Blogger blackout

Blogger blackout
Blogger Blackout

A list of bloggers participating in the blackout. Last updated 30/10.

Yesterday, we announced that Book Thingo is participating in a review blackout. This is a list of bloggers who are similarly outraged at the support received by author Kathleen Hale for stalking a blogger, even though her claims of provocation remain unsubstantiated — and which are contradicted by at least two first-hand accounts of what happened.

That her supporters, and those who insist that both she and the blogger are at fault, are happy to demonise and automatically assume the worst of someone who is essentially a reader — a lover of books — first and foremost deeply troubles the blogging communities that I’m part of.

The blackout ends October 27 unless otherwise stated by the blogger.

A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet

Babbling About Books — Total blackout from 26/10 to 1/11

Badass Romance

Bibiliodaze – Blackout until 1/11

Book Binge

The Book Pushers

Bookshelfery

Dear Author — No reviews of new books, but will host ‘reader discussions to revive our love of books’

Dor In The Wall

Fangs for the Fantasy

Happiness is a Book

Her Hands, My Hands — No reviews until 1/11

Immersed in Books

Inside the mind of a Bibliophile

Kaetrin’s Musings — Total blackout (and thanks to Kaetrin for the blackout graphic)

Literary Escapism

Love in the Margins — Blackout extended as explained here

Manga Maniac Cafe

Mean Fat Old Bat Reads Romances, Mysteries, and Nonfiction.

The Misadventures of Super Librarian — Retro reviews only

Miss Bates Reads Romance — Total blackout

Romance Around the Corner

Shallowreader’s Blog — I must quote this part: ‘A big fuck you to those who try to control reading and try to dictate to people how they should read.’

Sonomalass’s Blog

Suz’s Space

Tez Says

Vacuous Minx — Sunita is implementing a more extensive and permanent set of changes, and I suggest reading her post in full, because she raises some important issues around publicity

Wicked Little Pixie

Write Here

Writing through Rose Tinted Glasses — No new reviews until 28/11, extended to 1/11

Tagged .

Kat Mayo is a freelance writer, Twitter tragic and compulsive reader. She hosts the Heart to Heart podcast for Destiny Romance, and her reviews have appeared in Books+Publishing. She was the winner of the 2014 RWA Romance Media Award. Kat co-founded Trousseau, a zine for people who love reading romance books. She believes in happy endings, and kills fairies with glee.

32 comments

  1. claire says:

    I will be deleting and unfollowing all the above blogs. This is unfair on authors. I am a fan of reading not childish drama.

  2. Kat says:

    claire — I’m not sure what’s childish or dramatic about pausing our review schedules for a week, bearing in mind that most of us are still talking about books or reading, but if you feel that book blogs exist solely to promote authors, then you’re probably not following any of the blogs listed anyway. Best of reading to you.

  3. For one I think it’s the wrong way to go about things. I love that some of us want to back each other up and that’s great as we should do that for one another, but I think this is the wrong way to go about it. Tell me this, will you punish all the other amazing, respectful authors out there who are trying to get the word out about their books for something they were not even involved in or even know about? That is what I find wrong, I love my authors and I would never think to do such a thing to them. It’s just not fair. as a blogger myself I can’t condone this> I think there are other ways to show support for one another and this is not one of them.

    Steph
    (Starry Night Book reviews)

  4. Janiera Eldridge says:

    I agree with Claire, this is clearly just adding to the drama. I’m glad to see so many blogs NOT participating in this. This is clearly not the best way to go about this and don’t see at all how it will help bloggers. It doesn’t make people want to appreciate bloggers more, most people i speak to say it makes some bloggers look like attention seekers. As a fellow blogger, i agree.

  5. Kat says:

    Steph — I speak only for myself here. You can read other bloggers’ positions on their own blogs; some have been very eloquent and Read Read Review put together a wonderful collection of snippets.

    I don’t blog because I’m friends with authors. I blog because I love books. This blog is not a promotional vehicle for authors or publishers. It’s a place for readers to talk about books. Yes, we become part of publicity when we talk about books, but that’s not our primary purpose.

    Tell me this, will you punish all the other amazing, respectful authors out there who are trying to get the word out about their books for something they were not even involved in or even know about?

    On this blog, I have no obligation to those authors, so I don’t see how I could possibly be punishing any of them.

