It’s time for another Beyond the Blurb! For my next post in my discussion series, I may step on some toes. But when has that thought scared me?
Just when you thought the book community and industry were past the Faleena #CockyGate scandal, another one hits. This time, a relatively new author Tomi Adeyemi, who wrote the hotly anticipated Children of Blood and Bone, accused Nora Roberts—yes, that Nora Roberts—of stealing and profiting off of her book title. Mind you, you can’t copyright a book title. So there will be many variations of one. But nonetheless, the dreaded “react before you think” illness you all know as pre-tweeting struck the Internet by storm. And the YA community still has some learning to do.
How do we bloggers and readers handle this situation? Frankly, I thought common sense would prevail, but this is the Internet, where everyone is offended, everyone harasses other people, and everyone believes the mob mentality is simply fine to participate in. But even if you’re not influencers (hello, there, I welcome you to the club), you, and we all, have an obligation not to fuel an already inflamed situation. Again, how do we address this negativity? Here’s how:
Stop Believing That Attacking Other People Is Okay
Let me be clear: it isn’t. And it’s borderline harassment. Online bullying causes real harm to people. If they have a mental, intellectual, or physical illness, you will exacerbate said illness. And in the Internet age, we’re connected to the net 24/7. When you have a huge following, many readers will see your message. And they’ll react in a way that you may not anticipate. You’re responsible for the message you give them. Do not be the kindling wood to the fire. Do not ignite a problem you’ll have no control over.
If You See It, Stop and Address It
It’s 2018, and yet here I am, giving this kind of advice. I never knew I’d reach a new low, but the book community always amazes me. But am I surprised by this mob mentality? Not really. We people as a society feel empowered when the mob is on our side. But when the problem is reversed, we see society for what it truly is: cold, cunning, and cruel. Tomi had the responsibility of owning up to her mistake immediately and imploring her 53,000 Twitter followers to follow suit. But she didn’t. Instead, she allowed her readers and followers to attack Nora, who never deserved this negative treatment. There was no mention of stopping the attacks.
Support the Other Author (If Warranted)
As a journalism grad, I’ll always need to see every side of the story: Side A, Side B, and the truth. So do your research. Yes, Tomi made a rookie mistake, but she didn’t own up to it though. Some followers may beg to differ because of Tomi’s last tweet on the matter:
She didn’t admit that the onus was on her. It was her mistake. Nora, on the other hand, explains the issue differently though:
“This foolish and false statement has damaged my reputation. Vicious and ugly accusations and names have been tossed at me when I did nothing but write and title a book.”
And Nora also states that she wrote and delivered the manuscript to her publisher one year before Tomi published her own work. Sometimes, finding the truth is difficult and ugly. I didn’t want to believe it. But you need to find out who needs the protecting, not blindly follow your favourite author.
Think before You Tweet
Please, blogger friends and fam, don’t let me get away with foolish tweets or other posts. If you think I’ve done something wrong or inappropriate, let me know, discuss your issues, and enlighten me. Yes, I’m still learning as a blogger and a human. I’m still delving in complicated fandoms and series, so I may not realize or even know there are problematic topics at hand.
Unfortunately, I don’t think I can support an author who pulls off this stunt, which I find sad since her debut novel is one book I’ve been hoping to read.
So what are your thoughts on the Tomi and Nora spat? How do you think bloggers and readers should handle this situation? Do you think Tomi should have done more? Let’s chat!