May 1 2007
Karen Scott, blogger from the UK, wrote a review of Ben’s Wildflower, a recent release from Ellora’s Cave. I wrote a review as well. Neither of us liked it. It was plotless porn. Today, a person purporting to be Kathryn Falk, the CEO of Romantic Times, posted a comment on Karen S’ blog proved what many of us though to be true: Romantic Times reviews are hopelessly biased. This post must be a joke and someone is masquerading as Ms. Falk because the statements the poster makes not only ruins any shred of credibility the Romantic Times has but also engages in some reprehensible commenting.
The commenter named Ms. Falk takes Karen S to task for a number of things, but outrageously suggests that Karen S is responsible for someone’s attempt to commit suicide as a result of a negative review.
I have heard from several people on your post who are saddened by what they read today. One person mentioned has offered her resignation. Another is contemplatiing suicide. Is that what you intended for your blog? Do you want this on your conscience? . . .
The blog in question that you posted, bashing one or more publishers and authors, is detrimental to the principles of romance. If you have influence, please spend your time helping our romance community. People are sensitive and a string of suicides is not what is needed.
Falk continues to ramble with some sentences not making any sense but mostly she confirms what I believe RT’s motto is that if you don’t have anything good to say – keep your mouth shut. Anyone who doesn’t follow this mantra is “ridiculous”, “viputerative”, “heartless”, “genuinely perverse” and “sick in the head.”
None of our members deserve such ridiculous bloggers, especially from mean-spirited women posting notes from the quiet of their houses while those in the rat race of business life are working long hours. To think you only have time to promote personal vendettas is sad….
If one “hurts” — be it something nasty published towards a publisher, editor, or author. We should all hurt unless we are heatless.[sic] . . .
Unless your bloggers are genuinely perverse and have no regard for people’s feelings and livelihood, then I predict you all will needlessly add turmoil and discontent to yourselves. I hope you are ready to take responsibility for some of your remarks….
Anyone who thinks this kind of dialogue on a blog is valuable is truly sick in the heart and the head.
the woman who purports to be Ms. Falk states that the reason for this relentless positivity is because she’s a woman running a business in a man’s world. We should feel protective of these small businesses, she instructs as if we are small children.
I am proud of any woman who writes erotica and gets published. I know how tough it is. I am the only woman who owns a magazine (except for Oprah and Martha) and no woman has ever owned a publishing house in New York. Be it Harlequin, Berkley, Dorchester or Kensington, it’s owned by businessMEN.
Attacking the epublishing houses for poor quality is mindless and does not help the genre for “[p]ositivity is the key to helping our genre.” Actually failure to provide robust critique leads to stagnation, a glut in subgenres leading to a demise of good authors. Publishers frequently state that they are interested in providing what the readers want to read and if we do not demand quality, then we won’t get quality.
By engaging in critical review of a romance book, Ms. Falk suggests that it is reflective of a “dark nature”.
Disrespect for our industry and its members reflects the dark nature of the person spewing it — not the object of the attack.
She points out that the publishing industry is comprised of fragile flowers:
Our writers and editors are sometimes fragile, as the line of our work is pure emotion. . . .Why not realize that authors are sensitive, and so are publishers — and inflicting harmful words does all of us a disservice.
Karen Scott, a voracious reader of romances, is not supporting the industry by her comments. She is everything (and I suppose this blog is too) that romance is not.
It appears to be promoting everything romance books do not stand for.
She instructs Karen on what is tolerable
Please start by asking them to not muddy our waters with ugly suppositions and invalidated comments — and to be impeccable with their words — this would be an excellent practice of gratitude and most appreciated.
and what is not
Bloggers who have no idea of the work it takes to be an author and a publisher in today’s competitive market should not be welcome on board….
Blogs of this nature are harmful when they could be productive. Giving frustrated voices a place to say outrageous things to destroy is evil. Why not encourage frustrated women to spin to the positive?…
I wish you all peace and bliss….and the enlightenment to pass over a rough patch and avoid this ever happening again.
I can’t help but wonder if Ms. Falk’s, if it is Ms. Falk, viputerative attack on Karen Scott, a popular blogger, is as a result of what she perceives to be a threat to her business. Many magazines are losing ad revenue as more and more companies are moving their publicity dollars onto the internet. I’ve read that publishers are looking toward bloggers for more word of mouth coverage and moving away from traditional print sources (one of the reasons given for the demise of the print Book Review sections in so many newspapers).
We don’t have time to pay much attention to blogs, but when we hear of people are upset by inconsiderate vicious bloggers who seem committed to spreading bad feelings instead of working in harmony for the good of all, it makes us wonder about who we are supporting with our businesses!!!
It is we who support RT’s business and the publishers. Not the other way round.
I am sure that authors will not feel comfortable about posting a comment here. After all, RT is still a very influential player in the romance industry. But I could not stand for such statements to be made without a response. We readers are not the borg and we are not bound by any one person’s dictates. The freedom of discussion is what makes the online community so vibrant. We disagree on books within the bloggers here. Janine and I are rarely on the same sides of the coin, yet we remain steadfast supporters of the romance genre. We blog because we are so passionate about this genre of ours. But we will not be silenced even if we are accused of being responsible for suicides and the downfall of romance.
If this kind of negative mood and behavior is allowed to spread, I predict that no one will care or dare to support romance in the future….
People are sensitive and a string of suicides is not what is needed.
I do hope that this is not Falk because I am embarassed for her if this is. A true professional would not come to a blog and suggest that readers who are critical of the genre are evil, suicide inducing individuals.