So…

The world is a scary place. In the last week, I’ve read two accounts of bat-shit crazy authors going after reviewers. In both cases, privacy was violated by writers who physically pursued their readers. Because I’ve had the misfortune to receive hate mail, threats (both physical and legal), and four separate visitors directed here from “Jen Warren … Address,” searches, I have to take these things kind of seriously – which is why I’ve made some changes to The Veritable Fount.

The For Reference category, for example, no longer exists in any form. If I ever rejected your book, the evidence is gone. I don’t like backing down from a fight, but every time someone excuses the actions of psychos by citing the terrible behavior of readers, I feel a little more uneasy about what I’ve tried to do here.

Let me explain…

With these events, there has been much discussion, and I’m seeing a lot of comments like, “That author was way out of line. That review would piss anyone off, but the author shouldn’t have stabbed them.” So, if readers weren’t such assholes, then authors wouldn’t be propelled into violence? That’s what that comment says to me.

Many of the people sending this message out would deny it, when accused. They aren’t saying it was okay. They’re just noting that it was that super mean review that made the author hire a PI to track them down. They’re just giving us the back story. That’s all.

Look, there is no excuse for this behavior. No one deserves to be stalked and harassed. No “history” between any two people justifies violence. Unfortunately, I don’t see a lot of solutions toward preventing it The internet is a very public place. I learned over the weekend just how easy it is to physically locate someone, and my honesty on this blog – my opinions and suggestions – make me a target.

I’m not comfortable with that, given the current climate of victim-blaming. I doubt many others are, either. A great number of reviewers write reviews for their friends, because they enjoy it, because they want to share discussions on books they love, and a great review can begin a great conversation.

For the authors out there publicly reacting to the events of the last week, I’d like to offer you a suggestion: don’t even mention the victim’s review. Just as a woman’s outfit does not justify rape, a reader’s words do not justify stalking. Your audience – your customers, fans, readers – are watching. We want to protect ourselves from similar attacks. If you sympathize with a criminal, or even vaguely insinuate that a victim “started it,”  you will forever go on our DO NOT READ lists.

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7 thoughts on “So…

  1. This is horrible. I feel sickened that there are people who would resort to this kind of behavior over a perceived slight. As you said, there is no excuse, ever, for anything like this to happen, just like there is no excuse for stalking or rape. Thank you for speaking your mind; I know it can be difficult when you feel like you’re making yourself a target.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I know a lot of authors and I don’t think the stalking thing would ever occur to them. There are hundreds of thousands of authors and what are the percentage of nuts? I think we have heard about two here, which make the misbehavers a tiny minority. Has anyone here actually known any authors personally who have acted like that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve had an author track me down – not at my house, but showing up at an event to find me. No, this isn’t normal or “average” behavior, but I am troubled by the response of others in regards to recent events.
      Look at it this way: if a friend of mine gets mugged on a street I usually walk down, I’m going to start avoiding that street. My suggestion is for authors to make it clear which side they are on. If they’re backing up the psychos, they are then every bit as scary.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry you’re in this position and I understand your actions completely. Who would have believed we would be dealing with the psychotic behavior we’ve all seen over the last little while. The worst part is knowing there are readers and reviewers being stalked as we speak – they just haven’t made the news yet. Have many unbalanced authors are out there? How many are over-reacting to negative ratings?

    No one wants to be the next victim. We all need to think about our exposure, our comments, our involvement in the reading community. We need to protect ourselves from these unwarranted attacks. The attacks are escalating and I have no doubt that someone will be seriously hurt or killed. We have to protect ourselves. Be Safe Jen.

    Like

  4. Jen,

    I’m sorry to read about the changes and, especially, about your discomfort. Nevertheless, I do understand where you are coming from.

    The self-absorbed individuals who feel entitled to a special treatment are ruining literature for all of us, readers and authors alike. Sadly, there isn’t enough done to send a strong enough message that a response to a negative review, in any form, will not be tolerated. The authors in questions should have been immediately fired, and their advances/royalties used for pulling their books off the shelves.

    I know honest authors whose contracts are not renewed because of slow sales, yet disturbed individuals are given free space to write about their unacceptable behavior, and even glamorize it. It’s a damn shame.

    If we bow down because of fear, all that will be left are the ego-rubbing fake reviews.

    I’d say, “Fuck them!”

    Again, sorry to read this. I hope you are okay, and I’d like to thank you for your honesty over the years.

    By the way, if you ever want to vent anonymously, my blog is always open to honest guest posts.

    Liked by 1 person

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