There is no such thing as bad publicity – Phineas T. Barnum
Part of my daily routine is a status meeting of sorts with my author friend, this week she sent me two articles the first an “account” by Kathleen Hale of her descent into “crazytown” (my words) and an illuminating opinion piece by Kat Mayo of Bookthingo related to the article. To say that they were good discussion fodder would be a massive understatement.
In the personal account, Hale, Kathleen. (October 17,2014). ‘Am I Being Catfished?’ [British news and media website owned by the Guardian Media Group]. Retrieved from http://http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/oct/18/am-i-being-catfished-an-author-confronts-her-number-one-online-critic describes her behaviour following a bad review. Not to put too fine a point on it she lost her shit and began obsessing about the blogger who gave her the bad review, which rapidly devolved into an alarming pattern of behaviour culminating in her showing up at the reviewers home with the hope of meeting her. What her intentions beyond that were are not stated though the lengths that she went to assuming they were not embellished for sensation’s sake were more than disquieting enough.
The following day another friend sent me the link to another feature on the subject this time from BuzzFeed Books, authored by Guillaume, Jenna. (October 21,2014). ‘This Is What Happens When An Author Tracks Down A Critic In Real Life’ [Internet News Media Company]. Retrieved from http://www.buzzfeed.com/jennaguillaume/this-is-what-happens-when-an-author-tracks-down-a-critic-irl#3tn0ywp. After which I began to speculate what exactly was this author’s motivation in writing such a piece. Was it, and this is my opinion, a shameless ploy to garner attention for her book? Or secondly and more insidiously yet another indirect attempt to reconnect with the harassed blogger?
In response to the publicity Kathleen Hale garnered with the article in the Guardian a number of bloggers have opted to participate in a “blogger blackout”. For a predetermined period of time (varies depending on the blog) bloggers are restricting activity on their blogs in some cases a complete blackout, in others limited to book related discussion and so on. While I understand why the blogging community needed to respond to attention the article in the Guardian generated I can’t help but be concerned that this will result in further scrutiny and create more publicity/sales as a consequence. Since October 21st there have been only 4 sales of Ms Halle’s book reported on Amazon.com and 1 on their UK site, however there has been a huge response on Goodreads. The day after the Guardian piece ran 222 Goodreads users added her book to their “To Read” list that is not counting the ones who have added the book in the days following or posted reviews and or ratings.
Above all I found Sunita’s words of the Vaucous Minx to be the most compelling of all.
The publishing landscape has changed a lot over the last decade and we are caught in some major churn. The sudden elevation of Hale is just the latest symptom of a process in which no one really knows what qualifies as “news” anymore but everyone is chasing clicks and eyeballs. At the most fundamental level, Hale’s story is part of the creation of Hale’s persona as a writer, collateral damage to anyone not named Kathleen Hale be damned. And writers across the media, from the Guardian to the obscure author writing a blog post and saying “you go girl!” are part of that process. But I don’t have to be.
To read the full article click here “Blog blackouts and minor adjustments to VM“.
Rather than contribute to the media focus beyond this post I will simply “blacklist” this author, removing for my small part what I believe ultimately what she seems to be desperate for, our attention.
The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. – Oscar Wilde