Monday, January 24, 2011

And the button's back...

The donate button, that is.  For all of you who have been, yanno, yankin' at the bit to click on it.  (No, seriously.  There aren't words adequate enough to express my appreciation for your support of this blog effort.  And of me.)

So may I have your thoughts, please?  I started removing the button during contests because an agent expressed concern that the button might be construed as having to "pay for agents to read," which is expressly against the tenets of the AAR.  I disagree with this, since I'm not an agent and a donate button is not a "fee."

Not to mention the fact that a lot of you WANTED me to add the button.  Or at least provide you with a way to send me chocolate and cashews.

But in the interest of avoiding confusion, I started removing it.  And it's just one more Thing I have to remember to do during and after the contests.

What are your thoughts?  Should I continue to remove it?  Or is it okay to just leave it up there?  I'll keep removing and replacing it if that's the best thing to do.  But I thought I'd take your pulse on the matter, since you all are the ones who are donating.  I'm just sitting here blushing.  And trying to do the right thing.

Looking forward to your thoughts...


  1. If I were submitting, I wouldn't see it as paying agents to read. I'd see it as helping you out for all the time and effort you put into this site and helping other writers. But, that's just me. Not the AAR. :)

  2. I would keep the button up. I see no conflict of interest here. This is 'voluntary' for those who would like to give. It doesn't influence a contest or anything else. My two cents.

  3. I agree with the previous commenters. Of course, I have no professional ethics to protect, but I don't see it as implying that one must pay agents to read one's work, but rather as supporting your Herculean efforts to support the writing community. By sending you cashews.

    Speaking of which, have you tried Trader Joes' pepper cashews. OMFG.

  4. I agree with Laura. The money is going to you, not the agent. It's like paying money to get into a conference with agents. That happens all the time.

    So, I would say leave it. You deserve to be able to make this process as easy as possible for yourself.

    And, thanks again for everything you do!

  5. How about adding a note to the button with a short disclaimer? It could even link to a post with a longer disclaimer, if anyone was concerned.

  6. Leave it up.
    As you have already noted, you are not an agent and so your adherence to AAR is obviously not really a part of the equation. I can understand the conflict, but I think in the case of your supporters and blog readers (and I am MOST DEFINITELY among them), I would recommend saving yourself a headache. Leave the button ALONE so I can click it once in a while! ;)

  7. Since it's the agent's rep (potentially) on the line, and they're volunteers, I'd do whatever makes them most comfortable.

    Think of it like the warnings on bug spray that say "do not spray toward face". You know not to do this; I know not to do this. It didn't take the warning to make this logical, but if someone hadn't sprayed Raid in their eyes and complained to customer service, it wouldn't be on the can.

    All it takes is one, slightly-less-than-logical person who runs all over the blog-o-sphere screaming about how the only way to win, or get [agent's name]'s attention is with a paypal bid, and that lie will be out there forever in cyberspace, just waiting for Google to attach it to a search of that agent's name.

  8. I think you should keep it and just add a note to the Secret Agent post stating "as always, all contests are free" or something along those lines.

    There's no need for you to take it up and down constantly.

  9. I'm with everyone else: It doesn't bother me when it's up, and it doesn't seem ethically questionable since it's a) entirely voluntary, and b) donating to you, not to the agent.

  10. I agree with Danielle and Josin. As Josin said, you want to make the agents comfortable and protect them. However, as Danielle said, that doesn't mean you have to take it up and down constantly. Adding a note to the contest rules would be helpful, but I again recommend a note below/around the donate button, since the rules will not be right next to the entries, but the donate button will.

  11. 1. Leave the button in place.

    2. Add the layered disclaimer S. Kyle Davis suggested earlier.

    3. Bask in the cashew-enhanced thank you that your donators provide.

  12. I would say you have to go what makes you feel most comfortable, Authoress. If you're concerned someone might misinterpret it, than keep removing it during contests.

    We can comment all we want saying that we don't feel that way, but if someone does, you'll likely hear about afterwards - not on a post like this one in a civilized comment. I agree with other commenters that I don't feel that way - the button says "donate" not "pay to enter contest" after all. But I've also been following your blog for two years. It is possible that newcomers might not spend the time to find a post like this in your archive.

