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Update on Amazon Situation: Amazon Petition

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.

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

242 Comments

  1. Robin
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 19:52:21

    I think this provides some context for her remarks (from her most recent blog post):

    But I spend more time and more effort writing a book than I ever did gestating a kid. By the end of a year's writing, I've become personally invested in the characters and what happens to them. I've gotten gray hairs over these people. I've done the best job I know how to do, and once it's done and published, there's nothing I can do to go back and change it, no matter how many bad reviews I get. So no, bad reviews don't help one whit in improving the story; the book's already done. And whatever criticisms a reviewer may have don't carry over as lessons into my next book, because that's a completely different project with completely different issues to contend with. Bad reviews aren't Teaching Moments; they're bombs thrown at kids who are already born and who can't be stuffed back into the womb.

    I've used children before as a metaphor for books, and how most of us would hate it if a complete stranger told us our kid was ugly. Books are like babies -’ reflections of ourselves. I keep hearing that ”your book is not you”, and that we shouldn't take criticism of our books personally, but you know what? My books are as personal to me as my children are.

    WOW, is my first reaction (do you think she says this stuff directly TO her children? — oh, never mind).

    Anyway, I guess this is why she conceptualized her reaction as an author “biting back” — because she sees posits the relationship in question as that of reader – author instead of reader – book. And I feel that she’s definitely projecting that on to her response. But to make that the WHOLE substance of the response is troubling, alleged humor or not. I suspect that if a reader had similarly commented about an author, the response would be wholly different, too, and not at all funny to her.

    My feeling about authors who don’t like negative reviews is this: don’t read them. They shouldn’t Google themselves and peruse every single comment on their books out there. Because really, it’s a no win for them, a whole lot of suffering and then a possibly embarrassing public reaction. Because as Reba’s review shows, a less than glowing review does not mean that reader is not a fan — it just means they didn’t like ONE BOOK. ONE. BOOK. That’s all.

  2. Wendy
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 20:30:00

    I signed the iPetition. I’m really getting upset over this whole thing.

    I’ve never written a bad review, yes I’ve criticized some issues in a few but that’s the thing – I wrote it, it’s my opinion and if I want to say that I thought this book sucked then I damn well will and I shouldn’t have to feel like I can’t say what I think because some psycho author is gonna go apes and hired a freaking PI to stalk me!

    Books are meant to be shared, there will always be different types of opinions on it, and to make such a big deal of one person’s opinion on a certain book just because someone doesn’t like it is just too ridiculous.

  3. Cindy
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 20:48:58

    I signed too. I told the girl at the bookstore I go to that I exercised great will-power in not throwing the woman’s books somewhere. She hadn’t heard of what DAM had done, but I thought for a minute she was going to go back and pull the books. Not that I expected her too, but she asked the name and almost left me at the counter like she was going back there.

  4. K. Z. Snow
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 21:14:38

    I signed, too, but whoa . . . it scared the bejeebers out of me when a PayPal page turned up. I HATE that outfit!

  5. Leah
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 21:40:48

    I want to echo what Robin wrote: please, people, get a grip! These are just reviews! And they are not usually reviews written by literary professionals, either! You, as an author, are probably well aware of your book’s shortcomings anyway. Who cares what these people say?

    As far as the child analogy goes. This weekend, I actually had a run-in with someone who made some unkind remarks about my toddler son. I was not at all happy about it, did my share of brooding, and even fanztasized about ways to tell this individual exactly what I thought of her. Then I thought, “well, this is taking up too much of my time. Her remarks were unkind and untrue, and say more about her control issues than they do about my son. Perhaps I should feel sorry for her.” I didn’t tell her off, I didn’t stalk her, or threaten her, or do/say anything to her children. I got over it and, since I’m hardly a model of mature sensibility, I’m sure most people would do the same. Authors, please shrug this stuff off. And if you can’t, then don’t go to those review sites. Have a friend do your Amazon orders or something, but stay away from what makes you needlessly unhappy.

  6. janicu
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 21:42:57

    I was with the joking until the part about ” her major foolishness was that she got caught at it.” The later posts also sound very ranty and defensive. I don’t know, I’m not really upset by what she’s saying because I think she’s being open about taking reviews very seriously. I think a lot of people may disagree with her opinion or the way she explained it, but she’s not actually hurting anyone with it. Except maybe herself. Unlike DAM who has caused a lot of harm.

  7. Keishon
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 21:43:04

    Surely she jest. I finally read a Gerritsen. It was a entertaining read. Didn’t care for how she handled the ending but each to his/her own. There will always be the reader/author disconnect on some things and bad reviews are it. I didn’t take what she said seriously. She sounded like she was joking, venting off steam like anyone would against those who don’t understand “the profession.” I’ve done it on occassion. [g]

  8. Kristie(J)
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 21:43:40

    As for what Ms. Gerritsen said – as someone we all know says ‘it’s her blog and she can say what she wants to”. Our thoughts and opinions are our own and no one has the right to say we or they are wrong. And that’s that.
    In the other matter – I signed too and also posted my thoughts on the whole MacGillivray situation and strongly urged them to take action in this matter.

  9. Lynne
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 22:08:33

    MacGillivray’s major foolishness was getting caught? ::boggle:: Lost me on that one.

    I don’t agree with Gerritsen’s assumption that most/all authors respond to negative feedback in the manner she described. There ARE people in the world with such pathologically weak egos that the smallest criticism is a threat to their very existence, but they’re not all that common, thank goodness. Among the writers I consider close friends, not a one of them is like that. Sure, they’re not jumping for joy at negative reviews, but neither are they getting dreamy-eyed with revenge fantasies of stalking reviewers and torturing their effigies.

    To me, negative reviews and oddball writing contest critiques are kind of like someone flipping you off in traffic. Maybe you were driving erratically. Maybe they hate your car or your bumper stickers. Or maybe they’re just damn crazy. You don’t know, and you probably can’t find out without more mental effort than it’s worth. It’s almost certainly a helluva lot more about THEM than about you.

    To be on the safe side, listen to feedback from people you trust. If your family and friends tell you that you’re an accident waiting to happen, make some adjustments. And if you keep seeing the SAME person flipping you off and following you to the mall, do call the police.

    Otherwise, forget the random flip-offs from strangers in traffic, and move on. :-)

  10. Maddie
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 22:17:55

    I think for most sane people this borderline a black comedy, not to make light of the whole crazy story but really if you were talking about this in the ladies room and I was in the next stall, I think my reaction to it would be are you f**king kidding me.

    Some one mention on the original thread about how time she consuming this was just to read, just think about how much effort DAM is taking from her day just to stalk a review around the internet who gave her 3 stars out of 5.

    I have not read any of Gerritsen’s book but I can understand where if you slaved on some thing and some one does not like it your feeling will be hurt, hey we are all human after all, but I think most sane people are able to shrug it off and go on to the next thing there are doing.

    Do any of you remember that whole cheerleader thing down in texas yrs ago how insanely bizzar the whole thing was, when people react differently to a normal sitch, you do have scratch your and wonder.
    This case was made famous because it’s just so out there.

  11. Mad
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 22:29:06

    I signed it too and posted on both blogs to get others to sign it also.

  12. Percy A Ashe
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 22:30:56

    Out of lurk: As a writer, I admit negative reviews aren’t a joy to read. Them I am reminded of the old addage: Opinions are like a$$holes. Everybody has one. You shrug them off and go on about the business of writing your next book. You don’t turn into a shrew and start attacking the people who have paid for — and read — your book. Sheesh. Even if a reader dislikes a book, think about it this way: 1: they read it (yah) 2: they’re thinking about it (yah) and 3: they formed an opinion based on what they read. (yah) Even if they thought it was the writing/plotting of a stupid moron–THEY READ THE BOOK!
    And that’s what you wrote it for.
    Right?

  13. Keishon
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 22:31:25

    Do any of you remember that whole cheerleader thing down in texas yrs ago how insanely bizzar the whole thing was, when people react differently to a normal sitch, you do have scratch your and wonder.
    This case was made famous because it's just so out there

    Hey. That made for a good movie ^-^

  14. CJ England
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 22:49:05

    And whatever criticisms a reviewer may have don't carry over as lessons into my next book, because that's a completely different project with completely different issues to contend with.

    I have to disagree with her here. I believe that reviews CAN be learning tools for later books. I have learned from some of the reviews I’ve received. Both good and bad. Some I’ve gotten made me wonder if the reader actually read the book, while others I could tell not only had read it, but re-read it several times. LOL

    The bottom line is not every review will be stellar and if you get all crazy over those that aren’t, you are wasting valuable time. Does it bug me when I read reviews from people who don’t like or “get” my work? Sure. But I’ve got better things to do than stalk them, or spend time berating them either in public or in private.

    Sheeesh…

  15. anon...2.
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 23:36:23

    I think because I’ve been following this whole drama, I’m quite disgusted by the words Ms. Gerritsen used–foolishness, tut-tutt, slut.

    Anyhow. On another update I wanted to point to this new thread on Amazon, which is a HUGE disappointment in terms of Amazon’s actions.

    http://www.amazon.com/tag/romance/forum/ref=cm_cd_ef_tft_tp?%5Fencoding=UTF8&cdForum=FxM42D5QN2YZ1D&cdThread=Tx78BFM6KD8WBT&displayType=tagsDetail

  16. Robin
    Apr 17, 2008 @ 23:36:58

    I think it’s one thing to discuss the very personal way in which one receives criticism — which Gerritsen has done on numerous occasions, actually (including a blog post about reviewer qualifications, IIRC). I can see where that would be a difficult thing to do.

    But whether she intended it or not, I think Gerritsen’s posts come across as dismissive of a whole pattern of behavior toward reviews, other authors, and readers that goes way, way beyond even lashing back at a reader for a bad review. Which is, I think, why Gerritsen’s posts struck me wrong. They came across as a version of the ‘what’s the big deal’ posts following Savage Gate, some of which were based on a similar ‘who am I to judge’ logic.

    Which, of course, sounds so reasonable. Except that I don’t think it’s such an extreme thing to judge what has happened on Amazon (not even getting into what happened to other authors) as wrong. And it’s not just wrong, IMO, because of what happened to Reba (although isn’t that enough?); it’s wrong, IMO, because it imperils the validity of every five star review on Amazon, ESPECIALLY those from other authors. It imperils every contest won by a Highland Press, Kensington, or Dorchester author, and every review site where any of the current players are active. Not that DAM gave a proverbial damn about any of that — I mean, aren’t endeavors like these inherently self-absorbed — but I think the effect is undeniable.

    So when Gerristen chooses to make light of what I think of as a very serious pattern of ugly and aggressive behavior, it unfortunately comes across as a little bit disrespectful to authors and readers — to the whole basis of the relationship between author and book and reader and book. Is there black humor to be found in what DAM and her cronies have done? Of course. But the darkest humor is achieved when one marries the absurdity of something with its gruesomeness, and IMO Gerritsen’s posts are not in touch with either of those.

    One more thing that I’ve been struggling with over the past few days: the DAM domination seems to have gone on for a LONG time, and there’s still a part of me that is working to understand why that is. And what Gerritsen’s posts offer to me by way of an inadvertent explanation is that some authors might be so, well, hostile to reviews in general (except when they are pure gush), that they would go along with what DAM was pressing for longer than they otherwise would feel comfortable with (that they were at least as afraid of moving forward career-wise as they were of DAM). I’m, NOT, mind you, saying that’s what happened, but Gerritsen’s posts make me think about how seductive some of DAM’s mindset could be, how having positive reviews and higher Amazon rankings might feel almost necessary against the understanding that none of it was quite kosher.
    Check out Gerristen’s final words on the issue:

    I may be taking this writing thing way too seriously.

