TWA

Commentary: Speech, Redundancy, Propaganda and the Spreading of Negativity

In Authors, Propaganda, Strategic Book Group on March 5, 2011 at 6:41 pm

There is a classic story about a man who went around telling stories about an individual with the intent to harm his reputation. Once it was brought to his attention that this was wrong, he wanted to repent for his transgressions. This story demonstrates the difficulty in repairing the injury once words are communicated:

“Take a feather pillow, cut it open, and scatter the feathers to the winds. Now, go and gather the feathers. Because you can no more make amends for the damage your words have done than you can recollect the feathers.”

In a recent Facebook posting, Novelist Frank Riganelli posted numerous statements regarding Strategic Book Group, Eloquent Books etc. etc. It’s a well-known fact that these entities are facing legal challenges in the State of Florida. We’re all waiting with bated breath for this matter to come to a conclusion. As civil human beings, the courts will decide this matter not us. Regardless, it’s old news and this appears to be a common defense for some authors that want to project the failure of their book’s marketability on to the publisher.

Frank, who was also the subject of a recent blog posting of ours, has numerous books out which reflect the lowest of Amazon Sales Rankings possible upon a cursory review. Of course, there are two sides to every story. However, perpetuating known facts, steeped in negativity and propaganda, is not going to compensate an author for their own failures. Furthermore, an author’s time could be better utilized in marketing their books rather than spending time playing the blame game, whining about how they were wronged and scattering useless “feathers to the winds.” Especially, when you consider that their own books are in the pits. There are many examples of self-published authors that see the value in patiently waiting for the courts to do their job and not engage valuable time in negative tale-bearing. Frank makes the following statements on his Facebook page:

“This company never follows through on what they claim. They have a contract manager that is simply a charasmatic [sic] person but has no idea what she’s doing. Stay away from Lynn Eddy, she is a fraud pure and simple. She will talk sweet but has no clue about the publishing industry. Robert Fletcher LOVES to hire cheap labor and she is NO exception. You get what you pay for and she is no exception!”

We would love to hear from Frank regarding these claims. We are trying to be fair and objective. What did they fail to “follow through” on? What supports the claim that the contract manager “has no idea what she is doing”? Why the warning to “stay away” from Lynn Eddy and call her a “fraud”? What supports your claim that she has “no clue about the publishing industry”? What separates and supports your professional experiences that make you more knowledgeable? These are bold and inflammatory statements and, without supporting documentation, are nothing more than a red herring. These statements are compelling but they fail to validate the claims without substantive proofs. It’s interesting to note that Frank’s website has the following quote: “Frank’s debut book is sharp and informative. – Eloquent Books” Seems like it would be time to select a new endorsement.

“The person who listens to gossip is even worse than the person who tells it, because no harm could be done by gossip if no one listened to it. It has been said that . . . disparaging speech kills three: the person who speaks it, the person who hears it, and the person about whom it is told.” (Talmud Arachin 15b).

References

“Commentary: Those Funny Delusional Authors « The Write Agenda.” The Write Agenda. Web. 05 Mar. 2011. <https://thewriteagenda.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/commentary-those-funny-delusional-authors/&gt;.

Frank Riganelli. Web. 05 Mar. 2011. <http://frankpr.weebly.com&gt;.

“Intriguing: How Does the “Thumbs Down” List Amazon Rankings Compare to the “Watch Dogs”? « The Write Agenda.” The Write Agenda. Web. 05 Mar. 2011. <https://thewriteagenda.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/intriguing-how-the-thumbs-down-list-amazon-rankings-compare-to-the-watch-dogs/&gt;.

“NovelistFrank Riganelli | Facebook.” Welcome to Facebook – Log In, Sign Up or Learn More. Web. 05 Mar. 2011. <http://www.facebook.com/Frank.R.Novelist?sk=wall&gt;.

“When Authors Aren’t Willing to Market Their Books.” WritersWeekly.com. Web. 05 Mar. 2011. <http://www.writersweekly.com/the_latest_from_angelahoycom/005129_01072009.html&gt;

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  1. The strange thing about this post is that whoever wrote it might actually think they are doing something good by doing it.

