Vanity Author Rampages Again

31 May, 2012 Buzz Worthy News 81 comments

*ETA Keira Cass was not the author attacking Wendy Darling.  The author attacking Wendy Darling is a self-published author.  Since we do not use her name or reference the title of her book on this site, we simple refer to her as the nickname she’s been given: Vanity. *

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, but it’s just sickening enough that you wish it were.

There is a vanity author, nicknamed Vanity, who has taken the ultimate step of bad author behaviour.  By making the real identity known, and publishing personal details for, Goodread’s reviewer – Wendy Darling.

In a blog post, posted on the 29th of May 2012, Vanity author goes on a rampage, ranting about reviewers and personally attacking Wendy Darling:

Her online alias is Wendy Darling (of Peter Pan, see picture.) This is what she hides behind. So, who is she really? Let’s see, shall we? When the whole episode went down, my friends decided to do a little digging. What did they find? Well …Wendy Darling is actually ##### who lives in #### with her husband, ######, and three cats (see picture below.) She has several blogs. ##### and #####. Email address: #####. In an article my friends found in The Hand Made News, Just For Fun, ##### talks about how the PW story “broke out” and about how she is “well equipped to take care of herself and has a huge circle of very vocal friends.” (Strangely enough, if you click the link, the article is no longer there …hmmm … so … that’s interesting.)

First of all, the story didn’t “break out,” as she claims. ##### called her friends at PW and had them publish it. Secondly, she admits to “taking care of herself” by sending her “very vocal friends” to help her out. Well, those friends of hers are not just vocal. They are stalkers, bullies, and trolls, commonly known on Goodreads as the GR bullies of the Trolls of Goodreads. I have even heard people call them the YA Mob. My friends call them predatory reviewers. I have had my own experience with them when I made a comment on an inappropriate review of a book I was interested in. The review was extremely author bashing, saying who the reviewer wanted to sue the author and how much she hated her. When I made that comment, I was attacked and then my books were by these people who left scathing revenge reviews. I have the whole thing documented on my blog here and here.

When I talk about these people, ##### and her friends , I’m not talking about all reviewers or bloggers. I’m talking about this small band of people who, as a reader and a reviewer, I consider to be a disgrace and an embarrassment to the reviewing community as a whole. I know many bloggers and reviewers who have witnessed the behavior of these people and who are just disgusted as I am by what they do. There is a reason why all the drama seems to circulate around them and not around other legitimate reviewers who write critical reviews of books. It is because of their attitudes and their behavior which I find unacceptable.

##### – edited out personal information.


In January this year, Vanity created multiple sockpuppet accounts on Goodreads and used them to:

1) Bully and harass Goodreaders.

2) Inflate the ratings of her own book and post overtly positive, fake reviews:

3) Give one star retaliatory ratings to another author’s book, as can be seen here:

In February, Goodreads took actions and deleted this author and all 27 of her accounts.

Seven later returned in April to harass reviewers again but were once again clearly violating Goodread’s TOS and removed.

Publishing personal information about a reviewer, whether or not you agree with them, is above and beyond behaviour that anyone could find acceptable.

Authors, reviewers, book-bloggers and readers can all find a cause to be disgusted with this behaviour.  Lying, creating fake accounts, attacking reviewers/bloggers both on her blog and in her Amazon reviews are all steps that are above and beyond appropriate behaviour.  She is the bully she has accused Wendy Darling of being.


UPDATE: Wendy Darling has broken her silence over The Selection debacle here.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

81 Responses to “Vanity Author Rampages Again”

  1. Jenny

    The author sucks, granted. In a BIG way, she sucks. But I found personal information tied to the reviewer’s anonymous info on a blog site where she was a guest author. Her location is posted in her GR account & the rest of her personal info was given freely on the site I found on one Google click. It isn’t difficult to find further information (like her husband) after that. It was careless of the reviewer to allow her personal & anonymous identities to be connected anywhere if she wanted the anonymous to remain so. But that does NOT make it okay to bully or bash her. EVER.

