Much has changed in the three days since I brought you news that Ellora’s Cave was suing well-known romance book blog Dear Author for defamation, and few of the changes favor Ellora’s Cave.
Jane Litte, the pseudonymous editor of Dear Author, announced this morning that she had hired the big guns to defend her in this lawsuit, noting that:
But in a culture cluttered with people who are famous for no good reason whatsoever, Marc Randazza is an outlier: someone who is becoming famous as a First Amendment badass whose First Amendment badassery actually exceeds his rep. If I ever get sued for defamation, he’s my first call.– Popehat
This is great news for Jane, but even if she wins this lawsuit it will still be a blow against bloggers, authors, and editors.
When I covered this story on Friday one of the details I noted was that this case bore all the hallmarks of a SLAPP, a type of lawsuit which was filed less for compensation than to silence critics.
While the lawsuit hasn’t deterred Dear Author it is having that effect on bloggers and editors who are understandably leery of being sued themselves. In the Morning Coffee post I linked to one blog which freely admitted that they were afraid of being sued, and Friday’s post also drew comments from book bloggers who wondered if they would be sued for posting a negative review. One even noted that a friend had been threatened with a lawsuit last year, just for posting a review.
What’s more, this lawsuit is also intimidating editors who had previously worked with Ellora’s Cave. I had noted in Friday’s post that authors were complaining of unpaid royalties, and a number of readers left anonymous comments saying that they had also gone unpaid for the editing work they had performed for Ellora’s Cave.
In short, Ellora’s Cave may lose this lawsuit but it is still a partial victory for them. They’ve succeeded in silencing potential critics.
Of course, this suit has also publicized EC’s atrocious business practices and behavior (just like I predicted on Friday), resulting in romance authors avoiding Ellora’s Cave like the plague and recommending that their readers do the same. So even if the critics are silenced this lawsuit could still torpedo EC’s publishing business. (One can only hope.)
image by winnifredxoxo