Friday, 4 May 2012

Authors Behaving Badly #1

Authors Behaving Badly: When Authors React Badly to Negative Reviews and Criticism!

Or: How NOT to Handle Bad Reviews!

When an author puts a book out into the world they must know it's not going to get completely positive feedback. All books, throughout history, from Hamlet to The Da Vinci Code, have people who love them and people who hate them. And most authors handle the negative reviews pretty well (even if they're crying inside).

However, some authors decide that they want to fight their critics. Some get personal. Some get downright nasty. Did someone say car crash?

I was originally going to post one article on this but so many authors have behaved badly that I thought I would make it a weekly feature!

Authors Behaving Badly #1

Jacqueline Howett and 'The Greek Seaman' fiasco.

Who is She: Jacqueline Howett (Adult Fiction Author)
Who She Responded Badly to: Big Al from Books and Pals
What Made the Fur Fly: On his book blog, Big Al gave a somewhat negative review of an e-copy of Howett's book 'The Greek Seaman'. He commented on the bad writing and the strange wording Howett had used on a few occasions. Howett came across the review and began a vitriolic war of words with Big Al in the comment section on the review...catapulting it into internet fame and opening Howett up to a whole shit storm of criticism! Even though she has now taken down the majority of her comments many of them still remain, including comments in which she resorts to the somewhat questionable tactic of copy and pasting in 5 star reviews from Amazon. 

See the full review and her comments here.

Looking at the Amazon stats for 'The Greek Seaman' it seems Big Al may represent the masses. Sorry Jacqueline.

Next Author Behaving Badly: Leigh Fallon and 'Dickie-ing' the System!


  1. Wow that's shocking!
    I look forward to this section every week :D

  2. I love your blog i hope you like mine.
    Drp by sometime? x

  3. Great idea for a feature! I definitely look forward to more crazy authors.

    Alison at The Cheap Reader

  4. I hope you know when they find out you have put them out there like that they will come for you, but at least it will be entertaining to learn which authors I should avoid like the plague. thanks for sharing

  5. "LOL," I remember The Greek Seaman fiasco. That lady was off her rocker.

    But you know, there's another side to the coin on this one. It's when an author's loyal minion's behave badly, when they go after someone who didn't like the book or posted a bad review. It's not nearly as egregious as an author doing the same thing (who, like you said, should know that not everyone is going to like their work), but it's yet another consequence of of the hyper-opinionized (I just made up a word) nature of the internet... which is kind of a contradictory thing to say, coming from a guy who runs a blog for the purpose of giving his opinion on the books he's read, but there you go.

    Jonathan @ I Read a Book Once

  6. Jacqueline Howett is also an example of How to Torpedo your Writing Career in an Afternoon.

  7. Great post! I'm interested to see what other fiascos I've missed out on, since it seems they're happening constantly.

    I realize that the internet grants a shield of anonymity that can allow people to be cruel in ways that they would not be in real life, and yet, the majority of reviews I have read that have set off such behavior from authors have been very fair, well written, and bring up issues that do exist in the books in a reasonable manner. I feel like authors must acknowledge that once they publish a book and put it out there, it no longer really belongs to them. Yes, negative feedback always hurts, but you're better off ignoring it or not responding. Basically any time I see an author react/behave this way, they go on a list of people wose books I will never read.

  8. A little late to the party, but the thing is, I didn't think the review was all that bad. In fact, he even said that the story itself is compelling and probably would have been an excellent read if it weren't for grammar and spelling errors. All she had to do was have somebody edit and then re-release (since you can do that with ebooks) and/or take it as a learning experience for her next book. As many of the comments on the review stated, her attitude did far more damage than the two star review.

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  12. I read the review on Amazon today and I was shocked, it was more of a personal attack on someone rather than a review of a book. Was the reviewer trying to make himself look good at the expense of someone else? There were a lot of other reviewers who seemed to jump on the bandwagon, probably without even reading the book. I'm ashamed how some people can behave towards others.

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