Today is Day 13 of Parajunkee’s Book Blogger New Year’s Challenge. Just one more day and one more challenge to go after this one. Which makes me happy… and just a little bit sad. As challenging as this has been, it’s been a lot of fun.
Though today’s challenge isn’t. Because it’s about recalling drama and other such nonsense that I’d rather not remember.
For those of you who might want to participate but haven’t yet heard about this challenge, just click on the link above for more details. But here is the schedule of posts…
Let me first start out by saying that I don’t like to introduce drama here on Fiktshun. In the past, whenever I had something to say that had the potential for drama I’d keep it separate and apart. I’d post it on The Annex if I felt it needed to be public. But I didn’t want this blog to contain any posts that were in any way negative. And I didn’t want any pageviews to be attributed to that kind of post.
So while I plan on discussing one of my horror stories, in order to meet today’s challenge, I’m not going to go into all the specifics and revisit every last detail. It’s just too ugly and it doesn’t do me any good thinking about it.
And while last January was pretty rocky for me as it involved not only drama but the discovery that one of my reviews was plagiarized and it made me consider giving up blogging for good, sadly neither of those incidents were ones I thought of when “horror story” was mentioned.
My blogger horror story was from much earlier than that.
It was the summer of 2011 and I hadn’t yet been blogging for a year. The excitement and newness hadn’t worn off, I was still thrilled with just about everything when it came to blogging. Drama was not something that was too common at that point. Plagiarism was not something that was widespread, at least not in my circle.
So when it happened to me, I was shocked, hurt, devastated. I couldn’t believe it. I felt violated. Betrayed. Angry. Because not only was it theft of something I had labored over, it was theft by a blog I visited regularly, a blog I linked to in my sidebar. They were bloggers I chatted with on Twitter.
I tried to resolve things quietly but was lied to. And when I dug a little deeper I found out that the theft went beyond a single review. There were others. And when I dug a little deeper than that I found out that most, if not all, of the reviews were plagiarized from many bloggers. It was this discovery that made me opt to go public.
Even with all that had happened and all they had done I was not out for blood. They pulled all plagiarized reviews, which was all that I had wanted. Shortly thereafter they chose to close down their blog.
But that wasn’t the end of things.
They tried to restart using fake names and plagiarizing a few reviews. They followed me on Twitter and entered my giveaways. I was privately DM’ed by others giving me a heads up as to who they were in case I wasn’t aware. I was once again caught up in drama for something I thought was in the past.
Shortly after their deception was discovered and made public, they shut down once again. But the nightmare still wasn’t over.
They relaunched and began their bad behavior by once again plagiarizing numerous bloggers’ reviews, including one of my own. This time I quickly went public. It had to stop.
They shut down again. But every so often I would receive a tweet from a random account calling me names. I was informed by other bloggers that I was being talked about in chat rooms.
Coming forward about having my, and others’, reviews stolen, only after trying to work things out privately, led to months and months of headaches, fear of some kind of retaliation, having lies told about me. I may be paranoid, but I still wonder if its really over, if those bloggers have moved on.
I thought it was the worst feeling in the world when I first discovered that the review I was reading on a blog I had enjoyed was actually my own. I was devastated when I found out that my review was submitted to the publisher – a publisher that I hadn’t established contact with at that time. I was heartsick when I found out that so many bloggers had their reviews stolen and likely submitted to publishers as someone else’s. I was shocked that someone established in the community could do something so awful to so many bloggers and feel so little remorse about doing so that they felt it was okay to do again and again after being called out.
Their behavior broke my trust. It made me wary about sharing my thoughts. It made me even more wary about connecting with others. It made me question whether I wanted to continue to be a book blogger. It permanently changed they way I blogged.
And while I had a feature of mine copied and claimed an original in 2012, was informed of a review that included plagiarized material from my review among others in 2013, they were nothing compared to all that went down in the second half of 2011.
So that’s my horror story in a nutshell. Stripped of all the emotion that has once again come bubbling up making me grit my teeth and question why the heck I’m still here. I still remember reading that review, like it was yesterday, thinking, “Hey, they thought the same thing that I did about the book.” Then realizing, “Wait, WTF, they didn’t think the same thing, that’s my review!”
I remember being told I shouldn’t be so upset and that I should feel flattered. Seriously? I remember struggling with the decision to go public, then feeling guilty for doing so, even though it was the right thing to do. Mostly, though, I remember thinking how nice these bloggers were, that some day I wanted a blog as successful as theirs, and feeling like a complete and total fool for it.
I am really hoping that you’ll have been able to skip today’s post because you have no blogging horror story to share. Or that you’ll be able to leave a comment saying that you’ve been incredibly fortunate to have avoided all drama, are completely unaware of any plagiarism or other idea theft, and have no instances where Google or other web host has deleted your blog and you lost all your content.
But if you had something heinous happen to you or your blog and you want to share, please do. If you have but just don’t want to revisit it again or don’t want to make it public, just know I sympathize and empathize. And I hope that whatever happened is in the past and hasn’t affected you or your blog in the long run.