When something is released on the internet, no matter how hard you try to delete or hide it, it is there forever. Scary thought, that something you said two hours or two years ago could suddenly resurface and cause ripples in your life; you career; your friendships. But it happens. Sometimes its seemingly minor things, other times it’s something that created a lasting impact (or could if/when it resurfaces) – But chances are, if you’ve put it out on social media, someone has seen it or taken a screen-shot of the offence.
The average person can live their lives using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with little to no interaction with the larger world, and rarely run into any backlash. Authors, movie stars, reality TV stars – do not have that luxury in life.
Last May I posted about the issue regarding a 1-star review on Goodreads and how the author took it upon herself to track the reviewer down, and harass them. Even now, 14 months later, this particular incident is still making waves, and dividing authors, readers, and the publishing world.
Earlier this week, one of my favourites authors posted on Twitter about a YA author who was verbally attacking, harassing and belittling the 16-year-old author of this post. You might recognize the name of the writer, as she is the one who penned the ‘John Green, YA Authors & Rape Culture’ piece for the Huffington Post in 2015. I started reading the threads – it spawned many – with the hope that perhaps the author would see the error of her ways and apologize to the young woman for the multiple statements.
Instead, I witnessed what I can only describe as a dumpster fire of racist commentary, excuses, and an exorbitant amount of self-victimization (on the part of the YA author).
In short, I watched as this author ruined her career.
It’s a bold statement to say that she ruined her career by doing what she did, but I am not the first. Many other authors, editors, publishers, readers and reviews lashed out on Twitter for the commentary she made. What started out as commentary by the above people to defend Camryn Garrett, and the necessity of her article, turned into begging and pleading with the YA author to stop her commentary, and listen to what was being said. At one point, the author cried foul, saying her Twitter account had been hacked. At another point, she apologized to Camryn for her actions and to those following the unfolding saga, and that she would reflect on her actions.
That lasted at most, 14 hours.
The next day, the conversation continued, as people were waking up to see what had transpired overnight. I went about my life, preparing for work and accomplishing my tasks for the day. And then it all went downhill. I would assume the author got fed up with people constantly flooding her mentions about the incident, and she lashed out for a second time – crying foul that people hadn’t gotten over it; re-stating her opinions from the previous evening and generally, making things worse than they already were. The backlash, not surprisingly, was swift & harsh – to the point that the author deleted her Twitter and disappeared.
But the damage was done.
I lost count at the amount of people who were involved that also work in the writing world – publishers, editors, bloggers, other authors – who dragged and mocked the author for her behaviour, and promised her that she had made an impression on them – But not the impression she wanted. A few even went as far as to say that they would never work with her. While the threat was never outwardly stated (at least from what I saw), I’d make the assumption that this (like the author stalking the blogger incident) has made its way around the YA world, and the author will never be published.
Sometimes, especially living in an instant gratification world, we forget that our actions have consequences. Everyone says things they regret at some points in their lives – We’ve all done terrible things. It’s our responses to those terrible things that show how we learn from our mistakes. This is obviously a drastic case of how things can go terribly wrong for you, in 140 characters or less. Be conscious that there could be someone watching – especially if you have plans to delve into the publishing world.
For a further summary on the events, check out Jenny Trout’s website for more information.