Let’s Talk About: Appropriate interactions on social media

It’s been a while since I’ve done a discussion post. It’s also been a while since I’ve used my Twitter account for anything other than sharing my blog posts and retweeting other, funnier, more eloquent people than me. I rarely get involved in any book drama, mostly because I tend to steer clear of most conflicts, both in real life and online. I’ve certainly never called anyone out before. But something happened this week that I just couldn’t stay silent about. That something was best-selling author Mackenzi Lee accusing a fan of harassment for simply stating an opinion.

Let’s back up for a minute, all the way to October 2, 2018. That’s the publication day of The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, one of my most anticipated books of 2018. It was pretty widely advertised that anyone who pre-ordered that book would receive a PDF of The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky, a short, 50-page novella featuring Monty and Percy, the two main characters from The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. Mackenzi Lee repeatedly stated that the only way to obtain this novella was to pre-order The Lady’s Guide. I’m not normally the kind of person who does this, but this whole situation is so ridiculous that I did some digging.


Here I have five instances of Mackenzi Lee directly stating that the novella would only be available to those who pre-ordered:


This is totally fine. As I said, I pre-ordered The Lady’s Guide specifically so I could get the novella. Had the novella not been offered, I would have still purchased the book, but I probably wouldn’t have pre-ordered it. That exclusive novella was the push I needed to pull out my credit card and click that pre-order button.

Then, at the end of last week, Mackenzi Lee announced out of nowhere that… drumroll please… The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky will be published in hardcover and available for purchase this fall.

Well, okay, this was a change from her standard response for the last six months. I can’t say that I was really upset about it. More like annoyed. I just don’t see the point in calling something exclusive if it’s only exclusive for a set period, and then available to whoever wants to buy it. I mean, this is great news for anybody who, for whatever reason, was unable to pre-order The Lady’s Guide. I’m happy that the several people who asked me to email them a PDF of the novella will finally be able to read it. (Because, of course, I said no.)

My favorite person, Daniel, wrote a very reasonable and polite response to this tweet and it turned into what I can only describe as A Huge Thing. You can (and should) read his blog post about it here. While his post focuses on the original tweet and the responses he got, I want to talk about something a little different, and that’s the appropriate use of social media.

Here’s Daniel’s tweet:

In my opinion, this tweet is entirely respectful. Note how he starts with “I know you probably had nothing to do with this decision.” There’s no attack here. Nothing rude. He’s just addressing the fact that something was marketed as “exclusive” to increase pre-orders and then released to the general public later.

Of course, there were some replies, as is to be expected on the internet.

Again, respectful. It is ridiculous that the publisher decided to charge for a novella that was not only originally offered for free, but was originally only available to a select group of people. Please note that, again, he clearly states that it was the publisher who made this decision, not the author. The author was never once called out.

Everything was fine and dandy until Monday, when Mackenzi Lee decided it was appropriate to call him out in what I can only describe as a tantrum to her 21,000 Twitter followers. And, as if that wasn’t enough, she also took to Instagram to rant to her 15,000 followers there.

The thing I want to make very clear is that Mackenzi Lee, a grown woman and best-selling author, took to her social media to accuse a fan of harassment for those two tweets. Tweets that placed no blame on her and only brought up the fact that maybe the novella shouldn’t have been marketed as exclusive if it wasn’t.

My first reaction her her tweets was something along the lines of “Where the heck did this come from?!” because it just seemed like such a disproportionate response to the comments in question. But the more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I’ve mentioned before that I have a degree in Linguistics. One of my favorite aspects of Linguistics is the way you can use very specific words and phrases to totally change the way your point comes across. And, I have to say, Lee knew what she was doing when she wrote this response. The language that she uses is very specifically designed to get people on her side. And that makes sense. After all, when you post a Twitter rant, your goal is to have people side with you, not to say, “Oh, Mackenzi, you’re so crazy.”

So let’s take a look at some of the biased phrases she uses in her responses:

  • “we get harassed by readers”
  • “if you keep coming at authors over the unfairness of their preorder campaigns, we’re going to stop doing them”
  • “before you accuse authors of only being in it for the money”
  • “not everything is about you”
  • “remember there are actual real people making the best decisions they can”
  • “don’t harass us”

I want to make it clear, yet again, that there was no “harassment.” Nobody “came at her.” Nobody accused her of “only being in it for the money.” At what point did anyone insinuate that anything was “all about them”? But the point that really, really got to me was “remember there are actual real people making the best decisions they can.”

I couldn’t stay quiet. I had to respond to that.

Of course, I’m not expecting a response from Lee. I did get a response from a really great fan of Lee’s, though, who decided that my reply construed harassment. I’d love to share it with you, but it seems that my calm responses to her angry, uninformed tweets made her so upset that she felt the need to block me.

