A Personal Response To A Shocking THING That Happened

I typically never write posts about drama or any THINGS happening in the book world (minus the Speak Loudly/book banning thing years ago) because 1) I don’t like getting blogging community specific to isolate my readers who aren’t in it and 2) I generally don’t have the energy to rehash these things… but something that happened over the weekend has given me a lot to think about so I feel I must.

What happened: I’m not going to go into details of what happened or analyze it for you or really give too many opinions. The only opinion that matters: what this author did was so wrong. It crossed a huge line. I read THIS article (it goes to a safe link so they won’t get hits) and was appalled. Basically an author stalked (no literally STALKED as in went to her HOUSE) a blogger who I know and wrote an article about it trying to pass her craziness off in this cutesy, funny matter. I was not laughing because no matter what this blogger did or didn’t do…stalking is a line that I’m NOT okay with. Dear Author wrote about this in detail so I’ll link that if you want more on this.

I’m not really here to talk about WHAT HAPPENED or give opinions other than how it made me feel personally as a blogger.

I started blogging in 2010. I wanted to talk about books I was reading and connect with other readers because I had nobody in my circle of people to talk books with. It was a smaller community then and publisher/blogger relationships were still in the earlier stages of forming. I fell into this community and became friendly with a lot of people quickly. I’ve met SO many people I met online IN REAL LIFE — at conferences and events and such. I have felt safe in this really wonderful part of the internet that I call home. My readers are lovely. I’ve had LITERALLY no drama in my blogging life.

I would have never, back in 2010, imagined a blogger could be stalked by an author over an opinion they had about their book — regardless of how the book blogger talked about the book or what she did or did not do.

I tweeted this after I read the article and processed it:

Screenshot at Oct 19 14-38-59

A few things I’ve thought about since this:

 

ONE // I have always felt safe in this community and have been VERY open. I feel like you guys are my close friends and in some ways..family. Because of that safety, I’ve let my guard down and forgotten that the internet CAN be a scary place and is not always used for good. I haven’t given out OBVIOUS personal information but I think about the little ways someone could EASILY piece together important details if they wanted to and were looking that hard. I’ve tweeted landmarks across from where I live to local bloggers without even thinking twice about who was looking. I’ve not even thought twice about sending packages out with my return address and real name to giveaway winners. Everyone knows my husband’s name. My niece’s names. I’ve said where I used to live to authors and bloggers who are local and that my sister still lives in that town. I may have mentioned her name randomly (though I typically just say my sister).

Individually these things are probably not problematic but if the wrong person who I’ve wronged or who becomes obsessed (and no dear god I’m not saying I think this would happen to me) or WHATEVER gets a hold of it and wants to find out more personal details? THEY COULD. I’m not saying I’m not going to close up shop and stop being personal but it has definitely give me a lot to think about and I’ll be more vigilant about what I’m sharing online.

TWO// Younger bloggers and readers, please be careful. I’m a 29 year old woman and I see the mistakes I’ve made. The times I’ve let my guards down. I know it’s easy to feel comfortable but be careful about where your address is going. Your personal details. Who you are talking to. It’s a good reminder to all that we don’t always know who we are talking to and what kind of person we are interacting with. Talk with your parents about it. Think about where you can be safer.

THREE// It’s a scary time to be a blogger in a way — even in this bookish space. I’ve seen a book blogger being sued over something she wrote about a publisher. And now I’m seeing stalking. The bullying and the trolls and such were scary enough to me. I do not want to quit blogging but I’m finding myself overwhelmed about how things have changed since I started. I don’t write a lot of SUPER negative reviews because I generally don’t have the energy to spend that much time on something I disliked but it makes you think about how all it takes is for one person to become so enraged and so obsessed about the things you have written. The opinions you have.

FOUR // Just know that when I hold giveaways or have your personal information for ANY REASON..I destroy it. You can feel safe that your information will never be given to anyone other than who I have informed you would have it (ie: when a giveaway is sponsored by a publisher and I sent your info to a publisher).

FIVE // I KNOW that this is not the majority of authors. So many authors have been equally as disgusted and have spoken out about how this is NOT OKAY. I know that this is not the norm. That is comforting. I know that this community is mostly comprised of lovely people. I know this. But I think we can all do with being a little bit safer.

