Human Behavior

Ah, what a start to 2016 in the bookish world, no? On the precipice of the new year, I saw many goals and resolutions. Zero of them said that anyone wanted more drama and nonsense. So I assume we’d like to avoid these things going forward, right? Right. I figured that though I generally try to stay out of such nonsense, that since I found myself involved in some of this, I might as well just put forth some advice.

Thing # 1: The Catfisher Debacle

If you happened to be living in a cave this week, and somehow missed this huge freaking mess, I am going to send you over to Jon @ Bookish Antics. He broke this story, and I’m going to leave the gory details to him and Publishers Weekly. I think it was really quite brave and kind of Jon to post this- to alert us- and I want to thank him again for sharing it.

Because the day after Jon’s post went up and I freaked out on Twitter about falling for it too… my package arrived. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I went from complete meltdown (“Holy crap, this loon knows where my children live!”) to singing Kumbaya around the fire with other bookish folks in the matter of a half an hour. You all calmed me when I needed to be rational. And Jon’s post gave me the warning I needed so I didn’t freak out when the package arrived.

Because not one single person would have believed that this was from Penguin:


c3 c4

(You can open the images in a new tab to see bigger versions- also, it’s hard to tell from the picture, but Suspicion, is not only not a new book, but it is stained and very clearly used. Gross.)

So, with that in mind, I figured this would be Number One in my Dos and Don’ts of simple human interaction! In case someone still doesn’t understand why stealing someone’s personal information and impersonating an employee of a major publishing house isn’t bad. (Yes, people have said that. What even?)

 Thing #2: ALL the Plagiarism

This isn’t new, but it is rampant. We ended the year with a big old scandal, and from the looks of some tweets I have seen, we are starting the year with some dandy new ones. And really, can this not be a thing? I wouldn’t blog if I didn’t want to write stuff. So if you don’t want to review books… don’t review books? Done and done.  It has made me paranoid I think- something that I don’t want or need in my life. So you know, don’t.

Thing #3: General Assholery

Look, this isn’t new, and it isn’t exclusive to the bookish community. But I am just annoyed by it, as decent people are. I have seen a few people I know and admire in the community fall victim to this- both bloggers and authors from both bloggers and authors. Apparently, assholery doesn’t discriminate?

Bottom line: Can we get this out of our systems now? Because I love this community. My gratitude for the support after the catfish thing is one of the reasons why. Among like, 726 other awesome things that happen here every day. Basically…

Let us discuss! Has any of this happened to you? Do you think things like this just happen from time to time? (I kind of do.) Spew your thoughts at me, dears!

Posted January 7, 2016 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Discussion, Discussion Challenge / 85 Comments


85 responses to “Human Behavior 101

  1. Argh, the catfisher debacle was just why no that’s not how you do it. I have all the respect for indie authors who decided they were okay with their own freedom and choices and not the support of trad publishing. I have all the respect for indie authors who backed out, even. BUT THIS IS JUST ARGH WHY. I didn’t actually see anything about #2 or #3, but I did see something about ARCs I think? (I still don’t know what that one’s about.) I think this kind of thing is guaranteed to happen, but for the most part I’m so relieved that the bookish community has mostly handled it with grace.

    • TOTALLY agree with you. I know lots of indies and self pubbed authors who do things the right way- some have become quite successful, and even have gotten deals with traditional pubs because they are amazing. But the key there is, the RIGHT way. Though let’s be real- this lady is clearly unhinged, so even if she’d been traditionally published, she’d have ended up Haleing us 😉

      The plagiarism thing has been downright rampant. The final straw, the one that led me to include it, was when a VERY prominent blogger was plagiarized. She was super classy about it, but it took all of two seconds of googling to find out who it was. And then the person just locked their Goodreads profile and deleted the review from their page. So… yeah. But this is at LEAST the third or fourth BIG incident of plagiarizing in the span of 2 or 3 months. So yeah. Tough times, but you are right, people have handled it wonderfully!

  2. I was kind of bouncing back between weirdly amused and shocked when I heard about the catfish thing. Not that it’s funny just that how did this woman think she was going to get away with it? How did she not know that people would catch on and figure out exactly what she was doing? I don’t understand what kind of thought process could lead someone to thinking that was a good idea.
    I’m honestly surprised I heard about the first, I haven’t heard much about the other stuff, just seen bits and pieces here and there on Twitter, I try to ignore the drama though that’s probably not always a good thing. Then you miss the baning together of all the awesome people! I’m sad this kind of stuff is already happening in the new year, but I do agree with you, there’s just no way to not have stuff happen, it kind of just does from time to time. I do wish we could move on from the plagiarising at the very least, have we learned nothing from elementary school??? I learned that lesson when I got a bad grade from copying the Wikipedia page for a report in fifth grade!

