Most people by now are completely aware of what has been going on in the YA book community for the past week. For those of you who don’t know, an author by the name of Kathleen Hale has accused a one star reviewer of destroying her career and proceeded to stalk the reviewer, eventually knocking at the reviewer’s door unannounced (x, x). If that was not all, another one star reviewer in Scotland has had its author, Richard Brittain, who lived in London, drive specifically to her working place to knock her on the head with a bottle and leave (x, x).
Perfectly acceptable behaviour, right?
It’s no wonder that the book community is up in flames. With Brittain being released on probation, and Hale acting all mighty and proud whilst authors such as Anne Rice clap her hands at her, with publishers allegedly releasing bloggers’ addresses to asking authors, how could it not be? Plenty of people are terrified of continuing blogging, and I can’t blame them. I’m scared too.
I’m scared of using my real name.
I’m scared of participating in giveaways.
I’m scared of even divulging the country I live on.
I’m scared of writing negative reviews.
I’m scared for everyone else out there who has written them.
I’m scared of being bullied into keeping my voice quiet.
But I’m not giving up.
I’ve rechecked my privacy settings everywhere. I’ve added mental notes of writers to stay clear off. I’ve chosen to be a little more careful with my writing (though one could argue that that is not enough), and maybe even ask friends to proofread a review or two. But I am still scared. I have a not very positive review to post soon, and I am terrified of clicking the Publish button. One never knows when something like this might happen.
But I just cannot keep quiet. Not only because bullying is inherently wrong, not only because yes, I do love the moment in Braveheart where they’re all shouting “freedom!”, but because I have never had any cause of complaint towards any author I have, however briefly, spoken to.
Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, and George R.R. Martin, though touring in countries on the other side of the world, far from home, with hundreds and thousands of people waiting for their books to be signed, still took time for a photo, for a laugh, for a small talk over how awesome Doctor Who is and how hard it can be to be away from family, and to remind their readers that everyone can achieve their dreams if they work for them and don’t give up.
Marissa Meyer, despite the hundreds of tweets she certainly receives, still took her time to let me fangirl about her upcoming books and tease me some more.
Sharon Bayliss not only geeked out with me about the Hogwarts Houses, but also contacted me to help on her blog tour for her upcoming book even though I have never participated in one before.
Claire Legrande never failed to reply to any of my tweets and was always kind and cheerful.
Célia Correia Loureiro, a Portuguese author, accepted my criticism of her novel without a single word of annoyance or sadness. In fact, I was taken aback by her complete politeness.
Filipe Faria, another Portuguese author and one of the country’s biggest Fantasy names, teased me when I admitted I was asking him to sign a book of his when I had yet read any of his work.
Charlie Fletcher, Katherine Clements, Nnedi Okorafor, Frances Hardinge, Trudi Canavan, Sharon Bayliss, and Claire Legrand (that I remember, there might be more) took their time to read and retweet the links to my reviews of their books. It may sound like little to most of you, but for someone who is only starting out, it means the world. I still squeal every time an author, or their agent or editor, retweets something of mine.
And it’s not just the authors I’ve had “small” or “big” contact with. So many have risen their voices against these horrifying behaviours. Lauren DeStefano and Beth Revis, for example, two authors I haven’t yet read, have been particularly active in their condemnation over what Hale and Brittain have done.
Most authors and bloggers are disgusted with what has happened. Exceptions like Robin Wasserman, Anne Rice, and Danielle Paige are just that. Exceptions. So how could I leave such a brilliant community?
I hope these incidents will not be repeated. I hope that those who supported Hale and/or Brittain come to their senses and understand that these people have committed crimes. I hope justice is done for Blythe and and Rolland. I hope they manage to sleep without nightmares.
I hope nobody will ever be bullied into silence again.