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Authors Behaving Badly

[ 7 ] January 16, 2012 |

I really thought that the wave of authors bashing reviewers was over. Unfortunately, I was wrong…

I wrote before about authors Sylvia Masser (see post here) and Jacqueline Howett (see post here) who went off on several bloggers for giving their books poor reviews.

Recently, more authors took to berating bloggers who were critical of these authors’ “masterpieces”:

  • Mike Coe, author of Flight to Paradise, posted countless comments in response to the review of his book on The Self-Publishing Review. He started off on a somewhat positive note and spiraled off into the abyss by posting dozens of other reviews and writing essay-long comments trying to prove that the review was unjustified. See the exchange here.
  • Bloggers at All Things Urban Fantasy must have been so fed up with self-published authors behaving badly that they created an entire page explaining why they no longer accept self-published titles for review. See the page here.
  • Urban fantasy author Jess Haines posted her own response to the craziness in a post titled “Some Authors and Reviewers Are Having Angries on the Internet“. She offers some great tips to authors and bloggers for dealing with each other.
  • Self-published authors are not the only ones exhibiting poor behavior. Leigh Fallon, author of Carrier of the Mark which was published by HarperTeen, posted a nasty comment about Stephanie at Book Catching after Stephanie gave the book a 1 star rating (see the review here). We reviewed Carrier of the Mark as well and gave it 3 stars, but everyone is entitled to their opinion and Fallon’s response was rude and unwarranted. You can see the entire discussion at GoodReads, but here’s Fallon’s comment as posted by Stephanie:

There is the stupid cow from Goodreads who has been real nasty and keeps doing up really bad reviews of Carrier, then gets her friends to go in and ‘like’ her bad reviews so that that review will be pushed up to the top of all the lists. Now she’s put it up on Amazon! She is a disgruntled old cow who doesn’t like me and how I got published. There’s no point in saying anything about her or responding (she loves that) but what we can do is push her review back down the list by bringing all the good reviews back to the top. How do we do this? Well at the end of each review there is a little button where you can say whether you found the review helpful. Click YES on the good reviews. The more reviews you click YES you click on the good reviews the further down the list that bitch will go. If you leave a comment on the good reviews, that helps too. She’s already got over 20 of her buds to YES her review so we will need to find more people than that to YES the good reviews. There are about 8 pages of reviews (that’s about 7 reviews or something like that) so we can bury this horrible toe rag down the very bottom if you help me out.

As far as I’m aware, you don’t have to have bought anything on Amazon to get your vote to count. You just need to be a registered user. It only takes about 5 mins to go through all the reviews and YES the good ones. I’m not asking to dickie with the system or anything, it’s just moving a horrible review from the top spot. It’s so long, you have to scroll for ages until you get to the good ones. I’d really appreciated it help on his. I’d also love if you could maybe gets some friends or family to do the same.

Thanks a million, guys. You’re the best. Leigh

Looks like Fallon’s attempt backfired since a negative review on Amazon received 764 helpful votes…

So what are your thoughts? What drives authors to behave in this manner and attack those that are taking the time to read their books and post their honest opinions? Any authors out there who’d like to weigh in?

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Comments (7)

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  1. 7
    Colleen Turner says:

    I can definitely understand the hurt and sting an author would feel when reading a poor or negative review of their book as I can see how they would feel like this laborious creation is their “baby” (as Marcus H. pointed out). That being said, if you are going to be a writer and expect people to read, review and buy your product you have to be able to handle the criticism (or should be able to handle it). Not everyone is going to love what you write. That doesn’t even happen for the best loved writers out there. Everyone has a right to there opinions and you would hope the author would be able to take the criticism and use it to help improve the next book they write. How you (if you are the author) responds to the negative aspects of the review shows the person, not the writer, you are.

    Now, if the reviewer/reader writes a terribly nasty review or comment without any balance or explanation to go with it, then that person is just a nasty person and the author should ignore the stupidity. Any reviewer worth their weight can write a review that fully explains what they like and dislike about a book and state there opinions without becoming classless. Any person reading those sorts of reviews online and completely basing whether they purchase a book or not on those reviews is just as dumb as the reviewer. You have to be able to see through the stupid sometimes and make your own decisions.

