A Difference of Opinion

I wanted to share with you all a rather unpleasant experience I had recently regarding a pretty unfriendly response to one of my reviews. It’s not that I necessarily want to draw more attention to what happened, but instead to let you know that if this has happened, or does happen to any of you, you’re not alone. 

I write honest reviews. Whether I loved a book, or hated it, I hold nothing back when it comes to letting you all know how I felt about my reading experience from start to finish. I recently wrote a review of a book provided to me by a publishing house, and I had quite a lot of negative things to say about the actions and opinions of the main character. Unfortunately, it seems the author took my problems with the protagonist as a direct personal attack.

After posting my review I received an influx of comments from the author, the author’s spouse, literary agent, and “fans” about what they thought of my review. I was accused of trolling, bullying, attacking the author, of being stupid, a racist, a liar, a poor excuse for an American, that I should get a real job, get an education, apologize to the author, that I was afraid of rough sex, and that I was a c*nt. One even said they couldn’t be happier that they weren’t related to me. Finally, something we can agree on πŸ™‚

vinny

“…let me see, what else can we pile on? Is there any more sh*t we can pile on…? Is it possible?”

First Impressions

Well, this isn’t exactly how I saw my day going. My initial gut instinct was to delete the review. I thought on it for a while though, and realized that I would just be giving in to what considered to be bullying. My second instinct was to remove all of the negative comments. However, everyone is entitled to an opinion. Even though they seemed to think that I wasn’t worthy of having one, I decided to let them express an opinion which was different from my own.

To Engage, or Ignore? 

question

This was the biggest question I faced all day. How to respond? I considered ignoring them all, but instead I chose to write back saying that it looks like we had differing opinions when it came to the book, but if they liked it that’s all that matters. I also responded to the author’s negative comments saying that instead of focusing so much attention on my one negative review, it might be better to focus instead on the positive ones out there.

Plot Twist

Turns out, all that time I spent trying to cordially respond to every negative comment was a waste. Not only did the comments escalate from insulting my intelligence to calling me a bitch, but then the “fans” started going after another reader of my blog who tried to defend me. That’s when I decided the comments had to stop. Imagine my surprise when I did some digging and realized all of these “fans” were writing from the same exact IP address as the author.

SHOCK_AWE_CAT

Takeaway

So what happens now? Well, I won’t apologize for expressing my honest opinions. I didn’t like the book. That’s that. Let’s move on. I did make the difficult decision to remove all 48 of the negative comments though. If they had been made from actual supporters of the book I probably would have kept them up there, but I just found the whole scenario to be rather misleading. 

I have had readers of my blog disagree with some of my reviews in the past, and I always welcome a discussion of differing opinions. A reader will find a heroine I liked to be too inactive for their tastes, while others might think an alpha male I thought was sexy to be too demanding for them. If your opinion differs from my own, that’s great! Let’s talk about it. Maybe you’ll make me realize something I hadn’t initially considered. Believe it or not, I can sometimes be persuaded to change my mind. But please don’t just say I’m stupid for expressing my own opinions, as I would never call you stupid for expressing yours.

freedomopinion 2

opinion

I would also like all of the authors and publishers out there to take note of my new “review policy” tab. It lists the genres I prefer, as well as those that might not be my cup of tea. Main thing to remember: considering the title of my blog the book should have some romance in it. My review policy also clearly states that I write honest reviews, positive and negative, so you should be prepared for that. Looking back on the whole experience I can’t say it was a fun one. I lost a LOT of sleep over it, and couldn’t eat much of anything for about 2 days. I’ve also started to get nervous every time I see a new comment on one of my reviews, even though the comments on this particular review have stopped. That being said, I can’t ignore the irony of it all. After all, here I was being accused of bullying and misleading everyone. Oh well, moving on!