But that brings me to my next point — when Lee decided to publicly call out a fan, she had to know that it wouldn’t just be her calling him out. More than one fan blindly jumped on that bandwagon, defending Lee from this so-called “harassment,” most likely without ever reading the original exchange.

I’m not worried about myself here. Quite honestly, as the billing manager in a medical office, not many days go by where I don’t get yelled at by at least one person. Teenagers on the internet who think they’re cool don’t really phase me. And although I don’t think it’s right that Lee called Daniel out, he’s an adult and he can handle it. But, that said, did Lee ever think about what would happen if he wasn’t?

What if that tweet had been sent by a young teen? What if their favorite author publicly called them out, resulting in angry tweets from other fans? What if the person she called out was so upset by it that they hurt themselves? But, then again, is it really ever okay to act like this? Does it really matter if the person can take it? This use of social media is, in my opinion, completely irresponsible.

So… what exactly am I getting at here? I don’t expect authors to be sunshine and rainbows all the time. Everybody has bad days and everyone’s entitled to a rant sometimes. But this kind of behavior is becoming increasingly common on social media, and I think it’s time that we take a step back and think about what exactly is happening. We have these public figures with large followings who tweet without thinking it through and then disappear. When it comes to something like this, rant to your friends. Rant to your family. Call your mom and complain about that guy on Twitter who made you feel bad. But don’t make it into a bigger thing than it needs to be.

I don’t think there was anything in Daniel’s tweets that constituted harassment. There was certainly nothing that should have resulted in this level of response. Lee’s tweets, though, teeter on the edge of harassment. She’s taking out all of her frustration at an entire situation on one person, and, by including Daniel’s tweet in her rant, encouraging her followers to gang up on him.

Honestly, my mind is still spinning over this. Every time I think I’m done thinking about it, another thought pops into my head, like… what does Lee’s publisher think about all of this? Are they okay with her calling out a fan like this? And if they are, what does that say about them?

Quite honestly, I could probably keep going on this topic for another few thousand words, but I’m going to stop myself here. I’d be really curious to hear any and all opinions on this.


Have you ever engaged in a Twitter debate? What’s your opinion on authors calling out their readers like this? Let’s talk in the comments!

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94 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About: Appropriate interactions on social media

  1. Kim @ Traveling in Books says:

    I’ve never read Lee’s work, though I have been intrigued by reviews of it. But seeing her behave so childishly on social media platforms makes me not want to read her work at all. You are absolutely right in that we, as social media users, need to pause and think about the person on the other end of the screen. Lee could simply have responded to Daniel’s tweet by saying that “there was such a demand for the novella that the publisher has decided to make it available for all readers”. That’s it. That would have addressed Daniel’s concerns without the rant and the call-out. I might expect something like Lee’s response from a teenager, but not from an adult who uses words for a living, and so knows the power they have.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      Thank you! I completely agree that a short, to-the-point response would have been more appropriate. I also feel like, if it’s been such an issue and caused her so much trouble, she didn’t need to personally tweet about the decision to release the book in hardcover — she could have just let her publisher handle it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah Stubbs says:

    Wow! I’ve seen quite a few posts on my reader lately about how the book community is getting less and less friendly on social media platforms. I’m a self-proclaimed social media hermit (I only have Facebook, and that’s so I can keep up with my family), so stuff like this really intrigues me.

    I read through this whole post and Daniel’s post that you linked, and I didn’t see any disrespect at all. Both of you stated your opinions in a polite, essentially professional manner. What really jumps out at me isn’t the fact that Mackenzi Lee responded in such a negative way, it’s that other readers did. Why comment if you are content – even excited, because you didn’t get a chance to preorder – in such a negative way? What do you get out of being nasty to someone else? Ugh. I can’t handle it.

    I think this also raises another really interesting question: should the actions of authors dictate whether or not we read their books?

    Liked by 4 people

    • Daniel Peralta says:

      I think, in a sense, when you read an authors book (whether buying it or checking it out from the library), it has similarities with the idea of “voting with your dollar.” There are many authors I do not read because I do not believe in what they stand for as a person, because in reading their work, I feel like I’m supporting their philosophies and practices.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Sarah Stubbs says:

        That’s a good point. Do you think buying it yourself and checking it out from the library is the same thing, though? Since the library already has the copy and checking it out increases their stats, and all that. Maybe it is the same concept, it just shifts your reading from being in support of the author to in support of the library.

        Voting with your dollar is a great way to phrase it. It boils the issue down!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Daniel Peralta says:

        Checking it out from the library and thus increasing that books stats would encourage the library to buy future books from the author. So I would see it as more of the same thing, just more of on a watered down scale.

        And thank you!

        Liked by 2 people

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      I’m not a big social media person either, mostly because stuff like this is becoming so common. I do wonder what it is about social media that makes people think they have a license to act however they want without repercussions. How is it any different than calling someone out to their face?

