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.
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. . .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.