 

I know I’ve had a lot to think about after this. I’d love to know what it’s made you think about especially in regards to your safety as a blogger and internet user and how you safeguard yourself! (My intention is not to open this up to nastiness at all. I have my opinions of ALL aspects of this and I’m keeping most of them to myself and to close friends because that’s how I roll. So that kind of conversation isn’t going to be welcome here. Stalking is wrong. The end. You will not change my mind on THAT part).

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. Oh wow! Thanks for reminding us about our safety.

    • It’s just something I never think of in this community! I totally get why people use fake names but I’ve never felt like I needed to use one. Sad that even a blogger who was being very private could still be found. (at least as far as it looks to me in this article).

  2. I was really shocked and appalled at what the author did. It was seriously a WTH moment and I was so disappointed that people in the comment section was calling this ‘fascinating’ and ‘interesting.’ Like how is stalking so justified for a review? But it made me question my own safety too. I actually took down a negative review I wrote for a book because I was honestly getting annoyed at people insulting my intelligence and telling me I didn’t understand the book or that I’m a heartless person. That being said I use my real name on twitter and I do get personal on my blog, but I’m thinking if I should take down certain personal information that I’ve tweeted or shared on my old blog. It’s a scary situation to be a part of and it makes you question the trust between a publishing house and the blogger. Like I’ve decided that I don’t want to read ARCS, but for those who do read them how is this situation going to affect them? I feel like a certain trust has been lost now. At least from what I can tell.

    • Yeah I’m just so shocked. Regardless of what really did happen and the whole real identity thing…stalking is not the answer. Why would Kathleen think it is her JOB to out this person? Let’s just say that she DID lie about age, used pics, etc….that still doesn’t give a reason to stalk someone and show up at their HOME. At least that’s my logic.

      It’s scary. I’m wondering how many bloggers are thinking about their negative reviews and how they will proceed. Like I said, I don’t have SUPER negative reviews but I have plenty didn’t like this. This author proved that she had issues with a 3 star review. You just never KNOW how someone is going to take an opinion or what they will become fixated on. I’m definitely combing through all my accounts and looking to see where I could be safer.

      I have a little bit of insight and I do know that Harper did not give that info out. The address was given by a book club thing that was happening (I’ve seen old tweets confirming this). As far as the confirming of the address, a source has told me that as far as they know it wasn’t Harper. The article says A publisher so I hope she didn’t go around to another publisher to do this confirming. What my source also told me is that they do NOT give out that info so I still do feel safety in publisher’s having my info but I would really appreciate some of these details of WHO confirmed this address to be out there and for Harper to make a statement so that we can still feel safe.

  3. SO well said. Likewise, I’ve been relatively vigilant on things.. I’m even careful to not show too many landmarks or reference to things that are near my home but yes – return addresses on packages sent out is a big one. That’s always made me uneasy but I fear the package getting lost in the mail and needing to be returned.. tho in hindsight, the fear of stalking or danger should be more important!

    Really, a great post on reminders to stay careful and that it IS still the internet. It’s a shame that a small percentage of occurrences has soured the overall “family” feeling that we’ve all (for the most part) had.

    • Thank you, Michele. I debated even talking about it but I really do care about my readers and other bloggers so I felt it important to write about how it all made me feel in regards to my safety. It’s SO easy to forget that the blogging community isn’t this safe little space because we’ve all had so many great experiences together and so many of us have connected IRL with other bloggers! Scary to know that these things can happen but, if anything, it’s given me time to reflect.

  4. I noticed immediately after reading that article that my twitter profile featured my first and last name. I fixed it. Unfortunately my first name is just different enough that I still feel a little exposed. Using a pseudonym seems like a reasonable safety precaution to me.

    • I know somebody who uses a fake name because their last name is not common (my first and last name are haha..even my maiden name) so to me it makes SO much sense to use a different name to protect yourself. Is there a nickname you can use from here on out?

      • I’m switching to the name I went by before college. Doesn’t quite feel like me anymore, but it’s safer πŸ™‚

  5. I read that author’s article yesterday and I found it appalling and terrifying. And the fact that so many commenters on the article were applauding the author was frightening. When did it become socially acceptable to stalk someone? Maybe the reviewer did use a false name (I don’t know her, so I don’t know). But considering what happened, I certainly can’t blame her!
    I’m not a blogger, but I do sometimes get books and ARCs from authors and review them on Goodreads and Amazon. Thankfully, all the authors that’s I’ve been in contact with have been wonderful kind women (whose books I like, and therefore don’t have to give a negative review). After this though, I’ll certainly be less likely to review a book if I don’t like it in the future. Thankfully, I’ve always been pretty careful to protect my identity online. My Amazon reviews and Twitter don’t use my last name and I plan to continue being as careful (if not more so) in the future.