      Unfortunately, I’m not surprised that her fans reacted negatively. I’ve seen a few instances of this recently. I think the biggest one I can remember is the Tomi Adeyemi and Nora Roberts drama. Fans, of course, want to defend their favorite author against any perceived slight, and I totally get that. But I also think it’s really important to read what actually happened before blindly accusing someone of harassment. I totally agree with you, though, that there’s no point in being nasty to someone online. (Or anywhere.)

      It’s definitely an interesting question that you raise. I agree with Daniel that it’s important to vote with your dollar. In this case, I don’t want my money supporting someone who treats her fans like this. At this point, I don’t even want to see her books on my shelf. I wouldn’t check her books out from the library, either, because I feel like putting her name out there by sharing a review is supporting her.

      Liked by 2 people

      • EnderWatts says:

        I was thinking this same thing as I read your post. This type of behavior is becoming more and more common on the internet and social media and it’s a bit ridiculous. People find someone and take out some situation on them and as you pointed out often use language and wording to make themselves look like some victim while at the same time intentionally or unintentionally pointing all their fans towards this one person as the face of some supposed problem.

        Even if the person they are calling out was harassing them what good is it going to do to call that person out publicly. People like that aren’t usually the type who are just going to be like “oh you called me out, I’m wrong, I’ll stop.” Instead it only fuels their fire because they know they got to you.

        It’s sad to see people treat others this way especially in a situation that when looked at from a distance is someone who in this cause loves an authors work, has supported them by buying their work and is only expressing what to me seemed to only be an annoyance that something that was originally referred to multiple times as an exclusive is now being sold. I’m big on keeping your word especially in situations like this and if it was supposed to be exclusive then that’s the way it should stay, at best then just give it away for free since that’s basically what you were doing to begin with. If your publisher doesn’t give you much of a choice then as I saw someone else say let them make the announcement etc. and let them take the heat instead of inserting yourself in a situation that there is no way to win….

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

        You make some really good points here. I think that you’re completely right about nothing good coming from tweets like this. Never in any situation in my whole life have I seen someone who was legitimately harassing someone else respond positively to the accusation. I suppose that in this case, Lee was lucky that she called out a very non-confrontational fan. The worst thing that happened to her was losing a couple readers, which, to a bestselling author probably doesn’t mean too much.

        I also agree that keeping your word is so important. This isn’t the only book I’ve purchased for the pre-order incentive, but I’ll definitely be more skeptical going forward.

        Thank you for the nice comment! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Bibi @ Bibi's Book Blog says:

    Well… I honestly don’t know what to say. I don’t know the author, and now I don’t care to neither! But I agree 100% with your post, and I’m glad that you’ve decided to bring it to the attention of your followers.

    How we, and anyone, conduct ourselves on Social Media is very important. It’s always amazing when someone with a big follower count, RT us and shine the attention light on our stuff. Until it isn’t. And this shows the very real and very ugly side of what many uses Social Media for!!

    When I was 15 my dad’s wife bought a weekly gossip magazine for me, because it had an exclusive Danielle Steel book in it. You could only get that book, by buying the magazine and she wanted me to have it, for our road trip to France. That was a nice thought, right? Trouble is that I had just lend that exact same book from the library 2 weeks ago. Since then I’ve taken “exclusive” as it really is: a way to market stuff and make money on it. Until you can call it something different, and make even more money of it in another way.

    I don’t think Daniel’s response was wrong in any way shape or form. It was short, to the point and it even defended the author, in case she wasn’t behind the decision. But even if he had said “Yo, Lee, you’re not being fair. You lied to us before” – that might be blunt but it would still be 100% true. But my point is that no matter how it was worded, even if it was rude, there’s no need to hide behind your followers and send them at one person. That to me says a lot about the author!!!

    I don’t share your studies of linguistic, but even I can see the word-manipulation she’s using in the way she writes. On one hand I guess authors of all people have that talent, on the other they shouldn’t abuse it like that.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      Thank you for this response, Bibi! I think it’s really unfortunate when people with large social media followings don’t take into account the consequences of their actions. Lee had to know that her fans would react in this way — fans always do — and yet she still sent those tweets.

      You’re completely right about “exclusive” products — it’s exclusive until it’s lost its novelty, and then anyone can have it. It was so nice of your dad’s wife to buy you that magazine for the sole purpose of getting you that book and it must have been very annoying to later see that book in the library.