    “ There is a classic story about a man who went around telling stories about an individual with the intent to harm his reputation.” The way this post is written, the author of it has pretty much done the same. Why would anyone listen to them?

    The only accurate things said in the post is, “ In a recent Facebook posting, Novelist Frank Riganelli posted numerous statements regarding Strategic Book Group, Eloquent Books etc. etc. It’s a well-known fact that these entities are facing legal challenges in the State of Florida. We’re all waiting with bated breath for this matter to come to a conclusion.”

    As for the rest of the post, the author tries to take this one fact and use it to smear the victim of the illegally operating group. They make assumptions about Frank Riganelli, which are not correct and yet they have never spoken with him, if they had they would know that many others have commented on the POD publisher who is in legal trouble. But for some reason the author asks Frank to speak on behalf of these other people.

    I can’t begin to explain how unprofessional this post is, and how irrational it is in trying to piggyback from one legitimate point, the illegally operating business, to others without making any sense. And why are they singling out Frank Riganelli, he’s already suffered for the illegal actions of this group in Florida, when there are posts all over the Internet about the same company. This is suspicious one would think and lends itself to the notion that this is a smear campaign or witch hunt, just like the post says at its start about telling stories to harm another’s reputation.

    “We would love to hear from Frank regarding these claims. We are trying to be fair and objective.” As I’ve said, the Internet has many posts by many others who have suffered by this group in Florida, and yet this author is asking Frank to speak on their behalf.

    The author of this post has managed to put themselves in with the ranks of the business in legal trouble by posting this libelous post. Libel is the defamation of a person by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures; those are considered slander. And the two are legally actionable.

    For anyone who has to suffer reading this post, take from it the fact that if you write like this and with this type of reasoning, you can very easily end up in legal trouble. I’m tempted to write about how to go about something like this, but I’m not hear to educate the author of this post. Others have already told me that people won’t take this post seriously, and if they’re smart they won’t.

    I think I’ve waisted enough time answering this gibberish of thoughts.

    • We received the following reply, presumably from Frank Riganelli. Initially, we were not certain since the email address is linked to a different Facebook account and identified as “Beijing Ren.” Based on the fact that Frank has posted this reply on his Facebook page, we can only assume that he is the author.

      In the original posting, our purpose was to seek clarification of these claims made by Frank:

      “This company never follows through on what they claim. They have a contract manager that is simply a charasmatic [sic] person but has no idea what she’s doing. Stay away from Lynn Eddy, she is a fraud pure and simple. She will talk sweet but has no clue about the publishing industry. Robert Fletcher LOVES to hire cheap labor and she is NO exception. You get what you pay for and she is no exception!”

      Specifically, we asked the following questions:

      1. What did they fail to “follow through” on?
      2. What supports the claim that the contract manager “has no idea what she is doing”?
      3. Why the warning to “stay away” from Lynn Eddy and call her a “fraud”?
      4. What supports your claim that she has “no clue about the publishing industry”?
      5. What separates and supports your professional experiences that make you more knowledgeable?

      The reply that we received is riddled with more rhetoric, propaganda and complete avoidance of commentary on the questions that were initially raised above. We’re not certain if it’s ad hominem, demonizing the enemy, name-calling, obfuscation, red herring, scapegoating, straw man, or transfer. As stated before, these statements are compelling but they fail to validate the claims without substantive proofs. Without offering supporting documentation, the reply is nothing more than propaganda under one of the above classifications or several together. We simply asked Frank to validate and prove his claims. His reply fails to do that.

      The reply:

      FR: The only accurate things said in the post is, “In a recent Facebook posting, Novelist Frank Riganelli posted numerous statements regarding Strategic Book Group, Eloquent Books etc. etc. It’s a well-known fact that these entities are facing legal challenges in the State of Florida. We’re all waiting with bated breath for this matter to come to a conclusion.”

      TWA: Agree.