    I’m so sorry this happened to you, Shannon but it spawned a brilliant post! <3 I especially love the general assholery section. =)

    • Girl, I am back on freaking hilarious now that I have calmed down. I cried, I won’t even lie. I was half humiliated, half scared. But then… after thinking about it, HOW!? WHY!? I mean, like you said, how was this EVER a good idea in her head?! And exactly- plagiarizing is like, lesson number one of every English class anyone has ever taken. Ridiculous!

  3. Since none of us had a goal/resolution to participate in drama…maybe we should have made goals to NOT participate in drama…
    It still baffles me that posts like this are necessary…why can’t we all just get along? And is it seriously so hard to just NOT plagiarise?
    Some people *shakes head sadly*

    • BWHAHAH I love it- good point. I agree, I am fairly sure “don’t cheat” is like, first day of kindergarten. Right after “don’t smack other kids” or something. And now, I guess we have to add “don’t steal tons of people’s addresses while posing as an employee of a major publishing house” to things that common sense no longer dictates. Oy.

  4. Ugh, apparently I WAS living in a cave because I didn’t hear about the catfish thing. I’m so disappointed though! I have the ebook (luckily I got it when it was free on sale one day) and was really looking forward to reading it because I love circus books. Honestly I’m still gonna read it because circus books are few and far between, but the feel-good-ness about the book has kinda gone. I don’t understand why someone would even do that. I mean, if you’re willing to send out physical copies of your book even, why would you lie to people to do that? She could’ve found people to review it by just being honest. I mean, I’d have taken a copy! Or she could’ve done a massive giveaway! People love free books! I just don’t understand the logic behind it.

    And obviously yes to your other points too. Luckily I haven’t really dealt with these things (well, no one can entirely avoid assholery on the internet), but *sigh*, I just genuinely don’t understand some people.

    • That’s the irony Kristen- it actually sounds like a decent book! I mean, I WON’T read it obviously, but ::whispers:: if you do, you have to let me know, just because of curiosity.

      And YES- this is what I don’t get either- why didn’t she just say “hey, I wrote a book, would you like to review it?” WHY the nonsense? Ugh, I don’t understand people either!

  5. Yess this post! I really can’t believe this author… and sending Suspicion? God that just makes it even more obvious she’s a fake. Honestly, all this kind of shit is bound to happen from time to time, and I wouldn’t expect otherwise but sometimes the extent people go to is just so ridiculous? So sorry that this happened to you Shannon 🙁 *hugs*

    • Hahha right!? And it was GROSS- there was like, what looked like a drink spilled on the top? Blech! How stupid does she think we are!? And thank you so much <3 I am okay now, I calmed down after realizing how batshit crazy it all was- and I figure one day, we'll all be laughing about it 😉

  6. Gosh, I don’t even have words for the catfish incident. It’s just BIZARRE, I can’t get my head around it. I also hoped that the plagiarizing issues would be over by now, considering the many incidents in the past and the repercussions, I mean it’s just not worth it! You are right when you said if you don’t want to review books, then don’t. Don’t force yourself, especially if you don’t have the time to write your own review. Gyaah, common sense has gone amiss. Smh
    Thanks for this post, though I wish it was unnecessary. Unfortunately, I’ve only been in the community for half a year and I must have read about at least one of these in a month’s time…so it’s definitely happening frequently. :/

    • I totally agree with you- it just doesn’t make a bit of sense! WHY would anyone waste so much time and MONEY (can you even imagine how much it cost to not only produce all the books, buy all the OTHER books, AND mail everything out? Like, thousands of dollars, right?)

      And the plagiarism thing… I can’t anymore. I mean, it’s the first thing everyone learns in school. It’s been made SO clear that the community won’t tolerate it- yet people do it constantly! It’s happening MUCH more frequently now than when I started about 2.5 years ago. Then, there’d be maybe one incident every 5 or 6 months, and everyone was horrified. Now, we’re all like “oh great, THIS nonsense again”, which makes me even sadder!

  7. Just… wow. I must be one of the 7 people who *didn’t* know about the crazy Catfishing crackpot. Fake personas, lying and scheming, plagiarizing, hating on others… why? What ever happened to common sense, common decency, doing the right thing? It’s disheartening, but at the same time I get the warm fuzzies from the kinds of people I choose to follow/get to know/associate with. They will always outweigh the few bad apples/nut jobs.

