24/07/2012 by Basia Rose
(I’m not linking to the site, because it’s appalling, and I won’t give them more traffic. Oh, and stalkers: don’t bother commenting here and threatening me – as you have been. I’ll just delete you.)
I don’t know if people who read this blog are at all aware of what’s been going on in the book review community recently, but there’s been drama, and then more drama, and a whole lot of criminal activity to top it off. In this age of self-publishing, the book world has blown up with lots of debate over appropriate behaviour on both sides.
A few self-published authors have gone crazy and crossed a lot of lines. Most recently, a group of them banded together to snoop for personal information about reviewers (who don’t even review these authors’ books!). They collected photos, real names, hometowns, spouses’ work details, pictures of their pets!!, and put it all together on a website. They listed parks the reviewers walk in, and at what time; restaurants the reviewers eat at. Any information they could find by mining Twitter feeds and other social networking sites.
They then twisted all the information around, implying – for example – that one woman is a drunk and an unfit mother, and posted that right there alongside her picture, her real name, and her location.
One of the reviewers has been receiving threatening phone calls at home, and has had to contact the police.
The people running the site stole and used anti-bullying associations’ logos. And those associations promptly had their lawyers contact them and had the logos pulled down. Because – you know – stalking isn’t exactly what people against bullying do.
If this wasn’t bad enough, these losers contacted the Huffington Post for an interview – which they were granted – and that stupid publication posted a story that supports them stalking reviewers. Great to know they investigated before giving the stalkers a major outlet for their crap! Go journalists!
All because of a stupid fucking book review.
Cruising social networking sites this morning, I could not believe my eyes when I saw authors – authors I once respected – speaking out in support of these stalkers. They seem to be of the opinion that the reviewers “had it coming to them”.
To those authors: You know what? Some of those targeted reviewers have none of the same opinions as me. I’ve pretty much hated the things they’ve said. But you know what? They can say whatever they damn well want, because they weren’t reviewing you, the person. They were reviewing the product you created, the product you put up for sale.
Here’s a revolutionary idea: don’t read reviews! If you suspect you might be mentally unhinged, stay away! They’re for customers, not for you.
You can’t seriously believe giving a one star review means someone deserves to be in a position where they have to stay with friends because they’re too scared to be in their own home. Book reviews that attack the author personally are against the terms of service on every review site. They are reported and pulled down almost as soon as they’re put up. Authors need to realise that they are not their book. You can’t set guidelines for how someone reviews your product. They can do so however they see fit.
A product review can say anything it wants. If I stay in a crappy hotel, then I’ll give it a bad review (and I have). A hotel room is a product. A faulty electrical appliance is a product. A bad restaurant meal is a product.
And so is your book.
The fact there’re authors supporting a call to violence against (in many cases very young – as in teenaged) reviewers is flabbergasting to me. Get over yourselves. You write a book, you’ll get bad reviews.
Stalking people because not everybody liked what you wrote is pure insanity!