      FR: As for the rest of the post, the author tries to take this one fact and use it to smear the victim of the illegally operating group. They make assumptions about Frank Riganelli, which are not correct and yet they have never spoken with him, if they had they would know that many others have commented on the POD publisher who is in legal trouble. But for some reason the author asks Frank to speak on behalf of these other people.

      TWA: This was not to be interpretated as a “smear.” What is there to assume? You posted the comment. Whether or not this organization is an “illegally operating group,” or not, remains to be seen and will be determined by judicial process. There were no assumptions made and we did offer you the opportunity to respond to our inquiry. We acknowledge the fact that there are indeed volumes of rhetorical postings available on this publisher. We never asked for you to speak on their behalf. We did ask you very clearly to speak on your own behalf regarding the questions above. That offer still stands. If you want to make claims like this, answer the questions and back it up with some proofs. Avoidance of the issues presented only serves to question the motive and veracity of your statements.

      FR: I can’t begin to explain how unprofessional this post is, and how irrational it is in trying to piggyback from one legitimate point, the illegally operating business, to others without making any sense. And why are they singling out Frank Riganelli, he’s already suffered for the illegal actions of this group in Florida, when there are posts all over the Internet about the same company. This is suspicious one would think and lends itself to the notion that this is a smear campaign or witch hunt, just like the post says at its start about telling stories to harm another’s reputation.

      TWA: We’re not “singling” you out. There are hundreds of examples of this kind of unsubstantiated rhetoric against many publishers. Your public Facebook posting was merely brought to our attention. There’s no intention to harm your reputation; we are just asking you to back your assertions up. It’s ironic that you would even make such a statement when your original posting states that the individual “has no idea of what she is doing,” “she is a fraud,” “has no clue about the publishing industry,” and that she’s “cheap labor.” You can’t make claims of being a victim when you yourself raise questions regarding another’s reputation. Recommendations or criticism of a company can be accomplished in a more professional manner. We support that provided that there is truthful and qualified information. Merely posting and reposting of internet-based rhetoric and propaganda, in such a fashion, only serves to question the credibility of the poster and the commentary therein. Therefore, to a reasonable man (or reasonable woman) these assertions should arouse skepticism and warrant further research. We intend to write an informational blog post about how to appropriately analyze and verify posted information and review what a publisher has done to counter false information on these non-vetted writer, volunteer or forum sites.

      FR: “’We would love to hear from Frank regarding these claims. We are trying to be fair and objective.” As I’ve said, the Internet has many posts by many others who have suffered by this group in Florida, and yet this author is asking Frank to speak on their behalf.”

      TWA: Agree and answered above.

      FR: The author of this post has managed to put themselves in with the ranks of the business in legal trouble by posting this libelous post. Libel is the defamation of a person by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures; those are considered slander. And the two are legally actionable.

      TWA: That’s certainly subject to a qualified and professional legal opinion. However, we wonder if Ms. Eddy shares your opinion about your post. You did state that “she has no idea of what she is doing,” “she’s a fraud pure and simple,” “she has no clue about the publishing industry,” and that She’s “cheap labor.”

      FR: For anyone who has to suffer reading this post, take from it the fact that if you write like this and with this type of reasoning, you can very easily end up in legal trouble. I’m tempted to write about how to go about something like this, but I’m not hear [sic] to educate the author of this post. Others have already told me that people won’t take this post seriously, and if they’re smart they won’t. I think I’ve waisted [sic] enough time answering this gibberish of thoughts.

      TWA: In variance, we are “here” to educate and cause individuals to question (with a skeptical eye) what they are reading in the posts and forums that you reference. Again, many of these sites have unsubstantiated claims, propaganda and are pure rhetoric. If you’ve accomplished anything, you have managed to prove our point that there is a need to write “an informational blog post about how to appropriately analyze and verify posted information and review what a publisher has done to counter false information on these non-vetted writer, volunteer or forum sites.” Whether others take this seriously, or not, is a matter of personal choice. However, if they are smart they will take the time to investigate this kind of propaganda further. We are sorry that you feel that you have “waisted [sic] enough time answering this gibberish of thoughts.” The truth of the matter is that you have wasted our time by not answering and substantiating your claims.

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