    On the other hand, the fact I take it so seriously -’ and so personally -’ may explain why I've managed to get as far as I have.

    If an author as prominent as Tess Gerritsen feels so personally averse to whatever she feels are negative reviews (and was Reba’s review negative to most of us?), and if only her “better self control” is holding her back from striking out at a reader, what am I to think of an author who hasn’t secured that spot on the NYT Bestseller list and who has DAM telling her that this is how she can improve her position? That’s what Tess Gerritsen’s blog posts made me contemplate, and I hate that, because I don’t want to think that DAM stayed in power for so long because what she was doing worked for anyone except her.

  17. kirsten saell
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 00:19:21

    So how come we all aren’t clicking the “abuse” or “unhelpful” button on every 4- or 5- star DAM review on Amazon? I mean, if that’s the way the game is played…

  18. Jill Sorenson
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 01:20:30

    I like Tess Gerritsen’s books and I really don’t see any major offense here. DAM’s behavior isn’t funny, but murder, divorce, kidnapping, etc. aren’t funny either. That’s why it’s called black comedy, no? The basis is a serious, even gruesome subject.

  19. Nora Roberts
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 05:14:54

    I would agree with Tess that reviews don’t teach me anything. They’re opinions, however honest, well thought out and well written. And opinions vary. One review might find fault with a book for Specific Reason A–and make a good case for it. The next might love a book for Specific Reason A, and do the same. Which is right?

    Both are, because both are opinions. Should I listen to Reviewer One or Reviewer Two? Neither, because Reviewers Three, Four and Five may have yet different opinions–which are also right. So, I should listen to me because–hey, I’m the writer.

    Reviews are not for authors, they’re for readers.

    To me, this is only one more reason why DAM’s manipulation and abuse is wrong, wrong, wrong. And I don’t find any humor in the situation.

  20. Ann Somerville
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 05:30:27

    Jill: The difference between black comedy and DAM’s actions is that comedy is fictional. DAM’s behaviour is having real world consequences. Tess Gerritsen’s words are shockingly crass and if she thinks being obsessed over bad reviews has the slightest thing to do with being a good author, then I am glad I have never read any book of hers and never will.

    I’m still waiting for something – anything – to disprove the predictions I made here. So far Reba is the only one who has been punished, and DAM is laughing all the way to the bank, supported by her press, Amazon, her friends and a few morons who just don’t get how appalling, dishonest and dangerous her behaviour is. Although I do have to laugh at the only legal ‘threat’ made over all the hundreds and hundreds of hostile comments seems to be over something that has nothing to do with DA at all. What, Debbie, you don’t feel like using those very liberal British libel laws to shut us all up? I wonder if that’s because you would be very anxious not to have any court examining your actions and your business affairs.

    Nora: I haven’t and likely will never reach your lofty heights of success, so I will say that reviews can sometimes teach me something, especially when they agree over negative points (it’s the ones which compliment or criticise the same things which make me pull my hair out.) I agree with you that reviews aren’t primarily for authors though. I want to scream every time an author bitches about a review not being ‘constructive’. Too bad – you should have looked for constructive crit before you published, because afterwards is too late.

    A review is only ‘bad’ if it doesn’t tell other readers what the reviewer found fault with. I’ve read very good ‘negative’ reviews of my writing (here and here, if anyone’s interested) which I felt were balanced and well-supported, laying exactly why another reader might or might not enjoy the story. That’s exactly what I aim for in my own reviews, and I admire it when other people achieve it – even when they’re poking my babies!

  21. francois
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 05:43:39

    I signed the petition. I don’t know why an author has to take Amazon reviews so seriously – they’re up there primarily to guide the buyers not the authors. Its usually pretty obvious when someone hasn’t read the book or thought about their review much. Thats the only thing I’d call a bad review really. Everything else is just a review doing its job, positive or negative.

  22. DS
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 06:52:11

    I signed and a friend who doesn’t hang out online much but does buy from Amazon also signed. She did not like what DAM had done.

    However, I am having a very strong reaction to Tess Gerritsen’s remarks– in part because I’ve bought and enjoyed her books for a number of years and I expect authors I enjoy to have more insight. And in part because I deal with a lot of people who have done wrong in one way or another. And the ones who have the least chance of ever becoming more responsible citizens are those who are just “sorry they got caught.” Big ole crocodile tears of self pity added.

    No, in my circles “only getting caught” just means that the person “only did wrong” or there is nothing to catch.

  23. katiebabs
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 07:25:54

    Anyone who thinks it is a joke about someone being threatened is just as pathetic as the person who was responsible for the threat.

  24. vanessa jaye
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 07:29:29

    KristieJ and Nora sum up my stance on this. While I have a number of Tess’s books in my tbr pile, I haven’t read one yet, but I do lurk on her blog regularly and I *really* don’t think she’s condoning *at all* what DAM did.

    I’ve signed the petition.

  25. Michelle
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 07:49:15

    Hmmm, wonder if Ms Gerritsen would have a problem with someone who didn’t like her blog trying to find out information about her family and then make threats. Her post seems to trivialize a serious matter. Oh well, as others said there were some authors who didn’t see anything wrong with the whole plagerism scandal either.

  26. sallahdog
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 07:51:06

    If reviews don’t teach you anything and seeing a bad one drives you nuts (and lets face it, everyone will get a bad review once in awhile) it seems to me that the smart thing would be to ignore the reviews. Not hunt the reviewer down, threaten to set fire to her house and send a plague of locusts to her crops..

    Tess used a poor choice of words, but if she isn’t doing that, just saying she knows how it can happen (if you a completely neurotic ditz), it doesn’t effect my desire to read her books.

  27. Nora Roberts
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 08:10:13

    Ann, I don’t think it has anything to do with ‘lofty heights’. It’s my stance that if a writer tries to please reader/reviewer one, she will undoubtedly displease reader/reviewer two. Now if a flood of readers/reviewers say the same basic thing, have the same basic opinion/complaint–THAT may be worth listening to.

    I firmly believe we can’t write with a reader over our shoulder.

    I also firmly believe that whatever works for any individual writer is absolutely correct for that writer. So those who find something to learn and apply from any review that works for them is a good thing.

    From Tess’s blog I’d have to say I don’t take reviews as deeply or as personally as she does. Not that a crappy one doesn’t sting, because boy, it does. But then it’s over, and I move on. The fact that the book failed for that reader is a tough one, but there’s not a thing I can do about it but hope the next one works better for her.

  28. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 08:14:33

    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?

    I haven’t and I don’t understand the reaction to those who do.

    Do I like getting negative reviews? No. When I read something alone the lines of This author couldn’t write her way out of a way paper bag, my knee jerk reaction very well may be, Oh, yeah? Can you?. I might flinch. I might wince. But then I’m going to think about the emails I get, comments people post on my blog, or conversations I’ve had with readers at booksignings.

    Apparently some people think I can write my way through wet paper bags, because otherwise, I wouldn’t be selling books.

    That’s enough for me.

    As a reader, I haven’t loved every book I’ve read. As a writer, I can’t expect every reader to love every book I write. This isn’t the fate of the world, or a writer’s career we’re talking about. It’s just one person’s opinion.

  29. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 08:20:10

    Personally, I do think a thoughtful, critical review can be something a writer can learn from. I use too many dialogue tags and I murmur/mutter way too much in my write.

    Does that mean I think about negative or critical reviews, while I’m writing? No. But when I’m going through and doing rewrites, sometimes something will catch my eye because of comments made in reviews, and I’ll address it.

    But regardless, no writer can please every reader. It isn’t going to happen.

  30. Keishon
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 09:03:06

    My last post on this topic: just wanted to clarify that I agree with Kristie J, however badly I phrased my comment earlier. It’s her opinion. OTOH hand Gerritsen did say that:

    (I think I'm also a Really Dumb Author for going public with my sensitivity.)

    When you publish your opinion for Internet consumption, be prepared for the critics. That goes with the territory, too. Carry on.

  31. Jane
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 09:07:01

    From what I have read from Gerritsen’s blog, she has a deep seated distaste for the citizen review, believing that the consumer rarely has the knowledge to know good writing from bad. I sometimes believe that to be true because the Duran book, which I did not respond to well, drew raves from other authors. I got the sense that there was something I was missing in that book that others could see and if I were a writer, or trained as a writer, I would have a greater appreciation for Duran’s book.

    The point I think that Gerritsen misses, or that she thinks is unimportant, is that a reader’s emotional response is a valid measurement of a book. What I mean by that is a reader, like me, will find it hard to articulate the craft issues in a book that lead to a negative emotional response. We might be able to point to only a few scenes that exemplify what we do not like about a book and then we might mis-describe our emotional response, but that doesn’t invalidate the response. It simply means we aren’t skilled enough to state exactly where the author went wrong, in our opinions.

    So to that end, I see the dissonance, not in the negativity of the reviews, but in the citizen reviewers difficulty in articulating their issues with the books. It is one reason why I think that getting to know a reviewer becomes really helpful. When AAR used to be the guide for my reading purchases (particularly of unfamiliar authors), I gravitated toward certain reviewers, like AAR Rachel, because overtime I recognized that her emotional responses were likely to be similar to mine. So I was less wrapped up in what the craft issues were, but rather what her emotional response was.

    I’m not sure if I am even articulating my point well. Basically I am trying to say I think that Gerritsen would rather people not discuss their emotional response in critiquing a book but I think those emotional responses have value to other readers.

  32. John
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 09:11:32

    Yeah, I guess there is black humor to be found in the story, if you’ve the stomach to wade through all the sewage. An author and her posse, desperate to hit the big time (or to prop up fading careers) via…Amazon reviews? That is pitiful enough to be funny, as is the utter banality of the published details of the conspiracy. Despite all their public posturing, they’re revealed as mere playground bullies.

    Undercutting the fun is the thought of all the enemies on their list who have been harmed, in however minor a way, by these vendettas.

    I hate bullies (small-time or otherwise) and the weakling hangers-on who enable their behavior. Roast ‘em figuratively online, of course, but boycott ‘em as well. Don’t let this childish and petty conduct pay off.

  33. K. Z. Snow
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 09:23:21

    From what I have read from Gerritsen's blog, she has a deep seated distaste for the citizen review, believing that the consumer rarely has the knowledge to know good writing from bad. . . . The point I think that Gerritsen misses, or that she thinks is unimportant, is that a reader's emotional response is a valid measurement of a book.

    Both quite true, IMHO. Is crap all too often embraced and lauded by readers? Yes. Does their lack of discernment make their reactions less valid? No. Reactions translate into name recognition and sales, or lack thereof. Reader reactions make or break a writer’s career. That’s the long and the short of it.

  34. roslynholcomb
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 10:28:07

    I’ve learned things from reviews as well. Though, actually mostly from emails readers have sent me. I tend to use character’s names too much, and now that it’s been pointed out to me, it’s an issue I’ve worked on.

    The very first negative review stung, and stung badly. Subsequent ones haven’t bothered me as much. Of course, the ones that make me question whether the reviewer read my book are annoying, but not enough to make me want to hunt anyone down.

