[Imaginative Discussions] – I’m Getting Tired of Your Excuses

Posted February 5, 2014 by Kara in Imaginative Discussions / 14 Comments

imaginative discussions

Imagine this scenario:  Blogger A writes a 3 star review.  Author 1 sees review and goes insane on Twitter.  Bloggers B, C, D, and E all take to the Twitterverse to complain about the minefield that is author-blogger relations these days, and how they wish everyone could get along because there is no one entity that is clearly at fault.

To which I say you are absolutely, unequivocally wrong.

I have seen more than enough people on Twitter coming to the rescue of these poor defenseless authors.  To them, it is hard for an author to separate herself from her work and so it’s totally acceptable and forgivable when said author ‘gets defensive’ over a ‘negative/hateful/bully review.’  But when did it become acceptable to treat people like shit?

Now, imagine this scenario:  Consumer A calls the customer service line to complain about a subpar product.  Customer Service Rep 1 lays into Consumer A.  “You’re using it wrong.  You don’t know how to manufacture this product so obviously you don’t know what you’re talking about.  You’re just jealous because you want to be a manufacturer but you failed.  Call back when you’ve actually manufactured a product.”

Can we all agree that we would be fucking flabbergasted if that’s the way we were treated when calling a company to issue a valid complaint? Then why, why, why do we give authors a pass?  We are readers, and in that, we are consumers.  We are reviewing a product, sometimes even spending money on that product, and ALWAYS spending our precious time on that product.  We are entitled to our opinions about that product.  That’s actually what we do!  We are here to give our opinions; our opinions are respected at least by publishing companies who offer us their product for the sole purpose of reviewing, and also by the countless readers who visit our blogs every day.

Also, our opinion’s credibility is not directly related to how many novels we have published.  First of all, I know plenty of bloggers who have no interest in being a published author.  But even if we were all aspiring authors, giving your book a low rating =/= jealousy.  If that were the case, then how do you explain all the 5 star ratings we’ve given in the past?

All of this is neither here nor there.  You all know my opinion on this subject.  Authors, with their huge fan bases and their publishing companies to support them are in a position of power and have no business calling out a reviewer, even a popular reviewer.  But what I really want to ask is why there are people out there excusing this shitty author behavior?  How can you be okay with and even defend one person acting like a total asshole to another person?  There are reviewers, bloggers, and readers out there that think it’s totally acceptable for an author to complain about reviewers and to even approach them outright, in public, with their thousands of followers and fans to see.  This behavior is unacceptable and irresponsible.  Fans are, on the whole, okay, but there are always the overzealous outliers that will continue to defend the author’s honor well after the author has stepped out of the ring.

I do not care if an author is a debut author.  In the years before they were published I am sure they knew better than to gang up on someone, to call them filthy names, and to respond to criticism with vitriol and insults.  Once they become an author, it’s suddenly okay to do these things?  Yeah, I don’t think so.  And veteran authors who make it a habit of being insufferable assholes?  Worse.  You’ve been around this block enough to know how to act in public.


14 responses to “[Imaginative Discussions] – I’m Getting Tired of Your Excuses

  1. This is damn right Bekka! I’ve become increasingly worried about reviewing books for the fear that I’ll upset someone somewhere and that’s the wrong attitude. You have hit the nail right on the head here, and it’s great! Someone somewhere is also going to unimpressed, and some people need to realise this.

    Book Badger

  2. Amen. I love that you compare books to products because they ARE products and we ARE consumers. Once your book is out there, it’s to be consumed by the reader and judged as they see fit. You can’t control what people are saying about your book — it’s out there, it’s gone, it’s not yours anymore. I can’t believe some authors would think that readers are jealous if they give a low rating — that makes NO sense to me. I think some authors just need to suck it up and shut up, personally. I mean, I completely agree with Amanda who commented when she said that she’s become worried about reviewing books because she might upset someone. I think that’s why I’ve been steering away from a lot of indie books because I find that the self-published can be the worse (though there are some high and mighty published authors out there who are just as bad!).

    Anyway, great post — and great quote! Thanks, Bekka!

  3. I absolutely agree. And to be honest…I don’t understand why this whole concept is so hard to grasp for some people?

    I have only just started on my path as an ‘author’. Hardly any people have read my book so I haven’t been subjected to any snarky reviews or anything at this point…but I’m braced for it. I’m prepared for it. And I’m ready to learn from it. Of course, it won’t be pleasant if I wake up one day to find out that somebody has torn apart my writing.

    But that’s just a part of being published!

    If you want to make a career this way…if you want people to spend THEIR HARD EARNED MONEY on your book, to fund YOUR life…then you damn well better accept any and all opinions on the product. If you can’t handle that, then don’t sell your work!

    Like…how is that hard to work out??? I really don’t get it.

    Yeah, some people might go too far…in your head they might be way off the mark…but people are free to say what they want!

  4. Agree with everything here! in the end, before you are an author and before we are reviewers, we are humans, and as humans we all deserve to be treated with respect. I saw the fiasco that happened in the recent days and I am still appalled of the behavior some authors have shown towards reviewers and negative reviews – the arrogance and the rudeness! You’d think they were acting they earned to do that to others!

    Hopefully there will be less of these incidents now. We need less drama in our lives.

  5. I feel like the book industry kind of views itself as a little more soulful than other industry. I think there’s this illusion that it’s all warm hot cocoa and good books. The book industry has a warmer image than the more cutthroat movie and music industries, so when someone acts up, many people act conciliatory. I love authors- I’m impressed with anyone that can manage to write a full book. I agree with you though- in no other setting is the way some authors behave tolerated. I think authors should just leave readers alone. Even when I write a positive review, I really feel uncomfortable having the author comment without me showing them the review. Anyway, great post.

    -P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex

  6. PRAISE. PRAISEEEEEEE. Ugh. The fact that no one really brought up the comparison to a customer/customer sales rep relationship till now was bugging me. Let all the authors in the world read this post. And then kindly SHUT UP.

  7. Wonderful post, Bekka! I completely agree with everything you said here! I never understand people supporting ganging-up on reviewers. Poor little author, they got a bad review… news flash; there is NEVER gonna be a book that gets just good reviews. It’s impossible, and they should be aware of that before publishing, and definitely not act like a-holes about it. Worse, we shouldn’t support that kind of behavior, just because we love the author (or more accurately, his book). I know I can’t.
    Not to say that authors don’t have the right to get hurt or insulted (they’re just human beings, after all), but keep it in your own house, with your friends. Don’t go publicly attacking that person.

  8. So well said. It astounds me every time I see an author lashing out at readers for “negative” reviews (the crap you got for your 3 star review was especially ridiculous). Authors have to understand that its not possible for everyone to LOVE or even like their book. And readers are titled to their opinion and have the right to share it as well. It is not a personal attack, an act of jealousy, or books being “misunderstood” and bad behavior will do more harm to their sales than a bad review will. Ugh!

    I also hate when other readers -not necessarily the author – comment on reviews and bitch at the reviewer for not liking a book. I think its ok to say why you may have a different opinion – but there is a polite way to do it and a not-so-polite way to do it.

  9. Oh my god, YES. I am like a month late, but WHATEVER. So yeah, in a case like that, someone is totally at fault. I don’t really get it. In no other profession are you allowed to mouth off at a customer like that without repercussions. Like, bitch at home like everyone else does. Good lord.

    “You’re just jealous because you want to be a manufacturer but you failed.” *craughs*

    I’m also pretty much over the excuse that the author just didn’t know this was unacceptable. Did they not research? Are publishers really not giving them a little info packet about not being a dick? HOW HARD IS THIS?

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