I'm writing because I want to update everyone on the whole Carroll Bryant thing. When I first came across the Goodreads/Bryant affair, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. After all, sometimes people can be a little trigger happy to jump on the "author drama" bandwagon.
Then a friend of mine (a few of them, actually) started filling me in on everything that went on. Now I'm not sure how much of all of this is true, but this is what's currently floating around in the rumor-sphere and I'm going to compile most of it here for clarity's sake.
Note: this is not an encouragement for anyone to go and harass Bryant. The argument on Goodreads is done and it should remain done. This is here for clarity, posterity, and just to show people how not to respond to a bad situation that gets worse and worse.
Before Bryant was removed from Goodreads, the arguments between him and a select group of reviewers were starting to get heated. I didn't read all of the comments on the blogs posted on Goodreads, but I do know that at some point it was brought up that one of the reviewers that Bryant was complaining about was someone that he'd been in a relationship. The girl (who lives in Mexico) was supposedly 17, with her turning 18 before the relationship ended. (Before you start saying "illegal", know that the legal age of consent in Mexico starts at 12 and much of the United States' AoC is at 17. It's squicky to me, but technically legal.) There was also talk about different things that went on in their relationship, but I have no way of knowing what exactly is the truth of this and to be honest, some of it is pretty damn sensitive. Some of it ranges from Bryant flying down to see her, other talk has Bryant giving the girl fake photos of himself, only for her to discover that he'd been lying to her about his age and appearance. Some of it, as I said above, states stuff that neither party would really like to be repeated on the internet, whether it's true or not. After the breakup, the reviewer didn't post a review.
Now here's where I have to say that Bryant should have cut his losses and moved on. Regardless of how bitter the breakup was or wasn't (and supposedly it was bitter), there's no sense in trying to get a review out of an ex. Putting her name on the list is just sort of well... petty.
At the same time some of the other blogs were supposedly telling Bryant that they weren't going to review his book. Some accounts have the bloggers being friends of the ex, others saying that the bloggers didn't know the girl in question and that they decided to not review the books for reasons that were entirely their own.
This is about the time that Bryant posted the blog complaining about unprofessional reviewers and not getting what he was promised. For my initial feelings on that, you can read my blog post here. What pretty much happened from there is common knowledge. Bryant's blog angered a lot of people and Bryant stoked the fires. Bryant was accused of preying on minors and of being a pedophile, the back and forth of which has been recorded on some blog sites. (See the bottom "further reading" section for this.) Because I didn't read all of the posts and due to my personal feelings about relationships with such a large age gap, I'm not going to comment on this.
Bryant eventually got reported to the point that he was removed from Goodreads. He eventually posted his list on his own blog. As you can expect, the typical reaction ensued and the argument that was initially on Goodreads merely shifted to Carroll's own blog. I did manage to read the interaction between Bryant and the people posting on his blog and all I can say is that Bryant responded very poorly. Calling people names and getting hostile is not going to make anyone see your viewpoint or go away. All it does is stoke up the fires.
What's interesting is that after the list was posted, one of the blogs stated that they had never approached Bryant for a review. This is pretty interesting, considering the vitrol that Bryant had been posting up to this point. Shortly after the blog containing the list was posted, it was quickly removed. The aftermath of this is that at least one of the blogs (I think the same one that stated they never contacted Bryant) changed their review policy to where they will no longer review self-published books unless they are familiar with the author or the pitch was very exceptional.
Now my reason for posting this is not to bring up drama, get views, or to cause trouble. With how freaky everything was getting, I wanted to post a rough outline of the events for those who are just as boggled as I am by how utterly pear-shaped everything got in such a short period of time. That Bryant's story is now being picked up by STGRB doesn't help make anything less messed up.
I hate to say it, but Bryant pretty much hit every single thing on the "How to be seen as a crazy author" checklist. I'm trying really hard to make this blog as neutral as possible, but my reaction to this is about the same as my reaction to the whole Candace Sams affair. While Bryant never threatened to call in the FBI (that I'm aware of), his actions and reactions were just as poorly done and I'm left with this WTF feeling over everything.
All I can say is that Bryant's best course of action would be to quietly walk away from this fight. He can't win and associating himself with a group that's pretty much widely despised and criticized by most of the literary world will do little or nothing to help his now tarnished reputation.
With the recent increase in reported drama between authors and reviewers, (some of it deserved, some of it not) I can't help but wonder what this is doing for the image of the self-published author. Whatever it's doing, it's not doing the indie world any favors.
As far as all the indie/self-published hopefuls go, I just want to recommend that if the above situation happens to you, don't respond. It doesn't matter if you think you're in the right. It doesn't matter if you think you are being bullied. It doesn't matter if the other person is airing your personal life and calling you names. Don't respond. No, it's not fair that reviewers seem to be able to post whatever they want or back out of promised reviews, but they're just average schmoes. They don't stand to lose reputation and readers if the general public perceives your actions as hostile or bad. If you really feel that certain bloggers and reviewers are jerks/unprofessional/bullies, then vent in private and just tell a few trusted friends online who they shouldn't do business with.
Just wanted to add that I've put a few more links down below and that one of them has a much more detailed synopsis of everything. It looks like the young lady in question did live in Mexico and that Bryant flew down to see her, but was refused. After all of this she was harassed and stalked by Bryant to the point where she made everything private. I try to be neutral on stuff like this (as there's always two viewpoints) but it's pretty much impossible to defend Bryant's actions here.
Also, it looks as if Bryant has re-posted his list. I've linked it below, so if you want to see it you can click it. Now the reason why I'm mentioning this is because one of the blogs on the list (A Cupcake and A Latte) has closed all of her review stuff very suddenly and inexplicably. What is worrisome about this is that from what I've heard, none of her friends have heard anything from her. Considering that STGRB has made Bryant their poster child and one of the focuses of STGRB's attention has reported that she's received a threatening phone call, it's entirely possible that this blogger was getting harassed all this time and just decided it would be easier to leave the internet than to stay on. If this is the case then it really doesn't bode well because by all accounts the blogger for ACaAL didn't do anything wrong and wasn't even in contact with Bryant at all until he started fingering her as one of the people who supposedly requested a book and didn't review for him.
If anyone knows anything else, please feel free to chime in!
*Goodreads Follies: Indie Authors Meltdown on Goodreads
*Goodreads Follies: Carroll Bryant vs Autumn Rosen - Round 2
* Important Change in Review Policy - The Strange Case of Carroll Bryant
* The Rex Files: The Legend of Carroll Bryant
*Carroll Bryant: The List