Saturday, August 25, 2012

Professionalism in the work place for an author?

I'm going to preface this post with a disclaimer.  This is my opinion.  I'm stating my opinion because we still have freedom of speech around here, and by law I have that right.  I'm not looking for an argument.  In fact, my hope is that some will read this post and rethink their actions.  (Now, on to the actual post.)

It seems like daily I'm seeing yet another instance of an author behaving badly.  I read 3 different blog posts about it yesterday and then lo-and-behold, ran face first into another instance last night.

The relationship between authors and reviewers can be tenuous at times.  Of course we love getting those 5 star reviews.  (Who wouldn't?)  However, when those 1 star reviews come in....they can have a bit of a sting at times.  But what happens when that terrible review comes from another author?

As stated above, this is JUST my opinion.  First and foremost, I don't believe authors should be giving bad reviews.  As an author, you probably have a following of some sort.  Is it fair to persuade your followers to stay away from another author's work simply because you don't like it?  I don't believe it is.  Different strokes for different folks and all that.

When I hear phrases like:  It was a complete waste of time, or worst book I ever read, come out of another author's mouth (or fingers) it makes me cringe.  (Even if they aren't saying it about me.)  Do they have the right to their opinion?  Of course!  However, I do believe that authors have a moral obligation to be professional an act responsibly when leaving a review.

Personally, I live by the "If you don't have something nice to say, keep quiet!" rule.  There are scads of books out there I do not like.  It is easy to find out which books I enjoy because I WILL review them.  As far as I'm concerned it's no one's business which books I detest. LOL

Now, it goes much deeper than just "I don't like your book."  Recently there seems to be a rise in personal attacks from authors against authors. Most of which take place in the numerous online review forums.  Some have gone so far as to create fake accounts to leave particularly nasty reviews, while others just come right out and say it.   The practice of doing this might actually get you some publicity.  If it blows up into an all out fan might actually see a rise in sales.  OR you might be ending your career.

As a reader, I have something to say to those people.  Readers aren't stupid!  They might not catch the first trick, but they'll probably catch on by the second or third time.  (And by the way, some of us see it the first time.)

As an author, I'd like to say this:  If you are granted the good fortune to gain a readership, you have an obligation to those particular people.  You owe them the courtesy of behaving in a manner that will not disappoint or embarrass them.  I'm not talking about writing, I'm talking about your public behavior.

I'm not trying cast stones while living in a glass house.  I'm human and sometimes I fail.  However, I keep trying.  Personally, I don't want to fail my readers.  I know I owe them.

I guess the whole point of this post is simply this:  Wake up authors!!!!  We have books to write and people are waiting.  We don't have time for all the petty nonsense that's been going on.  If you are justifying your actions by saying you have the right to say whatever you want, remember, although you do have that have an obligation to your fans to say it in an appropriate manner.  And if you are just looking to bash someone and bring them down a notch or two, be very careful.  The next time you do so, your fans just might catch on to what you are doing and without them your books are just files on a computer.

This society is only as good as the people living within it.  Stop complaining about the state of things and DO something to change it.  It all starts with one very simple thing.  Be a better person.  If enough of us do that, this world will change.  Idealistic?  Maybe, but the alternative to having hope is having nothing. ;)



  1. Hi Willow,
    I have no idea what has been happening lately, but I could not agree with you more. I also think authors have an increased obligation to remain respectful of their peers. Reviews should serve an important purpose, and that purpose is not to bash and humiliate or cripple sales of an author. I believe reviews are to assist with making a choice in which books to try and to help the author with constructive criticism, which may improve their writing. Have a great day and thanks for the idealistic logic and my hope is that we will all strive to be better people. :)

  2. Well said Willow I agree with freedom of speech & all but your right some people take it to far. In my opinion if you run people down that makes you look bad so why take that chance. If I don`t like an author I stay away from their books not talk bad about them, because maybe it`s just not my liking but could be someone else`s.

  3. Author, reviewer, fan, reader, writer, editor, and all that fall in between; basically I think any and all are capable of leaving constructive criticism. Though a certain book may not be your taste, if you are incapable of leaving "Constructive and Kind" feedback then don't leave any at all.

    Everyone should have or adopt an inner mantra; whether it be “do on to others…,” or “if you don’t have anything nice to say…” or just a plain and simple inner monologue, asking yourself, “How would I like it if…”. I agree one hundred percent, Willow!

  4. I agree with most of what has been said here Willow. But I'm following all this because it has been completely been blown up. It's been made out that the reviewer has said things she actually didn't. She never told people to avoid the book, she didn't give it one star, she wasn't abusive personally to the author. She gave out a general gripe. That was all. Her opinion. Some people agree and some don't. This happens every day. I don't see Stephanie Meyer getting annoyed with people who have slated Twilight. Or E.L. James getting upity with people who don't like the Fifty series.

    This reviewer is now having awful things said about her. She is an author too, and has stated she has had bad reviews. I have read them, and some of them are so nasty. But has she caused a big stink like this? No, because it is one persons view. Just because this reviewer is an author doesn't mean she cannot voice her opinion. She is a "reviewer" too. That's what they do. Just because you are an author too doesn't mean you have to live by a separate set of rules. This is getting out of hand, and to have posts all over the net about it??? It seems someone is out to punish this reviewer. The problem is, other authors agree with the reviewer and are now condemning the author of the novel in question. This was not brought on by the reviewer at all. This was brought on by the author and her fans. The author set the ball rolling and has let her fans be rude, crude and outright nasty about this reviewer.

    I run a book club with over 1500 followers. All big readers. We will not pick this series up now. Not because of the review. But because of the author starting the ball rolling to she followers can be nasty. That is terrible.