    • I was so shocked to see how many people who supported her. I don’t care what you think about Blythe and what she did….(nobody knows for sure it’s all mostly heresay) but none of that is justifiable, at least to me, b STALKING and showing up at her house. What if she has specific reasons for hiding her identity…was abused, etc. It’s scary. Why did KH think it was her JOB to expose her?? SIGH. I’m so with you.

      I don’t accept self published books for many reasons but one of those is because I never wanted to give an individual I don’t know my address (esp there have been so many stories of self pub authors going off on reviewers). I only give it to authors I’ve worked with and speak with personally.

      You just reminded me I should probably check out my Amazon account!

      • Yeah, it’s easy to forget about Amazon. I just checked to be 100% sure! Though I saw on my Amazon account that I actually did write one really negative review there in the past… I’m tempted to delete it now.
        I’ve given my address to a few authors (none of them self-published though, all with reputable publishers). But they’re all Christian authors and they never seem upset if someone doesn’t like their book (and they’re always thrilled when someone volunteers to read and review their books). Thankfully most authors understand that not everyone will love their books.

  6. trina ruck says:

    I for one have always appreciated how positive you are even on negative reviews. And your openness about your personal life has made feel welcome and like I could be open as well. I would hate if you or any blogger felt like they had to stop being real as a result of this mess. Also, lol, I had been thinking about asking you for your address if that wasn’t too nosy so I could send you a card, but now I feel really creepy. Anyway, thanks for your honesty about this situation without fueling the fire. Very well said.

    • I know I’ll still be very open about ME and who I am but I need to be smarter about the smaller details! That’s for sure. And girl I know you! We have talked a lot! πŸ™‚

      Will and I have talked about maybe getting me a PO box just to be even safer. Not a bad idea honestly. I know a couple of other bloggers who do!

  7. YES. While I’d like to think that the blogging community is well-intended and genuine, events like this really remind us that it’s SO, SO incredibly easy for people to find personal details– just a couple clicks for the author on LinkedIn to find the blogger’s workplace and home, another couple of clicks on Facebook. That to me is incredibly scary and we forget sometimes in the process of being honest and real that there are trolls out there.

    I definitely agree that younger bloggers need to be careful since the book blogging community has a lot of young bloggers who are 12/13/14 and while education is provided in school about internet safety, it’s often not taken seriously.

    When people buy domains, whether for their blog or website, they often have to put personal info down for WhoIs and WhoIs is a public. Some domain providers will provide a service to “mask” that info for a minimal fee (I think NameCheap offers it for an extra $3-4/year?) DMs often aren’t private at all since many apps need authorization to use your Twitter account as sign-in and included in the authorization list is the ability to view DMs. I’m going through my permissions list on Twitter to de-authorize apps I haven’t used in a while. The list goes on, really, and it SHOULD be unnecessary but recent events have brought to light the darker side of things.

    For bloggers who are thinking about blogging anonymously, Cuddlebuggery has a great in-depth series about doing so: http://cuddlebuggery.com/blogger-support-network/blogging/

    • YES. It’s so easy to forget this kind of thing when you feel so safe. That there ARE people out there. I mean, I would never have thought this would happen in this community but here we are.

      It really does scare me with these younger bloggers. I mean, when I grew up, chat rooms and the internet was just starting and the FEAR OF CREEPY OLD MEN PRETENDING TO BE 15 YEAR OLD GIRLS was drilled into me. It was all still new. Nowadays it’s easy to get sloppy and not as careful because the internet is SO MUCH MORE a part of our life than it was before. I didn’t have access to it on my phone back then (lols we just had SLOWWWW dial-up back in those days on our computer) but now it’s so easy to check in, tell everyone what you are doing, where you are, etc. It’s scary. I see my young family members on these sites and I feel scared for them and also I see things that alarm me.

      OOH you just reminded me that I need to check my host to see what info I have out there!! And good call about DMs. I always give my address through them. I really need to make sure I’m deleting things and asking the same of others.

      Thank you for linking that! I hope readers might be interested in that if they are pondering what to do!