  8. I guess I’m happy that for some reason I am always one of the last to know about all this craziness! Like you said, if you want to blog and write reviews, then do that. I don’t understand why someone would copy someone else’s review. I know no one will ever copy mine, as they are pretty basic and are just written the way I would actually tell someone in person about the book. And I had someone who was rude to me last year, just mean for no reason. And when I tried to apologize for what they were upset about, something I meant nothing bad by saying, they got even meaner. I hate when stuff like that happens, because like you, I love this community! Great post! thanks for catching me up on all the drama! 🙂

    • Hahahah sometimes it IS best to not have any idea about these things! I am glad I knew just because I happened to be involved, but otherwise, I would have been happy to be unaware! Wowwww that is horrible about your incident last year. I mean… why? I know a few friends have had trouble lately, which is what pushed me to post a whole bunch of things instead of just about the catfishing. It seems like one or two bad apples get in from time to time. BUT the good news is that there are FAR more awesome people like you than there are jerks like your commenter! <3

  9. Gosh, the catfishing incident scared the crap out of me. And it also made me very, very mad. Because it’s so easy to get book bloggers interested in your books and to promote them. But the right way, the “Hey, I have a book about this and that, would you be interested?” way. Or signing up for blog tours. But not like this. 🙁

    • YES!! That is exactly what baffled me the most (after I calmed down)- WHY!? Just why!? To break the law, spend all that money, to be CREEPY… when she could have just ASKED? Or save the money and pay for a tour, like you said! I hope that you aren’t as scared anymore, I hate seeing people so upset by it all 🙁 I know I was in tears, and beating myself up until I realized that this person is just… a mess? I don’t know, I am just SO glad that Jon found her out and let us know!

  10. I totally fell for the stupid catfish thing too. Dumb dumb dumb. Oh well!! But could we really call Nev and Max because I love those two!! And the plagiarism. I don’t get it. Why would you plagiarise a review? Just say your thoughts. So confused. Plus yeah being an asshole isn’t good. People should avoid acting like one. Great post of what to do and what not to do 🙂

    • Hahahha thanks! I am so sorry that you fell for it too. But really, why wouldn’t we have? Because who would send books to people otherwise, you know? I feel like we fell for it because our rational minds cannot comprehend her special brand of crazy 😉

      And plagiarism is SO. STUPID. Like, I get why some high school kid would try to get away with it- because they HAVE to write the paper or whatever. But for a book blogger as a hobby? WHY? Why bother?! It has to take a long time just finding all the stuff to copy and paste, right? And then if you want to hide it? Do they try to hide it? I have no idea, but seriously, just like… don’t review books if you don’t want to write reviews. Or get a booktube and just talk about books. People!

  11. OMG. Shannon, I literally wish I could drive across the state and give you the biggest hug ever right now because you totally deserve it, especially for formulating the words that I feel like I can’t say.

    I’m so sorry that you were one of the overfishing victims. I can on my hope that the rumors are true and that Penguin Random House is really working on this issue. I understand wanting people to read your book, but the way she did it – impersonating, tricking people, creating fake Goodreads accounts – just isn’t it. I hope she gets what she deserves, and if you ask me, it’s a few years behind bars.

    Also, all the plagiarism needs to stop. I’m honestly so sick of it, especially as a recent victim. I just don’t understand how people can sit there and steal reviews, discussion posts, ideas, and features and feel good about themselves. I also can’t believe that people think that it’s okay to steal from their friends and think they won’t notice. Ugh.

    I really thought this year would start off better, but I guess we were wrong. I just hope that things are all uphill from here.

    • Aww thank you dear!! ♥♥♥ I agree with you- Penguin NEEDS to take this seriously. I understand that they probably can’t say anything publicly and that I am sure there are lawyers and such involved if they ARE handling it but eventually… they need to handle it and let us know that they did. They just have the resources that we don’t- plus, they have a much larger case since she used their logos and such.

      And I feel you with the plagiarism- obviously, you are one of the people I was thinking of while writing this. It is just so WRONG. And like- if you don’t want to come up with ideas… just don’t blog! Why is this such a hard concept? Everyone else works HARD at this! Ugh. I still have faith in the year- technically the Catfisher AND the thing that happened to you started in 2015, right? 😉

  12. Oh em gee how freakishly scary to have someone send you books under the fake identity of a publisher. HOW DID SHE GET YOUR ADDRESS? creepy indeed. I mean that is so desperate to be so sneaky.

