This is an issue that is very personal to me, however, I'm going to try my best to think outside of myself and approach this in a calm and professional manner. Now, while I WILL CERTAINLY TRY, I CANNOT MAKE ANY PROMISES, for I am very passionate about this subject matter.
Now, that that's out of the way, I'd like to talk to you all about Authors and Cyber Bullying.
Many times us authors feel as though we are the victims of cyber bullying. Many times we fuss about how So-and-so trolled our book and wrote a bad review just to be spiteful and how we are being abused.
While all that is and can be true, there is another side to that token that many are ignoring. That is, AUTHORS CAN BE CYBER BULLIES TOO.
15 years ago, NEVER IN MY WILDEST DREAMS, would I have imagined that I would be talking about such a thing as Cyber Bullying; much less as it pertained to the writing community. As the matter of fact, this didn't even exist 15 years ago--at least not in my world.
Before I go into the full swing of things, I think I need to back up for a little bit.
Let's have a "rewind" moment, shall we?
As some of you may or may not know, I work with The Review Board, a community of authors whom offers FREE reviews to the literary public. Here we get several review requests and accept all genres. While we have a "right to refuse" clause in our guidelines, typically there are VERY, VERY FEW books that are actually turned down. TRB does this as a public service to authors in need of reviews.
Needless to say, collectively and independently, we read A LOT of books.
But, do you know what?
Never in my WILDEST dreams had I imagined that authors would be SO UNGRATEFUL AND DISRESPECTFUL!
And, I mean that from the bottom of my heart!
There is this deep rooted sense of entitlement that authors have started to develop that, simply put, PISSES ME OFF!
My mid always automatically defaults to the proverbial "Who the fuck are you?"
I TOO am an author, and I never just assume that people are going to love my writing/books. As the matter of fact, whenever I get a good review I am highly grateful. When I get a bad one, I suck it up and mosey on. I mean, what good will it do to have a shit-competition with your reviewer? Moreover, what type of reputation are you going to get other than a bad one. I mean, no need getting you panties all tied up in a bunch.
Okay ... I'd said that I was going to try to not make this personal. I'm failing horribly at it. But, you know what? Oh well! Sometimes things just need to be said.
Well, since I veered into the "personal"...
What I really want to say to these babies is, *insert sarcastic mommy voice here* "Oh! Oh my! Is the baby poopy in his diaper? Oh no! Does the baby need his binky?"
SUCK IT THE HELL UP ALREADY!
The world is NOT going to fall apart if you get a less than favorable review!
But you see? That's not the biggest of problems. The biggest problem is that there are hundreds of authors approaching The Review Board, and reviewing places online like it, asking for reviews THEN getting mad when a person like me says exactly what she thought about the book.
An even bigger problem is that they then blatantly begin to bully you. They have the audacity to call you a liar, say that you didn't read their book, that you're wrong, that you don't know what you're talking about, and the list goes on.
First off, since WHEN is giving MY OPINION about something wrong? I didn't know that personal reading preference and individual thoughts about a work COULD BE WRONG or considered lies. Shit, I thought we lived in a free country.
AND THEN, they try to bamboozle, even threaten you into changing and/or remove your review "or else".
These people threaten to ruin your reputation, to slander you, and many other things. For some time I was wanting to be civil about the entire situation. I'd thought that avoidance or ignoring them was a good option. At this point, I'm thinking "BRING IT ON!"
I don't know if that's bad or good.
Let me tell you a little bit about something that happened last Friday (January 9th, 2015). One of the authors whose book I reviewed as part of The Review Board got angry at the other reviewer and myself for 2 GOOD REVIEWS!
Yes, that's right! You heard me correct; THE REVIEWS WERE GOOD!
My colleague gave her a favorable 4 star review, and made mention of the same faux pas in her review, that I did in mine. I gave the book a 3 star review, mentioning all of the things that I thought needed work, but also gave a detailed explanation of it, as well as my general thoughts on the book. Admittedly, I did say one thing--this apparently was the ONLY thing the author saw out of a very long and detailed, and otherwise favorable review. That was, that it was a very long read.
This woman became irate and attacked us verbally via email accusing me of lying about having read it, that I was a phony, and God know what else. She even insisted that I remove my review of her book.
THEN, she told my colleague that while "she was grateful" for her 4 star review, that she wanted her to change it to 5 stars and reword her review to make the book look stellar.
She even went as far as to tell us that we "were ruining the future of female empowerment" because we didn't give her a stellar 5 star review. At the end she added that she was "going to make it known that The Review Board is a fake and self-righteous board full of uppity, self-important authors" or some such nonsense. I can't remember it verbatim.
Now, lets examine the facts, shall we?
YOU came to US for a FREE book review! YOU were told to read the Submission Guidelines prior to submitting your book. YOU decided that YOU could wait whatever time necessary to get the review. Then WE READ YOUR BOOK! Next, WE gave OUR over all review/thoughts of the book. Later on, since YOU were not in agreement with OUR views YOU bullied US!
Who is a self-righteous, uppity, self-important author?
Here is another thing ...
When you hover over the "stars" on Amazon and Goodreads, it gives you a explanation of what the star ratings equate to. They are as follows:
1 Star = I hated it
2 Stars = I don't like it
3 Stars = It's okay
4 Stars = I like it
5 Stars = I love it
Had the author taken her time to read the rating system, as well as the review she would have seen that the reviews were not considered "bad".
It makes you want to scream in their face and say "HOW IN GOD'S NAME CAN YOU WRITE, IF YOUR DUMB ASS CAN'T EVEN READ?!"
I say all that, to say this;
Authors, YOU CAN BE BULLIES TOO! Chill the hell out! There is no wonder why less and less people are giving book reviews. Because you all keep acting a fool.
Truthfully, I almost gave up reviewing altogether myself because of this. Who wants to be asked to review of book, take out from their precious time to read a book, and review it to then be harassed for doing so? No one!
My TRB colleague wrote a blog post about this herself the other day. It's called "Dear Authors, Let's Have a Conversation" give it a look. It's very informative.
I'm telling you, enough is enough! I've gotten to the point where if this happens again, you all might be seeing my face on the news as The Reviewer Who Flipped Shit.
But, on an honest note ... this is just the way I think and how I feel about it. But I do realize that if I feel this way, there must be tons of reviewers out there feeling exactly the same way.
Authors, if you can't behave then don't expect people to be willing to actually read and review your book. It's ridiculous. More than that, it's petty bullying!