Sunday, January 22, 2012

Acceptable Author Behavior

We pose the following question to the GR reviewer posse:

Author A receives a number of 1-star reviews on GR which he/she claims are retaliation for something he/she posted on the Internet. Which of the following do you find as ethical and mature responses:

A. The author rates his/her own book 5 stars to balance out all those 1-star ratings by "trolls" and explains in the review that he/she has done so because of the "vindictive" ratings.

B. The author's significant other posts a positive review of the book.

C. The author's friends and "beta readers" post positive reviews of the book.

D. The author doesn't respond to the 1-star reviews because GR is a site for readers not authors, and authors and authors' friends and family posting positive reviews (or liking positive reviews) is gaming the system and therefore unethical.

E. A, B, and C.


Alright, we're back.

First, our answer to the above multiple choice: We find (A) and (B) unethical, but we would not be opposed to the  author or author's significant other simply liking the positive reviews. We find (C) ethical because friends aren't immediate family (and immediate family is TOO close to the author to be posting actual reviews for our comfort). We are also fine with (D) - the author not responding at all, not even liking the other reviews - although not because responding is "gaming the system" but because responding is futile and might come across as hyper-sensitivity. See "The Skinny on Us" page for more info.

Now, what do we think the GR reviewers would say? Easy, (D) of course!

Let's make the question more interesting then. Let's say Author A is also a GR reviewer and that the author's significant other, friends, and beta readers are also GR reviewers who contributed to some of the recent YA mega-complaining-threads. Now, GR reviewers, how do you answer the above question? Do you denounce Author A and the others just like you've denounced other authors recently? Or do you let these actions "slide" because you are all GR friends?

Since this question has now left the realm of the hypothetical, we already know the answer.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Reviewer Cassi Jumps to Conclusions

Once upon a time, GR reviewer Cassi aka Snow White - who was a frequent participant in the train wreck covered in our last two posts - reviewed Ashfall by Mike Mullin. She gave it 4 stars originally, then dropped it to three because:
I'm adjusting my review to reflect that the author of this book was very rude to me on a social network. ...I'm not going to hash out all the details of my encounter with him BUT he was rude, judgmental and did not apologize. For me that is enough for me to not be as generous and no recommend his book. So I'm lowering my rating to 3 stars for bad manners and moving on with my life. 
The author sees this and writes:
I apologize--I didn't realize I was rude to you. That was not my intention. In fact, I have no idea what I did. If you don't mind telling me, drop me an email at [email redacted by us] lease. I'd love to know so that I don't inadvertently offend anyone else. 
Cassi reponds:
You called me prejudice on google+ and I told you that I was offended there. You should have apologized when it happened. I am not prejudice and you were being judgmental.  
Curious, we proceeded to Google+ to see what all the fuss was about.

