bibliophilic monologue · Opinion

Because God Damn It All, I need to Effin Rant

So if you’ve been blissfully ignorant about the shit that went down on GoodReads, let me sum it up for you. A reader wrote a review of a book, it was a negative review, an author who’s a friend of the author whose book was reviewed, went into the review, acted like an asshole. That wasn’t enough so he and a couple of other authors ganged up on the reviewer on twitter. They have (had) a hashtag and some of the tweets:

Beware that though I will do my best to be clean in the following rant, I am so incredibly frustrated by this whole issue that I may slip into profanity.

Have these people lost all their marbles? Seriously? What the fuck is wrong with them? They are authors. And their success depends on READERS whom they so blithely insult. Okay no, let’s start from the very heart of the issue.

Negative reviews. For fuck’s sake, if Shakespeare can be slammed as a bad writer, why can’t these people? Do they really think that they are entitled to fucking five star reviews all the time? Seriously? Do they think all their work are masterpieces? DO THEY FORGET THAT READING IS FUCKING SUBJECTIVE? Oh my god. I’m so angry I can’t even articulate myself without wanting to eviscerate something. I understand that being told your work sucks is upsetting, I’ve been through it or does this mean that these people haven’t ever taken writing classes where people shred, decimate, KILL your work in the name of workshopping and helping you be a better writer? If they haven’t, I think it should be mandatory for every new writer to take a fucking class in how to be thick skinned.

Actually, I’m generalizing but IT IS REALLY DIFFICULT to remain detached when you see the whole host of writers throwing their lot in with Krokos and sneering at the people who make their fucking books reach the the NYT bestseller list. We are your audience. Who do you think buys your books? People who haven’t even heard of it? Why would you want to shoot your nose off to spite your face?

Another thing that pissed me off so very much I could have sworn I was about to breathe fire was the last tweet by Courtney Allison Moulton.

That whole threat about not making it in the publishing world because you are publishing negative reviews? That’s gotten old. Really old. Are these people going to take pictures of our reviews and then forward t hem to all the agents they know telling them to “be careful of that bitch, she writes negative reviews so don’t sign her on?” Or are you going to put us on some blacklist for oh, you know, being honest about our feelings and our expressions of it and “destroying our careers” because of our inability to lie through our teeth and suck up to authors.

I feel bad for the original author because unlike her “friend,” she is gracious and despite the fiasco that the original thread turned out to be, I am going to read her book. Her “friend’s” help did her no good and jeez, if I had friends like that, I’d stick closer to my enemies.

I read YA because I like it. I write reviews because I have something to say. I am not doing it to stroke someone’s ego nor am I pandering to the demands of the publishers. I am doing it because I love books.

Today is the first time I have felt disrespected as a reader. I make it a policy to not be too friendly with authors simply because I don’t want them (personality, opinions etc) to shadow their books but in cases like these, I can’t help it because they shove it right in my face. As such I am not going to read the books of people who can’t be bothered to give me the respect I deserve as a reader.

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70 thoughts on “Because God Damn It All, I need to Effin Rant

  1. FUCKING PREACH IT, WOMAN! I am so sick of this whole GoodReads is crap shit and the whole negative reviewing is bashing and you’re so not going to get anywhere with it. GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE. If I took the time to pick up and read a book I can express how I want about what I liked and disliked a book. Seriously. It’s perfectly in my rights.

    And, who do you think gets them the money for their living? US. They should back the fuck off right now! My god. Where would they be without us?! Ugh, I swear. All of this ganging up on the reviewer by these authors smacks of bullying! They should be ashamed of themselves, not for this, but also for their unprofessional behavior. UGH.

    Man, if you had seen the guy’s original tweets in regards to Kira, you’d have blown your lid. O.M.G. Douchebaggery at its finest.

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    1. It’s such bad business sense, man. And then even the agents coming into the thread and going “I’m so ashamed to be part of this community”…um, you are not. I don’t know what’s up with their sense of entitlement, honestly. Even without all that, it’s just bad business sense. These people do not even have a solid writing reputation to back them up. Just because they have contracts does not automatically ensure success. Ugh. I’m so profoundly disappointed.

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  2. Sadly, these things seem to pop up on GoodReads all the time. It’s just not okay to behave this way towards anyone, whether it’s author to reader, reader to author, or reader to reader.