    I have written a few reviews that weren’t stellar and I make a point to say what aspects I liked and what aspects I didn’t. For one particular book it was very poorly edited and had aspects that detracted from the storyline unnecessarily. The author actually commented on my review and thanked me for my opinion. I found that to be very classy and I would definitely give the author another try to see if the issues I faced improved. If she had been rude I would never have given her another shot. I am never rude in my reviews and I would expect the same from the author.

  2. 6
    techeditor says:

    I enjoy winning books, then reviewing them. It is for this reason that, after winning several self-published books, I now steer clear of them. Any self-published book I’ve won was from the author; therefore, if I didn’t like the book, I I didn’t feel comfortable if I gave it a bad review, but I still felt terrible if I didn’t say it was bad because I was dishonest.

    After a couple of years of reading self-published books and of reading and communicating with writers, I’ve determined the following.

    There are loads and loads of people who think they write well and should, therefore, write a book. I understand. I, like they, got all As in English when I was in high school and was always the best writer (I thought) in my classes. I always liked to read and often thought I could write as well as such-and-such author. But, unlike some self-published authors, I knew when I was older and smarter that I couldn’t write like the kind of author who can sell lots of books. That’s why I’m a technical writer, instead.

    So there is a glut of writers who spend lots of their own money self-publishing their books or getting Amazon to publish their Kindle book because they will be discovered for their “masterpieces.” But a less than four-star review of their masterpiece reduces that probability.

    Writers are like actors: there are too many who think they’re writers or actors.

    I once reviewed a self-published book, and it wasn’t bad; it just didn’t rant and rave and say the book was great. Boy, did I ever get lambasted by the loads of other self-proclaimed authors who frequented the particular Web site where I posted the review. (I also posted it on Amazon.) The book was not good, so I knew then that authors stick together and won’t speak negatively about another author’s writing. Since then I never believe author recommendations of another author’s books.

  3. 5
    Sara says:

    I write my reviews so that buyers can know what I felt about the book not to give the author free advertising.
    Sara recently posted..Romance for Teens: Coming Home

  4. 4

    [...] 2 [ 0 ] January 16, 2012 | Vera VN:F [1.9.13_1145]Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)Just as I finished my Authors Behaving Badly post, Luxury Reading reviewer Jennifer brought another incident to my attention.Wendy Darling, blogger [...]

  5. 3

    [...] 2 [ 0 ] January 16, 2012 | Vera VN:F [1.9.13_1145]Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)Just as I finished my Authors Behaving Badly post, Luxury Reading reviewer Jennifer brought another incident to my attention.Wendy Darling, blogger [...]

  6. 2
    Carol Wong says:

    I have only one bad reaction to a review on GoodReads. It was a self published person. After his flaming reply, I quickly decided to never read anything by again. His book was a terrible introduction to e-books. Since then, I have had more positive experiences wth self publishers and e-book writers.

    I think that any replier to a review show demonstate courtesy. If there is no restraint or kindness in their remark, I will just not read what they write. I will not give them a secong chance, there are too many polite writers out there to bother with the nasty ones.

    Carol Wong

  7. 1
    Marcus H says:

    I had a writing instructor tell me once that “Writing is like giving birth. It’s laborious and painful; and once you get the words down on paper they feel like they are your children. Like in life sometimes you have to let go of the things you love.” He told me this because I couldn’t stand having other people read and edit my work. I soon realized that what he was telling me was that every writer loves their creations, but sometimes they have to let go of the the words, sentences, paragraph, or entire plot constructs to make the whole better.
    It’s too bad that some authors, like Leigh Fallon, could not see the negative review and use it as improvement. I went and read Stephanie’s review and it was pretty entertaining. I have not read Fallon’s book and do not plan to so I can’t be critical of her writing. I can be critical of her attitude though. As my wise instructor finished his discussion with me, he said, “If you don’t like the heat of criticism get out of the kitchen now, son.” As a Compositon instructor in college, I relate (at least the first part of) this lesson to my students at the beginning of the semester and would probably relate it to Ms. Fallon.

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