    That said, I’d love to throw big rocks at the author for bashing a reviewer & thinking she’s clever to supposedly oust someone who she thought was hiding in anonymity. What an a$$. I’ll definitely not be reading her stuff.
    Jenny recently posted…Let’s Talk: Plagiarism (A Few More Thoughts)My Profile

    • Kat Kennedy

      @Jenny: The problem is that one blog post does not an open identity make. She linked from one place, that is sure. But it is EXTREMELY difficult to stay anonymous on the net. This author has placed all this information together in one place – with the intention of harassing the reviewer.

      Almost certainly if you dig enough into my history you will probably be able to find out where I live, who my family is etc. That doesn’t mean I WANT people to make that information known, together in one post and available for me to be bullied in the real world – as opposed to only being bullied in the cyber world.

      • Jenny

        @Kat Kennedy: And I hear what you’re saying. My only real thought here is that if she had wanted to maintain total anonymity she would never have allowed personal & anonymous sources to be posted together. You’re right that it’s difficult to remain completely anonymous online but posting her real name with her anonymous Twitter & GR accounts in the same paragraph (in more than one place) is not a real great attempt at remaining completely anonymous. And once a person finds out her name it’s not more than 5 minutes on Google to find out more.

        I am NOT condoning the placing of all the info into one place in a malicious way. Not at all. That was done in the worst way possible to create drama & backlash. And just because all the info was out there for people to find (given by the reviewer herself in different milieus) doesn’t make her or her family free game for bullying. As I said somewhere else, I’d love to throw some big rocks at some people right now over this.
        Jenny recently posted…Guest Blogger Showcase: Bookworm1858My Profile

        • Kat Kennedy

          @Jenny: I understand what you’re saying – but I guess from my viewpoint, the average person wouldn’t connect the two very much. I had no idea about that article and I’ve known Wendy for a while.

          And she has no control. That other post had her permission to publish her data – this blog post does not, and Wendy has no power to control what information is made more publicly available.

          • Jenny

            @Kat Kennedy: Ah, true enough. You’re right about that. I hadn’t thought about that angle. The other site DID have her permission while this one didn’t. It’s disgusting that someone would mine data to help others berate a person & that’s the bottom line, isn’t it? Where’s my verbal handgun?

        • Amanda @ Sisters Unedited

          @Jenny: But that’s almost like saying because you gave a waiter or waitress your credit card with your name and number on it that you gave them open access to your bank account for them to steal from. Some things just aren’t done. I think that putting all that info in one place with that particular review just wants to cause problems. Yes, you can dig up quite a bit of information on the internet but just because you can doesn’t make it right.
          Amanda @ Sisters Unedited recently posted…Review : When You Dare by Lori FosterMy Profile

          • Jenny

            @Amanda @ Sisters Unedited: I don’t think stealing someone’s financial access through their credit card & finding their real identity where it’s been given online (personal & anonymous TOGETHER) are the same thing. That’s hyperbole at it’s best. But I do think it’s majorly rotten to take that information you freely found (without stealing) and turn it into a weapon. That’s wrong. Plain & simple. But if one wants to remain as anonymous as possible on the web one does not connect one’s anonymous accounts with one’s personal credentials. Devil’s advocate I know. And still I’m not condoning what happened. It was completely wrong. Just not illegal as would be stealing access to someone’s financial information.

          • Amanda @ Sisters Unedited

            @ Jenny – That’s why I said Almost b/c it’s not the same. You are right.

            Along those lines of personal info. being used inappropriately, in Ohio a bill was just submitted that would keep Employers from using sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and any personal accounts in aiding of hiring, firing or punishment of any sort for the employee.
            Amanda @ Sisters Unedited recently posted…Review : When You Dare by Lori FosterMy Profile

    • Cervenka

      @Jenny: While it’s true that at least one online article links the reviewer’s name to her Goodreads identity, that doesn’t answer the question of how this author found the information about the reviewer’s husband, who presumably has nothing to do with any of this. The blog entry linked to his Twitter account (now protected) and his LinkedIn page (now deleted). That, to me, is what pushes this whole thing over the edge.

