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Apparently Holly Lisle is getting political on her blog, which annoyed one of her readers so much, that said reader, wrote her an e-mail telling her so.

I received this e-mail yesterday evening from a concerned reader. I have no time to paraphrase, so I’ll just post the pertinent bits:

Holly Lisle posted about some of the internet rumors going on about Obama, with links. Despite that it has been stated elsewhere that these are rumors and will be addressed by members of his staff, she said she was withdrawing her support for him and would be voting for McCain instead — and urged her readers to do so as well.

Now, a reader took exception to this and sent Holly a private e-mail, saying that she did not find it appropriate that Holly was using her influence in attempt to sway her readers’ voting choices with misinformation. She told her that she would be resigning from her mailing list and removing her books from her home, because she could not, in good faith, support someone who found nothing wrong with doing such. She sent the e-mail because she hoped that Holly would see that the way she was acting on her blog was actually losing her readers and damaging her career.

Holly re-posted this e-mail publicly, first in the comments on her original post, and then in a separate post on its own, calling the reader a “book destroyer”, continuing to defend the misinformation, and then demanding that she apologize. This resulted in Holly’s fans jumping to her defense, and calling the reader no amount of names.

(Ironically, Holly has threatened lawsuit against people who post her e-mails publicly.)

Here are the referenced posts:

Original Post 1
The second post
The third post by the reader’s friend

Here’s Holly, reposting the e-mail:

hollylisle Says:
June 11th, 2008 at 7:42 am
Waiting in my e-mail last night when the power came back on.

Holly, I know this won’t matter at all to you, but I’ll tell you anyway. I have been a fan of your work for a very long time. I’ve shared your books, helped build your fandom, respected and supported you. I’m not much of a joiner, so you don’t know me at all, but I’ve been there for you since 2000. I can’t respect you or support you any longer. You have a right to your opinions, but you don’t have a right to use your influence to spread misinformation.

Today your books went out of my house directly to the trash. After sharing your recent political blog post with others I know, I can tell you that my copies of your books aren’t going to be alone in the landfill. Because I once respected you, I ask you to please consider how much damage you’re doing to your career with your current direction. Ask yourself if it is really worth it. All the good you might do with your work is undone for me and a number of other readers. Is that really what you want?

So someone who has decided destroying the books written by someone whose opinion she disagrees with—and who is proud enough of her actions to announce them—has spoken. And it sounds like she’s putting some effort into encouraging others to destroy the books I wrote as well.

How, exactly, is that different than book-burning?

I see she totally got the point then. *g*

89 Comments »


  • Michelle
    June 14
    1:21 am

    Such petty behavior by an author seems very unprofessional. I too am influenced by an author’s behavior. I hate it when authors use their rabid fans to harass others; reminds me of that Tess G. fiasco. There were a few mystery authors that I added to my do not buy list.

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  • I don’t think readers should choose their reading materials based on an author’s personal opinions, religion, obnoxiousness, race, fashion sense, level of hotness, or degree of body odor but rather strictly on the book’s merits.

    As a reader, can I mention how I have a really visceral, negative reaction when anybody, but especially an author, tells me how I should or should not select my reading material?

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  • Nobody can tell anybody else what to do, but most people have opinions. Voicing opinions are what comments are about.

    I select my reading material based on whether I think I will enjoy it or not. Period.

    Some readers very well may spend time sussing out an author’s personal opinions, religion, obnoxiousness, race, fashion sense, level of hotness, or degree of body odor before they decide to spend hard-earned money on a book and of course that’s their right.

    Personally, I prefer to read the reviews, the back blurb and the first few pages.

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  • Patricia
    June 14
    3:06 am

    In my view, Holly is something of a special case. If you don’t know much about her career, let me explain.

    At one time, she maintained a very lively online community. She used to give away a huge amount of free advice for writers. She was terrific about encouraging people and focused on paying forward. In return for that, many of her readers felt a genuine connection to her. We supported her in myriad ways because she was one of the good guys, working so hard behind the scenes, helping new writers to get started, being open and accessible to her readers. Many of us had a chance to hang out with Holly online, and get to know her. It’s not like being real-life friends, of course, but it did make a number of her readers really care about her personally, not just as a writer.

