Something Terrifying Happened

Normally, I try to stay away from the drama on the Interwebs, but what has happened over the past couple days, has terrified me and has honestly made me question my own safety, and the safety of my book blogging friends. By now, I’m sure everyone has read the article. It details exactly how an author received a negative review of her book and proceeded to stalk the blogger that wrote the review, by calling at the blogger’s work & showing up at the blogger’s home.

I’m not going to link to it, because it’s not the article I want to talk about. It’s the stalking & the safety issue.

Stalking is wrong. You get that? Good.

Now I’ve written negative reviews many times and I honestly haven’t given it a second thought. I never even considered the possibility that someone would be that incensed by my negative review, that they’d possibly hunt me down. That is the scariest thought in the world. I did have a review of this author’s first book and, on Saturday afternoon, I took it off my blog because I don’t want to have anything to do with this woman and that includes having her book on my blog.

About a year ago, I started a Twitter just for blogging in the attempt to separate my personal life from my blogging life. Now I’ve got so many people, I’d consider friends that I’m rarely on my personal Twitter anymore, and I focus just on the book blogging one.

Feeling safe was something I never even gave a second thought about when I started this blog in April 2013. I never felt actually scared by anyone. After this broke out on Saturday, I felt honestly afraid and I seriously considered taking an extended hiatus and I HATE that someone has made me, and even others feel unsafe. I never want people to be afraid to join our book community. Just the thought of people being afraid, hurts my heart.

Safety considerations never even occurred to me, and I’m so upset by that. I’m not a teenager, I’m nearing the 30’s, so safety precautions should have been the first thought in my mind. What really upsets me is that I should have done a false name. My name is not very common, so the idea that someone could find me, scares the living daylights outta me. It never even occurred to me to omit a return address when mailing packages, because I was always worried that it would get lost.

I grew up in the time where the Internet was becoming a big thing. People were always warning the kids to use a fake name, don’t identify yourself, your school or any identifying details about yourself. Yet, I trusted the book blogging community. You guys know stuff about me. You know I have health issues, you know I use a wheelchair and you guys even know the name of my ex fiance. I trusted you guys even though it usually takes me a long time to trust people.

There are so many things I wish I had known 18 months ago, when I first started this blog. I’ll just mention the top 3.

  • Use a pseudonym.
  • Open a PO Box to receive packages.
  • Don’t say any identifying details about yourself (exact location, parents’ names, kids names, schools etc)
I don’t think I’ve ever had a giveaway on this blog, but if I did, as soon as the giveaway was over and a winner selected, I’d destroy all of the other addresses. I would never give them to anyone else for any reason.
So many of the authors are outraged by this particular author’s behavior and they are the reason that hopefully bloggers & reviewers won’t get scared away. I am so lucky to be in this community. We’re so lucky to know some amazing authors that appreciate everything we do.
Please be safe everyone.

4 thoughts on “Something Terrifying Happened

  1. Holy …. I'm freaking scared now. It wasn't wrong of you to bring up this issue circulating around the blogosphere. Thanks for informing me about this. I won't be scared by this (even if I am) and stop writing negative reviews because sometimes that's what a book deserves, however, I will be careful using the tips you gave.

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz


  2. I hate how this has made so many people feel unsafe! I use my address on the return portion of a package because I too am afraid it will get lost. I use my real name, and my real state (and often city) of residence. I'm not afraid, no matter how ridiculous that sounds, but I am pissed that so many of my friends are feeling this fear. I had a PO BOX for a while, more so because I was moving, but I may look into getting another one just because if it was that easy for Hale to contact “someone” and get all that info it can be just as easy for someone else to do it.

    Don't let this stop you from doing something you love. Just be safe. *hugs*


  3. It is definitely scary, but I'm glad you aren't going to be scared off. I'm glad you are going to keep writing reviews, both positive & negative. Sometimes a book isn't good or just isn't for me and I should not be afraid that someone is going to stalk me over my OPINION.

    Just be safe, Alex.


  4. I am definitely feeling better than I did even just yesterday. I've calmed down considerably. I trust the book people I've made connections with because I know the ones I know best don't mean any harm and would never make me question my safety in any way. I love blogging and I don't plan on leaving the book blogging community anytime soon.


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