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Not surprised, actually.

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.”  John Donne

Now that I’m back out and about these wonderful intrawebs, I’m playing catch-up on all the usual kerfuffles. Mind you, it’s beyond late to participate, fan the flames or make snarky/scathing asides as appropriate, so I’m refraining from it.

However, the quote above–courtesy of the widget on the blog (thank you, Karen!)–made me ponder a bit about one specific to-do. (Please don’t ask me how I went from one to the other–I have no idea how my mind did it, I just know it did.)

Back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth (at least on internet terms-it was early October in calendar terms), SBSarah posted a disclosure about her involvement with Simple Progress.

Amid a flurry of comments covering all points in the spectrum (170 so far–and hey, look, we even got linkies! (thank you, Jill Sorenson)*), I found that several commenters were surprised at SBSarah’s own surprise–and that, in turn, surprised me.

See, I’m a rather private person. Oh, I have opinions on everything and share them quite freely for the most part, but (some of you may have noticed) I tend not to talk much (if at all) about personal matters. And then, if and when I do, it’s only to a few people. (I’m the island–heh, that may be how I got here.)

I’m guarded enough that I may know people for years and never invite them to my house. It takes quite a bit of trust and friendship for me to open that much to people–call me a hermit or antisocial, I probably fall somewhere in there.

Which explains why, when I read that SBSarah was surprised that people she has invited to her home didn’t take a minute to ask her directly before tweeting/posting/commenting about a perceived conflict of interest, I could understand both her surprise and her hurt.

If it were me, my surprise and hurt would stem from realizing I misjudged the person in question that much. Not knowing her well, I may be completely off the mark, but there you have it.

~ ~ ~ ~

With that said, I’m also going to drop my tuppence worth: a longtime poster at the dead Suzanne Brockmann message board used to say, “Perception is reality.” While I personally believe in SBSarah’s integrity in all matters, the lack of disclosure (meaning: she didn’t post about her participation in Simple Progress the moment she became part of it) was all the evidence many people would need to perceive that lack as proof definitive of malfeasance. Hopefully many an observer has learned from this.

~ ~ ~ ~


* apologies for the parenthetical parenthesis–my thought processes are often that convoluted.


  • katieM
    November 9
    12:31 am

    What is Simple Progress?


  • eggs
    November 9
    12:48 am

    It’s a shame that you were late to that party, AL, cuz it was a GOOD one! The entitlement attitudes of some of the posters on that thread totally blew my mind.

    As far as I could work out, the logic went something like this: “I like to read Sarah’s blog where she shares her opinion on what books she likes. Sometimes I make purchasing decisions based on her opinions, therefore I am entitled to know, in detail, every single aspect of her life that might influence her opinions, including the financial ones.”

    Now, if Sarah CHARGED people to read her opinions, as is the case when you buy a newspaper or magazine to read the reviews, then people would be entitled to know if she had a financial interest in promoting a book. But this was not the case. If Sarah were on an industry judging panel where her vote would influence the awarding of a prize, then people would be entitled to know if she had a financial interest in promoting a book. But this was not the case, either.

    Sarah runs a blog with free and open access where she gives her opinion on books AND provides a venue for people to (quite often vehemently) disagree with her opinions. Frankly, that right there on it’s own is GOLD for a book reader like me. I think she deserves to money out of all her hard work. The woman needs to make a living, and my guess is that it’s pretty hard to keep up a blog of that standard AND make a decent living elsewhere at the same time. Keeping in mind that I don’t actually think it’s ANY OF MY FUCKING BUSINESS: if I had to choose between being able to read smartbitches every day for free, knowing that Sarah was making a buck out of it; or Sarah shutting down SB to concentrate on her day job … well guess which one I’d choose?


  • katieM, the link to Simple Progress says it’s a consulting company, but SBSarah expands a bit on it on her post, also linked.

    eggs, I think that by all rights Sarah should make good money–just as I think DAJane et al, and the gals over at TGTBTU, The Book Binge and other review sites should. It takes a lot of effort and time to maintain the level of quality in content and presentation they do–and no, I don’t think that ARCs and free books are enough compensation, regardless of whether the reviews are positive or not.