  8. I’m just a little older than you and I remember when I was first on the internet, we were all cautious about our personal information. Most people didn’t use their real names. Everybody went by screen names or made-up names that sounded real. I think Facebook and the like has made us all a lot more lax. My Facebook is under a fake name (it’s for games only), which I believe is against their TOS, but I don’t care. Still, my real name is out there. I’ve won giveaways and sent out books to giveaway winners. I’ve had authors and publishers send me books. I feel a little safer because I don’t use my home address – I have a UPS store mailbox that I use for almost everything, including orders from places like Amazon – but no one is really that hard to find if you’re determined to find them.

    • YES I just typed that into a response to someone above! IT was DRILLED INTO OUR BRAINS. I remember my mom found me in a chat room back in the day and FLIPPED A SHIT. But I so agree with you…it’s easy to feel safe and get sloppy with our info and details of our lives (big thing I see lately is robberies and attacks bc of posting you are on vacation or home alone) because the internet SURROUNDS us and fills our lives.

  9. I haven’t been online much the past few weeks, so I completely missed all of THIS. I’m kinda glad because this is incredibly shocking and appalling. This is a great reminder regarding safety, and maybe more important, that it IS the Internet we’re talking about. The Internet can be a wonderful tool, but it remains unpredictable and this only proves it. It makes me sad that things like this happen.

    • YES be glad you didn’t see it unfold. I NEVER EVER EVERRRR let the dramas of the internet consume me but omg I couldn’t stay away yesterday because this is different. YEP. Well said…we can’t get too comfortable ever. It IS the Internet and it and its users are not always well intentioned.

  10. I know I was tweeting with you when this happened last night… and I’m still shocked by it. I also wrote a post (similar to yours, avoiding talking about the conflict, but focusing on how it made me feel), urging bloggers to make sure their info was safe after I found out mine was not. And I’m definitely going to be much more careful. I hate that it shook up this community like this because it’s always been my safe haven.

    http://www.happybookloversblog.com/2014/10/on-internet-privacy-cyberbullying.html

    • I couldn’t sleep last night so I got up and had to put my thoughts down because I really feel sick about it. MAN. It’s shocking. I really do hope that, if anything good can come out of something so horrible, it is that everyone is a little bit more careful. I mean, obviously Blythe had been very private and Hale STILL was able to find so much info. (or at least it seems..who knows). I know I don’t want to make it any easier on a person to find my info!!

      Off to read your post!

  11. I just posted a short discussion post about this too.
    I’m a teen blogger and I can’t help but think: “What if Blythe was a teen blogger like me?” or “What if I were in that position?” It’s a disturbing thought πŸ™
    I really hope all of our fellow bloggers are taking precautions to be safe online.

    • YES that is so scary. I adore and feel like a big sis to so many of you younger bloggers and it frightens me FOR YOU GUYS. What if a blogger was a teen but didn’t want people to know that and so said they were older and then THIS happens. It compromises the safety of people. If I, as an adult, have been careless with some of my personal details it scares me to think how many teens have to. Though I hope you all are just smarter than me! πŸ˜›

  12. This whole thing makes me sick to my stomach. I mean, I started blogging a little bit earlier than you, but our friendship goes back to goodreads days of like 2008. So, like, nearly seven years or so.I never had any sort of inkling that anything like this could happen back then. Maybe our corner of the internet was a little more cozy? I mean, in those days goodreads did not bring to mind any sort of drama ever. I just, this whole thing that Hale did is my worst nightmare and incredibly inappropriate and then, when you put it in the context of her Thought Catalog essay, it is enough to make one fear for their life.

    I am glad you posted this. A good reminder to stop playing so fast and loose with my information, which sucks because the person that I am blogging is pretty much the same as the person that I am in real life — as you can most definitely confirm.

  13. Wow, I’ve been off Twitter/Social Media for a few days…jeeeez! This is just horrible! We all know this is not okay, right? Eeek!

  14. Thank you for this post. I recently talked about this topic on my blog recently as well. I’ve done some work in the past few years learning about this type of thing happening – the usage of the Internet to stalk and it is really terrifying. Even though it can be great to get to know people online, it’s also a really dangerous place because you never really know who you are talking with. I hope that situations like this can be avoided in the future and that this author learned her lesson.

  15. The internet is a scary place. I’ve always been warned to not give out personal details, get a PO Box when sending out books, my Dude does not want to be mentioned by name or in any way. Heck he didn’t even want me to reveal I had a “Dude” in my life. As someone who does a lot of online research I know how much personal details there are online and if they are in the wrong hands it can be a scary thing. It’s easy to track down where someone lives, who their friends and family are, how much they’ve contributed to political campaigns, how much they paid for their homes. And with Foursquare or people who have location data on their tweets (yes I’ve seen authors with this and I worry about them) or authors/bloggers who don’t private their domains, it’s potentially dangerous. You just don’t really know who you’re interacting with. And while things seemed relatively “safe” back in 2010 it’s becoming more and more obvious that it’s really not.

