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Top Ten Things Authors Should Not Do at Amazon

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I meant to post my Top Ten Things a Publisher Can Do to Help Readers Spend Money this week but over the weekend, an author began to engage readers over at Amazon in a fairly combative manner over a three star, or average, review. I think it serves as a good illustration of just what not to do. I give you the Top Ten Things Authors Should NOT Do at Amazon, the short version:

1. Suggest that the reader does not have good reading comprehension.
Reader: It’s an average, historical read.

Author: but you mention a reason for your disappointment that would be historically inaccurate.

2. Suggest that a reader is only allowed to have a lukewarm opinion of a book if she has published a book. “Perhaps you would also like to show the rest of us how historical fiction should be WRITTEN! I look forward to reviewing your first novel, Lilly.”

3. Insult the readers by suggesting that their opinions are “knee jerk” and that they don’t have the good sense to appreciate work that the professionals do. “I hope you will reconsider your knee-jerk reaction one day. After all, many reviewers, including several professional book critics, have admired my writing tremendously.”

4. Invoke the name(s) of successful authors in the genre to buttress your opinions. “And I take very serioulsly (and to heart) something Jenny Crusie once said at a romance authors convention I attended — which is that trashing authors online is rude, not to mention, bad karma. “

5. Suggest that a reader giving an opinion about a book is tantamount to insulting the author’s child. “it would be the equivalent of stopping another mother on the street just to gloat, “my, you have an ugly baby!”

6. Ignore one’s own good advice to walk away from the encounter. “Let’s drop this, now and enjoy our holiday weekend.”

7. Call the readers a bunch of witches. “In attacking me like a coven, you’ve all missed your own point.”

8. Tell the readers to do something more constructive than read and write reviews. (and invoke another big name author if possible and get it wrong) “Why not then, channel that passion into your own manuscripts — seriously? I read somewhere that many years ago, before she wrote her first novel, Nora Roberts wasn’t too moved by the romance fiction on the market, and so she said to herself something along the lines of “heck, I can write as well as this, if not better.”

9. Complain about Harriet Klausner’s consistency. “Harriet Klausner posted the same exact review on BN.com and gave the novel 5 stars! What gives, Harriet??”

10. Post a glowing five star review for a fake profile that links to your bridal registry that was filled out in May of 2007. Then suggest that the reader who recognizes the reviewer is a bit, um biased (read: related to the author), is totally making things up. “You couldn’t possibly seriously think that only people who are related to me would post a good review.”

***

The Longer Version. I present to you the case study of Leslie Carroll or The One Where the Bridal Registry Did Her In.

The latest sad tale began when Reader Rebecca left a 3.0 out of 5 stars review of All For Love: The Scandalous Life and Times of Royal Mistress Mary Robinson by Leslie Carroll on July 2, 2008. The review is a detailed examination of the book and the reader’s response toward the book. The review is so carefully constructed that it makes the book interesting despite the grade.

Author Amanda Elyot tells the story of a woman who grew up in near poverty and turned herself into a celebrity in late eighteenth century England. . . It’s quite a tale, going from rags to riches to love and abandonment, over and over again. For Mary longs to fall in love, but that elusive security always seems to vanish just as it’s nearly in her grasp. And she keeps struggling to survive with her daughter, turning to acting and writing to support them both, despite having to cope with a crippling illness.
. . .
While a great deal of the story would seem to improbable, but the story of Mary Robinson is quite true. Many of her works survived to this day, including the memoirs that she wrote at the close of her life, and what Amanda Elyot based most of her novel on. Told in first person, it’s a lively excursion through Georgian London, filled with plenty of witty talk, details of daily living and especially clothing, and quite a few insights into Mary’s own plight and that of women as well.

Ultimately, though, the book disappointed the reader

The reader is reminded continually that men of this time were perfidious louts, using their wives as not much more than breeding stock or a bank account. . . . And Mary? Instead of showing both of these ‘gentlemen’ to the door, instead pines away, and hopes that they will finally turn and be faithful to her. It’s this that ultimately ruined the book for me — I so wanted to see her develope some kind of backbone and give these men a good kick of the backside before slamming the door. . . .I was hoping for something more, but this breezy, chatty, gossipy novel really didn’t rise to the mark. That’s too bad, as it could have been much more in the hands of the author.
. . .
It’s an average, historical read. Three stars overall.

Within a day, Leslie Carroll aka Amanda Elyot responded and while it’s not the best example of a response, it could have died there.

Sorry the novel didn’t entirely work for you, Rebecca, but you mention a reason for your disappointment that would be historically inaccurate. Mary Robinson DIDN’T show her lovers the door and for me to have given her the sensibilities and decisions of a twenty-first century woman (or in fact any woman other than Mary Robinson) would have been to defile the events of her biography, something any historical novelist worth her salt would never do.

Rebecca took great pains to state the book was historical but that the manner in which the story was told wasn’t satisfactory to her. For example, Rebecca finds that the heroine lacked backbone but while Carroll initially states that Mary Robinson can’t be given “the sensibilities and decisions of a twenty-first century woman” she did fight back against the Prince’s abandonment. “She didn’t take his abandonment lightly at all! In fact she fought for what royal mistresses before her had always been given: an annuity, even after they had been dumped by their noble lovers,” writes Carroll. Obviously this fiestiness didn’t show itself within the pages for Rebecca.

Another reader responds to Rebecca’s review with the following:

Hum. I see overall that Elyot hasn’t improved since her first novel (Helen of Troy.) It’s too bad because she does write about intresting people and plots (especially the Jane Austen Actress sent back in time) but I could never finish her books after the first one. She makes good choices on what to write and then messes up the writing. Thanks for the heads up on this one.
PS- I see you’re close to the top 1000! I am too-heres hoping we both make it soon and show them how historical fiction should be reviewed!

Carroll can’t leave well enough alone. This is the part where I begin to half cringe and half shake my head in disbelief. Carroll assumes that the two reviewers are authors and starts striking back:

Perhaps you would also like to show the rest of us how historical fiction should be WRITTEN! I look forward to reviewing your first novel, Lilly. And all the rest after that, should you be fortunate enough to get published again.

Two other readers respond with the fact that they don’t really appreciate Carroll’s tart response to which Carroll replies with the standard “I’ve got lots of other people who love me.” Why not pay attention to those professionals then? Why care what a few readers at Amazon think?

Sorry about that, Misfit and YA Lib. I hope you will reconsider your knee-jerk reaction one day. After all, many reviewers, including several professional book critics, have admired my writing tremendously. So there are as many opinions in the world as there are people.

But things that smack of personal attacks should be avoided at all costs. And I take very serioulsly (and to heart) something Jenny Crusie once said at a romance authors convention I attended — which is that trashing authors online is rude, not to mention, bad karma. There are many books I have begun to read and couldn’t finish, and many more that I didn’t care for at all, but, being an author myself I am not comfortable, nor do I feel compelled, to share my opinion in a public forum. After all, it’s only mine, and it would be the equivalent of stopping another mother on the street just to gloat, “my, you have an ugly baby!” It’s an unnecessary and unpleasant encounter.

My comment to Lilly was not intended to be rude, but rather to encourage her to imagine the shoe being on the other foot. A problem with online communication is that the tone can often be misinterpreted.

Let’s drop this, now and enjoy our holiday weekend.

Oh, but if only Carroll would have taken her own advice. Instead, she keeps on responding:

In attacking me like a coven, you’ve all missed your own point. Just because a book can be not to your taste for whatever reasons, (and as you’ve said, all literary tastes differ); it does not automatically make the writing bad — or the author untalented. Constructive critique is welcome when it is indeed constructive, rather than a comment like “gee, she still can’t write.” I’m more interested in hearing what works for you in historical fiction. You’re all very passionate about historical fiction, which is fabulous, even if mine doesn’t personally float your individual boats; and you each have a good deal to contribute to a discussion about it, and probably have a lot of creativity and imagination as well. Why not then, channel that passion into your own manuscripts — seriously? I read somewhere that many years ago, before she wrote her first novel, Nora Roberts wasn’t too moved by the romance fiction on the market, and so she said to herself something along the lines of “heck, I can write as well as this, if not better.” And now she’s probably one of the wealthiest and most prolific women in our industry.

Actually, Carroll, I think Rebecca laid out pretty well what she likes and doesn’t like in historical fiction and unfortunately it isn’t your writing.

And Carroll doesn’t stop there. She takes umbrage with the fact that Klausner gives her a four star rating on Amazon and a five star rating at Barnes and Noble:

Harriet Klausner posted the same exact review on BN.com and gave the novel 5 stars! What gives, Harriet??

The coup de grace, though, is the mysterious five star review that appears on July 7, 2008, by La Riva Gauche. It is the only five star review for the book and it is the only review of La Riva Guache whose only identifying information is a List of a Bridal Registry for one Leslie Sara Carroll dated May 19, 2007. *

In sum, this is actually a fairly entertaining set of links and comments by a disgruntled author. It’s also a good illustration of what not to do at Amazon. At least delete the bridal registry if you are going to pretend to not be related to the author when giving a glowing five star review.

*This review has since been revised and now says it is written by the author’s husband after a reader’s unmasking. The exchange following the five star review is priceless because one commenter calls out the reviewer (pre edits) for being related and Leslie Carroll responds, totally disingenuously, “You couldn’t possibly seriously think that only people who are related to me would post a good review.”

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

147 Comments

  1. Jia
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 04:10:21

    I would just like to say I love the squirrel picture.

    ReplyReply

  2. Anion
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 05:04:12

    As a writer and a reader I find the whole escapade offensive. As a witch I find “attacking like a coven” outrageously offensive.

    Win all around for Leslie Carroll.

    ReplyReply

  3. Jayne
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 05:12:13

    If someone told me that an author could possibly respond this way after the whole DAM incident, I would say they were nuts. That no author could possibly act like such a f*cking idiot moron. Obviously, I’d be wrong.

    ReplyReply

  4. Lynne
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 06:38:30

    Yet another addition to my “Never Buy” list. I won’t financially support an author who behaves this way, and since I don’t want to spend time swimming in the thoughts of a person like that, I won’t even buy these books used.

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  5. Shiloh Walker
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 07:25:41

    “it would be the equivalent of stopping another mother on the street just to gloat, “my, you have an ugly baby!”

    I’d rather somebody insult my books over my kids any day. Insult my kids, I’m gonna get testy. Although anybody that’s ever seen my kids will tell ya they are gorgeous ;)

    Insult my books? I’ll shrug and move on. I can’t please everybody, all I can do is my best on each book.

    Geez, some authors need to get a grip. A reader’s opinion is just that… one fricking opinion. It’s not gonna kill your career or even cost you other readers.

    Acting like an ass, however? That will do it.

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  6. Rebecca-Telynor
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 07:46:06

    Good heavens! I had no idea that there would be such a storm over this one! Sadly, this is an author that I won’t be buying from any more; I find such petulance from a professional childish and not guaranteed to win you any friends.

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  7. Emmy
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 07:48:31

    After all, it's only mine, and it would be the equivalent of stopping another mother on the street just to gloat, “my, you have an ugly baby!”

    Can you please stop equating books to kids? It’s incredibly annoying. I agonize and sweat and toil over having a bowel movement, but I wouldn’t coddle a turd like I would a child. Don’t get mad at reviewers for thinking your book is pure shite. At least your family liked it.

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  8. roslynholcomb
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 07:53:00

    What is up with comparing your books to your kid? Yes, I labor and sweat and struggle with my book. It’s hard, and it’s an intimate experience. I love my books, but it is in no way comparable to how I feel about my freaking child for Pete’s sake. I’m also a quilter and I think the effort that goes into producing a quilt is comparable, but not a child.

    People are going to insult your books. It’s the nature of the beast. But you insult my kid prepare yourself for an ass-whupping. My books? Not so much.

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  9. Sara Reinke
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 07:57:49

    If someone told me that an author could possibly respond this way after the whole DAM incident, I would say they were nuts.

    I agree, but also think incidents like this serve good purpose — important lessons in public relations do’s and don’t’s that every author, no matter how successful, should take to heart.