  35. Janine
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 10:36:57

    From what I have read from Gerritsen's blog, she has a deep seated distaste for the citizen review, believing that the consumer rarely has the knowledge to know good writing from bad. I sometimes believe that to be true because the Duran book, which I did not respond to well, drew raves from other authors. I got the sense that there was something I was missing in that book that others could see and if I were a writer, or trained as a writer, I would have a greater appreciation for Duran's book.

    Speaking as a reader, a writer (though as yet unpublished) and a reviewer, I think that while it is true that writing can make one more aware of craft issues when reading a book, I don’t think it means that non-writers aren’t qualified to review a book, or even that writers and non-writers will necessarily have different opinions.

    Taking your example of Meredith Duran’s book, while it is true that some writers have fallen in love with the book, I’m sure there are also writers who have not, and if we aren’t hearing from them it’s more likely because many writers don’t like to put negative opinions of books in the public sphere.

    At the same time, I recently discussed this book with my friend Jennie F., who has done conversational reviews here with me in the past, and though she isn’t a writer, Jennie said that she enjoyed The Duke of Shadows very much and gave it an A- grade.

    There are also a slew of five star reviews of the book on Amazon (which I guarantee Meredith hasn’t done a thing to manipulate, because not only is she not the kind of person who would do so, she has also been much too busy working on her PhD and on her next book), and I doubt all those reviews on Amazon are from writers.

    Actually, thinking about it further, Jennie F. and I often agree in our opinions on books even though I am a writer and she isn’t one, so I think that in itself goes to show that there’s not a clear or consistent reader/writer split when it comes to opinions of books.

    The point I think that Gerritsen misses, or that she thinks is unimportant, is that a reader's emotional response is a valid measurement of a book.

    Absolutely.

    What I mean by that is a reader, like me, will find it hard to articulate the craft issues in a book that lead to a negative emotional response.

    I think you do a very good job of articulating whether a book worked for you and why or why not, Jane. I do take your point though that writers who have taken writing classes and workshops or have read writing manuals have access to some technical terms of the craft, and can more easily discuss things like exposition, or omniscient voice, or objective correlative, or what have you.

    On the other hand I also think that some terms like cliche, or narration, or dialogue, have entered the everyday lexicon of most people, and we all know what they mean, and readers can discuss them and point to them as well as writers can.

    We might be able to point to only a few scenes that exemplify what we do not like about a book and then we might mis-describe our emotional response, but that doesn't invalidate the response.

    I think that is a key and crucial point with which I wholeheartedly agree.

    It simply means we aren't skilled enough to state exactly where the author went wrong, in our opinions.

    Well, I think readers often are skilled enough to do this, but I agree with you that even when they are not, it doesn’t make that emotional response any less valid.

  36. bam
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 10:49:30

    I signed the petition and blogged about it on myspace.

    ‘Cause if you wanna mobilize some folk… myspace, yo. I’m just sayin’.

  37. Ann Bruce
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 10:59:51

    So how come we all aren't clicking the “abuse” or “unhelpful” button on every 4- or 5- star DAM review on Amazon? I mean, if that's the way the game is played…

    Because most people have the self-control necessary to NOT sink to DAM’s level. And perhaps I’m being uncharacteristically optimistic here, but most people wouldn’t even think of using the underhanded tactics that DAM uses. If we do, then we’re no better than she is. I don’t know about other people, but I need to look at myself in the mirror every morning to put on makeup.

    As for reviews, I take them all in stride–good and bad. Then again, I don’t see my writing as my baby. Honestly, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t write books to please other people. I write books to please myself. Since reading taste is subjective, trying to please everyone is just not doable.

  38. Vicky
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 11:26:53

    Nora hit the nail on the head for me:

    Reviews are not for authors, they're for readers.

    I signed the petition, thanks for starting it. Bullies suck!

  39. Stephanie Z.
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 11:31:38

    I’d also say that it’s a little difficult to find someone who has a review website, or who reviews for a website, who isn’t at least a little bit a writer.

    Also, what percent of people with books published have degrees in English? I know it isn’t 100%.

  40. Julia Sullivan
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 11:34:33

    I’m a writer, and although I’ve been peeved or nettled by what I saw as thoughtlessly negative reader reviews on Amazon and elsewhere, it would never occur to me in a million years to hold a grudge against the reader reviewer.

    I enjoy Tess Gerritsen’s books, but seriously I am less likely to want to hang out with her now should we intersect at a conference or event. No, Tess, not everyone is as thin-skinned and petty as you are about this particular thing. Hate to break it to you.

  41. Josh Lanyon
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 11:43:07

    Otherwise, forget the random flip-offs from strangers in traffic, and move on. :-)

    Absolutely. As an author, I look for a consensus of opinion in my reviews. If I hear the same things repeatedly, then I give it some credence. Well, let me qualify that. If I consistently hear the same negatives, I give credence. Do any of us really, deep down believe the crazy-flattering, positive things readers say? I mean, seriously? I don’t think so. I think we all take that stuff with a big grain of heroi — salt.

    The truth is, half the reviewers I know are writing books, and so…yes, sometimes there is a little bit of that jealousy and frustration that creeps through — why is this person getting published when I am so much better??? And there are reviewers who just get tired of hearing other reviewers fawn over a particular writer. Someone who hates Evanovich because everyone else loves her. Hey, that’s human nature. It ain’t always sapphire eyes and sweet sentiments.

    But the smart writer — the healthy human — knows better than to take any of it too seriously: the good or the bad. You can’t please all the people all the time. That’s a fact. No matter how good you are, not everyone will care for your thing.

    But the main deal is you never respond to a crackpot reviewer because a) you don’t want to encourage them, and b) it’s undignified.

    Not that three stars is a crackpot reviewer at work. In fact, the especially puzzling thing here is that three stars is a perfectly respectable review. What kind of a nut has a meltdown over three stars?

  42. Bernita
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 11:46:46

    What kind of a nut has a meltdown over three stars

    Josh, apparently one whose pathology demands there be no dissent.

  43. lisabea
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 11:53:20

    Reviews are not for authors, they're for readers

    Right on, sister.

  44. Josh Lanyon
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 12:00:47

    Josh, apparently one whose pathology demands there be no dissent.

    I’ll just say one final thing, and then I’ve got to get back to work — this blog is waaay too tantalyzing.

    For those of us writing for small and indie presses, our only real opportunity for reviews — especially at first — are citizen reviewers. Some of the smartest — and most entertaining — reviews I’ve ever read (and received) have been from citizen reviewers. These reviews — blog reviews for example — are, in my opinion, the cyber equivilent of word-of-mouth. They can’t be bought or manipulated, and I think they make a huge difference in the success of a small or indie press writer.

    These are people who don’t get paid, who review strictly out of passion for the stories. That enthusiasm is priceless. And I do mean that literally.

    Personally I think citizen reviewers, both at Amazon and on blogs, are changing the face of reviewing for all time. And that is not a bad thing.

  45. Nonny
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 12:01:59

    I signed. :)

  46. kirsten saell
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 12:28:42

    So how come we all aren't clicking the “abuse” or “unhelpful” button on every 4- or 5- star DAM review on Amazon? I mean, if that's the way the game is played…

    Because most people have the self-control necessary to NOT sink to DAM's level. And perhaps I'm being uncharacteristically optimistic here, but most people wouldn't even think of using the underhanded tactics that DAM uses. If we do, then we're no better than she is. I don't know about other people, but I need to look at myself in the mirror every morning to put on makeup.

    I’m not suggesting readers do it for spite, although that does have its appeal. I’m saying that if Amazon is rewarding DAM for her bad behavior and doing nothing but punishing Reba–the aggrieved party in this fiasco–maybe the best way to bring our issues to Amazon’s attention is to manipulate the system and mess with DAM’s (and her gang’s) numbers. Then when she goes to Amazon to complain about how there’s a campaign to ruin her career by abusing their flawed system, Amazon might actually take notice and do something to change things.

  47. SandyO
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 12:54:29

    Ms Gerritsen seems to miss a huge point on her comparison of her books and children. Her books are a commodity, she is earning money from their sale. Hopefully, her children aren’t for sale.

    Also, I agree reviews are for the readers (consumers) not for the writer. I don’t need to be a mechanical engineer to know a Yugo car is bad.

  48. Ann Bruce
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 13:15:23

    maybe the best way to bring our issues to Amazon's attention is to manipulate the system and mess with DAM's (and her gang's) numbers. Then when she goes to Amazon to complain about how there's a campaign to ruin her career by abusing their flawed system, Amazon might actually take notice and do something to change things.

    Or would this give credence to DAM’s claims of harassment and the like? IMHO, escalation is rarely an appropriate solution response. From what I’ve seen, a calm, rational response usually infuriates someone like DAM because she doesn’t understand why others are not as petty and vindictive as she is.

    EDITED because I didn’t like my initial word choice.

  49. Ann Bruce
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 13:22:29

    Also, what percent of people with books published have degrees in English? I know it isn't 100%.

    What would this have to do with being a writer?

  50. kirsten saell
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 13:27:19

    Or would this give credence to DAM's claims of harassment and the like? IMHO, escalation is rarely an appropriate solution response. From what I've seen, a calm, rational response usually infuriates someone like DAM because she doesn't understand why others are not as petty and vindictive as she is.

    You’re probably right, but it would seem like cosmic justice to change the system by using her tactics.

    And hey, I’m all for infuriating the woman…

  51. asrai
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 13:43:45

    Not everyone is going to like everything you right. It’s kinda a fact of writing life.
    I know as an author that work of art is your baby for a long time, but there is someone out there who is going to someday read something I write and think “This writer sucks. I can’t read past the first page of this drivel.”

    Well then dear reader, move on. Nothing personal.

  52. Janie H
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 13:45:41

    Just my humble opinion, but it would be better and more interesting if technical skills in reviews were equal to the emotional response. Frankly, I never really pay attention to reviews. If someone talks about a book, I check it out with several sources before I consider buying. Most books I do not buy by review, although any kind of review brings attention to a book. A friend and I used to read all the bad reviews at All About Romance, because we learned a lot more about writing from them than say average scored books and up. Reviewers are always more specific about what they don’t like than like! Of course I am a writer and skills mean as much to me as story. Example: Meredith Duran’s book.

    I’ve written a few reviews on Amazon, praising books, giving 5 stars and I’ll see negative responses, which I assume are people who know and do not like me personally, and so they click *no*—smiling.

    Amazon is a slick commerical site, designed to sell books to readers and make money. All rating systems could be manipulated, and not just by people who are out to remove bad reviews. Just think of the good reviews written by friends! I remember, once upon a time, a bestselling author asking friends to go review her book. This kind of stuff goes on all the time.

  53. Chrissy
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 13:50:05

    She’s missing the point. This was NEVER about reviews. I know very few professionals, and even very few readers, who take amazon reviews seriously. My one small book, ages ago, still has a perfect rating.

    What this was about was absolutely off-the-hook behavior and blatant exploitation of the system for a variety of nefarious reasons. It was about stalking, and personal gain via blatant manipulation and threats.

    It’s not about a notably faulty review system or the reviews in it. It’s about how bizarre, unprofessional, and scary a few people became in exploiting it.

    Reviews don’t kill people. But we’ve discovered that nutjob psycho reviewers threaten to. So let’s boot them, eh?

  54. Denise
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 13:50:43

    SandyO said: Ms Gerritsen seems to miss a huge point on her comparison of her books and children. Her books are a commodity, she is earning money from their sale. Hopefully, her children aren't for sale.