    We watched as she went through a lot of difficult challenges. It is certainly not easy for most people to make a living as a writer. When Holly would hit a bad patch, she’d ask for our support and we’d gladly give it. Buy extra copies of her books, recommend her work to new readers, keep her in our good thoughts or prayers. Over and over. Not in some kind of sick relationship like in Stephen King’s Misery, but out of genuine caring for a human being who was struggling.

    Over the years, I’ve watched as Holly said unnecessarily rude, even unkind, things to readers. I always thought she must be going through a bad time, as we all do, and taking it out on people without intending to. I’m not the only person she made uncomfortable (after all, I know some of her readers personally since I introduced them to her work).

    It’s not about her opinions, it’s about the way she expresses them, speaking ex cathedra and being venomous on occasion when she encountered disagreement. I didn’t choose her books because of her opinions, and I didn’t speak out to her because of her opinions. For eight years I have watched as she has become a very different person. People change. It happens. Holly changed–first in ways that I found disturbing, then in ways I thought rather offensive, and now in a way I will not tolerate. Why is it difficult to see that there is a difference between expressing a political opinion and doing your best to spread a load of rumors passed off as facts? I am not a particularly political person. I’m not offended by Holly’s opinion, I’m offended by her behavior.

    I agree that readers have no right to dictate to the authors they admire. I didn’t tell Holly what she could or could not think or do. I told her I was deeply offended at her behavior. She chose to slant her comments to me to infer that I wish to censor her. I don’t want to, and would argue for her right to say what she pleases so long as she doesn’t present opinion or rumor as fact. That is an abuse of her influence.

    I’ve never once in all my long years of reading felt the need to throw away books before. This comes at the end of a long descent from respect to serious disappointment. And it happened with an author who once had a particularly close relationship with her core fans, who supported her through thick and thin. For Holly to have finally driven me away says something about her, but you can’t know that since you don’t know me. All I can do is assure you that she has changed to the extent that I don’t know her any more, and don’t want to know her. If there are others who comment here who have been supporting Holly for a long time, perhaps they can shed more light on the issue.

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  • Monica, I don’t think most readers are looking to “suss out” authors’ opinions/etc to decide whether or not to read their books. Personally, I read a lot of author blogs, in part because I want to keep up on news about their forthcoming releases. If an author then posts vitriolic opinions or rants on her blog, I’m not exactly deliberately seeking this information. Depending on what is said and done, however, I may decide not to buy their future books.

    As an example, an author replied to a comment I made on a web community, taking one sentence completely out of context and ranting at me about how a feminist should not use such language. This was during his release week. Guess what book I didn’t buy?

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  • A thoughtful and moving post, Patricia. It should give every author pause.

    I seem to have endlessly shifting and conflicting thoughts/feelings about this year’s presidential campaign. Therefore, I refuse to discuss it until some startling epiphany pulls my head out of my ass and blinds me with its light.

    On the other hand . . . Anyone care to bash Fox Notnews with frothing enthusiasm? My bat is ready, I’ll tell ya.

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  • No sussing out necessary. I regularly read 3 blogs, DA, SBTB and this one and plenty of authors have exposed themselves without anybody giving them any rope.

    I’ve said it here and elsewhere. The internet is a double edged sword with regard to reader-author relations.

    I love to interact with authors and fellow readers and I had a blast with Lena Matthews, Liz Andrews, Eve Vaughn, Yuvonne Marlow, Maggie Casper, Liz Bevarly, Ann Christopher, Kathy Andrico, Jennifer Allison, Lady B and too many others to name at Lori’s Get Together, but what I’ve seen online and in person in other venues from many authors has put them firmly on my never-to-be-bought list, since I refuse to give my hard-earned money to folks who behave as these people have.

    I’m especially allergic to demands, condescension and put-downs of readers by authors.

