Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Thoughts on Authors Getting Even

So, as you can tell by yesterdays post I was a bit on the upset side about the behavior of a certain author. In fact, I not only blogged about it, I posted the question on a couple of Yahoo!Groups I belong to. As with the blog post, I did not mention the authors name. A few people asked, and I did let them know off list. There were also a few readers of the blog that were able to track the author down by a clue (not an intentional one) that was in the post.

One of the reasons I felt compelled to pose the question of how readers felt about this behavior was because of the comments left on the authors blog. You see, they all thought the idea was great and couldn't wait to read the humiliation of the reader who e-mailed. Also, the editor thinks this is a great idea and wants other authors to begin doing it (according to the author).

What I found out is that I was not alone. This kind of revenge is not something most people agree with. Some of the responses to my question had great points and I thought I'd share a few (I am not including names, as both groups are members only, though anyone can join :) you just have to before you're privvy to the posts).

1 - The concept of the revenge is hilarious. The manner in which it was executed and then bragged about is NOT.

I agree with this whole heartedly. It is one thing to do something that only you and maybe a few people know about. To brag about it. To make sure that people are looking for the readers shame so that they may revel in it, is quite another.

2 - Isn't bragging about the fact the character is indeed modeled on and named after some one, though changed just a bit as to avoid being sued, still grounds for a lawsuit?

I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. Hell, I'm not even smart enough to know where to find a definite answer to this. Now, if I were Jane at Dear Author, I'd know. That chick is amazing. But alas, I'm not. I did entertain the idea of e-mailing her and asking her what she thought, but I chickened out. Anyway, that is an interesting idea. I would think, and again I don't know for sure, that it would be grounds for the reader to sue. The author makes it known you will know what scene is about this reader. She makes it known that the name is so very close that her friends and family will know who she's referring. To me, that sounds like grounds for a suit. Maybe defamation of character? Not sure. Anyone know? I mean, after all isn't this in the fine print at the begining of every fictional book: ...and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, .... is entirely coincidental.

3 - By the author publicly announcing this, they are very much so acting like a very large bully.

From Dictionary.com -
1.a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.
I'm not saying that the reader is smaller or weaker. What I am saying is that I assume this person to be an average joe, whereas the author is known. The author is using her name as a published entity to belittle and mock some one who may or may not have the same outlet or reach. They preach against bullying in schools. I tell my kids daily they are not to bully. Ever. In any way, shape or form. Bullying is bad. Turn the bullies in. And yes, I realize I am a hypocrite for not saying who the author is. But seriously people, I don't want to end up in one of her books! So unfortunately, I'm starting to feel like the bully wins.

I'm trying to use my very limited powers of google search to hunt down this editor of the authors so that I may contact them to ask a few questions about this. I'm very much interested in why the editor loves this idea enough to encourage it. Why the editor sees nothing wrong with it. I have no doubt my questions will go un-answered, but I still feel the need to try. Heck, I'm even thinking about contacting the agent of the author, asking if they know about the behavior. I think I'll wait tough, because I'd like to know about the legal angel here.

Anyway, those are some more thoughts. I'm like a dog with a bone people. This aggravates me! I really enjoyed this authors work, and in one blog post she tore that down. I don't think I'll ever be able to support those books again.

Take Care


kc said...

I do find it hard to separate an author from her work. But I can't condone what this author did, and I don't find it funny. There are too many books to read to spend money supporting an author like that.

Brandy said...

I can seperate an author from their work to some regards, but not when they've behaved this badly. I can't see supporting an author that behaves this way, at all.

WordVixen said...

Personally, I would never send an author a letter saying that their book sucked (I'd tell all my friends, and the author if asked, but I wouldn't go out of my way to insult the author.

However, publicly announcing that you're doing this as revenge? No. Much, much worse. As you say, the author is known and reaches a much wider audience than a single letter does. It's perfectly fine for the author to make a literary voodoo doll- I don't know any authors who don't when aggravated enough. But the whole point of doing it is to ease the angst, not humiliate someone. Particularly in something as enduring as a book.

IMHO, the name should have been changed completely, and the whole "joke" only spread around through a small circle of close friends who know enough to keep their mouths shut about it.

I have to wonder if the editor approved this announcement? I seriously doubt it, as it would look bad on the entire line.

Martha said...

Hi ChariDee-
B a fluke I bounced over to your blog today.
Interesting couple of posts! That author sounds very insecure and petty to me and I don't think I would want to support someone who brags about public revenge. "Bad Form!"

Martha said...

Ohh- You know what? I might not want to support the editor either, if they really encouraged this bad behavior.