Mr. Mullin posted a link on his Google+ account to a news story on a gay advocacy site. The site's headline for the story was "Lesbian Couple Saves Dozens of Campers from Norway Massacre". Just the type of story a gay advocacy site would find relevant for its audience. Perfect. Cassi, however, is much put out:
I studied journalism and think the headline is in bad taste. People are people. No matter color, sexual orientation, nationality or religion. Those things should not be used to get hits or increase newspaper sales. Yellow journalism.
A gay advocacy site is highlighting the heroism of a lesbian couple, and Cassi finds this to be "yellow journalism"? Mike responds with some general comments about prejudice faced by gay people:
We know that all that it takes to perpetuate racism (and presumably homophobia) is to not discuss race. Without a headline and picture, the reasonable assumption would be that the couple is hetero, since most Norwegians are. People are not just people +Cassi [last name redacted by us] , they're a diverse amalgamation of many identities. Implicitly privileging one possible identity (heterosexuality) is perhaps the most common and insidious form of prejudice gay people face.
We don't necessarily agree with all of this, but as we said, it's polite and on topic for the discussion. Cassi is not to be placated. She responds, in part, as follows. Our comments about her comments are in blue italics, just so's you all know.
They did that to get hits which I think is unfair to gay people. They are not sideshow attractions to draw more readers and to create a controversy. [It's unfair for a gay advocacy group to try to highlight issues that might be interesting to gay people to draw hits from gay people? What twisted logic is that?]... I have no issue if the article said "Margaret & her partner Alicia did such and such." [The original news article that this blog post was based on did just that, and the headline never used the word gay or lesbian.] (I did not read it [Clearly. And it's pretty stupid to argue about what an article did or didn't say who you have no clue WHAT the article did or didn't say.]  because I do not encourage yellow journalism). I am not saying that the article should hide who they are but it should not USE their sexuality to create a controversy where there shouldn't be one. [Good, because neither the original article or the blog post did that.]
Mike persists in the face of folly:
If you don't put anything in the headline, it's the same as if you put "Heterosexual White People" at least in the U.S. and Norway, because that's the dominant group. I can feel and sympathize with your anger at being called out on prejudice. It's a hard thing being confronted with your own biases. I know. I've been there.
Cassi gets defensive - "I am not prejudice. I have seen first hand newspapers using someones sexuality." - and relates her experience with her cousin passing away and what we think is her dissatisfaction with how that was handled (her explanation is unclear). But now we can see that this is a sensitive issue for her and perhaps that is why she previously jumped to conclusions and reacted badly. Then she says:
I think I have lost all respect for you. Actually calling people prejudice when you don't know them at all?
Kind of like the GR posse of YA reviewers - of which Cassi is one - calling authors stupid, morons, pieces of shit, cheats, etc. when they don't them at all, except by their words. Well, all Mr. Mullin has to go on are Cassi's words. Live by sword, die by the sword (...what, you thought we'd get through a whole blog post without using an adage?...silly reader)

Cassi has one final post later on whinging about how she didn't know that headline came from a gay issues blog (which was entirely her own fault, we would like to point out). Instead of apologizing to Mr. Mullin or acknowledging her error, she makes the incredibly ironic statement, "I hope he learns not to judge others quite so quickly and jump to conclusions based on very little information." Like Cassi just did with the headline issue?

Finally, back to Cassi's statement in her review on GR that she told Mr. Mullin she was offended: no, she did not in any of her posts on Mr. Mullin's comment thread ever say that she was "offended". 

Logic fail for Cassi. 


It seems that Cassi is aware of this post and has written, "...someone is trying to bring me into the drama because I changed a Mike Mullins ranking..." and "he called me a homophobe". Wrong, wrong, and wrong. First, Cassi was already heavily involved with the GR drama. Second, we are highlighting Cassi's actions because the hypocrisy and jumping to conclusions demonstrated here are reflective of the behavior of some GR reviewers that we find appalling. 

Finally, Mr. Mullins never called her a homophobe. He said that he was calling her out on her prejudice and confronting her with her biases. There is a difference between having an unconscious or unrealized prejudice or bias and being a "homophobe". Big difference! But this is yet another example of someone's words being altered and that someone being criticized for supposedly writing those altered words. It's called the straw man argument.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Reviewer Wendy Darling - Part 2

[Edited July 20, 2012 to add: If you are joining us here because of links from StoptheGRBullies, Goodreads, or the Huffington Post, please read today's post.]

We're back. We couldn't stay away from the train wreck. 505 comments because someone called someone else a bitch on the Internet.

We do feel a bit bad at this point about including Wendy's name in the titles of these posts as she is one of the more clear-headed thinkers on these threads.

Reviewer Lucy - who has a private profile so we can't see what else she has been up to - wins the award for the most pretentious and self-righteous post of the thread:
The agent was not the only one who acted inappropriately and behaved unprofessionally. It's wrong to shift all the blame to her when the author was ALSO trying to screw with the rankings on an independent book review site. Absolving her of guilt like it never happened sends the message that this is acceptable behavior. Screwing with the rankings of the reviews because your publisher couldn't buy you the top slot is pathetic. It's sad that this author, Leigh Fallon, and apparently you too can't understand what's intrinsically wrong with scamming a system for a leg up at readers and reviewers' expenses. 
Keira didn't call a reviewer a bitch. She didn't correct her agent or ask her agent to delete that tweet the moment she saw it. She let it pass. The only thing she did was not say it herself. I won't be throwing her a parade anytime soon. 
We really needed a LOLcat for this. We'll have to dissect this bit of tripe in another post.

