Don't torpedo your career. Be professional.

I wavered all day on whether to post this or not.  In the end I decided it was an important subject.

What I read this morning shocked me.  Many of you might have heard about this argument between author and reviewer.  Actually the reviewer never responded.  It was a one-way bashing.  This was only just brought to my attention today.

Back in May, a reviewer was asked to review an iBook for a self-published author.  Well, the author who wrote the book did not like his review, to put it mildly.  In all honestly, the review wasn’t all that bad.  Yes, there were some disparaging remarks like… “It reads, in fact, rather like a juvenile genre offering on the level of Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys, although it does brandish a vocabulary that might challenge many pre-teen readers… until they figure out that a tap can bring up the built-in iBooks dictionary.”

The book in question made use of Apple’s iBooks Author.  I don’t know much about iBooks except it seems that with this tool you can create books for iPad and Mac.  It even gives you the ability to create an interactive experience for the reader.  Sounds cool, right?  Well, according to the author in question, he is the first to use this tool.  Or at least use it correctly.  His words not mine.  He also said, “He paved the way for others…”  You’ll soon see how ridiculous that statement really is.

The reviewer wrote, “Did I mention that all the characters in this book are teddy bears?  It is a detective story about teddy bears.”  ted

Okay, I’m not judging.  People’s premises are their own.  It’s not my cup of tea, but someone else might love a book like this.

My problem comes when the author starts hammering the reviewer with comments.  From 1 a.m. – 4 a. m. he left 23 comments in response to the review.  Twenty-three! Then, if that weren’t bad enough, he started in on anyone who dared to comment after him.  I stopped counting at his hundredth remark.  And I wasn’t even halfway through them all.  He’s been stalking the feed from May to September.  No lie.  Doesn’t that sound a little obsessive?  He never missed a chance to berate anyone who dared to comment.  Some writers wrote in to tell him he was making an ass of himself.  That wasn’t well received.  Neither was he happy when people kept asking if he was drinking, even though they added, “No judgments here.”  I found it interesting that the author never actually answered that question.  He deflected with, “What’s it matter?” or “Why do you think I’m drunk? I’m only defending my work.”  Never once did he come right out and say no.  Hmm. . .runk

 

It got so bad that the discussion stopped being about his book and instead became about him and his grandiose attitude.  Believe me, his ego is enormous.  The reviewer had to shut down the comment section finally to make him stop.

Hey, I’m all for being proud of your work.  But come on!  If you feel the need to tell everyone what a great writer you are, maybe you aren’t as good as you think you are.

ego

Please, everyone, do yourself a favor and learn from this guy.  Not everyone is going to like your book– plain and simple.  Not all reviewers are going to give you gleaning review.  We’ve all heard it a million times.  This is a very subjective business.

Yes, a bad review might sting.  It might hurt like hell and bring tears to our eyes.  After all, we pour our heart and soul into our writing, go over our stories again and again to make them as perfect as we can. To have someone rip apart your story in public is disheartening.  BUT– by commenting like this not only did the author make himself look a crazy person– or drunk, which is what I thought– but he went on and on about what a beautiful writer he is, and that no one knew what they were talking about.  He even went as far as insulting other writers.  It was embarrassing to read.  By the quarter mark I pitied him.unin

I’m not going to give you his name or link the article because frankly this guy is nuts. He’s probably surfing the net looking for every post about him.  I don’t need him or his specific brand of psycho in my life.  If you must see this article for yourself you can find it with little effort.

I am using him as an example of what NOT to do.

This guy calls himself a literary author.  A statement I greatly disagree with.  Literary writers have poetic prose, words strung together so beautifully they almost sing. I am in awe of literary writers. They truly have a special talent.

I am a commercial writer.  I know this about myself and I’m okay with that.  That’s my niche.  Can I rock some literary passages.  Sure.  Can’t we all on a good day?  But that doesn’t make me a literary writer.  And let me tell you, this guy isn’t one either.  Let me just say, because I do admire literary writers I will keep striving for that perfection.  However, I will never call myself a literary writer until I reach that level of poetic prose.  It’s not right.  I haven’t earned the title yet.

Neither has he.brill

How do I know this?  Because he posted twenty-something passages from his book to show how beautiful his prose was.  That’s right. To prove the reviewer wrong he posted SO many passages he practically posted the entire book. In all honesty, he only cemented the reviewers remarks.  Unfortunately I can’t give you examples because he is probably searching for those too.  He IS that insane!

My point of this post is not to harp on what a crazed nutball this guy is.  Really it’s not.  Rather, I’m using him to make a point.  And here it is…  To show how our name/brand can easily get destroyed.  By acting in this way this guy has no shot of ever going traditional, if that was ever a dream of his.  Nor will anyone ever review another book for him.  As a self-published author reviews are important.  Hell, they’re important for all of us.  They show readers how much others have enjoyed our books.  Without reviews this guy has single-handedly annihilated his sales.  To prove my point let me ask you this:  would you ever leave an honest review of one of his books?  I sure wouldn’t.  He probably does the same thing to readers who’ve purchased his book– if they dared to give him any less than five stars– as he did to the reviewer.

