It's been some time since I've felt a need to blog about anything but, I suppose I was inspired. Inspired isn't really the right word though. Through this community, I've met some lovely people: writers at all stages in their careers, bloggers of various following, cover designers and cover models who work hard to provide the image we try to describe with our words and readers who see all these groups as a collective whole, a haven of creativity that they can lose themselves in when the monotony of daily life in the "real world" takes its toll. In the last days, I've seen a disturbing surge in bad behavior in all of these groups. Authors being found as plagiarists, readers demanding free books and swag, bloggers cancelling events that had already collected fees and now the models, 4 in seemingly as many days acting as anything but the picturesque romance heroes we see them as.
Your name is your brand and even those new to the literary world -such as myself- strive to keep negativity and controversy far from the name we one day hope to see on a book cover. We don't always manage it. We're only human but, we do try. No matter your place in this theater of words, you are a public figure with a responsibility to represent yourself with professionalism. Your personal beliefs, no matter how misguided, have no place on a public forum that is the generating base for your livelihood. I can only hope that those in the industry who maintain their integrity and public presence as respectable members of the community are not hurt by the poor career choices made by others. Speaking honestly, I have to say that all of this has made me more than a little wary of stepping outside the use of stock images for covers, or traveling beyond the local area for events. There are so many good, hard-working people here. The ones who painstakingly consider every word that goes into their story, the ones who put every blend and font detail under a microscope before they complete a cover...the men and women who push their bodies to the limit to make our fantasies a reality. To the bloggers whose eyes burn from reading ARC after ARC, unbiased and honest as they give up their time to give the reviews we need to make our stories seen and organize events worthy of a royal reception to give authors a chance to meet you all face to face. To all of you, I say, thank you for showing those just starting out the best face of an industry that can so quickly turn vicious. And to those who have darkened social media with your bigoted, hateful and petty presence, I can only shake my head at your mistake. I might be a simple hillbilly but, my father taught me long ago a fundamental truth of existence that I fear you've overlooked in your self-importance. Don't bite the hand that feeds you.