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  3. It’s an opinion. Last I checked, we were allowed to speak our mind. I agree with you and what you’ve had to say. I understand not everyone will love or hate a book the same as the collective, and this is okay. We are not robots and we do not think a like. Oh the drama, it’s getting tiring.

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    1. Yeah, I’m getting seriously turned off by the entire thing. It’s getting to the point that I want to preface all my reviews with a disclaimer stating my total disinterest in people who want to push their opinions on me.

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  4. Those tweets have guaranteed that I’ll never read the books from the authors involved.
    How rude, childish, and disrespectful. Especially in regards to the agent (at first, I thought it was someone trying to stir up trouble, because NO WAY would any sane and professional agent behave in such a manner and condone Krokos’ behaviour).
    Despite what DeStefano may think (because her comment grated me the most), GoodReads is nothing like 4chan. We are not all trolls. Just because some of us like snark and gifs, just because some of us don’t like a certain book, doesn’t mean we’re trolls. If GR was anything like 4chan, we’d be posting pictures of gore and pedophilia and bestiality and all sorts of disgusting things with our reviews. Snark =/= any of that.
    All those authors who slag off GR need to realise that without GR, they’d have a lot less readers. GR helps people discover books. I certainly wouldn’t have known any of my favourite books if not for GR.
    They’ve made a lot of enemies in the reading and reviewing world.

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  5. These authors are the same kids who went to schools where there was no grading system, because heaven forbid a child suffer from damaged self-esteem because they received a “D” on an exam. They also played in sports leagues where everyone received a trophy. They’ll also never run for public office, where candidates are criticized up and down.

    I write reviews simply to express my point of view, to help other readers find titles they may enjoy. I’m not talented enough to land a book deal, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a right to my opinion. These cranky writers need to tolerate the heat or get out of the kitchen. And the best way to do that is to not read the reviews. If you’re happy with your work, who cares what a little housewife in Georgia has to say?

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    1. Actually . . . I do. That Georgia housewife took the time to find my book, spend her money (usually budgeted) on my book, and then somehow found the time in her busy day to read my book. That is dedication, a personal investment, and she deserves the best story I can provide her. And then she took the time to leave a review? Awesome lady. I want to hear from her, to learn where I succeeded or failed, and how I can continue to earn her interest in my work.

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  6. I used to review books. Now I write them. I don’t know why these authors have behaved like this. I can understand if they were friends with the reviewer before-hand, but authors are supposed to ignore negative reviews from people they don’t know. I myself am discussing my debut novel with Lissa’s fiance at the moment. He’s a friend, like Lissa is, so he’s giving me valuable feedback on my writing. I do hope he enjoys Eve’s story that I’ve written for the adventure, but I’d never attack his final review even if I didn’t know him.

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  7. I pretty much try to not read reviews though I welcome them. I know there’s some bad ones of my books on Goodreads … meh … this is a subjective business. One person hates your book, another loves it. Move on, I say ….

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  8. Nicely put! Seriously, I write reviews because I have an opinion on what I read. You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to but sure as hell you have to respect that it’s my subjective opinion.

    This kind of action by author’s taints me from picking up their books. Just like stupid actions by actors taints me from watching there movies.

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  9. Hi! I’m an author, and I just want to say that we are SO lucky, both authors and readers, to have this revolutionary new ability to have our individual voices heard immediately and by a huge audience on the Internet. Just think, thirty years ago, if you were a reader who did or didn’t like a book, you had little recourse but to tell your immediate friends. And now, you can tell the whole world.

    As an author, I realize the possibilities here–both scary and wonderful. I’ve had bad and good reviews. And the truth is, as an author today, I think we’ve probably had to develop thicker skins than the authors from way back before the Internet came along. Nowadays, I can’t live in my own private bubble (grin)!!!

    But who cares? I hate bubbles anyway. I’d much rather exist in an atmosphere of freedom and accesibility. If the cost is my having to wince at a bad review, I’ll take it. And maybe I’ll learn from that review, too. Hearing from readers matters to me. I want to please them. I can’t please ’em all, of course, but I can pick up on vibes from readers, and I can talk back to them–we can interact. That’s a gift. That takes story to a whole new level.

