October 18, 2014

I'm so annoyed! Kathleen Hale reminds me bloggers aren't safe!

The negative things I say here do not apply to all authors because 99% of the authors I've been in contact with are absolutely amazing.

As a book blogger, you come to realize that your book reviews are taken extremely personally by most authors. You also come to realize that there are a lot of authors that obsess over their first few bad blogger reviews. So, when I first "started" reading 'Am I being catfished?' An author confronts her number one online critic, I felt really bad for Kathleen Hale because I know that a lot of authors experience a lot of the same things she was feeling. When she talked about being tempted to make comments to this blogger that she talks about, in my mind I was coaching Kathleen and telling her "No!!! Don't do it!" Or when she went searching for bad reviews on Goodreads or searched her name on Twitter, I kept thinking "Oh no this can't be good!"

Bloggers know that authors do online searches to see what people are saying about them. Knowing this puts pressure on some bloggers because, if you've been blogging a while, you start to feel that you don't want any author to be obsessing about your reviews; especially, because there are some authors that lash out at bloggers, and there are even some authors that tell bloggers to remove their reviews!! (What? We can't have an opinion?!) A lot of bloggers learn to not care what authors think about their reviews/opinions if they’re negative. Other bloggers create pseudonyms so they can freely speak their opinions. I, myself, have had authors who were offended just because I didn't accept their review request, and I know this because the author would then make negative comments on one of my other reviews. This all seems very odd to me because bloggers aren't doing this for money, but at the same time I'm aware that their work is something they cherish. I'm not trying to tell you that you look fat in the outfit you are wearing, I'm just expressing my opinion about a book I wasted precious time reading (that's if I'm talking negatively, which doesn't happen very often). We are just reading books and speaking our mind about it. That's it!

I have a friend that was physically attacked (at her child's school!) because she tweeted her opinion about a book. The author didn’t like her opinion and proceeded to stalk her through Foursquare, finally tracking her down at her child’s school. Yep, stories like this make bloggers feel the need to create pseudonyms to protect themselves.

I've come to the point where, if I'm not liking a book, I simply stop reading it and set it aside so I don't feel the need to write a bad review. I also set aside books I don’t like because I'm already extremely busy with other things in my life, and I don't want to waste my valuable time on a sucky book. But I know of a lot of bloggers (and others) that feel the need to finish every book they've started. And, when you've put so many hours into a book that you didn't like, it's easy to have a lot of negative things to say, especially for that sucky book that took away all those precious hours of your life. I could gripe all day long about how much I hated the movie Drive, but that was only 1 hour and 40 minutes out of my life…unlike a lot of sucky books that take ten or more hours to read!

Now, when I feel the need to say something negative about a book or author, I just text my local blogging friends to vent about it because I don't want the author doing a search on Twitter to find it.

But Kathleen Hale took this searching/stalking thing to a whole other level by getting this blogger’s address, stalking her house on Google Maps, paying money for an internet background check, calling her at work and, finally, renting a car to show up at her front door step unannounced. I'm absolutely appalled! The only thing that had me questioning the blogger was her use of a supposed friend's picture. But since I don't know this blogger in question, I don't know if that information is true to begin with. I sure am not going to take the word of the person proudly stalking a blogger.

Now, Kathleen, if this was someone trying to have a relationship with you (online dating) then I can understand the horror of this hidden identity. But no! She's just a blogger who wants an online presence while keeping her identity a secret! Who cares if she's talking crap about your book!

On multiple occasions I’ve thought about how I wish I would have thought about keeping my identity secret from my blogging presence. Unfortunately, I realized this way too late, and now I'm kicking myself even harder for being so naive.

I just want to finish by saying, "Thank you Kathleen for reminding me that I'm not safe speaking my honest opinion in the book blogging world!"


Susanne @ kindabookish. said...

i also was so disgusted with the article in the guardian. It seems like she thinks her stalking is a simple joke and a habit which you can smirk at. An all those people she talked with and quoted, to support her case. Like someone using a fake name on the internet makes it legit for her going all stalker on someone. Everything seems like a nice anecdote, like a author defending herself. I'm just so angry at this woman at the moment and even angrier for the guardian to give her such a platform.


Mishma @ Chasing Faerytales said...

I was waiting until someone wrote a post about the Kathleen Hale fiasco.
What she's done not only make bloggers question their privacy and safety because of internet, but it also brings a bad name to authors. I know by experience that some authors actually appreciate negative reviews, saying that they learn from their mistakes.
What actually amuses me is the fact that she had the guts to publish her stalking experience on the internet and feel proud about it.

Mishma @ As the page turns

Grace Fonseca said...

I'm deeply concerned about what she has done. I think that Kathleen Hale needs some help. Her going to someone's house and confronting them was not good. I question what people think when they go too far. I know tons of authors don't do this or go this far. I'm a book lover and I should have the freedom to express my opinions without fear of reprisal.

Becca said...

Hale has completely freaked me out. If we are not free to express our opinions without fear of retribution, where does the freedom of speech go? And all the authors cheering her on? Freaked me out even more.

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