Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How NOT to Win Friends and Influence People

Originally, I was going to title this post, "Never EVER Piss Off Romance Readers and Writers." But this topic has far broader implications.

There are two things you really need to understand in the modern world:

1) Everything on the internet is forever.

2) When you do something incredibly stupid on the internet, everyone's going to know because of Rule #1.

Last Sunday, a cover model by the name of Paul Blake thought it would be a good idea to tell an author to go eat her last Dairy Queen Blizzard and then hang herself. Rather than apologizing for his thoughtless remark when he was called out or talk to someone more media savvy than him before he responded, Paul decided double-down on the insults.

Then triple-down.

The backlash was immediate and fierce as word spread among the romance community. Paul deleted the post that started the controversy, but too many tech-savvy writers and readers had screenshots. Many people who dealt personally and professionally with him blocked or unfriended him on Facebook.

The worst thing in this whole mess? Readers and other writers said they'd boycott any books with Paul on the cover. So the writers who had hired him before the kerfluffle were now being punished for his behavior.

Then the romance community did something incredible. Other models condemned Paul's behavior and offered to do free or reduced cost photo shoots for those writers who had Paul on their covers and wanted to replace him. Cover designers offered their service for free to replace the Paul covers. Other readers begged their associates not to punish the writers of the Paul-covered books for his ugly words and actions. Hell, a couple of authors decided to have a book signing at their local Dairy Queen, and they bought Blizzards for their fans.

The lesson in this is don't insult people in the public space that is social media. I'm not saying you have to agree with everyone, but there are ways to make your point without telling someone to commit suicide.


  1. Wow. :/ 1) Asshole. 2) Ignorant asshole. Seriously, doesn't everyone know how this happens by now?

    To me, the news here is about how awesomely so many people in Romancelandia came together to handle the clusterfuck, starting with those other cover models and designers who offered to work for free or cheap. Major props to them.


  2. The romance community is the tightest knit community in the publishing world. A politician in TX found out the hard way when he accused his opponent of writing porn. (She'd published a couple of books through the Kismet line, which was sweet romance, back in the early '90's.)

    I was amazed HOW MANY models and cover designers offered their services. And having a book signing at DQ was simply delicious!

    I miss Blizzards. Thanks to my stupid body, I haven't had one in seventeen years. *sigh*