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 🙂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 I 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?
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.
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.
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.
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!