  13. Um, okay, well now I feel like a complete idiot because I fell for this too and I didn’t even realize it was fake – mostly because I got a book from this person right before Christmas and my mom took it and wrapped it for me because she thought that would be fun. The paper that came with it got lost in the Christmas shuffle – thrown out with the rest of the receipts and such from Christmas, so I never did more than glance at it. BUT the weird thing is, I didn’t get the Spectaccolo book – I got a book that is actually being published by Ballantine on January 12th – at least that’s what it looks like to me. It’s Unhinge by Calia Read. (And I didn’t get any random used books either). In fact, I was reading it when I saw this post. It’s actually pretty decent – but I DID think it was weird that I got a random NA book rather than a YA book, which is what we’d talked about. Maybe she’s really Calia Read too? I’m utterly confused and somewhat sick to my stomach right now because I gave both her and someone named Colton Cox (with a penguin email address) my address information – now I’m nervous that they’re BOTH fakes – and who the heck was I giving my info to???

    This is scary – I’m going to try to contact someone at Random House to see if they can give me any info. Have you actually talked to anyone there? Do you know who I should email? Ugh!! I feel like such an idiot!

    • I haven’t talked to anyone, but I feel like I should. But honestly, I am embarrassed to tell a real Penguin person that I fell for it 🙁 I took tons of pictures, and still have the entire package in case Penguin needs it if it goes into some kind of legal situation. So- you got the Catfish box, right? (I mean, after you posted this.) And was the OTHER book a fake too? Or did you find out that it was legit? I tried to follow the Twitter conversation but I got confused. You are NOT an idiot, regardless. This person exploited all of us- SO many people fell for it- just because our minds aren’t as sick as hers!

      • Yes, I did get the catfish box with her book and with a random used book later. And I did end up contacting someone at Penguin because I was SO confused about the other book I received. I was really kicking myself for the fact that the paperwork from that book had gotten lost in the Christmas receipts/wrapping mess. I searched and searched through my emails but couldn’t find any reference to it anywhere, but it appears to be a real Penguin ARC. I was also concerned about emails I had received from Colton Cox because there was a little bit of strangeness to those as well (I sent him my info, but then kept getting more emails asking for me to give him the info again, which I thought was weird, but it wasn’t a huge red flag for me at the time.) I was thinking, “Great, now I gave my info to TWO fake people. And what the heck is HE going to do with it?” I got even more worried when the person I contacted at Penguin told me there was no Colton Cox there either. I sent her his info (his Linked In account says he worked for Penguin). But since then, several bloggers have told me he’s real and that they had interactions with him beyond the email where he collected info. I’m hoping that the Penguin person I talked to just didn’t know of him because he was an intern and he stopped interning for them in November.

        ANYWAY, she forwarded my info to the publicity rep for the Calia Read book I received. The fact that there is a pub rep confirms that the book must’ve been legit – it must’ve just been a “surprise” book that got sent to me. I had already read it, so I’m just going to go ahead and post a review and send it to the rep, even though I haven’t heard back from him.

        Part of me wonders if I should have just left well-enough alone and not contacted Penguin at all (it IS rather embarrassing), but I just decided to try to get it cleared up and to let them know. I know I’m not the only blogger who got caught up in it all, so at least I’m in good company!

        • I think it is a good thing that you contacted them. First, because the more people who contact them, the more pressure there will be to DO something about this on their end. Because they need to. Second, you would have felt SO bad if the dude had been another catfisher, and you’d let it go. Plus, it gives you peace of mind, at least with that book. So I think you absolutely did the right thing! I just wish there was some way to figure out where all of this stands now, but if it IS a legal situation, obviously they couldn’t tell us anything, and if it ISN’T a legal situation, then they WON’T tell us anything because they’re sweeping it under the rug. Either way, the whole thing is too ridiculous for words!

  14. I was horrified by the catfish debacle. The fact that someone had the audacity to pose as a Penguin employee and ask for your personal information is terrifying and disgusting.

    With regards to the plagiarism and general assholery I am quite tired of seeing the same dramas over and over again. There is no need to plagiarize the work others have done. Be true to yourself and be honest with your OWN thoughts. Thankfully I’ve not seen a lot of negativity from my time here on the blogoshpere and hopefully I can keep it that way. There’s far too much negativity in the world as it is so I am choosing to be optimistic and open to all. Negativity is just draining and stressful and we don’t need that.

    I am so sorry that you were effected by the catfish issues. Sending you a big hug and all things warm and cuddly and I hope that some actions will be taken against her.

    • Aw thank you SO much! I hope that there are repercussions for the catfisher too, because sending a message that she got away with it would be HORRIBLE and set a really frightening precedent. The negativity HAS been pretty minimal, luckily. Which I think is why it is such a huge deal when it happens 😉 It seems like this just happened in one big cluster- which made it all even worse!

