A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

To Blog or Not to Blog

on October 25, 2014

In response to a staggering amount of scary bullshit, many book bloggers are putting on a Blogger Blackout. (I figure anyone who reads this already has read all the commentary, so I’m not bothering to find more links.)

I’m not entirely sure if I’m participating or not. It would be the easiest thing in the world to do it here, since I mostly review old books anyway, but I’ve taken on responsibilities elsewhere.  And I would feel hypocritical claiming to be a part of the blackout while my work is appearing elsewhere.

And I’m still not sure how I feel about this whole thing. (Other than disgusted with Kathleen Hale and those who admire/support her.) My first feeling after the halestorm hit was shamefaced relief at having accepted more work that’s more promo than reviewing. But though pretty much every industry person I’ve ever worked with has been nothing but awesome, what Sonomalas wrote still struck a chord:

“I have some ARCs that I have read or planned to read of books being released in the next couple of months; I haven’t decided yet what to do about those. Mostly they are books by authors whom I admire and respect, as writers and as people, so I’ll be thinking about how to support them without feeling like I’m shilling for an industry that by and large does not respect me or what I do.”

I don’t want to be an asshole by comparing this protest to something like Ferguson, where people are putting their lives on the line for justice, but I do think that, in a small way, this is an example of the less powerful asking for what they need  — which are very simple, reasonable things really, mainly assurance from publishers that they will protect our privacy and don’t support stalking or doxxing of book reviewers — and having the powers-that-be are act as if they’re the ones under attack.  Deborah Smith, a writer who’s also very involved with Belle Bridge Books — an imprint I loved, sob  — went so far as to call us “the book reviewer Taliban.” (Which is offensive on just SO many levels.)

No decision here… just thinking aloud.

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13 responses to “To Blog or Not to Blog

  1. Miss Bates says:

    What Deborah Smith said is hurtful and an unfair assessment of the bloggers I know and love *waves* BUT she has every right to say it. Isn’t this what this is about?

    • MaryK says:

      She has every right to say what she wants. Too bad she doesn’t acknowledge that right also belongs to reviewers. A lot of authors act/are acting like they’re owed positive reviews. Blogger Blackout is a bit like a strike – here’s what no reviews looks like. After complaining about how reviews are done, they’re now complaining about the lack of reviews.

      • Miss Bates says:

        You are absolutely right, but I want us to behave better than that.

      • willaful says:

        Sorry, the thread won’t let me respond to the last comment. What about this do you think is bad behavior? I grew up amongst people to whom a strike is a sacred duty, so that’s a legitimate question. 🙂

      • MaryK says:

        @Miss Bates says: “You are absolutely right, but I want us to behave better than that.”

        I don’t see a parallel between her comments and the Blogger Blackout. The BB is a reaction to the stalking of a reviewer and the support that behavior received from authors. There is, I think, legitimate concern that other authors will be emboldened by that support and more incidents will occur. The BB is an example of what could happen if reviewers are scared away from reviewing. I don’t see it as bad behavior. It’s an exercise of the only option reviewers have to protect themselves.

        Her comments are just more of the same and illustrate that some don’t consider reviewers to be people equally entitled to their opinions.

    • azteclady says:

      I agree that Deborah Smith can say whatever she wants, but it’s also our right to make decisions based on our feelings about what other people say.

      Particularly when they are saying how they feel about us.

  2. Lori says:

    I trust you’ll make a decision that feels right. And it’s your decision for you, no one else can tell you what to do.

  3. azteclady says:

    Through the years I’ve been around bloggers and reviewer, Deborah Smith has managed to say a large number of incredibly stupid, offensive and irrational things. I avoid her and pretty much any author who I know approves of, or agrees with, what she says.

  4. sonomalass says:

    One nice thing about the blackout is that it’s voluntary. We aren’t a union, or any sort of organization, and I don’t think anyone participating is going to think less of those who choose other ways of expressing solidarity (like this post).

    For me, as for many others, recent incidents have made me question some aspects of my reviewing, blogging and tweeting about books. Why do I do it? What makes it worth my time and energy? And going forward, how will I do it so that it remains a worthwhile, rewarding activity and not an unpleasant obligation with a side of potential threatening behavior?

    DS calling us “Taliban” was the extreme, but several other authors chimed in about how “mean” we were to “pile on” to “poor Kathleen,” or how we were “punishing authors” unfairly by not blogging. It’s ridiculous, of course (especially the Taliban comparison — way to take away from the very serious harms done to women IRL), but it also makes me extra sensitive to the way I’m/we’re treated in the overall world of writing, publishing, selling, consuming books. For now, I’m sticking with authors who I trust value my purchase and consumption of their work.

  5. […] I don’t want to be an asshole by comparing this protest to something like Ferguson, where people are putting their lives on the line for justice, but I do think that, in a small way, this is an example of the less powerful asking for what they need  — which are very simple, reasonable things really, mainly assurance from publishers that they will protect our privacy and don’t support stalking or doxxing of book reviewers — and having the powers-that-be are act as if they’re the ones under attack.  — Willaful, A Willful Woman […]

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