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Captain Morgan
11-18-2008, 12:39 AM
I'm wondering, if the addition of a 'Dr.' in front of a pen-name would be illegal for a writer who has no Ph.D or M.D. ?

I'm guessing yes.

scarletpeaches
11-18-2008, 12:43 AM
Didn't stop Gillian McKeith, did it?

RainyDayNinja
11-18-2008, 01:10 AM
It might be OK if it's Dr. Firstname, a la Dr. Ruth or Dr. Phil. I think that's a rule. Or something.

GLAZE_by_KyrstinMc
11-18-2008, 01:13 AM
Well, if you ask me, it's just a pen name; possibilities are endless.

Mr. Chuckletrousers
11-18-2008, 01:16 AM
I'm wondering, if the addition of a 'Dr.' in front of a pen-name would be illegal for a writer who has no Ph.D or M.D. ?

I'm guessing yes.
Depends. Are you writing a non-fiction book making health/diet claims? If so, then you might be straying towards the fraud line.

GLAZE_by_KyrstinMc
11-18-2008, 01:23 AM
Depends. Are you writing a non-fiction book making health/diet claims? If so, then you might be straying towards the fraud line.
That'd be a smart choice.

It'd be like those diet pill commercials, with the "Doctor" telling you how great their product is, then in small, white text at the bottom it says, "Not an actual doctor."

Maybe if you had one of those inside... :tongue

scarletpeaches
11-18-2008, 01:28 AM
http://i261.photobucket.com/albums/ii53/doriangrayspictures/Notarealdoctor.jpg

katiemac
11-18-2008, 01:45 AM
I'm wondering, if the addition of a 'Dr.' in front of a pen-name would be illegal for a writer who has no Ph.D or M.D. ?

I'm guessing yes.

I'm curious why you ask. In fiction, I don't think it makes much difference to the reader. If it's non-fiction, it probably matters, but then it's misleading if you don't actually have a Ph.D.

GLAZE_by_KyrstinMc
11-18-2008, 01:51 AM
http://i261.photobucket.com/albums/ii53/doriangrayspictures/Notarealdoctor.jpg
True 'dat.

Claudia Gray
11-18-2008, 02:02 AM
I'm with Katie Mac -- with nonfiction you wouldn't want to lie about that; with fiction, nobody cares. The only way I could see this working well would be if you were publishing, say, a supposed history of some alternate-reality/science fiction world and were essentially writing as the character historian. But that's a really tiny subset of yes in a big ol' world of no.

ideagirl
11-18-2008, 07:00 AM
I'm wondering, if the addition of a 'Dr.' in front of a pen-name would be illegal for a writer who has no Ph.D or M.D. ?

I'm guessing yes.

I doubt there's an actual statute against it (though there may well be), but regardless of whether it's fiction or nonfiction it would certainly be false advertising, which would subject you to civil liability (i.e., you could get sued). Also, just to be frank here, it would make you look like a total a$$ when the truth came out, which it would. For both those reasons, a publisher would not let you get away with it.

ideagirl
11-18-2008, 07:00 AM
It might be OK if it's Dr. Firstname, a la Dr. Ruth or Dr. Phil. I think that's a rule. Or something.

Dr. Ruth and Dr. Phil ARE doctors. Those aren't pen names, and the "Dr." is real.

Captain Morgan
11-18-2008, 08:38 AM
Alright. Actually that reminds me, I think that Ron Hubbard guy (starter of scientology cult) began claiming in his books he was a doctor. Technically he did have a Ph.D from some 2-bit earn your degree at home course and get your degree mailed to you in just a few months.

I think it took a number of years before the U.S. government shut that bogus institution down.

Shady Lane
11-18-2008, 08:50 AM
No one's mentioned Dr. Seuss?

Polenth
11-18-2008, 09:00 AM
No one's mentioned Dr. Seuss?

That was my first thought. If I saw a Dr. Something penname, I would think of animals wearing accessories. That might not be the desired result.

tehuti88
11-18-2008, 08:39 PM
I'm with Katie Mac -- with nonfiction you wouldn't want to lie about that; with fiction, nobody cares.

I don't know, I'd say that depending on the subject matter and the way it's presented, even if it's fiction, I might care. For example, a book about child abuse written from a psychological angle. Even if it's a novel, the fact that the writer has a "Dr." in front of their name might lend it some more credibility--"Hey, a doctor (presumably a psychiatrist) wrote this book. They must really know what they're talking about. I bet it's totally realistic and everything!"

And yes, I'm writing this with a fictional book in mind, one I saw at Amazon recently. The writer, I don't believe they're a doctor per se, but they mention that they're a therapist with much experience in the area in question, meaning (again, presumably) that they know where they're coming from.

So it all depends.

(I thought Dr. Phil wasn't really a doctor...?)

scarletpeaches
11-18-2008, 08:41 PM
That was my first thought. If I saw a Dr. Something penname, I would think of animals wearing accessories. That might not be the desired result.

I will not write this in a post.
I will not write it in some toast.
My words were not plucked from a tree.
Though sweet as honey from a bee.

Nivarion
11-19-2008, 08:22 AM
I don't know, I'd say that depending on the subject matter and the way it's presented, even if it's fiction, I might care. For example, a book about child abuse written from a psychological angle. Even if it's a novel, the fact that the writer has a "Dr." in front of their name might lend it some more credibility--"Hey, a doctor (presumably a psychiatrist) wrote this book. They must really know what they're talking about. I bet it's totally realistic and everything!"

And yes, I'm writing this with a fictional book in mind, one I saw at Amazon recently. The writer, I don't believe they're a doctor per se, but they mention that they're a therapist with much experience in the area in question, meaning (again, presumably) that they know where they're coming from.

So it all depends.

(I thought Dr. Phil wasn't really a doctor...?)


the thing about deceiving people with the child abuse stuff is very hard.

i did some volunteer work with a group that takes care of kinds that have been though child abuse. if you can conceive it, it has gone down like that somewhere, some when.