    I think this new freedom is so precious that we have to protect it carefully AND respect those who are part of the ever-evolving communications network that is the Internet. The way I plan to protect and respect this fabulous communications tool is to stay polite to everyone.

    I hope everyone has a great 2012!

    :>)

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    1. Exactly. I don’t think authors should respond to negative reviews unless it’s a personal bashing in which case it has no value as a review at all. There are certain spaces that need to have boundaries and there is a necessity for respect from both sides which, in this case, was notably missing.

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  10. Wow. I’ve seen some authirs acting like asshats over negative reviews before, and every time I get the strong urge to tell them to remove their heads from their asses and remember that we’re entitled to our opinions and that criticism can be a valuable tool if they bother to use it… But that people may not make it in the publishing world because they post negative reviews? Pffft. BS. So long as the negative review actually contains legitimate concerns and not just “ZOMG, this book suxxorz,” then that shows that the reviewer actually has an idea of quality and can distinguish it and knows where problems lie and what can be done about them. If anything, that sort of person is more likely to make it in the publishing world than someone who sits there and writes nothing but, “I loved this book,” every single time.

    Besides, you’re right. There’s no blacklist (so far as I know). There’s no Wall of Shame with our faces on it. Sure, maybe some day down the road, an author will come along and notice our names and remember that once we wrote something bordering on nasty, but that’s not going to hurt us any more than *gasp shock* a negative review will really hurt them!

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    1. Exactly. And honestly speaking, as someone who writes, I value the negative reviews over the positive ones because it shows me where I’m weak and where I need to look more into. You need to distance yourself from your work. It’s the only way you can survive the experience.

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  11. Wow this is crazy. Reviews are meant to be opinions, which we are entitled to. Almost makes me not want to review any more, but then they win right? I would love to have a list of all the authors/agents involved so I can blacklist them all…I already added Dan’s book to my newly created never in a million years shelf.

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    1. Authors I can understand being neurotic about their work (or, as in this case, their friends work) but agents? They are supposed to be business savvy! And this is not good business sense at all. I think plenty of people created that list too, Gwenyth. I know I did. ;)

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  12. I have no idea what books we’re talking about, because I missed this whole GoodReads thing. *runs off to find out*

    But seriously, thank you for actually telling us your thoughts on this, because sucking up to authors and everything- come on. Seriously? Last time I heard, readers are allowed to like or dislike a book.

    And I agree with Laura- if you can’t handle criticism, just don’t use GoodReads to find out what people are saying about your book. It’s an easy way to keep yourself sane and others entitled to their own opinions without you (or your friends) jumping down your throat.

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  13. MY GOD. That is out of line. Who the frig do these people think they are? Obviously they don’t realize this dream of publication includes HAVING THEIR BOOK ON GOODREADS. I agree with Jessica, DeStefano’s tweet was ridiculous. Yes, there are trolls, but in case she hasn’t noticed, everyone has them. Do you denounce Goodreads for doing exactly what it says it does — providing a place to congregate reviews and opinions? NO. Do you denounce readers because they take advantage of the site in exactly the fashion it’s built for? NO.

    These authors need to get some fucking sense.

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  14. People need to remember that if you write it… if you put it out there… *somebody* is not going to like it. I don’t care if you are writing stories about bunny rabbits that chase butterflies (“it’s too boooring”) or maybe you write about green monstor elephants (“too scary!”).

    Be glad for a review. Any review. Well maybe not “glad” necessarily but at the least don’t make a big deal out of it and draw attention to it by attacking the reviewer. That turns it from a pimple into a huge, bloody, oozing sore the size of your forehead. Guess what? Blood draws attention. Alot of attention. Then people will actually stop and ogle the negative review and give it alot more consideration. Just take your lumps and move on with grace.

    The reviewer is just stating their opinion. They are entitled to that because you put your work out there. It made your *book* fair game. And that’s ok. That’s a part of what happens when you get published. Reviews are going to happen.

    Besides, a *non* published writer doesn’t have to withstand a publicly negative review. But then again a writer certainly wouldn’t want to be back to square one as unpublished author surely. Would you let someone punch you in the arm in exchange for flat-out publishing your next novel? Probably. Would it be worth it in the end? Yes. Probably.