    So again, it's really up to you and what makes you feel most comfortable. We'll be fine with whatever you decide you need to do.

  13. So much wonderful feedback already -- thank you!

    A disclaimer is a brilliant idea. That would cover it, totally.

    Maybe something like, "Please note: If you don't send money to cover my endless need for cashews and chocolate, I won't let you play."

    Oh, wait. That's probably not right... ;P

    (Seriously. I like the disclaimer thing...)

  14. Just leave it up, but put a note with it saying there is NO entry fee to contests, donations are voluntary, and agents have no idea who donates and who doesn't. And that they don't get a cut.

  15. I'd ask your agent (and near future editor :)


  16. I vote for removing it during contests.

  17. I understand your worry at being misconstrued as taking money for evaluations, but I don't see it that way. To me, the donate button is for you to help keep the site going and to thank you for your hard work. I just don't connect it with the contests.

  18. As an agent who has participated in both the Secret Agent and Baker's Dozen contests, I am not sure I see the problem here. The button clearly says donate. I have never seen anything about paying to enter the contests.

    Even then, I thought that at conferences people pay for time with agents or for advance reading consultations all the time. Where I thought it was against the AAR is for the AGENT to accept payment.

    Authoress is providing a legitimate service here. And she's doing it out of the goodness of her heart. Seems to me she's totally fine asking for support to help in the cost of running her blog. I doubt she would ever even make enough to pay for the amount of time she actually puts in.

    I don't see any abuse going on here. I think maybe it was a misunderstanding.

    That said, I think the suggestion of a disclaimer of sorts to explain that all contests are free or whatever is not a bad idea.

  19. You might want to take it down during contests, only because there are always 'those' people out there.

    Let one of them enter a contest and not get in (for whatever reason--they can't follow directions, the slots filled up before theirs arrived, their mss. doesn't make the cut for the Baker's Dozen) and you know they're going to be saying, "Oh, of couse I didn't get in. I didn't give her a donation."

    If this doesn't bother you, then leave it up. If it does bother you, take it down during contests.

    I wouldn't put up a disclaimer for several reasons. It's your blog. You can do what you want and you shouldn't have to justify your actions to anyone. 2. It clearly says donate. Donations are voluntary. And 3. Justifying why it's there says (I think) that you're not comfortable with it, and for 'those' people that you must have something to hide if you're defending what you're doing.

    The real answer though, is do what you are comfortable with, and for those who don't like it, well, don't paticipate. In the words of Ricky Nelson - You can't please everyone so you gotta please yourself.

  20. I think the disclaimer is a great idea. If you (or any agents that are volunteering their time) are still concerned, maybe send an email to the AAR to double check with them. You could add that it was AAR approved to the disclaimer and could assure any future agents who are concerned.

    While I'd like to think I live in a world where such disclaimers aren't needed (especially a double check with AAr), as others have mentioned it might be good to do anyway.

  21. I think, if you leave it up during contests you'll likely get more donations.

    On the other hand, agents have expressed concern and some agents may not choose to participate during the contests for this reasons.

    To eliminate the issue, I'd create an external page so they must leave the blog to make the donation. I'd add a disclaimer that you don't have no-profit status so the donations are not tax deductible, this doesn't guarantee a spot.... donate button

    Hyperlinks are much easier to add and remove (should an agent request it) And since the page still exists, those who really want to donate, can still do so. They'll just have to type in the web address.

    Just an idea.

  22. I think you should leave it up, Authoress. The time and effort you spend on this blog is enormous, and you've been doing it for free. You provide such a valuable forum here, and I appreciate being able to be a part of it. The button allows us to say "Thanks." I might rather make you one of my famous reindeer leather bracelets, but what am I to do, mail it to the North Pole?!! ;)

    Thanks for your time, your tears, your sacrifice. And thanks for letting us reward you back.

  23. Keep the button up. Those who have no wish to donate aren't forced, and those who wants to, can.

    I agree, though, that the button should be down during contests and such, just so no one gets confused.

  24. It seems to me that a good compromise may solve the issue:

    1) make sure the button doesn't appear on your upcoming submission form

    2) put a blurb in the contest rules explaining there is no fee for entering

    Then you have one less thing to remember (but a little more text to copy/paste) ;)

  25. I agree with you about Wulf, and think the current disclaimer works nicely.