    For example, negative reviews used to sting my pride. They still do, but now I’ve learned to remember — after watching authors like this take things to completely inappropriate, egomaniacal, asinine extremes — exactly what Shiloh said: everyone is entitled to their opinion. And they’re likewise entitled to share it on a public forum like Amazon. And no, it’s not the same as insulting my children. (Who, for the record, are also gorgeous, if I do dare say, LOL.) Authors need to keep things in perspective. REALISTIC perspective.

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  10. Patty L.
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 08:02:39

    I agree with Lynne, she has been added to my “Never Buy” list. It is offending as a reader to have an author attack your opinion. Even thoug the original review was less than favorable, it would not have caused me to pass on the book, however, the ensuing ignorance of a pissed author did.

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  11. rebyj
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 08:15:29

    That was entertaining.

    The author needs to educate herself how to respond in a more graceful way to negative reviews or simply not respond at all.

    She could get her some rabid vocal fans like J.R. Ward then sit back and watch them tear apart negative reviewers like hungry wolves LOL.

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  12. Ann Bruce
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 08:15:41

    Suggest that a reader is only allowed to have a lukewarm opinion of a book if she has published a book

    So, I’m only allowed to have a lukewarm opinion of Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull if I have made a movie?

    EDITED to remove an extra “the.”

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  13. Leah
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 08:17:57

    You know, it wasn’t a horrible review. The most wonderful books in the world could always stand some tweaking, and a good reviewer can always find those spots. The author can then learn from the critique or disregard it as s/he sees fit. This reminds me of grad school, when our German (nationality, not subject) professor, unaware of the phenomenon of grade inflation, was genuinely bewildered when a bunch of us straight-A history geeks lost our minds after receiving “C’s” on our research papers. “A C is average,” she said, “These were average papers. What’s so bad about that?” So your book is average. It has some flaws. Did you really think it would become a classic and last through the ages? Be glad you’re a published writer, enjoy your career and move on. Oh, and don’t read reviews anymore. Srsly.

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  14. Dayna
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 08:23:58

    I hate the book-as-child thing. Hate it!

    I can’t believe things like this, especially, as Jayne said, post-DAM. I understand it’s hard to just ignore bad reviews, but…eventually you just get inured to it all. (I’m not there yet, but that’s why I have a tub of ice cream in my freezer. It keeps my hands and mouth too busy to type/say the wrong thing. And by the time I’m done…well, I’m done.) then I can start looking for the points I believe were valid to apply to the next book.

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  15. Jennifer Estep
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 08:30:30

    Bad reviews are a part of the book business, just like deadlines and copy edits and a million other things. There is no book out there that will please everyone. Yeah, bad reviews sting, but like one lady in my book group says, “You have to put on your big girl pants and get on with things.”

    But I wouldn’t consider the intial review to be a bad review. The reader stated what she liked and what she didn’t about the book in a clear, concise way. She didn’t just write “this sucked” and that was it. Like someone else said, the review wouldn’t make me automatically pass on the book.

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  16. Nora Roberts
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 08:37:12

    Re the books/babies comments. It seems to me that some take this too far, on both sides. Yes, some authors may refer to their book as their baby. It doesn’t mean they equate the book with their actual children. It’s an expression, and on a creative level accurate enough. You conceived, you gestated, you labored, you produced.

    Really simple as that.

    Those who get their panties in a serious twist and talk about calling their baby ugly take it a step or so too far. And some more than that.

    But some readers don’t seem to be able to see the creative comparison for what it is. Just an analogy for most of us.

    This author, obviously, needs to step back, gain some perspective, and certainly some basic respect for the reader and the reader’s opinion.

    I can’t say with any accuracy what I might have stated in some interview–but if I hadn’t been moved by Romance fiction, I wouldn’t have decided to write it. Or spent a quarter of a century continuing to do so.

    Plus, what in the world does what I did/said have to do with these reders/reviewers?

    Anyway, I’d add one to Jane’s list of things authors shouldn’t do on Amazon. Don’t go there and read reviews of your books if you can’t take criticism from readers. Period.

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  17. Gennita Low
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 08:47:50

    I’m still cracking up at the thought that she’s mad at Harriet Klausner. HAHAHAHAHAHAAHA.

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  18. nightsmusic
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 08:48:23

    Writing, like any other art form, is subjective at best. Yes, we write because we love to, because we’re driven to, because there’s some force in us that won’t be denied, demanding we take up pen and paper (or in this day and age, laptop and extension cord that reaches the deck) and put our innermost imaginings into a story that we hope people will love and will be some kind of legacy for us when we’re gone.

    But subjectivity demands criticism, be it good or bad, and if one can’t take the bad, they have no business putting themselves in the public eye for all to see and comment on.

    This author (who I have never read, simply because the genre is not something that interests me except as a minor research tool) should have simply kept her mouth shut and let the reviewer garner no more attention than the one or two comments most reviewers receive. Instead, she’s now put herself out there in a most unflattering way and forced those who might have read her, to take a different view of her and perhaps avoid her instead.

    Sad…

    ReplyReply

  19. Kristen
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 09:18:48

    Fun reading. Thanks. lol

    ReplyReply

  20. azteclady
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 09:22:56

    One of the things learned is that the DAM scandal, as big as it looked to us, didn’t make a blip in most people’s radars.

    If it had, we wouldn’t continue seeing these shenanigans over–ohdearmethehorror!–average reviews.

    ReplyReply

  21. Mel-O-Drama
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 09:36:30

    *shakes head*
    I really don’t understand this. First of all, it was a well-written review. There was nothing personal in it and crap, she still gave her 3 stars! Why did Carroll feel the need to respond? And that ‘coven’ remark was beyond insulting. Talk about getting personal!

    Sigh.

    I think maybe it would be best if we as authors don’t read any reviews–good, bad, or ugly. I get the human desire to defend yourself, but come on. NOTHING good ever comes from it. I swear, I’m just never going to read any reviews of my stuff next year. Okay, I’m going to try not to read them. Okay, I’m going to read them and pretend I didn’t. LOL

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  22. Lisa
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 09:38:49

    After DAM and having been burned by glowing reviews for books which I thought were not deserving of the praise, I have begun to discount 5 star and 1 star reviews. I prefer to read the middle of the road reviews because they tend to give more information about what was right and wrong with the book. It allows me to decide if the things listed as a problem for one person will be a problem for me.

    An author I love may write a book which does not appeal to me. It does not mean I won’t buy another book by this author, it just means I didn’t click with that particular book. However, if the author attacked me or another reader for finding it just okay, that would stop me from purchasing another book from them.

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  23. sallahdog
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 09:51:18

    The initial review really was pretty evenhanded. Frankly I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had given it 4 stars (it was more positive than a lot of 3 star reviews are)…. AS much as I think authors should take a big girl pill about reviews (dont read if it gives you heartburn), this is the kind of review that actually would get some people to buy the book. It was thoughtful, and fair…

    Until the author had to go and get all pissy that someone didn’t give her 5 stars, or LUUUVVVV it to death… Very few books would qualify for that with me, and I am suspicious of reviewers who just love everything that they review.

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  24. Libby
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 09:54:40

    I went to a writers conference last spring, and author Kim Rees said something that I will never forget (and I’m paraphrasing from memory, so bear with me!): Don’t get it in your mind that your book is your baby–you’d never sell your baby.

    Loved it, and I’m keeping that thought at the forefront as I hammer out my work in progress :)

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  25. Marissa Scott
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 10:00:46

    Lord. I think this is something authors shouldn’t do anywhere. It makes the author look unprofessional. As much as we all want to defend our work, I think the best tactic in this situation would be to say something like “I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the book, but thank you for reading it and for your very honest review”.

    I can only imagine the burning need to defend… after all it is YOUR work, but not everyone is going to like it. It is just the way it is. It’s why the romance genre is so diverse with different subgenres and different styles and voices and POVs. Be gracious and walk away because if they don’t get it while they’re reading it, they’re not going to get it when they’re through.

    *shrug* Just my 2 cents.

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  26. Karen Scott
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 10:06:34

    Well, that’s another author whose books I shall be reshelving in the Black history section at Borders now. What a total f*ckwit.

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  27. Jane
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 10:10:37

    I fear it’s going to get crowded back there in the Black history section. The irony is that in trying to reduce the negative impact of the average review, the author creates more negativity in responding.

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  28. Janine
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 10:18:10

    What always strikes me as absurd is the notion that (A) readers aren’t qualified to review a book unless they’ve published one, and (B) authors shouldn’t review because it’s inviting bad karma. If readers can’t review, and authors can’t review, who can?

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  29. Jenyfer Matthews
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 10:19:02

    Anyway, I'd add one to Jane's list of things authors shouldn't do on Amazon. Don't go there and read reviews of your books if you can't take criticism from readers. Period.

    Second this.

    You know, I once went to Amazon and left a mediocre review for a book that my sister gave me. She saw it and somehow figured out my screen name and came back to give me crap about it. I’ve haven’t left a review on Amazon since.

    ETA: and if ever one of my own books is reviewed on Amazon, good or bad, I am staying out of it…

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  30. Angela James
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 10:27:50

    I think we should start some sort of online romance drinking game that includes emptying your glass whenever Nora is brought into the argument/discussion. Where’s Mrs. Giggles when we need her?

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  31. MD
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 10:33:22

    I wish Elyot’s “husband” would at least reveal his identity at the beginning of the review instead of at the end–thereby sparing innocent readers having to sludge through reading that long and excruciatingly biased review. Assuming they would to begin with.

    I will not buy from this author, nor would I even read her work if she gave it away.

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  32. JulieLeto
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 10:38:43

    OOOh! Angela, cool drinking game. I’m in.

    What always strikes me as absurd is the notion that (A) readers aren't qualified to review a book unless they've published one, and (B) authors shouldn't review becasue it's inviting bad karma. If readers can't review, and authors can't review, who can?

    Apparently, just your mother. Oh, wait. Not MY mother. I suspected she was Mrs. Giggles for a brief moment, until I remembered Mom doesn’t read fiction.

    Seriously, though…this is just ridiculous. More authors need to invest in some big girl panties, that’s for sure.

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  33. Melissa
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 11:01:54

    Since I spend half of my waking life on Amazon I seen some strange author shenanigans. But the strangest by far are authors who review their own books under their own names… I mean really what are the odds that another person with exactly the same name will just happen to review the book. In the case i saw it was two authors using a joint screen name so it was even more incriminating.

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  34. Leeann Burke
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 11:08:38

    I completely agree with Nora. Authors resist the urge look at the reviews of their books if they can’t take the bad ones with the good ones. I’ll certainly have to remember that when my first book comes out. I hope to do as Shilow said she does, shrug and move on.

    This sounds like the author responded in the heat of the moment. She didn’t give herself time to step back and let go of her anger.

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  35. AnimeJune
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 11:18:07

    I got an e-mail from the auther of “Yestermorrow” once after giving the novel a tepid reveiw, it was a snide little thankyou going, “Gee, sorry you didn’t like my books, like ALL THESE READERS AND CRITICS DID.”

    Gee, if all those other kids and critics liked your book, why are you bitching at me?

    Seriously.

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  36. Jaci Burton
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 11:27:15

    I think we should start some sort of online romance drinking game that includes emptying your glass whenever Nora is brought into the argument/discussion

    Oh hell. Then we’d be drunk all the time.

    Hmmm…..maybe that’s not a bad thing.

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  37. Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 11:32:49

    sorry removed my comment!

    ReplyReply

  38. Dana
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 12:20:54

    I agree with what everyone said. But I’m still secretly hoping LC will come over here and call us a coven.

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  39. Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 12:26:49

    Okay, I had to take a moment to think about what I wanted to say. I was a semi-finalist recently in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Not only did PW absolutely hate my manuscript but a reader gave me 2 stars based on the excerpt. Did it suck? Yes! Did I disagree with the reviewer? Hell yeah! But it would never have occured to me to respond to the review. Getting reviews, good, bad or indifferent is part of the process when you put your work out there. Yes, some people go overboard with their reviews, and are downright nasty but then so are some professional reviewers. No author (that I know of) has ever gotten universally amazing reviews from both the public and critics. There is always going to be someone who has an opposing opinion. The Internet makes it easy for everyone to be an armchair reviewer, and that’s both good and bad. But that’s the 21st century, and as an author, it’s better to focus on the positives in life than the negatives.

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  40. Robin
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 12:27:06

    It absolutely amazes me that these authors can’t see that they’re creating the negativity, not these readers writing these so-called “offensive” reviews.

