As you are aware, Ellora’s Cave, the major erotica e-publisher, sued Dear Author and it’s owner, Jane Litte under her given name for a blog article posted on September 14th, detailing all that is allegedly going wrong within the publishing house. Jane cited her sources throughout the article and it appeared to be factual, and without malice. This lawsuit is unprecedented, at least as far as I know, because a publisher has never sued a book blogger before. Book bloggers are not true journalists – or are we? – and we are not held to the same bar as, say, a news reporter, for example. So our words seemingly hold less value individually. But I’ll get to that in a minute. The EC/DA lawsuit was a very big “OH SHIT” moment among book bloggers. Dear Author is a well-known romance blog and Jane Litte is regarded in the blogging and romance communities as intelligent and thoughtful, with her take-no-prisoners approach to books and community shenanigans alike. If Jane Litte can be sued for reporting cited and factual evidence, what else can we as bloggers be sued for? Negative reviews? Discussing a badly behaving author? Lawsuits like this one are used to silence those whom you do not agree with. Why else would EC ask for the identity of commenters in Dear Author’s article? So while it sometimes feels as though our words and posts fall on deaf ears (some more than others), it’s clear that they really don’t. When a publisher can allege via a lawsuit that one blog has the power to bring them crashing down, we really have to take pause: how important is the book blogging community? Which brings me back to my main point: our community is loud. Maybe our words and voices hold less value on their own, but together we make noise and can be heard all over the world. I found it fascinating that in the span of a few days, bloggers, cover artists, editors and authors alike closed rank against Ellora’s Cave. Dare I say that I almost feel bad for Tina Engler; the very thing she said she was trying to squash (defamation), is exactly what she’s done to herself. Regardless if she is right or wrong, no one will want anything to do with her or EC now. They’ve handled this situation so poorly, how can they be trusted? Gosh, Tina, I hope that bullet hole in your foot doesn’t hurt too badly. Susanna Kearsley, NY Times best selling author, said it best:
An attorney friend once told to me, “Those who are happy do nothing; those who are unhappy, litigate.” If I was a betting woman, I’d guess that the financial troubles of the company, coupled with authors requesting their rights be reverted, makes for one unhappy owner. And #notchilled certainly isn’t making her life better. In less than 36 hours, over $40,000 was donated to the Dear Author/Jane Litte Defense Fund. I sat in awe of the #notchilled Twitter feed, watching as people threw support Jane’s way, talked about how their right to speak freely will not be infringed, but mostly, how they will not let a corporation bully one of their own. Not only have boycotts of EC books begun, but – because the community wants to harm the authors as little as possible in all this – efforts are being made to purchase all non-EC books by EC authors. Even a cover artist is offering artwork for free and/or discounted. UPDATE 10/6/14: In just 4 days, the fund has reached its $50,000 goal and donations are still coming in!
There is a silver-lining to this issue. If anything, it has brought the reading community even closer.
Tina Engler, you are not just fighting with Dear Author; you have stirred a hornet’s nest. Good luck with that.
A list of the links
The Masterlist of links
(that’s the only link you need)