Wendy herself tries to shut down any disagreement, although we find this sad rather than laughable:
What also irritates the shit out of me over stuff like this are the fellow GoodReads users and bloggers who are always kissing ass and feel the need to weigh in on other people's reviews, policies, etc. You have a right to disagree with anything I say, but talking about someone publicly is always in bad taste. 
By publicly calling you a bitch this agent is essentially calling any reader who doesn't love this book a bitch.
Others express their sympathy for all that Wendy is going through and how it's so terrible that she's being attacked. /eyeroll

Everyone in this thread needs to grow the fuck up.

Getting called a bitch is not being OMG!!!!ATTACKED or BULLIED or some other over-the-top personal slight. Geez. It was rude, yes, but a mature adult would GET OVER IT.
Crap, we're going to have stop reading that thread again.

Reviewer Wendy Darling Joins the Fray

[Edited July 20, 2012 to add: If you are joining us here because of links from StoptheGRBullies, Goodreads, or the Huffington Post, please read today's post.]

We had hoped that perhaps we could enjoy GR this morning without more whinging, but unfortunately that was not to be. Yet another reviewer and her cronies are upset that someone was mean to her on the Internet.

Today's reviewer is Wendy Darling. She posted a one-star review of The Selection by Kiera Cass. The review seemed well-written to us. We haven't read the book, so we can't say whether we agree with it or not.

Let's start with the most clear case of over-reacting: the one on Wendy's blog (which her review on GR links to). An anonymous commenter writes, "You gave such a bad review for a book you didn't even read all the way though??? Well, I did read the entire book and it was absolutely, positively, wonderful!!!!" Wendy's first response is polite, and she's blase about it in the comments thread on the GR version of the review. We applaud that.

The anonymous commenter continues with, "I thoroughly enjoyed this book and await for the next one with anticipation. But, like you say, I'm entitled to my opinion and you to yours. I do hope that people don't dismiss a good read based only on your opinion though, it was well worth the read. Are you an Author?" Pretty obvious where this silliness is headed, yes? One red herring complaint from some over-sensitive authors is that someone gave a book a bad review because they are jealous competing authors. 

Wendy gets snippy in return, "'s very hard to have a conversation with someone who seems to be very insistent upon making sure her opinion is known on someone else's review. ...". While we acknowledge that Anonymous was being stupid, Wendy's response seems to indicate that she is not open to discussion of her reviews.which is a hair's breadth away from the lately-cropped-up attitude on GR that anyone who questions a reviewer's review is either an author or a troll. And that's the attitude that has us so annoyed.

Anonymous can't leave well enough alone and has a final parting shot, "... I'm going away now and not coming back because I'm having a hard time having a conversation with someone who is a Disney Character." Commeter Cillian decides to feed the troll (remember this name; she'll most likely be the subject of a future post). Then another anonymous commenter then jumps to the conclusion that the first anonymous is really the author and that those silly comments constitute bullying. This comment is even more offensive to us. As we've said many times before, really bullying is serious and calling a couple of silly comments on a blog post "bullying" trivializes it.

Back on the GR review, Wendy posts a link to a Twitter conversation between Kiera Cass and Elena Roth, who is later revealed to be Ms. Cass's agent. Ms. Roth is upset about the order in which reviews are posted on a book's GR page because (we think) that Wendy's was the first review.  Ms. Cass initially dismisses Ms. Roth's complaint. Ms. Roth goes on to call Wendy (assuming hers is the review in question) a bitch and says that she went in and "liked" the positive reviews. Ms. Cass says that she may also like the positives, then moves on another topic.

And the reviewer crowd goes wild! Highlights include:

Hannah Joy demonstrates remarkably hypocrisy, by calling Ms. Roth a "piece of shit" (in our opinion, this is worse than "bitch").

Julianna accuses Ms. Cass of calling Wendy a "bitch", even though Ms. Cass didn't.

Sharon thinks the author is immature...for what we're not sure.

Chelsea blames Ms. Cass for Ms. Roth's words. Sans also accuses the author of "asshattery" for comments that Ms. Roth - not the author! - made. So does Erika.