      • Jenny

        @Cervenka: To be very honest, it was not difficult for me to find all the same information in a period of 10 minutes. Including the information about her husband. And all I did was Google. Am I going to publish that information? No, I’m not a jackwad with a mental issue. All I’m saying is it’s never exactly private if it’s posted anywhere on the internet.
        Jenny recently posted…Guest Blogger Showcase: Ash @ Typing TiaraMy Profile

  2. Emily (Ed and Em's Reviews)

    I am so disturbed by this.

    This is happening so often lately. What does this do for anyone? Really? This is why I hate people, especially when they attack such nice ones. Poor Wendy. 🙁 And posting personal information that she obviously didn’t want known? What a psycho.

    Thanks for posting, even if it left me feeling sick to my stomach. :-/
    Emily (Ed and Em’s Reviews) recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (15)My Profile

  3. Kate C.

    This is probably the most horrible thing I’ve seen on goodreads. It makes me sick and I’m seriously considering leaving for a while. I can still get all the reviews I want from my favorite bloggers’ sites. Sad to say, but I don’t need goodreads when I have them. I would rather avoid that crap. (not that I am personally involved or anything, it just sucks what she and people like her turn goodreads into)

    • Lady Jaye

      @Kate C.: This wasn’t on GoodReads. From what I understand this person is not on GoodReads. She is not allowed there.

      • Kate C.

        @Lady Jaye: Yes, that’s true. But goodreads is where it started. I can understand now why some bloggers (or authors like me) remove themselves from goodreads. It’s disheartening when you want to enjoy the “good” of goodreads, to see your friends scrambling around trying to hide their REAL life on the internet or see them talking about how scared and angry they are. It shouldn’t be this way.

  4. Sarah (saz101)

    I am so so SO sad, dissapointed, and upset about this. And Wendy, of all people? Seriously, named after a Disney character or not, the name is apt: Wendy is a darling. Of ALL the people to be attacked this way, I just can’t understand… she’s never unkind, unfair, or abrasive… in her negative reviews. She’s honest, and in fact, I’ve read books after lackluster reviews from her, because she’s very clear and thoughtful, and…

    Thanks for posting this, Kat… and seriously, “Pub­lish­ing per­sonal infor­ma­tion about a reviewer, whether or not you agree with them, is above and beyond behav­iour that any­one could find acceptable.” is so so SO true, but, I mean, really: “Pub­lish­ing per­sonal infor­ma­tion about anyone, ever, whether or not you agree with them, is above and beyond behav­iour that any­one could find acceptable.” I can’t believe we’re having to have this conversation. Are we not adults? I expect more of people than this pathetic, small playground bullshit.
    Sarah (saz101) recently posted…The Hunt, Andrew FukudaMy Profile

  5. Amanda F

    Wow. Just… wow. I’m restraining myself from commenting on the author’s blog because it would just perpetuate the cycle (and also, there’s probably something to be said for not poking the crazy person), but I am sending really, REALLY bad thoughts her way. I hope Wendy takes legal action.

  6. Desiree

    What a bitch! I literally gasped when I saw this. I don’t know how anyone can sink so low. I have no idea who this author is but I hope that I never read one of her books by accident.

  7. Max C

    She really went over the top this time–not only as an author, but as a blogger. This only makes her look like a bully. There were no personal attacks in Wendy’s review or any of that sort, and I don’t think there has ever been a time there was any.

    The funny thing is that Vanity supports an anti-bullying group in her blog . . . *facepalms*
    Max C recently posted…Review of FEED by MIRA GRANTMy Profile

  8. Dee

    This “author” came onto an amazon thread about Badly Behaving Reviewers to sew seeds of hate and discontent about how the bullies were being mean to her after she support JM, KC and others…and then tried to pick fights with established people on the thread…someone there just linked us to this…wow, just wow…

  9. Vikki

    Seriously?! What sort of person does that? If you can’t take criticism you shouldn’t be writing! Not everyone is going to like it and it is beyond low that you would publish personal information about a reviewer online where any number of people can see!!

