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This reflective blog was inspired by something an author wrote in an e-mail to me earlier today.

It made me think about cliques, and how some women never seem to grow out of the need to hunt in packs.

When I was at school, there were always a bunch of girls who thought they were better than the rest of the world, and together, they looked as if nothing could touch them, but alone? Alone, each and every one them were complete pussies, who desperately needed the others around for Dutch courage.

These girls used to truly believe that they were the best thing since Always Ultra Towels With Wings, and they used to shun and ignore anyone, who they felt were beneath them.

One would assume that this kind of behaviour is left behind, once we reach adulthood. Not so.

Everyday on the romance circuit, I see evidence that cliques and girls clubs are very much alive and kicking.

Group lists and author fan boards are generally where the bitchiness and cliqueyness (my word) are often most observed.

There are some groups, where you know that no matter how hard you try to fit in, you’ll never be one of them, and you’re doomed to be forever an outcast, in their eyes.

There are authors who unconsciously (and consciously) encourage this method of excluding people, but if you were to ask them about it, they’d look at you wide-eyed, and totally deny it.

There are many of these Self-Appreciation clubs within Romanceland, and it often amazes me that people don’t comment more often about them.

You’ll probably know the groups that I mean. The ones where one person says something, and everybody else on the list rushes to agree with them, and woebetide anybody who dare suggest anything different.

I guess sometimes it’s best not to rock the boat.

Unfortunately for me, I take great pleasure in rocking boats, so alas, for this reason, I prefer to stay on the fringes of these groups, looking in and quietly observing, but rarely participating.

You learn more about people that way.

By the way, if you think I’m just talking about reader Self-Appreciation Clubs, you’re very much mistaken. I’m also talking about authors who hunt with other authors. There are more of them than you think.

17 Comments »


  • Ann Wesley Hardin
    October 10
    7:06 pm

    I’ve noticed too and I’m determined to stay out of it. That’s one reason I decided not to follow reviewers around and comment.*gg* Learned my lesson about that one. Was good publicity, I guess, but not the sort of discussions I wish to start or get involved in anymore. Just my personal comfort zone.

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  • Anonymous
    October 10
    7:24 pm

    I assume you’re talking about Yahoo groups, and if you are, you’re 100% right. Sometimes the authors are worse than the crazy fan girls. It’s much better to lurk.

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  • Scott
    October 10
    7:42 pm

    Not just the romance book forums. It is in place even amongst guys in sports forums. Of course the whole on-line thing has added to it. Because you don’t have to actually face the people you slam. It’s a shame people resort to that.

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  • Nicole
    October 10
    8:55 pm

    Good post, Karen. I’ve had this on my list of possible blog topics for awhile.

    Yahoo groups are bad, hell, even the WeightWatchers boards are bad.

    I even start not liking an author just because of her rabid fans/clique and well, that’s sad. (mostly a few EC authors that I’ll be kind enough not to mention).

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  • Daisy Dexter Dobbs
    October 10
    9:34 pm

    First of all, welcome back, Karen. Glad you (mostly) enjoyed your trip to the U.S.

    Thanks for this perceptive and accurate post. It’s not easy to be a free-thinking individual rather than a follower because that makes the vast sea of followers uncomfortable. Pack-people simply don’t understand people who prefer to dance to the beat of their own drummers and are happy and comfortable while doing it.

    Like many, while growing up I was also on the receiving end of that vicious, bitchy kind of pack behavior you touched on. Back then it hurt terribly not to fit in and to bear the brunt of malicious ridicule. That behavior disintegrated if you happened to catch one of the pack when they were alone because they were powerless and fearful without their cohorts. I have enough life experience behind me now to embrace my definitive quirkiness–that difference that makes me who I am–and not feel I have to apologize for it. Sure, it still hurts to be on the receiving end of mindless cruelty, but I can deal with it much better now. Humor was always my greatest ally, my protective armor, so to speak–and it still is, as anyone who reads my blog or books can easily see.

    In blogland and on writer-reader chat lists, etc., I do see frequent evidence of people clinging to every last word of the perceived leaders of the packs–and praising it to high heaven. If someone has the audacity to offer a varying opinion, they’re verbally clobbered or given the silent treatment. Interesting that those who dare to speak freely usually get a number of private e-mails from weaker pack members confidentially praising their courage for speaking out. It’s really no different online as it is in “real life” is it?

    The saddest is when self-appointed pack leaders (I see this on so many blogs) bash others for not subscribing to the same viewpoint, actions, and methods that the leaders have deemed correct and appropriate for all members of the blogosphere. Bloggers are damned for blogging about one thing and damned if they don’t blog about another. Why? Isn’t there room in this immense cyber-sea for all? Does the aversion to diversity by small-minded, cliquish individuals, and their need to feel superior by lashing out at others never end? The answer, regrettably, is no.

    The good news is that there are many of us out there who’ve learned to ignore it as best we can and to keep dancing to the beat of that different drummer.

