#BloggerBlackout: On Entitlement #HaleNo

Posted October 28, 2014 by Holly in Discussions | 14 Comments


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.

For the curious, you can visit the #BloggerBlackout and #HaleNo hashtags on Twitter, or visit the links in this post for more information.

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14 responses to “#BloggerBlackout: On Entitlement #HaleNo

  1. Kat

    I can’t believe this has to be said. I can only conclude many people haven’t bothered reading the blackout posts. I think it’s pretty clear what it is and isn’t about. On the upside, I’ve also heard from supportive authors, which has been lovely.

    • I feel like there are people on both side of the equation who are predisposed to believe that “them” (people on the other side) are there just to take advantage of “us” (the first people).

      Then, regardless of what the other side does or doesn’t do, and regardless of what proof of goodwill (or at least lack of malice) is proffered, that people will take offense–and be very vocal about it.

      And it is amazing that we need to make those two basic truths so clear: readers/bloggers (as a class/group of people) don’t owe authors (as a class/group of people) anything, and vice versa.

      It’s both sad and joyful how these incidents illuminate true character, isn’t it?

  2. Things feel more toxic than they’ve ever been – and this is coming from someone who has been slinking around the online romance community since 1999. That’s 15 years ago now. I never thought I’d say “things are worse” but yeah. They’re worse.

    I had reason to stumble back in my archives today (gah, to 2009!) and dang, my blogging was really different back then. It was good. I did a lot more general “book talk” and not quite as many “reviews.” I’d love to get back to that, assuming I can re-hardwire my brain. I don’t know about everyone else, but general “book talk” is a lot harder for me in terms of, I actually have to use my imagination. Reviewing is a muscle I routinely work, so it’s a lot like second nature at this point unless I land on a particularly dull “meh, it was OK” book and can’t muster up anything beyond that.

    So yeah. Now I have to try and find a way to get back into some sort of rhythm and stop screeching on my blog all the time. I’m tired of being outraged – but there seems to be so much to be outraged about. 1) Because I never saw it coming (blindsided I was) and 2) Because I just can’t believe half the crap I’m reading. It all feels so personal. Like I’m personally being attacked. Which, you know, I guess I am since I’ve been lumped in with the Taliban by an author who, no lie, has books in my keeper stash.

    • The problem with many of the things we are feeling outraged about is that they are personal.

      And yes, it’s hard to keep the level of outrage high–but I think a small, constant boil is necessary if we expect anything to change, on any front.

      Those who don’t speak are never heard and all that.

    • Looking through our archives has put us in the same frame of mind. We need to reorganize and change our focus.

      The one good thing that’s come out of this? I’ve blog hopped more and rediscovered my passion for discussing books. So at least there’s that.

  3. Jen

    Oy. I get busy for a few days and don’t read blogs and twitter and things go even further down the toilet! I can’t believe anyone would object to the blackout, and obviously the “Taliban” thing is so far out there the line is no longer visible.

    • I hear you. It’s pretty stupid to compare book bloggers to the freaking Taliban. What is wrong with people?

      What’s your Twitter handle, Jen? I don’t think I follow you on there. Let’s be Twitter friends. 🙂

      • Jen

        You inspired me to finally get off my butt and make a personal twitter account. I have one I need to use for work but I try not to tweet personal stuff there, so I mostly just listen. Now I’ve got one for my own stuff though! @claritygolden13

  4. Just catching wind of #bloggerblackout. Thank you for this post. Sometimes, I think I live under a rock, or something, because I seem to miss so much. LOL! All I can say is that I appreciate every blogger I’ve met and worked with over the past 3 years. Bloggers have generously helped me and, not only that, they’ve become real friends with whom I stay in contact. So, I raise my glass to all bloggers and reviewers.
    And thank you for writing this post. Now I know what’s going on and why.

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