tl;dr: Author violates blogger’s privacy, stalks her, visits her at home, calls her at work, and wonders why the blogger doesn’t use her real name online. I can’t even make this up.
Updated 20/10/2014 to add links to Dear Author and SBTB’s round-up of the article and reactions.
Updated 27/10/2014 to add links to YA Reads and Alex Hurt’s blog, which include firsthand accounts of events that contradict Hale’s interpretation.
I rarely talk about author/blogger-reviewer stoushes here because, well, the minefield is endless and better bloggers than I will usually cover all the pertinent details more articulately.
But today, The Guardian published a piece that, as a I read it, literally made me feel like I might vomit.
If you’re even tangentially interested in books, or online reviewing of any kind, you need to read it. Basically, a debut author (linked but not named so egosurfing gets no hits from me) receives a tweet from a blogger, realises that the blogger hated her book, joins the STGRB support group, visits the blogger at home and later calls her at work, and feels vaguely satisfied to have proven that said blogger was not using her real name and personal details online.
As many on Twitter have pointed out, the ethics of publishing this piece is questionable. Yes, the first person account is intriguing in a train wreck sort of way, but this isn’t fiction. And it might not be over. Which means a reader was stalked — and in all likelihood is still feeling unsafe — because she talked about why she hated a book. Because I’m fairly sure this would never have escalated had that review been 5-stars and effusive in praise.
And yet something strange — and fairly hideous — happened on social media. You can read the comments to the article yourself, and I have a curated Storify thread here with some tweets, but it’s by no means extensive. Though most authors and readers were quick to express shock, horror and dismay at the stalker’s actions, some authors tweeted support, calling the stalker ‘bold’, and one even asked for a follow-up, possibly a ‘thriller’.
Read the rest of this post.