Saturday, 23 June 2012

Authors Behaving Badly #8

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. Alice Hoffman gets in a

Who Is She: Alice Hoffman, published author of Adult and YA books.

What She Responded Badly To: a review of her novel 'The Story Sisters' by Roberta Silman for the Boston Globe.

What Made the Fur Fly: So, Roberta Silman writes an 'mehh take it or leave it' kinda review about Hoffman's novel 'The Story Sisters'. While she doesn't exactly praise the novel to the skies, she doesn't completely slate it either:

However, Alice Hoffman really takes umbridge at this review. She takes SEROUS UMBRIDGE. She takes the matter to (where else) Twitter and posts a string of rants insulting Silman, her hometown and ALL reviewers in one fell swoop:

While these tweets are annoying, they do not reach the level of malice that the next one does. She decides to disclose Silman's personal contact information and encourages her followers to 'tell her off':

Not cool. Luckily, there wasn't too much damage done. Silman issued a statement later describing what had actually happened post meltdown.

"...there have been nine emails to me, all in support of my review and/or my right to review and all apologizing for Alice Hoffman's perplexing behavior," she wrote to Jacket Copy in an e-mail. "I wouldn't change anything about my review. I have written many reviews for The Globe and say what I believe, and, in this case, I praised her earlier work, which was clearly better. I'm sorry Alice could not take pride in the good things I said, and perhaps mull a little on the criticism. That is what I have always tried to do when professional people have criticized my work." (Source)
 Hoffman got the number wrong. Paha. Let us end on the half hearted apology from Hoffman that was issued later which manages to never actually get round to the apologising bit:
I feel this whole situation has been completely blown out of proportion. Of course I was dismayed by Roberta Silman's review which gave away the plot of the novel, and in the heat of the moment I responded strongly and I wish I hadn't. I'm sorry if I offended anyone. Reviewers are entitled to their opinions and that's the name of the game in publishing. I hope my readers understand that I didn't mean to hurt anyone and I'm truly sorry if I did.

Alice Hoffman
 And the world was right again.


  1. Wow, some authors really need to be able to accept criticism. If every book of theirs was amazing, there would be no room for improvement of themselves and their skills, and they wouldn't grow at all.

  2. Oh my! These posts of yours always bother me! I cannot believe someone would act that way! Especially trying to give out the reviewers phone number!!

    At least she apologized later, if only she could really go back and undo what she did!

    Great posts!

  3. This is so disappointing because Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite authors. One would think that an author this prolific, with some 30+ books under her belt, would be able to handle a bit of criticism or a bad review. Very disappointing!

  4. That's the problem with social media... people feel the need to articulate every emotion they are feeling at the exact moment they are feeling it. If these people gave themselves some time to actually digest and think about these emotions they wouldnt embarrass themselves so much!!

  5. Holy crap Alice is sensitive. You'd think a seasoned professional would be so past this petty stuff. The review didn't even sound bad at all. What offends me most is that she shows a sense of entitlement when it comes to her "hometown" -- like she's owed something there. When she shows up, that town has to cave to her whims. Then when she isn't treated like the Queen, she disses the ENTIRE TOWN. ????

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