If any of you are ever tempted to respond to a troll or a bad review…stop

Take a minute to breathe.  Count to ten.  Think about what you’re doing.  Whatever works for you.  You could be committing career suicide.  Just move on.  Let it go.  I’m sure there are others who love your book.  Concentrate on the positive, not the negative.

In this internet age it is so easy to type something fast and press send, thinking you’ve cleared your chest.  Don’t do it.  Stop.  Move on.  You’ll be better off for it.  If you’re ever tempted, remember this guy.  Of course once this dies down you’ll probably never hear about him again.  He’ll fade into obscurity.  And rightfully so.  No one likes an author who’s full of themselves.  They are ugly people.  Frankly, this guy gives us all a bad name.  For the average reader who doesn’t know any better this guy could seem like the norm.  God forbid!  For instance, in his comments he kept talking about “his art”. How he has “creative license” to do this or that.  It’s not that far-fetched to think that some people might think all creative types are the same.

Help me prove them wrong.  Help me show readers that we are nothing like this guy.  We are professional.  We are strong.  We can take whatever rejection or bad review that comes our way and learn from it, be the bigger person.  Together we might be able to undo the damage caused by this looney tune.

Have any of you been tempted to lash out at a bad review or harsh comment?  What did you do to rise above it?  Leave a comment below and share your story of acting like the professional author you are.  Then tell us what you really wanted to say. 🙂  You are safe here.  We’ve all thought about it.  We just know better than to act out our rage online.

 

18 Comments

  1. Pingback: Sisters In Crime Blog Hop | Crime Fiction Author Sue Coletta

  2. This is really great, well done for writing it. You’re completely right, you’ve got to be professional or else your reputation for being a tool will travel far and wide. If you don’t want to be professional then make sure your very famous and incredibly wealthy first (o:

  3. Hi! My name’s Antoinette and I just recently wrote my first book. I’ve received a a couple of bad reviews but I’ve seen the ‘Don’t do this’ posts on several different sites and I did indeed take a step back and just looked at what was written. I simply went back to my work looked over their main complaints, fixed them to the best of my ability without changing too much and then ‘liked’ their ‘comments’ and asked them to ‘go back and re-read it as i took their suggestions to heart and fixed it. let me know what you think.’ No replies yet. But I didn’t let it get to me too much.

    • I don’t think you did anything wrong. However, in the future I wouldn’t “like” or comment back. It’s great that the reviews were helpful to you and you were able to improve your book because of them. But most readers, in my opinion, won’t re-read a book after giving a bad review. I know I wouldn’t. And that’s okay. As long as you remain professional. Which you did. You also need to be careful of “trolls”, ignorant people who purposefully give bad reviews just to lower the book’s star rating. Unfortunately, they are out there. You don’t want to “feed the trolls”, as they say. Commenting and/or “liking” only fuels their omnipotence. I wish you the best of luck with your book!

  4. Terrific article! As an author I’ve often suggested to others to give their bad reviews at least one good, honest look and see what they can learn from it. Not all criticism is valid and some is a point of taste/preference, but I feel a good author will at least show enough humility to consider the words of others and use them to grow.

    Recently, though, I was put to the test in taking my own advice: I got my first bad review on my favorite book, and from a reviewer I was sincerely hoping would love it. Her review criticized the passion between my main lesbian love pair, and the sincerity of their love story, as well as the setting of the book (18th century Japan). Each of these points made me want to cry! Even though the book has gathered a dozen wonderful reviews and I’ve had so many others waiting on the sequel. I -was- incredibly tempted to respond, not to argue with her but to plead with her that maybe she was being unfair… there WERE some points in her review that made me believe she hadn’t read very closely (she said the book didn’t feel like “feudal” Japan, but of course 18th century Edo Japan is NOT feudal Japan). But, as you pointed out, and as I have suggested to many, many other authors, such a response–really, any response–is unprofessional. Whether arguing, or begging for reconsideration, or pointing out the flaws in the review…none of those is the right response. So I made myself do what I suggest to others, and gave the review a long, honest look. Even though I don’t feel I “fell through” in the places my reviewer criticized, I decided to take her thoughts into consideration during future projects. Try to learn and grow from the experience. In the end, I’m actually happy to have received the review. I think it makes for a good opportunity, as an author. The question, though, is what kind of opportunity the author wishes to make of it.

    • I think you handled that brilliantly! And you are right, it doesn’t seem like she read the book that closely. That should give you some relief. Like I said in my post, these stories we pour our heart and soul into. They are our babies. Especially our favorites. To have someone rip them apart in a review has to hurt. I only hope when– I say when not if because it’s inevitable– I can handle it with as much class as you did. Bravo! You are truly a star.

  5. Follow my Blog? I do reviews on Rock n Roll Autobiographies and more….

    therealrene.wordpress.com

  6. Time is the greatest force on earth, you can’t buy it, you can’t stop it … All you can do is enjoy it

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  7. Wowwwwww. I’m kind of glad there are people like this in the world, as they make the rest of us look good by comparison. At least no matter how unloved my writing is (when I ever decide to brave publishing it) I know it won’t suck as much as this psycho’s.

    Also, I see what you did there with the Ted reference. 😉

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