Authors, Blogs, and Relationships. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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Authors, Blogs, and Relationships.

Given recent upsetting events concerning author Santino Hassell and other things that have occurred within the last six month, I’ve been thinking a lot about author/blog relationships.   Through this author’s campaign of lies, harassment and distortions, he was able to convince Riptide Publishing that a well-known, well-established blogger with a terrific reputation was “engaged in a campaign to doxx, harass, and smear him” to the point that they removed her and her blog from their tours and ARC lists as well as Twitter feeds, impacting her hugely.  Now this author also has or had a number of well known author friends and was also at the “stable” at Dreamspinner [see Dreamspinner Press note below] so I imagine he was working on them to get them to block this blogger as well.  I’m not sure we will ever know how far it got.

But the impact on her reputation from his deceit, however temporary, can’t be denied.  And no I’m certainly not forgetting the legends of people out there that this man has hurt by his long time deceitful behavior, catfishing, and pretense of being a cancer patient.

Today, I want to talk about author/blog relationships because they can get to be a little incentuous, a little weird, simply by the nature of the beast.  You see all bloggers/reviewers, well, we are readers first.  Then we write our first review because we want to share our thoughts on the books we are reading, then comes another review, and another.  Maybe we read a blog or decide to start one as a journal, who knows but all of a sudden you’re a blogger and a reviewer.  Then little by little you make the conscious decision to grow the blog and add more reviewers and voila!  Six years and 12 reviewers later (not all the same ones mind) Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is still rolling along.

Because we are readers who love our books and yes, authors, we like to attend conventions where we meet and connect with the authors and publishers.  You do this enough times and it can go from friendly acquaintances to downright friends, knitting buds, people you write to.   I’m sure you can see where this is going.You have a relationship with these authors.Does it make it hard to remain objective for reviews?  It would if I was the only one reviewing books here.  Thank the goddess I’m not.  There are actually 12 of us here so that makes it easier although not always true as we do have our favorite authors and always will.   But we would have those simply as readers.  And I don’t see the issue with that as long as it doesn’t carry over into how it affects our treatment of those authors on the blog.

I would like to think that we as bloggers can use  our blogs to help promote those writers who are trying to find a “platform” for their first stories as self published authors or just authors with stories period, have a place to “talk” to readers about their writing and their new releases,  and that we, in turn, are respectful of their efforts while being honest in our reviews and opinions.  After all, readers are also depending upon us to let them know if a finished story is a quality novel in every way!  It’s not just the plot, and the characters.  No, it’s also the world building and the editing.    Yes, a great editor will always be needed, an author simply cannot self edit…it never works out well.  Editors are gods no matter how much you may hate them.  Throw gold at them now.

We recently had an author tell us not to review her books any more.  Now this is an author that we had just put in our top ten of 2017, had been one of our Top Author Discoveries of 2017 and, out of the blue, wrote us a letter, demanding we not review her latest SciFy story because a reviewer (she wouldn’t name) was writing things about other authors books she didn’t like (wouldn’t say what).  Wasn’t even sure that reviewer even wrote for us since she wouldn’t name them.  I wrote back offering to open up the  conversation and keep the dialog going.  Did we hear from this author? No.  Did we review the book?  Yes.  Guess what?  It was very good.  4 stars.  We review the book,dear readers, not in this case the nuttiness that went on  around it.  And FYI?  No one tells us what books we can or can’t review.  One case in point of the strangeness that can go on in an author’s mind that she thought she  had the authority to tell us not to review a story.  Huh.

Sigh.

If you had asked me, this was an author I thought I had a  relationship with.  Guess not.  But her questionable judgement against us put our reputation into question without even asking for particulars   And her publisher is one that we’ve just started working with.  Now I need to contact them and gingerly open up a conversation I’m not sure I know how to start.

On the flip side, I’ve had great relationships with authors who send me their pre-release pre-final edits ARCs, trusting me not to share their stories (which I never have).    It’s a tightrope of trust and expectations that develops between blogger and author.  When it works, it’s mutually  beneficial to all, including our readers.  When it breaks down, as it did in the Santino Hassell case, it went wrong in a spectacularly bad fashion, hurting this blogger to the point it could have ruined her out of the blog she’s so lovingly created.

Have I come to any conclusions?  Not really.  I don’t attend any conventions anymore.  Mostly because of RL obligations and the costs.  My contacts with everyone are through emails, FB, and Twitter, not that it matters as to the “closeness” you feel to someone.  I would like to think that Santino Hassell is an abnormality, the author who has been uncovered while managing once more to hurt the LGBT community…again.

My heart goes out to all his victims.

If any one of our readers want to share your thoughts on this topic, I’d love to hear them…..what a disheartening couple of days it’s  been, shattering for those who believed in him, vindicating for those who have been trying to get so many to hear them for so long.

As to the author/blogger relationship?  Well, I’m not sure that’s going to change either.  It’s an odd duck as my grandmother would say.  One that needs respect on both sides to work.  And maybe a few boundaries….

 

{Note:  On March 9 Dreamspinner Press tweeted that Dreamspinner Press is no longer selling Santino Hassell titles. And that removing titles on third party retailers will take time.

He is no longer listed on their website.]

