bibliophilic monologue

My Thoughts on the “Anti-Bullying” Site Brouhaha

I live under a rock, you see – don’t worry, it’s a comfortable rock, books, bed and blankets, even the internet, but still a rock – so I had no idea about the “GR Bullies Site” which, in case you, too, live under a rock, is a site that “profiles” the bullies that populate the cyber pages of GR with their selves and write snarky (career-killing as they say) reviews. They give out personal information, addresses, places of employment etc and then speculate on the reviewer’s personal life, child-rearing abilities amongst other slanderous things. All for the benefit of the unwary authors who may not be aware that such a breed of toxic individuals exist in the world or particularly on GR. If you want to know more about this, read the Buzz Worthy News over at Cuddlebuggery where one of the members was one of the individuals profiled by this “anti-bullying” site. I read and I read and after a while, this was my face:

Except that there was a nervous tic under my eye that just grew worse as I continued reading.

Let me take a deep breath.

Okay. So these people are putting up public profiles with personal information about these reviewers while remaining cossetted in blissful anonymity themselves. The irony. The hypocrisy.

Look, I know that bloggers are not perfect little angels. We have our share of bad behaving individuals who do write reviews that are mean spirited and more often than not, cannot be called reviews but reactions to the books. There are such things are revenge reviews and whatnot, I don’t know, I don’t associate with people who are involved with such things. However, one person’s review is not enough to kill your career. The only person who can kill your career is you and I assume the individuals behind the site know this because why else would they be anonymous?

I’m going to tell you the truth here. If your book is not selling well, it is probably because you are not a very good writer. Does it hurt to hear that? Yeah? I’m sorry. It is not because the person who read your book and called it horrible has somehow convinced everyone to not read your book. Were this the case, Twilight would never have been as popular as it is today.

At this point, I am, once again, struck by the increasingly common incidents of authors reacting to negative reviews in a far more negative way than the situation actually warrants. And I, once again, wonder why. You are going to hate me for saying this and I freely admit it but I think one of the reasons these kinds of situations are becoming daily occurrences are because of self-published authors. Hear me out. An author who goes through the traditional channels and processes to get published becomes intimately acquainted with criticisms and negative reviews that are thinly veiled as constructive criticisms. This process lets them build a thicker skin towards negative reactions towards their work. It lets them distance themselves from their work and has them realize that a criticism of their work is not equal to a criticism of their persons.

This process is missing with self-pubbed authors. Again, this is a generalization so not bound to be a 100% true. However, for argument’s sake, let’s say it. Let’s say that apart from people who are close relatives and friends, no one else has read the manuscript until it reaches the masses. And then the reviews come piling in (if you’re lucky) and they’re not the five stars you have expected. You are not prepared at all for people to hate your work or not like your work and you feel that each criticism is aimed with unerring precision at your own person. Then kablooey. Things Fall Apart.

That’s just my theory anyway.

Returning to this “anti-bullying” site that promotes the bullying and intimidation of several reviewers, I have nothing to say that hasn’t already been said rather eloquently.

Read Cuddlebuggery for links on the matter and I suggest you pay particular attention to Foz Meadow’s post on the consequences of the site. Me, I’m returning to my abode under the rock to go back to my books and remove this bitter taste from my mouth. There will continue to be honest reviews on this site. Some may be negative.


5 thoughts on “My Thoughts on the “Anti-Bullying” Site Brouhaha

  1. THANK YOU for this. I also “live under a rock” and I had no idea what was going on…. I just didn’t want to admit it lol. I won’t go into my feelings about the site because obviously.. Shocked! Appalled! But more so on the fact that it just irritates me that people “aren’t allowed” to have negative reviews anymore. Sheesh, it’s gonna happen! As long as there’s no personal attack and it’s criticism of the work, they just have to accept it.
    Thank you for this post!


  2. I heard about this the other day when I poked my head out from under my own rock. As much as I hate to say it (okay, I really don’t hate it that much) I think you hit the nail on the head by calling out self-published authors. I mean, I totally give them credit if that’s the route they wanted to go. But You’re right… they missed that IMPORTANT step of learning how to take criticism by going the traditional route. I mentioned something similar to this on my own blog last night; if you put out a piece of work and ask for it to be reviewed, it’s going to be criticized. If it’s genuinely a good piece of work, you have nothing to worry about. But if it’s not good or it needs some work, you’re gonna get your feelings hurt. Sad truth, but there it is. If you want someone to pat you on the head, give you a cookie and tell you your book is the best book in the world, go call up your grandmother. If you want honest feedback on what you’ve done, toughen up and take the criticism like a grown up.

    Annnnnd I’m done. Great post!


    1. No, trust me, even if it is genuinely awesome, it’s not going to appeal to everyone. I’m taking a writing course in the fall and I just know that they’re going to rip me apart. But it’s the only way you grow! Some of the author behavior is ridiculous. That John Austen dude’s language turned me off and made me so angry, I wanted to scream. :\


  3. right on, Nafiza! i don’t know why it’s for hard for some authors to understand that we bloggers criticize the book, not the author per se. thus, the “attack” that they feel when we review their works.


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