    Freedom of speech is an important thing. very important. These days people are frightened of opening their mouths and saying what they think. After this I can understand why. The author and her friends should have just shrugged the review off, like 99% of authors do, and none of this would have happened.

  5. This blog post was not at all directed in or at one person or site. It was generalization plain and simple because it has been going on more and more recently. To assume that it was is ridiculous. Once again, no one was discredited in this post and arguments should be over. The author Sara has brought up has not made any comments in her defense in hours as a matter of fact the whole post on her page was removed even though she had the right to express her own opinion as everyone is claiming all should have a right to yet it seems they feel this right is one sided.. This should be stopped here and now. Names have not been brought in on either party and needs to be let go. Obviously things have gotten out of hand and now people whom make innocent generalized blogs are getting reamed out. Enough is enough.

  6. I agree enough is enough. The post was only removed when the admin of the page was told by me that I was reporting the whole thing to FB for bullying. Also when it was repeated pointed out that only the fans who were abusing the reviewer (not the author as she let her fans do it for her) were allowed their comments on there. Very one sided. I wish this were over for both the poor reviewer being bullied and the author. But still people are going on the review page and send the reviewer nasty messages. People need to grow up. And you are 100% correct. This should stop here and now. Sadly though, people aren't letting it go. The author very cleverly planted the seed for her fans to grow it. She has now gone away and the backlash is carrying on. Even to a point that blogs are mentioning it. its truly disgraceful.

    Also, I notice nobody mentioned that said author was on the phone to a friend discussing things as the bullying commenced. The was admitted in print on FB. A lot of people are losing respect for the author which is awful. But her fans are doing her a great deal of damage. Its a sin and a shame.

  7. Folks, if you notice in the post...the instance I referred to specifically stated a 1 star review. Although I cannot claim to have no knowledge of yesterday's events, I can tell you that this particular post has nothing to do with that.

    This particular story is not mine to tell, and although I stand with the mistreated author/authors, I will not name them or bring that situation up again. I think enough damage has been done to them already.

    The intention of this post was not to draw attention to any other situation. Instead, my goal was to remind people that readers are watching. They are intelligent, caring, and ferocious in their love of books. We owe them and 'we' need to remember that and behave accordingly.

    Many thanks to all of you who took the time to read this post and especially those of you who chose to air your own opinions.
    <3 Willow

  8. I am a reader and reviewer, I have seen so much author bashing by reviewers and authors that its bordering on ridiculous. If I don't like a book, I don't post a review. Not everyone likes the same things. I would also like to state that I DO know what all of the incidents listed above are about and as you said, we as readers are not stupid. Not only have I read the reviews of both things discussed, but the blogs as well, before said bashing of author(waste of money,etc) was removed. So I do know that there has been author-book bashing, I don't take anyones word for anything. I have a mind and like to see things for myself. If you don't like readers to get angry with things you have said, think before you say them. There is plenty of room in this market for all authors of all Types of books. There isn't room for childish behavior that could potentially ruin a persons career, and if said person can express a negative opinion as "their right" then how is it bullying for me as a reader to express my opinion of their negative behavior. Isn't that MY right as well. Funny how the right to express an opinion seems somewhat one sided in these instances.

  9. Thank you Willow, and please accept my apologies as it seems I had cross wires and thought this was related to this weeks incident.

    However, as the person who is remaining anonymous has replied, I will just say this...
    1) If no negative reviews are written, how are people supposed to learn and grow?
    2) If you only write good reviews and there are no bad ones, this shows what? To me it shows that either nobody has the guts to say what’s on their mind. Or that simply only friends of the author has read it and giving them an ego boost. NO book, NO author has 100% 5 stars throughout their career. What is your problem?
    3) You’re basically saying, if you don’t like it don’t tell anyone so the authors can sell loads of books based on half truths. When people don’t want that? Not anyone professional and decent anyway.
    4) You do have a right to speak your mind, and not bullied for it. But isn’t that the right of said reviewer too?? Or does that again only apply to people who like the book?
    5) Also tell me why when you look on Amazon, everyone who has left less than 3 star reviews has been attacked?? Do you not realise that people will be put of reading this book now??
    6) This author has lost a lot of respect for posting about this reviewer and making the bullets for her fans to fire?? Shame, as if this reviewer had just been allowed to have her opinion, the author wouldn’t have lost any respect at all.
    7) You’re all going on about having rights and how you feel this book is the best thing since sliced bread. That is YOUR right. The reviewer didn’t agree. Is it not HER right to say that??
    8) How many bad reviews has Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey, Hush Hush received? Do those authors start the ball rolling for a hate campaign against the readers?? I think not. They are far to professional and decent to do that.
    9) Most importantly and what nobody seems to pick up on is this... The reviewer NEVER said... “do not buy this book” “This book is a waste of time” “Avoid this book” NEVER ONCE. She gave HER opinion. She even wished the author well in her career. Why are people putting words into the reviewers mouth?? What are they making her out to have a personal vendetta against a woman she doesn’t know?? PATHETIC.

    You see the problem is, people can see the review for themselves and know the reviewer hasn’t said any of the above. So who looks the fool. This reviewer is well respected, and hasn’t lost ANY. In fact, more people are commending her for speaking her mind. If you think you hurt reviewers by doing this. You are gravely mistaken.

    Willow hun. I’ve seen a lot of people on Goodreads going around and marking books they have never even read 1 star. Even books that haven’t been released. These people obviously have too much time on their hands and want to discredit authors unfairly. If they had read it and didn’t like it. That’s fair enough. Be honest. But “Spambots” as people call them, are becoming more frequent and its very upsetting to see. I feel sorry for any author, whether I like their work or not, who fall victim to these people.