    And Carroll clearly could. not. help. nor. stop. herself. After the third swipe at readers I lost all sympathy for her and just read in fascinated horror, waiting for what she would do next. The five star review by her “husband” has still been unsurpassed, IMO, if only because the bridal registry is, like, right there on the reviewer’s profile page.

    Every time something like this happens, I walk away with the perception that authors who act this way really have little or no respect for readers. That they must think we’re so stupid that we won’t notice a little thing like the author’s bridal registry on a reviewer profile page, or that we can’t tell the difference between reasonable criticism and ad hominem attacks (although maybe that’s because in some cases, the author can’t seem to make this distinction, either). Intellectually I know it’s just profound insecurity mixed with an overabundance of ego and sass, but it overtly telegraphs a total lack of respect for the opinions and competencies of others.

    The reference to Crusie and bad karma clinched it all for me. So it’s bad karma to diss authors in public but not readers? Uh, hello? Although for me Crusie plummeted down and off that moral high ground a while ago, so the whole comment struck me as ironic, and not in a good way. Does this mean I get to be a designated non-fan of Carroll’s now, too?

    That squirrel picture rocks.

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  41. Mad
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 12:28:38

    Here we go again?

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  42. Shanna
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 12:28:49

    If your ego is too fragile to accept criticism, **don’t seek it out**.

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  43. Robin
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 12:33:31

    Getting reviews, good, bad or indifferent is part of the process when you put your work out there.

    I think that what authors sometimes underestimate is how a less than glowing review can often catalyze the posting of a positive review to balance it out. As a reader, I know I am easily motivated when someone posts a negative review of a book I really liked. That alone can make me put forth the effort to write a positive review (it partially motivates some of my reviews here, even though I may not even mention the negative review in my own), but when an author steps in before that process can play itself out, she can, IMO, completely shut that possibility down, making herself look like a total ass and scaring off reasonable readers who may have loved her book but now don’t want to be associated with the author publicly by posting another review.

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  44. Kalen Hughes
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 12:33:55

    I completely agree with Nora. Authors resist the urge look at the reviews of their books if they can't take the bad ones with the good ones. I'll certainly have to remember that when my first book comes out. I hope to do as Shilow said she does, shrug and move on.

    I do my best to avoid reading the reviews on Amazon (and I NEVER google myself or my books, that is a recipe for disaster!). I've only ever responded to one review. She gave me 2-stars and listed a slew of historical “errors” in my book (and this was my very first Amazon review). I politely listed my sources. Not one of the “errors” she quoted was, in fact, an error, an anachronism, or a mistake (and believe me, there are errors, I always seem to uncover something new and pertinent after the page proofs have been returned to my editor *sigh*).

    But even responding to that one review felt *wrong* after I'd done it. Now I only respond to emails or questions on my blog. If AnonnyReader wants to rant about how it's physically impossible for my heroine to come “down” from the first floor (because she doesn't understand that in England the “first floor” is equivalent to the “second floor” in America), let her rant.

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  45. Gennita Low
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 12:47:57

    The reference to Crusie and bad karma clinched it all for me. So it's bad karma to diss authors in public but not readers? Uh, hello? Although for me Crusie plummeted down and off that moral high ground a while ago, so the whole comment struck me as ironic, and not in a good way.

    Robin, that was a deliberate mis-quote of part of Jenny Crusie’s speech from RWA. I was there when Jenny Crusie said those words. She meant it as saying it was bad karma for AUTHORS to do that to other authors under assumed names on Amazon. That was in reference to the incident when actual review names were revealed by Amazon because of their system going down or something. A few authors who had been giving some fellow authors bad reviews had their identities revealed for 24 hours for all to see, so that was what Jenny meant by “bad karma.” I actually did catch this on one of my first Avon books–reviewed by a fellow Avon author under a different name ;-), so I was amused by Jenny’s remarks at that time.

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  46. Robin
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 12:54:46

    Gennita, thanks for explaining that. I’m still not a fan of the karma argument in general, because I think it’s so often used to shut down reasonable, even desirable discussion (and scare authors off saying anything that’s not glowing and rosy), but I appreciate the clarification. Who knows if Carroll intentionally skewed the comment or simply didn’t hear it properly, but I wonder if she’d consider it bad karma to misquote another author on Amazon?

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  47. Kayla
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 12:56:50

    This whole review war is getting out of hand and it is starting to really border on juvenile. While I agree, Leslie Carroll definitely stuck both feet in her mouth, I’m starting to notice the same names popping up in the comments section of reviews attacking other reviewers and stirring up the pot. And these are reviews for authors other than HP. The whole DAM mess was beyond over the top and I can guarantee I’ll never buy a book written by her. But now a select group of reviewers are behaving just as badly.

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  48. Jody W.
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 12:57:40

    My books are not my children. My children are: 1) much less well behaved; 2) smellier; 3) half HIS fault :).

    Ok, that sounds mean, I do like my kids. Just not today, after the grocery store trip in 100 degree weather.

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  49. Libby
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 13:10:51

    My books are not my children. My children are: 1) much less well behaved; 2) smellier; 3) half HIS fault :).

    LMAO!!!

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  50. Leah
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 13:20:50

    My books are not my children. My children are: 1) much less well behaved; 2) smellier; 3) half HIS fault :). Ok, that sounds mean, I do like my kids. Just not today, after the grocery store trip in 100 degree weather.

    Been there. Done that. Going there again shortly. ROTFL!

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  51. Jeaniene Frost
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 13:25:15

    It’s a bad idea as an author to ever argue a review. I have an overall good Amazon rating for my books, but you can bet there are some pretty strongly-worded negative reviews mixed in there, too. Bottom line: personal tastes vary, so no book will please every reader. If I can’t handle that as an author, then I shouldn’t have my books available to the public.

    But I might have referred to my books as babies. If I told my mother, “You’re not getting any grandchildren out of me, so just put a binkie and a bonnet on one of my books and let’s call it even,” does that count? ;-)

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  52. kirsten saell
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 13:35:06

    My books are not my children. My children are: 1) much less well behaved; 2) smellier; 3) half HIS fault :).

    Ok, that sounds mean, I do like my kids. Just not today, after the grocery store trip in 100 degree weather.

    Hahaha! Me, too! Just change the “100 degree weather” to “rain coming down sideways” and that’s my life.

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  53. Lorelie
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 13:40:46

    they must think we're so stupid that we won't notice a little thing like the author's bridal registry on a reviewer profile page

    I doubt it was anything sneaky or nefarious, or that well thought out. More like “Aaargh, must have happy review to balance out the awful meanie who gave me 3 stars!” End of deliberation.

    My books are not my children. My children are: 1) much less well behaved; 2) smellier; 3) half HIS fault :).

    LMFAO! After a 7.5 hour drive yesterday with a 1yo who just felt like being cranky? I am totally with you.

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  54. Chrissy
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 13:45:56

    Um. As the leader of an actual coven (we call it a circle, but whatever) I can assure you we COULD kick the backside in question, but have wayyyy better things to do.

    Just because everyone does it doesn’t mean it isn’t bigotry.

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  55. TracyS
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 13:49:26

    Geez, some authors need to get a grip. A reader's opinion is just that… one fricking opinion. It's not gonna kill your career or even cost you other readers.

    Acting like an ass, however? That will do it.

    Great point Shiloh!

    What always strikes me as absurd is the notion that (A) readers aren't qualified to review a book unless they've published one, and (B) authors shouldn't review because it's inviting bad karma. If readers can't review, and authors can't review, who can?

    LOL I hadn’t thought of that. It’s also insulting. I may not write books, but I know what I like to read and I’ve got money to spend, so. . . .

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  56. Chrissy
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 13:54:55

    BTW anything involving 100 degree weather AND children… geeez get that lady a massage, a cocktail, and a big box of Godiva.

    I’ll watch the kids.

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  57. Eden Bradley
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 13:57:38

    Angela-pour me a shot!
    I admit I cannot help myself from reading all my reviews-a nasty habit I practice with the curtains closed. But if you’re going to do so, for heaven’s sake, learn to roll with the punches because I don’t care how wonderful a writer you may be, there are going to be punches! We’re allowed to be annoyed by awful reviews (and IMO, this review wasn’t awful) but do it privately where you won’t embarrass yourself.

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  58. MB
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 14:05:13

    What? You mean I get to be the first person to bring up Laurell K. Hamilton? Woo hoo!!! I tell you, the reader reviews, comments, and forums on her books in Amazon are the most hilarious thing around! She is a case and Leslie Carroll has nothing on her as far as reacting to bad reviews.

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  59. Ann Somerville
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 14:46:18

    a less than glowing review can often catalyze the posting of a positive review to balance it out.

    Amen. I did that with a novel I adored was slammed by someone who seemed to have a real grudge against the author and the book. I didn’t argue with her – just left a copy of my own glowing review (which in fact I’d written before I’d seen any of the Amazon reviews.) I would never leave a falsely positive review but I see nothing wrong with adding to the weight of voices praising something I thought an excellent read.

    I think the Janes could have a nice little revenue raiser if they developed Bad Publisher’s Bingo and Bad Authors Bingo – this lady has hit all the squares except threatening the family of the reviewers.

    Has she even had a really shitty review? The kind of thing that leaves you lying on the floor sobbing and clutching a box of chocolates while vowing never to write another word as long as you live? Because if she reacts like this to a 3-star review, she would go all ‘splody if someone really tore into her, I suspect.

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  60. veinglory
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 14:51:28

    Bad publishers bingo would include a lot of the same behavior, just directed at slightly different targets….

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  61. K. Z. Snow
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 14:57:17

    It’s the coming back again and again and again that always mystifies and amuses me. I truly believe this is some kind of bizarre syndrome. Blogger A states in huff that she’s giving her LAST WORD on the subject . . . then reappears four more times with still more words (which, by now, few people are bothering to read, ’cause they’re sick to death of the babbling bitch!)

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  62. Throwmearope
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 15:03:05

    I had a college prof give me an “A” on a lit paper and then describe my writing to the entire class as “folksy.” Did I want to photograph him in a compromising position and then drown him in a shallow pond? You betcha.

    But I remembered the real bottom line which is I needed good grades to further my education, so I smiled and thanked him. He probably still thinks I was fond of him or something.

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  63. Bev Stephans
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 15:25:51

    As an avid reader, I am appalled by the tactics some authors use to further their books. I’ve noticed that the worse their books are, the more vigorously they are defended. Total BS!

    Since I have dropped my Amazon membership, I’m not reading their reviews anymore, so I miss (thankfully) a lot of this crap! Thank you Dear Author for bringing it to our attention. We all need a good laugh with our coffee.

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  64. MB (Leah)
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 15:34:28

    Bottom line for me is that reviews are reader to reader info about a book. As a reader I want to know what other READERS think. I don’t care what the author thinks really. If I write a review, I’m not thinking about the author and how she will feel, I’m thinking about what other readers might want to know. I’m the one shelling out my hard earned dough to read a book and in turn, support the author. So, if they start arguing with their audience, it can only go badly in my eyes.

    I’m the type that when I see an author acting with class by either ignoring a negative review, or thanking the reviewer anyway, then I’m very inclined to check them out and maybe buy their work. I have a lot of respect for that.

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  65. Popin
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 15:57:43

    After the DAM episode and now this, I’m just confused on why both authors went after reviewers who gave their books 3 stars, instead of the ones who gave it 1 or 2 stars.

    Still, it’s sad that she is doing this and she’s going to lose future readers by her behaviour. If she can’t handle these kinds of reviews, she should have just stayed away from them.

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  66. Jessica Barksdale Inclan
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 17:07:12

    Sometimes, even when you want to cry or rant about something someone says, you need to push your chair back, take your hands off the computer, and go pour yourself a glass of wine. Call a friend, bitch and moan, but do NOT touch that dial.

    I am sure she’s not happy she got involved in that discussion. She’s not happy looking back at it and saying, “Yes, I should have said all of that.”

    And it’s true. It doesn’t matter what the authors says. It’s what the reader thinks. Always true.

    J

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  67. Robin
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 17:15:20

    Has she even had a really shitty review? The kind of thing that leaves you lying on the floor sobbing and clutching a box of chocolates while vowing never to write another word as long as you live? Because if she reacts like this to a 3-star review, she would go all 'splody if someone really tore into her, I suspect.