    Yes! I’ve always thought this was a lousy metaphor.

    I like to think I bust my ass just as hard as Ms. Gerritsen when I work on a manuscript. When it’s done, I celebrate for accomplishing something I consider big. After all, I spent hours creating fictional worlds, people and plots while neglecting the real world and real people in my life so I could type THE END. However, despite my dedication in creating that book, it’s a product not a person. I might cringe at a bad review. The book won’t. It doesn’t care if it gets thrown against the wall or someone says it sucks. I as the author might, but it’s my job to stay realistic and objective about the product I created and understand, that like any other consumer good out there, my book is as much a target for criticism as for praise.

    Bad reviews suck. We’d all like to think we’ll write something everyone will love. Realistically, that will never happen. Austen, Bronte, Shakespeare, Twain and Fenimore-Cooper all had their detractors. So will the rest of us. It comes with the territory. I’m sure if Fenimore-Cooper would have called Twain out as an illiterate slut (yes, I got the SNL nod) for the roasting he got on The Leatherstocking Tales (and Twain is unequaled in roasting people, IMO), I’m sure dear old Sam would have handed James’s ass back to him in pieces and told him to suck it up.

    Sorry, but I don’t fit into Gerritsen’s general assumption. I didn’t like some of the reviews I received, but I’ve never felt strongly enough about them to stab voodoo dolls, fantasize about calling reviewers names and certinaly never entertained the thought of stalking anyone. I created a product and put it up for sale. Someone bought it. At that point, I believe that reader/consumer has every right to express their opinion, good or bad, about the item they bought with their hard-earned cash. Some commentary is useful, some not, but unless it dips inappropriately into personal territory (flames, name-calling), the reviewer’s remarks are valid IMO.

    I signed the petition. Keeping my fingers crossed that Amazon will at least blink at it.

  55. Jill Sorenson
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 13:51:40

    I'm not sure if I am even articulating my point well. Basically I am trying to say I think that Gerritsen would rather people not discuss their emotional response in critiquing a book but I think those emotional responses have value to other readers.

    You’re articulating your point well, Jane. While I don’t find Gerritsen’s comments shocking or inappropriate, I agree with you here. A reader’s emotional response doesn’t just have value, it’s everything.

  56. Bonnie L.
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 13:52:29

    I don’t buy the crazy weed that says that only authors have the authority to write a review. Are you writing your book for other authors or are you writing your book for readers to enjoy? I think it is terribly elitest to claim that just because you are not part of the biz, you don’t have what it takes, nor do you have the right to, write a well thought out review.

  57. Catherine
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 14:41:18

    I have to say after reading Tess Gerritsen's blog from the links you left I was a little irritated. I'm all for taking responsibility for your opinions, but who in their right mind would post their personal information on the internet just to prove they're not scared of owning their own words? I may enjoy posting at here and at Smart Bitches but I'm certainly not going to post all my information out there for everyone to see. That would be stupid and just invite psychos.

    I'm not a writer and definitely don't want to be one, but I am a reader. I understand that the author may be hurt by bad reviews but your book is just a product. I say that meaning no disrespect, but it's true. (keep in mind that I mean this only from a reader standpoint) Once you've published your book it is just a product to be consumed by me. When I don't like a book I don't temper my view by thinking about how long it took you to write it. Maybe someone else loves it but the point is that I didn't. I don't expect you to care about my opinion on it, but don't expect me to care that you regard it with the same level of affection that you do your own kids.

    I just don't understand how someone can take it so personally that they would lash out at the reader. It may sound harsh but I really think a lot of authors need to develop thicker skin. It's a business! I don't stalk my boss when he says the proposal that I spent forever working on isn't good enough and needs more work. I move on because it's my job.

    I know I sound down on authors but I'm not. What I'm trying to say is that I have just as little emotional attachment to their feelings as they do to me. When I say I love Nora Roberts (and I only use her name because almost everyone has heard of her and she's the only author that I started reading in junior high and still love to this day) I mean I love the product that is associated with her name. I don't know her so I can't say I love her, only what her name represents to me. When I dislike an author I mean I dislike the products I associate with you. It's nothing personal it's actually VERY impersonal. I think of authors the same way I do any name brand. I consume your product but have no concept of you beyond a shadowing figure behind your name. Reviews and opinions are just for other readers that may have the same quirks about what bothers them in a story. They just want someone to connect with so they can see if they'll be wasting their money or not. It's nothing personal.

  58. Janine
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 14:55:02

    I don't buy the crazy weed that says that only authors have the authority to write a review. Are you writing your book for other authors or are you writing your book for readers to enjoy? I think it is terribly elitest to claim that just because you are not part of the biz, you don't have what it takes, nor do you have the right to, write a well thought out review.

    Not only that, it is often true that the very same writers who say only other writers’ opinions of books are valid, don’t put their own opinions of books out there unless those opinions are positive.

    If (A) only writers are qualified to review books and if we therefore had a world where only writers reviewed, and (B) writers in that world would not put out any negative reviews, then it follows that (C) all the reviews in that world would be positive.

    Think about that: a world where books were only extolled and never criticized. How would we be able to know what books to buy?

  59. CourtneyCarroll
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 14:56:55

    I signed the petition because I find this entire situation appalling, including Tess Gerritsen’s response on her blog.

  60. Robinjn
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 15:19:04

    As I said on the other thread on this topic, I’m an avid reader. I’m also an occasional reviewer. I’m moved to write my opinion on a book when I’ve either been very stirred by it or quite disappointed by an author whose works I have loved in the past.

    Not being an author (and no real aspirations beyond a “gee, maybe someday,” or “I could write better than THAT,”) I know that I do not and will not ever fully understand the mental and emotional input that goes into producing good work. And I fully agree with those authors who have posted here that they cannot produce books for their critics, but must write for themselves.

    But people like me, as individuals who spend our very hard-won money for a book, want to at least feel that our voice is heard by someone. My example of this is the whole LKH situation, where for many of us a much beloved character, developed over a series of truly engaging books, was gutted and turned into a horrific parody-’from strong moralist to walking vagina. Our massive cry of “oh please no!” was not only ignored, it was derided. We were told that our opinions were completely worthless because these books weren’t being written for US, but for LKH and if we didn’t like them, we must not like to think too deeply. But presumably LKH makes her living from us. So my contention has been that when there’s a massive outcry about a book or series from its readers, perhaps the author might want to take note.

    OTOH Ms. Roberts is quite right. Reviews are for the readers. And unlike some of you, I *have* used the Amazon review system heavily over the past few years to determine whether or not I want to try a new author. As I said in the other thread, I’ve found some amazing authors such as Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs that way. And I’ve been really disappointed a few times. I was putting that up to different tastes. Now I suspect the whole system. As a non-insider, I have no other real guide to help me find great new fiction in the genre’s I love. So I admit I’m feeling all asea over this whole thing, and I bet I end up missing some really worthy books because of it.

    DAM is about right. Add an ‘n’ and you get my feelings on it.

  61. Marianne McA
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 15:22:33

    Janine, I just agree. Negative reviews give meaning to the positive ones. I buy from Amazon reviews. If the negative ones were routinely deleted by heartsick authors, there’d be no point looking at them.

    (My own children have had the odd dodgy review. But who really needs Additional Maths?)

  62. Ann Bruce
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 15:29:16

    We were told that our opinions were completely worthless because these books weren't being written for US, but for LKH and if we didn't like them, we must not like to think too deeply.

    It’s one thing to write for yourself (this, I wholeheartedly agree with); it’s another thing entirely to criticize readers for their response to your writing (this makes me stop buying your books).

    But presumably LKH makes her living from us.

    Not from me, she doesn’t. Not anymore, at least.

  63. Ann Bruce
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 15:31:50

    Think about that: a world where books were only extolled and never criticized. How would we be able to know what books to buy?

    Then I’d be getting all my books from the library and there’d be a lot less authors writing for a living.

  64. greenwise
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 15:44:28

    I have signed a petition and emailed Amazon to no avail. I am new to posting here, I usually post over at Amazon. At this point I am doubtful that anything subtantial is going to change at Amazon despite our outrage. Please check out the Reba Update thread, and Help My Reviews are being deleted thread at Amazon (romance forum). I am saying this not to be a gloomy guss but to perhaps suggest that this needs to be brought to the attention of the media and interested political attorney generals. This is an election year and cyber bullying is a relevent topic. I think once Amazon finds itself smack dab in the middle of a major controversy, with words like harrasment, stalking and cyberbullying mabey then they will take some positive action. I also want to know if Reba would be ok with this, I am ready to write a letter to the State Attorney General for the State that Amazon is based out of and send an email to media, but I am not the one that was subjected to the harassment. What do you think Reba?

  65. Sherry Thomas
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 15:46:58

    I gravitated toward certain reviewers, like AAR Rachel, because overtime I recognized that her emotional responses were likely to be similar to mine. So I was less wrapped up in what the craft issues were, but rather what her emotional response was.

    I don’t think you are alone in this, Jane. I very much judge a romance by the emotional response it elicits in me.

    And no matter how technical a review gets, it’s still about one thing. Did the book hit you in the right place?

  66. Nora Roberts
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 16:05:08

    ~Did the book hit you in the right place?~

    Agree squared.

    And that right place will often vary from reader to reader. Just another reason why reviews are for readers, reviews are subjective, reviews are about how THAT book hit THAT reader. Or didn’t.

    I write for a living, and I very much appreciate craft, beautiful language–or the strong, sure use of language. But I can easily find a book that has excellent craft, a strong use of language, and doesn’t hit me in the right emotional spot.

    Not a bad book, just not the book for me.

    Admittedly I can find a book that hits me emotionally, but is so poorly written–imo–it diminishes the rush. So that’s not the book for me, either.

    But as I said on the other thread, this whole DAM/Amazon deal was never about reviews. It was and is about an individual’s need for power and control, and her complete disregard for others. It’s always about power and control with bullies.

  67. Bev Stephans
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 16:32:57

    I signed the petition.

    Nora, I agree with you about how a book hits you emotionally. If that isn’t present, it’s worthless to me.

    I think Tess Gerritsen was having some fun. I don’t think we should get too upset about it. Save being upset for Amazon and DAM.

  68. a reader
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 16:36:41

    I will not be signing the petition. I am inclined to actually do the opposite the more you enshrine Reba as some kind of saint.

    I have silently been watching the earlier trashfest for a while. Quite a few of you have done exactly what the author Deborah MacGillivray is accused of doing. The responses here have been way out of control. Off this site, I saw you all whip up mob mentality so that positive reviews of this author trashed and silly negative reviews posted, well-timed to the threads here in such numbers that the reviews were not even read and the negative reviews were not truly about the book but just slams about the author. Hmm… so what is all this talk about how awful Amazon review system is? It is awful, but not when you use it for own personal vendettas? Or all this talk about how a reader should be able to post their reviews without retribution? But somehow it is fine when it is YOU doing the retribution. You don’t even have to read the reviews because YOU are an omnipotent all-knowing judge. Two wrongs do not make a right.

    I have seen a serious lack of moderation from this website that let everything degenerate to a lynch mob mentality.