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  • I’m especially allergic to demands, condescension and put-downs of readers by authors.

    Exactly.

    There are ways–and then there are ways–to say whatever it is you want to say, whether you are an author or a reader. The consequences for the former, though, are vastly different than those for the latter.

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  • Nonny, Therein lies the wisdom of keeping a separate author’s site from one’s blog.

    Authors are people too, and are readers also. Many readers want to become and do become authors. Why the divide? Once published do you become a promotions machine, only caring about whether your books sell, hiding your personality and opinions? Some authors do, putting books sales first and foremost, but some don’t change who they are.

    I agree pissing off one’s core readers and fans isn’t a wise thing for authors to do. The core readers who support my career aren’t romance readers even though I did write romance. They are black fiction readers. I always keep this in mind.

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  • Well, I have to say as a reader, an author deeply disappointed me when she basically said we needed to “get a life” because we kept asking her for a continuation of a series she was “done with”.
    As an author, I have posted political opinion. But I’ve been generally dissatisfied, said so and said only MY opinion. The only link I posted was to a recording of Obama’s own words.
    I don’t ever want to make a reader mad, but I also like to reveal a bit about who I am and that may lead to *ahem* a few opinions.

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  • Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and it’s up to that person individually to decide whether or not to share them. Politics is one of those emotionally charged subjects that has a sharp tendency to get people upset.

    Lisle is entitled to her opinions, and her decision to broadcast them, but she’s also got to own the repercussions.

    Any time an author (or actor, musician, artist, anyone who aspires to be or is a “public figure”) swims in these murky waters, they run the risk of alienating their fan base.

    Lisle gets to reap what she’s sowed.

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  • Patricia
    June 14
    6:10 am

    Monica, the fact that you keep in mind who your readers are shows that you have a deep respect for the intention behind writing–it is more than entertainment, it is the communication of ideas. You are worthy of great respect. 🙂

    Therein lies the heart of the problem with Holly at this point. I think it is fair to say that many of her readers once felt she kept in mind who we are…and now, no longer cares. The overwhelming focus of her material has always been that goodness can overwhelm evil if good people try hard enough, that friendship and respect are valuable even in the face of darkness, that there are truths worth fighting for even when the fight will carry a great cost. And so she has attracted readers who agree with what she says in her work. She has personally said many times on her blog that what she espouses in her work, she values in real life. Readers felt a kind of bond with that.

    It is, therefore, all the more jarring to watch as Holly acts without integrity. Regardless of her opinions, the way she behaved towards me was uncalled for. Why did she post my private comment? What on earth motivated her to do that, and then ridicule me?

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  • Patricia, thanks for your kind words. I see you’re hurting and feel bad for you.

    I dunno about Holly. I checked out her site when it was first up at sff.net. I admired a great deal of the things she was doing, but she seemed to freely make herself vulnerable.

    I still check on her site once in a while the same way, but I’m not a joiner, much less a group-type of person so I don’t hang out or get involved in personalities. I have no idea how she’s changed or even how she is vs how she was. I do like her books, support her e-book effort and admire what she does with her site.

    Maybe she’s having a bad time in some way? But if she exposes private e-mails, nobody is going to trust her enough to go to her and talk about what’s bothering them. That’s not good.

    Maybe once she cools down, she’ll contact you again and discuss her actions.

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  • Okay, well, now that I’ve spent most of my morning reading these blogs *g*

    Holly can certainly think (and post) what she likes. I think she’s WAY off base politically speaking, but that’s neither here nor there. What I find reprehensible is that she posted a PRIVATE email from a reader on her PUBLIC blog, without permission. There is, IMHO, no excuse good enough for that. It doesn’t matter what she thought of the email, it doesn’t matter what the content of the email was. She took a PRIVATE communication into the public arena for the sole purpose of flaming the author of the email. I don’t buy books based on the author’s politics or any other personal reason, but I will drop an author like a bad habit if he or she exhibits behaviors that I find unethical. If I were to discover, for instance, that one of my favorite authors supported writing a ban of gay marriage into the constitution, I would never buy one of that author’s books again, because that view is so at odds with my own views that I couldn’t support that author without losing sleep over it. That’s a hypothetical situation, btw; so far, at least. Let’s hope it stays that way…

    Anyway. I’ve enjoyed Holly’s books on plot and character development, and found them helpful, but she’s off my list after this little incident. I’m unsubscribing from her newsletter as soon as this post is in. Expressing your political opinion is one thing. Holding a reader up for ridicule and name-calling simply because they don’t like you anymore is just WAY too junior high for me.