Reviewer The Holy Terror, one of the worst of the whingers, writes, "... it's really, really dumb of Cass to act like this." Like what? Ms. Cass wasn't the one throwing around the epithets.

Ace's comment is particularly repugnant for misusing the term "bullying".

Stephanie calls on of Ms. Cass's old blog posts tasteless because she (Ms. Cass) actually found some good humor in the early version of Wendy's review. Liking a review is tasteless?

And the comments continue. We can't continue to read and post because the exaggerations, lack of reading comprehension, and general nastiness on the part of many commenters is extremely tiring. 

A quick review of Twitter also shows that Jane Litte of DearAuthor has once again commented on this matter. She accuses Ms. Cass of trying to "jigger" the ratings and "down vote" a negative review. Sorry, Ms. Litte, GR doesn't allow you to "down vote". The most intellectually disturbing comment by Ms. Litte is where she implies that friends of Ms. Cass cannot possibly actually like a positive review of her book. You know what, people don't automatically lose their right to have an opinion simply because they know and like an author. Anti-free-speech much?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Reviewer Booker - GR's Newest Jackass

Reviewer Booker is GR's newest jackass. This troll account was created this month, and his (?) activity consists solely of posting personal attacks on author, Jamie McGuire. And other reviewers crowd goes wild with approval. Because personal attacks on authors are A-OK, but personal attacks on reviewers are a cardinal sin. Booker apparently also trolled Ms. McGuire's blog.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reviewer Stephanie vs Leigh Fallon

Reviewer Stephanie wrote a scathing review of Leigh Fallon's Carrier of the Mark, which we found quite entertaining (we have no particular love for Twilight or Twilight clones).

The author is upset by this review and vents privately to a couple of friends in an email. Ouch, it's got some nasty insults in it, and maybe she was having a really bad day. Personally, we have learned over the years to never write anything in an email that you wouldn't to see the light of day...but that's another story. However, the author considered this private correspondence to a couple of friends. See her reply to Stephanie right below the text of that email in the link. What are friends for if not say stupid shit to that you would never ever repeat in public?

Unfortunately, the author's friends are not very good friends, and the email is forwarded to other people. One of those people sends a copy to Stephanie. Then Stephanie posts the private correspondence publicly on her status. We can understand that her feelings might be hurt - although see our post about writing scathing reviews means expecting backlash) - but the posting of private correspondence is not the solution.

The usual reviewer fan-girl flurry ensues. The general consensus seems to be that it was unprofessional for the author to vent in private as well as in public. For example:
This was unprofessional of her...  
This author's antics with regard to a negative review are immature, vindictive, puerile, unethical, and - most of all - unprofessional. Her publisher should know about this. Disgusting. She's now on my "never read" list. 
Authors ...  need to grow a thicker skin and come to the realisation that not every single person who reads their book is going to love it. Pathetic is a bloody understatement
Reviewer Adam Archer - yes, the one from our earlier post - chimes in. We're not quoting his drivel here.

Reviewer Kira also responds, still upset from her own brush with an upset author, and accuses the Leigh Fallon of bullying. Considering that Leigh is not the one who sent the email to Stephanie, this is clearly not author bullying. Using the word "bullying" is, in fact, trivializing real instances of bullying.

But let's look at the other thing that's got the review fan-girls stirred up. In the email, Leigh asks her friends to find others to up-vote the positive reviews on Amazon. This is seen as unethical:
You should MOST CERTAINLY do it, because that's definitely playing the system. Authors should NOT be getting their little minions to do this kind of shit.
I feel like reporting this to Amazon. She's screwing with the system. I can't help it if others felt the same way about her book! 
We're going to apply some common sense here and disagree with knee-jerk reaction. The author didn't ask her friends to mark the negative reviews as unhelpful. That we would have (vehemently!) disapproved of because that's not what the useful yes/no buttons are supposed to be for on Amazon.  Unless of course the negative review was just a "this book sucks" because that's negative and useless. Lots of negative votes on a review can also affect a user's rank, so down-voting reviews that contain useful information but that you don't agree with is, frankly, petty.

