Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Kathryn Falk, Romantic Times Book Review CEO, Accuses Me Of Potentially Causing Suicides Amongst Poor Authors…

If this is really her, and I can’t think that it isn’t, but I’m sure somebody will let her know that her name is being used in vain if it isn’t, she’s obviously never visited this blog before, or else she wouldn’t have given me such amazing fodder for my blog.

Sit back and read, this may take a while, because her rant was long, and drawn out, and shows me why some people shouldn’t be let out in public…

“Dear Karen

I am still in Texas at our SOS Soldiers Retreat, recuperating from the very busy and successful 24th Annual Booklovers Convention. There was a lot of warm feelings of family and good friendships this past week.

Many new "RT virgins" attended and I look forward to seeing more newly published authors and offshoot businesses spinning off of this event.

Which brings me to my concern about your blog.

I'm sitting here now with Rosemary Potter, a passionate seller of new American books, and an early promoter of Erotica and small presses. With her is Margaret Bell, another enthusiastic bookseller from Australia.

I'm sorry they had to overhear my incoming calls and become aware of emails directed to me concerning such negative nasty comments on your blog from romance book people. It was an eye opener I wish they hadn't experienced.”

I feel so honoured, people ringing RT to talk about my lil ‘ole blog? Be still my beating heart, I’ve finally arrived, now where the hell is my tiara…?

“I am very proud of Ellora's Cave and the small presses run by women. I am proud of any woman who writes erotica and gets published. I know how tough it is. I am the only woman who owns a magazine (except for Oprah and Martha) and no woman has ever owned a publishing house in New York. Be it Harlequin, Berkley, Dorchester or Kensington, it's owned by businessMEN.

This has been the situation since I started up in 1981. That is why I have been so supportive of e-publishing women and will continue to be. None of us had money to invest, instead we invested ourselves and our hearts.

Do I think we are all brilliant and perfect? Of course not. But we do our best and that's what counts. We have to try harder in publishing. Whoever thinks that anger and mean criticism helps our genre is off base.

None of our members deserve such ridiculous bloggers, especially from mean-spirited women posting notes from the quiet of their houses while those in the rat race of business life are working long hours. To think you only have time to promote personal vendettas is sad.”

Hey, I take offence at the notion that I work long hours, I’m currently sitting here, a margarita in one hand, and a J.D. Robb book in the other, a Julien McDonald scarf wrapped round my head, Jackie O-type sunglasses, and my extra comfy orange striped kaftan, wrapped round my sylph-like body…

“If this was investigated, I suspect there's more to this than meets the eye.

E-publishers had little support in the beginning. I made certain my magazine promoted them to the best of our ability. Ellora's Cave, in particular, has always been savvy and displayed great energy and enthusiasm from the very first time I encountered them. They deserve respect for l3eading the way, as does Red Sage and other erotica companies that paved the way. Attacking them is mindless. Positivity is the key to helping our genre.

Many newcomers followed them and their companies are now run by women as well, I feel we should all feel protective towards all of them. Most businesses fail in 2-3 years, people who succeed beyond that have something special.

I don't want that flame of passion for books and e-publishing to ever be extinguished for our loyal readers. If one "hurts" -- be it something nasty published towards a publisher, editor, or author. We should all hurt unless we are heatless.

Learning that so-called romance enthusiasts on your blog are referred to as bleeding hearts or an idiot, is not acceptable.”

*cue dramatic cry* “If you cut me, do I not bleed…?” I’m really getting into this tale of betrayal and deceit…

“Unless your bloggers are genuinely perverse and have no regard for people's feelings and livelihood, then I predict you all will needlessly add turmoil and discontent to yourselves. I hope you are ready to take responsibility for some of your remarks.

Writing is a livelihood and those kinds of attacks are of no value. Nor does it give your blog credibility or vital interest in the long run. Disrespect for our industry and its members reflects the dark nature of the person spewing it -- not the object of the attack.

We've never communicated, and I would have telephoned if I'd had a direct number. But I would like to nip this in the bud if it's possible. I'm told you are living in England and since I'll be there July 15, in Barrow, perhaps you'd like to meet up at our summer prom? Anyone in the romance world would enjoy it and is invited. We have a lot to discuss, perhaps.

I am certainly aware of the function of blogs, but Romance Books are not a Political forum. We are a fantasy business that reflects Everywoman. She doesn't want sadness, discontent, fighting and negativity in her life, for that she watches the news or reads the newspapers. Our writers and editors are sometimes fragile, as the line of our work is pure emotion.