    Reba is making quite a name for herself with her claims and irresponsible out of control behavior. As is this website. If she is being stalked common sense says to call the authorities, not whine about what a poor martyr you are to get attention. Amazon banned her. She can whine poor me all she wants but Amazon did this for a reason. Just because she whines doesn’t mean she did not do something that warranted this action even if YOU do not know the reason. Amazon does not owe her or anyone an explanation. It is their website. You can bet Amazon looked into what Reba was doing. It’s Amazon’s website, not Reba’s personal podium, and when you go to Amazon, you play by their rules. Seeing the quickness of Amazon’s action, it casts suspicion on the veracity of her claims of how slow Amazon is to investigate. Amazon tracks everything that happens on their website.

    Two wrongs do not make a right. At first I was horrified by the accusations made against Deborah MacGillivray but right now I am just as horrified by the immoderate actions of people ranting about her photos and where she lives etc. that pose more questions to this whole mess. I want a lot more information before I make a decision. Unfortunately the mob mentality as witnessed here with one or two exceptions has led me to believe that this website is not a good well-balanced source of information for making decisions.

  69. A 2nd Reader
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 16:45:02

    Not one instance of verifiable proof has been provided to substantiate anything and it can’t be done in this setting. I will opt out of this lynching with a reader.

  70. Chicklet
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 17:00:30

    I will not be signing the petition. I am inclined to actually do the opposite the more you enshrine Reba as some kind of saint.

    I’d be more inclined to respect your opinion if you had the guts to sign your name.

  71. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 17:07:58

    Quite a few of you have done exactly what the author Deborah MacGillivray is accused of doing.

    Quite a few people have done exactly what the author Deborah MacGillivray is accused of doing, but how do you know that they are people who post here? This story is on a lot of blogs and websites. The person who posted the 1-star review accusing the author of cheating certainly wasn’t a poster here.

    Just because she whines doesn't mean she did not do something that warranted this action even if YOU do not know the reason.

    Actually, we DO know the reason, so does Reba, who has shown considerable remorse. Our basic problem is that, in meting out the punishment, Amazon failed in any way to take into account the provocation that triggered Reba’s actions. Not only that, but Amazon have so far failed to deal with the perpetrator of that provocation.

    Two wrongs do not make a right.

    We agree on that much, at least. But whose is the bigger wrong?

    At first I was horrified by the accusations made against Deborah MacGillivray

    So those accusations don’t horrify you now?

    Seeing the quickness of Amazon's action, it casts suspicion on the veracity of her claims of how slow Amazon is to investigate.

    While Amazon dealt with Reba summarily, they’ve not been in any hurry to investigate the perpetrator, even though they know that Reba has filed legal papers.

  72. Catherine
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 17:16:28

    Ignore this… just editing to delete a duplicate post. Sorry.

  73. Catherine
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 17:16:58

    Two wrongs do not make a right. At first I was horrified by the accusations made against Deborah MacGillivray but right now I am just as horrified by the immoderate actions of people ranting about her photos and where she lives etc. that pose more questions to this whole mess.

    I’m confused, where did people talk about where MacGillivray lives or her photos? Or did I misunderstand that statement? Is there another thread running around here that I missed?

  74. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 17:26:15

    There are two previous threads. One is titled “Author DeborahAnne MacGillivray Harasses Amazon Reader ” (see link at top right). That thread is itself a continuation of “Highland Press Warnings”.

  75. Catherine
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 17:33:53

    Thanks.

  76. Sandra Schwab
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 17:44:51

    Jane wrote:

    What I mean by that is a reader, like me, will find it hard to articulate the craft issues in a book that lead to a negative emotional response.

    But that’s not really the job of a reviewer, is it? Reviews are primarily written for readers, after all. They aren’t meant to take the place of the author’s crit group or crit partner, even though they might contain criticism which the author might find helpful.

    And the old “my books are my children” metaphor? By now I can’t help chuckling whenever it pops up somewhere because inevitably I think of a certain passage of Thackeray’s “The Newcomes” (published in the 1850s!!!) that starts with: “I think I see such a [critic] — a Solomon that sits in judgment over us authors, and chops up our children.” In other words, that metaphor is such an old hat!

    Of course, bad reviews smart. Of course, I yelled at my computer when I first saw certain amazon reviews of “Castle” (No, I did NOT put electrical lights on that 1827 Christmas tree, you [add unflattering name]!!!), but beyond that? Eat some chocolate, if need be; vent your anger on the hapless dust bunnies; watch the final scene of North & South to cheer yourself up; and then just let it go. Life is simply too short to agonize over a review on amazon.

  77. Janine
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 17:44:57

    I have seen a serious lack of moderation from this website that let everything degenerate to a lynch mob mentality.

    We periodically have discussions of how much to moderate various discussion threads here at Dear Author on our email loop. It is always a very difficult decision and speaking only for myself, I often weigh in on the side of freedom of speech even when I don’t like or agree with what is being said on the site.

    Jane has made an effort to redirect the conversation in a constructive direction with posts on how Amazon’s reviews system could be improved upon, and on all the positive things going on in the online romance community right now.

    But there is really only so much the Dear Author bloggers can do about what other people post, and still nurture an atmosphere where people can converse freely and openly. I think doing the latter is valuable since I generally view censorship as something that can do more harm than good.

  78. Ann Somerville
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 18:38:26

    To the two anon readers: Using the word ‘lynching’ regarding the expressions of disgust and attempts to support the many victims of Deborah MacGillivray – not just Reba, but other bullied reviewers and hapless authors – is dangerous and offensive hyperbole. The worst DAM is going to suffer is a blow to the ego (and I would hope, some legal investigation). Not exactly the same as being strung up from a poplar tree. Not exactly the same as having your family threatened either.

    I couldn’t give a toss if DAM gets all butthurt, or exposes herself to investigations. My sympathies lie with those she’s threatened, and those she’s cheated. All Reba did was choose a method of trying to expose this appalling woman’s appalling actions, which violated Amazon’s rules. Not broke the actual *law*, which DAM did.

    Blaming the victim is graceless and vicious. And in your case, gutless. Sign your name, own your views.

    Nora: I reread what I wrote and realised I’d come off sounding snotty. I apologise for that. I only meant that at your stage in your career, you have editors and confidence in your craft which I don’t have, so I have to rely heavily on the feedback I get on my writing. Often the views are too conflicting or untutored to be much use, but because I have a number of readers who write as well or better than I do, I frequently pick up useful advice from them. Also, it never hurts for me to see how well some experimental idea or technique works. I’m still a newbie at this game.

    On the subject of author’s feelings versus reader response, I wrote a piece last year in which I said:

    Books are like toasters. And customers are customers. They walk into a book store, and they see hundreds of your books, or hundreds of books very like yours, and though to you, it’s like they’re staring into your soul and judging you, in fact, they’re seeing a bunch of toasters. Consumer products, to be consumed, evaluated, sometimes reviewed for other consumers, but the act of consumption is all about them and their need for toast/porn/romance/a new diet based on chocolate. Consumers comment about everything they buy, expect the right to complain if the product doesn’t meet their needs, and will even ask for their money back if the product downright sucks. Your book, a toaster, a new car, a meal in a restaurant – all the same to a consumer, and with the exact same level of engagement. Sure, a book reader is more likely to write to an author and squee at them, but that doesn’t mean that they have a closer or more responsible relationship with the producer of the book than they do with the toaster maker. Your readers love you because your product works for them. If it doesn’t work, no love. Simple. We live in a world of too many choices for any one product to be given love it hasn’t earned.

    I think Tess Gerritsen and DAM need to learn that lesson. If you want unconditional adoration of your writing, that’s what your mother is for. Snotty reviews hurt, but that’s what you use your private journals and private emails to vent about and get it out of your system. Tracking your critics down and killing their dogs, metaphorically, mean you’ve lost all sense of proportion

  79. Throwmearope
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 20:50:26

    Ann, I know you are a writer, but I think you demean your craft when you compare buying a book to buying a toaster. Yes, someone had to conceive of the idea of a toaster, then create one. But after that, millions of them, all identical, can be turned out from a factory.

    While I’ve read some books that seem factory-made, most are unique. Some are lovely, some are poetic, some flow past like a stream. Ok, a few are awful. But even the bad ones transport me to a different place, show me different outlooks, teach me new ideas.

    My toaster just turns my bread brown (well. . . black. It has 15 different done-ness settings all of which burn the bread if you don’t watch it like a hawk.) Since I hate putting PBJ on plain bread, I use my toaster.

    But I love books. They’re not a hobby, they’re a necessity. I read every day, because I love the printed word. I consider well-written books to be as much art as any painting. Just painted with words, not lines.

    Of course, like the guy said upthread, opinions are like a**holes, but that’s mine.

  80. Ann Somerville
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 20:56:36

    Throwmearope: Did you read the whole article?

    My point is that everyone who creates, invests emotional and intellectual energy, whether it’s in a better toaster or a wonderful book. But then the item is mass produced (either in a factory or in a printing house) and released to a consumer overwhelmed with choices. The emotional connection the creator has with the product, isn’t the same as the consumer’s connection with the product. Sure, a good book is going to be more intellectually and emotionally fulfilling than a toaster, but if it’s a bad book, I have no more compunction in telling a friend it’s tripe and avoid it, than I would in telling that friend the toaster I bought is garbage. I don’t connect with the creator, I only connect with the experience I have personally with the item. User reviews report on that experience, and aren’t meant to be part of enhancing the creator’s experience. The mistake too many of us creative types make is in thinking that they are.

  81. M Porter's Deja Vu
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 21:53:06

    Throwmearope: Did you read the whole article?

    This seems like Deja Vu. Questioning a reader?

  82. Throwmearope
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 22:07:30

    I read the excerpt that was posted, I didn’t follow the link to the entire article. But that’s ok, I like it when a published author smacks back at me. The first time an author snapped at me on the SB site, I squee’ed all over myself.

    I realize authors are just people, but I think the act of creativity transcends the mundane. And trust me, toasters are mundane.

    ETA: Not that I want anyone stalking me or anything like that. But a snappy retort–I’m cool with that.

  83. Ann Somerville
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 22:09:47

    This seems like Deja Vu. Questioning a reader?

    I just wanted to know if Throwmearope had read only what I’d quoted, or the whole article. There was more to my point than what I’d quoted. Her points were quite valid, but I don’t think my article argued against them.

    You’re trying to conflate my dialogue with a reader with what DAM is doing to critics. For what purpose, I can only speculate.

    Who are you again?

  84. Ann Somerville
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 22:11:39

    Throwmearope: I’m sorry if I came off as trying to smack you. I wasn’t. I thought you made some good points. I didn’t feel that they were necessarily in contradiction with the points I made. More a different aspect of the entire creative/consumer response issue.

    [I should point out too that I am only self-published - at least until May 13 this year!]

    Toasters might be mundane, but the process of creating one isn’t. As you’ve found, getting it wrong is as common as writing an unentertaining novel, but just as no one sets out to write crap, no one sets out to make a bad toaster. The intent, however, doesn’t change the reader’s experience. They’re still stuck with a lousy romance and burnt toast.

  85. Nora Roberts
    Apr 18, 2008 @ 22:28:39

    When a group of people are united in their outrage over what they believe is wrong or offensive, those who don’t share that outrage–or are connected to the parties found offensive–tend to refer to the group as a lynch mob. Which I take as shorthand for: you’re all a bunch of brainless meanie sheep.

    And on the internet, they tend to do it anonymously, thereby having the freedom to say whatever they like about whomever they like with impunity.

