A wee while back, someone on my Twitter feed linked to an ebook review that I can only describe as constructively negative. The book, from what I could tell, was shoddily written, with little thought given to grammar, punctuation, sentence structure or even common sense. All in all, the concept was fine, but the execution was horrendous, and with one bad review comes a few good ones, surely?
No. With one bad review comes the author, and she was not impressed.
As you can see, she went completely berserk. Attacks directed towards the reviewer soon expanded to encompass the entire wealth of commentators delving into a writhing morass of criticism and defensive attitudes that became the pitiful sight of a debut author going down in flames. There’s little else to say. Within a few hours her comments had gone from long and badly written to profanity, and it didn’t take much to provoke her.
Some people say that it was unfair for everyone to jump on the bandwagon, but is it? In this day and age, being an idiot on the internet is generally a bad idea, especially if you’re selling a product, running a business, or you have some form of celebrity status, either online or not. Her mistake was doing this publicly, as the moment it hit the Twitterverse, even esteemed fantasy author Neil Gaiman was weighing in with his bafflement at her approach to a negative review, stating that this was how not to self-promote.
I decided to do some research, as she initially claimed she’d had a fair few five-star reviews. All of them jokes, apart from a couple which are written by either the author under quite an obvious pseudonym (given that the review itself contains the exact same grammar mistakes found in her magnum opus) or a relative who couldn’t even be bothered to change her surname. Astonishing stuff, really.
Sure, it’s a little disheartening to get a bad review, and of course the amount of people ripping into her must have hurt, but what would you do when someone’s lashing out with four-letter-words at you for agreeing that their book was bad? In the age of the instant search, there’s no longer room for error. Once you’re done, you’re done, and it seems like a harsh judgement to pass on someone, but if you’re going to upload an extremely short novel clearly written during NaNoWriMo, without any editing whatsoever, when why should people bother? Why pay for a product you’re selling as an independent creative entity?
I’d love to see someone try and pull this again. I think she stands as a strong warning to authors about to flip over a harsh few words from a critic. Pro Tip: people will never like everything. If your book had bad grammar, it had bad grammar. Suck it up and edit properly. But in an era where I could tweet about your bad reaction and have it appear on ten thousand accounts within a few minutes, I am the Consumer-Peasant, and you are the Unruly Sovereign. And the peasants will revolt.