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  • Robin
    June 14
    6:42 pm

    I have spoken a lot about my distaste for authors publicizing reader emails without permission — and that includes those wonderful emails that make the author feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    All I know of Lisle is gleaned from her periodic outbursts, and it hasn’t encouraged me to find out more. I don’t care about her political views (within reason, of course — if she advocated genocide or something, I’d not by buying her books), even though in this case I think they are . . . off.

    What I see with her, though (my opinion only), is a persistent disconnect between her POV and those who disagree with her, and a total unwillingness to see disagreement as anything but a personal attack and/or a lie told about her. So I’m unfortunately not surprised she had the reaction she did to Patricia’s email, and frankly, I would never expect her to change her view. My general sense of Lisle is that you’re either with her or against her, and if you disagree with her, you automatically go into the against group. And while what she did to Patricia I’m sure felt quite personal, I don’t think it was intended to be any more personal than her threat to delete the IMO incredibly sane and thoughtful comments of Dave L.

    I don’t know why she reacts the way she does (could it be the dangling, flaccid penis state theory at work, lol). Ultimately, I kind of formed an impression about Lisle when she promised legal action against those who wrote fan fiction of her work. I think that it’s wonderful for those who have benefited from her advice and support and who have loved her books. I understand from Patricia’s posts the loyalty that was built and then destroyed, and IMO it wasn’t about Lisle’s political views, per se, but about the whole set of dynamics involved in the way she handled the discussion. When I saw that sentence in one of her blog posts about how she doesn’t like conflict, I thought, uh oh, here we go again, this is gonna get ugly, because inevitably those who claim to hate conflict seem to create a lot of it, often without realizing it.

    Everyone obviously has to make up his or her own mind about whether to read an author’s books, whether to toss them in the trash (which is, IMO, a far cry from book burning, which is an intrinsically *symbolic* act of protest), or whether to not buy them at all. In terms of more personal interactions, I don’t know if it’s at all possible to predict when things might go awry. I have just come to expect that things intermittently will.

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  • I kind of formed an impression about Lisle when she promised legal action against those who wrote fan fiction of her work.

    The day fanfic of my books starts popping up on the interwebs, I’ll know I’ve arrived. LOL. IMHO, if someone takes the time and effort to think up new stories for my characters, or different ways they think a story might have happened, it indicates a tremendous level of love for and involvement in a book. I’d consider that a huge compliment 🙂

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  • Posting the private email on her blog was way over the line, IMO, but not exactly out of character for her, given her previous online behavior. I’ve tried to read her books, but I haven’t found one that held my interest. Something in the voice really didn’t ring true with me, and that’s a deal breaker.

    Although I think authors are absolutely within their rights to express political opinions in public, they shouldn’t be surprised if people who don’t agree with them feel disinclined to buy their books. I wouldn’t stop buying someone’s books if I found out his/her political leanings were radically different from mine, but I absolutely *would* boycott if he or she had a hand in fostering hatred or perpetuating lies.

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  • Nonny
    June 15
    12:10 am

    Monica,

    Speaking as a reader, I actually do prefer when authors are “real” in their blogs and online correspondence. But you can be “real” and still not be a jerk. I don’t mind people posting strong opinions — it’s when their response to somebody disagreeing is to start name-calling and tantrum-throwing that there’s a problem. If someone can’t behave like a reasonable adult, they probably oughtn’t be blogging.