      I also agree that it says a lot when someone allows their followers to gang up on someone. The drama is definitely dying down now, but by this point, Lee has made it clear that she does not care that she caused this scene. Anyway, again, thank you so much for the nice comment. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. introverted22 says:

    I had so many different reactions while reading this post. First of all, I think you’ve done a wonderful job of not just explaining the main issue here but why Lee’s actions are super problematic.
    It makes me sad because although I have yet to read her books, she did spam like a bunch of my instagram posts which of course made me feel awesome.
    I really wanted to chalk this all up to misunderstanding but I feel that Lee did cross some lines here. This is so much more than just a few fans being upset about an exclusive being published a few months later. I think if Lee just made a separate Tweet instead of reacting first and thinking later, took some time to craft a response to fans who had some issues about everything would have helped Lee’s case more. Instead she made an example out of a fan and threw a tantrum on multiple social media platforms.
    Will this stop me from reading her books? I’m not sure but I’m definitely not rushing to pick them up either.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      I’ve thought about this a lot over the last 24 hours, and while I think that Lee put a lot of thought into the words she used in her tweets, she didn’t really think through what she was doing when she sent them. Like you said, she could have made a general statement about the situation rather than quoting one of her fans (and therefore allowing her other fans to gang up on him). Even if it wasn’t her intention to call him out, that’s what happened, and then she disappeared.

      But anyway, thank you so much for the nice comment! Her books really are very good, and it makes me sad that I have no desire anymore to read them. I totally understand not knowing whether you want to read her books or not — I’ve had that same feeling with other authors I’ve seen involved in drama like this.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Jeimy says:

    She could’ve handled the situation very differently and much more gracefully. The points you made are all valid and it is disappointing that she did not at least respond. I am sorry you had to go through something like this with an author you liked.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. TJ Fox says:

    A few years ago, I stepped away from a lot of online interactions for reasons much like this. There is just a whole lot of unnecessary drama and people seem to feel that it is okay and right to say whatever they want or think and that there will be zero consequences for those words. Yes, in a textual format it is easy to misconstrue intent because you do not have a tone of voice to go with those words and that is often what people fall back on when there is backlash to what they have put out there, but that doesn’t excuse the behaviors of people like this. Sometimes sticking up for what you believe in is a fine line that is easily crossed. Other times, I honestly think that some people don’t even believe that line exists.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      I think you made a really good point about how everything has consequences. Surely Lee, as a best-selling author, must realize that people read and react to anything you share, and not all of those reactions will be positive. It can definitely be hard to interpret intent online but this just came across as the author completely overreacting and sending her fans after someone for politely disagreeing with her.

      You’re also right that it’s a fine line that’s easily crossed. Thank you for the comment. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Susan Crosby says:

    Wow. I missed this whole thing and I’m kinda glad. I do see somethings that readers do to authors that make me cringe. This doesn’t seem on that level but like people some authors are gonna be more sensitive to things than others. The problem, partially, I think is you never know who is on the other side of the keyboard. Is it a harmless hormonal teenager? Or is it an unhinged adult who could pose harm. I don’t know. I truly don’t. I’m just throwing questions out there. For I know it is one of these YA toxic shit stirrers that are just drumming up some fun because apparently, unlike most of us, they don’t have enough drama in their real life.

    The whole thing is just blek. I don’t think anyone knows how to handle any of it well.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      That’s a good point! There are definitely some readers who act like authors owe them everything just because they picked up a book once. I’ve seen some awful, awful comments on both Twitter and Instagram relating to preorder campaigns and publication decisions. It’s not right at all. And, like I said, who knows what kind of messages Lee got privately. I just wish that she’d taken a minute to consider the repercussions of directly quoting one fan when she responded.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Susan Crosby says:

        Agreed. That’s the problem with social media in this and so many other contexts. You can’t have proper discourse over 140 characters and no ability to read body language/tone. It just doesn’t work. Everything gets misconstrued and picked apart. It is doing so much harm from things like this to politics, reconcile race relations and even more grievous issues. Look no further than the president fixation with Twitter.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

        Oh, I totally agree! The internet can be such a toxic place and Twitter can be one of the worst sites. I’m not very active on Twitter except for all the book bloggers I follow, but the difference between the book community there and over here on WordPress is crazy. Everyone here is so supportive, but over there, people get attacked for the tiniest things. It just makes me sad.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Alyssa Carlier says:

    One time a super big author that I used to love tweeted criticism about a problematic trope. She got a slightly salty response saying “well you did that too”. She quote tweeted with a kind of angry clapback and got her massive twitter following on her side. When I looked into the original reply, I found that the person had in fact included the specific example they meant and the author even conceded the point in a reply but still didn’t take down her angry quote tweet. Sigh.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Stephen Writes says:

    Very well said, Sara. I am amazed that the author reacted in that way and decided to single out Daniel for what, in my opinion, was a very innocuous tweet that was not harassment in any way. You make a lot of great points about the use of social media, and the problems it can cause when used in this way.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. bluestockingbookworm says:

    I really appreciate you putting this into words. Because you are right – sometimes authors are problematic and we as readers, reviewers, and bloggers – people who do their promo for them for nothing in return – have little to no recourse.

    That said, I don’t know that Lee was specifically saying that Daniel was harassing her. After reading it all through a few times, I really don’t think it was meant to be an attack on Daniel. I feel like she might have QT’d Daniel specifically as one of the loudest voices, but without the intent to attack him directly. I don’t know as obviously I am not her. And of course, intent doesn’t matter as much as outcome.