    She seemed to be engaged in quite a bit of commenting for at least two of her books, and what struck me even more than her tenacity in just not giving it up was the way she was going after relatively mild comments (and commenters).

    I understand that some authors just don’t appreciate the whole concept of critical conversation on books, viewing reviews simply as promotional tools. But even on that level, authors have got to realize that as soon as they step into the fray with an eye to challenging reviews and commentary, it’s like charging into a library with a bullhorn. As upset as an author might be at the moment, as monumental as a reader’s stupidity might seem, I think the author’s got to take a moment to step back and ask if it’s really worth it to risk having anyone else feel that same anger upon reading the author’s comments that she did upon reading someone else’s.

    Because that’s the risk the author runs, even if she doesn’t think she’s responding angrily or condescendingly or rudely. She’s always going to be the one with the bullhorn in the library, and her voice is going to be amplified, in turn amplifying the importance of whatever she’s protesting. Even the comment Carroll left on a review of her non-fiction book comes across to me as snotty, even though I’m sure she thought she was being perfectly polite. Library. Bullhorn. And in this case, throw in some really loud high heels echoing across a tiled floor.

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  68. Leah
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 17:27:49

    “throw in some really loud high heels echoing across a tiled floor.”

    LOL! Do you know, when I was a public library clerk, way back when, I actually got a bad mark on my performance review because I “walked too loudly in heels,” and also because my laugh was too loud.

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  69. Jennifer A. Ray
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 20:56:52

    Amazing. Seriously amazing. I see she has deleted her comments at Amazon now, so at some point she actually did start to realize how awful she came across and what bad press it was for her, I suppose?

    It is always a good practice to step back and think before posting something in the heat of the moment. When I am in doubt as to whether or not I should post something, I type an email, blog, etc. and simply save it for a few hours. Sometimes I even wait overnight. Then I review what I wrote and determine if it is something I really need to say publicly, and whether the tone of what I wrote is appropriate.

    Often I find that even if it is still something that needs to be sent, posted, etc. I need to revise it somewhat to make my points in a more reasonable and sensible manner.

    And there are times when I realize just the act of getting my feelings out on ‘paper’ was cathartic and helped me get it out of my system without needing to send it.

    That method has served me well for years in my personal life. You would think those in the public eye would adopt something similar.

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  70. Robin
    Jul 08, 2008 @ 21:04:27

    Do you know, when I was a public library clerk, way back when, I actually got a bad mark on my performance review because I “walked too loudly in heels,” and also because my laugh was too loud.

    Well, I don’t wear high heels, but I have a big mouth and love to laugh, so I’m sure I’d never make the cut!

    I see she has deleted her comments at Amazon now

    Because a simple apology would have been so much more difficult than all that deleting? *sigh*

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  71. Jennie F.
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 01:19:34

    Constructive critique is welcome when it is indeed constructive, rather than a comment like “gee, she still can't write.” I'm more interested in hearing what works for you in historical fiction.

    This was the comment that stood out for me. Why does she assume that Amazon reviews are intended for the author, or as “constructive critique”? I usually assume that Amazon reviews are there for other readers, potential consumers, or just because the reviewer wants to put his or her opinions out there. It seems rather narcissistic to assume that the reviews should function as feedback for the author.

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  72. Peaches
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 01:55:43

    When I started in the creative writing program at my school, a friend in the intro class told me he couldn’t stand writing workshops because “They’re one big jack-circle.” Apparently this is the kind of environment this author wants. The whole “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all” approach is fine at a cocktail party, but it doesn’t work for reviewing. As long as the criticism is thought out and not someone belting out “THIS SUCKORZ” then the author should just suck it up and learn that it comes with the territory. Reviews are for honest reactions, not for lobbing indescriminate praise. I have no idea where authors (and rabid fans of some of them) get the idea that if you don’t like a book, you should keep it to yourself (try criticizing Twilight and you’ll see some great examples of this whining from the fangirls.) If I like a book, I reccomend it and explain why. If I dont like a book, I explain why. It’s not complicated, and it’s not complaining for the sake of complaining. It’s being honest.

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  73. Peter Durward Harris
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 03:42:07

    you'd never sell your baby.

    Some people have tried ….

    Mother tried to sell baby online

    Father claims mother is anxious to sell their baby

    German parents who tried to sell baby on Ebay go free

    …. but they are more despicable than the badly behaved authors.

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  74. Peter Durward Harris
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 04:36:23

    I wonder how long this review will survive

    A poor excuse for any literature, let alone reputable historical fiction.

    By E. Enwright

    This novel was a waste of money and time. After reading the embarrassing tirade of counter-reviews the sick and sad psychotic author has had to offer, I am unsurprised as to the level of defensiveness present… for the author has sound reasons behind her insecurity.

    Do yourself a favor and don’t entertain the thought of this novel or any other novel by Leslie Carroll. I wish I hadn’t.

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  75. Ann Somerville
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 06:27:04

    I’d actually support the removal of Enwright’s ‘review’, since it’s nothing of the kind – it’s an out and out attack on the author.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right, and I find this sickening. Carroll might be foolish, but ‘psychotic’? Puhlease.

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  76. nightsmusic
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 07:36:21

    I agree, Ann. That’s exactly the type of ‘review’ that does nothing, imparts no information other than the reader is an idiot who feels his omniscient voice must be heard.

    I still think the original review was well thought out and well written. So what that it wasn’t completely complimentary (ACK! Where are the adverb police ;) ) however, it read like an honest review of the book!, not the author personally.

    I agree with Peaches as well, just because you don’t like a book doesn’t mean you’re slamming the author personally. You’re reviewing a book that didn’t touch you for whatever reason, but not every author can write a brilliant tome every time. Though, there is one rabid fan base out there who has stated on many occasions, they would read their idolized author’s grocery list and praise it to death simply because she wrote it, which to me, is an even worse reflection on the author…

    Perhaps if an author cannot take the criticism of an honest review, then Ms. Roberts is correct; they just shouldn’t read the reviews and not listen to others who try to tell them about what’s being posted. Period.

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  77. L
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 07:51:54

    I agree, instead of deleting everything and disappearing, why didn’t she apologize?

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  78. Cheryl C.
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 07:55:40

    An update: All of Carroll’s comments to the reviews of this book were deleted by the author 10-13 hours ago and the 5-Star review by her husband has mysteriously disappeared as well. Hm…DAM clean up all over again. When will people learn? Once it is posted on the internet for everyone in the world to see, you can’t just click “delete” and make it all go away. This is me adding Carroll/Eloyt to my ever-growing list of authors I will not buy.

    As a side note, I actually thought the book sounded kind of interesting and the review that caused Carroll to lose it actually didn’t turn me off the book at all. The author’s behavior on the other hand absolutely did.

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  79. Misfit
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 08:51:59

    I did have the presence of mind to save the link to the husband’s five star review by most recent comment guessing that it would be deleted. You can still read the original review here, although you can’t look at the comments any longer — http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A2E1E0EYN8JNBY?sort_by=MostRecentComment&display=public&x=7&y=13

    Make note that the paragraph disclosing the relationship to the author was not added until after the discovery of the bridal registry.

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  80. Randi
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 09:04:20

    This is the third time I’ve heard about these Twilight fangrrls. What’s the story with that?

    On this topic: my stance is that reviews are by readers for other readers. As a reader, I’m not interested in what the critics say or what other authors have to say. I’m only interested in what other readers think.

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  81. Jane
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 09:11:20

    I screencapped everything including most of the five star review. Those are the new links in the top ten list.

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  82. Deb Kinnard
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 10:09:06

    This sounds petty & silly. The only appropriate response to ANY reader review is a personal e-mail saying, “Thanks for reviewing my book.”

    Maybe some folks should get a hobby. Hospitals always need volunteers.

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  83. Robin
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 11:04:38

    I agree that the Enwright “review” is neither a review nor “helpful” as Amazon puts it. The reference to “sad and psychotic” is as over the line as Carroll’s comments were, IMO. It’s a good example, though, of the difference between criticizing a book and criticizing an author, brightening the line between Lilly and Rebeccas’ critiques, which were clearly aimed at Carroll’s book, and Enwright’s, which overtly critiqued the author.

    This was the comment that stood out for me. Why does she assume that Amazon reviews are intended for the author, or as “constructive critique”? I usually assume that Amazon reviews are there for other readers, potential consumers, or just because the reviewer wants to put his or her opinions out there. It seems rather narcissistic to assume that the reviews should function as feedback for the author.

    As readers and reviewers, we understand that we are not writing to the author, but I do think it can be difficult for an author to read reviews and not feel personally affected by them. Especially within a culture where readers so often write to the author and offer them all sorts of accolades, and where there is a strong fan-based author-reader connection.

    The key, I think, is to take those crucial steps back everyone keeps talking about and realize that even if a review makes a personal impact, that doesn’t mean it’s personally aimed at the author. It’s that inability or lack of desire to discern the difference that gets some authors in trouble, I think, whether it’s that heat of the moment reaction or a more general overpersonalization of feedback that results in an articulated response from the author.

    As for the “constructive critique” comment, I remember back to another thread (was it Janine’s piece on being a reader and an aspiring author?), where that whole ‘what is constructive critique for’ question was addressed. My own sense of it is that constructive critique is something that happens when someone is reacting to your draft — either a teacher or a fellow writer who is offering suggestions for revision. As reviewers, that’s not what we’re doing; we’re critiquing the finished novel, period. And not, as you say, for the author’s benefit or audience. As I’ve said many times, I sure as hell don’t want an author basing her writing on the comments of readers for the same reasons I don’t want to feel the obligation of shaping my feedback for an author’s ears/eyes. At that point I think we’ve transgressed the reviewing function, really.

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  84. Janine
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 12:06:51

    As I've said many times, I sure as hell don't want an author basing her writing on the comments of readers for the same reasons I don't want to feel the obligation of shaping my feedback for an author's ears/eyes.

    While I agree that reviews are intended for readers, not authors, I wonder if you’re not constructing a double standard here. Let me clarify that my comments here aren’t about this situation with Leslie Carroll, but about any author who might want to look at reviews as feedback.

    If we say that authors should, once they’ve put a book out for something consumption, be prepared for a variety of interpretations that they can’t control, then doesn’t the same thing hold true for reviewers? If an author thinks she can glean something from a review that will improve her writing in the future, how can a reviewer do anything about that? And, so long as the author isn’t trying to censor the reviewer, should we really want her to look at reviews differently? Aren’t we, at that point, wanting to control the author’s reaction / interpretation? After all, isn’t a public review also in the public domain?

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  85. nightsmusic
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 12:26:49

    Though I am not talking of this whole argument over whether one reviewer liked an author’s work and that author wishes to argue the point, I have to say that as a writer, I would read the reviews with the thought in mind that the well thought-out ones, the ones that bring up viable points, be they good or bad, are written by the people who read my books, and as such, if I can see any consistency in something the readers keep conveying with their reviews, then that’s something I need to look at either improving upon, or perhaps not including in my next book.

    That said, I don’t think that by doing that, I would be allowing any reviewer to tell me how to write, but I would be paying attention to what those who are spending their hard earned cash on my stories, have to say.

    I think the review that started Ms. Carroll’s desire to lash back was a very good review in that it pointed out many things in the book that for that reviewer, didn’t work. If she is the only one to mention them as not working, then I know that it’s only her and I might very well see things differently. Should a dozen reviewers all touch on those same points as not working, then I would think the author probably isn’t for me, but I would hope the author would realize that twelve readers touching on the same thing might also have a viable point that the author at least needs to take a good look at.

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  86. Robin
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 12:44:22

    Janine, I don’t think it’s a double standard at all. That I don’t want an author listening to reader feedback doesn’t mean that I can control whether or not she does or doesn’t. It doesn’t mean an author doesn’t have the right to interpret my review any way she wants. It merely means that I don’t want to worry about what authors might think when I’m writing my reviews. And I don’t want authors to feel compelled to consider what readers might think when they’re writing their books. Same standard, even if I can’t (thankfully) enforce my wishes and intentions. That anyone might learn anything from a book or a review or interpret it a certain way is a personal thing. What I don’t want is a sense of obligation to shape our writing voices — in book or review — to the expectations of those who might have something to say in response to what we put out there. In the same way that I doubt any book is conceived as a letter to readers, neither is a review a missive to the author. That each — reader and author — might glean something valuable from either is a separate issue, IMO.

