As a reviewer myself, I usually do not jump on the Team Author bandwagon when there is an author/blogger melt-down. Most of the time I’m firmly planted in the, “ouch negative reviews suck, but you can’t please everyone” side of the argument.
I truly believe that book bloggers have a right to review a book and give their opinion on it. You are a business, your book is for SALE. We have every right to voice our opinion about it. Criticism, negative and positive happen throughout every aspect of your life. Pull up your big girl panties and take it, ten people look at a Picasso and I betcha — 2 of those people will say it looks like crap. I also believe that authors, because it is there work of art have every right to get upset about a negative review…but common sense says, go get a drink with your girlfriends and bitch about it, don’t write a scathing comment on Goodreads in rebuttal. Unless you want to get a lot more negative feedback. Especially in this day and age.
Why do I say this? Because now, there are groups of people that are dying for an “Author Behaving Badly” incident. There are now whole blogs dedicated to just this sort of thing. There are Goodreads forums and shelves, there are special Goodreads lists. Waiting and waiting for another incident. Before the Jacqueline Howett incident this was relatively unheard of, or at least not as well known, they had a few…but it took a few major incidents of Blogger vs. Author for a few people to realize:
Holy Shit…look at my page views.
Then the drama machine starts. But, you see, the basics of most of these incidents are really churned up by legitimate negative reviews. The book blogger read a book, they didn’t like it, they strive to write a fair, maybe snarky, but legitimate review…and then the author returned with a scathing backlash. We root for the blogger, because they were just giving their opinion. Hell, they didn’t even expect that the author would read their review. Do people expect Anne Rice to read their review? Obviously she does.
But, then in turn there are reviewers who are dying to write a negative review. Dying to have the author bring the hurt.
“Bring it on.” They say.
I’ve only noticed a few (about 15 that I can think of off-hand) reviewers out there like this, but they do get noticed and quickly. There is actually a blog that specializes in reading books they hate. They don’t just post reviews, they read it chapter by chapter. And when exploring the sites, it doesn’t really seem like they like authors. And they make the rest of us look like chumps. Because of their scandalous reviews….authors begin making generalize statements, about all reviewers on the internet in general. And then of course the mass of internet reviewers freak out…
These people read a book, because they know they won’t like it. I’ve even seen where they preface the review with…
“I saw this book on XXX site and they said it sucks, so I went in knowing I would probably hate it. Plus it’s a historical romance and you know I hate me some bodice rippers.”
Then why read it?
This is what I consider baiting. This is what I don’t agree with. Why would you review a book you knew you wouldn’t like? Unless of course you were trying to get the author to retaliate? Is that their intention, because it sure as hell looks like it? So then you can strum up controversy, maybe get your blog listed on GalleyCat, quoted on Huffington Post and suddenly you’re famous.
I equate it with walking up to someone and saying, “you suck.” And then standing back and seeing what they do in response. Does the better man walk away? Does he turn the other cheek? Well, in this modern Blogger vs. Author world you better hope he does, because watch out if they even say “boo” hordes of internet folks will flock to Amazon and start giving your book 1 star ratings. Amazon.com has done a good job of weeding out the retaliatory ratings, but on Goodreads it takes a little longer…
Look don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of legitimate cases where the author acts like a douche, but there are also cases where it’s the reviewer who should be in the douche category– and frankly, if I was the author, I wouldn’t have been able to keep my mouth shut either. They just called the book, “not worthy to be substituted as toilet paper…and the author writes like she smokes crack. If you don’t believe me look at her author picture…” (fake review, but based off of a real one that I’ve read)
What do I consider author baiting?
• Neggie Fishing. Reading a book, to review, knowing you won’t like it
• Series Hate. Reading a second in series, if you really didn’t like the first
• Author Hate. Reading a book in which you do not like the author
• Poke The Bear. Reading a book of a known “hot head” author, intentionally to cause controversy
• Mock the Mental. Reading a book because it is a well-known “bad book” just to see if it is as bad as they say, just to write a funny negative review
• Bully Review. Insulting the author
• Sailor Review. Using inflammatory or derogatory words without giving reasons
• Twee-tack. Subtle addition, but @ing the author with the negative review.
Some of this is really easy to do. I would love to grab a Laurel K. Hamilton, Anita Blake book and just go through it and tell you the reason why this series blows. Because of the fact that I feel hurt over the degradation of the series — and the author is known to be a hot head – and I think someone needs to honestly tell her that the books are terrible (obviously even her editor is scared of her!) But, I don’t. I wrote a review on the last book I read and then did a series break-up post. That’s it…it’s tempting, but it doesn’t mean it’s right. She probably thinks her books are awesome, and millions buy her books still…so obviously some people think they are awesome. It’s just my opinion and it can be a hurtful opinion, so why should I go out of my way to impart that hurtful opinion on someone?
Sometimes it does happen unintentionally, a book ingrates that passion in us and a snark review just pops out. This isn’t about that. This is about the people that post reviews just to be negative. Just to bash. And frankly, they give all of us “citizen reviewers” a bad name. Because the more drama these people stir up, the more intolerable the community will become. There might only be ten of them screaming at each other in a room of 1000 – but the 990 others aren’t the center of attention.
There are some people that will always just go after the drama, no matter what happens. And it is easy to be caught up in it, I’m just as guilty as the next girl. And frankly, I doubt that the people that do this with the intention of author baiting, most likely will never read this. The only advice I can give, is distance yourself from the ones you think do this and before you get caught up in the blacklist and the author’s behaving badly lists, go and back-track through it and find out where it all started. Half the stuff that I’ve looked into in the last month, you can’t even find where it started — it’s just a forum with a lot of screen shots and quotes. One of which I suspected was ‘shopped. Which in turn fueled this post. The person that claimed the author made that comment, removed it later. It’s easy to fake a comment, it’s easy to churn up drama…I just want to know why. Is it fun to mock and hate?
Or appreciate the things we enjoy?
For your enjoyment…
Happy Thursday Everyone! Have a great day, now it’s time to Talk Less, Read More, Blog with Integrity and if you have any questions that you want featured in a BB101 – ask them here:[gravityform id=”3″ name=”Book Blogging 101 Questions”]