I can’t think of anything knowledgeable to say about the Ellora’s Cave lawsuit against Dear Author that other people aren’t covering. But as someone who writes, publishes, and blogs, obviously I’m very concerned with following and reading about it.
People are already expressing concern that this will have a chilling effect on the greater conversation, that it will impact what bloggers, reviewers, authors, and other industry people are willing to say. And that terrifies me.
Just this morning, in fact, I was chatting with some of my fellow Menagerie members about what we might blog about this week. I suggested someone might want to write about the Ellora’s Cave issues, maybe a Menagerie member who had something new to say or who had more knowledge of the romance scene and/or publishing as a whole than I have. It would certainly be a post I’d be interested in reading. Well, we’re all following it, but nobody in chat at the time felt they had any new or informative opinions suitable for a blog post.
Later on another Menagerie member popped on and we were talking more about blogging. And this conversation happened (edited for clarity):
Me: I was suggesting earlier that someone blog about Ellora’s Cave and their suit against Dear Author, but nobody’s into it :p
Other Menagerie member: Ha, I am watching the EC stuff. But I do not want to poke that hornet’s nest!
Me: Why not?
Her: Because law suits.
And I suddenly thought: Holy shit, it’s happening to us.
Members of my blog are worried about what we say about Ellora’s Cave because they’re afraid of being sued.
And I’m angry. I’m so angry.
I have no insider knowledge on the EC suit. It’s possible they have a legitimate reason and this isn’t a SLAPP lawsuit as some seem to be speculating (or very carefully not speculating). I’ll reserve my own hypotheses for outside the blog, because I am not a lawyer and, as my colleague said, because law suits . . . shit.
But no matter what the case, there’s fallout happening, and we’re already feeling it.
We’re small fry here at the Menagerie, in the grand scheme of the Interwebs. This blog in particular launched less than a week ago. And obviously we are not in the awful position of being directly involved with any aspect of this case, and I feel for everyone who is. But I think this was a necessary post to make, because it’s important that we talk about these things. It’s important that we speak up when we feel silenced. It’s important that small and entirely uninvolved bloggers like us are feeling like we shouldn’t express opinions about a potentially important event in our industry. That we do more risk to ourselves by opening our mouths than is worth it to editorialize . . .
. . . because law suits.