    THAT SAID, I am not defending her, either. My interpretation is that she may have Tweeted/Grammed from a place of emotion and not realized how her words would have come across, especially with the QT. Having been in her position where I blogged or Tweeted from a place of emotion without really thinking about what I was saying and how it would be read… and then facing the backlash… I can empathize with her on some level.

    But I agree with your points about what if Daniel was a teen instead of an adult?

    Overall, this does cross a line for me. When authors speak to readers/reviewers/bloggers in such a negative manner, it is a power imbalance. Plain and simple. Even more so when they are a teen. No, they don’t have to agree with us all the time. But that is also part of the mutual respect of we don’t tag authors in bad reviews and they don’t come after us with their big followings when we say something they don’t like or agree with. She could have handled it MUCH better, and without the QT that (intentionally or not) sent her fans after Daniel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      I definitely agree that she was speaking from an emotional place. She may not have specifically intended to call Daniel out, but including him in a conversation about how her readers have been harassing her definitely makes it look like she thinks he’s the problem. And although I think she put a lot of thought into the language she used in her tweets, I don’t think that she thought through the repercussions of quoting his tweet in her response.

      I also think the power imbalance is a really important thing to keep in mind. Thank you for the well-thought out comment! ❤

      Like

  11. superkitty21books says:

    These types of interactions are the reasons I don’t follow my favourite authors on social media. Authors in the end are people who get overwhelmed and make bad judgement calls and especially when you’re a very popular author like Mackenzie Lee it’s like;yyoure flooded when comments daily. While I don’t think that justifies her actions in this case I think my personal decision to put distance between myself and authors on social media helps maintain the illusion of professionalism of authors despite avenues like Twitter and Instagram eroding the barriers between audience and creator.

    I am really sorry that this happened to Daniel and you. You guys are some of my favorite bloggers and really didn’t deserve the drama. Thank you for highlighting this

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Atlanta Reads says:

    Stuff like this is what makes people afraid to use social media. I’ve held myself back from so much online because I’m afraid of people’s responses and afraid that no one will care what I have to say. The idea that a famous author would promote the idea of online harassment and bullying, even in arguing about people allegedly harassing her, is appalling to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Fizza_Reads says:

    I have not read Lee and as an objective observer I want to point this out, correct me if I am wrong, she never actually named any specific fan accusing of him or her for harassment. In her earlier tweet, she, in fact, mentions that she has been getting emails about the issue. So, I am just saying give the woman the benefit of the doubt. Readers do get overly emotional sometimes. Who knows what kind of emails she was getting. Maybe that one tweet just became the last straw and she lost it. Still, she could have handled it better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      I totally understand her frustration at the emails and private messages she’s received about this, but you’re absolutely right that she could have handled this better. She might not have directly stated, “Hey, Daniel harassed me,” but she retweeted him and then ranted about how her readers are harassing her. If she didn’t mean to involve him, she could have easily started this conversation on the original post about the novella’s publication and without bringing him into it at all.

      I’d love to give her the benefit of the doubt, but I feel like she handled this in a very immature way.

      Like

  14. Alex(BriennaiJ) says:

    I can’t account for the author or the fan who made the polite comment, but I hate people like the person who came after you. Being a reader and a fan of kpop, I see people blindly following their artists/authors and protecting everything they do. They even go after people who express their opinions, like that fan did. It’s just like….your artist or author might be wrong…..you don’t know them in real life. Just stop and look at this objectively. Thank you for this informative post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      I’m not a big social media person, so I don’t have a ton of experience with this kind of thing. It’s really made me realize that it’s so important to take a step back and examine a whole situation before forming an opinion. It’s so easy to believe your favorite author or artist could do no wrong, but you’re right — we don’t know them in real life, and they make mistakes just like anyone else.

      Thank you for the nice comment! ❤

      Like

  15. Em says:

    I’ve never heard of this author or these books before … but I agree that it was an inappropriate response. I certainly have zero motivation to check out her work after seeing this.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Purplemanatees says:

    Wow thank you so much for this! I was wondering where all this drama came from all of the sudden! I feel the decision to have a preorder novella is just not good in the first place lol Why do you think ACOFAS and The Assassins Blade are such good sellers? They’re novellas and people loveeeee that shit

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Siobhan @ Novelties says:

    Bless you. I needed to read this post.

    I’ve debated getting into her series. And unfortunately, I don’t see any reason for doing it now. Lumping in one innocent fan who simply asked a respectful question with hateful people crosses a line with me. And I’m glad you stuck up for Daniel.

    I truly believe some authors simply shouldn’t have any access to their social media accounts. Others are masters with them. But I believe the publicist should have stepped in and told her to back off. I’ve seen other authors go on the attack, and their fans will personally fight you over anything.

