Authors Behaving Badly … by Bullying other Authors

Butt Hurt Alert

Be prepared, we’re going in dry!

I’ve spoken before about authors getting miffed at their readers, ones that are crass toward the genre they write in, and how a certain review site can be a minefield for the unsuspecting. For the subject matter at hand, I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave out names at the request of the bullied author. This little spat that’s going on, while done by an unknown indie author, has shaken my writer friend to the core. I have taken numerous screenshots of the asshattery for potential use, should the fates shift the money her way, to file a libel/defamation suit. Karma willing, they’re get some spiritual smack down sooner or later.

Yes, it’s that bad.

My author friend has many publications, several that I’ve read because I love her writing style, and is in the process of taking her books that were previously with a publisher and self-publishing them. Beauty of a contract with a publishing house is when it’s up, you can walk away or keep on trucking. Plus, the manuscript is 99.99% clean.

Slipping your toes in publishing itself is a daunting task and akin to slathering yourself in chicken fat to run through a tiger cage. When a writer gets a few under his or her belt with a publisher, goes through the hardship of editing, and gets one out there it’s nothing to dismiss. Just like there are self published authors that go through the process of hiring an editor and some who believe that tossing anything with a cover on it through Amazon makes them a god.

Okay, to the meat of it. My friend, a seasoned author who has gotten her butt torn in two with critiques–some by yours truly–knows how to take a critical eye to a manuscript. This is not for the weak. I’d trust her with giving me the honest truth and not get butt hurt about it.

However, this wasn’t the case with someone who gave her their self-published book and asked for feedback. She attempted to read the 100k+ monstrosity however found flaws in the writing. Not the characters, the plot, or the like but the run on sentences, structure, and flow. I’ve downloaded a sample, as I didn’t want to spend the money, to see if her critical eye had some merit. You know, form my own opinion. Let’s just say she got further than I did. The third page into my kindle, once I got through numerous pages of THIS IS COPYRIGHTED! YOU CAN’T QUOTE ANY OF IT!, was one whole paragraph … and it continued onto the next. Not to mention the sentences that never want to end. Holy mother of a lizard. WTF?

She explained the issues and offered, if they wanted to send a few pages, she’d give them a more detailed of the structural issues. This was all done privately, not publicly. That’s when the shit hit the fan. They became verbally abusive about her ‘attack’ of their precious little baby.
Butt Hurt Bear

So imagine trying to help a new author, as others had done for you at the beginning of your career, and having them attack you for your efforts? Oh but it gets better. This particular person decides to take what was said privately and places it on their Facebook for anyone, even non-friended people, easy access to read. Then it’s proclaimed as a review for their book. Surely she doesn’t get my book! Look at how she insults me! Tries to use me to sell more of her books and oh! I’m reading her book so I’ll post a fair, unbiased review perhaps insulting that she helps bestselling authors with their editing and can’t edit herself.

Oh and the mob mentality came out in full force from that. People like “I’ll never buy her book!” “OMG! I read your book, what does she know?” “I can’t wait for the sequel to your book it was so good!” performed fellatio like a two-dollar whore in this author’s honor.

The most laughable thing, for me, is that this newbie author posts on their little-known blog that my author friend did this all to draw attention to her book (insert the several posts on the offended author’s Facebook wall, blog, etc about their book). Okay, I take that back. The most laughable thing was that a few people asked for where the review was posted so they could reply. It was all cricket serenades on that particular query.

This person even got another author to post something on their rarely read blog about it. You know what that makes that indie author? Fair game in a libel/defamation suit.

 

def·a·ma·tion
ˌdefəˈmāSH(ə)n/
noun
noun: defamation; plural noun: defamations
  1. the action of damaging the good reputation of someone; slander or libel.

I don’t care if you’re a world famous author or just starting out, trying to destroy another’s reputation by spreading lies and untruths isn’t the greatest character move. I’ve seen big dogs being torn down to size by acting like they’re above not only the law but human decency.

