Discussion Post: Book Community Bullying #antibullying

There has been a lot of discussion in recent months about bullying in the book community. I particularly remember this post that Drew wrote last summer about stopping all the hate flying around in the book blogging community, if you haven’t read it go check it out: An Open Letter: Let’s Stop the Hate.

The point is, bullying is alive and kicking in our cozy little community, we all like to think we are playing nice, and some of us get by without being too heavily affected, I was definitely one of those people until this week, and too be honest I wasn’t going to say anything until I read something this morning which stopped my heart and made me realise we have to stop keeping quiet and start fighting back.

I had an argument with someone, not someone who is particularly a part of the book community, they sit on the edge friends with a lot of authors, a reader. It wasn’t an argument connected with the book world even, and it was dealt with, although our friendship didn’t survive the argument. It happens.

What I didn’t expect was to have several indie authors I didn’t know send me nasty, abusive messages. Threatening, calling me names. All in the name of protecting this person I had argued with. Believe me, it wasn’t that big deal of an argument. I blocked and deleted all of the messages, and had my mental health been in a better state that would have been it. But it wasn’t, I have been very sick this week so those messages were ammunition for my psychosis to really play havoc with my state of mind and I was in a really bad way fighting suicidal urges for three days. Probably what I should have done was copy those messages and outed each of those people publicly, let everyone know the bullies they are. But I didn’t have it in me so I let it go.

Then this morning I woke up and logged into Facebook, and read this.

Two people, an author and an artist, from the indie book community both pushed to a suicide attempt by people harassing and bullying them? This is beyond acceptable. This bullying in the community HAS to come to an end.

As you all know I lost a friend to suicide just two weeks ago and that is a feeling I will never recover from. I also know how it feels to want to take your life and to be led in that hospital bed having tried and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. One of my attempts was the result of bullying and for a person to make you feel like your life is not worth living is unbearable, to know that somebody has that much power over you is the most awful feeling in the world.

We, as a community, need to start fighting back, we need to start telling these people that this is not acceptable. We need to start calling people on this bullshit and telling them that they cannot speak to other people in this way. It’s time to start making it clear that we will not accept anything less than civility.

We have a good thing in the book community so let’s start protecting it and each other. If you have ideas on how we do this, what we can do to stop more authors, artists, bloggers, PA’s from being pushed to the edge then let’s hear it. Let’s talk about your experiences. The more we talk the less power these people have. Let’s name the people who are doing this and take away their power, encourage them to start having more respect for their fellow book lovers.

If people can’t show respect on blogs/in groups/on pages etc then maybe they need to be kicked off/out. Honestly, I don’t hold the answer to everything in my hands but maybe as a unit we do. There are far more of us who are kind, considerate, and understanding than participate in the bullying so we should be able to overcome this and work out a solution.

You all know how passionate I am about mental health, I can’t bear to see these people affecting people’s mental health like this any longer so we need to do something sooner rather than later.

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I'm BrizzleLass, I have Bipolar and have been dealing with mental illness in one form or another since childhood, I was first diagnosed with depression at nine. It's not easy speaking out about my experiences, some of them are extremely painful, but if I can help even one person then I have succeeded in sharing my story. This is where I talk about my mental health among other things that interest me. I enjoy walking, PlayStation, reading, heavy metal, and spending time with my Niece.

63 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Book Community Bullying #antibullying”

  1. Claire, there is bullying in the book community?? Omg why?? Why can’t we all co-exist? This is shocking.. I have had a couple of racist comments on Facebook in one of the groups. I exited from that group. But this is much more shocking. I thought readers and authors are the most peaceful people on this earth.
    Telling a person to die is horrifying. As a doctor, I struggle to save lives, yet there are some people who think it is okay to tell someone to die – how could they?? I am literally in tears. Today I was so happy that I could save my patient’s life and I come home to read, responsible adults bullying others. I was naive to think only kids and teenagers, who do not know better, do this. I stand corrected and I am ashamed that even reading did not give some of us knowledge…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I know, I am sorry to ruin your day. O am so glad you saved somebody’s life today though. Be glad for that, that is amazing and something most of us wouldn’t be able to do.