I question if your blog today (Tuesday) is being used -- I repeat - being used -- to spread inaccuracies and ill will. It appears to be promoting everything romance books do not stand for. These personal attacks are embarrassing, hurtful, and do not reflect our hardworking community.”

Hey, that’s realllllly offensive. My blog is interesting dammit!

“You are in the position to tell troublemakers to move on or get out of the book biz, and if possible, learn who the Liars are....

Please start by asking them to not muddy our waters with ugly suppositions and invalidated comments -- and to be impeccable with their words -- this would be an excellent practice of gratitude and most appreciated.

Some of the postings are obviously from unhappy unpublished/published individuals who deem it appropriate to share their pent up angst and intensely personal attacks on your blog. I've never understood why some writers feel that other people's success affects their lack of it.

Putting down editors and writers also displays a lack of knowledge about this industry. Romance is the most successful genre of all time because people have banded together with a collective consciousness to do good not evil. This is true camaraderie. I hope it continues or we will perish.

All publishers do their best. All authors do their best. My reviewers do their best. It's a plus for our community that this is so.

I know there are small minded people who have difficulty in loving what we do, even though it's what they want to do, In the long run they are spreading negativity about themselves.

Why not realize that authors are sensitive, and so are publishers -- and inflicting harmful words does all of us a disservice. I was attacked for starting a romance magazine. I was attacked for discovering Fabio and predicting he would be a household word. I was attacked for just about every successful thing I've accomplished.

But, it wasn't the men who attacked me in this business (with the exception of one crooked literary agent!!) but the women.
As Bertrice Small says to those women who tried to put her down: "Honey, I laugh all the way to the bank, they don't even have an account."”

OK, I get it, authors are sensitive, and Bertrice Small has lots of money. I love this whole learning about the industry thing, isn’t it fun?

“It's easy to spot jealousy, it's usually against the successes of our business. Our industry has always created tremendous resentment for those with small minds. They have no idea of the complexities of business, or they wouldn't go around complaining.


There is constructive criticism and there is destructive criticism. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know the difference.

Nothing goes in a straight line -- every problem is actually a situation in publishing. And every situation is a learning experience and an opportunity to grow.

My advice to authors who appear to be on a mean streak: The big picture is -- where do you want to fit in and how do you see yourself in our industry in five years? How do you see the industry if you're causing havoc and spreading a virus of negativity?
Put your energy on what you want, and don't waste the moment thinking so negatively of others. It hurts your peace of mind and is an obstacle to your success.

I believe our books and publishers provide enough categories and reviews to please ALL the many types of readers. Everyone has and deserves diverse reading choices and preferences.

Bloggers who have no idea of the work it takes to be an author and a publisher in today's competitive market should not be welcome on board. And if you check into the sales of some of the people you're "dissing" don't be surprised to see they sell well, or is that the reason they are the object of your disaffection?

Some people in our community do make more money and gather more acclaim but there's a reason -- they are more in touch with the readers and they are more positive.

They possibly work with positive energy at what they love. Fanaticism is the key to success. Publishers support winners and sales figures determines who stays and who goes. This isn't personal, this is business.”

Hey this woman is a business guru too, I love that whole fanaticism being the key to success, that may explain why Charles Manson was so darn successful…

“Primarily, successful writers do not dwell on rage and anger and others' discomfort. Personal attacks are not fodder or successful people but spring from the opposite personality type -- the loser displaying her anxieties and insecurities, the very things that holds her back from building a strong writing career.

I've learned in the past quarter of a century that truly successful people are compassionate and helpful. We have had some insensitive people writing sensitive books, but there's a reason if you look beyond.

One writer was the child of alcoholics, another makes millions but still lurks around the Internet because she has a tremendous need to be in control. One is suffering because her child died. Their actions deserve compassion.”

Would this be a good time to mention that my daddy left the house over six years ago, and didn’t come back because some truck driver caved his car in? Perhaps not, carry on…

“That's the way of the world. But they are not muddying our waters so that booksellers from Australia and newcomers have to hear about it. Compassion does not breed contempt.

New writers and new readers have an option the old-timers didn't have -- the use of the Internet. So use it to improve our slice of the publishing industry. Together we grow, separated we cut our chances.

To learn how to be positive and attract abundance, watch "The Secret" documentary. Today there is help in showing you how to attract the success you crave. And, believing in yourself is the essential trait, not behaving negatively.

You don't have to feel confused and resentful about a romance writing career if you are truly of good heart. Occupying your mind with ill thoughts or wallowng in attracting negative people and forming negative perceptions just continues to perpetuate the cycle of feeling unsuccessful.

