Full disclosure: I sat on this post for over a week. I swayed back and forth on whether to post it or not. Do I want to get involved in this fight? No. But do I need to speak up? Yes. Because this shit affects my career and I am down right pissed that all of this has the possibility to tarnish my name just by being associated with EC. This was supposed to be my livelihood, my dream career, my new beginning and now thanks to the people in charge being unable to just let one fucking blog post run it’s course the authors (yes, all of us, even small fries like me) are suffering. Their wallets will get fatter (one way or another), mine will see a big fat zero. Can I sleep at night if I don’t at least voice my opinion, even if my opinion is meaningless? No I cannot. And so I’ve decided to post it.
In case you weren’t aware, I am an Ellora’s Cave author. Yes, I said the three dirtiest words in the literary world right now. Everyone, at this point, has heard that Ellora’s Cave filed suit against the blog Dear Author for defamation and continues to make posts and comments about it which ensures that this never leaves the headlines. So since it should all be common knowledge I’m not going to get into all of it here. If you are unaware of what has been going on you can check out these blog posts that will point you in the right direction.
The lawsuit is the elephant in the room, the big pink one at the circus that, I think, no one who is an EC author really wants to talk publicly about. So I will keep this post about my opinion and my opinion only.
If the powers that be would have just left it alone that blog post by DA would have been swept under the rug the next time an author behaved badly or someone went on a Twitter rampage, which would have only taken a week or two. Instead the people in charge of Ellora’s Cave made a mountain out of a molehill as I see it and now this shit storm just keep snowballing out of control. Every day someone involved in this suit has something to say on social media, or their blog, or in the comments section of someone’s post and it just makes it that much more of a big deal. If I were the lawyer my first words would have been “Shut the fuck up!”
Do I think that EC should have sued DA for a blog post? This is my personal opinion only and my answer is NO. I think that suing bloggers for exercising their freedom of speech is a huge slap to the fundamentals of our constitution and causes a ripple effect of silencing anyone who might have a differing opinion than EC (or any publisher in the future). I do not think anything in the DA post constitutes as defamation, I think it was a blogger who fact checked and had sources writing an opinion piece about the state of affairs of a company, the same as other bloggers do about sports teams, investments, TV shows, Actors portfolios, etc. As I write this I am having a slight panic attack thinking that this will be posted in a public forum and what if someone decides to sue me for my opinion? It’s crazy, we shouldn’t be afraid to express ourselves, address our fears, and participate in public debates/discussions/and protests. These are our rights and this lawsuit will have a negative fallout one way or another. Just by filing it EC has created this atmosphere of “us against them” and all sides are riled up.
The hashtag #NotChilled has sprung up by authors and bloggers who, regardless of this lawsuit, aren’t afraid to speak out. I think everyone at this point sees this lawsuit as a way of scaring authors/bloggers into silence. And to some degree it’s working. I don’t even have a huge grievance and I had to think long and hard about this. My complaint is how this is being played out in public. I worked for a lawyer and never have I seen two sides in a lawsuit (one side in particular) talk so much about said suit in public. That is Lawyering 101 people, keep your mouth shut before you say something that might lose your case for you.
So who wins? No one. Who loses? The authors.
We bleed these stories. They might just be corny “smut” books to the outside world, but they are our children, we birthed them from the deepest parts of our souls. That might sound over dramatic, but it’s true, if you are an artist then you understand. Every character has walked a million miles in our minds. Their pain is our pain. We cry, laugh, and gasp as we are writing these books. And as authors we can, and do, become emotionally attached to our work. Because unlike most professions, people reading our work are opening a window to our very raw, very exposed soul and taking a peek.
What I am trying to say is that my book for EC is my work. It is my blood, sweat, and tears. It is made up of my stress, fear, love, and excitement. This was my first (and to date, only) traditionally published work. And I’m proud of it.
Twisted Revenge is my work and if I am proud of my work I should not have to be ashamed to tell people that. But as with most boilerplate issues public opinion doesn’t always sway that way. Some people think that no one should promo their EC books, some readers are proclaiming that they will never by another EC title. Which I understand. I think readers and authors should go with their gut on this topic. Do what you feel is right. Or if you are so inclined, listen to each author and see what it is they personally would like their fans to do.
Some EC authors only have EC as their income and this lawsuit is hurting them. Other authors do publish with other companies or self-publish, but this still hurts them as well. These are authors who haven’t done anything wrong — some of them are just waiting for a check. They just want to be able to pay the electric or keep the gas on. I’m sure that if given the chance none of them would have voted for this lawsuit/mudslinging extravaganza to happen. Most of us just want it to go away.