  15. The first priority is Spectaccolo: that is my favourite part of that letter. I mean, come on! Why wouldn’t anyone think they could get away with that?! LOL

    I had part of a review plagiarized last year and it was NOT fun. I dealt with it as quietly as possibly (aside from my rants with friends in DMs, of course =P). I just don’t understand why this is still a problem. The majority of the time you will get caught, and it only gives your blog a bad name. Urgh. People. =\

    • I laughed out loud when I saw that! I mean, at that point, I knew I had been fooled because Jon had already come forward, so I had cried and felt dumb and all that already- so I was able to get a REALLY quality chuckle out of the whole box of “ARCs”.

      I am so sorry you had to deal with the plagiarism thing. Seems like a LOT of people have (which is what sparked the section of this post- just one too many friends getting hurt by it!) and you’re right- they DO get caught, and then lose ALL credibility! Why bother? Just write your own stuff!

  16. Oh. My. God. I guess I’ve been living in a cave, because I had absolutely no idea about this. The whole catfishing incident is absolutely unacceptable, and I am so glad bloggers like you and Jon have been brave enough to step up and remind us all how dangerous the internet can be. 🙁 This incident kind of reminds me of the Kathleen Hale incident of last year, and in the worst possible ways. Anyhow, I am just glad you are safe Shannon. ♥

    • Aww thank you so much! Jon is like, my hero. Had he not come forward and told us, I would have been hysterical when random crap came to my house! This way, thanks to him, I had time to process it all and then have a laugh at the ridiculousness of the whole thing- AFTER I sobbed for a few minutes and worried that a lunatic was on her way to my house to kidnap my kids. It reminded me of the Hale thing too- but almost worse, only because of the sheer volume of people she was able to dupe. Though she didn’t drive to anyone’s towns, knock on wood, so there’s that! Ugh, such craziness!

  17. Honestly, I can’t believe the whole catfishing incident. I’m still in disbelief and I’m so glad that Jon and now you have spoken out about it to warn and help others who may have been affected or may be affected if anything like this dares to happen again. This is such a fantastic post and reminder to everyone – thanks SO MUCH for sharing, Shannon!

    • Thank you so much ♥ I am so thankful for Jon. I would have been freaked out if I didn’t know- because obviously, when I opened that box, I would have known that something was very wrong! He saved me from a LOT of panic- I only had a minor meltdown when I first heard 😉

  18. I think it is really sad that any of this had to be said at all. Sometimes I think people couldn’t possibly be THAT bad, and then that .01% ruins everything… So sorry this happened to you.

  19. Wow, I had not read Jon’s post before. That is crazy that someone would actually impersonate a person from Penguin! That sucks and I am so sorry that happened to you! I am glad that I know about it. Honestly, if she had emailed me, I probably would have fallen for it too. God, why do people have to be such assholes?!? And you know the stuff I went through with that author. She has not actually emailed me back, so I guess that’s good. I told her in a very respectful way how inappropriate it was that she contacted me at all. So maybe she got the message.

    • Aw thank you SO much! ♥ I think it is super important that people know about it, which is why I shared (even though I felt really embarrassed that I fell for it!) because I figure the more people who share the story, the less likely it is to happen to anyone else. Though this person has gone underground, deleted all social media, etc, but I wonder what she thinks is going to happen now? I mean, her book IS real.

      And I am glad that the author got the memo. That is never okay, and I am really glad that she dropped it. (You were part of the inspiration for part 3 of this post, as you can probably tell 😉 )

  20. Omg I can’t believe someone would DO THAT?!?!? I mean, okay, I know this sounds bad…but they didn’t even do a very good job of impersonating Penguin. Like they wanted to be caught out?!? Anyway. IT’S AWFUL. I can’t believe someone would be that desperate to get their book reviewed. That naive, really?!? Because who the heck is going to trust this author now?!?

    • RIGHT!? They did not! They did a better job at the emailing- this mail stuff was a huge debacle. I laughed when I saw the letter- and the old used book (no thank you!) because at that point, I knew what was happening. And you’re so right- her career is basically over. No one in ANY part of the publishing industry will ever want to work with her after this. Honestly, she’ll be lucky if she avoids a lawsuit and even some criminal charges. She did some serious stuff.

  21. Great post Shannon! I read that post about that “Corinne” lady last night, and I was so mad and disgusted because how could you ever violate someone’s privacy/personal information, impersonate a huge publishing company, and trick people into reviewing your own books? I mean, wow, what a clever scheme, but ALL THOSE AT THE SAME TIME (?!?!?!?!) What even.

    I am so so sorry that you have been tricked, Shannon, and I hope it would never happen again. I’m lucky to have not gotten an email from her, but I feel incredibly bad for all the others who have been tricked into it. 🙁 🙁

  22. What a wonderful post and so very true. I hadn’t even heard of the catfishing debacle but I will definitely be going to check the post out. I think I get the general idea and WOAH, WOW and ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! That is actually the worst, I’m so sorry you had that happen to you as I know it must suck knowing someone has your address, who you really wish didn’t. Plus, how could the author think that would ever make anyone want to read their book?!?!