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, March 11:

  • Authors, Blogs, and Relationships.
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, March 12:

  • Tour:Curved Horizon by Taylor Brooke e
  • DSP Promo Ari McKay
  • RIPTIDE TOUR and Giveaway: New Heights by Quinn Anderson
  • A Lila Review :Winter Cowboy by RJ Scott
  • A MelanieM Review Explore with Me by Kris Jacen
  •  An Alisa Review Special Delivery by Deirdre O’Dare

Tuesday, March  13:

  • COVER REVEAL Ari McKay ‘s Like The Night
  • DSP Promo Andrew Grey
  • RELEASE DAY BLITZ EXPOSED ANTHOLOGY (a novel taken promo)
  • Release Day Blitz Heartbeats by Jenna Kendrick
  • A Free Dreamer: Review: The Seeds of Dissolution (Dissolution Cycle #1) by William C. Tracy
  • A Lila Release Day Review:Twisted and Tied (Marshals #4) by Mary Calmes
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Running to You by Andrew Grey

Wednesday, March 14:

  • BLITZ Teacher’s Pet by Multiple Authors
  • Review Tour Silvia Violet – Of Hope and Anguish
  • Series Review Tour for Infinity #1 and #2 by C J Lynne
  • A Lila Review:  Undercover Star by Jackie Keswick
  • A Lila Review : Of Hope and Anguish by Silvia Violet
  • A Melanie Review: Family Matters (Brandywine Investigations #4-5) by Angel Martinez

Thursday, March 15:

  • Release Blitz – Lynn Michaels – Out Of The Ocean
  • Release Blitz: Would It Be Okay To Love You Box Set by Amy Tasukada
  • Riptide Publishing Tour and Giveaway: Wheels and Heels by Jaime Samms
  • The Ballerino and The Biker by Rebecca James Release Day Blitz
  • A MelanieM Review: Promise Me We’ll Be Okay by Nell Iris
  • A Stella PreRelease Review: Cutie Pies by Barbara Bell
  • An Alisa Review: Valentine’s Day Dreaming (A Touch of Love #9) by Pelaam

Friday, March 16:

  • Book Blast PRIDE OF LOVE by Kevin Dwyer
  • Book Blast – David – Beginnings by B. J. Smyth
  • BOOK TOUR Off-Campus Setup by Maria Vickers
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Ever After by Riley Hart & Christina Lee
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review: ​American Road Trip by Sarah Black
  • A MelanieM Review: Sound of Silence by Mia Kerick and Raine O’Tierney

Saturday, March 17:

  • A MelanieM Review: Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert
  • In the Spotlight: AE Via on her new release Promises Part 4
  • Release Blitz – T.A. Creech – Dusk (Expedition 63: Book One)

5 thoughts on “Authors, Blogs, and Relationships. This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

  1. It’s sad news to hear. I just learned about it yesterday and it’s really is a horrid situation all the way around. I hope those who were effected can find closure in knowing they are being heard and there have been some repercussions. As for the other side (the one’s behaving badly), they’ve shown their colors and it really put things into perspective. There are lots of choices in life and those choices define us. I’ve never been one to build on relationships and I don’t believe a reader should get so close to someone they idolize because lines can become blurred.

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  2. I am “lucky” that I am living quite far from the US, so somehow maybe I have a ‘distant’ perspective because I will never meet the authors (or bloggers) face to face, which means that I will never feel “that close”.

    Having said that, personally, I like my space. Because of that I knowingly try NOT to know much or TRY to engage with authors to avoid ever feeling like I have relationship with them. Sure, I sometimes “chat” with authors on social media (always Twitter, never FB) but that’s it. I don’t think that means I have a ‘relationship’ with any of them.

    It is safer for my sanity. Especially because event like this, where as a reader, I also lost authors I like. And that’s heartbreaking 😦

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  3. Very well put. An odd duck indeed. (And if RL ever made it possible for you to attend UK Meet you’d be most welcome there. We’re full of ‘odd ducks’ all paddling along together.)

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  4. Thanks for addressing this. I too found out about this last week, but didn’t know what it was about until I finally had the time to explore it more Sunday. Boy that was one deep rabbit hole. Very disturbing, and unfortunately, I don’t believe SH is an abnormality. That’s what I thought about our current President as a candidate, and how wrong I was in who all is out there in numbers. People supporting SH as friends were colluding, no matter what excuse they give, and even now only tangentially apologizing for the hurt they contributed to. And now Riptide Publishing not only colluded with “him”, but also practiced continued discrimination and harassment regarding POC. But as Lincoln said, “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” I do at least believe there are many good people out there, so let’s soldier on. And for me, no more to these authors and publisher.

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  5. This is a tough job and always subjective anyway. Reviews are opinions. I have been told that if you are in the jewelry/crafting community and you give a book a bad review, you are toast. That got me thinking about the reviews I write. I don’t like to give bad reviews; I work very hard not to sound mean. Usually, if it’s below 3 stars I don’t even bother with a review unless I agreed to give a review for an ARC. It’s supposed to be an honest review, so I figure they asked for it. I’m pretty tenacious so I’ve only had one DNF. On the other topic, I have had bad online interactions with different authors and it has me think I might unfollow most of the authors on social media and go back to no interacting with them. I used to live in L.A. and I really don’t like meeting famous people. Nine times out of ten, they are *!%@*! and I would rather enjoy their work and not know that. The possibility of winning a free book is not worth having to follow them on Amazon, Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter, Bookbub, Smashwords, their Publisher, their newsletter, etc. and get 9+ emails every single time every author I like has a new book out. I am overwhelmed. That doesn’t even count the book review sites I follow. That’s why what you do is important. I have my tried and true favorite authors. Book review blogs introduce me to new authors. I need to know your reviews are honest, that you have some integrity, that you don’t feel pressured or obligated to leave a good review. Finding a reviewer with tastes similar to mine is gold. Being able to follow their blog or follow them on Goodreads is vital or else I will likely stay in my comfort zone unless the book goes on sale and I am willing to take a chance. I am not usually going to spend $6.99 or more on an author I don’t know anything about. I have no issue with a pen name, but I don’t like to be manipulated emotionally in order for authors to sell books. Being lied to is even worse. Some of the marketing in the newsletters I get is off-putting, because they try to suggest a personal relationship that doesn’t exist. I just want to read books.

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