    And do you know what? Many authors have been supportive of the blackout. One even replied to me, after I declined a review request during the blackout, to tell me that she supports what we’re doing. Not all authors see bloggers as somehow obligated to them.

    It’s just not fair.

    No, it’s not. Most bloggers are in it for their love of books. It’s not fair to expect us to carry the burden of publicity for publishers or authors, or for authors to generate publicity for themselves at the expense of bloggers (in the latter case, I’m talking specifically about Hale).

  6. Kat says:

    Janiera — Not sure how the blackout was so hideously dramatic. Most bloggers kept it to their own blogs, their own tweets, and on hashtags that were created specifically for this purpose.

    I find it more dramatic that the Guardian published an article about stalking a blogger without any comment to denounce, you know, actually stalking.

    It doesn’t make people want to appreciate bloggers more, most people i speak to say it makes some bloggers look like attention seekers.

    In this we have to disagree. I’ve done more bloghopping and commenting on blogs this week than I have in a very long time. If you think we weren’t talking about books during the week, then you haven’t really made much of an effort to find out what the blackout is all about. Many of us (not all) were just not providing free publicity to publishers and authors. I’m pretty sure they survived the blackout.

  7. I don’t blog because I’m friends with authors, I got into this because I love to read and I love to help people find new books to read and or get more people reading. But over the past 3 years I have made some wonderful friends bloggers/authors/cover models/photographers etc in the book business and one thing I have learned from all of them is that we need one another. Without these great authors we would not have anything to read. We all need to work together instead of shutting one another out. That is what people are doing with the black out you are shutting the authors out and that to me is unfair to them and readers. All over one crazy author, yes this person was VERY wrong but to hurt other people over it is wrong also. sorry I won’t do that. This whole thing seems like a huge mess and just seems to be siring up more drama.

  8. Kat says:

    Steph — Please tell me how ‘this whole thing’ is messy, which authors are shut out, and how it’s a bigger drama than the Guardian article? It seems to me that the blackout is only messy and dramatic to those who oppose it. Those participating in it have been reflective and pretty kind to authors, I’ve found.

    As an aside, I can’t believe we have to defend how much we love books and support authors when that’s what we’ve been doing for the however many years we have been blogging. I find it offensive that bloggers can’t even take a week off from promotional posts without being accused of damaging authors. Damaging them from what? Examples, please.

  9. azteclady says:

    I am so puzzled by the whole “punishing authors” angle–not that I wonder how it came to be *coughDScough*

    But I am puzzled that readers are buying into it. Then again, it seems that there are bloggers who are also buying into the whole “one review(er) can destroy a book/career.”

    To each, obviously, his or her own.

    I cannot go without saying, though, that if the blackout is childish, then what word should we use for someone who has to go to the blogs participating and announce she’s un-following them before flouncing off self-righteously?

  10. Rose says:

    I can’t speak for anyone and everyone here, but I think the #BloggerBlackout is a good thing for several reasons. And nothing about it has to do with “punishing authors.” That’s not the point of this whole thing, and people need to stop perpetuating the myth and prejudicial idea that this is about an author/reviewer war. Such a war DOES NOT EXIST.

    I think what Hale did was horrible and misuse of power, trust, one that I can’t say that I wasn’t affected by, because I knew the blogger who was attacked and berated by Hale (and she’s no longer blogging as a result as far as I know). Stalking is a serious issue and crime; this incident was one that’s deeply disturbing on many levels, and people are undermining its significance (RE: respecting people’s opinions, spaces, and the ability to be safe while expressing opinions in their spaces).

    I’ve actually enjoyed my time during the #BloggerBlackout because it’s allowed me the chance to kind of connect to my blogging roots and connect with so many wonderful people in the blogging community – authors, readers, and reviewers alike – and this is not a hierarchy – there are authors who are bloggers and reviewers, and reviewers who are bloggers or authors.

    TRYING TO MAKE THIS INTO A MEASURE WHERE ONE PARTY (BLOGGERS) IS ALWAYS AND CONSTANTLY SUBSERVIENT AND LESSER THAN ANOTHER (AUTHORS) IS WRONG.

    I’ve been on Twitter the past several days; just seeing a lot of people who appreciate what bloggers do in the reading community and being able to have discussions about books is outstanding. It’s a wonderful coming together to celebrate reading and why we do what we do and how we got into what we’re doing with our own unique identities, rather than just thinking of bloggers as a mechanical wheel in a machine of promotion. We are all flesh and blood people behind the computer screens.

