I was recently made aware of an author (who will remain nameless here) who stalked a woman that gave her a bad review. I read her article (though really it should be called a novel, it was so freakin’ long) and then decided to check out the reviewer.
The reviewer, who shall also remain nameless, did indeed give the author a one star review and a rather scathing review. Now, Good Reads, owned by Amazon, is indeed notorious for ganging up on authors they decide they don’t like. This is not the first scandal that’s come down the road for them. The review was at the very least, unkind. That might have been her honest opinion, there’s really no way to tell now. What disturbed me more than that was the way the author reacted. She became obsessed with the reviewer. Spent hours on line, tracking her down, trying to find out who she was and even resorted to subterfuge to find her, usually with a drink in her hand. Think arranging an interview where she got to pick the interviewer and tracking down her house, finding it on google earth, renting a car to drive there, finding out where she worked.
The woman who reviewed had made up an online personality that was younger, was a teacher, and trying to write her own book. This is done as a routine matter, I’ve found out, because some ‘writers’ like to wade in, words flying. To the author though, it became an abomination to the author, asking “Who would make up an online personality?”
Hello. This is reality calling, time for your check in. The author is either incredibly naive or truly has no clue what goes on in cyber space. Did Facebook not just crack down on pretend people? The author’s article garnered immediate sympathy from other authors, some of whom were horror stricken by the audacity while other reviewers were solid behind their buddy. (I’m not in either camp). The more I read, the more I thought that perhaps this girl might have a problem greater than a bad review and it made me question not just the truth of her, but her ability to separate pretend from real.
I’ve had bad reviews, though the truth is the worst anyone said about my writing was it was ‘a bit boring’ and ‘not your usual fast paced tale’ and I’m okay with the occasional bad review. I’m not okay with reviewers making it a point to be cruel, and yes this reviewer did overstep, my humble opinion.
But I lift my eyes to sky now and ask that I not become the kind of writer who goes around the bend when someone says something not nice. Mostly because I don’t want other people reading my article in a major news source’s online site, shaking their heads and saying “Poor thing.” I want to be the cool writer, who makes a witty remark about a review that is less than stellar, cuts the obviously damaged reviewer off at the knees.
I don’t want the psychosis of writing to rain down on my head like it did with this author. Though for the record, the chapter of hers I read, was not that great. I wouldn’t pay money for it, but I’m sure there will be others who will. So, good luck to her and to her stalkee. I’ll just go back to my laptop that doesn’t have google earth and hope for the best.