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text 2014-11-16 17:47
Open Letter to HarperCollins

If one can dedicate a letter, this is dedicated to Linda Hilton, who no doubt will find typos in it.  Bless her heart and uncensored mouth (or fingers).  The boycott is her idea. 


You can find Linda's post here - Boycott.

My first post on Hale - Run-down.  It includes links to Dear Author as well as Jim C Hines, both of whom give run-downs of the whole issue.


Dear HarperCollins,


                I love many of the books that you publish under various imprints. As a huge fan of the Duncton Wood Chronicles, my heart will always have fondness for your company. For me, HarperCollins was a publishing name that usually indicated quality.


                However, considering your silence on the behavior of Kathleen Hale who, by her own admission, stalked a reviewer, I feel I can no longer support your company. This saddens me. I can understand any publisher’s desire to treat their authors well, but I do not understand why the company has kept quiet on such an action. Even if you believe that the reviewer treated Kathleen Hale unfairly, surely stalking is a step too far.


Furthermore, several authors and bloggers have pointed out various problems with Hale’s account as she published it in the Guardian. What such quietness on your part says to me as a reader is simply that while you are willing to take my money, my opinion about your books better be kept to myself.


                I can’t do that. Even before I joined places such as Booklikes and Goodreads I never could.


               For me, one of the joys of reading is learning what other readers think about a book. It’s in our differing views that we learn about ourselves, our friends, our co-readers, and the works that we read. An attempt to stifle this violates the spirit of reading. This is what Kathleen Hale did at its most basic level.


                And yet, your company says nothing.


                The silent acceptance of Hale’s behavior has destroyed the trust I had in your company. I can understand being legally unable to break a contract, but it is unclear to me why there is no condemnation for Hale’s actions. Surely, if Hale were a reader stalking a HarperCollins writer, you would say something.


                But you haven’t said anything that I can find.


                Therefore, despite my fondness for your books, I will no longer buy, rate, or review any book published under HarperCollins.

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text 2014-11-15 19:08
As of today, 15 November 2014, I will not buy, rate, review. . . . .

. . . or in any other way promote any book published by HarperCollins.  Period.  I refuse to support a publisher that supports a stalker.


Will such a boycott harm innocent authors?  Well, if I'm the only one boycotting, then probably not.  And as far as I know KH is the only HarperCollins author who has stalked and harassed a reviewer to the extent she did.  All the other HC authors, then, are innocent and by some reasoning don't deserve to be boycotted.


Let's be honest with ourselves.  Brutally honest.  Let's admit that we really just don't want to deprive ourselves of the pleasure of reading those other authors.  We're sympathetic to Blythe Harris's plight and we really think that author was totally 100% wrong, but doing without our favorite HC authors, well, that's more sacrifice than some of us want to make.  And so we're hiding behind the excuse that we don't want to hurt innocent authors.


Blythe Harris was stalked, harassed, and silenced.


The message being sent right now by HarperCollins is that they have no problem with that.  They really don't care about Blythe Harris or about any other reviewer.  The silence from the HC authors also says they have no problem with it.  They don't care that Blythe Harris was silenced for not liking a book.


Right now, HarperCollins is supporting, with their contract and with their silence, an author who proudly admitted stalking a reviewer who didn't like her book.  They are implicitly saying to all their authors, "Hey, if you want to stalk and harass and threaten people who find fault with your books, go right ahead."


How much solidarity are you, as readers and reviewers and maybe even as authors, willing to show with Blythe Harris?  Are you willing to do without a few books over the next few months?  Are you willing to say to your favorite HC authors, in effect, "Sorry, but I can't buy or promote your books.  I can't support a publisher -- who makes more off your books than you do anyway -- who supports stalking.  I just can't."


If you can't do that much, then I guess maybe you really don't have a problem with supporting a stalker either.



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