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    1. I have read negative reviews of a book and put it on my TBR list anyway because what the reviewer said about the book was their opinion and what they didn’t like about it didn’t bother me. As for doing anything to be published? If the person was offering a critique that showed me my weaknesses, I’d honestly take it. It wouldn’t be easy yeah, but if it could help me grow, why the hell not?

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  15. This is the primary reason I have nearly given up voicing my opinions of books I read. When it’s not Authors Gone Crazy, it’s Attack of the BFF, when friends of a writer feel the need to attack people who dare to give anything less than a five-star review. As a writer with a book coming out soon, I hope no one who calls him/herself my friend ever feels it’s a good idea to tear someone apart for not liking my book. When there are so many books being published in so many genres, it’s madness to imagine that every reader will love every book. It’s even more insane to imagine you’re doing the publishing industry any good by trying to kill honest reviews.

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    1. Exactly, I don’t get this need they have to go in and defend something that is so subjective. In academic settings, scholars verbally shred their colleagues’ works without feeling the need to add padding for their inevitably ruffled egos. It’s called discourse, discussion and a continuous exchange that lets ideas and thoughts to be in a constant flow – that is how people grow and learn and discover. It’s called critical thinking. If we were to apply that to this genre, authors/etc would want us to be sitting in a cloud of stagnant air regurgitating the same old thing over and over again.

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  16. I’m almost glad I had no idea this issue was going on. I was upset enough about the bad-reviewers-not-being-able -to-get-publishing-jobs topic. This is just … despicable, really.

    Gotta admit I was curious, though. Tried to find some links to this drama but couldn’t find anything. I hope it all gets resolved; this would be a horrible image of authors to have floating around the net. It’d be awful to sever the connection between authors and readers.

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      1. I must interrupt and say that I believe we should not jump to conclusions about who this was directed at. Rachel never specified, and if you want to interpret it that way, you can. But I believe it could also be directed at the-author-who-shall-not-be-named, and though I am very, very angry about the whole issue, I’d hate to ruin an author’s reputation simply by making conjectures without solid proof.

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  17. ARGH! This is blood boiling. If it is any comfort at all, I just got through praising goodreads to the skies over at a writer’s forum I frequent (see comment #36 My user name there is Gary Clarke) I haven’t read my own reviews for years. This is because I love bookblogs and the bookish discussions they give rise to, and I wanted to keep on enjoying them after I had been published. The best way to do this is to ignore anything that has to do with me! I’m particualrly in love with goodreads. In my opinion the atmosphere of bookishness and thoughtfullness there is very hard to beat. It’s like a bouquet of all the great bookblogs rolled into one. Most importantly it is a reviewers space(as opposed to Amazon which is more and more a sellers place imho ) and I think it’s best if we authors go there with our reviewers/readers hats on and forget we’re personally involved in the production of that which is being discussed.

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    1. Hi Celine, thanks for commenting on this. I love books. Talking about them, squealing about them, raging about them, all of it but when I rage at them, I don’t want the author to be present. It’s like authors are the mother in laws and the readers the daughters in law. We may get along at times but there will be moments of conflicts. Honestly all the drama that is ensuing makes me think that these authors are due for a brutal wake up call and soon. Other genres do not have this problem and that’s for a reason. Ah, I really don’t know. It’s drama that we don’t need. :\

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      1. It does seem to be predominately a YA/fantasy problem, doesn’t it? I think it might stem from the amount of contact YA/fantasy writers already have with our readers. We tend to be far more involved in our fandoms than most other types of writers – especially via the immediacy of social networking, blogging, twitter etc – and I think this can blur the boundaries and folks can find it hard to remember what is and is not appropriate or professional behavior. It takes quite a bit of self awareness and maturity not to fall into the trap of responding to ones reviews. I came to the decision very early on that I wouldn’t respond or comment NO MATTER WHAT. But it took quite a while for reviewers to understand that I meant it and was not just being coy. At first, some folks even took offence which was very understandable, because they had gone to such bother writing the review and every single review – good or bad – is attention paid to my work, But I stuck to my decision and it didn’t take long for folks to get used to the idea that I meant it. Reviewers do still regularly send me links to reviews ( good and bad) hoping I will comment or come and read them, but mostly I just thank them and (if the review is part of a letter) post the letter and the link on my website which I think maybe is the best thing any writer can do to show their appreciation.