    This author needs to grow up. She’s a bully, plain and simple. It’s people like this that make me think about giving up reviewing…what a horrible human being.
    Vikki recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday {4}My Profile

  10. Fangs for the Fantasy

    Wow as if the fake accounts and retaliatory reviews weren’t enough (and she calls other people trolls? Did she pass a mirror perhaps?) but to post someone’s real life details is beyond the pale. Some people despertaely need internet anonymity, they have stalkers, they have people who dislike them, they may have, under the cover of net anonymity, revealed more about themselves than they are comfortable – or safe – with people around them knowing.

    To say nothing of risking harassment from this woman’s fans. Beyond disgusting
    Fangs for the Fantasy recently posted…Fated by Benedict Jacka Book 1 in the Alex Verus SeriesMy Profile

  11. Mireya

    Wasn’t this same reviewer attacked by another author in another incident as well? The name sounds vaguely familiar. That being said, this is not the first time I see an author do this exact same thing to a reviewer. The first time I read about something like this, it was, I believe, an incident taking place in Amazon. Amazon reviews is another place where this sort of disgusting behavior seems to take place.

    • Stephanie Sinclair


      The incident before this was when Keira Cass’ agent called Wendy a “bitch” on Twitter for giving The Selection a DNF, 1 star review. The vanity author had nothing to do with that, but decided to go after Wendy for whatever reason.

  12. Kat (AussieZombie)

    What REALLY pisses me off about this (among a multitude of other things), is the absolute hypocrisy of her behaviour – she accuses a reviewer of bringing in her friends to support, what I believe to be a fair and well-rounded review, and then spends what must have been hours digging around for information, making assumptions without any kind of evidence and writing a nasty, manic post about the whole thing.

    What in the hell does she think this will achieve?
    Kat (AussieZombie) recently posted…Review: Fracture by Megan MirandaMy Profile

    • Stephanie Sinclair

      @Kat (AussieZombie):

      It achieves nothing. Her personal information has nothing to do with reviewing books at all. There are a lot of people who chose to remain unnamed for this exact reason. There are psychos online.

  13. Jessie

    This makes me angry and sick at heart for Wendy. This kind of behavior is NOT ok. Wendy is the victim, not the delusional, psycho Vanity. I (and many others) have reported her wp blog, and flagged the new reviews on Amazon last night – hopefully they pull both soon.
    Jessie recently posted…Blog Watch WednesdayMy Profile

  14. KzoeT

    My thoughts are with Wendy and her family. I hope they are – and remain – safe.

    This isn’t just a writer suffering a case of butthurt; this is someone who has a history of stalking (more than one person), harassing reviewers on book sites and author groups, creating fake identities to leave inappropriate reviews (positive for herself, abusive/negative for others). She needs professional help and intervention.

  15. Johnny L.

    Just have to love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning. How can she accuse a group of people of being trolls and STALKERS when she posts such private information like that!! It’s ridiculous. Authors like this just need to grow the hell up! And poor Wendy. I feel terrible for her, what an invasion of privacy. I hope she doesn’t suffer because of this “author’s” post.