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  87. Janine
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 13:25:10

    That anyone might learn anything from a book or a review or interpret it a certain way is a personal thing. What I don't want is a sense of obligation to shape our writing voices -’ in book or review -’ to the expectations of those who might have something to say in response to what we put out there. In the same way that I doubt any book is conceived as a letter to readers, neither is a review a missive to the author. That each -’ reader and author -’ might glean something valuable from either is a separate issue, IMO.

    Ah, I understand now, Robin.

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  88. SonomaLass
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 14:01:00

    Robin, It’s kind of funny to read

    In the same way that I doubt any book is conceived as a letter to readers, neither is a review a missive to the author.

    Isn’t that precisely the review format on this site? In general, I agree that reviews are designed to help readers make choices, but an author who chooses to take advice as well as encouragement from reviews may really improve.

    I think it’s interesting that in both the Carroll and DAM cases, the review that was attacked was a detailed, well-written and thoughtful review (i.e., the kind that readers and some writers find useful and constructive). Is that the kind of review that bothers certain authors because they KNOW it’s likely to have some impact? As opposed to the Enright [non]review above, which lacks detail and devolves quickly into a personal smear of the author. I don’t know anyone who bothers to read reviews who would take that one seriously.

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  89. Lori Borrill
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 15:15:38

    Anyway, I'd add one to Jane's list of things authors shouldn't do on Amazon. Don't go there and read reviews of your books if you can't take criticism from readers. Period.

    Well said. That an author could engage in a public discussion like that and not see very clearly how bad she’s making herself look is beyond me.

    And as an author, I can say without a doubt that my books are not my children, nor do I equate them in any way to my children. They are creative projects I worked hard on and was fortunate enough to sell. If readers enjoy them, I’m thrilled. If others don’t, I’m not losing any sleep over it. And if a reader hates one and says so in a public forum, the best thing I can do about it is….here’s a concept…not draw attention to it!

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  90. Robin
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 15:53:26

    Isn't that precisely the review format on this site?

    Yup, and it’s something I’ve talked about at length — both that it’s a fiction and that it’s not something I’ve ever been particularly comfortable with. In fact, when I first started submitting reviews, I made Jane format them, which was pretty bad of me, lol. Now I just do everything I can to make the address nothing more than a rhetorical formality, and am always impressed with the objective and impersonal (relative to the author) tone that the other reviewers here take. IMO it’s clear that our reviews are written to a general reader audience. And since it’s the chosen format of DA, chosen long before I came along, I respect that and conform my reviews accordingly.

    IIRC, Jane indicated that when she started the blog she didn’t anticipate its popularity, and she’d have to weigh in on whether she’d do everything the same way if she was starting now. In any case, I understand that there’s no way to escape the irony and the apparent contradiction between the superficial form of reviews here and the substance of my comments. But I also know that the address is a fiction, the particular shtick of the blog, and because the blog is so outstanding, IMO, I feel it’s too much of a privilege to be able to review here to refuse the rules as they exist.

    I think it's interesting that in both the Carroll and DAM cases, the review that was attacked was a detailed, well-written and thoughtful review (i.e., the kind that readers and some writers find useful and constructive). Is that the kind of review that bothers certain authors because they KNOW it's likely to have some impact? As opposed to the Enright [non]review above, which lacks detail and devolves quickly into a personal smear of the author. I don't know anyone who bothers to read reviews who would take that one seriously.

    I’ve wondered about this, too, but don’t think we can ever truly know why an author does anything. It does seem to me, though, that it would be harder to dismiss out of hand a detailed review, because it’s obvious that the person really did read the book, that they put thought into their criticisms, and that they’ve taken the time to write them out specifically, creating more raw text through which the author must read. I don’t know if there’s one answer to your question, but I have definitely noticed the phenomenon you have identified here. I had one particular experience where I saw an author complain that people who criticized her book never gave specifics, so when I made comments (not to the author, BTW, but on a general reader site) with specific examples, the author showed up, insistent that I was targeting and attacking her (she even used that old “have you written a book” defense). Bottom line: I think there are authors who do a better job than others at holding it in check in a public forum. And then there are those, like Lisa Kleypas, who are so unbelievably gracious in the face of really harsh reader criticism, that they can almost restore your faith in human nature, lol.

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  91. karmelrio
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 15:56:35

    This sounds petty & silly. The only appropriate response to ANY reader review is a personal e-mail saying, “Thanks for reviewing my book.”

    Agreed!!

    Maybe some folks should get a hobby.

    Or, maybe, oh, I don’t know…WRITE. Think about how many scenes Carroll could have written with the time and effort she invested in Amazon Review Battlematch 2008.

    Suck it up and deal, girl. Suck it up and deal.

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  92. Teresa
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 16:01:58

    Well, now I have reason to fear meeting this person face to face as I reviewed one of her earlier books in a print publication a couple of years ago. It wasn’t an entirely positive review, though I did my best, like Rebecca, to point out what did and didn’t work for me.

    I think Nora’s advice is sound – if you don’t think you can bear to read the not so nice reviews, don’t bother checking your books on Amazon.

    Of course, I’m still shaking my head over a reader telling Kalen her heroine couldn’t come down from the “first” floor. *sigh*

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  93. Nora Roberts
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 17:07:15

    ~But I also know that the address is a fiction, the particular shtick of the blog,~

    This is how I’ve always seen it. It’s a McGuffin. It’s just a vehicle.

    I imagine we could analysis it to pieces–yes, no, pro, con, up and down, but it’s simply a springboard to a review.

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  94. Kalen Hughes
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 17:29:58

    Well, now I have reason to fear meeting this person face to face as I reviewed one of her earlier books in a print publication a couple of years ago. It wasn't an entirely positive review, though I did my best, like Rebecca, to point out what did and didn't work for me.

    *disclaimer: I know Leslie. She’s a friend and one of my blogmates*

    She’s also a nice woman. Don’t be afraid of meeting her. And don’t be afraid of discussing with her the problems you saw with her book. She actually really enjoys that sort of thing. And over a nice glass of champagne in a bar is the perfect place for this sort of discussion!

    Of course, I'm still shaking my head over a reader telling Kalen her heroine couldn't come down from the “first” floor. *sigh*

    That’s one of the milder things I’ve been shredded for, LOL! Somewhere out there is a review of my debut novel that trashes my heroine (fair enough, I knew George wouldn't be everyone's cuppa) and then goes on to say that my book is filled with historical inaccuracies and anachronisms (them's fightin' words). Of course the reviewer didn't name anything specific, just a general, all encompassing comment about my world-building and my attention to detail (I'm guessing she missed the fact that the book is GEORGIAN not REGENCY, but maybe I'm giving her too much credit).

    I can't tell you how tempted I was to email that reviewer and inquire just what details she had problems with . . . but I held back. No matter how many sources I threw down, I'd have come off as being a whiny bitch who couldn't take the fact that she didn't like precious mary sue of a heroine. *shrug*

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  95. Ann Somerville
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 18:15:33

    The only times I’ve really itched to reply to a review was when the reviewer has complained the story has been advertised as X and they’re most aggrieved to find the story contains no X at all. Which would be a perfectly reasonable complaint except there was no claim that the story contained X and I have no idea where they got the idea it did.

    This has happened twice on separate stories. In one case I politely replied, and in the other case I just bitched in private to my editor and friends. I wish I’d done that both times because I don’t think there’s any way an author can comment on the specifics of a review without sounding whiny. But these kind of reviews piss me off the most because it’s not a case of tastes differing etc, but a flat out mistake by the reviewer, which accuses the author of false advertising.

    If anyone’s got any advice what to do in such situations, I’d like to hear it.

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  96. Lynne
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 18:22:37

    SonomaLass said:

    I think it's interesting that in both the Carroll and DAM cases, the review that was attacked was a detailed, well-written and thoughtful review (i.e., the kind that readers and some writers find useful and constructive). Is that the kind of review that bothers certain authors because they KNOW it's likely to have some impact?

    I think that’s a big part of it. I’ve watched (and participated in) my share of online flame wars over the years, and the comments that cause the most irrationally angry responses are often the most logical and calmly stated ones. If a position is stated in such a way that most readers would find it credible, those on the other side of the argument who can’t counter it may totally freak out.

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  97. Angela James
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 18:36:21

    If anyone's got any advice what to do in such situations, I'd like to hear it.

    I don’t think people like to be told they’re wrong in what they’ve written. Not the author who’s written the book. And not the reviewer who’s written the review. I’ve seen some reviewers get just as snarky over being corrected in their reviews as I’ve seen some authors do in getting the reviews, so most times it’s just best to let it go.

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  98. MB (Leah)
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 18:57:29

    If anyone's got any advice what to do in such situations, I'd like to hear it.

    Ann, I mostly read erotic romance and erotica. I’ve found many times that many publishers falsely state explicit sexual situations along with the synopsis of the book. It’s happened many times to me and I’ve often wondered what is the criteria for stating explicit sex?

    I review these books and sometimes I do feel to complain in a review because I bought the book with the understanding that sex would be included. However, I’m aware that it’s not really the author’s fault. But it is pertinent in a review because maybe others are reading that review to see what’s in a book. Personally, I’m not that disappointed if there isn’t, but it is false advertising and I can see where readers would be upset.

    I think it’s publishers fault actually and they should set up a clearly defined explanation, like Ellora’s Cave does, as to what their criteria is for a sex rating.

    I think the author should email a reviewer in that case and clearly state that it isn’t her fault about the advertising. As a reviewer, I would probably change the review to deflect the blame for that off of the author.

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  99. Ann Somerville
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 19:04:37

    MB, in both cases I referred to, the claim was that the story was labelled as X or containing X, and more than that, that it had been publicised in that way. In neither case was that true, and in fact, I’d gone to some lengths in the second case to make sure no one expected X. So in that case, the only ‘fault’ lay with the reviewer’s perception and as Angela pointed out, some reviewers really don’t like being told they’ve made a mistake.

    I’ve been on the other side of the fence, when an author snarkily commented on a review that I’ve made such and such a mistake, apparently thinking that invalidated my opinion. I didn’t feel the mistake was anything of the kind, and didn’t negate the other points I’d made, and only left me quite sure the author was a complete dick. So I’d hesitate to email a reviewer in private even if I was sure they were wrong because it can reflect so badly on me.

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  100. Jennifer A. Ray
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 19:20:41

    When I review a book, I am reviewing the BOOK, not the author. The author is, of course, the biggest part of that book, but there are other people that influence the final product before it hits the shelves, be they actual shelves for print books or virtual for digital books.

    So, even though the author may not have been the one to decide to put a misleading blurb on the back cover, etc., if that information is on the final version that is being sold to customers, it is part of the review.

    Since writing is a very personal line of work, I do understand completely how it may be easy to take less than favorable reviews personally, but in my case and for many other reviewers, the review is for the finished product.

    I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again, reviewing is really a very subjective thing. Ten of us could read the same book and each have a different opinion of it. I’ve read books that I though were well-written, but I just didn’t love them. It happens. It doesn’t mean the author or the publisher did a bad job, it just means that particular story didn’t resonate with me for some reason. I might give that book a 4.

    Sometimes I read a story that may not be completely perfect – maybe there is a tiny discrepancy like the hero suddenly has hazel eyes instead of blue – but I enjoyed everything about the story so much that I rated it a 5, even with the minor imperfection.

    If I love the book, it gets a 4 1/2 or 5, unless there are significant continuity or writing issues. A ranking of 4 means I liked it but didn’t love it. Again, it’s all my opinion. Someone else may love the very thing about a story that didn’t float my boat.

    I’ve had a couple of authors either post a public complaint or send a private email disagreeing with a couple of my reviews, and in each case it has seemed best to simply let them vent and be done with it. It may not have been the best choice on their part, but it was an understandable impulse. I just don’t engage in debates over reviews. The only time I think I might feel I need to respond is if the response were threatening or slanderous.

    Otherwise, it just isn’t worth it. Why fan the flames if it isn’t necessary? I’d rather read the next book in my TBR pile instead of partaking in a futile flame-war… LOL

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  101. Robin
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 19:45:48

    So I'd hesitate to email a reviewer in private even if I was sure they were wrong because it can reflect so badly on me.

