I finally made that call to that publisher, the one I mentioned who emailed me while I was on my little vacation trip. She and I had a very interesting conversation. I already knew somewhat in advance (through email) what we were going to pretty much talk about so I asked her if I could put her on speaker phone and record it, in so that I could post our conversation on.my blog. Obviously, she wished to remain anonymous, and I completely agreed. Anyhow, here is the conversation.
Her: Thank you so much for calling, Carroll. I have so many questions for you, I don’t know where to start.
Me: No problem. No problem at all. What can I do for you?
Her: First let me say that I am sorry about what happened to you. It has caused a lot of us publishers and authors a great deal of concern.
Me: How so?
Her: You were a very popular author on Goodreads, and very active considering the short time you were a member there. You had quite the following of friends and fans, and your group grew to over 400 members. I have seen other author groups, mostly those Q & A groups, who were lucky if they had 100 members in them
Me: Yeah, I did have a lot of friends, didn’t I?
Her: Yes you did. I always enjoyed coming online and checking out your group and seeing what you were up to. The thing that set you apart, in my eyes, and in many other publishers eyes who knew of you on Goodreads, was that you also write songs. But for me, I couldn’t believe the amount of poetry you posted. It was unbelievable. In fact, the day I discovered you were banned, my first thought was of your poetry. All the time and work it took for you to post it and then in one swoop, gone. All of it was gone.
Me: Yeah, it boggled my mind for a few minutes too. (Laughter)
Her: Well, this is why I wanted to talk to you. Why did Patrick do that so quickly? I first thought that you must have done something extremely awful for him to just go in there in wipe out everything that you contributed.
Me: I don’t know why he did that. You would have to ask him. Don’t hold your breath for an answer though, I don’t think he even knows why he did it. I think he is just a weak person that was swayed by the mob. Maybe intimidated.
Her: I read your journal, did an insider really tell you that it might have been because he thought you were a part of STGRB?
Me: From what I can gather.
Her: Was what you said in your journal true? You really don’t have any affiliations with them at all?
Me: Nope. None. Never did.
Her: Didn’t he question you about it before he banned you?
Me: Nope. He never contacted me at all at any point.
Her: So he just banned you for basically no reason?
Me: That’s about the best I can come up with. Why?
Her: That is very concerning. Not just for me on behalf of our authors, but for other publishers I have been talking to about your situation, and their authors. We all share the same concerns. If it could happen to you then it could happen to any of our authors too. Let me ask you this, have you ever paid for advertisement or anything on Goodreads?
Me: No. I thought about it going into this year. It was something my then manager and I discussed often. I think he was all for it, but I was holding out some reservations.
Her: Why? What were your reservations?
Me: About the fact that after a lot of research, I discovered that goodreads treats authors like second class citizens, except for when it came to the money. Oh, they will take your money. This is what bothered me. Why would I want to invest my money into a website for advertisement or an author profile upgrade that treats me like a second class citizen? If you look closely, you will see, that website is all about the reader 100 percent, yet it’s the publishers and authors who pay for advertisements and author upgrades and such, and it is those people who actually keep that website going. It’s a little counter-productive if you ask me.
Her: That’s exactly my concerns too. And other publishers, and our authors. That we invest into the Goodreads website like that, time and money, but what’s to say that what happened to you won’t happen to our authors? Then everything we invested our time and money into could just be wiped out in a moment without warning, notice or inquiry.
Her: I was there that day when all of this broke out, watching and reading all those posts. I was close to horrified. I kept thinking, Goodreads will step in and stop these people. But they never did.
Me: I covered that in my last journal. Which is why I question the credibility of a website that doesn’t enforce their TOS, and endorses bullies.
Her: I read that. That’s the irony of why I contacted you. Me and other publishers have been talking behind the scenes about how easy it was for you to be removed and none of us think you did anything to deserve it. It causes us to start thinking about our authors who are members of that website and how easy could it happen to them.
Me: Evidently, pretty easy.
Her: This all started because of that girl? Because I know your blog post had nothing to do with the onslaught you received. Most of the comments made that day circled around you and that girl.
Me: My thoughts as well. Apparently, my personal life is of great concern to everybody.
Her: So she was the person behind the attack on you?
Me: Oh yes, she organized the whole thing.
Her: I know her. I am in her group. I would have never believed she would be capable of something like that. And there lies my fear for my authors. I have already advised them to try and avoid any contact with her, and her friends. Obviously, the people she is associated with are the people who attacked you, and I don’t want my authors getting involved with people like that. The other publishers I have spoken with have advised their authors the same thing. Following this story as best I can and following your blog posts, I have long figured out that she is bad news.
Me: Go figure, right?
