We all know what goes on behind the scenes at our own blogs but rarely do we lift the curtain and share those experiences with others. Dear Diary: Confessions From A Blogger stems from the curiosity. This week I want to talk about Authors Behaving Badly.
Disclaimer: I've wanted to talk about Author Bullying for some time but didn't quite know how to do so without bringing down the wrath of these Authors behaving badly on myself. I've decided that it is in my best interest not to link to these instances, nor mention the Authors or Bloggers involved. My goal here isn't to choose sides or publicly shame those involved it is merely to highlight what I see as a growing problem in the blogging community and ways I believe we as reviewers can counteract them.
Here is my confession:
Over the past few months I've noticed a disturbing trend if you will. Authors who have received bad reviews or negative feedback on a book will attack the person who posted it. I understand being upset when someone doesn't like a book. I even think it is fine for an Author to message the reviewer personally to ask them to expand upon why they felt this way. However, it is never OK to attack a reviewer for their opinion nor is it OK to harass them, their friends or their family.
Reviewers (most anyway) spend a lot of time trying to coherently put into thought how much we enjoyed the book we read. I believe in the case of Authors Behaving Badly they think that since their book was rated negatively the reviewer obviously was doing it to attack them personally or maybe even never really read the book in the first place. However, this is simply not the case. What do I as a reviewer have to gain by being a negative Nancy? If I liked the book I'd have rated it that way. I don't rate negatively for the fun of it. I rate negatively because the book simply sucked and I'm trying to express that in the nicest, most constructive way possible. It's not beneficial to me as a blogger in any way to attack an Author personally. Attack the book fine, attack the Author no.
So why do these Authors think it is OK? I spent a lot of time researching instances of Authors behaving badly and have come across many, many comments both in support and against these Authors. One thing that I have noticed in many who supported these Authors is they all have varying degrees of a superiority complex. Us mere mortals (aka reviewers) should be lucky to read the fine works crafted by these Authors. It is obviously the reviewers lack of intelligence as to why they couldn't see the greatness in their work. One Author on a particular site I visited even went so far to say that since the reviewer in question only had a High School education (how they learned that is beyond me) that all her reviews should be taken down. Now I've read many reviews by that particular blogger and they are lovely and well thought out. In fact, I know this blogger has been quoted so clearly to some Authors her reviews have merit.
I've also seen some Authors whether intentionally or not send their fandoms after a reviewer. Simply by posting about their discontent with a review and hinting ie copying whole sections onto their blog from it with the site name gives these fans ample information to find and track down the reviewer in question. Imagine waking up and finding hundreds of comments on your blog shaming you because you dared leave a negative review from someones favorite Author.
These instances sadly aren't the few they seem to be. No they are the norm. Whether Indie or Traditionally published one only has to Google to find examples of Authors behaving badly.
So how can you as a reviewer stop yourself from becoming a victim? Unfortunately the only way to ensure that is to give glowing reviews of everything you read. We all know that would be a lie and isn't going to happen so moving on.
The easiest way to avoid Authors behaving badly is to read a sample of the book before deciding to purchase or review. Lots of bad reviews on Goodreads deal with bad writing. You can save yourself a world of hurt by downloading a sample of the book beforehand, trust me. But lets say you liked the sample, purchased the book and then upon completion decided the book wasn't worth the paper it was written on. What then?
You've written and posted your review and it has gone live. The Author Behaving Badly has taken notice with a fiery vengeance. The best thing to do is just ignore them. Put them on a blacklist of Authors you won't work with anymore. Don't engage them, don't delete their comments, simply pretend they cease to exist. Hopefully when they receive no reaction from you they will simply grow bored and leave you alone.
Now what if that isn't the end and they resort to emailing you? You can report them as spam or block them. I however, strongly urge that you keep copies of every email they send or harassing comment left. Better to have your ass covered in case things escalate than to be left with a case of he said, she said.
Lastly, if things do escalate to the point where you feel physically threatened. You can contact the HR department of that Authors publisher and file a complaint. You can have their ISP blocked by your provider. In the most extreme cases you can even file an injunction against them. Although I'd hope the Author wouldn't let their harassment get to that point.
With that out of the way. I feel I should put that I hope that Reviewers can see that when they leave a review whether positive or negative it should only ever contain information about the book itself. Indicate clearly what you didn't like and leave anything you did find enjoyable as well. Make sure to keep your review about the book only. NEVER attack an Author personally. Doing so only encourages situations like those mentioned above and I think we can all agree we don't want that.
I leave you today with a quote I came across while researching instances of Authors behaving badly. I think it sums up things regarding these badly behaving Authors nicely.
"You'll never stamp out responses from the amateurs who needed therapy but decided to write fiction instead" - Author Linda Gillard
Now that you've read my confession, Tell me some of yours:
Have you encountered Author Bullying?
If so, How did you deal with it?
If not, Does it surprise you that this occurs?
Leave your responses in the comments below, I love reading them and seeing your feedback. Have a question? Leave that as well and I'll try and answer it.
_________________________________________That about wraps up this weeks confessions from a blogger. Thanks for stopping by and reading,sharing, or commenting on this post. As always, it is appreciated.