    I’m not holding a rope. I’ve written no reviews, done no clicking, and every comment I’ve made has been made under my name. And I believe, based on what I’ve read here and on Amazon–some of which were DAM’s own written words posted on Amazon’s forum–that DAM should face consequences for her actions. From the information I’ve read and weighed, it’s my opinion Amazon has acted incorrectly thus far in this situation.

    I signed the petition.

    I can and do think for myself.

  86. Karen Mercury
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 00:32:59

    It's my stance that if a writer tries to please reader/reviewer one, she will undoubtedly displease reader/reviewer two.

    I am one of those “overly sensitive” authors who gets fairly messed up over negative reviews. Realizing this, I purposefully avoided being published for decades–I knew I couldn’t stand the heat. As the proud (?) recipient of a 2-star RT review, I can understand where Tess is coming from when she opines that she wishes she could lash back–has no ever ranted and raved in the privacy of their own home against a reviewer who got your decade/intent/brand of prophylactic wrong? Or someone who plain old didn’t care for explicit sex, gore, or quirky characters?

    But there’s the rub: preferably it’s the privacy of your own home, or to your fiends, where you rant. I’ve always known it’s a cardinal no-no in the publishing world to even respond to a reviewer, whether that review is good or bad, much less threaten them. It’s just not done. It’s never even occurred to me to do that.

    True, we can avoid googling ourselves and searching for reviews, and believe you me, I now do avoid googling myself. I’m learning to “suck it up” and work within the parameters of my own particular thin-skinnedness (thin skinniness?). After throwing my WIP across the room, then shoving it under the bed and tossing all research books into the closet, I get it out of my system…after a few weeks… :)

    But yeah, these (PW, RT, AAR, HNS) are “legitimate” reviews by critics in the know–negative Amazon reviews are more easily shrugged off and not taken so to heart.

    While I agree with the concept that reviews are for readers, authors also need to utilize them for their websites, as blurbs on book covers, and to send our publishers. That is why we sometimes google for them, because we often aren’t even told they’re posted yet.

    I firmly believe we can't write with a reader over our shoulder.

    Thank you, thank you, I’m printing that and taping it to my monitor. I’ve been writing with a reader looking over my shoulder lately: “Hey what a great idea–oops, someone won’t like that. What about–nope, people who wear hats won’t like that. Hey, how’s about–nope, robotic cyborgs from Planet 9 will take offense with that.” It just gets ridiculous, and can definitely stymie the creative process.

    And isn’t that why we’re writers to begin with–we’re creative, and oftentimes sensitive? Of course, fiction writing is a business where we sell a commodity, but it’s a business peopled by artistic impressionable folks who basically sit alone all day in sweatpants envisioning what it’d be like to whack a pirate with a Persian shamshir. So some emotion is bound to enter into the picture when an injustice gets us riled.

  87. Lleeo
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 03:59:30

    I'm not holding a rope. I've written no reviews, done no clicking, and every comment I've made has been made under my name. And I believe, based on what I've read here and on Amazon-some of which were DAM's own written words posted on Amazon's forum-that DAM should face consequences for her actions. From the information I've read and weighed, it's my opinion Amazon has acted incorrectly thus far in this situation.

    I signed the petition.

    I can and do think for myself.

    I agree with you 100%, Nora. These accusations are really insulting because the majority consensus from posters on this issue has been that, in Ann Bruce’s words, it is “petty and vindictive” to resort to DAM’s tactics of personally threatening people who don’t agree with her or posting fake reviews (to either insult or praise an author). Most of us have also signed our posts with our real names–many people on here who are also authors.

    Yes, one commenter pointed out how easy it is to obtain personal information on DAM through the internet and suggested that we could give her a taste of her own medicine very easily to make her understand how serious and frightening her own private detective work on Reba truly was. But more than a few posters dissuaded this line of argument because most of us agree that it isn’t appropriate and it is exactly these kind of personally threatening tactics that we are so vehemently arguing against.

    I, for one, am personally insulted by your posts, anon, because you’ve come in here and made blanket generalizations about the majority of posters on this issue which are completely untrue and not to mention insulting. I’d never heard of Deborah until this issue came up but I’ve seen the evidence with my own two eyes and I believe what she did is wrong and that she should face consequences for it. I will never read or buy one of her books. Therefore, understandably, I will never review one of her books. I don’t care if my favourite author or my personal idol stands up tomorrow and defends DAM, I will still think her behaviour is despicable.

    I may only be a reader but I can think for myself. And yes, I did sign the petition under my own name: Erin Johns.

  88. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 06:56:48

    On the subject of anonymity, I have this to say.

    I know of people who had bad experiences as a result of using the internet and I respect their desire to avoid using their real names, where they have an identifiable pseudonym that they use whenever they participate. Anybody who comes across these pseudonyms can use Google to find those other places on the internet.

    Those who simply use pseudonyms (especially untraceable identities like anon) to express strong opinions have to be judged accordingly. Even where I agree with them, I know that I cannot regard them as well as I would if they were more open.

    As for myself, I started posting anonymously because I wasn’t sure if it was a safe place or not, but even then I had an identifiable pseudonym. Eventually, I decided that if anybody who knew me personally were to discover my ramblings on the internet, they’d eventually figure out it was me anyway, so I abandoned anonymity.

    Eventually, I realized that as there are a lot of people in the world called Peter Harris, several of whom are on Wikipedia, it was actually quite difficult sometimes to find stuff relating to me. Hence I now use my middle name away from Amazon. No other Peter Harris on the internet shares my middle name. If another one (or an imposter) shows up, so be it, but meanwhile I’ve complete exposed myself to any dangers that may arise. So far, it’s not been a problem.

    On Amazon, I am listed as P D Harris “Pete the music and horse racing fan” (Leicester, Engfland). In its way, that is just unique as Peter Durward Harris. I’d still like to use my full name on Amazon, but if I change the P D Harris, I’ll lose my “Real Name” badge. Nobody has ever figured out the significance of this badge, but Amazon have intimated that the presence or absence of a “Real Name” may affect product page placement of the writer’s reviews. In other words, I might end up with fewer spotlighted reviews if I lose my badge. So the other way to show my full name would be to lose my other moniker (which I don’t want to, because that’s the way a lot of customers remember me) or to add my full name to the moniker (which would not look good – it would be clumsy and untidy). Amazon only accept “Real Name” details taken from credit cards. I still had two at the time the system was introduced, but had them taken away a month later when I was declared bankrupt. If I ever manage to get another credit card and I can get it to say something better than “P D Harris”, I’ll be able to put that on my Amazon reviews and still keep my “Real Name” badge. I rather suspect I’ll have to settle for Peter D Harris, but that would be OK.

    One way or another, my internet identity keeps me from going over the top. I know that any troblemaker – or any potential employer – can easily find whatever I’ve put out there. So I just make sure that if I really don’t want something to come back to haunt me, I don’t put it anywhere on the internet. It’s that simple. It doesn’t stop me putting strong views across where I feel the need arises, but it does mean that I restrain myself in ways that I might not in a verbal exchange.

  89. Stephanie Z.
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 10:06:36

    Ann Bruce:

    Late and irrelevant, I know, but the mention of an English degree was referring to what Jane said about a “trained writer”. How do writers get training? Workshops, classes, even degrees in writing and MFAs. Or, if a fiction writer can learn to be a writer by just doing it (as many do), why can’t someone who is a review writer?

  90. Sheila
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 10:27:20

    I went back and read the only Amazon reviews I ever posted. All four (I’m a piker compared to some of you) expressed my reaction as a reader to a) the advertising for the book versus the actual content, b) the content of the book, and c) the execution of the book’s central idea(s).

    Were my reviews meant for the writers? Only insofar as I praised them and didn’t feel like going to their websites to say so. And only insofar as I criticized them for not delivering on the implied promises of their books. My reviews were posted because I wanted to enlighten other potential readers, to tell them, yes, this is a neat book, or no, this does not do what it says it will. If the writers were offended, too bad. I am offended as a consumer when I plunk down my money for a product that does not live up to its advertising.

    I also am a writer, and I know that I am personally rather sensitive to criticism. But I view that as a flaw in myself, not an admirable quality that should be enshrined as proof that I am a creative type. Anybody seriously thinking about voodoo dolls ought to grow up. You cannot control the world, only yourself.

    At base, the reason we’re so sensitive about our writing is that it is self-revelatory. I didn’t put my baby out there for you to criticize; I put myself. And that’s what hurts. Until we stop and think, well, but maybe I wasn’t at my best. Or maybe this reader just doesn’t like me, and so what? Or maybe it was an off day for both of us. And so on.

    I have used Amazon reviews to evaluate expensive music products, electronics about whose technology I knew nothing, and more. The reviews have proved very valuable to me, especially the negative comments. The more specific the comments are, the more helpful they are. So I am grateful to reviewers who take the time to explain what went wrong for them. Even if it’s a novel and they just did not like the snippy heroine and bland hero.

  91. J.D. Rhoades
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 11:46:31

    I enjoy Tess Gerritsen's books, but seriously I am less likely to want to hang out with her now should we intersect at a conference or event.

    That would be unfortunate. Tess is a blast to hang out with, and one of the kindest people I’ve ever met in this business.

    And for the record, I thought DAM’s reaction was psychotic.

  92. Robin
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 12:29:42

    I firmly believe we can't write with a reader over our shoulder.

    Nor should you, IMO. Ever.

    In my ideal world, authors write what they’re inspired to, and readers respond as they’re inspired to. And we do that in a parallel fashion, with reader and book in dialogue but NOT negotiation. I don’t think less of an author who doesn’t read reviews of their work, and I don’t EVER want the burden of having an impact on an author’s writing UNLESS I’m personally asked to provide that kind of critique. I want readers and authors to have the greatest possible freedom, and I think that comes only when we’re each acting from an autonomous space.

    Will that mean that a negative review might sting? Of course. As much as I believe that I am talking only about a book when I write a review, I know that as a human being, an author might smart from something I have to say. However, as I’m not writing my reviews for authors, I don’t really want to think about the author as I’m writing them. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t show respect to the BOOK as a reviewer.

    And similarly, I don’t want authors thinking about anything I (and I use that pronoun generally — I don’t really think my opinion matters much to anyone but myself, outside, that is, of situations where I haven’t been asked or paid for it) might have said about their book. That doesn’t mean we won’t affect each other if we interact directly, and it doesn’t mean I won’t express my opinion, but I’m primarily articulating that opinion because I have it and feel strongly about it.

    I didn’t really think all this out until I started reviewing, and I know it’s changed how I see authors, a bit, forcing a wider separation than I might otherwise have. I know that once my review comes out that an author might see it, but I don’t want to breach what I see as my responsibility to a) the book, and b) other readers, by bringing the author into my reviewing process. So it would be weird to think that authors should bring readers into their writing process.

    I, for one, am personally insulted by your posts, anon, because you've come in here and made blanket generalizations about the majority of posters on this issue which are completely untrue and not to mention insulting.

    But didn’t those accusations come in the ironic context of complaining about baseless accusations? I’m only surprised that it took a while for the nasty grams to start arriving, and I’m not surprised at their direction, because they’re similar, IMO, to the stuff that was being said about those of us who were outraged at the Cassie Edwards situation, too (and DAM was waving that flag with righteous vigor, IIRC). That some people might be doing whatever on Amazon is probably inevitable, but I know it’s not something that the vast majority of us here have advocated or participated in, because, hey, if that’s the path we felt comfortable taking, we could have skipped all the public discourse — like, you know, DAM and her friends have (except for the public and semi-public threats and pleas, of course) — and gone for the subterfuge.