For my friend’s part, she’s done the right thing by not reacting to this person’s growing personal attacks in an unprofessional manner. She’s using other means to deal with it and I commend her for her direction.

Me however? I don’t take kindly to bullies and will continue to take screenshots and save them for when she needs them. Internet is forever, people. It doesn’t forget. You’ll always have to pay with cache, ;)

One final note, as I’m seeing more slanderous activity afoot. To call to the masses–however small your blog following is–to have them download a sample of the alleged bad review author’s book and review it on that is proof of what kind of person you truly are. Go on with your bad self with your mob mentality, even if it’s only a few blokes on the corner waiting for the pub to open. /sarcasm

We All Need to Get Over Ourselves

Wake me up when this bullshit passes.

Wake me up when this bullshit passes.

Reviews are a tricky business. Back when I did them–a looong time ago–I always injected a little bit of snark. It’s in my nature to do so. There were books I loved and books I loathed. With each one, I attempted to at least show some good in each novel. Sometimes it was pulling teeth to find something. Eventually I decided that I wouldn’t post anymore reviews unless I had more positive than negative. Besides, that’s not my gig here to do reviews. I’m just not into it. I like to read at my own pace. On Goodreads, I have a three or more star rule. If I can’t give it at least three stars, I delete the book from my shelf and speak on it no more.

So, through a private site I belong to, I found out about a Blogger Blackout. The anchor, it seems, to this idea was when Kathleen Hale–who I admit is way bat shit crazy–chronicled her stalking a book blogger who gave her a less than savory review. Not having the other side of the coin makes it hard to pass clear judgment but Dear Author, as they do, analyzes it in their own way. Interesting points, to say the least.

Look, stalking is wrong. The lengths that Hale went through are criminal or near to it but without the person in question coming out, there’s really not much of a case. That’s the way the chips fall. Besides, the nice veil of the internet allows people to walk around, asses out, to show their anonymous tattoo in a scrawling script.

From the Ellora’s Cave derpiness to human interaction through the computer akin to monkeys throwing poo lately, I’m just sick of it all. It’s great that people band together to support a cause. I can’t discount the power of that. What I can’t abide by is mob mentality. I’ve been victimized and lumped into a group that I had nothing to do with because of people adopting this philosophy. I kept to the advice I give to others–I didn’t react to it. The fire fades if you don’t throw any fuel on it.

Every author has gotten a bad review, no matter how big they are. It’s the nature of the beast and it’s not going to change anytime soon. My personal favorite that I’ve received remarked how they hated the sex between the man and woman … in my strictly m/m novel. I snickered and moved along. I have no room in my life to slink around or curl up and cry over a bad review. I get over it. I’m doing what I love and to let someone ruin that? No fucking way.

As an author, I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read something I created. Lord knows reading a book takes valuable time plus typing away at the keys to post the review. Everyone is entitled to their opinions on said books. I’ve even thought on some reviews and said to myself ‘man, they have a valid point’. Blog reviewers are just as important as the authors that write the books they review. We need each other, plain and simple.

But I have to ask one thing–can’t we all just get over ourselves? Can we please stop the intimidation through social media and all the verbal diarrhea?  Authors–suck up the bad reviews and do not react to them in any public form or criticism about the content you write. Scream into your pillow at night and soldier on. Review bloggers–can we use a little more tact in the way reviews are written? Take a bad review to a whole new level that makes the author go “thank you, may I have another?” We are all human, full of emotions. Just as authors use pen names, bloggers should be free to use one too. Freedom is a wonderful liberty. However, on both sides of the coin, it doesn’t give anyone the right to verbally demoralize someone or gang up on a blogger/author when you disagree with their opinions.

Just because opinions are like assholes doesn’t give anyone the right to act like one too.

One thing before I close–I recommend everyone read this blogger’s post on the blackout. I like their point of view on this whole subject.

Be kind and be well, people. Find the joy and drop the hate.