Apr 17 2008
Most of the blogosphere has been mouth agape in reaction to the Deborah Anne MacGillivray harassment of an Amazon reader over a 3 star review that the reader left for a book of MacGillivray’s. In my link backs, though, I saw a post called “Authors Who Bite Back” from Tess Gerritsen’s blog that left my mouth agape. This is a three star review. Three stars! It’s like an average grade. From a reader who loved the first book.
My first reaction to this story was: "What? I can get the bad reviews taken off my Amazon pages? How do I do that?" Because I didn’t know an author could do that. I thought you just had to live with them and suffer heartburn every time you scroll past them.
My second reaction was: "There but for the grace of better self-control go I."
Because, let’s be honest here. Really. Is there an author alive who hasn’t wanted to hunt down the identities of those who’ve written bad Amazon reviews of our books? Is there an author alive who hasn’t harbored fantasies of revenge, even if it only involves sticking a few pins in a voodoo doll? Is there an author alive who hasn’t wanted to fire back a response along the lines of "what could you possibly know about good writing, you illiterate slut?"
If you haven’t harbored such fantasies, then you’re a far better person than I am.
Now, I’m not saying that Ms. MacGillivray wasn’t out of line here. But her major foolishness was that she got caught at it.
As an astute commenter pointed out,
I guess I would argue that her "major foolishness" wasn’t in getting caught – because that implies her actions would have been OK if she hadn’t been caught. I would argue that her problem is that she crossed the line of what most people believe is acceptable behavior in our society.
Ms Gerritsen defends herself in subsequent posts by saying she was trying to be funny;
Humor involves a certain amount of exaggeration, and the actual story I cited is about the exaggerated lengths a certain author has gone to to protect her turf. Yes, she went way over the line into the creepy. But am I the only one who found black comedy in the story? The only one who could see it as a wacky film about people who get carried away into committing absurdities?
And then says that she was just being honest about her sensitivities to negative reviews written by cowardly anonymous reviewers.
So okay, maybe I’ve said things here that sound neurotic and hypersensitive. But at least, damn it, I’m brave enough to OWN MY OWN WORDS. On this blog, you all know exactly who’s writing these thoughts.
Unlike the cowardly anonymous reviewers who throw bombs and scuttle back under their rocks.
If a reader did this to an author would Gerritsen find the black humor in it? If a reader, to a reader’s group, said “vote down this bitch” and “Well, thanks to XXXXXX our PI , we now have her name, her husband’s name, her chidrens’ names, her grannies and great grannies name. Her address phone number and email lol- quite interesting.”
Please Note that the Following Petition Is not in any way related to Tess Gerritsen, her blog or anything on her blog. Instead the petition is directed at Amazon’s inaction toward Deborah MacGillivray and the unfair treatment of reader, Reba Belle.
In any event, we’ve got an iPetition up for those who believe that Amazon’s inaction toward the author and the banning of the reader are inappropriate. You simply need to provide your name and email address and you are given the choice of signing anonymously. One you hit the “sign petition” button, you are done. You will be directed to a page asking you for a donation. You absolutely do not need to give any money to iPetition.com in order for your signature to show up.