    Bravo on such a great discussion post, Sara! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      I think there are many ways that this whole situation could have been handled better, and I 100% agree with you about the publicist. That’s what they’re there for, right?

      Anyway, thank you so much for the nice comment, Siobhan! ❤

      Like

  18. Tilly says:

    As the supposed professional there, (assuming that her Twitter is mostly based on her work as an author) I personally don’t feel that any fan should be singled out unless it is for anything but positivity or a nice comment. By quoting his tweet like that the recipient would definitely feel targeted.
    And in my own opinion he has a point and is allowed to ask the inoffensive question of why said item is no longer an exclusive!! Those reader fans had a choice to get access to that story; if they wanted it so badly all they had to do was preorder the book. They didn’t, therefore they don’t get it. There seems to be a sense of entitlement nowadays in this generation that people can just GET whatever they want, however they want it.
    When my favourite band released an album I immediately preordered it. After its release, they brought out the same album but with a bonus disc of a few added tracks…so I bought it again just for the added tracks…AND THEN they bought out the same album with two more bonus discs…so I bought it again, albeit begrudgingly but as a ‘die-hard fan’ I had to have it so never complained. If they’d said at the start of their release campaign what their intentions were, I wouldn’t have three versions of the one album! But then again that wouldn’t be putting those extra pennies in the pockets of the big corporations. Greed and money-making seem to be massive motivations behind these decisions and whether or not these are driven by the creators or the managers is yet to be seen. In Lee’s case, as others have said, a short ‘the publishers chose to do it’ would have sufficed. And by naming ‘publisher’ as opposed to ‘real person’ then it may not have hurt so many people’s feelings.
    There was a bit in U.K. news about some footballers here who have removed the comment option from their social media platforms because of the amount of hate/racism they get. My friends who train horses and have 13k Twitter followers have received death threats via SM, including ones aimed at their 7-11 year old children if a horse ran badly. The Rugby Team I support also get personally slated if we don’t win a match. The virtual world is going nuts and it’s one reason I’ve cut myself off from those forms of social media. I feel your thread goes so so deep beyond just this episode with Lee and Dan. I’m so pleased that he stood up for what he believed in.
    If everybody on social media listened to what Thumper says in Bambi then it may be a much better place: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say nothing at all.” Or at least say it offline between your trusted people as I’m sure most normal people do…
    Sorry for the long rant…great discussion topic!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      Thank you so much for this nice comment! I can definitely relate to your thoughts about albums! There are some albums that I have three or four copies of because I wanted the bonus materials. One will come with a tour DVD, one comes with a signed print, and so on. I recognize that I’m lucky enough to be able to do this, but I also wouldn’t complain if, for whatever reason, I wasn’t able to purchase something. You’re absolutely right that these days, a lot of fans seem to feel entitled to everything whenever they want it.

      You’re also absolutely right that this goes so far beyond this interaction. These kind of tweet exchanges are becoming so common and it’s such a problem. It’s terrible that athletes have to deal with comments like that, and it’s also terrible that not only are your friends receiving threats, but that their young children are as well! It’s so sad that we’re living in a world where people seem to forget that there’s a real person on the other side of that screen.

      I also love that you quoted Thumper! That quote is a great way to live your life. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  19. K. Alice Compeau says:

    I can only wish to find a group of readers who love my work. I can’t imagine ranting and quote retweeting them in that way. I’d like to think that if I ever get readers and were receiving a lot of emails on a topic like that, I’d try to calmly explain my reasons for making the decision that I did. Putting myself in the shoes of a fan, I’d be devastated. And these are the people who help make you a success, why would you want to hurt them?
    I agree with you, I didn’t see anything disrespectful in this tweets.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Hannah @ But First, Fiction says:

    Yeep, I hate Twitter so much.

    I’ve read through a lot of the comments here and I’ve got to quote from one of your replies: “I do wonder what it is about social media that makes people think they have a license to act however they want without repercussions. How is it any different than calling someone out to their face?” THIS RESONATED WITH ME SO MUCH 😂 One of the people I was closest to in the world took it upon themselves late last year to tweet multiple thinly-veiled criticisms of my life choices, which included several vicious attacks on another person about whom I care deeply. They have a fairly prominent following on Twitter (including, I might add, my mom 😂) and while they didn’t mention me by name, anyone who knew me and them could put two and two together and figure out that they were talking about me. To this day I can’t understand why they would do that rather than addressing me privately and in person, and why they felt the need to bully and belittle someone else important to me. Not only was I incredibly hurt, but they hurt the other person they attacked in their tweets (who was absolutely innocent and just got caught in the crossfire) and I think they got a false sense of “right-ness” from people who replied to their tweets without having any context of the actual situation they were sounding off about. Their excuse for venting emotionally on a social media platform was that they “can’t afford therapy” 🤔 Just, nooope. Needless to say, that friendship is no longer a big part of my life and I’ve disengaged from Twitter completely.