    To clarify, Kat, I’ve actually extended my blog (Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses) participation in the blackout until 11/1/2014, so that’s a correction. If it’s anything, thank you for making this list and holding your ground in some difficult discussions over this in the past several days. Other people may not appreciate it, but I certainly do, and I know others do from what we’ve been discussing on Twitter. Keep at it and don’t lose heart. I’m glad to have met you through this, though I wish it weren’t under such horrific circumstances.

    And for the record, I feel like it was a loss to have that blogger leave the community. I enjoyed her reviews, positive, critical, and the large measure between. She was not painted in the light that many of us knew her in for Hale’s article, and Hale’s article has been struck down as being full of inaccuracies and flat out deception across many different players. I’m hoping that at some point people in the community will say, enough is enough, that the kind of behavior that Hale displayed isn’t tolerated, and that we can still stand our ground and discuss what we love and build the community stronger without undermining the roles that we each play in the book community, for the uniqueness we each provide, not just for who we “supposedly” serve. It’s more than that. Far more.

  11. Kaetrin says:

    I don’t work for authors. I don’t blog for authors. I blog because I love books and I love talking about books and I want to be part of the romance reading community.

    I don’t owe authors anything. I’m not “punishing” them by not blogging. Leaving aside the amount of traffic I get at my blog which would mean that any possible effect I could have would be minuscule at best, it’s not my job to do author promo. If that is a side effect of blogging, so be it but that is not my reason for doing it.

    I’m not responsible for promoting authors or putting food on their tables or looking after their “babies”, or any of the other OTT rhetoric being thrown around. Reviews are for readers, not for authors. I say all this as a person who loves books and who respects and admires most all authors and who spends significant money on books every year.

    Blogging, for me, is about BOOKS and READERS.

    I’m not in this for traffic or prestige or money or free books.

    Ultimately, it’s my blog and I will do with it what I will. I chose to support a blogger who was being unfairly treated. In the big scheme of things it was probably equivalent to a minute’s silence on Remembrance Day. Why there is so much pushback against it I have no idea.

    On the one hand, bloggers are being exhorted to not be so “conceited” that they think they are “irreplaceable” but on the other hand, if we don’t blog for 5 days, we are “ruining author’s careers.” Frankly, neither of those things are true.

    I didn’t participate in the blogger blackout because I thought it would have any particular effect on publishers or badly behaving authors. I participated in it to stand with another blogger who was treated poorly and to take a time out to remember my love of books/talking about books. I haven’t hurt or damaged anyone by my actions.

    Participation in the blogger blackout was entirely voluntary – no-one was induced or coerced into participating and no-one was criticised for choosing not to. Each blogger who did participate, did so to the level that suited them and their own blog. I took my blog offline for 5 days and spent the time visiting other blogs and participating in discussions. Others didn’t review new books, and others expressed their participation in other ways and no-one turned around and said “you’re doing it wrong”. Instead, we get pushback from people who think we are punishing and injuring authors. Which, apart from being ridiculous and false, completely misses the point. We took a time out to celebrate bloggers and a love of books and to offer respect to someone who had been treated very shabbily indeed. I’m not going to apologise for it.

    If that means, you don’t want to visit my blog, so be it. Frankly, I expect you wouldn’t have liked it there anyway.

  12. Holly says:

    Like the others, I’m completely baffled by the argument that we’re “punishing” authors by participating in this blackout. At our site, we chose to go back and remember why we started blogging in the first place. We discussed some of the first books we read, the reason we started blogging, and how we were introduced to reading romance. How that punishes anyone is beyond me.

    I’m also not clear on how discussing books, blogging and our roots equates to bullying or creating drama. I was under the impression that as book bloggers, our primary focus was blogging about books.

    We, as bloggers, do not work for authors. We aren’t paid to promote their work, or to review their books. We do these things because we have a love of reading and want to share that with other like-minded individuals.

    no-one turned around and said “you’re doing it wrong”

    This. There is no right or wrong to the blackout. Participate or don’t. Post discussion topics or don’t. Write reviews or don’t. But don’t come here and tell me I’m wrong for my choice. I certainly didn’t show up at your site to shame you for not participating.

