Things have been pretty intense in the blogosphere as of late. A publisher is suing a blogger; An author stalked a reviewer, going so far as to visit her home; An author complained that Amazon’s Vine program tanked her book; An author actually assaulted a reviewer. The explosion of the interwebs since Hale’s article has not shown many in a flattering light.
Like many others, these events have left us feeling pretty battered and bruised. Our faith in our community is sadly waning. When the Blogger Blackout was proposed, it seemed like a good way to get back in touch with our roots; to remind us why we started blogging in the first place. I, personally, am not blacklisting any publishers. I’m not even boycotting any (and yes, despite what some think there is a difference).
[Though, in light of recent comments and attacks by author Deborah Smith, Rowena and I are both adding her to our Will Not Buy list. Which, without getting into another long rant, is our prerogative. It isn’t bullying, or us being assholes. It’s our right as consumers to put our dollars – and our promotional efforts – into authors we respect, rather than those who call us “The Reviewer Taliban”.]
This thing with Hale and Blogger blackout seems to have brought out the worst on both sides of the board. Authors and bloggers have said and done some really questionable stuff.
Here’s the thing. I see a lot of authors who think they’re entitled to promotion from bloggers. They aren’t. They’re owed nothing. Even if they send a book for review, they’re owed nothing. With the exception of paid content, which isn’t something we deal with here, there’s nothing an author can do to make me owe him/her anything.
But I’ll share a secret with you. That goes both ways. Authors owe us nothing. They don’t even owe us stories. If an author decided tomorrow to stop writing, that’s nothing to do with me, or you. They may breach a contract with their publisher, but bloggers and authors have no such contracts.
I often seen review blogs complaining that they didn’t get the books they requested for review. Well guess what? You aren’t entitled to review copies just because you have a blog. Just as authors aren’t entitled to promotion just because they visit a blog.
I just want to clarify, we didn’t join the Blogger Blackout to punish anyone. I feel like we have a pretty solid relationship with most publishing houses and the authors we work with, and we’re not trying to take away from that. I wouldn’t mind some reassurance from some of the publishers who have our address that our private information won’t be shared, but that’s a separate issue.
We aren’t “punishing all for the actions of a few”. Our decision to take a step back and breathe was about us. Not anyone else.
Authors, if you have a problem with us taking a step back to think about where we are now, that’s on you. You have the option of not visiting, not sending in review requests, and not asking us to do promo for you.
Bloggers, if you have a problem with the Blogger Blackout, you have the option of not joining. As someone said on Twitter recently, it’s an Opt-In kind of thing, not Opt-Out. No one cares if you choose not to participate. We aren’t trying to force anything on anyone.
I owe authors nothing. They owe me nothing. Period. The end.