Bad Reviews and Burning Bridges…

I was referred to the following link on several of my writing loops this morning, in addition to the one twitter I occasionally check on.

Books & Pals

Oh, Dear.

I have to agree, this was funny. At first. Ms. Howett’s responses were so ridiculous that I found myself believing they must be a publicity stunt.

Then people got vicious. An argument could be made that Ms. Howett “started it”. Her comments were certainly unprofessional and inflammatory. And yes, there was definitely a certain amount of entertainment value. At first.

My concern, though, is the never-ending bullying thread that followed. Congratulations to Al for not feeling the need to participate. That showed a level of professionalism that we could all take a lesson from.

It’s “fun” to vent. And it’s easy to pick a common enemy and, as one commenter on the blog said, “dog pile” on them. The problem is, as another commenter noted, we are then lowering ourselves to their level.

Clearly Ms. Howett needs some remedial writing, or the services of a good free-lance editor if she plans to self publish. She will also most likely need a pen name that is in no way associated with her current professional name. But clearly the rest of us need to remember that bullying isn’t reserved for children, and if we want our kids to learn better, we have to DO better.

Will I read her books? Probably not. I most likely wouldn’t have on the strength of her writing, but I definitely won’t spend my money – my scant amount of money – supporting an author who is clearly not grateful for it.

I thank God every minute of every day for my readers, editors and reviewers. ESPECIALLY the ones brave enough to point out my weaknesses and give me the tools to improve.

‘Nuff said.  Heck, MORE than enough said!

Sadly, this isn’t the first over-the-top response I’ve seen to a negative, or even indifferent review. It’s just the most explosive. I’m thinking of one author in particular, who sent a scathing email to a reviewer who’d given his book 4.5 stars (or whatever), written a glowing review with maybe one suggestion to improve. He was livid. And vocal. (To this day I’m not sure what his gripe was – it was a good review…) And for a good year no one at the review site would touch his books.  This particular author, on another loop, also called me a homophobic bigot (??? Has he READ what I write???).  The thing that he did which was smart, though, is he kept it contained to private loops.

Will I buy his books? Um. No. Will I recommend them to others? Most likely not. Will I feel compelled to smear his name all over creation? No, not really. I don’t feel the need to lower myself to that level, and I’d like to think I’m not that vindictive. (Which isn’t to say I didn’t bitch long and loud to my close friends when he called me names. But I confined it to my friends.)

As for us (Sierra and I), the very first review for our very first book, Carrie’s Answer, was brutal. Mrs. Giggles hated the story, hated Marcus, loathed his best friend (and 3rd in the ménage) and thought Carrie was a wuss. Interestingly, it’s been pretty much our most successful book to date. Happily, Sierra and I took a deep breath (in my case it took a few minutes, as I was sobbing hysterically, lol), and then we really, critically looked at the review to see if there was merit in any of her criticisms. And maybe in one or two cases there were… What we did NOT do is attack her for not loving our baby and thus alienate her forever. Which was a good thing, because our third book (featuring that best friend she’d so loathed) she gave a 98!

*An exciting note here – While The Worthington Group is no longer available from Liquid Silver Books, look for its new incarnation as “Corporate Affairs” coming soon from Ellora’s Cave. Carrie’s getting a MAJOR overhaul – which it needed, and we are crazy proud of the suggestions our editor made. Yes, that’s right, our editor made suggestions to improve the work. And they were spot on. What a concept! lol *

Burning bridges is never wise.

*Another note – this was an awful lot of words without any eye-candy. Let me remedy that here:

I’ve got a theme here, cuz Sierra’s taking me to see 30 Seconds to Mars next month so I can drool over Jared Leto in person!



  1. You and Sierra get to see Jared Leto in person?!? Oh, you are so lucky. You need to snap some pics then post them, so I can live vicariously through you and pretend I was there. 😉

  2. Not to hijack your thread with a rather unrelated comment but…I was thinking of going to that concert. I assume you’re going to Grand Rapids? But I haven’t gotten tickets and assumed it was far too late. Also, if I went I was going to bring my daughter as a beard because I think I’m too old and plus I didn’t want to go alone. But if you guys are and if there are miraculously still tickets left… maybe I could meet you there.

    • Bonnie,
      We are going to the show in Detroit at the Filmore :(. Would have loved to have seen you. I personally have been in love with Jared Leto and used the groups music when writing the NIght Creatures series…We;ve missed them the last 2 times they came and I was determined there wouldn’t be a third if I could help it!

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