My conflicts of interest

I have been doing the AAUGH Blog (or its email-based predecessor, the Newsletter) for just over two decades now, and as you probably have sensed, I try to give you honest reactions. In the interest of transparency I feel the ethical need to list my conflicts of interest from time to time. So here goes:

I am a freelance writer as well as contributing editorial services on a freelance basis.

In the past, I’ve written three books about Peanuts for various publishers, comic book scripts for Boom!, articles for Hogan’s Alley magazine, dialogue for an unreleased video game, and material location and editorial matter for some books.

Even at the moment, I have several projects and potential projects in the works, for multiple publishers.

Because of this work, potential conflicts include:

  • It is in my interest to keep on the good side of the folks involved in licensing Peanuts (currently, Creative Associates and Peanuts Worldwide), as they may involve me in projects, recommend me for projects, or in theory shoot down a project brought to them with me involved.
  • It is in my interest to curry the favor of publishers of Peanuts and Schulz-related material, which risks being reflected in my reviews of their works with which I was not involved.
  • Other writers may be viewed as my competition, and it may be in my interest to cast shade on their efforts in order to give me a leg up in getting future work.
  • When I get information about an upcoming Schulz-related book, I will generally share it on the blog. However, when I’m working for another publisher, it is generally up to them when the project gets announced, and I will not announce such things ahead of the information being released to the public through some other means.

I am a publisher of Schulz-related material.

Through my publishing imprint About Comics, I publish books containing some of Schulz’s non-Peanuts material, including It’s Only a Game: The Complete Color Collection, Bridge Mix (a collection of the subset of the “It’s Only a Game” material), as well as They Called Him Sparky, a collection of reminiscences from Schulz’s Church of God days.

As such:

  • I may be seen as being in competition with some of the books I review in the battle for the bucks of the Schulz fan. (I do make it explicit when I am discussing a book that I publish, where the conflict should be obvious.)
  • While I will announce upcoming publications from other publishers when I find out about them, I withhold such information about my own books generally until release.

I profit from the sales of the books I review.

When I review a book, I generally link to a site where it can be purchased. When possible, I generally link to a site on which I have an affiliate arrangement, which means if you click through and make a purchase, they give me some money. There have been multiple sites that I’ve had an affiliate agreement with in the past, but at this point, it’s basically exclusively Amazon. The funds they provide help cover the costs of operating this site (Internet costs, the costs of the materials I review, and so forth.) This incentivizes me to encourage purchases, and while I sometimes do so in a very straightforward way, reminding you that purchasing anything after you click on one of the links helps the site. However, it can also be seen as incentivizing me giving books positive reviews, so that you’re encouraged to make a purchase. (I will note that this affiliate income is a far smaller portion of my income than it used to be, as the traffic on the blog has decreased greatly in the Facebook era, and income from the non-Peanuts aspect of my work has improved.)

As you may suspect from my posting this, I try to avoid conscious bias in my blog entries, but I will neither claim to be perfect in handling that, nor will I claim to the the master of my unconscious. Your reading of the blog should keep this all in mind.

Thank you for your attention.

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