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.
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.
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