      There are unfortunately a few people who think it is OKAY to bully and harrass others. I would like to say they are young and naive but some of them are fully fledged adults who have no excuse except for being vicious. I guess it gives them a power kick. I know of several bloggers and a few authors who have been targets of some quite intense bullying over the past year or so. It’s very sad. Hopefully if we keep talking about it we can stop it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree… I don’t know if talking helps… I am just so shell shocked. Adults tell other adults to die?? And people send 80 hate mails??? My god, couldn’t they do something good in life? Hate begets hate. Sending somebody to the hospital bed, is the worst thing, it is a sin. Claire, how do people live with themselves?
        If I hurt someone even by mistake, I can’t sleep nights. What has happened to humanity.
        My grandmother was right, if we can’t speak good about someone, we should shut up. This kind of meanness (not sure if this is a word) is not freedom of speech. It is just plain anti-humanity. Does internet give so much anonymity that people go ahead and send hate mails??
        Then what do they expect younger generations to learn?? What are we teaching our kids. Gawd!!


  2. That is absolutely horrific! Unfortunately I was on the receiving end of bullying in the book community last year to the point I had to remove myself from social media for a little while. I am disgusted that anyone thinks it’s okay to bully anyone else and, just because it’s on a computer screen, it doesn’t make it any less horrible. I’ve been bullied most of my life which is what makes this even harder. I’m so sorry to hear that you were on the receiving end of some disgusting individuals. I’m here if you need an ear, okay? People need to remember to be nice to each other. It’s unacceptable and extremely damaging. Big hugs x

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I remember you going through it, you were in my mind when I wrote this but I didnt want to draw attention to it for your sake. I hate that people think this is OK and push people to the point they would rather die than carry on. It is so not acceptable. The laws around this really need tightening up.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Oh bless you! Completely agree. Something needs to be done. People don’t take bullying seriously and think that just because it’s often words and not physical abuse, that it is any less harmful

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m actually lost for words, Claire, sitting here with your post on the screen in front of me. It’s beyond shocking and completely unacceptable that people are being driven to such drastic action by bullying. It’s impossible to understand why anyone should feel the need to harass others in this way.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m almost beyond words and rage about all this and sadly, I think it proves a point I’ve been arguing for years that things like Facebook have made hate crimes and bullying even worse. Bullying in our days at school tended to take a more physical form, now it’s all psychological and much more dangerous. I think the only way to deal with bullies like these is to out and expose them as soon as possible. It’s not a perfect solution because they’ll use other tactics to harass but if people are made aware that these morons are who they are then hopefully community strength will come together and blast them out of their circles.
    It just pains and distresses me that there are still many out there who live for, and enjoy being downright vindictive. I cannot for the life of me understand how or why people can be like that and it’s distressing when the results end in tragedy. One of my best mates sadly succumbed to suicide when I was 17 and 29 years later, it STILL haunts me. I still have no idea what led him to that point but it creates a ripple that never goes away, so for people in this day and age to be pushed to that point of no return thanks to downright psychological nastiness and the fact that it is increasing… you just have to wonder where on Earth the human race is headed.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve found this whole thing to be unbelievably shocking, and honestly, I hope the ones who sent those horrible messages are named and shamed. I want to be able to ensure that I pre-emptively block them and that I put their books (if they are authors) on my never-buy list, because I don’t want in any way to associate with them. There are some things you just don’t do.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m just blown away by all this Claire, and send you very best wishes!
    I’ve not actually witnessed it first hand but am aware of potentially I could say/write/comment and it could be me next, for no real reason other than I might disagree with one of the more popular bloggers and then everyone gets on the band wagon. I’m not really sure what I’m trying to say, I’m just rambling, but not everyone will agree with our opinion but telling people to kill themselves – wow that’s just out of control! Hugs x

