Monday, October 20, 2014

Authors, Do NOT read your reviews. PERIOD. And DO NOT STALK REVIEWERS!

(Note: I've edited the title of this to reflect that I'm directing this post to authors, NOT to readers. I am of the opinion that reviews are for READERS, not for authors. I don't mean any disrespect to reviewers, because most reviewers are great, just like the majority of authors aren't batcrap cray-cray stalkers. But the truth is, there are authors who cannot handle reading critical reviews.)

There was a disturbing article published recently by the Guardian, written by an author who, long story short, stalked a reviewer from Goodreads, which culminated in the author going to the reviewer's house. The author even purchased a background check on the person and called them at their JOB.

No, I'm not linking to it.

Here's the thing, the author claimed in their article that the reviewer went basically on a witch-hunt to destroy her book.

Whatever.

IN NO UNIVERSE IS IT ACCEPTABLE FOR AN AUTHOR TO STALK A REVIEWER. PERIOD.

FULL-STOP.

EVER.

Are there asshats on Goodreads? Yes. (Hence why it's important to NOT READ REVIEWS.) Are there people who seem to get their jollies writing snarky reviews that are little more than personal attacks on authors? Yes.

HOWEVER.

Repeat after me: IN NO UNIVERSE IS IT ACCEPTABLE FOR AN AUTHOR TO STALK A REVIEWER. PERIOD.

Ever.

EVVEEERRRRR.

I learned the hard way early on with one of my books that you NEVER argue with a reviewer. EVER. At the time, the publisher (it was a small indie press) even supported me replying to what I felt was not just an unfair review, but a total misrepresentation of the book, wide swaths taken out of context and twisted.

DOESN'T MATTER.

I had other AUTHORS, by the DOZENS, writing me privately and cheering me on for standing up to the reviewer, because their books had received similar treatment.

DOESN'T MATTER.

I never should have responded to the review, period. Boy, howdy, did I learn that lesson.

HOWEVER, in NO universe would I have EVER thought about stalking the reviewer. EVER. EVER. In fact, I went the other way, and refused to visit the site. When asked privately about it, I flat-out told people my feelings about the site (and was glad to hear most people felt the same way I did).

It was a very hard lesson I learned, and I have never forgotten it. Which is why I counsel writers to NEVER READ YOUR FUCKING REVIEWS. EVER.

EEEEVVVEEERRRRRRR.

Because if you can't handle some random, faceless person on the Internet being a jackass, and you go so far as to purchase a BACKGROUND check to hunt someone down? Bucky, have I got news for you, you need some serious mental health intervention.

What sickens me is that I'm seeing people, especially authors, who are actually praising this author for what they did.

WTF?? ARE YOU SHITTING ME???

Flip the script. If it was a MALE author who went after a female reviewer, going so far as to show up at her house, do you think that people would be praising him?

NO. THEY'D BE CALLING HIM A FUCKING STALKER.

And they'd be right.

Just like the author who did this IS A FUCKING STALKER. I don't give a shit if the reviewer said the author chopped up live babies for smoothies and used puppies for pinatas, IT'S JUST WORDS. It's some random asshat's random opinion.

If you are going to be a writer, you need to put your fucking gator hide on. I talked about this a few weeks ago. If you can't handle the fact that there are people in this world who seemingly get their jollies by being dicks and writing snarky reviews, then get the fuck out of this business NOW. Because it'll only get worse.

Some authors are cheering on the author, saying that the reviewer had it coming.

Um, WHAT? I suppose if she wore shorts and got raped she'd deserve that too, huh?

Oh, boo-fucking-hoo, someone said something bad about you on the goddamned Internet.

GROW THE FUCK UP.

Do I get bad reviews? Yeah. So? Most of them look like they were written by a Ritalin-addicted 5-year-old, and if I don't take them seriously, chances are other people don't, either. As a reader, when I see stuff written about a book where it looks like the reviewer has an ax to grind, do you think I give it any weight?

NO.

Do you?

Chances are, NO. So why the fuck would you make yourself look like a crazy person by stalking a reviewer on the Internet and going so far as to CALL THEM AT THEIR JOB and VISIT THEIR HOME? Again, the point isn't if the reviewer was in the wrong or not.