    Thank you for sharing this post. You have been one of those transparent bloggers who I’ve always admired for being open about their lives, allowing your readers to really get to know you. My job and the people in my life have always requested anonymity so I haven’t been able to be so open. But it’s always risky, with so much animosity, envy and pettiness these days and now with this recent post (if it is in fact more than a publicity stunt, attention-grab or possible lead-in for a future novel) and the scary behavior this author has exhibited, to continue to be so trusting. I hope it doesn’t change things for you, or scare you away from blogging and sharing.

    I don’t know Blythe or this author so I don’t have a personal stake in the outcome of this. But I really hope that Blythe isn’t living in fear after what happened and I hope the author gets the help she needs as that article felt largely like a huge cry for help… if true.

  16. Honestly, I couldn’t believe what I was reading in that article. Seriously unhinged behavior from the author – and the sad thing is that so many people backed her up. She needs to realize that this was wrong on all sorts of levels – starting with paying for online background checks and ending with showing up on the bloggers doorstep. Actual WTF?!!! Like, I’m still having trouble coming to terms with what she did. Also, really surprised that anyone is excusing her behaviour?! The whole thing creeped me out – that anyone would go to such lengths…The most I’ve had is an email from an author after a negative review (even though I was still totally fair in my review!) and that was uncomfortable enough for me.

    Like you said, it is the internet – and maybe we should all be a little more vigilant in protecting our identities online. Oh, and I’m so going to comment on this post using my name. I know. And I should know better: I used to moderate a UK forum for a TV show years back and my eyes were opened to some of the batshit crazy stuff that goes on with people online. The book blogging community may be a tight-knit one, but we need to remember that we’re part of a wider community where everyone can have a looksee – that’s the scary thing. I guess it’s easy to get complacent online when everybody is sharing information left, right and center, but maybe we should think again!

    I have all sorts of opinions on other aspects of this too and a lot more I’d like to say on it – but maybe I should stop now. Who knows who might see read this! :O

  17. It never crossed my mind how the things we say about books–good or bad–could cross the safe line. I felt safe for a long time because I found incredible talking about books with people around the world but ever since a blogger was sued by a Publisher and now a blogger was stalked, I am scared tbh. I am not a famous blogger, I just write reviews for GR and Amazon but it left me thinking that these things can happen to anyone. From now on I am definitely being more careful to what I share about myself on the internet.

  18. I had no idea that this had even happened! I went to the original article to see what was said and read the whole thing with an open mouth. I even created an account to comment. I was appalled. And the best of it is they’re making the blogger out to be some kind of troll. Are you kidding? This angers me so much! We ALL have opinions on things that are in the public domain – movies, books, songs etc. Do you see any actors or singers rocking up to someone’s door or harrassing them because they gave them a bad review?? And let’s be blunt here – movie and music critics are a LOT harsher than book bloggers. It was one review. The author either has a god complex or can’t take criticism, in which case, they’ve picked the wrong career. Your post more so than the original article has made me think a little more about online safety though, and unfortunately, I am going to go back through some of my posts and make them a little more vague. I never considered using a pen name, because really so many businesses operate online that people can find addresses and phone numbers if they want to. I do try to keep a certain level of privacy though – I have separate social media accounts mostly. But I will be tightening things after this! Aside from that, this author is published by Full Fathom Five, and considering many of us are boycotting Fray and CO, I think Hale has more to worry about!

    Completely shocked by this (and by a publication such as The Guardian for posting it!) and will be doing a response!

  19. Also, can you say anymore on the blogger being sued? I’m curious as to what was said that could result in a law suit.

  20. This whole situation has definitely made me think more carefully about what information I’m putting out into the world, whether that be via my blog or Twitter or even Instagram. I suppose that’s a good thing–even though the book community itself might feel safe, sometimes I forget that ANYONE can see what I post on Twitter and Instagram.

  21. Wow, I had not heard of this. I definitely think about the personal information on my blog sometimes – my last name is very public, as well as my fiance’s name and details about the area in which we live (though I’ve tried not to mention the specific town), but anyone following my social media would be able to piece together a lot. Thanks for this reminder that we need to be careful with what we share! And I agree this author took it way too far. Her behavior was completely inappropriate, and if I were her, I would be too embarrassed to actually share the story with anyone.