    p.s I would have named and shamed but respect where you’re at 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Lindsay it doesn’t seem to take much to make yourself a target. Inalso agree about naming and shaming. Had I not been where Inwas mentally mast week I think I wouldnhabe done that without thinking twice but I was in a bad place and wanted it to go away. Certainly in hindsight I wish I had outed them.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so sorry that you had to see and hear this kind of stuff Claire. The hatred is unfortunately shining in this generation and it doesn’t help that the people in power are setting the most shitty examples. I haven’t been bullied per say in the book community but I have cut ties with some people because of their non ability to take constructive criticism. Adults need to set better, more healthy examples and stop acting like we’re all in high school again. I think it’s really great that you make posts like this and encourage people to have courage. I know you’re going through a lot ATM but please continue in to keep your head up and if you ever need someone to spill everything that’s on your mind to, I’m here. 🤗

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It makes me so angry and very upset to see how people are treated. “Social Media” is about being “Social” , one of its aims is having the opportunity to connect and socialise with like minded people in a virtual environment. It is a very sad and sorry state that there are those in the minority that use this as a chance to harass, abuse and bully. Even worse are those that think is acceptable to jump on the bullying bandwagon. What happened to people being respectful of others and their opinions? I also wonder if these people are bullies in real life? How would they speak to a person face to face? Would they use the same words? I think the vast majority probably wouldn’t, they would most likely be more civil and listen to opinions. This is a very unacceptable, unsociable, unjust and hurtful practice. They type words without thought. My heartfelt thoughts go out to all those who are on the receiving end of this.
    I do apologise for the length of this post xx

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This is terrible! I don’t know what to say. I seriously don’t like to intersect much because of this reason. One can never know what will turn to terrible argument and then bullying. It’s last thing anyone want to do. Those bullies seriously need to be treated, it’s big issue and they don’t even realize they are disturbing someone’s peace. Stay strong! Hugs x

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m so sorry and shocked to read your post and very glad you chose to share your experience and knowledge. This is social media’s darkest side – I’ve never understood why people need to be so negative about others. No one should be attacked like that – it’s frightening to me, but it also angers me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m in complete agreement with you. I’m a firm believer thst if you have a grievance with somebody have it out with them one on one in as civil a way as possible. Of course arguments happen and people can say hurtful things, I am guilty of that. But harrasment and bullying neither solve problems nor are they heat of the moment words between two people. I find it very hard to fathom how several people can systematically harass someone and not see that as unacceptable behaviour.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I can’t even process this. Bullying in all its forms is reprehensible and unfathomable to me. I have been bullied as a teenager, and the emotional scars remain. Luckily, as an author I have not experienced it, but my heart goes out to those who have.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Great topic resulting in very sensitive comments. Goodreads and Kboards can also be very hostile and vindictive places to interact with others. I guess that just like in junior high, weak people try to build themselves by putting down others, or their books, reviews….

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I didn’t know about your friend, I suck at keeping up with and reading FB, etc but I am truly sorry to read that, such sad news. 😦

    Contemplating taking your own life is so hard for people to harass others to that state is wrong, wrong on so many levels and shouldn’t happen.

    Sad thing with this community is this, people don’t believe it! I post on twitter being positive, people share, reply, like, etc, yes, Drew the book blogger community is great but I post negative stuff, cliques, hassle, etc and I get pulled up on it, no cliques, BS to the extreme right there, no hassling, everyone treats each other equally, BS again, no they don’t from other bloggers through to authors to publishers, there are cliques and BS happening yet when anyone mentions it they get called a liar and pulled up on it becuase it hasn’t happened to others. Newsflash, just because it hasn’t happened to you it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen to others. Again, BS, so much BS takes place in this community and people hide there head in the sand and ignore it. If those supposed ‘big’ bloggers who think they are well respected and knwon bothered to throw their view and help behind it then maybe something would happen but they say it doesn’t exist.