    One way to approach it would be to ask the reviewer where she got the info, explaining that you are very concerned that readers feel they are being misled. Something like this, perhaps:

    “Dear Reviewer:

    I am so sorry that you feel misled about this book. I am very concerned about having my books represented fairly and honestly, so I would really appreciate it if you could let me know where you got the misinformation, so that I can identify the problem and correct it if it is within my power to do so. As a reader, too, I know how frustrating it can be when you expect one thing and end up with another.

    Thank you for reviewing my book. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you.

    Sincerely, Author”

    That way you shift the burden to the reader, empowering her by agreeing with her plight, offering her the opportunity to show you how you screwed up, and then allowing her — perhaps — to independently come to the conclusion that she did not actually see what she thought she did. Or at least offer up whatever it is that seemed misleading to her (whether you feel that way or not) so you can see what it is she’s talking about.

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  102. Miki
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 19:57:04

    Of course, I'm still shaking my head over a reader telling Kalen her heroine couldn't come down from the “first” floor. *sigh*

    I’ve been reading romance since…yikes!…1973. I never developed a taste for what I lumped together as “historicals”, though, until about 3 years ago.

    I would have been one of those people thinking “coming down from the first floor – what?!”, if I hadn’t already seen it used in another forum or blog post to describe how readers don’t always “know” what they think they know.

    And I still couldn’t begin to guess the difference between a “Georgian” and a “Regency”, other than the dates…and the Georgian would have looser sexual mores, I think.

    So if I had posted a review and complained about the first floor and the author wrote and gently pointed out my error, I for one would be grateful. And I’d apologize. I don’t like looking foolish, and I would be horrified to find I’d castigated someone for something and been wrong about it (and I’ve been there, and had to apologize for it, and have learned to do a little digging before declaring something an anachronism).

    So, Ms. Hughes, if I decide to complain about your book online somewhere (your first book is in my TBR pile, but I haven’t gotten to it yet), feel free to tell me if I claim errors in your book unjustly! Personally, I’d rather know. It would help my enjoyment of the entire genre not to be pulled out of the stories by things I misunderstood!

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  103. Jane
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 20:04:17

    SonomaLass -

    You are absolutely right that the letter format of the reviews here at Dear Author seem to be in contradiction to the idea that the review is for the reader and not the author. The problem is that when I first conceived of the blog, I had given no real thought to the title of the blog, the format of the reviews, or the process of reviewing itself and how it would be perceived by the online community, particularly authors. It was something that was conceived in about 15 minutes and DearAuthor was an available name at the domain registry. I actually never thought authors would come here. I thought readers were the only ones who read blogs (except for the SmartBitches site).

    And now, it’s become our “thing” and it doesn’t seem like we can really change the format, but while the review is addressed TO the author, the review is FOR the reader.

    For a long time, I’ve even resisted the idea that what we are doing is really formally reviewing but rather just sharing our opinions as readers with other readers in a format which is like a review.

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  104. Kalen Hughes
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 20:33:05

    So, Ms. Hughes, if I decide to complain about your book online somewhere (your first book is in my TBR pile, but I haven't gotten to it yet), feel free to tell me if I claim errors in your book unjustly!

    I’m going to guess, Miki, that if you wrote a review you’d be unlikely to nitpick about supposed historical errors, since that’s not your *thing* (I have no beef with how much the afore mentioned reviewer loathed my heroine; book didn’t work for her, nuf said). I also have no problem with actual errors being pointed out (as I said at some point here, there ARE errors in my book, *sob*).

    Several readers have emailed me with questions or criticisms and I’ve had a lovely time either showing them my research and discussing the issue with them, or taking my lumps and crying mea culpa. I’ll warn you all right now, there are rogue anachronistic scones in my second book (found out after the galley was returned that scones date to the 1850s *damn*). Much like the fabled incorrect champagne glasses (which, in fact, turned out to be perfectly correct upon further research) there are simply some things that it never occurs to an author to research and you only find out that your assumption has landed you in hot water when someone calls you on it, or you randomly stumble across the information (as I did with those damn scones).

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  105. Lynn
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 22:24:52

    I only have a few cardinal rules:

    1) Never respond to reviews
    2) Keep my mouth shut about everything else
    3) Be grateful people buy my books
    4) Don’t comment on blogs (see #2)

    I’m breaking #4, but it’s been that kind of day so far.

    When my first couple of books came out, I read Amazon reviews religiously and did vast amounts of hang-wringing over them all. Then my editor banned me from going there again (except to read reviews of knitting books). For me, as a reader, Amazon is a great tool to get what I hope is an unvarnished look at what readers think of a particular book (especially knitting books).

    As a writer, Amazon is a mine-field of reviews good and bad that completely throw me off my game. I can’t fix a book that’s already out short of offering to send a reader a bottle of white-out and telling them to go for it. I can’t distill a dozen different reviews down to what my next set of characters should be/do, and that really isn’t my job. My job is to write the story that’s in my head, send it out there, hope there are readers who will enjoy it, and move on to the next project. My job is not to try to convince everyone to love everything I do.

    For me, positive reviews are almost worse than negative ones. I was just beginning work on the 3rd book of a trilogy and read a couple of tremendously generous reviews about book 2 . . . and it took me a month to stop shaking enough to get my hands on the keyboard again. That’s when I came to the conclusion that it was just best for me to stay completely out of the cyberspace kitchen.

    Responding to criticism–whether it’s a review of your book, a review of your performance at work, or comments on your contest entry–is, IMHO, counterproductive and pointless. People are entitled to think what they want, just as I’m entitled to write what I want, and reviewers are entitled to say what they want. As a friend of mine says, “at least they’re talking.” Trying to control that conversation is impossible.

    The only thing I can control is how I’m viewed. I would prefer to be seen as someone who managed to smile and be gracious no matter what sort of opinion of my work is offered. After all, a reader just shelled out their hard-earned money for my book, no matter what they thought of it. That’s reason enough for me to follow rules 1, 2, and 3.

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  106. Rebecca
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 00:16:11

    I must say, I never did expect all of this to keep going on. Amazing, and rather stunned. I am finding the conversation fascinating, however.

    I tend to be nerdy about my reviews, especially on historical fiction, as that’s what interests me the most, and yeah, I’m a geek when it comes to details (blame it on being an SCA’er for years). And I write reviews to keep my brain honed and working on my writing skills as I have become more housebound over the years, and I can’t get about like I used to.

    I try very hard not to attack authors, especially when I feel that their book isn’t up to standard of say, an earlier book. And honestly, there are extremely few authors that I like everything that they write. Some books truly soar and capture my interest, others I suspect were knocked out to meet the mortgage. Everyone has off days. It happens.

    To be honest, when I first read the comments on AFL, I felt terrible and thought that perhaps I had been too harsh (I did go back and edited out the misspelling that had inadvertedly occurred) — and yes, I do feel that if you’re writing historical fiction as opposed to historical romance, your readership is going to be after a higher standard of research and detail.

    On Mary Robinson’s lack of backbone… Mistresses could get away with a far more firmer stance than wives. That’s what mistresses were for; each party knew that it was a business arrangement of sex/companionship for money rather than any sort of idea of romantic attachment (although that could happen as well). I could handle it with her first relationship with Prinny, but then Mary turns around and does it again with Ban. It just didn’t make sense unless Mary was either lacking in the fortitude to give the offender a good kick out the door, or she was hoping that she had found that combination of daddy-figure/lover that she craved. Sadly, as to why she was being so ambivilent and putting up with the abuse was never really explored, and that was why the book failed in that respect.

    Oh well. I’ve gone on a bit too much here.

    But I did want to thank you all for such nice compliments on the review. It really helps.

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  107. Karen Scott
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 07:42:51

    Of course the reviewer didn't name anything specific, just a general, all encompassing comment about my world-building and my attention to detail

    Would it have honestly made a difference had she gone into detail though? I hear authors say all the time that they don’t mind harsh reviews as long as the reader gives valid reasons, but I’ve always personally believed this to be absolute hogwash.

    Of course they mind, it’s just that some are intelligent enough not to lose the plot, and show their knickers in public.

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  108. Mel-O-Drama
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 07:52:19

    Would it have honestly made a difference had she gone into detail though? I hear authors say all the time that they don't mind harsh reviews as long as the reader gives valid reasons, but I've always personally believed this to be absolute hogwash.

    see, I’m going to have a hard time with this dichotomy myself. As a reader, sometimes I just don’t like a book and I can’t really tell you why. The voice? The character? The world-building? I can pick out small things I didn’t like but I can’t explain the overall reason why the book didn’t stick.

    As an author, that will be hard for me to swallow. I’ll have to deal with it next year when my first book hits the shelves…It will be hard to hear “I didnt like it” without any support. But the reality is, that happens and why should I get upset over it when it’s happened to me? Probably because that will mean I failed that reader and I really don’t like to fail. But that’s my problem, not hers. So I just need to suck it up…learn from it, ignore it, or just don’t read it. I’m banking on not reading for a while.

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  109. Kalen Hughes
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 09:38:28

    Would it have honestly made a difference had she gone into detail though? I hear authors say all the time that they don't mind harsh reviews as long as the reader gives valid reasons, but I've always personally believed this to be absolute hogwash.

    Actually, yeah, concrete reasons do make a difference, especially in the scenario I'm talking about. If it’s a gut reaction rejection no details are necessary (I hated the heroine; The hero was too much of an asshat; I didn’t feel any chemistry between the H/H), but when the review states that the problem was that the book was filled with anachronisms, I’d like to know what the reader thought they were (for various reasons).

    Maybe I made a error. If the reader is a specialist in some aspect of history and I’ve made a tremendous blunder: I wana know so I don’t repeat the error!!!

    Maybe the reader is in error. We can’t all know everything, and if the reader is simply way off base, I’m selfish enough that I’d like to be able to see that (and I’d like knowledge readers to be able to make an informed decision whether or not to give credence to the review).

    Maybe it’s not an anachronism, but I’ve been to vague, or (as does happen) what is true/ real is simply so far out of line with the greater mythos that has grown up in Romancelandia that it FEELS wrong to the reader. In which case, I have some work to do (or some serious pondering to undertake) before I stick to my guns and keep using that same information for future books.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I honestly want to KNOW what doesn't work for readers and, most importantly, WHY it doesn't work. Maybe this is an outgrowth of the fact that I'm one of those creative writing MFA people who spent years working in a heavy critique environment. *shrug* But most authors I know feel the same way.

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  110. Teresa
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 12:14:41

    Kalen – thanks for the reassurance re Leslie.

    As a writer myself, I know how much research I do, but also how easily small errors can slip in unnoticed. I love discussing the ins and outs of research and writing.

    I quite understand why you wanted details re your historical errors, rather than a generalized statement. Readers have many misconceptions about history and language, things that they might believe are wrong, but are indeed historically accurate.

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  111. Janette Rallison
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 12:33:44

    Wow. That author-reviewer exchange is more interesting than anything I’ve read in awhile.

    And is exactly the reason why I just don’t read Amazon or Goodread reviews anymore.

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  112. MB
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 16:52:56

    If I have inadvertently strayed into a thread that is by Authors for Authors, I apologize. (I am not an author, nor do I have any desire to become one.)

    I am, however, a Reader. And I buy books for my own pleasure. I am a book consumer. I read reviews on Amazon on a daily basis and I frequently write reviews about books that I have read that cause a strong reaction of either love or hate. (I try to tell why I like/dislike them.) I appreciate reading other reviewers opinions and feedback. Other reviews helps me spend my money (& time) wisely.

    I am not rich. Reading is a necessity, but BUYING books is a luxury for me. I look at books as entertainment but also as a product that I purchase. To me it is a transaction. In a way I am your customer. I spend money so I hope to get X amount of value out of the book that I buy. When I waste my money on a book that is of sub-par quality I am not happy. (I know that it is impossible to write a wonderful book each time, and I know that my tastes do not match everyone else’s out there.) I read reviews to try to narrow down the field and use my money to the best effect.

    I read a huge amount volume-wise (30+/- month) so I have strong opinions about what is worthy of respect/my dollars and what is not.