“But Mia, what about the fact that part of that money will go to EC?” Meh, really what can I say to answer that? Honestly, some portion of all money spent goes to some “all powerful corporation”. My self published books have a portion that goes straight to Amazon even though they tweak their algorithm to purposely leave my titles and others in my genre out of the search results, but no one is going to stop purchasing books from Amazon (I know because my smashwords account has sat at a big fat goose egg for months while I’m still making sales on Amazon). And bottom line is that at least the authors still see some of that money assuming they are receiving their checks.
And on that topic (of getting paid), I have no personal knowledge of what is going on but I will say this, I believe the authors/editors/artists who say they haven’t been paid. Because I’m allowed to form my own beliefs/opinions and I don’t have to justify them to anyone, nor does anyone have to listen to me. I’m not going into the ins and outs of it all, but I do believe them and I feel for them. Have I been paid? Yes, but you also have to keep in mind that my royalties are minimal. Like, seriously. My royalties pay for a meal (and not for my family, just for me) some months I can go to Denny’s other months I have to hit the Dollar Menu for a single item plus tax (I am not even kidding about this). So really no one is breaking a nail writing out my single-digit check every month. I wouldn’t know what to do if I relied on that money for a bill, if I had hundreds of dollars coming to me and I didn’t receive it. I would be devastated.
I think if you happen to love an EC author who is saying “please don’t stop buying my books.” Then maybe consider listening to that author’s opinion. They have their reasons, it doesn’t mean that they like what is going on.
On the flipside, I know there are EC authors who are asking their readers to stop buying their books, if that is the case and this is an author you love then listen to them. They have their reasons too.
In the end it’s the authors who are losing out on this. It’s my opinion that everyone should just listen for a minute to the authors and what they want. They are the people who have worked their fingers to the bone writing these books. Those are the voices that should be heard instead of listening to A) the Publisher who has their hand out waiting for a sale and trashing their authors, or B) the bloggers who are calling on no one to ever buy from all EC authors ever again, which similarly doesn’t do the authors any good. Nothing is black and white, nothing is cut and dried.
I have seen some bloggers who have been kind enough to help some of the EC authors out by promoting their non-EC titles, to them I say, kudos to you! You found a way to support authors while sticking to your personal morals in regards to not giving money to a company you cannot support. However, not all authors have books with other publishers or self published. And if I had a perfect answer on how to show support to those people I’d be offering that up, but I don’t have a crystal ball and I can’t conjure answers out of thin air. (Well I do have a crystal ball, but it’s not giving me any answers)
Don’t get it twisted, I’m not being a fence sitter. I just think that every author is in a different place, personally and professionally. And for once, people (even the ones who say they are trying to champion for the authors) should actually listen to what each author wants and/or needs from their readers and from the writing community as a whole. Because there are a whole lot of variables here and everyone’s circumstances are different.
Am I asking readers to not buy my EC title? No, if you want to read it then buy it. Enjoy it. Because it is my hard work, not EC’s. I bled for it, I cried over it, I had anxiety and excitement for it. Regardless of who owns the rights, I wrote it, not them. If you don’t want to give your money to EC, that works for me too. Do what is comfortable for you. If you want to read my non EC book, Waking Up In Bedlam, feel free to pick that up at Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, or ARe. Share it, rate it, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. (It was my first book, ever).
I was going to keep promoting my EC book, but in light of everything: mostly the bad behavior I’ve witnessed on an unnamed blog, comments left on other blogs, and a mysterious Twitter account that reeks of something fishy going on, and the public backlash that ensued in my inbox when I posted an Amazon link to my book on my own FB page I have since removed all my scheduled posts for the month of October in regards to Twisted Revenge (one or two might have slipped past me). I am also doing this because my decisions affect my co-authors Alexandra Webb and Phoebe Chase who wrote books two and three in the Ever After series of which Twisted Revenge is book one of. So if I am out there promoting the book it could reflect poorly on them and until I know for sure how they wish to handle this situation I will wait on scheduling promos and events.
Bottom line is, this is a dog eat dog situation and the only dog I have in this fight is me. I still believe in my book, I support my fellow EC authors, all of them (whether they are still wanting sales or asking for people to stop buying their titles). And I hope, beyond hope, that this can be resolved quickly. But I think that no matter what, no one is coming out of this shit storm without some splatters on them. I am so sad to have lost my editor, to see the freelance editors and artists let go and who have not been paid for their services. Now these hardworking people have to go out and find a new job to support their families. This entire situation sucks for everyone all around.
That pretty much sums up my thoughts and feelings on this whole bad situation. Normally I’d say “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” But unfortunately this is my circus and these are my monkeys.
(Thank you to Deirdre Saoirse Moen for finding my missing iBooks link!)