“…and it’s a hot one. Seven inches from the midday sun…”
Unbelievable. 75 degrees in April. All you global warming skeptics take note: it’s getting hot early around here.
Which sort of leads into the topic. The advent and subsequent explosion of the self-publishing industry has it’s good and bad points, but the latter is never more prominent than when a new author gets a bad review. Not to say that traditionally published authors don’t have their bad days and inglorious moments- Laurell Hamilton, Anne Rice, Candace Sams, Deborah Anne MacGillivray- but it always seems that self-pubbed and indie press writers have cornered the market. And I don’t know why they’d want to in the first place.
The first example I’ll give of this is Jacqueline Howett’s raging on Big Al’s Books and Pals about her book The Greek Seaman back in 2011. A very positively spun 3-star review from Big Al sent her off the deep end. I say very positive because while he found the story compelling the constant spelling and formatting errors mitigated the experience. Despite everyone’s attempts to talk Howett down and remind her that 3-stars wasn’t a bad thing she continually posted expletive-laden diatribes railing against God, Big Al and everybody, which she’s since deleted. And as Howett’s since pulled her book from Amazon to, in her own words ‘have it go through another proof-edit’ you have to wonder what all the fuss was for and what finally changed her mind. You can see what’s left of the whole mess here: http://booksandpals.blogspot.com/2011/03/greek-seaman-jacqueline-howett.html
Earlier this month lesbian author Layce Gardner blogged here on WordPress about not only getting bad reviews but getting bad reviews from NOBODIES… you know the type- people who bought books, read them, didn’t like them and decided to share their experience. Who- as far as she knows- didn’t attend Harvard, Oxford or even a community college nor received doctorates in English Literature, Rhetoric or Liberal Arts. Just another one of the dirty, unwashed masses who thought they’d share their opinion about something. Far be it for me to put words in her mouth, though. http://laycegardner.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/to-review-or-not-to-review/#comments (well, it was there- Ms. Gardner has since deleted that truly offensive posting, but here’s a bit of it as posted on Kat Kennedy’s Cuddlebuggery blog:
“There’s something that’s been bothering me for quite a while. And, finally, I have grown the cajones to address it. It’s about reviews. No, wait… it’s about BAD reviews. No, wait… it’s about bad reviews from NOBODIES. And by nobodies, I mean people who aren’t qualified to be a professional reviewer. They don’t have any special qualifications or education or job that automatically makes their opinion any better or worse than anybody else’s opinion. Personally, (because I’m one of those nobodies) I don’t hand out bad reviews.”
“I guess what finally pushed me to this blathering here about bad reviews from people who aren’t qualified to actually review anything is a review I got on Amazon.”
“It was so personal that I’m actually wondering if my ex didn’t write it.”
Gardner also accused the reviewer of having an agenda against lesbian fiction, though a peek at their profile & reviewing history on Amazon didn’t show this to be true, and further added that people who left her bad reviews clearly needed to get laid.
And finally there’s Sue Dent, who deserves a special mention all her own. First, she took offense to the comments of one Stephen Theaker who didn’t finish the sample chapter that was available and said so:
Then continued her rampage against him on her own blogsite- since deleted, but this time there’s a Google Cache preserving the mess:
She even had t-shirts made to commemorate the affair: http://cuddlebuggery.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Tshirt.jpg
I swear- is there something in the water? Is it the End of Days? The Mayan calendar manifesting its destruction of civilization? All the Crack Babies finally grew up and became authors? Or are we just seeing the results of unchecked human egos running rampant, where no one knows the meaning of decorum and good grace (or common sense) even while mouthing inanities about how they always respect their fellow human beings and have love for everyone. Authors seem more and more eager to lay their fears and insecurities bare to the world simply because they have the means to do so via social media. It’s as if the moment they hit ‘send’ their self-esteem goes on the internet right along with that blogpost or comment. If that’s the case, it’s a truly damning indictment of modern societies as these overly sensitive arteests can neither tolerate criticism- which would help them improve their craft- nor seem to be able to understand that said criticisms are not personal attacks. Readers and reviewers are not your enemies, but they aren’t your friends, either. To piggyback on what my forum buddy Ridley over on Amazon put so succinctly: you take my money & time, you get my opinion. Don’t want it?- don’t publish it.