  13. Claire, Steph, I’m an author.

    I’m one of the ‘good ones’ as you would have it, since I haven’t stalked anyone etc. I don’t feel punished at all. I feel sad because bloggers have been treated like garbage for so long and yet they keep doing what they do out of love.

    And the second they take a break, they get more garbage slung their way.

    I am absolutely enraged by authors and bloggers taking your position. Bloggers don’t work for us. Authors owe *them* big time, and we still treat so badly.

    So if you think you speak for ‘good authors’, you don’t. You speak for the entitled, spoiled and self-centered ones who are the reason this blackout was called in the first place.

  14. Kat says:

    AZ — Kaetrin has pretty much articulated how I feel about the no-win arguments against bloggers. Either we’re so powerful we can tank a book, or

    I have a huge issue with the infantilising language being used to describe the blackout. It’s not ‘childish drama’ to worry for our safety and to talk about ethical concerns. I would argue that many of the discussions spawned by the blackout have been signs of a maturing industry? community?

    Rose — I have updated the list. Thanks for letting me know about your extension. To some extent, our blackout is extended, too. I’m enjoying the break a bit more than I thought I would! Like you, reconnecting with blogs I love and bloggers whose opinions I value has felt so refreshing. Thank you so much for your kind words.

    I haven’t really mentioned Hale’s target by name in most of my posts and tweets. I feel like she didn’t ask for this attention, and I’m not sure if naming her adds to the pressure she must be feeling, so I have erred on the side of caution. (But I also feel torn because she’s not just ‘a blogger’ — she was a part of the book blogging community, with connections and friends and people who valued her contribution.) I hope she’s getting lots of support offline, and wish her well for me if you’re still in contact.

    Kaetrin — Thanks for the epic and awesome comment! You’ve pretty much summarised how I feel about the argument that the blackout punishes authors. Part of its appeal to me was its voluntary nature, and the least damage principle that, at least for me, underlies the blackout. We were all free to implement the blackout in a way that was meaningful to us personally, for however long we felt was fair or necessary, and there was no pressure on anyone else to participate.

    I’m astounded that people feel the need to confront blacked out bloggers personally to tell them why they’re doing something wrong. Really? Five, maybe 10 days out of the year is going to be a big deal in the promo cycle? People take longer beach holidays than that!

    Holly — It makes me wonder if there are author/blogger loops I just don’t see where authors are complaining about the blackout? Because I’ve only seen a handful, if that. Most of the authors I know are either silent or outwardly supportive. Nalini Singh’s book came out during the blackout and she still tweeted her support. That really touched me. As did the author who replied when I declined her review request.

    I certainly didn’t show up at your site to shame you for not participating.

    To some extent, I’m not sorry other bloggers have commented here. I think a lot of these blogging circles haven’t overlapped until now, and I’m not sorry that we get to question (yet again) the notion that blogs are for promotion, that there is a correct way to review, and that dropping the f-bomb in a review makes me a troll.

    Ann — Your rage is my rage. (I’ve had to turn off the computer a few times this week — that rarely ever happens!) I honestly don’t feel that authors owe me anything, though. I love promoting books I love, and it pains me to have to get through the ones I can’t stand.

    Thank you for pointing out something that bothers me in the no-blackout argument — ‘good authors’. I really try to separate the author from the book when I review (I don’t always succeed, I admit, and I try to disclose that if I have the self-awareness to recognise it), and I’m uncomfortable at the implication that a review is a judgment on the personality of the author. For years bloggers have been cautioned to criticise the book, not the author. Why is it that when we’re promoting books we love, the wonderfulness of the author comes must come into play?

  15. Ridley says:

    Honestly, I’ve spent the week playing Civ V and trying to shake the feeling that blogging is an obligation. I couldn’t read or blog right now if I had to and forcing myself through the motions seems like a supremely fucked up way to hobby.

    If people have an opinion about my week off clicking “Next Turn”, I’d like to know why they feel entitled to my free time and unpaid labor.

    • Kat says:

      Ridley — Has it worked?

      I’ve also been distracting myself with other things. I need to feel like I love reading and blogging again, not just that I feel obliged to do it for various reasons. The blackout has been a great way to reflect on why I blog, and how I want to write about books, to the point where I feel like maybe I’ll make it a yearly thing.

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