 

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43 thoughts on “A Difference of Opinion

  1. It’s a risk for any author to send out their work for review, after all everyone reads a different book but at the end of the day if you can’t respect that everyone is entitled to their own opinion you are in big trouble… I recently got a 1 star review for my first book that I found insightful but thats not to say Trolls aren’t a real problem too…I had 1 person join Goodreads for the soul purpose of giving each of my books a 1 star with no review. On amazon I had a lady say she was very disappointed with the quality of the shirt in her review..gah!! All of these, whether deliberate or genuine mistakes affect an authors overall star rating and ability to get visible…I’ve digressed because and I realise this has little to do with your post but reviews are a sensitive issue for everyone. As hard as it is…and its really hard because we are real humans behind these keyboards…every person, fellow author, and guidebook says do not engage…it’s just not worth it. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, definitely not worth it to engage, but I guess it was just kind of eating away at me to get to many comments and do nothing. As for your experience with someone joining Goodreads just to give your books 1 star reviews, I can’t believe someone would go to all that trouble to be so mean! I think I’m too lazy to be a troll πŸ™‚ I have a feeling though that when people are actually considering your book they put a lot more weight into those who have actually written a review, rather than someone just logging in and giving a low star count.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said. One great thing about the USA is that we have the freedom to express our opinions. Our opinions are just that opinions.They are not facts, but just a simple opinion. You simply did what was asked of you and whether they like your opinion or not, you can’t control other’s childish responses. I guess I am very naive to believe that an “author” would become so disrespectful because you gave an honest opinion. In the grand scheme of things, the problem lies with them and not you and it really shows a lot about that person’s character if that can’t accept a simple opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Wow, that is nuts! What is the point of a review blog if you’re not giving honest reviews? It’s amazing that people would want to write books completely free of criticism, as if the only words allowed to be said are positive ones. This is part of the reason I’m distancing myself from Goodreads. Apparently some authors/publishers couldn’t handle standard criticism on that site. Out of curiosity, was this author self-published? I wonder how that factors in. If there’s a crazy person out there who will track down everything written about their book, I can see that. But then to have a bunch of fans come to their aid… I’m just not sure who these people could be in real life.

    Oh well, keep doing what you’re doing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was actually the author’s publisher that reached out to me with the book. I hadn’t communicated with the author at all until my post went live, so it was pretty unexpected! I’ve started sending my review policy to authors requesting my work, and so far they have all reached out to me saying they would expect nothing less than an honest review. Seems like most people see it as a given, but it’s helpful to have for those few people out there who don’t!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m sorry this happened. The author sent the book to YOU, right? You didn’t go searching for a book to give a bad review to. You were right to not delete the comments. That’s the thing about blogging. We put our honest feelings out there, but have to accept the honest comments of others. Typically, I would respond, but when it got out of hand, you were right to stop. The fact that they all came from the same IP!–THAT makes my blood boil! But of course, there’s always a way to game the system. Looked at your Review Policy area–it looks great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I definitely didn’t go looking for this one, it was a review request from the publisher. I was also shocked at the same IP thing. My mouth literally dropped open. I will say though, it kind of took a giant weight off my back to know I only had one person upset with me instead of dozens of people.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. Unfortunate you had this experience. I’ve never found any of your reviews to be anything other than fair reviews of what you thought of the book. Your approach on how to deal with the response was well done. Everyone has to deal with criticism and hopefully the author of the book will one day be able to understand that an unfavorable review isn’t an attack on him/her personally and only a matter of opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand how some authors can put their all into their work, and some probably connect very closely with their characters. But that’s why I always try and be very clear that my issue is with the words and actions of the character. Maybe I need to start putting that in bold or something!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Good for you! Don’t let them bully you into taking down your opinion, and that’s exactly what they were trying to do. You should never have engaged wth them. There was no way they’d respond to logic no matter what you replied with. Shake it off and move on. I write romance novels. Never had one reviewed but I expect most folks would love my novels, some won’t. That’s life. If you can’t handle negative criticism, don’t ask for a review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true. I can see how a negative review can be hard to stomach, but I think the sign of a great author is someone who can take those comments in stride, and use them to produce something even better the next time. I probably shouldn’t have engaged, as you said “they” really weren’t open to anything I had to say. I was just worried that others would think I had been bullied into silence, which definitely isn’t like me!

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  7. Ahem. Well, I love your reviews and that’s saying a lot because I don’t have time to read a lot of review blogs. Yours is extremely well-written and entertaining. You reviewed one of my books and I hope you’ll review future ones. I’d rather have one honest review (good or bad) than a bunch of reviewers posting 5-star reviews because of some incentive. My policy toward reviewers is to appreciate their time taken to read and review the book. If I can, I say thanks. It goes without saying that not everyone is going to love what I write! Sheesh!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. In a perfect world all authors would hope for nothing less than an honest review and prepare for the good, the bad, and the ugly of it. How else are they to grow as a writer? I cross my fingers whenever I ask for a review. If someone goes to the trouble to read my book and then give me feedback on it, the least I can do is take their words for what they are…a candid view of my work. After that, it’s up to me how I use their critique and whether or not I will make changes because of it. It’s too bad the disgruntled author, publisher, and agent couldn’t have done that. It was only one review, after all.