  16. Heidi

    yes, this is disgusting and sad. She certainly crossed a line. Wendy didn’t deserve to have all her info exposed. I am sure she has dug a deep hole for herself. Thanks for calling out attention to this matter. We all need to rally behind Wendy and assist her with whatever she needs.
    Heidi recently posted…Charade Tour Stop with Cambria Hebert and Giveaway!My Profile

  17. Molly

    This is beyond disgusting. And yes, there are legal remedies that could be taken (public disclosure of private facts). I seriously, don’t get why people won’t leave well enough alone. The review that Wendy posted was hardly offensive. I honestly think Vanity published her little review to get some press and hence get some readers or author friends…rolls eyes. Like bullying someone’s going to do that.
    Molly recently posted…The Host: Stephenie MeyerMy Profile

  18. Maggie Flynn

    Holy cow. Thanks for reporting this; it’s rather horrifying, but people need to know that this author is doing this. How can she talk about bullying after posting all this personal information online WITHOUT THE CONSENT of the other person? That’s really unnerving and creepy. Seriously. I have no idea what this woman’s written, but I hope to God people start letting her know that this kind of behavior is not acceptable. Writing is a product like any other and if people don’t like your product, the last thing you want to do is throw a hissy fit and harass your customers. It’s just sheer bad business practice, not to mention these actions say a lot about this author as a human being- none of it good.
    Maggie Flynn recently posted…Sex Scenes and Why I Hate ThemMy Profile

  19. Cyna

    Wow, that’s…really jerky. I hope that she doesn’t get a spike in sales out of this, even though if I were to guess, I’d say that was probably at least partially responsible for all this dickish behavior.

    This: First off, I want to say that I think it is beyond cowardly to hide behind a pseudo name and a generic picture, especially when you are stalking and harassing someone, or getting your friends to stalk and harass them, which is what she does. Secondly, it is then hypocritical to accuse other people of being sock puppets when you, yourself are hiding behind a sock puppet alias. I have two words for this: cowardly and hypocritical.

    I’m assuming she’s using this as an excuse for shoehorning Wendy’s info into her post. That’s just laughable. I mean seriously, does she not understand the concept of “avatars” or “screen names”? Does she not understand that they exist to prevent this exact sort of thing, and that not everyone wants to parade their personal information out on the net? She calls it “hypocritical” and “cowardly”, when I think most rational people – and I’m sure, especially parents with children who use the internet – would call it “common sense”.

    But then, I’m taking that statement at face value, when it was probably just a thin excuse to invite harassment for Wendy.
    Cyna recently posted…067 – Token of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-RhodesMy Profile

  20. Laura Hunsaker

    This is above and beyond “bad author behaviour.” This is straight up harassment. I hope that Wendy has some form of legal recourse-is there an online equivalent of a restraining order?

    Has there been any update on Vanity? has she taken down the post, or done anything?

  21. Lexie B.

    Ever since I found out about this last night, I’ve just been . . . stupefied. I just do not understand how anyone, in any situation, could ever think this is okay. I’ve seen shitty author behavior. We all have. But Douthit has gone so far beyond acceptable that it’s hard to even wrap my mind around it. Researching someone and posting their personal information on your blog? Not ever, ever okay. I keep praying that something someone says will get through to her, but as of yet, no luck.
    Lexie B. recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (19)My Profile

  22. Aelia

    I found Vanity’s blog. She’s one psych bitch. Here’s how Wendy, the sweetest, calmest person on Goodreads puts the situation:
    January 13, 2012:  My review of The Selection went live on this blog and on GoodReads. Within hours, the first trollish comment appears on GoodReads, followed by repeated negative comments by “Anonymous” on this blog. Later that day, I discover that the author’s agent, Elana Roth, called me a bitch on Twitter. She and the author then publicly discuss trying to game the system by burying my review and upvoting positive ones instead. I published my status update (screenshots linked above) to the GR feed along with a few subsequent comments, and the whole thing exploded. Numerous people tweet the author and her agent to express their disgust.

    January 14, 2012: Kiera Cass sends me an private message via GoodReads to say she feels someone should apologize, so she’s sorry. She proceeds to explain why she and her agent wanted to vote up reviews in the hopes of people seeing good ones when they visited the page. I did not respond.

    January 17, 2012: Karen Stringen from Publishers Weekly contacts me about the YA author controversy. I speak with her via telephone the following day.

    January 18, 2012: Elana Roth sends me an email to formally apologize. I formally accept.