  • You think she has asked me or Mrs G to her Home? I’ve never met her and never received an email from her. I did send her an email once but she never replied. I didn’t even recognize her name on the Simple Progress site, someone had to remind me who she was. I blogged a factual statement about her being a reviewer and promoter and that there is some degree of conflict implicit in those roles. I honestly have no idea why that makes me a bad person with whom she should be upset.


  • Veinglory, I was specifically talking about SBSarah’s surprise at katiebabs/KTGrant/etc tweet, and about how some people found Sarah’s surprise and hurt to be doubtful.

    I thought my own post was clear on that, since I linked to Sarah who only mentions one person by name as “has been to my home.”


  • Azteclady: If you look at my tweet Sarah linked to in her blog post, I never mentioned her by name, nor have I mentioned her by name elsewhere. How does she or anyone else know I meant her when I asked the question on Twitter?

    Many people ask questions about situations on Twitter, and never say names of those people they are talking about. Why is it acceptable for them to do so but not for me?

    That’s where I’m confused. Why would I be grouped with Veinglory and Mrs. Giggles who mention or point out Sarah’s new company? I never mentioned names and honestly, there are many other bloggers out there who are doing other ventures like Sarah. I could have meant any one of them.

    If I had mentioned Sarah’s name in the tweet, then I understand her issue. But I didn’t.


  • Las
    November 11
    1:38 pm

    I don’t think anyone who’s savvy enough to become as successful at blogging as Sarah can be that naive. She knows better. Look at the comments in that post…I haven’t come across a single comment saying anything like, “I am entitled to know, in detail, every single aspect of her life that might influence her opinions, including the financial ones.” The vast majority are fans falling over themselves to let Sarah know that she’s a wonderful person. Homegirl’s got skills.


  • KTGrant, you never mentioned Sarah by name but the tweet was about her and her involvement with Simple Progress, yes?

    Las, I beg to disagree. I don’t think it’s particularly naive to expect that when a person who knows you well enough to be a guest in your house has “a question about a situation,” that person takes a second to ask you the question directly first.

    Please note, to anyone who cares, I don’t believe that knowing Sarah meant not having or asking “the question.”


  • Las
    November 11
    4:11 pm

    I just see the whole thing as typical blogger shenanigans. There’s absolutely no way Sarah herself wouldn’t have gone to town if roles were reversed. If her’s were a smaller blog and she came across that kind on information about one of the Big Blogs she would have been all over that. And I don’t say that as a criticism, since I would do the same thing myself if I had a blog and I wanted to increase readership.

    But let’s say I’m willing to concede that I’m just too cynical and Sarah was genuinely hurt and surprised when the three bloggers mentioned–without commentary–the conflict of interest in her new business. Why do we need to know that? Why did she have make her post all about her emotions about how her friends treated her? What does that have to do us? I think the answers are obvious. And, again, I’m not criticizing…it’s good business, after all. She clearly knows her fans.


  • Janet W
    November 20
    3:16 am

    Gosh I’m late to this party! As a fellow Suz Brockmann board refugee, I heartily agree with what you said: With that said, I’m also going to drop my tuppence worth: a longtime poster at the dead Suzanne Brockmann message board used to say, “Perception is reality.” There was another kerfuffle yesterday: the folks that run the #fridayreads program (which I never thought really needed running but whatever, there is some publisher involvement: you can purchase some tweets and publishers give away books). Anyhow, the horror *sarcasm* but you know what, the blog FAQs disclosed this side of the biz so people couldn’t say “you never told us”. The folks in charge disclosed. Which I think just makes sense. I’ll be interested to see when the Smart Bitches website comes up in its new incarnation whether or not Sarah adds a statement about the simple progress company.


  • […] I laughed and laughed at some of those people’s antics, perfectly capable of imagining most of the ridiculous, outrageous and frankly stupid situations, conflicts and confrontations she described there. Not only is a sense of entitlement expected from people with money to spend on meaningless luxury, but  I’m a bit of a misanthrope, willing to think badly of humanity at large–which is interesting as I can’t manage that much cynicism when it comes to people I do know, even slightly, in a round-about-not-quite-know-you way *waving at Las* […]

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