There has been so much romance land drama this year, it consumes entire visits with friends that read. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you are luckiest reader alive, I envy you and I want to know how your secret. Also...don't read this article. Seriously, ignorance is bliss.
You are still reading, and I will assume that you know at least some of what the drama is. This post is a reader's perspective about how the drama is affecting me. How are readers feeling? What are bloggers doing different?
This post isn't about the specific authors or many issues. So many others have brilliantly reported on all of these issues. There is literally nothing I could add. This post is simple. It is about how all of the drama affects me, as a reader. It is about how all of the drama affects me, as a blogger.
Having the drama (which appears to not be slowing down anytime soon) on a constant loop across every social media outlet is exhausting. Unfortunately, it also is anything new. From plagiarism, harassment, siccing "fans" on other authors, trademarks and catfishing....there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. I feel like the current issues hit a little harder because of the legal aspects and CLEAR ridiculous ripple effect of authors. For some unknown reason, going "ohhh that was a great marketing tactic" and following the lead of the circus master right into the fucking funny car. Only, it isn't funny. It is stressful. I know it is stressful on the authors and I think that no one really seems to talk about how the stress has trickled down to the readers.
Witnessing readers gently pointing out that reactions from the crazy drama lama is not productive and they were bothered by it, seemed to create conflict and justifications from some authors. The problem is, those authors are not listening. Others seem to be a little oblivious. Others seem to take the possession of THIS IS IMPORTANT, so readers need to get over it. We get that it's a big deal. We get why you are upset. The reality is...there isn't a lot we can actively do about it. When every author everywhere is screaming over the internet about the same drama over and over...it diminishes the value of the real issue. Desensitizing readers with petty drama lama blog posts or social media posts, doesn't add anything to our concerns. Do we want to be updated about the legal issues, sure. Realistically for every event, we probably get 1,000 updates. Regardless, important legal updates are not the same thing as every bizarre or inappropriate action.
Reading is an escape. Escaping into a world where love wins, fantastic creatures roam and kicking ass is the where we want to be. When you end up absorbed into the business side, it becomes hard to disconnect from it. Losing the value in the escape we desire and creating a deafening white noise effect of worry. What if this author actual plagiarized? What If I love this book and find out he/she is really a damn psycho and tomorrow they are going to show their true colors? What if this author is really a racist? What if this author...... Maybe this isn't everyone's internal dialog, but you know what I am saying here.
The effect on me is huge. It is affecting my book purchases, my ability to review and honestly...even my actual enjoyment of reading. Especially reading romance.
I mostly purchase the books I read. Publishers provide a small percentage of the books I read and are an exception, rather than the norm. Budgeting is also is a factor and although I used to be very liberal with purchases, time has shown that only a small percentage of the books I purchased were being read and changes were made to this habit. Now, I tend to make lists and when I am ready to read a new book I scroll through my list and purchase the book right before I read it. Yay, adulting.
Currently, almost all purchases are on hiatus. Being overwhelmed with all of this has pretty much shut me down on buying or reviewing books from anyone new, especially Indie. Many authors out there have a consistency about them and those I trust. This starts at the top of well-known large pub authors and down into Indie authors. The crazy isn't isolated to one or the other, but it is certainly becoming a more predominate "trend" within in the Indie community - especially Romance. Indies have always made up a huge part of where I spend my money. That is how I have shown support, in addition to reading and reviewing. The random crazy didn't really affect my personal habits much. This last year, it truly has.
Working in a job that consists of literally dealing with everyone's drama all day. Legal drama, to make it extra fun. I have two teens that are, at times, the epitome of drama and one adult child that always seems to be hanging on by a thread. Books are my escape. Reading is how I take a step back from the worries and stresses of my day. At times even realizing that the fact that I am not a daughter of an alpha werewolf with a crush on a vampire and some evil doer out to extract his revenge on me...is relaxing. Hey, it could be worse!
Reading about an adventure where dreams come true and love heals all...is relaxing. Real life can be brutal and escaping into a good book is the best therapy I have ever found. Suddenly getting on social media and realizing that the evil villains are taking over Romance Land feels totally overwhelming. Maybe because of my legal field background, I tend to care a little more about what is happening. I fully understand that this ONE cases outcome will effect just about every author, depending on the outcome. That being said, I am also painfully aware that there isn't shit readers can do about it at this point. (With the exception being NOT supporting authors that are drama lamas)
Adding to the overall emotional drag is watching authors with clear delusions continue to show how truly unstable and out of touch they are. It is a flood of emotions for me as I struggle with general "wow, bitch be crazy", "where are the people that care about her and why aren't they doing something about this" to "just make it stop".
In a genre that is all about love, there have been several examples of this kind of behavior. I understand how important it is to authors. A lot of the issues this year are tremendously important for those in the industry, but readers are not industry. We are not PART of the business side of the publishing industry. We are consumers. I imagine many readers are friends with multiple authors, like I am. And when authors in unison freak out and post non-stop updates about the drama, it is totally overwhelming. The reality is, most it is the same info on repeat. Repeatedly. Echo upon echo. It isn't just updates about the legal and some of those updates were wholly inaccurate. It is anything the drama lamas do or say (it’s all crazy) ends up in unison across the readers social media feed, without adding any additional dialog that is important to the narrative.
This isn't about how authors are acting poorly. It is that readers get it, but at this point we feel muted. Readers are forced into the background, a footnote on a page of crazy. Maybe not even a footnote. We are on the back of the page in light print and smudged to shit. I have seen authors argue with readers when they nicely speak up about how the consistent mention of the drama is only feeding the beast. I really don't understand. Authors, your readers read your books as an escape. Do most of us want to be informed and support you? YES. But, unless there is any real news about the legal end of things what good can come from just randomly posting about the drama? The drama is creating a divide between us and the escape we seek. Is it selfish? No, I really don't think it is.
Before you comment - NOT ALL AUTHORS -. Yeah, duh. But a lot of authors are partaking in the cycle and I honestly think they don't even realize it. A few are likely more sensitive to the reader side of it. In general, I am not seeing a lot of sensitivity towards readers.
When do authors posts and feeds start making readers a priority? Who supports your art? Running readers off because of some other persons drama is not going to be productive and effectively that is what is currently happening. Personally, I am already there. The last year I have read less and less romance and when I do, it has tended to be older established series. Most of which I still haven't reviewed. I shouldn't be afraid to read romance or any other genre, because its drama has spread like someone poisoned the watering hole. My only desire is to be able to fall into a fictional world and not have one single thought about author fallout. Maybe it’s an unrealistic desire. Drama and crazy people are everywhere, but I think collectively looking at all fiction a few sub genres stand out when it comes to drama.
This reader is tired. This blogger wants an escape from the BS. She wants a blanket fort and a comic book and hopes the contamination of drama doesn't continue to spread.