Who is ready for the next book community controversy? If you haven’t heard, Erin Swan, author of Bright Star, quickly learned the ire of the book community when she joked about “cyberstalking” a reviewer. The community was quick to condemn her and her actions.
We live in a constant online world. Every single act or statement will be judged, screenshot, and ridiculed. Social media has made life harder for many people, especially authors. So their online presence is a delicate balance. As a blogger, I’m always learning new and old etiquette to follow. But I know the most important tips so I don’t ruin my credibility. But I see more authors calling out readers personally.
For my next discussion, I want to discuss the proper online etiquette authors can follow to prevent any negative press. I’m not an expert. I’m still learning as a blogger. But thankfully, my publicity and marketing courses have given me valuable tips. If you’re an author who’s struggling, here are some tips you can go by:
Never—and I Mean NEVER—Stalk Reviewers
It’s 2019, but apparently, people have forgotten about that little fact. However, cyberstalking is somehow a joking matter, when in fact, people have had their lives ruined, have been killed, or raped. Never joke about a serious and criminal act.
If people don’t understand how serious the situation is, remember when Kathleen Hale, author of No One Else Can Have You, admitted to stalking a reviewer. The YA community rightfully refused to support her and her book. Now, she’s publishing a new essay collection about the whole incident. Appropriate? Hell no. But hey, the Guardian wrote a piece about her stalking. So I guess she’s in the clear.
Authors need to realize that joking about what Kathleen has done is beyond deplorable. I and other bloggers shouldn’t have to fear for our safety and sanity simply because we accepted a review request or bought a book, then reviewed it.
Yes, even though she has apologized for her actions and her words, Erin never went to this degree. She simply looked up the reviewer’s online presence. But not everyone stops at that curious look. People take it further, which is why heading down that path is never a good idea.
( Screenshot courtesy of Paige from The YA Kitten.)
Never Call Out a Reviewer
Like I’ve stated before, reviews aren’t meant for authors. Yes, they support the author. But they are meant for potential readers. Calling out reviewers because they’ve given your book a one-star review or even a slightly negative review doesn’t help your publicity campaign. Rather, it can easily harm it. We live in a cancel culture now. So we can’t fuel it any further than we should.
Rethink That Tweet
Sure, delete that Tweet, but I’ll bet you a ridiculous amount of money that your followers have screenshot it. And it’ll follow you forever. So think before you Tweet. It’ll save you a headache.
Don’t Expect Readers Owe You Anything, even a Review
I’m still debating this concept. Sure, readers agree to do a review when they accept an ARC. Sometimes though, they decided to DNF the book or didn’t feel comfortable with writing a review because the book’s content is too graphic, or it’s affected them on a personal level. I understand ARCs are expensive, and the sole reason behind them is for readers to review them. But we need to realize that this outcome doesn’t always happen.
If You Question What Your Next Step Should Be, Step Back and Don’t Make the Situation Worse
Listen to your inner voice. It’s there for a reason. Trust your gut. And please, do not make an already difficult situation worse. There’s no reason to inflame the problem. Your online life can be destroyed within one click.