    Plagiarism is the one I don’t get. I sometimes struggle with posts or can’t be bothered to blog for a while. I don’t stress and feel like I HAVE to have content up. I just take a short break and then come back once the ideas and the energy is flowing.

    Assholery is the worst. I have never understood getting mad at someone for having a different opinion about a book to you. Isn’t that what we live for?!?! DISCUSSION!!! I love discussion. I love being able to discuss with people about a book, even if I hated it and they loved it or the other way around. Then you can each give your reasons and sometimes, even though it doesn’t change your opinion, you can see and understand why they feel the way they do about it. Differing opinions bring about wonderful discussion. How could you not want that?!?! Gah. If someone tried to act like an asshole to me because of my opinion on a book, it would not go down well.

    • Right!? I mean, she screwed herself over SO HARD. Even if literally NO ONE had reviewed her book (which wasn’t even the case!) she would have been better off. Now her ratings are so low that Kathleen Hale looks like a NYT Bestseller in comparison bwhahaha. (Incidentally, the Goodreads rating went from 4.8 pre-catfish to 1.33 post-catfish. Talk about tanking your own book!

      The plagiarism thing is stupid, honestly. Just don’t post, like you said! I stress- I do- BUT I would never just be like “meh, I can’t come up with my own stuff, so I’ll just steal yours”. It doesn’t work like that! Nor would I even WANT to- that means that your voice basically is so generic that you can be literally anyone. No thanks!

      And YESSSS to the discussion bit! THANK YOU! Because I agree, I LOVE to see other people’s opinions. Even if they are telling me why they HATED my favorite book, it gives me a different perspective! A lot of times, I really DO see where they are coming from, even if I don’t agree, just like you said. I know bloggers who have been dealing with this a LOT, and then it actually happened to me- this girl basically said that not only was my review “wrong”, but that the author was lazy! Way to insult EVERYONE in one comment!

  23. Yikes! I may be naive but I honestly did not know about any of these things (well, except for general assholery, which I luckily have not experienced). I can’t believe people would plagiarize reviews and/or pretend to be from a publishing house. That is insane. *** HUGS ***

    I’m hoping that the rest of the year calms down and is filled with common decency and respect in our community!!

  24. Ugh, the Catfish debacle seriously upsets me. I still can’t believe this happened. Also, the fact plagiarism is becoming so much more common is terrifying. All the hugs & loves, darling. WE DEFINITELY NEED TO CALL MAX & NEV. THEY’RE NEVER TOO BUSY TO HANDLE A SITUATION LIKE THIS. *nods with all the seriousness*

    • Awww thank you! I think we should call Max and Nev- that would be such an epic show, plus we could all hang out on MTV’s dime 😀 But yeah, I hate that it is becoming such a “thing”- like for the past month or two, every week there’s been a new “incident”. No thank you!

  25. I didn’t hear about the catfish thing. That’s just so sad that she would have to go to those lengths to get her book read. Sorry for everyone (including you) who shared their address with her. Psycho!
    I recently posted a very negative review, I am always open to discussion with people who disagree. (sadly, no one ever leaves a comment if they disagree). I have left comments that were meant more for discussion in response to someone’s review, and I got blasted for it by other commenters. Yea, I never went back to that site.
    You brought up some great points!

    • Wowww I can’t believe that people NEVER disagree with you! I will totally comment if I disagree with you 😉 I feel like if you are respectful, I want to know your opinion- whether it’s the same as mine or not! People are weird. I actually heard of someone recently whose comments got deleted because they disagreed!

      And thank you ♥ It was really overkill to get some reviews- I will never understand what possessed her to do it!

  26. I’m a new blogger and seeing all of this drama is a bit off-putting. I know that it’s not indicative of the community as a whole, but I do have to wonder if everyone on the outside realizes that. I’ve been on the internet long enough to know that every community has good sides and bad. Thankfully it seems like this community has MOSTLY good sides. 🙂 Here’s to hoping there’s less drama this year than last.

    • First, WELCOME!! It’s nice to have you 😀 Second, the good thing is, it definitely is NOT indicative of the community- which is why I think it is such a huge deal when this kind of stuff happens. I take comfort in the fact that even though these things weren’t revealed in 2015, most of them took PLACE in 2015 (even if we didn’t know it at the time!) so maybe we left the drama back there after all 😉

  27. Apparently, I was living in a cave. *laughs* I had no idea this was going on until you mentioned it in that comment on my blog. But then, I still feel like I’m a smaller blog even after being around for a year. So maybe I wasn’t big enough to tempt the scammer? And even though some of the blogs I follow, got caught in the scam, I didn’t see any posts or anything about it from them until AFTER your comment.

