With the holiday season right around the corner, a certain favorite tune comes to mind: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…
But first things first.
I feel as if the atmosphere surrounding the YA blogging community, as well as my own blog, has become very tense, so let's clear the air a bit, shall we?
About two weeks ago, a blogger in the book community publicly placed an accusation of plagiarism against me and Sassy & Dangerous. At first, I thought it would be better not to give it too much attention so as to not ignite a feud over something I believed was not really the case here, but after some careful consideration, I've decided to write a small post about this entire situation.
Back in October, I wrote two posts, a Waiting on Wednesday post and a post for my debut author program, Sassy's Fangirl Debuts. In that month, this blogger had brought it to my attention that I had two small sentences resembling what she had written in two blog posts of her own. Realizing that our sentences did look similar, I wrote back to her acknowledging the similarity. I then told this blogger that I would edit the two sentences in order to avoid any further misunderstanding, and I did. I really appreciated the fact that she came to me about it privately and we resolved it professionally and calmly. I continued on with my blogging, reading and reviewing as usual.
However, two weeks ago I was hit with another accusation from this same blogger, telling me I had stolen content from her blog and demanding that I stop or she would go public with it. I was absolutely furious with this, not because she threatened me about going public, but because her accusations were based on commonly used words and phrases that you can find not just in the book blogging community but all over the internet. Case in point:
Example One: This blogger states that I plagiarized her in the following phrases. Please note: (I wrote) refers to the blogger and (You Wrote) refers to me.
Representing someone else’s work as your own is considered plagiarism. In the example above, I fail to see where this applies. I am not plagiarizing nor am I paraphrasing here. If anything, her thoughts and my thoughts happen to be similar to the description of what a book blogger does. This is not an idea that is exclusive to her, but more so a thought that encompasses every person who owns a book blog.
Here the blogger states that I plagiarized the following phrase. Again, please note: (I wrote) refers to the blogger and (You Wrote) refers to me.
Let me just stop right here. If what the blogger accuses me of writing is plagiarizing her according to her view, then what would the following be considered? (See Example 2a) In researching I came across this and dozens more review sites that frequently use this phrase. At least I had the originality of expressing this coined phrase in my own creative way. Where as, this blogger basically wrote it word for word. My point in all of this is that we find the same exact coined phrase used by many other blogging sites over the span of years. (If anything, I guess we owe an apology to this blogger and every other one I found!)
So, for her (this blogger) to come at me with such pettiness angered me, but also saddened me. However, I gave myself a minute to calm down and I responded back to her politely and honestly, telling her the truth: I was in no way, plagiarizing her.
Some of my teachers and I read and re-read the post she wrote multiple times, trying to see what was really going on and the only similarities we found were the first two sentences she came to me about back in October. The ones I had addressed, edited, and cleared up only to show good faith on my part. Everything else she was accusing me of stealing from her was, once again, nothing because those phrases and words are commonly used. I cannot emphasize this enough: the phrases "happening or stumbling upon", "a story you won't soon forget" or even describing what a book blogger is/does in definition, is SO commonly used in this community it's not even funny. The only thing I see here is this person wanting to benefit from all the negativity and earn a boost in her stats and page counts. Eventually that kind of behavior will turn on a person and I don’t want anything to do with that kind of karma. So, as far as I am concerned, to me this matter is closed and I am moving on. I’m for sharing the positive side of the books I love, not tearing down others that have done nothing but bring a positive light to a community that I still think highly of.
And while we are on the subject of clearing the air I would also like to address something about my debut author program, Sassy's Fangirl Debuts. If you aren't caught up with what it is, my program is a YA debut program referencing the hit TV show MARVEL AGENTS OF SHIELD, that I created to spread the word of upcoming releases in the book community for a flare of fun.
Soon after unveiling my program, it was recently brought to my attention that a well known, blogger had again been badmouthing someone publicly, but this time, she was targeting me. I really didn’t take too much stock in what she had to say since this is a weekly occurrence with her. Maybe the negativity brings good stats? I don’t know. Anyway, I saw how she was telling other bloggers and authors lies about me, twisting the truth, and even accusing me of stealing her ideas from her own debut program from almost a year ago.
It truly does make me laugh at this accusation because of two things. 1.) This person seems to think she's the only blogger that can help debut authors and I find that to be such a ridiculous thing, seeing as she wasn't the first person to start something with debut authors and she certainly won't be the last. 2.) Sassy's Fangirl Debuts references the show Marvel SHIELD, however, I was the one who came up with the twist on how to help promo debut authors. I came up with posts, the interview questions for the authors, everything and my Marvel hero loving brothers helped me execute it all over the span of a weekend. So, to this blogger, the only question I have for you is... does bringing negativity and drama into the community make you happy? Does it give you a thrill that whoever you are talking about or badmouthing in public is being ganged up on and being told hateful and rude things? It truly is saddening to see how you treat people because I once admired you and your blog. But I do not appreciate the lies and bad mouthing you have spread about me and I am 110% done with it all as well as you.
With the new year right around the corner, I am ready to put all of this behind me and start fresh: to begin a new chapter and a new story. Even though I have had my ups and downs this past year, it has also been such an amazing, accomplishing year for me personally and also for my blog. This year, I've grown as a person. I slowly but surely shed my shell of shyness, I’ve started to speak my mind and not be afraid to say what I think and how I feel about something. I’ve had the chance to try new things, to work with authors and publishers and so many other exciting opportunities. But I've also made mistakes. I'm not perfect, nor is anyone else.
It is time to move on now, amigos. People have turned something that was so small and already resolved into something it’s not and I am absolutely done with it. I came into this community because I wanted to connect with other people who shared the same passions as me: books. We ALL love helping authors get the word out about their titles, we all love talking about our favorite books, getting excited over new releases, finding new bloggers to connect with, all of the fun things, right?
However, now, all I'm seeing from this community is hatred, jealousy, and anger and that's really sad to see and I want nothing to do with. And you know what I have to say to all of that hatred, jealousy, and anger? Crap happens! Cry yourself a river, build a bridge and move on! People will always want to knock you down, but it's up to you whether or not you pick yourself back up and work your butt off to strive for the success you want in life.
With all of this being said, let's start fresh, shall we? Let's put all of this behind us, let's get excited for 2016 and all of the amazing, beautiful books that are coming out and let's get to bringing positivity into the community. I want that to be my New Years Resolution. For the blogging community to be happier, to not focus so much on the negativity and instead the positivity because lets face it: we are a kick butt community!