No. Just no.

Okay, so I was going to do another first draft post on finishing what you start, and I think I still will, probably on Thursday, but right now I have to talk about this because it is REALLY REALLY BOTHERING ME.

It's this whole Stop the GR Bullies thing.

For those of you who don't know, a group of anonymous people, who may or may not be writers, has taken it upon themselves to make a website--which I'm not linking to--where they post the real names of several Goodreads reviewers that they label bullies along with everything else they can dig up, including pictures, hometowns, spouse's names, where they like to eat and speculations on whether or not they are fit parents and HOLY CRAP DID I JUST TYPE THAT WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

*deep breath*

Okay look, I get it. I'm an author with a book coming out in seven months and ARCs are almost done and I am TERRIFIED that people won't like it. And I know this new entwining of author and reader on the Internet is causing all kinds of tension and problems and hurt feelings on both sides.

But this? This is messed up. It's making me sick to my stomach. I don't want to be defended like this. I don't want reviewers--even ones who may hate my book and say mean things to me--to have their private lives smeared all over the Internet.

Look, I love books.  I've built my life around books. I read them, I write them, I talk about them and I sell them. BUT BOOKS ARE NOT PEOPLE. Our books are not our actual babies and reviewers are not actually hurting them. So what if a bunch of people on the Internet don't like what we write? Have you seen the one star reviews of Harry Potter? Of Lord of the Rings? Of Pride and Prejudice?

So someone doesn't like our books. Maybe they say we're hacks or morons or worse, maybe they use all kinds of bad language and say mean things that they would never ever say to our faces.

SO WHAT?

At the end of the day when I close my computer and walk away, I still have friends and family who love me. I still have a wonderful supportive husband and a cuddly, hilarious cat and a job I'm proud of. I still have the warmth of sunlight on my arms and the sight of branches against the moon and the smell of fresh-washed grass after it rains. I still have hands to type and feet to dance and a voice to tell my stories with. And no bad review or mean reviewer can ever, ever take that away.

But tracking down and posting someone's real-life information without their consent? And linking it to posts that accuse them of bullying? That affects people in their real lives. That's something that goes beyond the computer and it is

SO

NOT

OKAY.

And it needs to stop.


Related links:

Foz Meadows: Bullying and Goodreads

Stacia Kane: I don't need you to avenge me, thanks.

Her Hands, My Hand: Endangering others because they hurt your feelings.

Also:

The amazing Beth Revis on how she handles bad reviews.

26 comments:

  1. Absolutely!

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  2. Oy! I must have been asleep and until now, blissfully unaware that this was going on.   Yep...not okay.

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  3. Well said, Miriam. Totally agree. I'm a gonna link to this here post, too. 

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  4. There are people DOING that??? That is...really horrifying. I completely agree with everything you said. I am just...I am floored. I've seen authors get really upset about bad reviews, but this is just really sick. Books are books. Some people are going to hate them and some people are going to love them, and the author doesn't get to pick what someone thinks about the story. There are just no words to describe how upsetting and scary it is that anyone would threaten another person because of it.

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  5. The Insatiable Booksluts have  a great post about this, pointing out that readers are consumers. But this is an especially

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  6. I really respect how you think about your book. It makes so much sense to me :)
    And gosh on those people! They are making things worse! And i think it makes sense to not everyone like your books..do they want us to stop posting reviews or what?

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  7. I am jumping up and down making all the noises  I can to express my agreement here. You can't always please everyone, and you just have to deal with it.

    Besides, laughing at the trolls is way more fun than trying to fight them :P

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  8. I so agree with you on this. That's terrible. And there was an issue earlier this year about whether a blogger plagerized another blogger.  She apologized about 3 times and was still bullied by some bloggers. It's such a drag when that happens.

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  9. Ouch. I saw something about this recently, but I thought it was just a single article on the bullying issue - I didn't know about the website. It's pretty ironic, isn't it, that the people targeting the "bullies" are behaving in the same way and/or worse?

    I think it's giving Goodreads a bad name too. I keep hearing people say what a horrible site it is and talk about all the awful things going on there. But I love it! Am I just not seeing things because I'm not as deep into the interactive side of the site, or are they exaggerating? I think it must be a little of both.

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  10. Well put, Miriam. What a sad, sad thing to do! 

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  11. Wow.  You are so right - that is not okay.  Is it nice to call an author a moron because you didn't like their book?  No, of course not.  But that does not excuse this behavior.  Ugh.  

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  12. Wonderful post!  I agree with everything you said in this post.  The whole Stop the GR Bullies thing is pretty disgusting... I cannot believe those people would put up actual pictures and information of reviewers that they consider to be bullies  :(

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  13. Absolutely. You spoke for any writer with any sense at all.

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  14. Yeah, I hadn't really realized it was going on either until a few days ago But the more I read about it, the madder I got. *angry face*

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  15. Thanks Abby! You're awesome.

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  16. Seriously. It makes me go all rage-y. And the site links to all these ani-bullying sites and talks about supporting indie authors and tries to make out like they're the good guys and it's SO ridiculous. And wrong. 

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  17. Aww, you're welcome! And thanks for the link, I really liked the post. 

    I don't blame reviewers for being mad at this, it's horrid. And I wish there were a way to get around all this author-reviewer trama. I mean, we all love books, right? 

    One of the posts I read suggested that Goodreads have a way to opt out of seeing reviews of your book, or reviews below a certain level. I wonder if that would help? 

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  18. I don't want you to stop posting reviews! I think book bloggers and reviewers are awesome.  I don't know if I'll be reading reviews of MY book, but I like reading reviews of other people's. :)

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  19. TRUTH. I love laughing at trolls!  But I can understand why people get sad and defensive when it's their book on the line. Still, hating on reviewers is NOT the solution. 

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  20. It is sad. The best thing to do in that case, from what I've seen, is to apologize as sincerely as possible and then maybe drop off the grid for a little bit. The Internet might be rabid, but it has a really short memory. 

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  21. I agree, ironic does not begin to describe the disconnect here. *frown* And I love Goodreads!  I mean, I only use it to keep track of the books I read, so the social media aspect is kind of lost on me, but I love that there's a site dedicated to talking about books. 

    The people I know who have a real problem with Goodreads are--I think--looking at it from a mostly writer perspective. Like a really sweet writer I follow on Twitter equated getting three stars on her book to getting a C. I don't see it that way. I give three stars to books I really enjoy all the time because I liked them but didn't LOVE them. But if you view everything under five stars as a bad review, then Goodreads is an "awful site" where people who didn't even finish the book give it one star. 

    Add to that the language that readers tend to use. "I hated this book." "This heroine was stupid." "I thought the writing was pretentious and completely annoying." and I can see why writers are feeling attacked. But I say stuff like that all the time  to talk about books I don't like, so why shouldn't readers on Goodreads? It's a social network for readers, and not really built for writers. 

    That's my take on it, anyway.

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  22. Thanks. It is sad. Also rage-making. >:(

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  23. Exactly. I don't think anything excuses this behavior. UGH. 

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  24. Right?!?! So not acceptable. And one of the posts I read pointed out that  all the reviewers they are targeting are women, which could be because there are more women reviewers, but still...it make me think. :(

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  25. I wish some writers had more sense. I understand where the hurt feelings are coming from, but most of the time I just can't agree with the reaction. *sadface*

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