The point is that the author went off the rails and STALKED THE REVIEWER. Had the reviewer been sending severed fingers or something to the author via US Mail, yes, I would expect a different response.

But if someone just writes a bad review about your book, or is tweeting shit about you?

IGNORE THEM.

Yes, I get that sometimes it escalates. Not even going to go into the cray-cray pool that is gamergate. Not talking about that kind of stuff.

If someone says something bad about your book, IGNORE THEM. If someone's bugging you on Twitter? BLOCK THEM. Obviously if their behavior becomes threatening, if they make direct threats to you, that's different. But them saying they don't like your book?

FUCKING GROW UP.

One more time: IT IS NEVER OKAY TO STALK A REVIEWER. PERIOD.

It's NEVER OKAY to stalk anyone, regardless of the circumstances.

If you are so mentally fragile that you can't handle the fact that the WORLD is full of assholes, you have no business putting yourself out there in a profession that requires a pretty damn thick skin.

*rant/out*

5 comments:

  1. I agree never is it ok for anyone to stalk anyone! As a reviewer I take offense to the comment of Do Not Read Reviews. I may not be a professional reviewer, but I do try to give an honest as possible review. I spend time to read the book and spend time to write the review.

    There are tons of people who review just to say nothing positive about the books they review. Why? I'm not sure other than they are miserable and want to make others feel the same. I have never trashed a book. Have there been books I didn't like? Sure, but there should always be something positive that could be said. Constructive critisizm is the key. I have heard a lot of good things about your books although I haven't read any. I've had authors contact me on occasion to ask about something I've said in a review and I don't have a problem with that.

    If a book has mostly good reviews and a couple of bad ones, I will read the bad ones just to see what the reviewer didn't like. When the review is a total bash, I don't give it much credit.

    With that said, I'm proud to be a reviewer and to help others find the great books I've reviewed.

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    1. Julianne - No disrespect to reviewers intended. But obviously some authors aren't capable of reading them and not freaking out. I think that reviews are for readers--NOT for authors--and as such frankly there are authors like the one in question who should never seek out reviews on their books.

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  2. Thank you for the rant. Loved it! I am a reviewer and I would really hate to think an author would be so affected by my review as to come stalk me. *shivers* I don't often publish reviews with less than a 3 star rating, but it has happened. It is my belief that the review is for other readers, to help them determine if the book is something they would like to read.

    It is only MY opinion - whether positive or negative.

    I agree that if the author cannot handle a negative/I-didn't-like-it review, they should either not read them or get out of the business. Not everyone is going to like a book. Period. Freedom of speech gives the reviewer just as much right to voice an opinion - negative or positive - as it gives the writer the right to write the book in the first place. It's when things get heated and name calling and/or bullying starts, that things become spewed in so many ways. But to actually physically stalk someone because they have a different opinion, that boarders on criminal.

    For Pete's sake! It is only one persons opinion!

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    Replies
    1. pansypetal - Exactly. I feel that reviews are for readers. If an author can't handle the fact that not everyone will like their book, they need to find a different line of work. I know that not everyone will like my books, or might like some and not like others. That's life. As a reader, I don't like every book. So I get it.

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  3. I love your books! (Okay, I'm addicted to them.) I liked your post. Not sure I agree 100% but that's okay. I think it's okay for authors to read reviews as long as they know that reviews are just opinions. And many know what opinions are ...sometimes, like an asshole. ^_^ Anyway, the heart of your message is dead on. Stalking is not acceptable. While I can understand the author's frustration (yes, I read her post), I have to ask, what exactly did it accomplish? How much time was wasted when she could have done something productive? Like work on her next book. Spend time reading a good book. Spend time with her friends and family? Not saying what the reviewer wrote was right either. If what was quoted is true, the reviewer is low class with little manners. It's sad how little manners we exhibit now. Sometimes, I think Charm school should be mandatory for everyone. What really saddens me is the blatant lack of respect people treat each other and yet demand for the respect in return. I guess I'm old school...some people should have not been spared the rod as a child.

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