However, the author instead asked people to mark the good reviews as helpful.  We know that's a fine distinction, but the author isn't asking her friends to criticize Stephanie or do anything to damage her ranking on Amazon. And to us the author's friends and family have just as much right as anyone else to find the positive reviews helpful as any other reader. They can't have an opinion just because they know the author? What if they've read the book and liked it? Don't they have the right to say so?

And of course in the backlash in all of this, reviewers have done just what we disapprove of an up-voted negative but clearly useless reviews so that they now appear above more detailed positive reviews. For example, these two reviews were posted after the GR brou-haha:
Another sad Twilight remake. Lord, when will this end? Alternatively, if you love Twilight and hate originality - you will LOVE this book! - Posted Jan 5, 2012
I don't read books where the author copies another book. This author to me is sloppy, way too many similarities to twilight. Very lazy! Don't waste your time with this one. If you wanna read it id suggest you just go reread twilight. - Posted Jan 6, 2012
And both of these now show as "more useful" than all of the positive reviews. Yup, who's screwing with the system now? Where is the condemnation from reviewers about these reviews being up-voted? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

Too bad a great review had to get marred by the posting of private correspondence. Incidentally, look the email link again. The author apologized to Stephanie even though what Stephanie read was never meant for her to see. If we were the author, we'd be looking for better close personal friends, ones that know better than to forward emails around the Internet.

We won't be reading Carrier of the Mark, but we won't be burning the author in effigy either. We also hope Stephanie keeps writing awesome reviews.

Kudos to Reviewer M!

Yes, yes, yes. Reviewer M, we love you and agree wholeheartedly. We think you may have even said it better than us:
What bothers me about many of these reviewer + fans verses author + fans is they all seem to follow this pattern: 
1) Reviewer posts a review, harboring the presumption that his/her words are somehow "final" and "off limits" to authors/author's fans. This is a very ignorant presumption in the first place. Reviewers should understand that they are sharing their private opinions with the public. The public is free to respond. If reviewers are uncomfortable with addressing particular people about their reviews, I feel the reviewer owes it to their audience to post disclaimers indicating they don't acknowledge comments from authors on their reviews and that author comments are unwelcome in their blogs, threads, or what have you. 
2) The author of the work reviewed responds to the reviewer. The quality of the response may range from very civil and professional to heinous, but all the responses get lumped under the same label, namely that the author DARED to reply to the reviewer's comments and that is SO NOT ALLOWED, even without any disclaimer or other reasonable notification of the reviewer's feelings on this matter. 
3) Before you know it, the "injured" reviewer is posting all over Goodreads and anywhere else s/he can find how she just HATES it when an author "attacks" her reviews. The reviewer's fans chime in with their "How horrible and unprofessional!" and "Authors have no business responding to reviews! Reviews are for readers only!" and "I'm adding this author to my "boycotted authors list." And so on.
4) Alternatively, the author may not respond directly to the reviewer or his/her review, but may opt to post a blog entry or LJ entry or something either ranting about "mean reviewers" or ridiculing bad reviewers in some way. Inevitably, this gets back to the reviewers and their fans and they use this information for yet another "Authors are so horrible" powwow. 
QFT. There's a bit more. Go read the whole thing.

Reviewer Kira and "Tempest" by Julie Cross

GoodReads reviewer Kira wrote a review of "Tempest" by Julie Cross based a a few sample pages offered as a free preview. One of the characters in the sample pages is portrayed as man-hating, and another character refers to the initial character as someone prone to "feminist" rants. Kira objects to what she sees a stereotypical depiction of feminists as man-hating and angry.


The quoted text actually just implies that one man-hating girl identifies herself as a feminist. It never says or implies that all feminists share that same view. Without actually reading the rest of the book, Kira also asserts that the book, as a whole, misrepresents feminism:
The attitude to feminism that this book has is the same as the masses; that all feminists are angry, man-hating bitches with nothing better to do than to moan. Apparently we're all lesbians, too, because the only reason anyone would be a lesbian would be to escape men - it wouldn't simply be because they're naturally attracted to other women. Why, no! How preposterous!
I am also extremely insulted by this book's quite overt insinuation that because I am a feminist, I'm a misandrist.
[As an aside: Kira's entitled to her own opinion of it, but this is a bit silly IOO. If you haven't read the whole book, you can't know how the issue is ultimately dealt with. You can complain about the scenes that you did read, but any further speculation is just...guessing and frankly, we're not impressed by guessing.]

