On cyber-bullying authors and Cyber-Bullying Authors

The Guardian reports that Anne Rice has supported a petition for Amazon to implement an identity verification system for reviewers and message board posters in an effort to alleviate the bullying of authors on the site. Earlier this year, Rice herself was attacked by bullies, many posting anonymously or using multiple accounts, when she posted on the Amazon boards.

I didn’t witness the Rice incident, but I certainly followed the Charlaine Harris one. When the ending of the final book of the Southern Vampire Mysteries (a.k.a. Sookie Stackhouse series) was leaked, angry readers cancelled pre-orders and flocked to Amazon and other message boards to rage at Harris. There were many threats to inflict physical harm on her, and many more insults and name-calling.

I have been very unhappy about how the Sookie series shaped up myself, and until now, I have held out on buying the last two books. I can’t blame the people who cancelled pre-orders; it is their right as consumers. It is also within the rights of the fans to be unhappy about the story and to write that they did not like it. But calling Harris names and threatening her is too much.

Like a painting displayed in an art gallery, books are an author’s creative work that is being shared with the world. We are free to critique the paintings and say that the color palette is a visual nightmare or the book’s plot is shitty. But we do not have the right to say that the artist deserves to die or to bombard her webpage and social network accounts with threats or to harass the author with demands that the story end a certain way.

I’m not sure how Rice and the petitioners envision the identity verification system should work, but I’m hoping this also means that the system can alleviate Cyber-Bullying Authors on Amazon, and hopefully in other places like Goodreads as well. We know they exist, and they have a following who can turn into cyber bullies themselves; there is a lot of documentation online that this happened before.

If bullying authors is a problem, then authors who bully reviewers is equally a problem. Like a painting displayed in a gallery, when you publish a book, you open yourself up to criticism, no matter how much those comments stab and poke and bleed out your authorial pride. Authors, of course, have the right to complain against reviewers who go above and beyond just plain snarky or cruel criticisms on their blogs or SNS accounts, especially if death threats are involved and if they cause real mayhem. But targeting readers who blog about your work being shitty, and getting your friends and colleagues to target same readers, is just plain unprofessional.

Waiting On Wednesday: “Deadlocked” by Charlaine Harris

 


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

 

I doubt it’s still Wednesday anywhere else in the world, so my usual “I come from the future” excuse won’t work today. The truth is, this really is just a late post because, unfortunately, there is still procrastination in the future. 😛

Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse #12)
by: Charlaine Harris

With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.

Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

Publication Date: 1 May 2012

Dead Reckoning left me hanging, so it’s a relief to know this book will be out in less than a month.

Charlaine Harris has an excerpt of chapter 2 up on her website (click!), and if my math and logic are any good, I’d say the “devious enemy” being referred to in the synopsis is probably werewolf/Sam’s GF/Alcide’s enforcer Jannalyn Hopper. Sorry, Sookie, it really is difficult being the most desirable woman in the supernatural community. 😛

It will be intriguing to see how Sookie and Bill will work together to solve the murder in question. I still can’t forget what happened in the last season of True Blood, where Sookie essentially went all Team Switzerland on us Eric/Sookie shippers. Then again, Sookie is in a different place now when it comes to the books. Just don’t give me a Sookie/Bill reunion, please!

Oh, and I just have to say Charlaine Harris does excellent work when it comes to her characters. Even though I watched True Blood before getting into any of the Sookie books, I can still un-imagine Anna as Sookie, Stephen as Bill, and Alex as Eric because the book characters are very vivid. And that’s saying something considering Alexander Skarsgård’s compelling portrayal of Eric.

I hope that Harris will use this book to start wrapping up any loose ends going into Book 13, which is the alleged last book. While I love the series, it really does have to end some time, and this conflict with King Felipe de Castro of Several States, and the revelations in the Faery world are all good set-ups for the finale. Sookie’s journey has been a very long one, and she deserves her peace and happiness.

⍣ ⍣ ⍣

Honorable Mention for Waiting on Wednesday : Darth Vader and Son  by Jeffrey Brown! Super cute and super sweet! Coming April 18th. 🙂