    I think it’s absolutely insane that someone would be stupid enough to try to pull that off. If anyone reads her book now, I’d be surprised. Not to mention, the possible jail time since I’m sure charges could/will be pressed for all the stuff she pulled?

    • Cave dwelling is nice sometimes 😉 To be perfectly honest, I think that the scammer DID go after people who had previous relationships with Penguin (how she knew that I have NO idea, which is scary), and I think she was definitely looking for “big” bloggers like Jon- but I also think she was cool with smaller people like me because apparently, she sent like, so many emails that Google stopped her! So wherever she found our information, I have NO idea, and I almost don’t want to know.

      And you are SO right- this is absolutely jail-worthy. I saved everything she sent me in case Penguin wants or needs it for any legal action. I hope that they DO take legal action, and I am very much not a litigious person. I just feel like if they don’t, it sets a VERY ugly precedent.

  28. I saw a tweet going around about the catfisher debacle and at first I didn’t realize what the big deal was…and then I read Jon’s post and realized just how messed up this whole thing is. I still can’t believe this woman actually pretended to be an employee of a publishing house and sent people her books. The plagiarism thing seems kind of stupid to me because it’s kind of obvious now that if you plagiarize reviews, you’ll be caught…so what’s the point?! And like you said, getting views on a review you didn’t wrote is so pointless. Thankfully I haven’t had any hate directed to me (my blog probably isn’t big enough lol) but I think the whole point of discussion is to have people agree AND disagree with you…that’s when things get interesting haha. I have seen some authors getting angry about bad reviews on goodreads though, which made me very nervous and I was tempted to remove a few of my more negative reviews..In the end, I just left them up but it just sucks that there are people in this community who can do shitty things (like catfishing) and make the rest of us feel unsafe. Anyway, I hope there’s a lot less drama this year (and also that I don’t somehow get involved in it!).

    • I know what you mean- I think at first, a lot of people just thought it was an email scammer or whatever, which of course, doesn’t sound like a huge deal. But then you throw addresses and posing as publishers into the mix… and yeah hahah.

      And I agree with you wholeheartedly about the discussion piece! I mean- why wouldn’t you want to chat about this stuff? Isn’t that why we do this? And I have seen authors do it too- a friend of mine had it happen to her, which prompted that part of the post- and it’s so unprofessional and infuriating! I am SO glad you kept your reviews though! Because I feel like as long as you aren’t being hateful and attacking an author personally, it’s fair game. That’s the nature of this beast, you know? Negative reviews happen to basically every person with a job, in some way or another, right? Whether it be an actual REVIEW, like for a book, album, movie, restaurant, whatever, or just your boss giving you constructive criticism, if they’re going to put yourself out there, they’ve got to realize that they are going to get feedback- positive AND negative.

  29. I hadn’t heard of the catfish drama – that’s AWFUL! I can’t believe people actually do that, it’s terrible! And YES, I’m so sick of the plagiarism that goes around. I honestly can’t understand it AT ALL. Write YOUR thoughts, YOUR opinions, in YOUR words, people work so hard on their reviews and it’s appalling that someone has the audacity to just copy and paste. Meh. Hopefully 2016 won’t be filled with too much drama!

  30. I caught the saga late on Twitter the other day. I’m so sorry that this happened to you! I’m glad you are a peace (or at least seem to be) with what happened. It’s amazing the lengths some authors will go through JUST to get a review. All that money…*head explodes*

    • Aw thank you!! I am at peace. I was NOT at first. I mean, I kind of lost it 😉 But now I find it almost amusing- except that I am fairly sure that this girl has some kind of actual problem, you know? That isn’t normal at all. And YES- the money has to be in the thousands of dollars! And just… WHY!?

  31. Great post! I wasn’t aware of what that author had been doing. I guess I’m not a big enough reviewer (like Silvara above) to have been worth presenting with that scam. I guess I should count myself lucky on that one.

    You’re so right about how people just need to start acting right, treating everyone with respect, and being original in their posts.

    Have a great day!

    • Aw thank you! I don’t even know if it was an issue of being “big”, but it DOES seem plausible that she was looking for reach when she attempted this- maybe assuming that reviewers who worked with Penguin would have more visibility? But, that is me going on the assumption that she DID only target people who have worked with Penguin. Which actually creeps me out MORE, because how would she even find that out? And did she stalk us all beforehand to see if we were “big enough” to meet her standards? Or did she somehow get a list? I have no idea, but it is SKEEVY.