Her: Which kind of leads me to another point of interest. Do you think it could be possible for you to tell me the whole story behind everything? I really want to be able to educate my authors in hopes they don’t find themselves being targeted by this girl or these people. What set her off? Things like that. In your last journal you mentioned that you were thinking about posting the whole story. Are you really going to do that? Have you decided yet?
Me: I haven’t decided yet. My lawyer and I are still discussing my options.
Her: So a lawsuit is still a possibility?
Me: Yeah, but the thing is, it will cost me a lot of money to go after Goodreads, Patrick Brown and a few select others in court, and no matter how air tight you think your case might be, it is still a 50/50 shot that you win. That goes for anything in life just about. You never know how a jury or judge will see things. I am trying to decide if the risk is worth the reward.
Her: I see. Well listen, do you think it is possible that you could send me that story regardless of whether or not you post it on your blog? I would really like to learn about the hows and whys this happened to you. I would like to pass that information along to my authors and to my publisher friends and their authors.
Me: Kind of like a learning tool?
Her: Yes. I think it would be very helpful.
Me: Sure. I don’t see why not. It would be nice to have something good come from this mess.
Her: I would appreciate it. And if it’s not too much trouble, I already put together a list of people who involved themselves in this situation from your recent post, The List 2. I have seen those fake ratings and reviews. I have passed it around to my authors and other publishers on Goodreads and their authors of people our authors should avoid. Everyone who has posted a negative rating or review or comment are on that list. I was wondering when you were going to get around to talking about that on your blog. The more people we can name, the more people our authors can avoid to better prevent them from getting caught up in something like this. Since it doesn’t seem like that Patrick or Goodreads have our authors best interests in mind, we have to kind of fend for them, you know?
Me: My sentiments exactly. And you are right, if anybody wants to know who to avoid on Goodreads or wants to know who the bullies are, all they have to do is go to my book reviews and there you will find them. They left a pretty big trail. Or you could go to a group on Goodreads called “Authors behaving Badly“ and check out the members. That might give you a good idea also. Maybe they should rename it “The Bullies of Goodeads“.(Laughter) You want names of blogs with that as well?
Her: Sure. That would be fantastic. Thank you. Thank you very much. I heard of that group. Maybe send me a link?
Me: No problem. Like I said, maybe something good can come from all of this after all. It’s a private group, but I’m pretty sure if you send a request and mention how much you hate me, they would probably accept you. (Laughter)
Her: That’s too bad. Now you can’t see what they are saying about you.
Me: Oh, I know what they’re saying. I have a few spies in the house. I have screen shots. Plenty of screen shots.
Her: Really? Do you plan on posting them anytime soon?
Me: Eventually. Maybe. It seems that these people are all about proof and evidence. Instead of accusing them of stuff, I will just post what they are doing and let the facts speak for themselves about who the real bullies are. (Laughter)
Her: You are sneaky, aren’t you?
Me: Pretty much. When I have to be. I get everybody to look at my right hand while I do things with my left. I think it’ll be an interesting post once I am ready to post it.
Her: When do you think that will be?
Me: Haven’t decided yet.
Her: The thing I notice is that you only post what these people post on other sites, blogs and what not, then they get really angry with you about it. I don’t get it.
Me: It’s a conundrum, isn’t it?
Her: I still can’t believe that Patrick just deleted all those poems you posted without at least getting a hold of you first and getting your side. I can’t believe he let those people attack you like that and none of them got banned.
Me: Well, like somebody once said in a comment on one of my blog posts, the man is a minimum wage internet babysitter, how professional did you expect him to be? (Laughter)
Her: (Laughter) Oh my God, I saw that comment. That was hilarious. Still, it throws a deep concern into many authors and publishers that Godreads would allow such a thing to occur and then ban an author like that for no reason other than personal. It also throws up a red flag about investing into advertisements and everything. I really saw an ugly side of Goodreads, and many of its members through your experience and I am not the only one. There are a lot of publishers on Goodreads, and editors and authors who saw what happened to you and they fear that they could be targeted next by these people.
Me: I have an easy solution to that.
Her: You do? What?
Me: Kiss their asses. (Laughter) That’s what they want you to do and if you don’t, then they target you. So, just kiss their asses if you can live with yourself about it.
Her: You didn’t kiss their ass.
Me: And you saw what happened, right? But you do have a real concern there. They did say I was the flavor of the week and that next month I would be forgotten and they would move on to the next author. So … yeah, I would say you and all your authors have a real deep concern.
Her: I read that too. That was what actually got me to thinking and to start communicating with other publishers about the situation. Thanks for talking with me. I really appreciate it. And thanks for when you send me that story and that list. I hope it’s not putting you out too much.