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  • Nonny
    June 15
    12:11 am

    Ally,

    I’m with you there! 🙂

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  • Once I found that many authors had blogs, I subbed to many of them, but have since unsubbed from them after a few months because most of them are just PR machines. I’ve found I prefer reader/review blogs (this blog, SB, DA, ect…) to sub to instead. But before I did the mass author-unsubbing, I had already unsubbed from one male author who posts politically on his blog.

    But because this was such post seemed so dramatic, and the scandalous side of me enjoys the “authors-gone-bad” types of posts, I read the post, then the comments, and was ready to boycott Lisle myself (I have not read her, but I had surfed her website a while back for her articles).

    So then I clicked the links and read what Lisle posted. Um, it’s not that bad to me; I would certainly never quit an author whose stories I enjoyed over that post. But then again, I’m not extremely behind any of the current politicians. If I had been subscribed to her blog, I’d certainly unsubscribe from it, because like I’ve already mentioned, I don’t care for fiction authors blogging political posts on their book blog (same with actors).

    But onto the “OMG it’s so friggin scandalous” subject about Obama’s internet team:

    My understanding of libel/slander is that people can be held liable for making public comments about someone else that aren’t the truth. If someone is saying, or writing in public false statements about someone, they can be sent a notice to either retract or suffer a lawsuit, unless they had some kind of evidence to back up their claims. So, I suppose it would depend on how aggressively Obama’s people acted before I could decide whether they’re within their rights not to be libeled, or were stomping on our rights if they used their power to shut down a site that had some kind of proof to back their claims of whatever.

    I don’t think Lisle’s being concerned is such a big thing, but I’m not dedicated to any of the eligible politicians either. If Obama’s people overstep their right to defend libel, then there’ll be plenty of scandal and outrage to slow it down. But, I’m glad there’s watchers out there, because if everyone was totally complacent, then I truly believe someone would eventually take advantage of it and try to stifle our rights (ahem, I’ll stop there LOL).

    I understand not wanting to support artists whose beliefs/actions are radically opposite of mine (Tom Cruise), had repeatedly been trashy in public (BSpears, LiLo, Paris), or almost went after a reviewer’s family, or plagiarized. But to stop reading an author someone’s followed for some time, because she’s concerned a politician might overstep their power? Through the years, I’ve seen boycotting of actors who supported a politician when someone else supported the opposing politician. I think that’s real, *REAL* dedication when someone boycotts somebody else, or a business, because the artist/business is dedicated to an opposing candidate.

    *Lisle pasted email into comments. I’m undecided about this being all that awful; it was in response to an ongoing thread, so Lisle might have looked at it that way. She did NOT use the sender’s name or IP# to identify who sent it. Lisle asked the sender questions about her views of different topics, and made a reference to book-burning (Ok that was a bit dramatic).

    I certainly won’t be subbing to Lisle’s blog now that I know she posts politically. But I certainly won’t avoid reading her over this incident; I personally do not think it’s all that terrible, even with the questionable posting of the email. I’ve just never been really, *REALLY* dedicated to a politician I guess (I’ve been really against some though 8^)

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  • rae
    June 15
    9:45 am

    I don’t care about the politics. I’m not into that any of the US politics because I don’t live there. I was subscribed to her email lists and I have unsubscribed because I do not wish to associate with someone who behaves like a school yard bully. If the person had posted on her blog that was one thing but this was a private email she chose to publish without permission. Then she went on to attack this person, which had the effect of blog commenters attacking this person as well.

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  • Patricia
    June 15
    3:36 pm

    After discussing this issue with another author who maintains a blog (I mentioned no names nor none of the specifics during our discussion–I just wanted an opinion of the general issues), I have come to see one aspect of the situation in another light.

    It was suggested to me that perhaps Holly feels any correspondence she receives is her property, and she has a right to publish it. Much as an editor of a print publication would feel any “letter to the editor” was fair to print. If that is the case, then it makes her publication of my private remarks more understandable.