    Remember, to you they are your brain-children. To me, they are something I have purchased that I am either very happy with, or disatisfied with. I have a right to that opinion. I do try to be fair and civil in my reviews and if I love your books, I will advertise them for you for free. I will tell everyone on every blog that I read how wonderful they are. I will cite titles and authors. But if I criticize them, step back, take a deep breath and go on. Maybe, just maybe I may have a valid opinion. Remember, your paycheck comes from me and other readers like me.

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  113. Katy Cooper
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 18:55:07

    I stopped reading reviews of my books because the good ones were never good enough and the bad ones were devastating. So completely not worth it to me.

    Since then, I’ve done a lot of thinking about readers and books and opinions, and the more I think, the more convinced I become that the reading experience owes as much to the reader as it does the story being read. Each of us brings ourselves–our experiences, our sense of how the world works, our needs and wants–to the page when we read. I know I have a collection of hungers that are satisfied by reading, different books (genres, styles, etc.) satisfying different hungers. (Sometimes more than one hunger at a time; reading John Keegan satisfies my love of lively language as well as feeding my hunger for information.)

    This might seem obvious, but it wasn’t to me until I started participating in an online critique group large enough that some of the opinions given made me wonder if I’d read the same scene as someone else. (And the differences aren’t consistent–I don’t always wonder about person X’s response.) The only explanation I’ve been able to come up with is that when each of us reads the scene, each of us adds something to it, some piece of ourselves and that what we’re reacting to is that combination. That, or we come at it with some idea of “this is how it should be” and we assess what we find based on that expectation, whether or not it’s conscious.

    Because of this dance between author and reader, or text and reader, I don’t think any book can satisfy every reader (sadly, including anything I write *g*). It also means that not all reviews are going to be valuable to me. There have been books that some reviewers have loved–and who have explained that love with the same kind of articulate thoughtfullness used in the review that started this whole thing–that I couldn’t read. I’m sure the book was everything the reviewer said, especially for him or her, but it still left me cold. That reviewer had some hunger the book fed that I don’t have, or it didn’t have some quality I need. (I can’t always name what I want/need–every time I try, I come up with some fairly major exceptions to the rule I just formed.)

    I don’t have any firm conclusions about any of this, and I have no formal studies or anything to back it up. It’s just something that interests me, that dance between reader and story, the gaps and overlaps betweeen expectation and experience.

    ReplyReply

  114. Misfit
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 19:53:21

    To me, they are something I have purchased that I am either very happy with, or disatisfied with. I have a right to that opinion. I do try to be fair and civil in my reviews and if I love your books, I will advertise them for you for free. I will tell everyone on every blog that I read how wonderful they are. I will cite titles and authors. But if I criticize them, step back, take a deep breath and go on. Maybe, just maybe I may have a valid opinion. Remember, your paycheck comes from me and other readers like me.

    MB said it perfectly. However one wants to look at it, ultimately we the consumer who buys the book is the CUSTOMER. Imagine buying a dinner at a nice restaurant and it turns out the dish, while not bad, was not to your liking and chef Leslie Carrol invites said customer into the kitchen and see if he/she can do better? It’s all about personal opinion. I’m currently reading a book and have bagged it at page 150 that several readers whose tastes stay in line with mine and they loved it. So many things other than reading tastes can affect one’s take on a book. Had a situation last year when jury duty hit at the worst possible time for me and only one book survived intact with a good rating and not wall banged.

    I have to say its been very interesting listening to all the input and thoughts from the authors on this thread, and in turn I hope the authors will continue to listen to us readers as well.

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  115. Vivian
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 20:32:29

    HAHAHA I can’t stop laughing. Karen Scott, you crack me up :) I’ve never reshelved a book, but I have hidden books in spots when I don’t have enough money to buy all the books I want that day.

    I’ve actually read one of Leslie Caroll books before I had really gotten into romance and that book did NOT inspire me to pick up any more romance novels for a while (luckily Jenny Crusie’s Bet Me was there when I went to return the Caroll book or I wouldn’t be on this blog right now). It was just one of those cutesy books that you forget about really quickly, but it wasn’t throw-across-the-room-horrible.

    I’m with Misfit in that it’s really interesting reading all the comments from the author’s POVs. Lynn Kurland, I love your comment and your rules – you’ve been on my TBR list for a while and I’ll have to pick up a few of your books when I can!

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  116. Janine
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 21:05:22

    Isn't that precisely the review format on this site?

    Yup, and it's something I've talked about at length -’ both that it's a fiction and that it's not something I've ever been particularly comfortable with. In fact, when I first started submitting reviews, I made Jane format them, which was pretty bad of me, lol.

    The letter-to-the-author format of the reviews we write here took some getting used to for me, too. The plot summaries are a special challenge since, if we were really writing the review for the author, we wouldn’t need to summarize the plots or say what the book is about at all. A true letter to the author would just launch straight into the reader’s response.

    Now I just do everything I can to make the address nothing more than a rhetorical formality, and am always impressed with the objective and impersonal (relative to the author) tone that the other reviewers here take. IMO it's clear that our reviews are written to a general reader audience.

    I think that for all our differences of opinion and voices that is something that all of us who review here are on the same page about. No matter the fact that we address the author, our intended audience is readers.

    And since it's the chosen format of DA, chosen long before I came along, I respect that and conform my reviews accordingly.

    IIRC, Jane indicated that when she started the blog she didn't anticipate its popularity, and she'd have to weigh in on whether she'd do everything the same way if she was starting now.

    I also know that the address is a fiction, the particular shtick of the blog, and because the blog is so outstanding, IMO, I feel it's too much of a privilege to be able to review here to refuse the rules as they exist.

    That’s where I stand too. Though the last two reviews I’ve written happen to be addressed to readers (one is a DVD review and the other, which will post next week, is a review of an anthology by eleven authors and that just seemed like too many people to write a letter to), and it was a bit easier to write them for that reason.

    But I want to add that I think the letter to the author format, though I understand it came about almost accidentally, was IMO in many ways a happy accident, since I think it’s a clever way to snag the attention of first-time visitors to the blog. It’s something that sets us apart from other blogs and makes us pop out a little, so, despite its awkwardness, I don’t discount it from being a factor in our success.

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  117. Janine
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 21:14:52

    For me, positive reviews are almost worse than negative ones. I was just beginning work on the 3rd book of a trilogy and read a couple of tremendously generous reviews about book 2 . . . and it took me a month to stop shaking enough to get my hands on the keyboard again. That's when I came to the conclusion that it was just best for me to stay completely out of the cyberspace kitchen.

    I really feel for you. I used to have a similar (though less intense) reaction to praise of my writing. Thankfully, that hasn’t happened to me in years. I think the improvement is due to my taking some pressure off myself. But I can definitely see the wisdom for authors in avoiding reviews, as well as the difficulty in resisting the urge to do so.

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  118. karmelrio
    Jul 11, 2008 @ 11:02:17

    In my mind, there can be no definitive right or wrong in context with reviews. A review is one individual’s opinion, filtered through their experiences, their biases, their likes and dislikes, at the time the review is written.

    It’s up to each author to determine whether their skin is thick enough to deal with those variables, to sift through some potentially uncomfortable feedback for information they find useful or beneficial.

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  119. Teresa
    Jul 11, 2008 @ 13:13:44

    Yep, reviews are just ONE person’s opinion. And as Katy C quite rightly pointed out, it’s as much what the reader brings to the experience as what the author puts into the book that will affect the reviewer’s opinion. I have reviewed books, thought them to be “Meh”, then watched whole threads on various online bulletin boards explode with praise for those books. I honestly wondered if I actually read the same books! When reviewing I rarely read other peoples opinions until AFTER I’ve written and submitted my review.

    As a writer, I’ve learned to take take the critiques that come my way with as much grace as I can. Granted, I’m not published yet, so I’m generally the only one seeing others’ opinion of my work, but I consider it good training for that glorious day when my work DOES hit a store shelf, where it will be (hopefully) be bought and evaluated. My GH scores have already told me that readers in general either really like my work or really don’t.

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  120. Donna
    Jul 11, 2008 @ 15:13:29

    As a reader I do not find Amazon reviews or forums helpful. Especially not for books. If you do a bit of research on the reviewers, almost every one of them is a frustrated writer-wanna-be who cannot get published. Who the reviewer is, tells you a lot about how they review and if they are even credible.

    The reviews that buck whatever trend the wanna-be’s are following (which seems to be if your not doing great, they love you. But if you become popular, get a television series or movie they hate you) get shouted down by those same wanna-be’s. It is sad. It is a truth that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. And it seems those who would complain are the first on Amazon and the most vocal.

    Comments such as “It sucked.” are not helpful to the readers or writers. And a lot of the “reviewers” seem to feel that personal attacks on the authors, that have nothing to do with the books, are their right and privelage. They seem unable to differentiate between the book and the person who wrote it. Between fiction and non-fiction.

    Until Amazon cleans up its mess, I just won’t read them. And I would encourage others to skip them also.

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  121. Ann Somerville
    Jul 11, 2008 @ 16:47:56

    If you do a bit of research on the reviewers, almost every one of them is a frustrated writer-wanna-be who cannot get published. Who the reviewer is, tells you a lot about how they review and if they are even credible.

    Sigh. This argument gets trotted out every so often – Josh Lanyon said almost the exactly the same thing back in April and it still makes me see red. Why? Because it’s not true, and even if it was true, so what? Writers are readers too. My views about m/m writing are exactly the same now that I am published, as they were when I was submitting pieces, as when I had no wish to be published at all.

    The truth is, most negative reviews aren’t because we all just jelush bitches, it’s because either the book sucked objectively, or the reader cum author didn’t like it. And guess what – they’re entitled not to. It’s pretty easy to spot the reviews motivated by jealousy – they focus on the author (ad hominen) and tend to make vague, unsubstantiated comments like ‘it’s boring’ and spend a lot of time going on about why is the such and such so popular. Those reviews are pretty rare, actually. Sure, a wannabe author might be frustrated that a poor book got published and theirs didn’t – I feel that way about 90% of the stuff we’re sent for review, and I don’t consider myself a frustrated author in the slightest – but you don’t need to be published to know a book is badly edited, or badly crafted, or has pacing problems.

    In short, this is nothing but a rehash of Jane’s points 2 and 3 above. The only things you need to write a good review is an appreciation of good writing and an ability to express positive and negative points in a coherent fashion. A lousy author can write a cogent, impressive review, and many a good author doesn’t know the difference between analysis and squee. Different skills, you see.

    When an author (or a fan of an author) spends so much time obsessing about the qualifications of an amateur reviewer, and dismissing them as being motivated purely by spite or jealousy, I tend to think that this is someone who would rather shoot the messenger than receive the message.

    In my experience of Amazon, the balance of reviews is too much the other way – authors supporting their author friends by writing puff pieces and not being willing to be honest with their friend or the reading public. I go for the one and two stars reviews first, every time. I’ve seen too many atrociously written books getting all five star reviews with a couple of lonely one or two star ones, and only in the low rated ones will you see the truth about the wandering POV, the florid prose, the nonsensical plot. That’s the kind of thing I want to know about before I hand over money, not how many kittens the author has rescued in her life time.

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  122. nightsmusic
    Jul 11, 2008 @ 16:58:51

    Ann, well stated! Thank you. :)
    And it’s very true, some of the best reviews, be they five star or one, are written by people who have an objective viewpoint and a good grasp of the English language and how to communicate with it.

    And yes, I’ve read enough books where I slap my forehead and ask aloud ‘how did this ever get published’ because it’s so badly written. Just because someone is published has no bearing on whether they can write a review and vice versa.

    PS
    You know, I just love the picture of that squirrel!

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  123. Lynn
    Jul 12, 2008 @ 12:48:07

    I used to have a similar (though less intense) reaction to praise of my writing. Thankfully, that hasn't happened to me in years. I think the improvement is due to my taking some pressure off myself

    You know, Janine, I think you have laid your finger on the crux of it right there.

    Maybe I’m stating the obvious, but I think it’s the pressure that is really at the root of all of the conflict. I’m not trying to be the Champion of All Authors, but the pressure on an author can be intense. Apart from all the publishing pressure (deadlines, numbers, lists, the editorial process itself), the real pressure at least for me comes in what I put on myself–and that’s pressure I can’t/don’t want to remove. I have an obligation to at least attempt to make the next book better than the last so that readers feel like I’ve given them their money’s worth. Whether or not I’m successful at that is up to others to debate–and they definitely do :)

    I think it’s because of the pressure that things tend to get a little testy sometimes between authors and reviewers. When the book gets panned, yet an author has spent hundreds of hours on that book, perhaps it’s understandable that she might get a little worked up over criticism.