  93. greenwise
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 14:31:21

    Hi,

    I have to disagree with you assesment areader. I don’t think Reba is trying to play the role of an attention grabbing matyr or a saint. Quite frankly, I imagine if Reba had her druthers none of this would have happened to her at all.

    When Reba initally started having problems with her review, she came to the Romance Forum (Amazon) and discussed it. After reading through the thread and seeing it get openly hostile, I made a personal choice not to purchase any thing from the author in question. That was sometime last summer. In 2007.
    It wasn’t until another participant in the forum started the thread Help My Review is Being Deleted, in the spring of 2008 that Reba stepped forward and let everyone know what had been happening to her. These are not the actions of a person seeking the limelight. She has been apparently quietly trying to work within the system and I don’t really blame her or discount her for speaking up.
    I haven’t read all of the threads here yet, but I do know from postings on romance forum that Reba does not want anyone to stoop to the level of DAM. And there is not a THING wrong with wanting Amazon, in light of what has happened to hold everyone to the same standard and take positive action.

  94. Lynne
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 19:07:59

    DAM’s own words damned (pun intended) her plenty. The Google cache of her deleted comments told me all I needed to know about how she operates. Everything else was just a confirmation.

    And I’m still hoping to hear some kind of explanation/apology from Catherine Spangler. That she hasn’t responded is very disappointing to me.

  95. Kyle K.
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 19:30:37

    I have to admit that I really am appalled by the reaction to Tess's comments. I have been reading her blog for almost a year and a half, and I find her candidness and honesty refreshing. So she doesn't like to read bad reviews, who would? She never ONCE condoned what Deborah Anne MacGillivray did, and only said that she could understand the urge of wanting to find out who was trashing her… that's all.

    Jane, I wonder how you would react in a similar situation in your own profession? Would you just be happy to take criticism, or would you feel burned by it and want to know who said it? Would you ever go to the lengths that DAM did? Of course you wouldn't, and neither would Tess. But you can't honestly tell me you don't understand where she was coming from? I think anyone who says otherwise is lying.

    I applaud Tess for having the courage to say what she thinks, and I hope she continues to do so in the future.

  96. Jane
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 20:17:05

    Kyle K –

    I, too, hope that Ms. Gerritsen keeps blogging. I actually think its foolish if she allows a few comments here that disagree with her stance on things to drive her away from blogging. I also think its a bit (not sure what the appropriate word is here) rude? inappropriate? for her to claim that Dear Author is the reason that she would stop blogging.

    But I think we are conflating a couple of things here.

    1. I disagree with your characterization of Ms. Gerritsen’s statements and “understanding the urge of wanting to find out who was trashing her.” Reba Belle’s review was three stars and hardly a trashing review. Ms. Gerritsen’s statement that DAM’s major foolishness is getting caught does seem to condone the action. It implies that she would find DAM’s actions reasonable if only she hadn’t gotten caught doing it. What DAM did at best is unethical and at worst is felonious. The idea that authors think it is appropriate to hunt down a person who gives even the slightest negative critique and then threaten the person with personal information sends chills down my spine.

    2. Ms. Gerritsen is certainly entitled to her opinion that

    Yet that scene of a clueless non-musician telling a musician how to compose an opera got a big laugh out of the audience because everyone recognized its absurdity.

    Whenever I see a nasty comment directed at a book that I know in my writer's soul is a great book, I think of that scene between Mozart and the nobleman. Everybody's a critic. But very few of us can actually compose an opera -’ or write a book.

    and I, as a reader, can find that to mean that I do not have the right to voice my opinion because to do so is “absurd” and that I am “clueless.”

    As I stated previously, I think that Gerritsen values only a certain type of critique and those do not include measurements of a citizen review regarding their emotional reaction to a book.

    3. In response to your question of how I would react in similar circumstances. I can tell you that I have been criticized both as a blogger and in my professional life and I guess I just see that as part of the job. I get praise and criticism and I take it all with a grain of salt.

  97. Kyle K.
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 21:03:14

    Jane,

    Thank you for responding!

    Those are very good points, but I don’t think Tess was necessarily referring to DAM’s reaction to the three star review, but to the stinging reviews one can get from people who have only spent a few hours reading the book when she has spent a year writing it. It would be the same for anyone who spent a large amount of time on a project, whatever the field, to get such a review/critique. Was DAM out of line, absolutely. Did she overreact? 100%. But Tess was not condoning what she did, only stating her understanding behind the actions.

    I think that your quote of hers above is being taken out of context as well. As Nora wrote several times in the comments above, you have to take what each person says as an opinion, because one person might dislike a book for the very reason someone else will like it. Why would anyone take advice about something they are working on from someone who does not understand the workings behind it? That’s what she’s saying. A doctor wouldn’t follow advice from a patient, much the same way a writer wouldn’t follow the advice of a reader. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, but the ones we choose to take and learn from should be left completely up to us. There are critiques that hold more weight than others, and those are from the people who understand the craft and the work that goes into writing a book-’or an opera, or performing a surgery… it's all the same. You, as a reader, are very much entitled to your opinion, but Tess, or any writer for that matter, does not have to put store behind it if they choose not to… kind of like how you take criticisms with a grain of salt in your own life.

  98. Jane
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 21:19:07

    Kyle – your interpretation of Ms. Gerritsen’s comments are fair but they differ from mine.

    As many other people have said, reviews are not intended for authors. They are intended for other readers. They are the opening salvo of discussion between readers. No one is suggesting that Gerritsen should listen to these reviews. In fact, I would argue that someone like Gerritsen who has such strong emotional reactions to negativity should not ever read reviews, particularly those at Amazon.

    If she, in fact, is only concerned about the statements that are directed at authors themselves, I find those few and far between. Simply because a review is negative or trashing or nasty doesn’t mean that it is directed at an author personally.

    You, as a reader, are very much entitled to your opinion, but Tess, or any writer for that matter, does not have to put store behind it if they choose not to… kind of like how you take criticisms with a grain of salt in your own life.

    I don’t disagree with this. I believe that everyone is entitled to their position. But I don’t have to agree with it and I don’t have to be silent about my disagreement. This does mean that the other person may not be accurate. Nor does it mean that I think the other person should not have a voice.

    But I do think that if I choose to exercise my right to freely speak my mind in disagreement, I should not be accused of causing someone else to stop voicing her opinion. That doesn’t seem very honest and truthful to me.

  99. Kyle K.
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 21:35:58

    Jane,

    But I do think that if I choose to exercise my right to freely speak my mind in disagreement, I should not be accused of causing someone else to stop voicing her opinion. That doesn't seem very honest and truthful to me.

    I think there might be a miscommunication somewhere, because that is the very opposite of what I was saying. It is the right to freely express opinion that I am for, though all I’m asking is that you look more closely at what Tess is saying. She never condoned what DAM did, but understands the emotions behind it. That’s all. And, to suggest otherwise, is defamation. Everyone is entitled to their opinion-’you, Tess, myself, and everyone commenting on this topic as well… no one is arguing that point. But to suggest malicious intent behind her words is wrong.

    I just find it interesting that Tess's comments would leave your mouth agape just as much as DAM's actions left the blogosphere's collective mouth agape. There seems to be a disconnect somewhere there that I’m not completely understanding.

  100. Jane
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 21:41:18

    The disconnect comes from our different interpretations of Ms. Gerritsen’s comments. By stating that DAM’s major foolishness was getting caught seemed to me that it would have been okay what DAM did if only she was clever enough to get caught. I understand that you don’t interpret her words that way, but that was my interpretation and thus why my mouth was agape upon reading it.

    And I agree with you that Ms. Gerritsen has no malicious intent in her words. I do though, believe, that someone can be condescending, supercilious, or, as much I hate to use this word given the recent primary debacle, elitist, without any malicious intent.

    I don’t intend to stop reading Ms. Gerritsen’s blog because I do find her interesting but I don’t find everything that she states palatable either.

  101. Robin
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 21:51:29

    Kyle, when someone says that something is understandable, they don’t mean that they intellectually comprehend it in the way one comprehends the definition of a word. They mean that they understand how someone did a certain thing in a particular situation — that given the conditions they can see how it happened and that it’s not so out of bounds. So when you say that “DAM’s actions are understandable,” it’s like saying you know why she acted the way she did — that you get why she did what she did. Not that you understand why she felt upset by the review, or what she might have thought in her mind about Reba (and let’s not forget that this was a THREE STAR review — and that she loved the first book in the series and considered herself a fan of DAM’s writing). But that you understand WHY SHE DID WHAT SHE DID.

    Do you really think it’s understandable in that way — that you can see it as within the bounds of reason under the circumstances that she went to another author, got her name and address, did some personal research on her, and then went on Amazon with her buddies to brag/threaten Reba and get her review removed from the site? Because to me that’s what you’re saying. And that’s what you’re saying that Gerritsen is saying. And there’s just no way I’m going to think that what DAM DID is understandable, because if authors empathize with what DAM did, I think there’s something really, really wrong with the whole writing industry.

    That one sentence by Gerritsen — that DAM’s foolishness was in getting caught — IMO went over the line from funny or even sympathetic to the feelings one has in the face of negative reviews, to something dismissive of the serious nature of what DAM did. Whether she intended to or not, that’s how it came across to me, and it felt really shocking to me.

  102. Kyle K.
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 22:12:02

    Jane – Okay. In the spirit of our agreement that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the meaning behind Tess’s words.

    Robin – I'm saying that I can understand the emotion behind the actions, which is exactly what Tess was saying from the very beginning. No, none of us would ever do what DAM did, nor do I think that what she did was in any way reasonable or condonable. DAM crossed some serious boundaries, and delved into an area she should never have gone. If you had read my previous comment, I expressed my belief that Tess was not talking about this three-star review in particular, but in any particularly biting review. I have not talked to Tess about this personally, this is my interpretation of her words, so do not mistake what I am saying for what Tess is saying. Nor should you put words in my mouth. I have been very clear that I do not stand behind DAM. She absolutely, 100% overreacted to the situation, and should NEVER have done what she did. No one is arguing that here. You should pay a little more attention to what people actually SAY before JUMPING TO YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS. If you’re the Robin from Tess’s blog, I suggest you get in contact with me in the way I suggested to have a civilized conversation about the topic.

  103. Ann Somerville
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 22:21:43

    Kyle K.: to me, when Tess said

    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.

    That crossed the line from saying she understood the motivation, to appearing to condone the behaviour. Tess is explicitly saying that the worst thing DAM did was get caught. In reality, the worst thing DAM did was to do it – make the threat, defraud the readers, cheat the system, and bully other authors. That she was caught is the only saving grace.

    Now Tess is trying to put a humorous spin on her words and make out everyone’s overreacting. As someone who’s never heard of her before this business, I only have this post and a few others to judge her by. Those words I quoted, however, stick in my craw very badly. I can see no way to interpret those as anything but a very tasteless comment at best, and exceptionally poor judgement at worst. If she didn’t have something sensible to contribute, no one had a gun to her head to force her to comment.

    So I did what you demanded and paid attention to what she actually said. Are you going to leap all over me now and tell me I jumped to conclusions?

