I wasted way too much time yesterday reading through another author meltdown in response to a bad review. I couldn't tear myself away, because he just kept responding, digging deeper and deeper.
It was horrible.
It had already gone viral, which is how I happened across it. The author has now been removed from GoodReads. Not only had he violated TOS by harassing and attacking a reviewer (and yes, nasty personal things were said), but then he put up a blog post saying he would send free copies to anyone who would give him a 5-star review.
I'm not going to re-link to it here, and I suspect most of you will have heard of it already, anyway. After all, there were at least three blog posts put up about it over the weekend. Those were just the ones someone linked to. Not only that, but they grabbed screen captures of stuff that has now been removed.
What's the point in reviews if they aren't honest? I realize I just have short works published in anthologies/magazines, so I haven't felt that pain yet, but I'm seeing over and over authors that flat out state that it is an attack if you give them a low rating on a book, and that you should not have left the review if you didn't like it. They insist that only good reviews should be posted. Well then, why post reviews? Why? If people can't depend upon them being honest (and I realize we already can't), why bother?
This guy went so far as to call the reviewer evil and immoral. And worse.
Mind = blown.
So why not join me in a pledge to your readers? Hell, if some creative human being out there wants to make a badge of the Author's Pledge, I'll happily post it.
Don't know the unspoken rule?
DO NOT ENGAGE.
Did you see the review I'm talking about? How many times have you seen an author go over the edge due to a bad review? What do you feel are the unspoken rules for authors reading their own reviews? Do you read your reviews or skip them?
May you find your Muse.
Car Over the Cliff by OCAL
Hand by Shannon
I missed it.
I'd never engage a reviewer. If I had questions or issues, I'd send a civil email. But going public just makes the author look bad, not the reviewer.
Saw it. Already pledged to keep my mouth shut.
I hadn't heard about this. I think Alex has the right idea about sending a civil email, if anything.
Oh yes, I saw it. Because of you actually. And I laughed the whole way through it. What a fruitcake.
We only have a few one star reviews, and none of them we've engaged. It's just not worth it. It's not like us talking to them is going to magically make them say, "You know what? I actually did like this book - changed my mind! 5 stars!"
So about honest reviews, here's my thing. When an author whines and says, "I work so hard on this, this is my life, you have no right to say anything negative about it" blah blah blah then I say this in turn: if you believe that to be true, then I hope you have never once badmouthed a song you heard on the radio, or judged a movie poorly, or said that a TV show sucks, because guess what? Someone worked just as hard on that song, or TV show, or movie, just as hard as you. Maybe even harder. And if they don't get a special pass, then neither do you.
He should've been great full that peeps actually read his book and reviewed it. I just don't engage unless I've put out a call for readers and reviewers. And I always find something positive with a negative review and thank them for their time.
Its arrogance of the worst sort for an author to think they will never get a bad review. You hope it will at least be helpful with constructive criticisms, but average readers (who are not writers) either like it or hate it, and in my view are entitled to their opinion. Don't beg the public for reviews if you are so conceited you only accept five star ratings.
I don't have any books to be reviewed either, but as a reader that writes reviews, I am mindful that not every book is well written, or well received. I don't try to hurt an author's feelings, but I don't waste a lot of time being flowery or nice. Meaning, not attacking the Author, but not shy in pointing out flaws in the story or editing errors.
I'll take the pledge with you. I have short stories out there, and someday hope to have novels published too. I just hope someone reads what I wrote, and lets me know by a review, good or bad. An author should learn something about their stories and writing style by the reviews.
I did not see the exchange; but I've unfollowed a couple people because of their bad-mouthing reviewers. If this was from one of the people I unfollowed, I likely did not want to read the tirade anyhow.
Did not see the exchange, but definitely never - engage! Even blog comments can get you in touble. :)
Yeah, "Do not engage." Pretty simple. The crazy people on the internet should be forced to attach a skull and crossbones to their avatars/handles, so the regular people can have a heads up before engaging with them...
I usually give "supportive" reviews for two reasons. If I give "honest" reviews, the evil editor comes out and picks apart every tiny thing (as I do to my own writing and with my CPs). Also, the world is full of book-bloggers, ARC recipients, and other strangers who'll tear a book down. Authors need all the support they can get is this brutal and thankless business.
I truly believe that the nicest thing you can do for an author is write them a review. Constructive criticism is the way to go. There's no need for a reviewer to 'attack' or get personal (which some do)
I've read that an author should NEVER look at the reviews of his work. That must be very difficult. Human curiosity always overpowers.
Let the fiasco be a lesson to us all.
Btw, I didn't see the article...
And it has made him look terrible.
Yes, if anything. I've seen a few people say they send emails and ask what they could improve. I could see that being okay.
What? They won't magically like it if you engage? I'm certain he's criticized other books, movies, you name it. Just from the way he talked.
It does sound pretty simple, doesn't it?
The reviewer in question did actually offer to change her review. Not the number, but to give a fuller critique of positive and negative. He should be happy now. This has brought him a ton of exposure.
I can say this wasn't someone that I know through the blogging community, so that's good. I just happened to see it after it went viral and someone else posted it.
Ack! Now I wonder what you mean by the blog comments.
Ha, that would be funny. GR could put that into play for those they weren't quite ready to delete yet. I also only post reviews that are positive and that I've rated higher. Otherwise, I choose to stay mum.
I do wonder if I'll be able to refrain from looking at my reviews. I look at the ones for the anthologies/magazines. Will I be able to skip them when it's just me in the book? Also, you have me on FB. I posted the link, so you can find it there if you're curious. I think it was Saturday or Sunday that I posted it. Probably Sunday.
I saw it. Considering everything recently, I found it strangely amusing.
I missed that. It sounds terrible. From my understanding (and it is limited, I admit), even bad reviews can sell books. Generally, books with only high ratings look "fake" to readers. I find the few I've had in the 1 star category to be more amusing than hurtful - UK Amazon has one up that's one sentence in length and filled with spelling errors. I have had a few in-my-face experiences with readers which shocked me - a gentleman came up to me at a book fair and told me that on the last day my head would be cut off because my Christian fantasy books were in his words "of the anti-Christ" - yeah. I just stood there. Finally, I said, "I disagree." - very quietly. Then, thankfully, a friend came and stood next to me. We waited for him to leave and he finally did. There are moments when it's just not good to engage.
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