    Really sorry for such a humongous comment, Karen, but, as you can probably tell, your insightful post struck a nerve. 😉 If you have a minute, read my previous blog post “Does Not Play Well With Others” and you’ll see why I can relate so well to this post of yours.

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  • Lydia
    October 10
    10:42 pm

    Daisy, I can relate to your experiences when growing up. I was always overweight in school, and this was primarily where my problems all began and ended.
    I desperately wanted to be with the in-kids, but when you’re a painfully shy, overweight sixteen yeal old, gaining acceptance becomes an impossible dream.

    I haven’t ever forgotten those people who felt it was their right to treat me badly, and it was a scar that I bore for a long time.
    To see it still happening even when we’re older and supposed to know better, is a sad indictment on women today.
    It took me a long time to accept myself as I am, but sometimes I think back to those days and I remind myself how far I’ve come.

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  • Marianne LaCroix
    October 10
    11:19 pm

    Been in YG for a long time, seen a lot of people go insane over stupid things. It is the way of things online. At this point in my career, I don’t talk much on the lists anymore. Some I don’t fit in, others I just don’t have time, and some is a combination of both. I have my own goals and plan on sticking to them. Making friends with other authors shouldn’t be a goal, that should be a bonus. I don’t want fake friends. I’ve had enough of those in the past to fulfill that requirement of life.

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  • HelenKay
    October 11
    12:39 am

    Ann- I think we all learned from that experience. I’ve tried to hover around my own blog and blog links since then and not wander too far from blog home.

    There definitely is a sense of the “in crowd” and the not so in crowd in some of the yahoo groups I’ve been in. If you’re there to learn about agents and submissions and stuff like that, you can pick up on a lot of good information. The other crap you have to ignore or you’ll go crazy. Or, you can drop out – a route I’ve chosen on all but a few.

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  • Rocio
    October 11
    1:03 am

    Well I think most of the groups really encourage you to express what you got…the problem is the reaction you get of it!!!
    Even though I’m a too shy girl who barely knows English I was thrown out of the very first group I joined. That’s were I learn that in those group you are a supporter not member so you better express your opinions pro and keep the rest to yourself. Unless you are Karen, and go and make a mess and the blog it out!

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  • Rosie
    October 11
    1:36 am

    There are a few groups I visit to check for excerpts. The group number may go up and down but the same core group of people seem to post the same old stuff over and over again. It’s like a soap opera same story line but different actors on different networks.

    As for cliques they are just a part of life. It happens every where. I like taking my lunch in an “off” hour after everyone else goes to lunch. I am frequently the person who covers others desks while they are away. No sticky situations to explain or reasons not to join so and so for lunch.

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  • Eve Vaughn
    October 11
    2:20 am

    Hey K-rock,

    I’m feeling you. It does suck that people gang up on others and try to make them feel bad about having an opinion. I’ve seen a lot of it, and it’s not something I try to get involved with. Kind of like the song that says, haters are going to hate. You just have to take those things with a grain of salt.

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  • Sam
    October 11
    5:59 am

    I think, Karens, it’s human nature. Some people just have to be part of a group to feel comfortable, and most groups try to homogenize as much as possible so there is no friction in the group.
    Lovers of friction don’t fit in.
    LOL
    😉

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  • Monica
    October 11
    2:57 pm

    Geezy, what are y’all talking about? I really wanna know.

    Rabid fangirls? Where do all these authors find these people? They’re free, right? How do you get them to sign up? I’d sure like a few, if only to answer my mail, run a few errands, do a little promo, maybe some mailings, etc.

    Where are these boards where folks beat up on everybody else? I want to go and rubberneck the train wrecks.

    Nobody simply goes off, cussing folks the eff out, calling them all matter of female dogs when aggrieved or dissed publicly? So what does the injured party do? Pout? How ununsatisfying. But I must say, y’all are so civilized

    I feel so out of it.

    Grumble.

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  • Dakota Cassidy
    October 11
    9:57 pm

    See me give the wide eyed innocent look. LOLLOLLOLLOL. I’m kidding. That’s why our group is about NOTHING and we only allow ONE promo per week–that goes for the chicks that own the board too. Cuz, I hate cliques. We almost NEVER talk about our books. We do talk about the most inane stuff. Coke or Pepsi? Big hair or flat? We’re a group of great substance. LMAO Glad you’re back 🙂

    Dakota 🙂

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  • Anonymous
    October 12
    9:16 pm

    I could name names as I’ve been on a number of those Yahoo groups, but I won’t. We all know who they are.. and so do they. Not something to be proud of, that’s for sure.

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  • Desiree Erotique
    October 13
    2:30 pm

    Then there’s the groups for authors who don’t have fangirl clubs and feel rather isolated because of rabid snubbing from other places. I belong to a very small private group which was established just for mutual support. As with Mari, I have no time for fake friends.

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