    There’s to much BS and hate. The other week I wrote a post about the reasons to be a book bloggers, pretty cool post, clean (for me) and lots liked it but I used the term ‘book hooker’ which is a term I coined and use for bloggers who charge for reviews, now, a person took offence to the term, they could have left a comment on the post, could have contacted me through my blog but instead they chose to share the post on twitter and state that I was hating on s’x workers and calling them less than nothing. Point is, they took offence to the post, not that the post was offensive, it wasn’t they should have aired their view with me but instead, they shared it on SM in an attempt to validate their view and get me hate. Sh#t needs to be kept private between the parties unless it gets to the stage where it needs to be outed but sadly, some just try and cause others hate to make themselves look cool and try and become popular and relevant.

    I guess that the only good thing, I know it isn’t a good thing but often it is always the bloggers who hate and bully is that you had indie authors bullying you and anyone that reads this will hopefully realise that indie authors can be just as bad as bloggers, it’s not just bloggers and that the community together, readers, bloggers and authors need to come together and stop the bullying and say to those who do it, be they reader, blogger, indie author or some big author that it won’t be stood for and it isn’t acceptable behaviour.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As always Drew i agree with every word. Too many bury their heads in the sand and to some extent I am guilty of that. I should have outed the people who did it to me but instead I hid it away by deleting the messages and blocking them. I wonder of the people who bullied the author and artist I mention in my post will be outed, probably not. The problem is the people on our side of the fence have too many morals, outing the bullies is in it’s own way a form of bullying. No win.


      1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with burying your head in the sand. Lots of us do and don’t want to bother with nonsense or hassle.

        It’s those that actively state it doesn’t happen simply because it hasn’t happened to them. If it didn’t happen then it wouldn’t be being mentioned. Then they kick off that it is only a small minority, true, that doesn’t make it right though.

        I think people are scared of the backlash they might get if they stood up and agreed with us mere little blogs and yeah, if you mention it or do something then you are bullying too. As you say, it’s a no win situation. Best we can hope for is when sh#t happens to us to make people aware of it not for retaliation or anything like that but simply to make people aware and give it a voice that it does happen and it needs stopping.

        Liked by 2 people

  13. This is just shocking! I honestly can’t understand what pleasure some people get from making other people miserable. It makes me so mad!
    I’m so, so sorry to hear about your friend. My heart goes out to you. Sending love and hugs. x

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Bullying?! This is shocking and horrifying to hear what you–and others have been going through! My god, what kind of people think that way. This isn’t junior high, it’s a book blog!

    I’m sorry you had to go through this, and I do hope the support of this community is able to offset the nastiness that you had to go through. Hugs to you ❤


    Liked by 1 person

  15. Claire, I am so sorry that this happened to you and especially as you are struggling right now. I can’t say I am shocked at all, as this type of bullying happens all the time. It does make me truly sad that it is happening within a community of people who share the same love and passion for reading. People are quick to judge, take sides, without having all the information. They say and behave in ways that I believe they would never do in person because people who act like this on social media, hide behind a computer screen, are cowards. They lack integrity and are incapable of having a civil disagreement. But to take it to the next level – when I hear people tell others to take their own life – is beyond bullying, it is sick and gruesome. These are people who lack compassion for others. Who are so filled with anger that they act out and bully and belittle others to hide from their pain. Much easier for them to lash out others than for them to turn that magnifying glass on themselves.
    I recently encountered a situation with someone I work with who was bullying others on social media. I called them out on it. They tried to get me in trouble but in the end, someone else reported them to our leadership team (from the local community), this person ended up being disciplined and was told that it can NEVER happen again. There were years of this type of behavior if you looked deep enough. This is someone in their 50s behaving like this. It is completely unacceptable and I will stand up to anyone who bullies and is hateful to others because they think they can.This person thought they had the right to do this. Even said that someone was trying to censor them by saying their behavior is unacceptable. Really?! What they were saying was that you can be passionate about a position and hold a strong opinion but not have to attack and demoralize others.
    Thank you for being so open about your experience and being strong enough to say that is is NOT okay. I think the way to stop this behavior is to take the platform away from those that use bullying and hate as a tactic. To identify those who are acting out this way and ban them from the groups and communities they want to be part of until they can treat others with compassion and respect. In doing so, you take away their power

