I write short erotic stories that I want to sell safely online.

Is it possible to sell an ebook while protecting my true identity from the buyers?

Say I use a free Wordpress + Stripe + SimpleGoods. Will my identity be protected from the buyers?

Stripe and SG will know about me but I guess they don't publicise there customer's identity.

First, I am not in the USA and I will pay my income taxes. Its all about content: there is no need for my neighbours to know what I am writing.

The books will be in ePub format and I will check for metadata!

Stripe is an online payment process. They will know who I am since they need to link to my bank account. At Stripe, they told me that all my personal data is hidden to the public. They also told me that I can put whatever name I want on the bank statement (or receipt). So Stripe should hide my identity to the public.

SimpleGoods (SG) is an online store for digital products. They store the file and see after the purchasing process (copy/paste a script). At SG, they told me that buyers will only see my "business name and email address". There again, my neighbour won't know who wrote that book since I can use whatever name and email.

SG works in HTML pages, Wordpress, etc.

I did some research and I came up with this "checklist". What do you think ?

  1. use a second-hand computer,
  2. only on public wifi connection (public library, etc.)
  3. with Tor, Tails and / or VPN
  4. use 3 different emails (Protonmail, Mail2Tor…) with names never used elsewhere (one for: Stripe, SG, WordPress)
  5. open a free WordPress
  6. publish the book under a nom de plume and watch for the metadata!
  7. use temp emails for promotion

The second-hand computer and emails should disconnect the book from myself. I believe that Protonmail does not store IP addresses. The public wifi should further disconnect the book from me.

I don't know which is adequate: TOR, VPN or Tails.

WordPress is straightforward. But there may be something better than WordPress. There is Wix, Tumblr, etc. I have just discovered Write.as but I think that I cannot use the SG script (no HTML).

  • 1
    Surely what you are suggesting is illegal under consumer protection legislation. Buyers must always have recourse to the seller in case of dispute. – Chenmunka Sep 7 '19 at 18:23
  • 1
    Not that easy if you want to sell directly but possible if you can use a trusted middleman who sells the books and who hides your real name from the buyer. See Can I self-publish e-books on Amazon under a pseudonym?. – Steffen Ullrich Sep 7 '19 at 18:37
  • @Bob What do you mean with "while protecting my true identity from the buyers"? There are several instances available that will do this, platforms, and if you change your name then your identity is already hided. – tungsten Sep 7 '19 at 20:54
  • Wordpress + Stripe + SimpleGoods, What function for each of them? Stripe to finish transactions made by buyers on your WP site, What is SimpleGoods and in what form are you going to present your content, a link, pdf? – tungsten Sep 7 '19 at 21:22

I think that you are concentrating on the wrong issues.

  • You want to sell, as in get paid.
  • You want to protect your personal identity.

Implied with selling and getting paid is “marketing”. It’s unrealistic for a new author to completely provide their own promotional marketing and expect to make any money. There are many ebook sales platforms available to leverage your sales and marketing, Amazon being the biggest, so plan to use one or more.

I know you said “epub” format and Amazon is “azw”, but converting between them is trivial.

Protecting your privacy involves a “Pen Name”. As long as the purchasers see only the Pen Name that is your primary privacy.

In order to get paid, there has to be a path back to you. It’s just a question of how much privacy can realistically be maintained. Generally this privacy break for money is with the “Publisher”.

Many ebook sellers will provide this publisher break for you, but they will have all of your actual information in order to transfer payment.

If you feel you need another layer of privacy, you can become your own “Publisher”(Not “Seller”, you would still use Amazon or IndieBound or whatever.)

In the US you can create a limited Liability Corporation (LLC), as your “Publisher” (No Tell Publishing). Open a a business bank account under this publisher name, possibly with an additional “Doing Business As” addendum as another custom name (“Late Night Reads”). Set up all the payments to the business publishing bank account.

The weak link is the money path. Just use a VPN, or Tor if you’re determined, to break the link between you personal machine and the sales platform when uploading books or otherwise interacting. A second computer or a VM or TBB to thwart fingerprinting should be sufficient. All the jumping around with public WiFi is completely unnecessary. A single anonymous email should be sufficient, compared to the money trail.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Your first paragraph is either confusing or, because I do not understand it, is incorrect. I'm also not sure how it adds to the situation. I have written and self-published a book, under a pen name, with no other previous books under that name and have done zero marketing. None whatsoever. And it sells well enough. It's even been pirated. I think what you mean to say is that if the OP wants to do promotion and marketing, then that separate activity might expose the OP's identity. – schroeder Oct 10 '19 at 8:35

If you want to share the books or any such data anonymously, you may upload that file to some cloud server which don't leak your PII to government agencies of that country, or you may host your files on some compromised machine that you have access to.

If you want to make money out of that file , you may encrypt the data with a key, and share the decryption key to buyers. To stay anonymous to buyers , you may use protonmail, TOR, etc. Payment can be done through cryptocurrencies.

But , here is the catch. You need to be too careful not to get caught up. The most risky thing for you will be the buyers of the data. If your books become famous and government finds out about this, you will be social engineered by them in the form of buyers. Example : Silk Road.

There are many other places that you need to be careful about not leaving your traces. your IP for example. Make sure to clear the logs where ever possible. Use Tails as your OS, Keep your system drives encrypted, it will be useful in case you get caught up.

| improve this answer | |
  • The OP is talking about a book, anti-dox in this case, not affiliated with cvv breaches in the most severe way. Storing book's content on a compromised machine is throw-off handling. We are not talking here about data but content. – tungsten Sep 7 '19 at 20:52
  • Agreed, but I gave him an answer, that will help to share any digital content anonymously. – nocut Sep 8 '19 at 12:35
  • The threat scenario is stated as: "there is no need for my neighbours to know what I am writing". Advocating using an illegally accessed server is not appropriate. What logs can the OP clear to remove traces of the IP? – schroeder Sep 10 '19 at 6:45
  • Why isn't it inappropriate, doesn't it server the need? Agreed that's illegal, but here, the OP wants to protect his/her identity. I gave OP just an another option, to try it or not it's up to OP. OP may even buy the logins from someone else on deep-web. I guess you will say this also inappropriate.Do you really believe all the exit nodes of the TOR are hosted by community who want to serve community or some people who want to monitor the traffic. I was talking about the audit logs of hijacked system that OP will use to share e-book. Go-on and delete this post with your privileges(Off-topic). – nocut Sep 10 '19 at 14:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.