Well, let me tell you what it is NOT.
Let’s imagine you’re an author who writes literary fiction. And then you happen to see how much better romance sells. (Note: Of course, you don’t really like the genre.) And you pick one specific subgenre of romance (hmmm… let’s say sweet Western historicals), you pick a novel by a bestselling author in that genre (hmmm, who could that be, I wonder? *cough* Debra Holland *cough*) in order to deconstruct it and learn about the conventions of the genre. Then you go and hire that author’s cover designer and make sure that your cover is designed along the lines of the other author’s very specific branding. And then you write a blog post about “Experimenting with Genre”/”Genre vs Platform” and make sure it’s blasted across umpteen different blogs.
AND YOU NEVER ONCE MENTION THE NAME OF THE OTHER AUTHOR WHOSE BOOK YOU’VE USED FOR INSPIRATION AND WHOSE BRANDING YOU’VE COPIED.
That is not respect for your fellow authors.
And when you continue to blast the aforementioned post across even more blogs, even after it has been pointed out to you that it might be nice to give credit to the author — when you continue, even after the author herself left a reply on one blog, voicing (in a very polite, roundabout way, mind you) her obvious astonishment at the way her branding has been copied and at the way you fail to give the tiniest bit of credit to her? WOW, that shows a whole new level of disrespect for your fellow authors!
(And in case you’re wondering: I’m frigging mad about the way this author is behaving. It goes against everything I’ve experienced both in the romance community and the self-publishing community.)
In case anybody is wondering: I have never met Debra Holland in person, even though we are both members of a large self-publishing e-mail loop. But you know how it is with such large e-mail loops. When I spoke out about this whole issue, I certainly did not consider her a friend nor any kind of acquaintance. I spoke (and still speak) up about this issue because of my outrage at the disrespect shown to a fellow author and at the way so many people seem to be okay with that kind of behaviour.