Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Blogger Business

Before I dive into the latest book I am reading. (Jennifer Ryan's 'The Return of Brody McBride'... so excited!) I feel I need to put some thoughts to the blog.

We all know what has been going on with ONE particular author and ONE particular blogger that has rocked the blogger/author world as we know it. If you do not, here is the link: CLICK HERE for the Article that started it all. Kristyn and I are incredibly new to the blogger world, having only been here since March 2014. The one thing we are not new to is the book world. Both are alumni of Borders Books and readers since we were young. This situation has brought a few things to my mind. So, per Catherine fashion - let the listing begin.

1) Pen names.

    • Nome de plume, literary double or pseudonyms - whatever you call them, they are not a new invention. Theo LeSieg who wrote some of our favorite children's books? Yep - that is Theodore Seuss Geisel. Dr. Seuss. (LeSieg is Geisel backwards) Anne Rice, Mark Twain, Stephen King and the list goes on of those authors who do not use the names stamped on their birth certificates to write under. As a reader, I don't think twice about it. Unless it is a truly interesting name. People change their names daily; and the reasons are all different: marriage, divorce, gender change, spelling change or just a need/desire to go by a different name. So, I ask - why is this a hot topic if a blogger chooses to WRITE (which is what we as bloggers are doing) under a pen name? A few questions that came to mind when thinking about this were: 
      • Does it lessen the validity of our review/support if we do not use our parent given names?
      • Does it lessen the quality of a novel if an author chooses to not use their parent given name?
Kristyn and I use our real names. I am not sure we ever had a discussion about it. I will be as honest as I can be with you now, it would have been a long conversation had we decided to venture out on this blog after this situation came into light. The use of a pen name was a huge part of this situation because the author felt as if she was being "catfished" by the reviewer.

2) Catfishing
I will admit, I loved the show on MTV. I do not belittle people who have found companionship via the Internet. In today's technology filled society, even when you are out and about they have apps that will let you know that there are single, available people in certain areas. I have many friends who I met online, and their friendship is not valued any less than those I have met in face to face situations. I do think people bypass taking precautions against the dangers you can encounter in face to face dating. Would you give a person who you are having dinner with for the first time ALL your personal information? Why would you allow a person via the Internet to have access to that information? Now, to the situation at hand - I do not believe this was a catfish situation at all. The bloggers intent was not to meet this author under false pretenses. It seemed to be the author's desire to meet the blogger. If this is going to be classified as "catfishing" - then I know a store up the road full of Catfish, it's called Barnes and Noble. I will also advise you to stay away from Amazon, that place it full of them. And not the ones that we batter and deep fry here down south. If you read the author's own account, she is the one who assumed a false identity when contacting the blogger to obtain personal information. Who is really the catfish in this situation? 

3) The Blogger Blackout
As a blogger, I support a person's right to give a one-star As a blogger, I support a person's right to write a review that is 100% true to their opinions and thoughts. As a blogger, I support a person's right to blackout in support of this cause. As a blogger, I also support your right to continue to blog. We will continue to blog. We have recently read a TON of great goods: Some were ARCS, some we one-clicked by a recommendation of some blogs we follow, and some were recommendations from the many book friends we have that we are eager to put the words to the blog and share! 

As a person, I do not agree with bashing one another. We are blessed beyond belief to have not had this type of situation occur and I hope that we never have to face that level of negativity. Think to what pushed you to start blogging. That one author who you just loved. That indie author whose debut novel needed to hit Oprah's desk and you were gonna help. I think back to what I was told by numerous grade school teachers: "Don't let one bad apple spoil the bunch." As a person, I do not condone stalking either. 

4) Stalking 
I think the biggest part of this story that is being overlooked is the stalking aspect. Stalking is a serious CRIME. CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF SCARY STATISTICS Fact: It is a CRIME in all 50 states, and yet the level of stalking that occurred in this article is being viewed as light. An author received a 1 star. Let me tell you about a classy (and funny) way to handle your poor reviews, if you are choosing to read them. There was this challenge going around for author's to read their own bad reviews on video. Rachel Van Dyken had be laughing because she would agree on some things. I wish I could find the video now, but if you Youtube it, you will find authors challenged each other to do this. In fact, Rachel tried to turn it into a drinking game with her husband. 

I think this author crossed more than one line in this situation, and it is scary to think about all the books she has sold in light of this situation. For this reason, I understand the use of pen names. If I choose to do all the things this author is admitting to doing in order to confront this blogger, I would have a restraining order (at the very least) against me. Bottom Line: Stalking is a crime, and not to be taken lightly as it seems to be in this situation by some media outlets. 

5) My Parting Thoughts
If you did not notice, I did not once name the author involved. This was with full intent. Her book has shot up to #65 on an Amazon best-selling category list. If the book is well written, they kudos to the author - but, this jump in sales was due to the publicity her actions have given the book. Her actions were that of a person who needs help and possibly a chat with the local police department. If this was a man acting this way towards a woman, the handling of this situation would be different. The year is 2014. When will we realize that regardless of gender, situations like these should not be taken lightly. While the other end of this story is the huge possibility that this was a publicity stunt. If it was, the stunt was successful. A few weeks ago, would you have been able to tell me what this author wrote? I don't think many would. Today, within the book world at least, this is now a household name. I have decided NOT to perpetuate her name any more today. Instead, I will leave you with some authors you should check out: 

The list could go on and on!!! Sophie Jordan, Tina Klinesmith, Jeffe Kennedy, Lizbeth Selvig, Candis Terry, Dakota Cassidy, MaryJanice Davidson, Kris Calvert, Darynda Jones... 
You get it? There will always be that person who takes it TOO far. And then there will be these, who fangirl over you reviews like you do over their books. There will be that person who meets you at a convention and acts like they've known you forever. For the bloggers participating, I cannot wait for your return! Your reviews will be missed! We love and support each and every one of y'all! And for the author who caused the noise, and for those who will, without fail, cause more noise in the future, these are my parting words to you: 

Happy Reading Y'all! 

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