  22. This whole thing is absolutely terrifying. I use my real name everywhere and never thought twice about it. I’ve met lots of other bloggers and authors at events, sent out giveaway packages with my address and even friended lots of bloggers, readers and authors on Facebook. You know I post lots of pictures of my son there. I’ve always felt safe, but this is a reminder that there are crazy people out there. Nobody should be supporting what Hale did. I don’t usually take the time to write overly negative reviews because I don’t want to waste my time or hurt anyone, but who’s to say what someone will view as “negative”. What if someone doesn’t take criticism well, even if it’s done in a respectful or well meaning way? What a reality check this whole thing is…it’s scary.

  23. This was just SUCH the wrong way to go about things. I don’t know what possessed Hale to become so crazy about it. Most authors understand when releasing a book that there will likely be poor reviews. It’s the nature of the beast; not everyone likes everything. She should have expected it. And if she was particularly upset with the review she was given, then she should have contacted the reviewer appropriately (i.e. via email or a message on Goodreads/Twitter/etc.) to clarify what she had issue with. And then…most importantly…she should have LEFT IT ALONE. The fact that she went into that blogger’s personal life is uncalled for. I don’t care what the blogger did or didn’t do. Even if the blogger went into Hale’s own personal information, she should have either let it go or (had there been legal or safety issues, which it’s my understanding there wasn’t) gone through law enforcement. Going vigilante and trying to shame this blogger was unprofessional and completely out of line. I am appalled that she thought her actions were justified and that The Guardian felt this was okay to support.

  24. You’ve taken the words right out of my mouth! I was so disturbed reading the article, and I don’t think there was any right reason the author could do that. She tried to justify it, but in the end, she literally did stalk someone down just to make herself feel better. That obsession is insane! I agree with all your points and whilst I hate having to feel wary about what I post, I still need to remember that the internet is never really a safe place – even for book bloggers.

    Such an interesting read though!

  25. When I was a bit younger (maybe 12 or 13) I was really cautious about my presence online. I used an alias and a different age so that I could create a bit of a wall between myself and the Internet. Now that I’m a bit older I no longer do that because 1) the book blogging community has a safer feeling than plain old “life” blogging, and 2) I didn’t like the wall between me and the friends I made.

    However after the release of this article I’m reminded WHY I wanted to use an online alias in the first place. People are CRAZY and will do CRAZY things. It’s the fact that Kathleen Hale was angry over a one star review… That’s what scares me most. I try not to one star review on my blog because I just don’t want to bother with it, but now I’m truly scared about it. Beforehand it was more of a “I don’t want to start drama with an author” and now it’s “Oh God, what if she gets so angry she starts stalking me?” That’s the worst part.

    What also breaks my heart is how it has affected you! I love hearing about the bloggers behind the blog, so I hope you don’t remove yourself entirely. Many of your readers enjoy the non-bookish posts as much as the bookish ones. I definitely understand being more mindful of what you do share, though. People can be terribly crafty and it can always come back to bite ya. πŸ™

  26. When I read the article by that author, it read like the script of a bad movie. I couldn’t believe that this had actually happened, that the author felt obliged to write about and call out the blogger by name, and that a well known newspaper would allow that post to go live.

    I agree with you on blogging. Book bloggers write reviews for free. We don’t get paid, don’t get any glory from it, and it’s not something we do aimed at destroying any author. We have opinions, not always shared, but it’s an outlet we have to share about something we love doing: reading.

    Books are a product. Reviews are going to be positive and negative. You have to take the criticism with the fame. It’s just part of it. Bloggers don’t have deep pockets from blogging, it’s about community. While the blogger mentioned wasn’t sweet in her review, she wrote it as she wished, and that’s it. If the author hadn’t called out that blogger, she would remain nameless for the most part.

    In my opinion, if the author has to go that kind of lengths to address 1 negative review, it is easy to apply that to her inner world and wonder the lengths she goes to when upset with someone in her circle. Authors are people, I get that. I understand that. That is why I enjoy interacting with them. However, it is not okay for someone, anyone, to feel the need to harass, google maps someone’s home, rent a car!, go to their house and look around (even seeing the person’s dog), and then calling the person up at work to interrogate them. What is even crazier is that no one in the author’s circle told her to “stop!”. Stop the insanity. Leave it alone. Go write. Sign up for book tours. Do something, but not stalking. Not even her friend that she practiced with what to say to the blogger.

