A Bit Of Advice: Authors, If You Receive a Negative Review, Do NOT Become a Stalking Vigilante.
Aye carumba! How is it, after all this time and years of bad examples, we are STILL talking about the ridiculous behaviors of some authors after they receive a negative review? Will authors never learn? What will it take folks? What will it take?
Apparently, it's going to take a lot because stalking reviewers online, tracking them to their homes, calling them at their work place, or driving to another country to bash them over the head with a wine bottle isn't enough.
The most frightening thing isn't the fact that authors are making idiots of themselves it's that they feel justified in doing so. Seriously. They are breaking laws and "bragging" about it online. It's wrong and it's criminal.
As authors, we have been told time and time again DO NOT RESPOND TO NEGATIVE REVIEWS. DON'T DO IT. IT WILL RUIN YOUR CAREER and yet, some authors go for it anyway. "I have to respond. I just have to!" or "Who does that reviewer think they are? They've got it ALL wrong!"
Is it hard to bite your tongue when someone is attacking you and your work? Is it hard not to take it personal?
Yes, it's VERY hard. It hurts. It sucks. It can make you cry and doubt yourself. BUT, it should never lead to criminal behavior. Never.
If you can't handle negative feedback, then being a published author is not the career for you. Negative reviews come with the territory. It's a part of the game. It isn't a matter of IF you will get a negative review but WHEN. That's how it works.
Unfortunately, some folks don't seem to understand that. Not sure what I'm talking about? Then here are a few example for you: Kathleen Hale, Pam Van Hylckama Vlieg (literary agent/victim, not author), Margo Howard (not criminal, but ridiculous none-the-less), and finally, Richard Brittian.
Do some authors feel entitled? Are some authors mentally unstable? I don't know. Probably. Every profession has their loose cannons and crazy clowns, so I can't imagine that a world-wide group of authors would be exempt from having theirs. We may never know why some authors do what they do under the guise of being right, but we can hopefully learn from their mistakes and not repeat them (please don't repeat them).
All I know, is that there is not one universally loved author out there. Not one. Every single author, no matter how wonderful and adept they are at creating characters and plots, will at some point have critics who think their work is complete and utter crap. It happens to the very best, so if you plan to be an author, it will happen to you, too. It will. Be prepared.
There is no need to be revengeful. There is no need to stalk a reviewer. There is no need to contact Amazon's Board of Directors.
The best response to a negative review is no response at all. Not a word. In fact, the very best response, beyond keeping your mouth shut, is to keep writing in spite of the nay-sayers.
"You hate my work? Well then, I will create more of it!"
That's how I roll.
Update: Are there nasty troll-like reviewers out there? Yes, unfortunately there are. There are people in the world who LIVE to verbally hurt, harm, and destroy others, and they find power in doing so. Having the ability to do it online, often times under disguise, feeds their sick need. This doesn't only apply to book reviewers--there are lots of people in various industries who deal with these kind of folks. If you find yourself in a situation like this, with a reviewer who is threatening and relentless, DO NOT respond to them. This only will entice them to continue with their attack--this is what they want to have happen. Go through the proper channels, but remember to always maintain your professionalism.
Most reviewers are amazing and wonderful. They are truthful in their reviews, whether it is a good response to a book or not. We need these reviewers. We appreciate these reviewers. They are valuable to authors and should be treated with respect and with gratitude. Nothing less.
Most authors respond to negative reviews properly--by not responding at all. So please don't think that ALL authors are crazy stalking weirdos (we are weird, but it's a good kind of weird. I promise).
For Pete's sake, follow Taylor Swift's example and SHAKE IT OFF! If she can do it, then so can you :)
10/22/2014 01:30:42 pm
Well said, Angela. We all get critiqued every day. Some good, some bad. I take great solace in what the Dalai Lama says:
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