I want to state up front this is NOT a “review rant.” This is not a rant about reviewers or reviews. At all.
This is a rant about authors (one particular one, in this case) behaving badly. It’s about something that makes me sit back and shake my damn head over how fracking STUPID a person can be.
There was an incident in the past couple of weeks. Didn’t happen to me, but I watched it unfold from the 50-yard line, as it were. And I called the perpetrator to the carpet on it. I could have easily kept my nose out of it, but frankly? It REALLY pissed me off on a number of levels. It pissed me off on general principles, and it pissed me off because it went against everything I personally stand for in terms of helping fellow authors out.
A fellow author, and I can’t even call the author a close friend because we’re more acquaintances, was savaged by another author (who was dumb enough to write the reviews under their own freaking pen name) in a couple of reviews on Goodreads. Now, I’m not talking “I didn’t like this book” reviews. I’m talking completely nasty, unprofessional, personal attacks on the author kind of bullshit.
An author from the same house.
Really? REALLY? The only reason it was brought to light was because a READER notified the author about it when the author had privately talked about helping pimp the perp’s books.
Are you following me? The writer who’d been savaged had no idea about the reviews. The READER notified the writer that the perp had written the nasty reviews. And they also told the writer that they told ALL of their friends NEVER to buy the perp’s books. And they reported to the writer that lots of other readers had “blacklisted” the perp.
So here was a writer, clueless about the reviews, who was going to HELP the perp by pimping them. Because they were a fellow writer at the same house. But because of what the reader told that writer, they called the perp out on the carpet about it.
Now, the writer was classy about it. They didn’t name the perp. But it literally took me less than five minutes to figure it out, privately write my friend, and get confirmation that yes, my sleuthing was right. (And my friend wasn’t the only writer that had been attacked like that by the perp.)
Only after the perp realized they’d been discovered did they change the reviews (didn’t remove them, and yes, the Goodreads time/date stamp reflected when the edits were made) in question. (Fecking moron.) However, by that time, myself and quite a few others had already figured out who the perp was.
And you know what? In my mind, their name is MUD. No, I won’t publicly name them. But I’ll never buy their books, I’ll never pimp them out when they have a new release, I’ll never retweet them, I’ll never share their Facebook posts, and I’m not the only one.
Folks, here’s the harsh reality of this business. For starters, there is NO excuse to get personal in a review, or nasty. You don’t attack an author in a review. It’s petty, childish, and it shoots yourself in the foot because as in this case, readers won’t buy YOUR books. It makes you look like an ass.
If you want to be a PROFESSIONAL author, not just a hobby writer, then dammit, friggin ACT like one. I rarely write reviews anymore. I WILL promote books I like by other authors, and I’ll pimp out my fellow authors (regardless of where they’re published) if I like them and/or their books. Because that’s the NICE thing to do. That’s the PROFESSIONAL thing to do.
If you can’t look another author in the eye and read to them, in person, your review of their book without feeling like an ass, then cupcake, DON’T WRITE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE! If you’re absolutely obsessed with writing book reviews, get yourself a different account that can’t be traced back to you and knock yourself out.
Here’s the even sadder thing–the writer who was attacked has FAR more releases out under several pen names than the perp. And their releases have a MUCH better average rating overall than the perp’s books do. In other words, the perp, a fairly newbie writer, was attacking a well-known (in their genre) author with a LARGE, established, LOYAL fan base.
Um, here’s your sign, you little snowflake, you. How’d that work for you? Not only do you look like an ass, you look like a jealous, stupid ass.
I know lots of writers who will not write any reviews. I know others who will only leave reviews if they’re 4- or 5-star reviews.
If you want to be a book reviewer, then by all means, be a book reviewer. Knock yourself out. But once you decide to put pen to paper and make a name for yourself as a writer, it’s time to step aside from the reviews and focus on writing.
I enjoy supporting fellow authors. Because not only am I an author, I’m a reader. And I get just as fangirlie as any of y’all do out there when a favored author responds to an email. I’m human, just like you. I like to encourage newbie authors. There is plenty of room out there for everyone, it’s not a zero-sum game. It’s not a finite pie. I like helping and supporting people’s efforts. I really do. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because I like paying forward the support, encouragement, and mentoring that other authors gave to me when I first started out.
If I come across a book I don’t like, I don’t talk about it. Simple as that.
And remember, there are plenty of books out there who some people might love, but you might not like. That might be more you than the book. Do you really want to risk pissing off a bunch of potential readers who are fans of that other book/author just so you can get your opinion out on the subject? Really? Think about that long and hard.
Just be nice. We learned this in kindergarten. Hell, in pre-school. Just. Be. NICE. No, you don’t have to go pimping an author or book you don’t like. But to go out of your way to slam a fellow author, especially one far more experienced, well-known, and well-read in the genre than you, is NOT professional, and if you do it enough times, you’re going to be feeling it in your bottom line. Because not only do you NOT hurt the author you’re slamming, you hurt YOURSELF.
Be. Nice. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. What goes around comes around.
And remember, karma is a real bitch.