I’ll admit, this is odd for me to speak out like this but I can’t help myself. As a blogger and an avid book reader/review and purchaser of many book, I should never have to worry about my safety, nor should anyone else who reviews anything for fun.
Let me make this completely and utterly clear. We at Bookworm Coalition do not, I repeat DO NOT make any sort of profit by doing this. We have put our own money, time, and snarky talent to make this what it is. Not once when we write a review of a book we either purchased with our own hard earned money or were given by a publisher do we sit back and think “Hey, wonder if were going to get stalked today” or “Hey, wonder if this author is going to go on a special snowflake bender”.
It is an unwritten rule here that we review the books that we read, and not the authors, as it should be everywhere but alas, that is not always the case. I’ve seen first hand accounts of bloggers blatantly going after authors and vice versa. I’ve seen authors make nasty comments to blogger either on individual blog sites or on Goodreads questioning their intelligence because one could not possibly enjoy said book. I’ve seen authors post on their own personal blogs about reviewers, calling them out because of a legitimate review. I’ve seen the word “bullying” thrown around so much since I joined the book reading community that the word bullying now doesn’t mean what it’s suppose to.
I’ve personally been called a bitch, cunt and anything else you could possibly think of by just one author. In his case, he’s off his fucking rocker and could use a slap in the face….with a chair. Unfortunately or fortunately how ever you want to look at it, that is the opinion of many, not just me.
Yesterday, a piece by The Guardian went live and basically exploded all over my Twitter feed. Normally, I just go about my business as usual because I think “I don’t attack authors, I just write review la dee da”, I try to stay out of everything because I like my little peaceful bubble. That bubble was burst wide open then stomped on by Kathleen Hale. If you would like to read the article here it is http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/oct/18/am-i-being-catfished-an-author-confronts-her-number-one-online-critic
Kathleen Hale writes a piece basically letting everyone who reads it that she basically stalked a blogger. Literally rented a car, months in advanced to drive to this woman’s home, called her multiple times at work. She wanted to uncover her identity, said she’d been “catfished” (btw, you have to be in a relationship for this term to even work). This is wrong. There is a reason that authors who can’t handle it don’t read their reviews. Your “baby” isn’t going to be liked by everyone, people will hate it, people will love it. Some might even find it meh. Until this moment, the only thing I ever thought about was possibly getting harassing emails from authors because they didn’t like my review or maybe a horde of pre-teen fangirls will descend upon my not so glowing review of like the best book EVA, it’s happened.
I guess in my online naivety I never thought an author would have the audacity to show up at someones home. Ms. Hale crossed a huge line, in fact she stomped all over it, spit on it and set it on fire. It makes you realize what a scary place it can be. So what if she hid behind an online identity? People do it every day, you authors hide behind pen names for the same reason. You don’t want to have to worry about some lunatic/deranged fan showing up at your house, we bloggers do it so some whacked out internet crazy doesn’t show up at ours. It’s the same principle, authors want privacy and blogger want the ability to write reviews without being afraid. We should never fear that our opinions on a book, A BOOK ( I mean seriously, its a book) should warrant something happening to our well being, or our privacy being so utterly violated.
I’m not as safe as I should be, but maybe I need to rethink that. Lord knows there are more people like Kathleen Hale out there in the world.
I also know that there are so many authors out there that are not like this, and value different opinions, and possible take those annoyingly bad yet mostly funny reviews and use them to see what they can do better. They stick up for bloggers even though said blog may not have given them a warm and cuddly review, because they know that we don’t write for them. We write reviews for us and anyone who would like our opinion,
With all this being said, if you feel you’ve been a victim of online/offline bullying/harassing or some asshat shows up at your doorstep CALL THE COPS. At that point, your safety has been compromised and this is bigger than some bickering on the computer.
Stay safe bloggers!!