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February 8th, 2009

8:44 AM

Suzanne Brockmann versus the Evil People of the World

Poor Suzanne Brockmann. Clearly, there are people out to get her. While I do understand how an author's personal forum is her playground and if she wants people to stay away from criticisms and instead lavish only plenty of love and adoration, it's her right. But don't you think there is something a little... unhinged in the following message sent out by the moderators of her forum to people whom they have banned for criticizing Dead Of Night?

It has come to our attention that you have posted on other internet sites items that could be construed to be not only inflammatory and/or derogatory to the author but actively working against her interests. In these modern times, such relentless personal attacks have been known to incite violence, and, in the opinion of the board owner's advisors, can and will no longer be taken lightly. This is a fan site. In light of those posts your access has been removed from the Suzanne Brockmann Message Board.

I mean, "actively working against her interests" - what is that? Trying to gag her editor and trap the poor person in a closet so that the person cannot buy the author's next book? "Such relentless personal attacks have been known to incite violence" - what on earth? Did this person threaten to kill the author? From what I could see, disgruntled ex-fans of Dead Of Night are just irritated by what they perceive as a switch-and-bait technique used by the author in that book. I doubt any of them will be driving by the author's house and tossing a flaming brick through a window.

And then we have this, straight from the author herself:

Hey, gang.

Thanks for your patience during what we shall call "the Experiment."

I wanted to see what it was like to have a "sign in to view" board - and it was noisy. Although I do like seeing all the former lurkers at the top of the board. Cool that you're here. Sign in more often, will ya?

I also gave the non-automatic registration a try - that didn't work too well either because, well, I have a life. So if you've tried to register in the past few days and gotten the "wait for approval" message, give it another go in a few minutes, okay?

Oh, dear. So much work just to ensure that nobody says anything bad about the author's works. Look at what you are doing to the author, you naughty fans. Stop that at once! Be nice!

Unless, of course, you're trying to get on the board to make trouble. And, babycakes, I know you know who you are. My moderators do, too, and I'm giving them free reign (and free rein ) to open a can of whoop-ass as they see fit.

I'm starting to worry. Are there really a bunch of nasty people out there deliberately trying to drag the author's name through the mud? Is there a targeted campaign to ruin the author's career? Or is she exaggerating?

And then we have this, just in case anyone is interested:

Last but not least - I want to make a quick announcement about something that should be coming out in Publisher's Weekly in the next few weeks. (You heard it here, first!)

My production company, small or LARGE Productions, has officially finished our first indy feature film. It's a holiday comedy called JOLLY, starring Eric Ruben and Jason T. Gaffney, written by my husband Ed, and me.

Post-production is over, and we've entered the film in a whole slew of festivals across the country. Our imdb page (invitation only by the imdb!) is on the verge of going up, which is exciting, too.

I'll keep you posted re: those festivals, and viewing dates and times.

That's not so bad, isn't it? But then we have this at the conclusion of the message:

Okay, I gotta go write more of HOT PURSUIT. I got a bunch of Navy SEALs in heavy outerwear coming into an office that has a broken (always running) radiator. I need to strip those guys down to their T-shirts and jeans before they get too hot and...

Oh, perhaps I have said too much...

I'm getting creepy Laurell K Hamilton vibes here.

3 comment(s).

Posted by Louise van Hine:

The immediacy of communications and unprecedented level of access the general internet public has to authors in this modern day are the best AND worst features of the emerging blogosphere. An author loves the interaction with fans - until the fans get unhappy or have a complaint. Then - how to handle it? The best way to handle it is as discreetly as possible, as more and more temperamental authors (and their friends/handlers/publishers) are finding out. A discreet notice on a blog saying "comments will be moderated at the administration's discretion" will cover just about anything that gets too nasty or offends the author. But big sweeping statements addressing "you out there - you know who you are" very rapidly degrades into paranoid rantings and obsession with the "you out there" folks who just revel in the attention they are getting from high-and-mighty author.

I went through this on a small scale in the fan fiction world, where for months and months I got all sorts of comments, some of them critical, none of them mean. Until one day... a nutbar discovered my LJ and the anonymous posting feature. And very quickly, after discovering a spate of ridiculous and mean messages, I had to turn on IP logging and barred anonymous messaging - and found out that all of the nasty mean messages were all coming from one IP address. One lone heckler out of the entire sea of Interwebs. I blocked the IP and went back pretty much to business as usual. I am thinking Suzanne Brockmann is getting her teaching moment on how to handle the big bad blogosphere, and it is none-too-graceful. Because simple psychology should tell her that the more she rails against the "thems" the more "they" will come back to haunt her.
February 8th, 2009 @ 1:51 PM

Posted by LKC:

Here's an idea. Take down the public forum, or don't start one at all if all you can handle is praise and adoration. Put up a contact form for readers to send private messages and that way no one else will ever know when you've been dissed to your face by your fans.
February 8th, 2009 @ 9:16 PM

Posted by Tina Anderson:

My first thoughts - being in PW is really no big deal. Been in there a couple of times myself--it's not like a spot in People Magazine or having your book reviewed in Entertainment Weekly. 0_0

Ok, that last paragraph just sounds so...desperate? IMDB is invite only? When did that happen? I thought whenever union crew were used in anything television or moview related, the info automatically gets parsed by IMDB because---that's how they get their info. She makes it sound like they emailed her and asked her if they could post the films information. :/

such relentless personal attacks have been known to incite violence

Is she suggesting that the author doesn't want to be responsible if her loyal fans get angry at the 'haterz' and get violent? IS she that famous? There's nothing violent about internet-wank--that's why it's mocked at special communities.

Are there really a bunch of nasty people out there deliberately trying to drag the author's name through the mud? Is there a targeted campaign to ruin the author's career?

This seems to be trendy these days. To me, it's just a more stylish way of saying 'it's not me--it's all of YOU!'

February 9th, 2009 @ 1:01 AM