Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Was a Victim of Cyberbullying

When we hear cyberbullying we think of teenage drama. Sadly 25% of our nation's teenagers experience cyberbullying. But, did you know that adults can be too? I found out the hard way a few weeks ago. 

Some may know this, some may not, but I have a blog separate from this one where I promote books and authors, primarily in the Indie Author world. Long story short: Author A accused Author B of plagiarism. I looked at the "evidence" presented in the claim and realized that Author A was correct in her accusation. I offered to help her however I could. This started a chain of events of bullying and harassment from Author B/others on Author B's behalf. {You can read the whole story here}

Now, I am a good person. And I will not stand for plagiarism. If you want to write a book, write your own book. Don't take someone else's book, change a few names and scenes, and claim it as your own. After I offered my assistance to Author A, I went on about my life away from the internet. I came back to an email accusing me of selling ARCs. ARCs are Advance Reader Copies. These are usually given to the reader by the author in exchange for a review. Sometimes these copies are given prior to the book's release and sometimes they are given after release. Now, selling these is morally wrong as well as legally wrong. When these are given, it is with the expressed knowledge that they are not to be shared or sold. So, this accusation was a serious one. I ignored it because A) I had never heard of the person who emailed me, B) I knew it was false, and C) no other book blogger I talked to knew who this person was. A bit later, I received a message from another book blog that said that someone was making accusations against me on their facebook page. I went and read these accusations where she blasted my name, my email address, and my blog name/url and said outright that I was selling ARCs. This infuriated me because she was tarnishing my name and reputation with these accusations. I then found out that not only was she putting this on her page, but she took the time to message EVERY author I had ever reviewed for or promoted and told them the same exact thing. Now, a few of the ones she had contacted were authors I had been working with since the very beginning. Of course, they didn't believe these accusations and stated as much publicly. Other authors, bloggers, and readers had also come to my defense. For a few brief minutes, I almost gave up my book blog and accept defeat. But, I have some very wise and persuasive friends in the Indie book world. My response to this? I re-designed my blog's facebook page and created a new twitter account solely for that blog. Nope, I wasn't going to accept defeat. I took screenshots of the email, the facebook posts, everything. And sent them to Author A who forwarded them to her lawyer. 

I stopped regretting my decision to help Author A. I was standing up for what was right. I was doing the right thing. I continued to get messages from various names concerning Author B. But, you know what? I think they ARE ALL Author B. I feel bad that I almost let someone who hides behind false names push me out of a world I love. I almost let them win. 

It took awhile for it all to sink in. I had been cyberbullied by a nameless, faceless person. I am a grown adult and someone out there thought they could sling false accusations, and rumors against me and I would disappear. But, I didn't. I am stronger than that. I continue to stand against plagiarism. And I stand against cyberbullying of any kind. 

I learned that doing the right thing isn't always the easy thing. But, I would never NOT do the right thing just to make my own life easier. 


1 comment:

VandyJ said...

Plagiarism such a hot --so easy to do, so easy to figure out if it has been done. You would think any person with half a brain would know that you can't get away with it especially if the books are going to be seen by the same people. We aren't totally dumb.
Glad you were able to stand up for yourself and keep moving forward.