Dan Krokos, author of another book, pops in (big mistake!) and asks what is actually a very pertinent question: "What did you think of the rest of the book?"

Then the discussion goes off into how the text supports harmful stereotypes, confuses feminism and misandry, etc., by reviewers who, mostly, haven't read the book and can't speak reliably about how the book portrays feminism beyond this single scene.

Dan gets accused of trolling by another reviewer, even though he was not the only one to ask what Kira thought of the rest of the book.

Kira feels paranoid because OMGWTFBBQ authors might actually read her review. Later she accuses unnamed authors of stalking her. For reading and responding, I think, to publicly posted reviews. This is about where we flagged this thread for inclusion on this blog.

Another reviewer mentions that reading the entire book might be a good thing. The first bandwagoner to respond to him states, "The narrative supports the 'feminist = evil man hating shrew' stereotype through other characters, including Holly, and especially through the characterization of Lydia herself. She's a walking stereotype practically designed to legitimate it." This bandwagoner also states that she hasn't read the book either, just the few passages that others have posted. 

Julie Cross, the author of the book, jumps in and is very graciousKudos from us, Ms. Cross!

And this only on page 2. The entire response thread is 8 pages and almost 400 comments long. There's much talk of abuse via Twitter, never-ever-OMG-never reading certain authors again, author bashing, high-horse lecturing by reviewers, whinging, etc. Many reviewers tell Kira how sorry they are that, OMG, poor thing, someone said something bad on the Internet about her and/or her reviews, and at the same time saying bad things about authors/author's comments. A couple of other authors make gracious appearances (kudos to them as well!). Dan Krokos eventually apologizes for posting anything at all in response to the review.

Even though we've read a few linked up blog posts, we can't find any screenshots of Dan Krokos' Twitter posts that supposedly "bullied" Kira. Kira says that she does not have a Twitter account and thus could not have been contacted by Dan via Twitter. Cyber-bullying is a very real problem, and it bothers us to see that term misused here. Posting a few stupid comments about someone somewhere on the Internet is, well, stupid, but it's not bullying or harassment.

The whole debacle was tiring to read. Authors shouldn't jump into review threads to complain, period. But it is the height of hypocrisy to write aggressive and hostile reviews and then act surprised and outraged when you receive some hostility in return. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

Talk about a tempest in a teapot.

(OK, enough cheesy sayings...)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Reviewer Adam Archer vs. Free Speech

Good Reads reviewer Adam 'Archer' thinks that people who are "bigots" shouldn't be allowed to publish.

Let's ignore for now that Adam's definition of "bigot" is "someone who had the temerity to post an opinion different than mine about a controversial subject". We're just glad Adam wasn't around when our Constitution was written.

Jane Litte vs Jamie McGuire on Twitter

This is not strictly a GoodReads folly, but we just recently read this entire exchange on Twitter and our respect went up for Jamie McGuire and down for Jane Litte of DearAuthor. We think we've got the entire exchange:


Jane: I'm posting my review on Sat of ur book & it contains everything that you seem to hate and despise in a review.

Jane: so if your google alert pops up with a link to a site called you probably don't want to read it.
Us: What was the point of this taunt?

Jamie: promises to fry me in her upcoming review on Dear Author. And that's okay.

Us: FWIW, we would have interpreted Jane's comment the same way Jamie did.

Jane: I am not going to fry you at all but reading your blog post and tweets, I have committed every venal sin you hate act rvwrs.

Jane: My review was written last week before I even read your blog post or your tweets.

Jane: but I did mention my concern abt the portrayal; that the characters were in a potentially abusive relationship

Jane: I felt like it portrayed a very unhealthy relationship in a fairly positive light.

Jane: But I also said I liked it. I recommended it to other readers. I said your voice was strong and compelling.

Jane: But in light of what you've said about reviewers and reviews, shouldn't I be concerned?

