As we have probably have all heard by now, we have been outed in a couple of major publications. They didn't refer to us by name, but a couple of authors managed to persuade The Guardian and New Republic to run articles about how we're deliberately destroying their books and careers. I know we'd all hoped to keep our existence a secret until after the release of Prince Lestat - don't forget, if you're having problems with snarky gifs for your reviews drop a line to Brian and he'll hook you up - so I thought I'd get the newsletter out early to reassure everyone.
First things first: nobody is to blame for this and it is not a big deal. You guys in the Vine program were doing your jobs perfectly. That can't be emphasised enough. I can see you all worked together to put good variety in your phrasing - Margo Howard is going to have a really hard time convincing people her book doesn't have issues with her being an entitled, privileged, poor-little-rich-girl. Seriously guys, I beginning to suspect she's a member of another chapter. Have you seen her comments on the piece?
The Kathleen Hale thing is concerning, especially with its mention of Athena Parker and STGRB. They've been dormant for a while so we haven't been able to take any of their posts and make it sound like they're twisted stalkers, but we've still been able to go through the internet and continue removing all mentions of Parker from before STGRB started so it looks as though she's not a real person. Those fake screen-shots we created of them doxxing book reviewers still show up on the first page of results. Anybody going to the STGRB webpage is still going to come away thinking they're seriously unhealthy individuals.
Hale's next book doesn't appear to have a release date yet but I want everybody to start brainstorming now. I want to start goading her the day after that sucker appears on NetGalley. I don't want her average review score above 2 stars. We've got some good details on the Guardian piece about how to push her buttons. I want those of you with publishing contracts to reach out to her in your author guises. You'll be the first people she turns to when it all kicks off next time, so you can reassure her she isn't being a maniac. You'll also be in a good place to feed her information like phone numbers if we've made it too difficult for her to get the info herself. Worst comes to the worst, you can tackle the reviewers "on her behalf". Friends diving in makes authors look bad too!
Now, holiday season is coming up and as a reminder to everybody, now is the time to start planting doubt. Books are still a popular gift and as well known bookish people, you're going to be asked for your opinions. You've got your lists of who we're targeting this year.
To liven things up, we're going to have a leader board. It's going to work as an honour system, but there'll be a small prize for the winner! As well as persuading people not to buy, you can earn points for distributing copies to charity shops. It will make the books look bad AND it will keep the authors from earning money if they're bought. If you need some more hard copies, get in touch with me and I'll have them sent out - special well done to all the people who got the digital ARCs we were able to copy and redistribute!
One final thing: NaNo is coming up, so make sure you pull back on your reviews a bit during the month. All failed novelists do NaNo, so that includes us. We've got a new page on the website with suggestions of "writerly" things you can tweet for added authenticity.
Unhappy reading everybody!