    It would help a lot if she had a definite policy about this available on her site so that people would be able to make informed decisions about writing to her or not. If I had been aware of this, for instance, I might have decided corresponding with her was not worth it. It would have been nice to have had the choice. (After all, you will say things to someone in private that you would not choose to share in public–not because you are ashamed of what you’re saying, but because some discussions simply don’t involve anyone but yourself and the person you’re writing to.)

    It would also be nice if readers of her blog had a stated policy from her to warn them that they will be severely ridiculed, flamed, or worse if they disagree with her. Of course, her reputation precedes her, but it’s nicer to give fair warning.

    I notice many of the comments here come from writers and well-known bloggers. What do you think of this? Are blogs like print publications? Are all emails to bloggers like letters to the editor–subject to publication without notice?

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  • Patricia
    June 15
    3:39 pm

    After discussing this issue with another author who maintains a blog (I mentioned no names nor none of the specifics during our discussion–I just wanted an opinion of the general issues), I have come to see one aspect of the situation in another light.

    It was suggested to me that perhaps Holly feels any correspondence she receives is her property, and she has a right to publish it. Much as an editor of a print publication would feel any “letter to the editor” was fair to print. If that is the case, then it makes her publication of my private remarks more understandable.

    It would help a lot if she had a definite policy about this available on her site so that people would be able to make informed decisions about writing to her or not. If I had been aware of this, for instance, I might have decided corresponding with her was not worth it. It would have been nice to have had the choice. (After all, you will say things to someone in private that you would not choose to share in public–not because you are ashamed of what you’re saying, but because some discussions simply don’t involve anyone but yourself and the person you’re speaking with. Same goes for private letters.)

    It would also be nice if readers of her blog had a stated policy from her to warn them that they will be severely ridiculed, flamed, or worse if they disagree with her. Of course, her reputation precedes her, but it’s nicer to give fair warning.

    I notice many of the comments here come from writers and well-known bloggers. What do you think of this? Are blogs like print publications? Are all emails to bloggers like letters to the editor–subject to publication without notice?

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  • Patricia
    June 15
    3:46 pm

    Sorry for the double post. Correcting the post for clarity in the third paragraph lead to two posts appearing here, I’m not sure why. 🙁

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  • Patricia, I sort of see where the other author may be coming from, but frankly, I think s/he’s off base. By miles.

    If Ms Lisle does consider any emails sent to her to be her property, so that posting them publicly is perfectly legit, I wonder if she has ever considered that her emails to other people are then those other people’s property now, and therefore also fair game down the road for public consumption?

    Somehow, I don’t think anyone–author, reader, whatever–would care to live in a world in which private emails aren’t private.

    Personally, I would think that when a person posts a comment on a blog, that person does it with the same intention–and expectation–that a person writing a letter to the editor: to be heard by more than one person.

    When writing privately to a blog owner, author or not, and unless there is a clearly stated and visibly posted policy to the contrary, there is an expectation of privacy.

    Of course, this again shows us that we have to be very very careful who we trust.

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  • I think the whole Publish without asking has a lot to do with your history with someone. If a friend writes to me or even just someone I’ve had some previous contact with, I’d always be careful to make sure it’s okay to publish. But if I get a whacko letter out of the blue from a stranger, I’m probably not going to ask.

    Now that I write that, I realize that’s probably not entirely ethical on my part but it’s some comfort to know I’m not a hypocrite. I write to strangers aware that what I write will belong to them and they will do what they want with it.

    Sounds like you weren’t a stranger, Patricia, and you had a real relationship with Holly. That feels more like a violation.

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  • Patricia
    June 15
    4:15 pm

    I guess my letter to Holly fell into that “whacko letter out of the blue from a stranger” category, Kate. 😀

    (That’s a really great description–I think that should be a default folder in all email software. Thanks for the laughs.)

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  • But didn’t you say you’d commented on her blog before? That counts as “Someone with whom I’ve had contact” and not as Wacko Stranger.

    Here’s an example of a WS letter: someone claimed that I owed her money because I had used her name in one of my books.