    Anyway. On to your post! This whole situation is in a sense worse because we’re talking about a PROFESSIONAL – someone with a reputation, a large following and, importantly, an entire publisher that represents her. I agree with you completely – regardless of what Lee’s personal feelings were in response to ANYONE’s comments, she should have let her publisher deal with it by releasing a short statement rather than her reacting so emotionally and extensively. I saw absolutely nothing wrong with Daniel’s fair, measured and respectful questions, and her response was way out of proportion. I appreciate you defending him, as well as bringing this up for discussion, because I think it deserves to be talked about and that everyone really should do a better job of examining what they say and how they say it before they do so, *ESPECIALLY* on social media.

    I’ve never read Lee’s work and I don’t really feel so inclined after all of this. I’m sorry you guys had to deal with this nonsense over a completely valid question.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Daniel Peralta says:

      I am so sorry you had to go through something like that! It can be especially difficult when it’s someone close to you, and I find Twitter to be the easiest for people to “tell someone off” just for ease of use. It’s disheartening.

      Thank you for your support. You have really great things to say here, and I appreciate the time you took to voice your opinion on this.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hannah @ But First, Fiction says:

        Thanks, Daniel! 🙂 Yeah, it wasn’t pleasant :/ But I *have* learned a lot from the experience, so it wasn’t all bad. I do think there needs to be a lot of honest discussion around how and why we use social media, which is why I appreciate this blog post so much!

        Liked by 2 people

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry that happened to you! I agree with Daniel that Twitter seems to be the worst when it comes to people jumping on a bandwagon and attacking without thinking. How terrible that it was someone you were close to. I can’t imagine ever making a private issue public on a site like Twitter, especially for a reason like that, but like my grandma used to say, it takes all different types of people to make the world turn.

      Thank you so much for the nice comment and for your support. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Daniel Peralta says:

    I am so sorry you had to go through something like that! It can be especially difficult when it’s someone close to you, and I find Twitter to be the easiest for people to “tell someone off” just for ease of use. It’s disheartening.

    Thank you for your support. You have really great things to say here, and I appreciate the time you took to voice your opinion on this.

    Like

  22. rayasreads says:

    I totally agree with you on this. I don’t like the way Lee responded to a valid and constructive criticism. Her rant came off as too defensive and frankly unfair. I’d been meaning to read her books for a while now. Sadly, I don’t feel too inclined to read the books now.

    Recently a similar thing happened with Tomi Adeyemi for me. Her book was on my tbr but then she created this whole issue having to do with Nora Roberts having a similar title to hers that seemed a little of an overreaction to me, and slightly immature, to be honest. That also kinda dampened my interest towards picking up her book which I was genuinely looking forward to read.

    Having said that, this case with Mackenzie Lee is ten times worse because she acted like this with a reader who was raised a very valid concern! If a writer can’t take some constructive criticism and instead uses it to attack readers with such language, then that’s just sad.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      That Tomi Adeyemi/Nora Roberts debacle was actually one of the first things I thought of after this happened… at least, once I was able to form coherent thoughts aside from “WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED.” Both Adeyemi and Lee had strong reactions that didn’t seem to be very well thought out. I had been looking forward to reading Children of Blood and Bone, but not so much anymore. (Or, really, at all.) And though I’ve enjoyed three separate works from Lee in the past, I don’t see myself ever picking up another of her books.

      I think you also bring up a really great point about taking constructive criticism. Does she react this way to negative reviews? Does she even realize that she was never even blamed in Daniel’s tweets? I would think a writer with books as popular as hers would be accustomed to some amount of negative feedback, but maybe not.

      Anyway, thank you for the nice comment. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

      • rayasreads says:

        I’m glad I wasn’t the only one losing interest for Adeyemi’s book after that debacle. And I think the only thing Lee has hurt with this display of unbelievably rude attitude is her own credibility as an author. I guess, even authors these days should get their own PR people to prevent such disasters.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

        I’m honestly a little bit surprised that someone who is published by a company as big as HarperCollins doesn’t have a PR person to turn to! I think if I were in her shoes and felt so attacked by my readers, I would love to hand off that whole situation to someone whose job it is to smooth things out.

        Like

  23. Gadget Girl 71 says:

    I totally agree with what you’ve said. If I was a fan of that author reading her reaction would make me think twice about purchasing and more of their works.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Shaz says:

    I’m lost for words. This is just baffling. I completely agree with you. The author did not need to include Daniel’s tweet in her rant. I’m not sure that I want to read her books any more. Brilliant discussion post, Sara! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Rachael says:

    I think you’re right specifically here and in general. Everyone should take a step back and think before they go on a Twitter rant. Also, this author clearly needed one of those people in her life who can listen to the anger and ranting and then be the person who then talks them down off the ledge. Your post makes so much sense to me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and screen-grabs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      Yes, I totally agree! I’ve been that person for my friends, and I’ve had some friends be that person for me. Sometimes you just need someone to say, “You know, I totally understand why you’re upset, but maybe going on a Twitter tirade isn’t the best solution.”

