Lauren's Library Podcast - Authors Faking Cancer & Review Bombing
What it is hoe? What's up? Lol. Hey friends! It is episode 10 of Lauren's Library. First, before I dive into anything else, let me give a huge thank you and virtual hug to everyone that has taken the time to give me a shot.
Your support means absolutely everything to me and I had no idea I would get here in just four short months. When I originally started, I was so worried about branching out on my own because I didn't have the audience or the platform that others had.
I was convinced that no one would want to hear what I have to say. Well almost 300 of you have proven me wrong! I'm not crying, you're crying! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! It's only up from here.
If you are an author, preferably an author of color, and you want to have your story read on the next episode of Lauren's Library, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org My only two requests are that you keep the story within 15 minutes, and please for the love of bob, no smut. My mother listens to this podcast and I refuse to be up here talking about somebody's meat tube and what not. lol So be gentle with my innocent eyeholes. Kthanksbye.
For the sake of blog space, I'm not going to dive too deep into this story here. Only because I go into detail on the podcast episode itself and if I type it all out it's basically a novel length story. So, I will give you the quick runny down-down of what occurred with Maggie Robbins aka Claire Szewcyzk aka Liza Snow. And for the piping hot tea, tune into episode 10 of Lauren's Library.
First thing is first though, I have to mention that faking cancer is such a low move. Faking any illness is low, but there is just something about faking cancer specifically that makes me want to cover your entire closet in glitter.
Good luck getting that out of your fabric for the next 200+ years.
Anyway, Maggie Robbins, whose actual name is Claire Szewcyzk, hit everybody around her with the okie doke. The amount of dedication to the facade is lowkey impressive, even if what she was doing was 100% douche canoe behavior. She is currently a bestselling author in the sapphic genre (for those of you who don't know, sapphic means lesbian and/or bisexual women) and was briefly friends with Melissa Tereze who is another author in the same genre.
Incredibly long story made very, very short: Maggie convinced her online friends and long-distance fiancée that she was dying of a very rare cancer. She told them all she had gone blind in one eye and had gone unresponsive due to a series of arrythmias.
The sapphic community, bless them, banded together to raise sixteen thousand (yes, THOUSAND) dollars for her GoFundMe but then come to find out, Maggie wasn't sick. She was perfectly healthy living with the husband she had told everyone was abusing her. (He wasn't).
Maggie faked medical documents, went to the hospital complaining of chest pains so she could film herself in a hospital bed, and told her fiancée (not the husband, this is someone totally different) that they couldn't live together because she traveled for work. This is just a snippet of her lies; I'm telling you GO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST EPISODE SO YOU CAN HEAR THE ENTIRE STORY.
I'm the one talking about it, and it still blows my mind. Had to read and reread the details to make sure I wasn't getting anything confused. It's a wild and sordid tale about deceit and medical fraud (seriously how is she not in jail?) and now she's back posting under the new pen name Liza Snow (not Lisa Snow. Lisa is innocent. LEAVE HER BE) and acting like nothing happened.
Wild stuff. Audacity is definitely in season.
You may or may not have heard of review bombing, depending on how involved you are in the book community. I giggle every time I hear the term now because I was recently accused of review bombing the book Everything's Fine by Cecilia Rabess. Let's just get one thing straight here on this blog/podcast, if I rate a book, it's because I've read the book. If I review the book, I will give reasons why I did or did not like it.
If my opinion doesn't match yours, then oh well baby bell. We stand on our opinions over here.😉
Anyway, what exactly is review bombing, you ask? WELL. Essentially, it is when a bunch of people start giving a book one star (without having read the book) in order to tank its rating. Since it’s launch back in 2007 Goodreads has quickly evolved into the world’s largest online book community with over 120 million members worldwide. If you’ve been up there, the old ladies on that site take it SERIOUSLY you hear me? SERIOUSLY. They’ve formed alliances and if you go against one of their treasured people, you will be shunned and they will wave their knitting needles at you angrily. They will verbally abuse you in the comments and smite thee with vitriol and ill will. It's wild.
Scammers and Cyberstalkers are using the Goodreads platform more and more often to extort authors with threats of tanking their work. Frequently authors from marginalized communities who speak out on controversial topics are the ones targeted. Indie authors who aren’t as well connected, are most often the ones with their butt cheeks clenched because the review bombers come after them with a vengeance. Which makes sense when you think about it. Indie authors usually have smaller platforms than traditionally published authors so negative reviews hurt them much more.
When a coordinated group or even a few people with multiple accounts start inundating a book with negative reviews, it can absolutely tank that book’s rating. What seems to be the popular course of action lately, is a lot of booktokers and bookstagrammers get together and review bomb certain books (without having read them) based on the author’s actions or the book’s controversial content. Like Everything's Fine for example. I believe the book was marketed poorly and should not have been pushed out as a romance. It's more of a Jordan Peele type of unsettling book. But because of the blurb that circulated before the book came out, people started review bombing it. I think it was rated a 2 or 3 star on Goodreads before the book was even released last month.
Check out episode 10 of Lauren's Library to hear me go into a little more detail about review bombing. Subscribe while you're at it. So I know it's real.
This story is another podcast original. It's not posted on the blog yet so you'll have to tune into the episode to listen. I did something a little different for this one.
Last week when I was binge watching Station 19, trying to catch up with the new episodes, one episode in particular stuck out to me. I won't say which one because you should definitely go watch the show for yourself, but I will say that it definitely made me think.
People who fight for our country or who fight to protect the community see so much trauma and destruction on a daily basis. When it comes time for us to return the favor and help them, no one is there. Seeing so much pain constantly can take a toll on mental health. That homeless person you walk past on the street and try not to make eye contact with has a story. That drug addict that has ruined their veins and their lives has a story.
Everyone has a story.
I am interested to know what you think about this story so tune into the episode and listen to it for me. Make sure you rate and review this podcast on whatever platform you’re using. You can follow, like, or leave a message on the Instagram Page dedicated to the podcast. You can also find me posting detailed reviews on The Booky Babe page on Instagram and under the same name on TikTok, but bare with me. Ya girl is still new on TikTok. All the transitions still give me whiplash. But anyway, I said all that to say: if you want to say hello there are multiple ways to contact me. Take your pick, but one way or another I will talk to you soon. Thank you so much for tuning in!
Happy Reading Friends!! ❤