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  • Jenns
    June 15
    6:22 pm

    It’s been said before in this conversation, but I agree so I’m going to say it again. Politics is a such a hot-button issue with a lot of people, so – if you decide to bring it to the table, so to speak – you should be prepared for some to disagree.
    I think that everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinions, and I also think it’s their prerogative to air those views, whether in person or online.
    I strongly disagree with verbally abusing someone who doesn’t agree.
    Someone posted something that struck me as being so true and accurate as to how I feel, and I’m sure how a lot of others feel. It’s along the lines of: “I don’t take offense at Lisle’s opinion. I take offense at her behavior.” (I looked, but I couldn’t find it again – it’s a long thread. So, I’m sorry to the original writer.)
    I still don’t understand why so many authors are attacking readers. Makes no sense to me.
    Why do so many people (and not just authors) show their worst sides online, on their blogs, anyway? Is it because they type first, think later? (It is a little too easy to hit that send/submit key.)

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  • Note to self: remember this thread after I finish reading this latest literary masterpiece by Ann Coulter.

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  • Wow can’t believe I actually wrote that with a straight face LOL

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  • From where I stand, I think Lisle’s first mistake was to post political events/beliefs on her books/writing blog in the first place. Lisle’s posting somebody else’s email in public was also a mistake, but I don’t feel she invaded anyone’s privacy since she didn’t include WHO emailed her.

    I’ve seen other bloggers and newsletter publishers paste received emails without the email owners’ names. Unless I missed something along the way, it wasn’t until Patricia went public with this that people knew who she was. So, is it truly an invasion of privacy if a person’s name or pseudonym isn’t included?

    I don’t think this is an “author gone bad incident”; it’s more like a business person who decides to include their political beliefs with their business — something many wouldn’t choose, but others do for some reason. But business people that include their political beliefs need to be prepared to lose clients with opposing political beliefs.

    I wonder if this is more politically based outrage.

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  • Patricia
    June 16
    4:31 am

    Shreela, you make some good points. I didn’t exactly go public with this, since this isn’t on my blog and I’m not the one who sent the information to Karen in the first place. However, I chose to become part of the discussion here. I don’t object to my name being know. I object to Holly posting my comment to her because it was not sent in relation to her blog. If I’d had something to say about the issue in public, I could have gotten a post onto her blog (not through my own account there, as for some reason, I was unable to log in–had to have a friend post for me when I did make a single comment, much later).

    I objected to Holly posting my email to her without my permission, but I do understand now that some bloggers hold the opinion that they have a right to publish any communication they receive. I think it would be more fair if this policy was clearly stated at the blogger’s site, but perhaps it needs to be assumed by all people who write to bloggers.

    The “author gone bad” aspect is not Holly’s invasion of my privacy alone (as you say, it is possible that she did not believe she was in any way invading my privacy). It is that she seems to have published my private remarks with the sole intention of ridiculing me, using pejorative language, and encouraging others to do so. If my remarks were, indeed, her public property, then I suppose she had every right also to accuse me in any way she saw fit. I’m no longer clear on what is within a blogger’s rights. Are bloggers free to say anything they want to, using any sort of inflammatory language they please, even when this means being insulting and rude to readers? I guess they are, yes. Should readers, therefore, expect to be held up to ridicule? Again, I think the answer must be yes, which is sad–and strikes a blow against open communication.

    I am not outraged about Holly’s political opinions. I was disappointed by her confusion of opinion and fact. She has a right to her opinions. Obviously she has a right to do and say anything she pleases. As it happens, I agree with AztecLady. I don’t like the idea of living in a world where private emails are not private. And, as AztecLady so rightly points out, this proves that I needed to be much more careful about who I trusted. It’s hard, though. I’d only known Holly (from a distance, true) for eight years, and found her response to me stunning. Sure, I expected she might find my remarks very harsh–as I’ve said before, I wanted to make her realize that yes, her behavior really was driving away long-time fans. I simply didn’t expect to be called names and sneered at by strangers when I’d made the remarks in private. Live and learn.

