Posted by Maegan Provan
I honestly could not think of a real title, so you are just going to have to live with the post entitled “Holy Cow.”
I have a lot I want to talk about in this post and I really hope that I don’t forget something. I want to talk about authors’ rights and homophobia. Please stick with me because I promise I am going to tie them in together.
I know that when I share a post about some crazy author that has destroyed their career for standing up for themselves against bullies, I have preached the “take it quietly” stance. I know that saying that and then sharing posts about authors’ rights might come off as a bit contradictory. So, I’ve decided I am going to clear a few things up. My mother always taught me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. It took me a long time to learn that. Some of my book reviews that I have written might come off as mean, and go against that, but trust me when I say I try to keep my reviews constructive. I try to be diplomatic when it comes to confrontation. I state the facts as I see them and move on. Most authors are this way, as well. Sometimes, though, one person gets rubbed the wrong way, or loves drama and everything goes down hill very quickly.
Authors continue to get labeled as BBA because they take standing up for themselves too far. Like Kathleen Hale, who stalked a troll and went to her house. Or countless other authors who have taken the whole “fight back” stance too literally. Of course, reviewers are just as bad, if not worse. If one reviewer builds up enough of a following, their one bad review can destroy an author’s career before it can even get started. “Social” review sites like Goodreads are a breeding ground for the hate mongers. They will gnaw and rip away at an author until that author snaps and acts out. Of course, there are authors that poke and prod at the reviewers just to get attention so that they can victimize themselves and make the whole situation worse. The whole thing is rather a vicious, fucked up circle. And there are authors who bully other authors because they think they can. Then there are the scammers who try to extort authors and when an author calls them out on their bullshit, the author gets a bad review. (Basically everybody finds a reason to fight.)
So authors, in order to save their careers, keep quiet and let the bullies and trolls walk all over them because their careers can’t afford to be ruined. Someone like myself who has two novels and four short stories really can’t afford to get on the bad side of the masses because my “career” would never recover. We sit back, quietly watching as one or two people at a time post reviews with things like how they couldn’t relate to our characters, or something as bizarre as hating us for no real reason, and we’re expected to take it. We’re supposed to be at the mercy of our readers. Which, before that gets taken the wrong way, I want you all to understand something. We write for our readers. We breathe life into our books for our readers. Why? Because without them , we have nothing. But that does not mean that we should be abused or mistreated. That doesn’t mean we’re attached to strings and forced to dance like puppets. We want to keep a clean image so we say nothing.
Then shit like this happens:
In August of 2014, Interracial Romance author Roslyn Holcomb went to her blog and stated that white people should not be allowed to write about interracial relationships simply because they’re white. (Which, I mean, you’re going to write about people from two different races in a relationship but nobody else can? Seriously? Fuck you.) And recently, the woman said that if she no longer wants to support the LBGQT community and if she ever came across a transgender person (speaking about a Male to Female transition, or as she put it, a “gay boy”) that she would shoot them.
Dumb ass, ignorant behavior like that is why authors fear for themselves and their careers. Every time an author wants to stand up for themselves, they are afraid of being compared to an idiot like that. So we feel like we have to sit back and be quiet. If some authors would get their lives in order and just stop acting foolish, perhaps the forums would be more open and accepting of us standing up for ourselves and expressing our own opinions. We are continuously set back because some authors think that their shit doesn’t stink and they act like it.
I want to work in a community that people are allowed to converse freely without worry that they’re going to be abused or ruin their careers, but we all have to work together to make that happen. There was a time when authors were well respected and I know that it can happen again. Respect the author. Respect the reviewer. Calm the fuck down.