Emotions make things happen, and the people on your posting should be aware that everyone's words have power; they come back to wreak havoc on the speakers, be it their health, wealth, or happiness. I've never seen it fail.

Perhaps the nay seekers should read Don Miguel Ruiz's book, about the Four Statements of Life. He says simply:

Your Words Should be Impeccable (they have power, don't voice negative things)
Don't Pass Judgment (it reveals self esteem)
Don't Take Things Personally (comments to hurt you are really the speakers self-thoughts)
Do Your Best”

Shit, this woman could be our new Oprah, she’s good.

"I have heard from several people on your post who are saddened by what they read today. One person mentioned has offered her resignation. Another is contemplatiing suicide. Is that what you intended for your blog? Do you want this on your conscience?

To most of us who devote our lives to publishing, romance is uplifting and increases joyfulness. These intensely negative and vituperative postings make our role so much harder and -- most important, cause booksellers and others to doubt their own dedication.

Anyone who thinks this kind of dialogue on a blog is valuable is truly sick in the heart and the head.

Everyone reflects our genre, particularly those who are vicious. You can help by encouraging bloggers to consider the repercussions of their actions before lashing out.

This action, be it name calling or hatred, only reflects the speaker's deep pent up anger that started long before their involvement with the romance community.

All writers should know that you can lose support faster than you can build it. So why should the builders ever spawn such negativity? Do you want publishers, booksellers and readers to doubt the validity of their commitment to the romance genre?

We should be aware that giving recognition to romance bloggers who spew vindictiveness that is personal and harmful, is out of line and out of place, and out of control. This attracts more of the same for the blogger, I might add. Like always attracts Like.

Blogs of this nature are harmful when they could be productive. Giving frustrated voices a place to say outrageous things to destroy is evil. Why not encourage frustrated women to spin to the positive?

I'm embarrassed that hardworking booksellers in Australia who authentically love romance novels and the romance authors had to learn that book bloggers endorse people offend our customers -- the booksellers and readers. Someone should stand up and say: I'm not taking this anymore."

Oh the drama…..

"Everyone is on such a "high" about the world of romance books after our Houston get together.

So many people, particularly authors and publishers, are passionately devoted to writing and promoting romance. We all spend long hours at the computers, to the point of endangering our health to be part of the romance community.

The blog in question that you posted, bashing one or more publishers and authors, is detrimental to the principles of romance.
If you have influence, please spend your time helping our romance community. People are sensitive and a string of suicides is not what is needed."

Take me to the gallows now, I am a bad, bad person!

"The bashing and airing of such personal attacks is a personal issue reflective of the writer and her rage. From what I see, people with an axe to grind are using you. They sound like (according to today's diatribes) rejected disgruntled suitors in a romance novel seeking to undermine good will. Why shouldn't your blog be used for fun and joy, not hatred and harmfulness?

I'm sure you didn't intend such a sad development, and can be more aware.

This bashing is reflective of personal dissatisfaction, not our book biz. They remind me of novel and movie villains who don't know they are wrong -- they think they are just guys trying to make it. However, like attracts like, and nothing good or positive can come out of inappropriate behavior.

It's such a "low" (after a week of "high") to hear that people are attacking and causing unnecessary dissension. WE (the Australian booksellers included) ask ourselves, what is the benefit of this?

We don't have time to pay much attention to blogs, but when we hear of people are upset by inconsiderate vicious bloggers who seem committed to spreading bad feelings instead of working in harmony for the good of all, it makes us wonder about who we are supporting with our businesses!!!

I salute those who say "I won't condone such viciousness about publishers and writers". And I warn all to be aware of hearing more pent up rage comments; the good will attract someone's wrath as this site has attracted a strange frustrated breed of bloggers.

If this kind of negative mood and behavior is allowed to spread, I predict that no one will care or dare to support romance in the future.

It will set us back years if we are portrayed as a bunch of jealous females baring their claws, upsetting our colleagues, and seemingly approving of a small group of savagely narcisstic women who can't stand to see other people succeed.

We know what to do: support our editors and publishers, support our booksellers and authors, or -- if you can't say "nice" -- say nothing. Your words have power, use them appropriately and you will benefit the romance book biz and be a standard bearer. Also, you'll benefit from peace of mind as well.

I wish you all peace and bliss....and the enlightenment to pass over a rough patch and avoid this ever happening again.

Kathryn Falk
CEO RT BookReviews Magazine
Rosemary and Margaret Booksellers

OK guys, you can all come out now, she’s done. Wasn’t that an eye-opener? Hehehehehehehe… (Incidentally, she wrote this in the Carol Lynne review post below, I thought I'd give it the attention it deserves, heheh..)