    What I have taken from this, is that like you, bloggers need to be careful. While I used to accept self-published books for consideration to review, I won’t anymore-unless it is attached to a tour company with a tour host that I already know. I also have decided to keep both my FB accounts separate: one for friends/family that are outside book world, and the other for my blogging and author friends. Thirdly, I will be mindful what I post on Twitter, FB, and other social media sites regarding my family and personal information, because I just never know who will show up at my door. Although, I wouldn’t encourage it, because I live in Texas, and well…we are a rare breed here πŸ˜‰
    Keep writing, keep sharing, and for all the loonies out there….we may not be rich, backed by publishing companies, or even hold any prestigious titles, but we live in the free world where our voices will not be silenced! Ever.

  27. I try to be really careful about personal information, but yes I have let a few things slip from time to time. This is a nice reminder. That this is still the internet. Anything that we put on our blogs is public. We need to be careful about what we say, pictures we use, and so forth.

  28. Yeah, this weekend was a real eye-opener. I’m 31 and I’ve gotten very complacent in my internet security and it wouldn’t be too hard for people to figure out things about me. When I first started out online, I had a screen name/identity I created because I was in high school and was constantly warned about internet predators and danger, but as I segued into blogging and grew up, I dropped the identity and my guard.

    I feel like the damage is done for me now – my info is out there and it is what it is. But younger and new bloggers should take what happened seriously and protect themselves.

  29. I was so, SO upset by this whole thing. I have been stalked online, with hundreds of pictures of me posted along with my address, where I work, etc and it is HORRIBLE. When I first saw that this happened yesterday it made me sick to my stomach and I couldn’t concentrate all day. And seeing anyone blame Blythe for ANY of it made me so angry, because I know there are people who would say that I did things that brought on my own stalking. Just . . . ugh.

  30. Holy wow. I hadn’t heard of this, but everything the author did was wrong. And frankly, if you can’t handle reviews, then you shouldn’t publish. It’s one of the first things you learn with doing professional writing — you can’t hold your own work as precious.

    Internet safety is a HUGE issue for many reasons. There’s only one outlet that has my actual last name (only because they will not let me use my preferred online last name). My hosting service protects my WhoIs information.

    In her article, so many people warned the author not to engage and that this could ruin her career. I hope the backlash from this teaches her a lesson. Her behavior was completely terrible.

  31. Wow – that is scary. I will be very careful about putting personal info on my blog from now on…

  32. Ok so yeah, you know that I wrote something too this morning because I just sat this weekend and this weighed me down. The fact that it weighed everyone else down, that weighed me down too. I’ve been really open about myself to a degree within this community – using my own picture and stuff – and I’ve LOVED that at events people can walk up to my face AND MY VOICE, HAHA and know who I am. And I guess, yeah, I could certainly re-evaluate my behavior on that because of my family and safety. But I just don’t want to dwell in fear of an event. Not gonna preach, but I prayed about it a bit and I just need to be more careful, the end. Also, the negativity that has resulted from a negative event to begin with has been disheartening. I don’t like to see fighting on social media. So I would like it if people could stop so the author-reader interaction could continue – I love it when a debut author feels safe to SQUEE! at home when she/he sees positive response to a new work and likewise there are still authors that I will SQUEEEEEEE!!! over when I see activity on my feeds. I want for that to remain a possibility.

    Your points are AWESOME. I didn’t really approach my thoughts from a safety point as much as a “let’s stay positive, people! this awful THING isn’t the norm!” but YOU’RE SO TOTALLY RIGHT on all of your points. I love this. I hope that by writing it out, you feel a little lighter and better, and I hope your readers do to!! xoxo

  33. This has made book blogging a little more scary and honestly I don’t how to react at this point. I hope that individuals who do get my address for whatever reason do find a way of disposing of that in a manner that is safe. But I suppose if you really want something, you’ll find it.

  34. It’s stuff like this that makes me question my choice to share parts of my personal life on the internet. Thankfully, I’ve never stated my city (that I know of…) or my house address online (unless it was to publishers). I’ve mentioned my friend’s names before, and I’m seriously considering taking those comments and posts down, but I’m not going to bother to. Honestly, their names and my name is so generic and common (I’ve googled myself, if that doesn’t sound wrong) that I honestly don’t think that anyone could find much. It scares me that people might be able to find my school though, but theoretically, schools are nothing when it comes to finding personal information on a person.

