I don’t know how many of you pay attention to the trends going on in the literary world regarding the topic of author bullying. Some people may be wondering what exactly author bullying is, but Anne Rice has been a huge advocate in trying to get something done to end it.
This week two instances of author bullying came before me, and it really broke my heart to see it. Independent authors do not have it easy, and anyone who would take the time to go trash someone else’s work just because they can should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. The fact alone that Goodreads, and Amazon have not done anything to stop it is appalling, but when we see that authors are pulling their books, and just giving up because they cannot get a moment’s peace something simply has to be done.
Authors need a backbone, period. We all know this, but what few people realize is that when an author presses the publish button, and puts his or her work out there they are sharing some of their soul. Yes, some of them have poor grammar, and typographical errors. Most indie authors are in the starving artist phase, and have to keep a day job in order to pay their bills, support their families, and still keep working on their craft.
No writer is perfect. We all know that no person is perfect either, and the idea of going around giving someone a bad review, viciously, and repeatedly for no reason except that you can is repulsive. Not only that it poorly represents a book, and review feeds are the last place that someone should be trashing an author. Review feeds are meant to help other potential customers find out if they should purchase a book, or not. If you purchased a book, and read it then by all means review it. But one review is all that is needed. There is no need to keep posting in the review feed, and there is definitely no need to keep tearing down these authors.
Most indie authors cannot afford an editor, and trust me I know they would love to have that editing team, layout design team, and heck yeah they would love an agent. This is common sense, and all of us who look into going into writing recognize that basic fact when we do it. Of course we would love to have fortune, and glory but realize that when a person writes, and publishes a story they are taking a leap of faith that may very well end up becoming a faceplant into the cow manure in the end. This is just the way it goes, but the courage it takes to publish, let alone complete a book should be respected.
It’s just really sad to see this is still going on, and I wanted to remind some people of a blog post I wrote a few months back. It really goes into detail about what I believe are the best motivating factors, and quotes to keep writing in spite of bullies, and sore critics.
Here is the article from Fall of 2013:
Why I Went Back to Goodreads
There is a vicious trend going on right now in regards to Goodreads. In my absence I have discovered some of the following stories to support that many authors are being viciously trolled, harassed, stalked, and abused by several reviewers on the site. Some authors have went so far as to even retract their books from publications due to the slandering abuse of bad reviewers.
These reviewers apparently do not understand what a book’s review feed is to be used for. To begin a book’s review feed should be used for the purpose of giving a one-time review, and rating so that other potential buyers, and readers can see what the collective has to say about the book.
Mind you a bad review is something every author must come to terms with, and take with a grain of salt. No two authors write exactly the same, and no two people will see eye to eye on every story published, or written for that matter.
We have all picked up a book that just didn’t do it for us. For myself this would be Merrick by Anne Rice. I love Anne Rice on every other aspect, but Merrick was just too complicated for my tastes. That being said I loved Blackwood Farm, and Blood and Gold.
The same thing can be said for Laurell K. Hamilton’s Blood Noir. I love Laurell’s books. Absolutely love nearly every book I have ever picked up, and I would say my style is highly influenced by Laurell’s. Again I just couldn’t get into Blood Noir, but give me Incubus Dreams, or Mistral’s Kiss and I’ll read them over, and over. Some books just don’t do it for certain people.
With this being said let me get back to the purpose of writing this blog post.
Goodreads has not done a very good job of protecting their authors. Several authors have complained about their book’s review feeds being filled with trolling, negative, repetitious, argumentative posts. Posts which have no place in a book’s review feed. Many authors are upset that their other fans, and readers are being slandered for reviewing, and rating the same book in opposition with the people who are trolling both the book, and the author simply for their own vicious entertainment.
This is unacceptable. Goodreads should follow their policies, and this should be put to an end. There is a Causes petition going around the internet as we speak that many readers, and authors alike have signed. This is because the writing community is fed-up.
After I discovered that one young lady had been threatened with rape, and other horrible things in her book’s Goodreads review feed I was appalled. Then I found out her book had not even been released to the public. She had just signed her book up with Goodreads, and posted in the forum asking how her book was already being reviewed, and rated if the book was not even available to the public yet. The things which happened next are a nightmare for any author, and I feel so horrible for this young lady. After this she was continually harassed across many social sites, and eventually she announced that she is not going to release the book at all. She has decided not to become an author even though it was her goal up until these trolls trashed her book in GR’s book review feed, and forums. A book that had never been released to the public, and now never will be.
The next instance I found was another author who had released four books with Tri Destiny Publishing. She experienced two women harassing, and trolling her in her book’s review feed up to the point they decided to wage a low-review war on all of her books simply for their own sadistic pleasure.
Is this what the writers to readers relationship has become now? Is this what Goodreads intended when creating their site? Or wasn’t the purpose to share books, reviews, and mutual reading material amongst friends, and fellow literature lovers?
I decided to join a group called Readers and Authors Against Author Bullying, and have signed the petition in support of new policies being adopted by Goodreads.
Amongst these I believe GR needs to allow only one review, and rating per user per book. There should be no options for replies to the reviews just as there is not on Amazon. The only place that discussions about books should be held is in a discussion feed, or forum. Not in a book review feed. There is no need for it. Negative or positive there is no need for replies to other people’s opinions on the book they chose to purchase, and to review.
I have heard that many authors have chosen to completely leave Goodreads on an act of boycott. At first I was thinking the same thing, but now I am back here to take a stand against this behavior, and let it be known that my book may be trashed repeatedly, but I will stand up for other authors, and readers against this because of my love for the art.
Writing is not easy. It takes real guts to be able to put your name, face, and writing out there for the community to see, but like Laurell K. Hamilton said, “I always treated writing as a profession, never as a hobby. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.”
Another couple of good ones to remember are this:
“Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel.” – Mark Twain
“I shall not burn my press, and melt my letters.” – Benjamin Franklin
“Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don’t give up the fight. ” – Bob Marley
A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit (Richard Bach), and the worst thing you’ve ever written is better than the best thing you did not write.
That being said I leave you all with this group, and cause to support:
These words of one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America:
“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin
And the quote I choose to live by:
“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that but the really great make you feel that you too can become great. When you are seeking to bring big plans to fruition it is important with whom you regularly associate. Hang out with friends who are like-minded and who are also designing purpose-filled lives. Similarly be that kind of a friend for your friends.”
― Mark Twain
So if you are one of the authors who felt chased away I offer you this now: You’re not alone. Come back, and stand up to this. It’s just another form of bullying, and the only way to stop it is to face it head-on.