I keep receiving the same emails and PMs every single day, just from different people. What every message has in common is this: anyone who shows even minimal public support for EC is getting viciously cyber-bullied into terrified silence.
Never in my lifetime have I seen such a phenomenon. Until now I'd only read about it in history books concerning the Salem Witch Trials and the communist red-hunts of the McCarthy era. Some book review sites (blogs basically) have gone so far as to blacklist EC titles. Ironically enough they started this campaign during "Banned Books Week" and are encouraging readers to not buy any book published by EC or the books of authors supporting EC. They claim to be doing this in the name of freedom of speech, yet conversely they stifle dissenting opinions with vicious attacks en masse.
I literally can't count how many screenshots I have taken—and that's just me!—of authors and readers being cyber-bullied into silence. The very first person to take a massive, public hit was #1 NYT Bestselling author Jamie McGuire. Mind you, Ms. McGuire does not write for EC, has no connection to EC, and our paths have never crossed online or offline. She made one supportive tweet and was so viciously attacked with McCarthyist "you're a traitor" tweets that she later removed it. To Ms. McGuire's credit, however, she didn't allow herself to be silenced for long.
Jamie McGuire is only one of many. I applaud her for having the strength of character to not shut up and sit down at the back of the bus... and I'm glad her following is too strong and loyal to be swayed into not buying her books. For many EC authors, though, their entire livelihoods are at stake. They're literally damned if they do and damned if they don't.
So why is this happening to EC at all? I'm not sure there is one solid answer, but there is a definite and noticeable trend:
The initial gossip was started by authors who wanted their rights back to EDITED & CONTRACTED books for FREE. Presumably, given the current publishing climate, this is so they could turn around and self-publish them without EC getting any cut in profit. Never mind that we contracted the books (work/money) and edited the books (more work/money) and publicized the books (yet more work/money) and took a chance on their unknown names (money.) The sense of entitlement being displayed is as immoral as it is illegal.
Given the illegalities of it, some authors started spreading the rumor that EC doesn't pay its authors and pleaded with the public to not buy their titles since they weren't getting paid anyway. Why would they do this when they were/are getting paid? Because the only way to get their rights back both free and legally is to sell under a certain number of copies within a specific timespan. Never mind what those rumors would do to their fellow EC authors—they are apparently only collateral damage in the war of self-entitlement.
Let's take a look at this September 25th post from author Cat Grant, wherein she garners sympathy for herself by claiming she isn't getting paid her royalties:
But then two days later, on September 27th, she posts completely different information on yet another blog:
So she's not getting paid, but she's getting paid? The truth will definitely catch up with her, so Ms. Grant is now throwing in the red herring of "but God only knows if they're accurate." She previously stated on her own blog:
We warned our authors that sales at Amazon are down, she admits her self-pubbed books at Amazon are down, but then...
Basically we're being accused of cheating her because her sales are down at EC, but her sales directly through Amazon/Kindle are also down per two of her own posts and she's not accusing them of anything. So why us? Oh right...
The sad and sick part to all her online reindeer games is that NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON HAS CALLED HER OUT ON THEM. On the contrary, other authors are coming to her defense and claiming the same sorts of things as this author.
Paradoxically, while some authors (mind you this is maybe 15-20 out of 800+ playing this game) are saying they too aren't getting paid, they are also publicly claiming they are afraid of being sued by us for speaking their twisted "truths." Here's a groundless tweet from another author:
It should be noted that EC has never—not once in 14 years—sued an author. Can I say that record will remain intact, given the cyber-bully smear campaign we're enduring? No. It's difficult to say what position we'll be forced into.
What I can say with all certainty is I'm not going to be a victim of female on female misogyny, their male recruits, and the resulting childish harassment tactics being leveled at me. When I suggested that spectators take the time to gather facts before jumping to conclusions, my extremely reasonable request was followed up with tweets like this:
She also sent a photo of her giving me the finger, but you get the point without me posting that. And then came this...
One author in particular, an author I've never published, met, or even heard of until the cyber-bullying smear campaign began, decided it would be fun to make the attacks even more personal:
Not only is she throwing thinly veiled jabs at my hair and multi-cultural / multi-racial family (re: cultural appropriation,) but she's attempting to trivialize the civil rights work I've been doing since my early twenties. I've marched in countless protests against police brutality in the inner city, the continued disenfranchisement of poverty-stricken women and their children who direly need help (welfare,) the right to choose (though I've never had an abortion,) and was the media spokesperson for Tampa NOW (National Organization for Women.) To this day, a photo of me protesting cuts to welfare remains on the banner of "herstory" on Florida NOW's website. I'm the curly-haired one on the upper-left:
Oh and FYI: Courtney Milan called me "Tina Englero" because I spelled her name "Milano" when referencing earlier posts by her. The very self-important author apparently thinks everyone knows—or cares—who she is and that I purposely misspelled her name to be disrespectful. (I'm not quite certain how "Milano" is disrespectful, but whatever.) Interestingly, MilaN has been tweeting and posting all over the internet about me and she has (a) never met me, (b) isn't one of my authors, and (c) knows literally nothing about me other than whatever gossip she's heard.
The thing is, Milan, you and your bizarro followers neither frighten nor intimidate me with all the misogynist, bigoted ramblings. Because of my civil rights work, the work you attempted to trivialize and denigrate, my skin is as thick as my ass is fat. I've had more death threats than a few because of my activism so you're as scary to me as a shit under my shoe. You dared me to sue you. Why would I? You're entitled to your opinion, however abominable it might be.
Anyway, enough of her and back to the important heart of the matter:
Right now EC's loyal authors are afraid to speak up because they've seen what happens to everyone who does. That will pass soon enough. Eventually they will be pushed past the breaking point by those attempting to stifle their freedom of speech and their right to earn an honest living by the MCCarthyist tactics being thrown at them. Until they are prepared to show themselves, I'm here to give them a voice... and I, for one, will not be harassed into silence.
Jaid / Tina