Cyndy Aleo

Four Little Bees Writing & Editing

author, freelance writing, editing, and a little bit of web development, helping clients with content development, book editing, and blog set-up and customization

When good authors go to the dark side

Subtitled: How I got banned from a Facebook fan page.

So there are a few things I can't deal with online. I can't tolerate people who go off half-cocked without doing research. I can't tolerate people who have a huge online following who pick on smaller people. And I especially lose it when I see a combination of the two.

Most of you probably don't care, and haven't seen the increasingly bizarre antics of author Anne Rice.

Please keep in mind, this was an author I was a HUGE fan of. I own every one of the Vampire Chronicles. Every one of the Mayfair Witches books. Most of which were bought -- at retail -- in hardcover.

I was a diehard fan.

Then came the weirdness with freaking out on people for writing fan fiction, which is odd and off-putting. Then came the actual bible fanfic she wrote, in which she retold stories of the bible with fill-in-the-blanks weirdness.

That was the point at which I quit buying her books and hoped she'd eventually return to being the great author who wrote Interview with the Vampire.

Instead, what we now have is an internationally best-selling author, with nearly 100 million copies of her books in print (Yes, you read that right... 100 million), who has turned herself into a literary equivalent of a member of 4chan's /b/ forums.

In the past several months, Ms. Rice has aligned herself with a group calling themselves "Stop the Goodreads Bullies." I've run into this group before when dealing with some reviewers on Goodreads I feel don't act in any sort of polite-in-public manner. And I'm not above an Internet flame war... god knows I've been in my fair share of them.

But what STGRB does is reprehensible. They pick on reviewers they feel are "bullies" and that could range anywhere from a snarky 1-star review to adding a book to a shelf because you don't like the author. 

Personally, I don't need shelves. I know which authors I don't want to give money to, and don't need a shelf to remind me.

At any rate, at various points, these individuals -- who post anonymously, I might add -- have researched and revealed personal information of reviewers and bloggers they don't agree with. This includes addresses, locations from social media location tracking, etc.

In other words, violating the privacy of these individuals, as well as their children and families.

This isn't news to anyone in the industry... writers such as Foz Meadows have been talking about this hot mess for two years. But when you are an author with 100 million copies of your books in print, you bring a lot of attention to people who shouldn't be lauded in the first place, much less on an international stage.

In this week's festivities, Ms. Rice highlighted a STGRB post in which a reviewer one-starred a whole mess of books by an author.

Here's a hint: Goodreads isn't for authors.

Here's another hint: people do this all the time. It's called TROLLING. (Link to Urban Dictionary definition) I have an author who's still angry about a book I one-starred and gets her fans and/or friends to 1-star my book. Because she's angry about a review I wrote two years ago. She actually did it herself at first until I noted it and laughed.

See, I find this sort of thing funny. It's the equivalent of elementary-school shenanigans, and it comes part and parcel of being online.

Apparently, however, Ms. Rice is either new to the Internet or can't grok that in light of 100 million books in print (and hundreds of thousands of reviews... on Goodreads, Interview with the Vampire has over 294,000 ratings, and over 5,000 text reviews), even 100 people one-starring all her books means NOTHING.

To her, apparently, this means everything. To the point where today she called out "Gangster Thug Careerist Reviewers."

Now, that's pretty pejorative. And when you use the word "careerist" that sounds a lot like professional, doesn't it? Not the amateur reviewers who are usually the ones at the wrong end of the STGRB stick. And yes, I get paid to review for a magazine, so that sounds a lot like ME, doesn't it?

I posted to Ms. Rice's Facebook page. I don't like being called names (and that's not even getting into the racist connotations of the word "thug" which has been hotly discussed online). Ms. Rice, however, is NOT WRONG. EVER. And if you claim that she is, even when you give proof of your statements, you are accused of libel. Told you are rude. And banned from her fan page.

I'll let the screenshots below speak for themselves, but I can tell you this: my children, who have never been banned from reading a book in their short lives, will not be reading Anne Rice. And after seeing the screenshots, my teen, who is the same age I was when I discovered Interview, said they'd never read one of her books, even for class.

The definition of bully, from Merriam-Webster: a blustering browbeating person; especially :  one habitually cruel to others who are weaker.

Who's the weaker, and who's the stronger in this case? Ms. Rice? Or the readers she's helping STGRB go after?

(Note: the entire thread was deleted by Rice. This ain't my first rodeo, so I screencapped as I typed.)