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  18. As an author, all I can say is that this behavior is unacceptable. Writing is subjective. Reading is subjective. Not everyone is going to like it. I personally send thank you notes to every reviewer whether good or bad that just say thanks and don’t editorialize on their stated opinion. Whether they liked it or not, they still took the time to read my work. That counts for something.

    Wow … I’m kind of blown away by it all.

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  19. I’m a little saddened by this all. I don’t understand why so many authors have participated in this backlash. Many of them authored books that I want to read, but now I’m second guessing because of all of this drama. I don’t want to spend money on author’s who think it’s okay to slander a person for voicing a valid argument.

    What’s even more infuriating is Kira was not slandering the author at all. She was challenging the terrible stereotype that was present in the book. But, not once did she say so-and-so is a terrible author for including this in her book. And yet, it seems some of the authors involved in this are unafraid to slander Kira.

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  20. Wow, it’s like high school all over again. Cliques, and pettiness, and insecure crap. All that’s missing is the acne. I’m totally with you on this–LEAVE THE REVIEWERS BE.

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  21. Bad reviews suck, I hate getting them and I do my very best not to give them. That said, I don’t reply to them. It’s bad business an every reader is so different that who knows, maybe they were having an icky day and needed a focused rant and my book just happened to be in their hands.

    I’m so sorry you felt disrespected as a reader. That’s unacceptable and I hope you know how much the vast majority of authors respect and treasure their readers :)

    Stephanie Beck

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    1. Oh yes, bad reviews suck a lot and have the potential to harm (it always seems like arrows lodging inside my chest, ha) but fact remains that they are subjective and people are entitled to their opinions. I don’t agree with bringing biased opinions to your review (as in people having icky days should wait until they feel better to write reviews so that their frustrated feelings do not make themselves apparent in a review which should, ideally, be objective).

      Thank Goodness this is not a widespread phenomenon. And thank you for taking the time out to reply to my impassioned rant.

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  22. I have only found this link today after perusing through YA book recommendations and finding Dan Krokos’ False Memory. I can’t believe I missed this “fest”. :D

    For me, what Dan Krokos did was simply inexcusable as he did not only slam a reader’s objective review of his peer’s work, he also alienated a community of readers without whom, his and other authors’ respective books would not even be heard of. However, this entire fiasco will not affect my decision to read his book as I’m after of the story and not about the writer. Perhaps, authors should take a cue from that – that authors and readers should remain objective and professional with their reviews/comments on social networks. I have once written a rather unflattering review of Lauren DeStefano’s Wither but I can say that I am proud that I have pointed out how the book did not work for me, as objectively as I could, but how, at the same time, I enjoyed DeStefano’s writing. My writing that review used to “bother” me as I don’t want to be an a-hole who shoots everyone down. But I did it anyway as I wanted to be true to my own perspective regarding a book. After all, writing is subjective and so is reading.

    Thanks for this post. It’s good to know how readers feel when authors can’t hack it when receiving negative comments. Authors should understand that as much as they get hurt getting negative feedbacks, it also hurts us readers when we get trolled by people whom we expect to be respectable and respected.

    P.S. I have refrained from writing negative reviews for a while as I don’t want to come off as “slammer” but some YA books are just freaking unbelievable and not in a good way. Hehe I still love the whole genre though. ;)

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  23. i am sorry but if I do not like the book and I think it was poorly written then I review as so. I never go after authors but I go after their work. If you can not take a negetive review then you should not be an author.

    About a year ago I was contacted by a authos asking to review her two books and i said yes. I read the first book and I gave her 2 stars and I was being generous with the 2 stars. I gave two becuase it was her first book. on the second book, I read half and when I saw that the writting or characters have not improved I did not bother finishing it, because i was not liking the book.
    I reviewd the second book and posted the review as not finished and i said why I did not like it and finish it. The author made a comment on my review saying something along the lines not to bother reading my review becuase it was not good and that people should go elsewhere. Elsewhere as in were are 5 star reviews,

    My policy is i do not care if you are Tolstoy or Dostoyevski, if i am reading your book and I do not like it I will give you a negative review. I will not go after you personally but your book is a fair game as far as I am concerned.

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