      Thank you for the supportive comment! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  26. aquapages // eline says:

    Ouch. Definitely a great post. I’ve seen some bad author – reader interactions of twitter, for sure. Making the novella exclusive in the first place was a weird move, I think, and to have the author themselves say that it definitely would be, making them seemingly responsible for it. Was there never any discussion from the publisher of releasing it in ebook or other ways down the line ? I get that releasing it might be the best decisions in the moment, but in the end they’re all earning more money from it, which makes it hard to see author and publishers as victims ??

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      I completely agree with you! There was no need to market it as exclusive if it wasn’t — just saying, “hey, preorder this book and you’ll get a novella for free” would have been sufficient. I also agree that it’s hard to see the author or the publisher as a victim in this because of the money, but also because it was their own actions from the beginning that caused the mess.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. christine @ lady gets lit says:

    I’m jumping on this train super late because I’m behind on blog-hopping, but I just wanted to say: situations like the one you described are exactly the reason that I pretty much avoid Twitter. I think Twitter is the one place where it’s SO EASY to let emotions fuel a tweet that then turns into something huge. I’d like to think that authors have good intentions, but at the same time, authors have power on social media that the average reader and blogger just doesn’t have. I used to live in fear that I would say the wrong thing as a blogger on Twitter, that I’d get called out for something regardless of my intentions and it would become capital d Drama. It’s a pretty irrational fear, but it’s what keeps me from tweeting about anything important. I pretty much only get on Twitter to boost blog posts at this point. I’m too afraid to join the conversation. I can’t even imagine how scary it would be as a teen reader to try to jump into this world. For now, I’m sticking to blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      I completely agree with you, and I don’t think that’s an irrational fear at all! I’ve seen so many innocuous comments turn into big fights on Twitter and I just don’t see the point. I know I could use Twitter to promote my blog a lot more than I do, but I like to stay away from the drama as much as I can.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. booksbyjen says:

    Very insightful post. I absolutely agree with you. I think social media has given people reign to be childish rather than take constructive criticism. It is a great platform to interact with fans and for fans to interact with each other but we have to remember real people are on the other side of that tweet or post or comment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      Twitter definitely has its positives — like when one of my favorite authors likes or responds to a positive review — but it’s also really easy to react first and think later, which can lead to a lot of drama and, like you said, a lot of childish behavior.

      Thank you for the supportive comment! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • booksbyjen says:

        I agree. I love interacting with authors and the community, but you have to be careful. Our words, especially on the internet, can be so powerful.
        Of course! I’m all about supportive conversation!

        Like

  29. Seitenglueck says:

    Dear Sara,
    thank you for this thoughtful and really great Post!
    I didnt know about this Situation as im more active in the german “Book Bubble”, but i completely agree with you and i shaked my Head several Times while reading this Article like “Is this really Happening?”
    It kinda reminds me about the Twitter Incident with Tomi Adeyemi, where she publicy called out Nora Roberts, accusing of stealing her Book Title. Like..what the Hell? There are hundreds of similar Book Titles out there, Children of Blood and Bone doesnt sit on the Throne of Orignality. So her Fans started to Insult Nora Roberts and it was just messy. For me, Social Media (more so Twitter, but Bookstagram isnt Heaven all the Time either) is about thinking. Think before you tweet or write something. Think who might read it, what the others could feel, how it can be interpreted. The Internet doesnt Forget and People take Screenshots fast. Like you said, if you want to go rant, go to Family and Friends first, not Social Media.
    Thank you for this great Post!
    Yvonne 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      Thank you so much for the nice comment! This whole situation also reminded me of the Tomi Adeyemi/Nora Roberts incident. It’s so rare to see authors getting good publicity because of their tweets, so I think you’re absolutely right about your rules for social media. If only everyone wouldl think before they post, the world would be a much nicer place.

      Like

  30. writermeetslife says:

    So I’ve been a bit distant from Word Press lately, and had no idea about this incident because I don’t pay attention to Mackenzi Lee often. I haven’t read her books, though I had planned to. Now, I won’t though. I remember seeing her tweets about authors, etc. and I figured it was just a general tweet, not about this specific thing. I think I may have even retweeted them. Had I know that she was doing that at someone merely asking a question, I never would have though. Her behavior was atrocious.That’s insane. Thank you for taking the time to write out this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sara @ The Bibliophagist says:

      Thanks for the nice comment! This was just an all-around disappointing situation, and it’s even more disappointing that she seems to have just disappeared. I think she definitely made valid points, but it would have been more appropriate as a general discussion and not a direct reply to one of her fans.

      Like

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