    January 19, 2012: Publishers Weekly publishes the story Should Authors and Agents Weigh in on Citizen Reviews? 

    January – May Numerous blogs write about the situation. (I’ll come back and add links later.) Trolls come and go every week on the reviews. Fellow bloggers and GoodReaders go on the attack weighing in on my reviewing policies and a supposed “hive mentality” when it comes to these meltdowns. The author’s friends leap to her defense, and one person writes that blaming her for her employee’s actions (and her failure to stop them, I might add) is equivalent to “blaming ever(y) Muslim for 9/11 or every American for the bombing of Hiroshima.” Authors, friends, and complete strangers write to me with messages of support, both publicly and privately. Kiera Cass and Elana Roth tweet about how the author shouldn’t be blamed for the agent’s actions and imply that they hope the book won’t be affected. An entire blog is created to mock GoodReads reviewers, including me. Countless new GoodReads account pop up with an interesting amount of activity devoted to this book, and countless 5 star Amazon reviews are posted where it is the reviewer’s sole contribution.
    So … what happened?  Well, author Kiera Cass wrote a book called The Selection.  Her publisher sent out pre-pub review copies.  A reviewer named Wendy Darling reviewed the book on Goodreads.  Fans of the book left comments on Wendy’s review and it blew up into a heated discussion of the book with name calling going back and forth.  Then, because the author had encouraged a couple fans to vote on some of the reviews of her book, she got blamed for the whole thing.  She got blamed for several things over which she had no control.  Afterwards, Wendy got her friends at Publisher’s Weekly to write up an article on it, basically, just to get all of her Goodreads friends and readers of the article to hate Kiera.  After it happened, this author was stalked, bullied, and harassed to no end, even after she had expressed regret over the whole thing to Wendy.
    I can’t even respond. Like, what the hell? This woman needs to stfu.
    Aelia recently posted…Check here to Subscribe to notifications for new postsMy Profile

  23. Mireya

    She’s not STFU. One of the author’s friends (or it might be a sock puppet, who knows at this point) is at it in Amazon. I truly feel very sorry for Wendy. What a horrible thing.

  24. Joie

    WOW. I am absolutely flabbergasted that there would actually be such awful people who do things like this! I mean, 27 accounts?! Leaking people’s personal information on the internet?! That is just crossing all sorts of lines! My heart goes out to Wendy!
    Joie recently posted…Relationship status….. wait WHAT?!My Profile

  25. Jan

    You should be careful what you say about people on your blog, Cuddlebuggery. You could get sued for slander. If I was this author, I would.

  26. The Drifting Bookworm

    Yes, Wendy’s identity is not hard to find. You want to know why it’s probably not hard to find? Because she probably thought she would never have to deal with this sort of terrible, cruel and petty bull shit. I have my real information on the inter webs too because I NEVER in a MILLION YEARS thought and author would want to attack a review to such an extent. This is so disturbing on so many levels that I find it unfortunate that Wendy can’t take legal actions. Vanity is a sick, sick human being. I wish I had never known she existed.

  27. sheri

    I cannot believe the actions of authors I’ve noticed lately. What “Vanity” has done is disgusting. If only she and others I’ve read about had the ability to see themselves from other’s vantage points…although I cannot look away. It’s the curiosity and wonder of watching someone self destruct.

  28. Jason

    “The prob­lem is that one blog post does not an open iden­tity make.”

    Oh okay Shakespeare. Oh my god. You think you’re cool kat but you’re really, um, not. Jan’s right. You could get your asses sued for this post.

  29. elise

    Good grief, this author needs to be stopped. Forgive me if I sound a little paranoid, but ‘Vanity’s’ style of writing and MO is so very reminiscent of the individual/s behind STGRB. Ugh!

  30. Readers Have Rights

    […] and YA author Keira Cass, posting a review of Cass’s book on Amazon multiple times. On 29 May 2012 she posted a diatribe on her personal website against YA reviewer, Wendy Darling, for Wendy’s […]

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