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This is absolutely heartbreaking to read, but something that should definitely be highlighted. It’s hard to believe that there are people out there that think it is okay to send these sort of messages and not think of what would happen if someone actually took their words to heart. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could just get along, or at least keep their opinions to themselves! There should definitely be a zero tolerance of this sort of thing, it’s unacceptable. Thank you so much for this post – it can’t have been easy to write – but is something that everyone should read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lindsey. I find it heartbreaking to think two members of our community are in hospital right now because of these people. There really is a massive lack of understanding of what damage words can do.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. This is pulling at my heartstrings heavily. I often choose to be more withdrawn and avoid any drama I can, but there are times when lending a voice is a must. Enough is enough. As someone who is struggling with some very personal issues in the book community at the moment (I will not go into them here), I know what it feels like to log in and take a gut punch or have your heart torn while trying to just share a passion and be involved. This behavior we are seeing is toxic! You are one hundred percent correct we cannot stand for this. I have left countless groups and taken full-blown hiatus to avoid it, but it is time to stop being afraid of our own voices and right to a safe environment. Bullying has no place anywhere. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hate that you are having issues Danielle. You always know where I am if you need to talk about it. I cannot even begin to fathom how anyone could find issue with anything you have to say. Big hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been a target for shameful, disgraceful messages. I remain completely flummoxed by why some people feel the need to be abusive (what is wrong with their lives that they need to be so needlessly horrible?!).

    As you say, bullying causes devastating harm and we can’t tolerate it.

    Sending positive vibes xx

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m so sorry to read this post Claire. I felt quit sick reading what you and Drew wrote about. There is no excuse for bullying, ever. Thank you for speaking up and making others aware. I’m pretty new in these circles and really had the impression that we’re insulated from such vitriol. Sending positivity to you and wishing you strength as you continue to face your challenges head on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, honestly these are quite isolated incidents and for the most part the community is wonderful. I’ve been book blogging for almost three years and this is my first direct experience of this so it isn’t widespread. That said it is happening and I think we need to be a littke more vigilant to that to help those experiencing especially the mire systematic abuse.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Claire, there are no words to express my feelings regarding this. No doubt you handled your particular experience with class and grace, and I am so sorry you had to go through this. God knows you have enough on your plate. The hate people are capable of never ceases to amaze me but online bullying is a special brand of horror considering they cowardly hide behind their screens and use anonymity to spew this filth!

    Just appalling!
    Sending you love and hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Whaaat? Someone sent you horrible messages? You pay them no attention, keyboard warriors are all big and mighty hidden behind their screens. It’s amazing how many people actually get involved when it has absolutely nothing to do with them either.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I absolutely bloody despise that someone, an adult no less, could be so vindictive. Makes me want to punch someone. And really, for any third parties to come and harass you like that over something that was in between you and someone else is a step way too far! Unfortunately, I do not know how to fight this- bullying is one of the worst things to happen in society and it always has most devastating effects. But some people simply cannot seem to comprehend how much their actions hurt people… it really saddens me.

    Claire, I am so sorry to read about your experience about receiving all those messages- I can relate in a way due to a stalker incident I had years ago where I received 30-40 very graphic threats every day for a long time and it seriously affects a person.

    I am also sorry to hear about losing your friend.

    Gosh, just sending you massive hugs, woman! ❤

    PS! if you need someone to fight your corner, always here to back you up!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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