    I’m not saying that fighting with readers or reviewers is a good thing. I’m not saying reviewers or readers don’t have time, effort, and heart invested in their reviews. There are many reviewers who have a knack for looking at a book and concisely pointing out its flaws and virtues. There are just as many readers with the same skill–and even if they just want to voice an opinion, they’re entitled to do so. I’m just saying the conflict is understandable. Authors want respect, reviewers want respect, and readers (and I’m talking as one now) just want to be able to voice their opinions without being assaulted.

    I want to say this same conversation has been going on since Gutenberg’s time, but I could be wrong :)

    (Sorry to add to the thread that will not die)

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  124. Allen
    Jul 13, 2008 @ 04:12:33

    In attacking me like a coven, you've all missed your own point. Just because a book can be not to your taste for whatever reasons

    What a painful construct.

    ReplyReply

  125. On (gulp) learning from critics | WriteBlack
    Jul 13, 2008 @ 05:46:31

    [...] work deserved. And Lord knows that it’s never a good idea for an author to tell readers they don’t have sense enough to criticize his/her work. But there are some things I’ve learned because people have told me what I [...]

  126. Lynn
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 10:29:11

    *sigh* This is is why I try to keep my mouth shut. What’s in my tiny little mind and what comes out in posts in not always the same thing.

    I reread my post while slightly less sleep-deprived, and I just wanted to clarify one thing: While I think frustration is just part of the game for all the players involved and that’s understandable given the pressure cooker that is the publishing biz, I’m not excusing nor condoning bad behavior–especially egregiously bad behavior–on the part of anyone.

    ReplyReply

  127. Gotcha!
    Jul 14, 2008 @ 11:15:23

    I guess a reader can have an opinion as long as it’s the same as her’s…or her husband’s!

    ReplyReply

  128. Amy Wolff Sorter
    Jul 16, 2008 @ 18:03:52

    I’m following all of this and am shaking my head. Not only that Leslie’s comments were so inane, but that she, as the book’s writer, took the time to actually argue with the reviewer. This reviewer took the time to read the book and craft what seems to be a well-thought-out review. But Leslie’s response has guaranteed that she’s alienated at least one reader. Probably more.

    Sure, as authors, we’d like for everyone to fall all over our books with love and gushing and positive praise. But let’s come back to reality. Ain’t gonna happen :-). Yes, the pressure of the publishing biz sucks. But that’s no reason to slap around a reviewer simply because she doesn’t agree with a book you’ve written. The prima-donna writer went out during the 1950s and there is no excuse for that kind of behavior.

    Amy “Adding my Two Cents’ Worth” Sorter

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  129. Lilly Flora
    Jul 17, 2008 @ 03:03:50

    Jez. If I had know all this was going to happen I never would have posted that comment (which I think was the real instigator of the author’s rage, not the fact that she got a three star review-she’s had those before.) But they way she acted was just so bad. It’s a good thing I allready didn’t like her but its sad when your own behavior, not your writing, costs you readers. Once again, every one who stuck up for me thank you. And thank you for writing this excellent article on what not to do on amazon as an author (I have something to add though-once an author asked me to take back a two star review based on compassion for a first time novelists. Then he offered to pay me $100 if I coud tell him who I solved the mystery in the first forty pages. I did but he never payed up. Jerk!)

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  130. Katherine
    Jul 22, 2008 @ 13:03:25

    I’m so glad you posted this! I had this problem with Carroll at the beginning of the month when I posted a lukewarm (3 stars) review of her recently published book, about English royal scandals. She posted a scathing response to the review, which was later removed by Amazon. I’d have loved to have copied the remark down somewhere, because at the time I thought she was stooping pretty low.

    ReplyReply

  131. Top Ten Things An Author Should Not Do At Amazon
    Jul 22, 2008 @ 14:27:24

    [...] out Dear Author’s rundown on an author who seems to be verbally attacking Amazon [...]

  132. Top Ten Things An Author Should Not Do At Amazon
    Jul 22, 2008 @ 14:27:24

    [...] out Dear Author’s rundown on an author who seems to be verbally attacking Amazon [...]

  133. Mac
    Jul 30, 2008 @ 10:13:08

    The difference between a book and a child is that one’s child was not produced to be sold and does not exist solely for the entertainment and edification of others. (Hopefully!!)

    I gotta learn to be less wordy.

    Bottom line — your book exists to amuse me. Your kid does not.

    ReplyReply

  134. Tasha
    Jul 31, 2008 @ 20:05:55

    I’m so disgusted by glowing reviews posted by people’s partners, children, adulterous lovers, etc., etc. posing as disinterested third parties, not to mention authors who remove negative reviews the minute they appear, that as a reader, I no longer bother with Amazon reviews. They are more like a high-school “Class Clown” vote than a measure of quality.

    ReplyReply

  135. Loretta Murphy
    Aug 10, 2008 @ 12:33:28

    Great site. Glad I followed the breadcrumbs here.

    There is something unabashedly skewed about professional authors posting their own book reviews “in disguise” let alone having the poor taste to berate and argue with anyone who gives them a negative review.

    I write historical and paranormal romance but if I were into psychological thrillers (I am so not), there are a few very intriguing plot lines in all of this that cry out to be developed further. So, on a lighter note …

    The electrical storm raging outside was nothing compared to the fury building inside Jacklyn as she read yet another negative review of her romantic novel. How dare they criticize her writing – she was a professional author. Why, the lot of them were insufferable idiots with no more right to a having a literary opinion than her pet iguana. An idea began to penetrate her racing thoughts. Despite the lightning that crackled the air around her, Jacklyn refused to pull away from the computer screen. Fingers flying across the keyboard, she typed like the madwoman she was slowly becoming. She’d show them. Jacklyn Sue Sommers would show them all.

    Loretta

    ReplyReply

  136. Review and Interview: What If . . .? by Steve N. Lee | She Reads Books
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 14:18:16

    [...] What if I write a negative review and the author retaliates? I mean, you hear about things like this and this and this happening, and that’s just not cool. So I think that I read books I get [...]

  137. Booklorn » Friday Field Trip #4
    Aug 22, 2008 @ 08:46:54

    [...] on reviewing (found through shereadsbooks.org): Top Ten Things Authors Should Not Do at Amazon (based on a real incident, read all the way to the bottom on this [...]

  138. Lauren Bethany
    Aug 25, 2008 @ 14:46:53

    I know I’m late getting into this discussion, but I have to say it’s been a fun one to read. I’ve alwas believed a reviewer should write an honest review of book s/he has actually read. (I’m not sure Harriet has read all those books… many of her reviews look more like cut-and-paste blurbs to me… Just sayin’)

    I’ve also always hoped that if the author read my review s/he would have a good idea of what didn’t work for me and why. Honestly, if my book wasn’t getting good reviews I’d like to know where I went wrong.

    I’m actually glad to see a few of my previously-reviewed names on this discussion… all acting like grown ups and knowing books are not babies. Books don’t need to be potty-trained, walked to school or rushed to the emergency room at midnight because their brother jammed a q-tip in their ears. I think we do have do have the sex talk with them, though. Hmmm.

    As for the drinking game, I’d lose. I quit drinking when I became a mom and I think I would have snorted my shot out my nose when Nora chimed in anyway. :)

    ReplyReply

  139. theo
    Aug 25, 2008 @ 15:17:21

    It is my belief that Harriet Klausner does not exist. That she is in fact, a pseudonym for a stable of reviewers that Amazon originally hired, all to post under that name because, as someone else figured out some weeks back, Harriet would have to read four books a day, every day, for 10 years to be able to review all the books she has and if that’s the case, when would she have time to write any reviews at all, let alone post them. Or eat. Or sleep. Or anything else.

    That coupled with the fact that ‘her’ reviews all have different styles, different grasps of the English language, the inability to spell in some and be quite eloquent in others…nope, there is no Harriet Klausner.

    ReplyReply

  140. trish
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 11:40:18

    I have a blog where I review books, and I do my best to be fair. If an author has gone to the trouble to write a book, even if I hate it, I don’t have to trash it. Unfortunately, I recently read and reviewed a book for a self-published author who happens to be an attorney, and when he saw my negative review, he asked me to remove the short quote I used as well as the picture of the cover, saying he has not given me the rights to use these. I’ll be sending him an email today that I won’t be removing the quote or the cover art as it’s all fair use under the law, and I stand by my review as being fair, but I worry that since I’ve insulted an attorney, what will he do next? Must I worry about a lawsuit every time I don’t like a book? Must I be in the situation where I’m forced to not publish reviews of books I didn’t like, which I don’t think is fair to my readers? This whole situation is making me sick to my stomach.

    ReplyReply

  141. Anion
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 12:27:44

    Trish, I just read your blog and those of some of your friends, and I’m so, so sorry this is happening to you. FWIW I don’t believe he has a legal leg to stand on–but of course I’m not an attorney.

    This is why I know a lot of reviewers who refuse to review self-published books; their authors are not professional, and seem to think the purpose of a review is publicity for them and not an opinion to share with readers.

    I’m sure it doesn’t really help, but please try to calm down, and know that there are people who stand behind you.

    ReplyReply

  142. Shiloh Walker
    Nov 12, 2008 @ 12:39:56

    I’m not an attorney either, but I’d think as long as you made sure you attributed whatever quotes and pics and didn’t try to claim ‘ownership’ over things, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

    Sorry you had a rotten egg dump on you, Trish.

    ReplyReply

  143. Links for 2009-1-14 « Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog
    Jan 14, 2009 @ 19:40:06

    [...] Top Ten Things Authors Should Not Do at Amazon | Dear Author: Romance Novel Reviews, Industry News, … More lol. “I meant to post my Top Ten Things a Publisher Can Do to Help Readers Spend Money this week but over the weekend, an author began to engage readers over at Amazon in a fairly combative manner over a three star, or average, review. I think it serves as a good illustration of just what not to do. I give you the Top Ten Things Authors Should NOT Do at Amazon, the short version:” (tags: books lists authornews) [...]

  144. Dawn
    Jan 14, 2009 @ 22:15:09

    I know this is an old thread but I just found this site through a link from Smart Bitches. I’m so glad one of my CIFs (Creepy Internet Friends) sent me the link to Smart Bitches so I could enjoy this site too.

    This was a very interesting thread as an introduction to the site. Lots of insightful, well thought out and POLITE comments. Also *squee* comments from some authors I adore. How wonderful to see that these authors are such classy people. As are the non-author commenters. I’m impressed all-around.

    I work at a new & used bookstore. The first question most of my regulars ask is “Have you read this?” The second is “What did you think?” I try to be honest without being insulting because not everyone shares my tastes. If I haven’t read a book but I’ve gotten raves from other customers I usually pass them along. If I read and didn’t like a book I usually limit myself to “It just didn’t grab me” unless the customer wants specifics.

    I think of the books I read as mini-vacations (and I take a lot of them *grin*). Even if the book didn’t thrill me I appreciate the author allowing me a little peek into their world. Without authors and readers I wouldn’t have the best job in the world, so thanks.

    ReplyReply

  145. Lauren Wayne » Blog Archive » How not to respond to readers
    Jan 29, 2009 @ 03:26:56

    [...] Dear Author: Top Ten Things Authors Should Not Do at Amazon [...]

  146. On the Opinion that Authors Should Not Respond to Reviews – Grasping for the Wind
    Nov 14, 2009 @ 12:12:50

    [...] Just like those “authors” who get friends to write positive reviews on Amazon just to climb up the rankings (though I believe this is less effective now due to the new ranking system) so too would writing a response in the review section of your book be completely the wrong forum. This does not mean that an author could not take a negative review, excerpt it at their blog or website and then respond to it, but doing so at Amazon is probably the wrong forum. As evidence, I point to this lengthy and interesting post on someone who did just that in June of 2009. [...]

  147. Tweets that mention Top Ten Things Authors Should Not Do at Amazon | Dear Author -- Topsy.com
    Sep 30, 2010 @ 10:02:47

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Catherine, Tate Publishing. Tate Publishing said: 10 Things Authors Shouldn't Do! http://ow.ly/2Mh6X [...]

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