    It’s worth mentioning that I haven’t expressed a political opinion. Not once have I said that my opinions oppose Holly’s. I’ve said that her use of op-ed writers as reference links to support facts was tantamount to presenting opinion as truth. No one knows my personal political opinions. It should not be assumed that I am supporting any particular thing–other than the truth.

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  • Patricia said: “It was suggested to me that perhaps Holly feels any correspondence she receives is her property, and she has a right to publish it. Much as an editor of a print publication would feel any “letter to the editor” was fair to print. If that is the case, then it makes her publication of my private remarks more understandable.”

    I used to be a member of the Forward Motion writing community circa 2002-2003, during which time Holly participated in discussions on a fairly frequent basis. The question of e-mail property came up on more than one occasion, and Holly’s strong opinion was that the e-mail or letter belonged to the writer, not the recipient. If the letter was republished elsewhere without permission, it could be considered copyright infringement. Maybe her opinion has changed since then, but I remember it being very strongly stated back then.

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  • Robin
    June 16
    5:14 am

    The question of e-mail property came up on more than one occasion, and Holly’s strong opinion was that the e-mail or letter belonged to the writer, not the recipient.

    I don’t believe for one nanosecond that Lisle would have tolerated it if the circumstances were reversed.

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  • Very much agreed, Robin.

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  • Robin
    June 16
    5:40 am

    Regardless of Lisle’s political beliefs — which I don’t really think were the crux of this whole situation, anyway — I don’t think you can overlook the irony of her being so clearly against silencing dissent and what she did to Patricia and another poster, Dave L. That she likened Patricia’s actions to book-burning only heightens the irony, IMO, because it draws such explicit attention to the instability of the high ground Lisle attempts to claim. And what’s most ironic, perhaps, is that this whole thing wouldn’t likely have been such a big deal if Lisle hadn’t amped up the drama with the publication of the private email and the whole book-burning, “book destroyer” language. Ultimately I think Lisle fell victim to her own outrage and let it get the best of her and her stated values.

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  • Patricia
    June 16
    7:45 am

    There’s one important point that I haven’t made yet, and I think it is worthy of discussion. The facts are that Holly published my email, ridiculed me, pursued me to a friend’s blog to continue her argument, and encouraged (by her choice of words) others to ridicule me. She threatened to delete comments she disagreed with, but let stand a comment in which my behavior was compared to Nazism–a term which is commonly regarded to be hate speech.

    People have called me (or my actions) childish and immature.

    My question is–what if I *were* actually a child?

    Did you know that Holly is now a published YA author? That her book THE RUBY KEY is for a YA audience specifically, and that it is the first in a series? She is clearly going to attract young readers. Plenty of them have access to the internet, and will google their favorite authors. They’ll find Holly easily enough.

    So far as I’m aware, she doesn’t require anyone to swear to their age before commenting on her blog or emailing her. I’m certainly not a kid, but Holly didn’t know that. Plenty of young people are more articulate than I was in that email to Holly. 😀 She assumed a lot about me, including my age and my ability to take ridicule. The chilling thing is, I could have been a 13 year old kid (claiming to have been a reader for a long time so that Holly would think my opinion matters more–sure, that’d be lying but kids do things like that sometimes in an effort to get respect). She’s going to *get* blog traffic from kids, now that she’s a YA writer. What if she turns on one of them as she turned on me? Most teens would blow her off with an assortment of vulgar words, but what if Holly happens on to a genuinely vulnerable young person?

    She made me feel awfully sad with the things she said. But if I’d gotten treated the same way by my favorite author when I was just 13 or 14, I’d have been devastated.

    Sometimes parents aren’t as internet savvy as their kids. They might not realize there are risks involved in letting their kids read blogs by their favorite YA authors, after all. It’s hard enough to keep them from being at all kinds of other risks. Parents shouldn’t have to worry that their kids will be treated this way by a YA author. Holly’s lack of regard for privacy and her decision to attack a reader might be seen as more troublesome when you look at the fact that she’s a YA author now. I’d be interested to read what others think on this matter.

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  • Kurama
    August 30
    7:09 pm

    Waaah, waaah, waaah. Typical liberal crybaby stuff.

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