you see on testimonials on the sales pages are fake.

    Here's the thing, and I can send you something to reference this more if you are really interested:

    In the U.S., at least, you can call yourself anything you choose, regardless of what is on your birth certificate, but there are a few 'catches' to it:

    The biggest one is you can't be doing or hiding something illegal with it.

    But I wouldn't advise it, either. That could lose you a lot of business and cause a lot of embarrassment. Go with the cartoon, don't mention age, don't pretend to be the Wizard of Wall Street, but do let people know why what you have to offer is special, and why they should get it from you.
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