      And YES- you summed it up perfectly! We should just make that the motto, because you have said it all right there- simple, to the point, and TRUE! I hope you are having a great week 😀

  32. I have obviously been under a rock. I had no idea about any of this. I don’t even know what 2 and 3 refer to. I do know a publisher would NEVER tell a reader/reviewer that a certain book is a priority. This lady is off her freaking rocker. It will be interesting to see how Penguin approaches the whole thing. I definitely know authors create fake profiles on various reviewing sites (Goodreads, Amazon) and write prolific and/or bland, generic 5 star reviews for themselves. The Publicist actually started off on this very topic. It is something that is constantly happening, if people pay attention. As for the other things, I agree. I think they do happen from time to time.

    • Hahah being under a rock is sometimes for the best in situations like these I think 😉 But EXACTLY! That letter would have tipped ANYONE off. I am just so glad that Jon posted BEFORE that arrived- I would have been freaking out if I had gotten it, because it was clearly not legit!

      I DO agree with the Goodreads stuff- it’s funny, I have been going back and forth with a post idea about that kind of stuff too- but that is maybe dishonest, but not creepy, or illegal. Penguin NEEDS to do something- because this is messed up!

      As for 2 and 3, just things that have been happening frequently, makes me sad, and you know, why not lump ’em all in while I am being a downer- then I only have to be so for ONE post 😉

  33. Woah, I had no idea about the catfish thing. I feel like I’m usually one of the last people to figure out when drama is occurring. That’s so crazy though and freaky for you! I’m sorry you had to deal with this. *shakes head* I don’t understand people.

    And yeah, plagiarism and generally not being nice need to go away too. We all love books – just be happy! LOL


  34. I have been in a cave, so will go look at this catfish thing some more, just looking at the letter it looks awful doesn’t it. No PR in the world would say a book wasn’t as vital – this is just crazy – glad she is being exposed.

    The rest of your post is awesome, thanks so much for sharing!

  35. I usually stay away from all the drama, which is why I didn’t evenr ealize how timely my post about review requests was, but I did read the post you linked to. It’s sad things like this still happen.
    I love your tip about the bubblebath. Luckily I never had trouble with writing reviews, but I do get some great ideas for blog posts and such in the shower. So I can definitely recommend that ;). Being you is a great tip too, I think that as long as you are yourself there always will be others who like your style and follow your blog/ read your reviews.
    Just like you I think discussing all sides of a topic can be a lot of fun, as long as everyone is polite about it. I always find it interesting to hear what others thought of the same book even if they have another opinion. Great post!

    • Aw thank you so much! It was SO funny that the timing was so perfect- especially since your post was BEFORE Jon outed her, so it isn’t like you could have ever known hahah. I agree with you about politeness- it’s fine to have different opinions, as long as everyone is respectful. How dull would it be if we all thought ALL the same things? Yawn!

  36. Oh my god Shannon this… THIS! I am thinking that this probably will be a novella but whatever. As I have told you millions of times, I am so thankful for the book community in more than a bajillion ways. It has kept me sane honestly. It has let me meet so many wonderful people *ahem, like Shannon* who share the same passion I have for reading and obviously babbling about it to people I know and even strangers. Ever since being involved, I have been so impressed by how positive and creative and welcoming and open the community is. Just the amount of support you see from authors and bloggers as well is overwhelming in the best possible way. Humans helping humans you know? So when I saw the tweets about plagiarism I was stunned. Like this really exists? Now? Why? It is so, so sad. I could just imagine the pain someone who was plagiarized goes through after all that effort and heart in writing your piece only to be stolen. Yes, stealing, and it is not okay. We are all nice people here right? We will support you and give you the help we can give if you just be a good human being. I always found good discussions, even opposing ones, in the book community, and honestly, being rude is kind of stupid. Just sayin’

    So basically what I really wanted to say was I agree to everything you said Shannon, well done!

    • Awww thank you!! And YES- I think that you nailed the hardest, toughest to swallow part of the plagiarism: We DO pour our hearts into it, so when it is stolen, it’s so much worse. And I agree about the discussions too- 99.999% of them are fabulous! But I have been seeing too many friends being hurt by rude commenters. Usually they aren’t even people IN the community- often just random internet trolls- but it still isn’t right!

  37. I’m trying to break into the community but I’m at a loss for where to start. I never know what memes to do, challenges to join, etc. Anyways, I’m glad somebody else gets their best inspiration in the bathtub! 🙂 I love your blog by the way, it’s what I aspire to make mine someday. Thanks for being such a staple in the community. Luckily being as new and quiet as I am the loons don’t have my address! Then again neither do the big awesome publishers. It’s a win-lose.

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