Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Authors Behaving #9

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! I bringz you all the drama every Thursday from authors who have been a little naughty.

8. Elle Lothlorien Incites Authors to FIGHT BACK!

Who Is She: Elle Lothlorien, author of YA novels such as 'The Frog Prince'.

What She Responded Badly To: The commonly held conception that authors shouldn't respond to their negative reviews/reviewers.

What Made the Fur Fly: The fur didn't exactly fly, but we have learnt a few shady author/reviewer relationship tactics from Miss Lothlorien. In her blog post 'When You Wish Upon a Star, You Get the Pointy End (Part 1): Why Authors Should ALWAYS Respond To Negative Reviews', Elle outlines how she herself has dealt with negative criticism:

What action did she take I hear you cry! She kinda did a good old fashioned combo of intimidation and guilt tripping as far as I can see:

Hmmm. I don't like it. She is clearly contacting reviewers to make them feel bad enough to change their review which is just as bad as begging for upvotes on positive reviews of your book ala Keira Cass and Leigh Fallon! 

In a second blog post, 'When You Wish Upon a Star, You Get the Pointy End (Part 2): The Dos and Don’ts of Responding to Negative Reviews' she outlines the exactly why authors should contact negative reviewers and uses lots of words like 'customer' and 'product' and 'marketing force'. 
She then goes on to outline all the Do's and Don'ts to get repeat business and greater profits. I don't know about you, but it makes me kinda uncomfortable.

Do you think Elle is right or wrong to contact her negative reviewers in this way?


  1. I think if the author wants to contact the reviewer that's public. However, she should only do so if she's planning to discuss the reviewers likes/dislikes in a constructive and respectful way. I mean hell...that's why God made chocolate and vanilla ice cream. I can't justify why I like one over the other, but I do. Sometimes that's just the way it is with books.
    I've just posted my very first one star review...I've been blogging 2 1/2 years; I read what I want, and I only read things I think I'll like. So, if it turns out I don't like the book, that's just the way it is. Even if the author contacts me and explains something about the book to make me change my mind (which wouldn't happen), the author should have communicated that to me in the WRITING in the first place. I have students all the time try to explain to me what they meant by what they wrote. It doesn't work that way.

  2. I think these should really stop. Yes, some of the authors took things to the extreme, but we're all human, aren't we? Isn't that what you're claiming? Well, humans make mistakes, and they have feelings as well. For all you know, these authors might actually take back what they said, but it's nearly impossible for them to do that with posts like these constantly reminding them of the mistakes they've made and things they said that they shouldn't have. One author even apologized for what she said, so tell me. What was the point in putting the post up? You figured it'd get more attention for messed up part instead of the apology part, which it did. Well, news flash, two wrongs don't make a right. I'm in no way defending these authors, though we all have the freedom of speech, and the same way reviewers talk trash (I've been one of them), authors are allowed to defend their work as well. Maybe some of them should have gone about it differently. The point I'm trying to make is haven't you ever done something wrong that you tried to put behind you but couldn't, because people constantly brought it up? Imagine how these authors feel. Put your sympathy for the reviewers aside for a minute, because the authors are people too, and attacking them doesn't make the situation any better. I'm an avid reader, and though I haven't and don't plan on reading these novels only because they don't interest me, it would kill me if an author I do like ended up on here, because readers are what push authors to keep writing, and the pettiest things (such as these posts) are enough to bring anyone down. Even an author, because they ARE people. Now go ahead and say whatever you want about this and me putting myself as anonymous. I'm sorry I don't have an account or whatever, but I still felt like something other than comments in favor of this should be said. Just consider this post. Things like these are hurtful and should be stopped. Authors should not have to live in silence, because some of their best work comes out of them speaking up.

    1. Well the Anonymous poster above me is blatantly an author who follows said Do's and Don'ts.

    2. Hey anon, guess what!

      If you do something stupid in a public place like the internet where every last one of your incredibly ill-considered words and actions are pretty much guaranteed to live on in perpetuity to mock you like Scrooge's Christmas ghosts, you basically deserve whatever fallout you get.

      Personally, I think posts like these serve an important function. My theory is that the constant and crushingly embarrassing reminder that you made a total asshole out of yourself in a blaze of self-righteous glory is enough to persuade you to step away from the keyboard the next time a random person on Amazon says your book isn't worth the kindling it'd be to light a bonfire. Shame is a powerful motivator.

  3. Authors don't have to write books and share them publicly. Negative reviews come with the territory; call it an "occupational hazard." In all, you can not control what everyone will think of your writing, and writing to each one trying to desperately explain yourself is just pathetic.

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  6. I've seen people diss a writer's work for nothing other than personal preference. In fact, many negative reviews are like that. We can't all like the same thing. If you don't like a particular style of writing, genre, etc, don't read it. I think authors are right to respond sometimes.

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