Some Thoughts on #AuthorYes

Photo credit: torbakhopper he dead on Flickr
So, as I’m sure most of you are well aware, the publishing industry had a bit of a social media blow up this past weekend and earlier this week.

I will openly admit that I haven’t read the full article that started it all, mostly because as I skimmed through it, I started getting a little nervous that reading a post about how an author stalked a reviewer to the point of confrontation might trigger some anxiety issues. So I skimmed the article and watched people’s reactions online.

A few days passed and the conversation continued. The hashtag #HaleNo cropped up and one of my lovely Twitter friends said this:

That tweet kind of stayed with me throughout the day as the hashtag began to pick up steam. And I thought about what I wanted to say, because I felt like I should say something about the whole situation, seeing how I’m someone very much involved in the publishing industry and the whole stalking thing really bothered me, but I wasn’t really sure where to start or if I should even say anything at all.

Then I remembered how during the whole you should be ashamed to read YA explosion, the YA community really came together and started their own positive hashtags supporting YA, and saying why they were proud to read YA, and turning a nasty, negative situation into a really positive and wonderful one.

And I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if someone did that with this situation?

And I realized that’s what I wanted to say. I wanted to change the conversation to something positive, even if it was just within my feed.

So I tweeted this:

And I started nominating writers I really admire, like Beth Revis, and Tahereh Mafi, and Leigh Bardugo, and Corinne Duyvis. And I asked other people to join along.

I thought it’d be pretty cool if a few people jumped in and it’d be really nice if for just a little while, we supported each other and highlighted the really wonderful community we have. I thought it’d be great to bring attention to some authors who deserve it rather than focusing on negativity.

And you know? It happened. Except basically 2,000 times bigger than I expected.

The hashtag exploded, and I know I’m biased and all, having started it, but it has to be one of my favorite Twitter trends ever because the people there? SO OVERWHELMINGLY WONDERFUL. Seeing so many people speak out to bring attention to authors who have helped them, who they admire, who they see as positive influences or just write plain awesome books has been incredible. The whole thing makes me so happy and I might be a little addicted to the positivity in there because it really really is so genuinely amazing.

So I just want to thank everyone. Because the whole thing has been an incredible reminder of how wonderful the writing community is, and it absolutely would not have been the same without your participation.

So thank you. You’re awesome. Virtual hugs for you all.


Pamela said...

It was a great idea to highlight the good in our community 🙆 :)


Taylor Lynn said...

I absolutely love this, because it's so true--the more attention you give to anything, positive or negative, the more powerful its influence is. So often, people focus on the bad things going on, but if we turned that around and gave more energy to the positive, just think how much better the world would be! I'm so incredibly happy that you started #AuthorYes and that it took off the way it did, because we need more campaigns like this out there. The world of YA is, on the whole, an amazing and supportive community, and I love that Twitter took some time to spotlight that. And thank you for your part in launching this!

Ava Jae said...

Thanks! :)

Ava Jae said...

Agree agree agree on all counts! And thank you for participating! :)

Sam Taylor said...

Thank you for starting this hashtag! I agree that we should focus less on peoples' misdeeds (why give them any more attention?) and focus on all the amazing people that exist in the writing community. I love my writer friends, and am so grateful for the ways we keep one another going. It was exciting to have an opportunity to give them some public kudos. Writers are amazing people. Thank you for helping Twitter to remember that.

Darth Lolita said...

... :/

I like this sentiment, but this isn't the first time a reviewer has been attacked or harassed by a writer. On my Goodreads feed I got linked to something that happened around the same week, where a girl was physically assaulted by a writer. (And of course he stalked her to do this).

Brushing that kind of thing aside seems incredibly dangerous. Because it's not an isolated accident, it's been a constant problem.

I'm glad something positive happened. I love it when the writing and book communities come together--like the Diversify YA campaign. That was awesome~

But I don't think it's right not to give attention to the bad, either. I know some people believe all publicity is good publicity, but, uh, I think I'd like to know if I'm going to be giving my money to people prone to violence.

Kelly Blackwell said...

I love this. I would rather put my energy into uplifting and thanks any day.

Heather McCorkle said...

You are fantastic for taking a positive turn on a bad situation. I love that!

RoweMatthew said...

I completely missed this, but thats a great thing to do. I'm glad it took off. Science has proven humans have a negative bias s a survival trait so we need to do all we can to draw attention to positivity. We should also open up some definitions here. People are going to start thinking that writers are bad if they do thinks like stalking and attacking, but what people need to remember is it's just some people behave badly. Labeling writers as bad because he happened to be a writer and it was a writing related incident that triggered his action doesn't mean that writers are bad, but it kind of gives that impression, doesn't it? It's not the fact that he was writer that is to blame, it's the fact that he had psychological problems and no respect for the law.

Ava Jae said...

You're so welcome, Sam! I'm just delighted that it took off the way it did. Writers really are amazing people and our community is one of the best. :)

Ava Jae said...

So, okay, I actually kind of agree with what you're saying, because I suspect you're maybe misinterpreting the intention of the hashtag, as I know some of have done.

So my purpose was definitely not to say "we shouldn't talk about what happened" because you're totally right—it IS important to talk about and the whole situation is volatile and ugly and needed to be addressed. So I'm glad people took time to analyze what happened and discuss it.

That being said, I just don't think it should be the only conversation happening. And when I started #AuthorYes, it was the only conversation going on for several days.

I saw some people frame this as #AuthorYes vs. #HaleNo, but that was never my intention. I think it's totally viable for people to be involved in both conversations, as I suspect many people were.

Ava Jae said...

I've never regretted focusing my attention on something positive. :)

Ava Jae said...

Aw, thanks Heather! I think the writing community is fantastic for making it happen. :)

Ava Jae said...

I think you make a great point there, and in fact, I know before #AuthorYes happened, I saw a lot of people online saying they were going to completely boycott all Harper authors because of one author's bad behavior (which I suspect, is largely due to those labels you were talking about). The Hale situation is an ugly one, and I think a lot of what was discussed over the last week or so was important to address. But I also think that drawing some of that attention to positivity certainly didn't hurt. :)

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