    I paid my book host to obscure my address, name, email, etc. from my blog as well as my IP address. I know that doesn’t help when I comment on blogs but it helps when there’s random people looking for my personal information. I’m way careless with my phone number online, and I need to be more conscious of that.

    This happening has seriously scared me. I’m so young, and I’ve never truly felt safe on the internet. I wish things like this didn’t happen, because this is honestly terrifying.

    Thank you for showing this! πŸ™‚ I’ve seen quite a few posts about this on my feed, and I think it’s something that readers/other bloggers need to now about.

  35. This is so crazy.

    I read this article today: http://whattheeff.ca/2014/10/kathleen-hale-2/

  36. Great post Jaime! This whole fiasco over the weekend has definitely been a reminder on safety on the internet (I too grew up with all those initial cautions and rules about the internet and about personal safety and what details not to divulge). It certainly has me thinking about my own internet and blogging habits; I think I may have also gotten a bit lax about divulging some small details about myself or my offline life, but the book blogging community has been so safe and open and welcoming, and I’ve enjoyed chatting with people here that I thought the occasional throwaway line was okay or harmless. Now I’m second-guessing at some of my practices, and while it’s good to be safe and practice some caution, I also hate the feeling of having to second-guess and be worried like this related to something I enjoy (like I’m not stressed enough offline!).

    On another note, I totally echo your sentiment that the book blogging community is not the same as it was a few years ago. There’s been all these setbacks and hiccups with GR and authors but this seems to take it to a whole new level…

  37. I was really shocked and appelled by this whole thing! I’m not a big and popular blogger but this issue made me want to crawl back and just stop blogging. This is really scary.

  38. It is really scary how people behave sometimes. You’re right, we have as a blogging community gotten too relaxed with our personal information. Everything asks for our full name and we freely give it. We need to be more careful.

  39. I’ve always admired your openness. When people often say let your personality shine, that’s usually hard unless you share things about your self and I was always afraid to do so. I’ve always been blogging under a pen name and its been one of the best decisions of my life. At the same time, though, I really want to open up and let my personality shine so I’m not going to let this stop me from sharing who I am; I’ll just be far more cautious than I have been in the past.

  40. Wow. This is some terrifying stuff. And that article you shared? (not the Hale one, the sane one) About how Hale got ACCOLADES for this terrifying stalkery? What?!

    Yes, thank you for this reminder to be safe online. Sometimes I forget. I try and keep relatively anonymous, but I’m sure I’ve left some stuff slip that would make me stalk-able.

  41. 1. I have the same thing and I hate this feeling. It’s like.. suddenly I have to rethink all the things I’ve posted, because what if someone with bad intentions would use that information to find me? It’s sad that it has come to this, because I always felt save and completely myself on my blog. I don’t want to lose that, because I like that you guys get to know me, because we are friends after all.
    3. It’s crazy how we are all starting to get afraid for speaking our mind. There are a lot of crazy things going on and I always felt like being honest was a good thing. As long as you are respectful in your negative reviews, it wouldn’t be a problem.. Boy.. I was wrong.
    5. It’s the positive side, because I sure got even MORE appreciation for all the awesome authors who spoke up. They showed me: this is why I blog. This is why I want to promote books and support authors, a lot of them are worth it.

Trackbacks

  1. […] this post from The Perpetual Page Turner is a good […]

  2. […] A Personal Response to a Shocking Thing that Happened […]

  3. […] Jaime’s Personal Response […]

  4. […] Jamie @Β The Perpetual Page-Turner: a personal response to a shocking thing that happened. […]

  5. […] “A Personal Response to A Shocking THING That Happened” @ The Perpetual Page-Turner: You’ve probably already heard about the Kathleen Hale-stalking scandal, and if you haven’t, there are some links in this post to check out; but this post is mostly about Jamie’s personal response, particularly as a reviewer who is older (late 20s) and has been part of the blogging community for multiple years. This post definitely makes me think about how it affects me – it makes me glad that I don’t enter many giveaways or have any, so my personal address is only known by like one blogger and I don’t even mention the state on my blog, but it makes me kind of regret switching to my real name from “Lia,” even if I don’t use my last name (it’s not like Genevieve is a really common name). […]

  6. […] Jamie shares her personal response to the shocking THING that happened. […]

  7. […] to the Kathleen Hale stuff but these two posts about it really struck a chord with me- one at The Perpetual Page Turner, and one at Dear Author. Β (I also like Jamie’s post about a reading […]