Me: Not at all. It might be a few weeks or so, but I will try and get it to you as soon as I can. I’ll even send you some screen shots of their group and stuff. In return, do I have your permission to post this conversation on my blog?
Her: Just don’t use any names. I saw how those people went after your friend on her blog, and how Goodreads and Patrick Brown punished anybody who tried to defend you.
Me: Not a problem. I won’t mention any names. Not that it would make a difference for them. They just hate for the sake of hate. They seem to think it’s okay for them to trash authors and or their books, but when authors speak out against them, they get all bitchy and bully. Not that I approve of authors getting upset over unfavorable reviews, I have always maintained that readers have every right to their opinion. But what I did had absolutely nothing to do with reviews, it was about a small select of individuals who broke their promise to me. I guess they can’t handle the truth about themselves. Or being “reviewed” unfavorably in return. They can dish it out, but they just can’t take it. For some reason, they think when they come to you and offer their service in exchange for your work for free that if they don’t own up to their end of the deal that it’s not stealing.
Her: But that is stealing. That's what stealing means.
Me: You know that. I know that. My five year old nephew knows that. Anybody with half a brain knows that. Unfortunately, they don’t know that. It’s kind of like a shop-lifter who steals a pack of gum. When they get caught they are like, “That’s not stealing, it’s just gum.” (Laughter) No, dumb-ass, it’s stealing. Then they hate you for calling them on it.
Her: They do seem to have plenty of hate in them, I‘ll give them that. Thanks again, Carroll. Maybe we can talk later sometime? Keep emailing?
Me: Sure. And here I thought you were going to offer me a deal or something to publish my books. (Laughter)
Her: I read already where you enjoy being Indie too much.
Me: I do like being Indie, that’s for sure.
er: Yeah, that’s what I thought. I told you I follow your blog. You might be surprised at how many publishers follow you. I talk to a few a week sometimes and your name almost always comes up. You have a lot of supporters. More than what you might think.
Me: That’s good to know. Thanks.
Her: Okay, well, I’ll let you go now. Thanks again for everything.
Me: No problem. Take care. Maybe we’ll talk again soon.
Her: Sounds good. Goodbye.
You know, I just got done watching one of my favorite movies today. It’s called, “A League Of Their Own”. Everybody knows it’s a story about the first women’s professional baseball league, but it’s also a story about friendship and lasting fond memories. I see it as a story about time. How time passes more quickly than we think. With that passing of time, comes what we leave behind as human beings. What we leave for the next generation, and what we teach them. Thinking about that - and this situation - I ask myself, “What are we teaching the young?” - Apparently, we are teaching them that it’s okay to bully online. That it’s okay to put ourselves into other people’s business. Or to harass them. Or to try and stomp out somebody’s dream. Somebody we don’t even know and has done nothing to us. To be honest, I am astounded by how many people there are that are so full of hate, jealousy and resentment. It absolutely amazes me. I mean, these people are just consumed by hatred. It really does boggle the mind.
There only about five people who should have a problem with my “List” of bad bloggers (And that's the people who were on it). Everybody else who has chosen to involve themselves have chosen to teach our younger people how to bully and how to hate. How to try and silence someone when we don’t agree with their opinion. People will do this online because it is easier to do than if it had to be done in real life or face to face. This is the world that was created with the invention of the internet. A safe haven for bullies and haters to get away with saying and doing things under the guise of mostly, the famous “anon”. The internet has created many keyboard ‘tough’ guys and gals. Courage comes now days in the form of a key stroke.
But I don’t just lay blame on these people. It makes it easier to do these (and say these) horrible things to others (of whom we do not know) when people in charge (Patrick Brown and the rest of the GR staff) allows it. Endorses it. This episode has cheapened the value of Goodreads and its members. And I hold Patrick responsible for that. The bottom line is still the same, nobody wins. Not even the young people of whom it is our responsibility as adults to teach properly on how to handle situations. Everyone who has made the decision to throw themselves into this mess has taught their children how to hate. That is the saddest result of all.
If someone is always trying to find the worst in you, it's because they can't find the best in themselves.
*** To the person who earlier in my comment section, issued a "final warning" - Get a life. A non-keyboard, internet life. Find something constructive to do with your time. Do something that will make mom and dad proud of you. I bet they haven't been proud of you since that time you rode the little yellow bus all by yourself for the first time. Oh, and try and refrain yourself from stalking me. I know I am lovable, but you need to get a grip on reality. You and I - it's not gonna happen. I know you hate to love me and love to hate me, but you really should think about getting outside once in a while. Breathe in some fresh air. You know, stuff like that. Think about it anyway. Maybe give it a try. And if you're not going to listen to my advice then at elast when you comment, do so under your real name. Stop neing a coward. For a bunch of bullies, you sure are cowards about it. ***