Us: So Jane objects to Jamie responding to reviews and reviewers. Yet when
Jamie tries to disengage from Jane (a reviewer), Jane sends six more
tweets trying to start an argument.

Jamie: I've read your posts and I understand your viewpoint. I don't understand your anger, but you don't need me to.

Us: Jamie again tries to disengage from the conversation without arguing.

Jane: I have no anger toward you. It's a complete disappointment but it's not anger.

Jane: Just like your last glib tweet was a disappointment.

Us: So how does Jane want Jamie to respond? She's unprofessional
if she argues with reviewers and glib if she doesn't argue with them.

Jamie: I've read some disappointing things myself lately.

Jane: Let me be clear. My reviews about the book only. I don't "fry" any other and I take exception to the accusation that I would

Us: Then maybe NOT taunting the author would have been a better decision.

Jamie: So the warning about the Google alerts was meant as...?

Jane: You had interacted w me in the past. I wanted to give you heads up that my review contained all the things you hate. 

                                 Us: Pretty weak excuse.


We do think that Jamie was wrong to criticize the reviewers personally in her blog post (see previous post), but we also remember what our Mom used to say: two wrongs don't make a right. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Reviewer Sophia vs. Jamie McGuire

A reviewer who goes by Sophia wrote a review of Jamie McGuire's Beautiful Disaster. She doesn't like relationship portrayed in the book...or at least the first nine chapters of the book, because that is all the further she read. The review is quite hostile to the book and includes some digs at other reviewers liked the book:

No really, how can you read this?

It scares the shit out of me to see that some people are able to read such violence and yet remain flippant and oh-so-casual like it's no big deal. It makes me wonder, if they ever witness a real beat-up, would they react? Would they care?

And for those who pretendedly realized that it wasn't healthy, but yet managed to like the book anyway: why would you want to witness such a relationship? What's the pleasure in contemplating two people who never, ever realize how deep they've fallen into violence and abuse?
This review comes to the attention of the author who, rather ill-advisedly, makes a blog post that criticizes some reviewers and asks them not to"demean and disrespect [her] fans" who liked the book. The blog post would have been far better without her comments about the attitudes of reviewers who didn't like her book, but still, she has a valid point about the reviewer in question attacking her fans.

Of course, this blog post seen as WHOLLY INAPPROPRIATE AND UNPROFESSIONAL by scads of bandwagon-jumping reviewers on GR. Because authors are never ever supposed to react to reviews. Ever. Even if the review crosses the line from talking about the book to talking about the author and/or people who liked the book. For the record, we think the author should have left well enough alone, but the holier-than-thou attitude of some of the reviewers posting in that thread turned our stomach.

The author is later taunted via Twitter by a reviewer at - and owner of - a popular web site:
Jane L

I'm posting my review on Sat of ur book & it contains everything that you seem to hate and despise in a review.
Jane L

so if your google alert pops up with a link to a site called you probably don't want to read it.
Another blogger picks up the kerfuffle but says only that McGuire "abuses negative reviewers in blog" and leaves off the part about the blog asking reviewers not to abuse the author's fans.

Yeah, right. Look, folks. You can post nasty reviews that make unflattering comments about fans, other reviewers, etc., on the Internet all you want, but it's hypocritical to then get pissed off when the people you attacked - or their friends or supporters - get upset and respond. In other words: it's your right to be an asshole on the Internet, but it's also the right of others to call you on it.


Like any other review site, GoodReads has it share of stupidity, snark, flame wars, bitching, and other drama. Some of it is amusing. At least, we think so.

And we're going to share.

Don't get us wrong. We like reviews, both nice ones and snarky ones. We like reviewers. We like authors. We love books.

What we don't like is hypocrisy, narrow-mindedness, whinging about hostility being met with hostility, and false accusations of bullying. Lately there's been a lot of all of that on GoodReads by folks - both authors and reviewers - who need put on their big girl - or big boy - panties. Authors behaving badly is a common topic on many reviewing blogs and a quite a fun Google search term. Unfortunately, it seems that the pendulum has swung so far against authors that now reviewers behaving badly need to be addressed.

Read on, fellow book lovers.