    I love that your reviews are detailed and filled with information the author can change if they so choose and given in a light hearted, comedic manner. Thank you for your honesty. I’m definitely a fan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thankfully the publisher was unbelievably professional about the whole situation. Unfortunately, the author kind of went and did their own thing. And as you said, it was just one review! No reason to go to such lengths over a review on a blog, and one I didn’t even post on Amazon! Sure, I like to think a lot of people read my reviews, but in the grand scheme of things I doubt it was even seen by that many people πŸ™‚

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  9. It’s a shame people can’t tolerate a little bit of criticism and if they can’t I don’t see why they have to read it. What a mature sensible person would do is take that as an inspiration for improvement of their next work instead of belting out insults!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree 100%. I’m one of those people who can get upset at criticism, even the constructive kind, but I still listen to it, and realize that the other person is usually right. I might not like it, but it’s something I’ll always encounter, and I just try and move on.

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  10. Hugs my lovely. I think you handled yourself beautifully and did the right thing. I’ve had to become brutal and knock back review requests because they don’t suit. It’s in the author and my best interest for me to read only books that I know are in my preferred genre.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That’s crazy!!!! Sorry you had to experience that. Some people can be such cowards online by truth bully others.
    I I have not experienced this personally, but I have heard of other instances where this is happened. I wish that cyber-protection laws were enforced so people would not be able hide behind a computer screen.

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  12. Wow that’s terrible behaviour! I enjoy your honest reviews even if they might be different to mine at least I know where you stand. And if they can’t take one bad review, they shouldn’t be a published writer, you can’t expect everyone will like what you write!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. After having spent years as both moderator and owner of a couple of different forums, this kind of attitude is not surprising in the least. You would think that a professional would have better behavior and be able to take criticism. Unfortunately, that only happens in an ideal world and that isn’t where we live. It took me a really long time to realize that the places I have on the internet are just an extension of my home. I may invite others in to spend time, but that doesn’t mean they have an open invitation to use the couch as the bathroom or treat me with disrespect in my own home.

    There is a certain feeling of obligation with regards to interactions on the internet that we would never feel if it were an in person type of situation and we tend to allow things on the internet that we would never allow otherwise. Not deleting comments, feeling the need to respond and being polite about it (especially if you aren’t normally a jerk in the first place), and any number of other things. Those feelings can only increase exponentially when you are talking about a book that was given to you to review.

    I applaud you for being honest and not allowing an author, who is essentially behaving like a troll, to come into your home and trash it and you. It may feel a little weird, but it is absolutely okay to set rules and expectations on your own website, no matter what you are writing about and what others may think about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Thank you for being honest and posting genuine reviews! There are so many reviewers who give every book a positive rating, because they’re trying to suck up or whatever, so it’s refreshing to see reviewers who are willing to speak their mind. It’s awful that you had to go through such negativity for having an opinion, but that makes me think your opinion is actually MORE valid, if the author is willing to go through such lengths to say harsh things about you! So please keep up with your amazing reviews, and don’t let one awful person (disguised as many, which… WTF really?!) bring you down!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Woah! I didn’t see this one coming at you. The first time I stumbled upon your blog, I was already drawn to your reviews, and I have to commend your constructive criticism to some books that didn’t reach the average standard. I find your points very fleshed out, and I am disappointed with the people who attacked you just because you were just doing your thing. Anyway, just take it as a bump on the road. If you know you have done nothing wrong, then continue. And I wish you more power! Awesome blog nevertheless. πŸ™‚

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  16. Oh wow! I am so sorry that you went through all of this. I know authors take it to heart when they receive a negative review but there is no sense in acting childish. If you are going to be adult enough to put your work out there you need to be adult enough to realize that it is not going to be for everybody. Even bestselling authors that have been around for years receive bad reviews. It does not mean their book is bad. It just means it is not for that person.

    Liked by 1 person

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