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:
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).