A few weeks back, I wrote about author Sylvia Massara who decided to berate two bloggers and call them unprofessional for posting negative reviews of her book.
One of my reviewers, Jennifer Jensen, brought another instance of a disgruntled author to my attention. BigAl of BigAl’s Books and Pals posted a review of The Greek Seaman by Jacqueline Howett. He wrote that the story was compelling and interesting, but that the book was full of spelling and grammar mistakes. See his review here.
Jacqueline Howett took to attacking BigAl’s review resulting in 307 comments on the post. At first, she posted other reviews from Amazon that gave the book 4 and 5 stars (in reality, there are only a few 5 star reviews and dozens of 1 star reviews). When other readers responded with support for BigAl, Ms Howett responded with even more ridiculous comments. Here are some snippets:
“Look AL, I’m not in the mood for playing snake with you, what I read above has no flaws. My writing is fine.“
“And please follow up now from e-mail. This is not only discusting and unprofessional on your part, but you really don’t fool me AL. Who are you any way? Really who are you? What do we know about you? You never downloaded another copy you liar! You never ever returned to me an e-mail. Besides if you want to throw crap at authors you should first ask their permission if they want it stuck up on the internet via e-mail. That debate is high among authors. Your the target not me! Now get this review off here!”
“You are a big rat and a snake with poisenous venom. Lots of luck to authors who come here and slip in that!”
Yes, words like these will really get your books sold. BigAl stopped responding to her tirade after making a post with his thoughts on negative book reviews. Ms Howett, on the other hand, kept going.
Now, I truly enjoy working with self-published/independent authors and welcome their books for review. To date, I’ve never had to deal with an author’s wrath after posting a negative review. However, I think that authors like Jacqueline Howett and Sylvia Massara truly sour book bloggers on accepting self-published books, and quite a few choose not to. After all, you never see blockbuster authors like James Patterson or Jodi Picoult attacking bloggers for negative reviews. And believe me, they do get criticized just as often as as self-published authors. Could it be that they’ve grown thicker skins over the years and learned to accept criticism as part of the job? Or do some (and I say some because most authors are a joy to work with, and Howett and Massara are truly a minority) self-published authors feel more invested in their brain child?
Update: Since Jennifer pointed out that many of the reviewers on Amazon did not actually appear to have read the book (see her comment below) before leaving bad reviews, I decided that I’d be best to review The Greek Seaman here so we can really know what we’re talking about. I purchased the Kindle book for Jennifer, who agreed to read it, so watch out for our review – coming soon!