  104. Kyle K.
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 22:43:06

    Ann – I was having a discussion with Jane, and then Robin decided to comment based on that conversation. I also believe she is the “redrobinreader” who is lashing out at people on Tess's own blog, where we were already having a disagreement and I told her that she needed to handle it privately and gave her a way to get in contact with me. If anything, SHE is the one who was “leap[ing] all over me” in this situation, not the other way around. I, on the other have, have leapt on no one, but expressed my opinion in a mature, discussion-focused format. My use of CAPITALIZATION to get my point across was just a mirror of how Robin chose to talk to me in her comment. Why, then, is SHE not being chastised for “leaping all over” people?

    I DO agree that Tess's choice of words there is regrettable, but you have to have been a fan of her blog and her as a person to get the humor behind that comment, which I am and you so pointedly say you are not. There are a lot of people jumping down her throat on this page (and, on the same note, many are not), but I thought another side of the argument was required so that Tess's image wasn't tarnished over the misinterpretation of a few words. Tess is a very humble person and should be commended for her candidness and honesty behind her sensitivities to bad reviews, even as successful an author as she is. We should all take a page from her book and admit that we all have feelings, too. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  105. Ann Somerville
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 23:01:24

    Kyle K:

    Tess is a very humble person and should be commended for her candidness and honesty behind her sensitivities to bad reviews, even as successful an author as she is.

    I see nothing particularly amazing about her claiming to be butthurt by bad reviews. She’s not the only person to have said it – I’ve admitted the same, though I’m nowhere near her level of success. A number of authors in this discussion have said the same. Nora Roberts for one.

    However, maybe her success is what lets her get away with saying it’s naughtier to be caught being a cyberthug than to be a cyberthug in the first place. I prefer not to imitate that kind of attitude. I don’t find it admirable at all.

    Regardless, I’m not interested in promoting a hagiographical approach to anyone. You think the sun shines out of her arse, and I think she spoke out of it. I don’t think there will be a meeting of minds on this one.

  106. Kyle K
    Apr 19, 2008 @ 23:46:23

    Regardless, Iʼm not interested in promoting a hagiographical approach to anyone. You think the sun shines out of her arse, and I think she spoke out of it. I donʼt think there will be a meeting of minds on this one.

    Itʼs amazing how quickly one reverts to insults. I donʼt have some ideological view of Tess. Youʼre right, there wonʼt be a meeting of minds on this topic. You are basing your opinion on a few words rather than the context of the words themselves. Now thereʼs an attitude I would never want to imitate.

    Iʼve been very clear about my position, and my belief in Tessʼs words. This is becoming childish, and I feel people are arguing for the sake of arguing now.

  107. Ann Somerville
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 00:10:50

    This is becoming childish

    Translation: People just won’t agree with me.

    Kyle, your desire to defend someone you admire, is creditable. Your arguments, however, aren’t helping to make her look good, and neither is your characterisation of dissenters as ranters and children etc etc. It’s a sad fact but true, as all authors need to learn – you just can’t make people see things the way you do, 100% of the time.

    I read the entire blog post and the ones after (and the latest one, I’m afraid, doesn’t make her look good either.) I don’t believe Tess is a bad person, but she has said an obnoxious, foolish thing, and she’s yet to retract it. All the gloss and spin and ‘people are being meeeean to me’ yelping in the world doesn’t change that.

    PS: ‘Hagiographical’ != ‘Ideological’. Look it up.

  108. Kyle K.
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 00:33:57

    Ann,

    Your translation is wrong. What I’m calling childish are the insults and the playground antics that are being used. I am fully capable of having a mature discussion about a topic, yet you and Robin seem unable to do so. Jane was able to do so, and I respect her for it, and her opinion. You are doing yourself and your argument a disservice by acting in such a manner.

    P.S. Per Dictionary.com:

    hag·i·og·ra·phy (hāg’Ä“-ŏg’rÉ™-fÄ“, hā’jÄ“-)

    1. Biography of saints.
    2. A worshipful or idealizing biography.

    I don’t worship Tess, or have an “ideological view” of her, as I said. Look up your own word.

  109. Ann Somerville
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 00:39:30

    Kyle: ‘Ideological’ != ‘Idealising’

    I’ve given up hope of trying to point out you’re doing more harm than good to Ms Gerritsen’s reputation. Can I at least hope that you might stop butchering the English language while you’re at it?

    [in case you are confused by my usage - '!=' is a programmer symbol for 'not'. I am saying one word is not the same as the other]

  110. Kyle K.
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 01:45:37

    Thank you for correcting me on my improper word usage. I pray the Literary Gods will forgive me one day. Then again, we already know what a stickler for words you are.

    And I think this stopped being about Tess a few comments ago. At least for you it did. Besides, my opinion != hers; I'm arguing for myself. I doubt my little opinion will have any affect on her reputation, arse rays and all.

  111. Nora Roberts
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 07:11:38

    I just read over the comments here again. I honestly don’t see the Tess bashing. I see some people disagreeing with her statements–some strongly. I see others who felt she was joking–as she said she was. Others who sympathize with her sensitivity to bad reviews. Others who don’t.

    I disagree with: ‘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.’

    I disagree with it a lot. I wish she’d retract that. I don’t believe for a minute she meant she could, or that she would, condone DAM’s conduct. But that line’s very sticky.

    I’m not as sensitive to reviews as Tess, but I understand the sensitivity. I don’t, however, understand the urge to do anything remotely like what DAM has done.

    I like Tess, and I think it’s a shame if she feels the comments here have been bashing–to the point she’d close her blog. I don’t read them that way.

  112. J.D. Rhoades
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 10:30:59

    I like Tess, and I think it's a shame if she feels the comments here have been bashing-to the point she'd close her blog.

    I enjoy Tess Gerritsen's books, but seriously I am less likely to want to hang out with her now should we intersect at a conference or event.

    if she thinks being obsessed over bad reviews has the slightest thing to do with being a good author, then I am glad I have never read any book of hers and never will.


    You think the sun shines out of her arse, and I think she spoke out of it.

    When a person says something like that, Nora, they’ve crossed the line from disagreement to bashing, IMO.

    But don’t worry, folks, she’s shutting down. You win. And the blogosphere is poorer for it.

  113. Nora Roberts
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 10:41:26

    JD, first, I just don’t see the first comment you listed as bashing. It’s just not that harsh, imo.

    Next, three comments out of all posted here can’t come up to bashing on my scale. Lots more discussed the issues, the opinions–weighing on all sides of it.

    Honestly–and remembering I really do like Tess–if she takes a few hard comments to heart, isn’t able to mix them in with the whole and balance it out, she’s plowing a very tough road for herself.

  114. Nora Roberts
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 10:44:40

    ~But don't worry, folks, she's shutting down. You win. And the blogosphere is poorer for it.~

    Now see, I had some understanding of your feelings and opinions on this as you’re obviously a fan of Tess’s and care about her. I do, too.

    But you resorted with this salvo. Lumping the entire article and commentary into an attempt to hurt someone. Letting your anger lead doesn’t do Tess any favors. It only offends everyone who comments here.

    Me included.

  115. J.D. Rhoades
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 10:53:50

    Sorry, Nora, the first comment wasn’t meant to be an example of bashing. It was showing your comment that I was responding to, and your comment was definitely not bashing. Sorry for being unclear.

    The other three, however…well, when you tell someone “I don’t even want interact with you because of my disagreement” –that’s personal. That’s saying “You are a bad person who I do not even want to meet.”

    The “you think the sun shines out of her arse” comment was also incredibly condescending.

    Tess Gerritsen has never been anything but warm, funny, gracious, and respectful to me, or for that matter to anyone I know who’s ever met her. And this has been true even when we’ve disagreed on topics.

    There is not a mean, condescending, or “elitist” bone in her body.

    She deserves better than this.

  116. azteclady
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 11:04:27

    JD Rhodes, I am perhaps misunderstanding the entire exchange but… when you say, speaking of Ms Gerritsen,

    She deserves better than this.

    Do you mean that she deserves better than people having different reactions than your to her statement that,

    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.

    Because no one is above a)being misunderstood, and/or b)being understood perfectly well and yet disagreed with.

    Furthermore, I don’t recall seeing anyone in this post and comments advocating for Ms Gerritsen shutting down her blog, so I would say that it was a personal decision, and not the responsibility of either Dear Author nor the people commenting here.

    But that, again, is my opinion.

    On the matter of reviews, I’m of the opinion–being a reader with no aspiration to write–that those are for readers. Period. I’m happy if an author find something useful in any of the ones I’ve written, but that’s not why I write them.

    I write review for the same reason I read them: I love to read, love books, and enjoy sharing that love with other readers. I don’t think of the author when I review any more than I do when I read the book, and I don’t see that I have to apologize for it.

  117. J.D. Rhoades
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 11:27:13

    Do you mean that she deserves better than people having different reactions than your to her statement that,

    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.

    No. Please read my post again, particularly the comments referenced. I am in no way saying Tess cannot be disagreed with. I’ve done it myself, but I’ve manged to do it without telling her I never want to interact with her or that she’s talking out of her arse, or that I’ll never read a Tess Gerritsen book again.

  118. Robin
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 12:05:13

    I guess what I’m not understanding is how the comments on Gerritsen’s blog the past two days are okay, when the comments here are not. DA commenters have been admonished that we need to “get a life” (from Kyle, as well as someone else), called, among other things, “narrow-minded,” “bullies and bitches,” “trolls,” and “plain jealous,” as “pitchfork raising” and “torch poking,” as well as the very vivid “vicious in a pirhana spikey teeth kind of way,” a comment ending with this phrase: “I guess that baby in India's not the only one with two faces.”

    In the meantime, I see ONE, count ‘em ONE comment here that even SUGGESTS that someone might not want to do conferences with Gerritsen. No books thrown against walls or burned, no promises not to read her work, no name calling. Now I may have missed something, but I don’t think I missed “tons” of comments. So why are we the bad guys?

    As I said on Gerritsen’s blog, I do think her representations of what’s being said here are egregiously unfair and baldly misrepresentative, particularly these statements:

    The latest meme I'm hearing from Dear Author is that my blog is offensive and demeaning toward readers.

    And now, it seems, there are tons of people who say they will never buy another one of my books or hang out with me at conferences because I'm such a jerk for telling the truth.

    Neither are true at the most basic empirical level, IMO, in reflection of what’s gone on over here — in fact, where are they here? But they sure get Gerritsen’s fans’ blood boiling, don’t they? I DO think it’s unfair of her to make these statements, that they are so easily confirmed as untrue and therefore unworthy of anyone of her stature and stated commitment to truth and honesty. She may be the nicest person on the planet, and the most generous of authors. I have no judgment about her as a person, only her statements. Which is more than I can say for a number of the comments on her blog.

    I am in no way saying Tess cannot be disagreed with. I've done it myself, but I've manged to do it without telling her I never want to interact with her or that she's talking out of her arse, or that I'll never read a Tess Gerritsen book again.

    Well, neither have I or the vast majority of commenters here.

    And just out of curiosity, where are all these comments of people who will never read her books again or interact with her?

  119. Nora Roberts
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 12:15:14

    JD, a poster said she enjoyed Tess’s books but ‘would be less likely to want to hang out with her.’ I don’t interpret that as saying she never wants to interact with Tess, or bashing. It feels to me as if you’re taking that comment to another level.

    Yes, the poster saying she’d never read Tess and now wouldn’t is harsh. It’s also reader perrogative. I didn’t, and wouldn’t have that reaction–but the DAM business set a lot of readers off–and it feels like Tess’s blog post tripped that trigger.

    The last comment you cite comes off to me as pure annoyance with the poster Ann was debating with. Again harsh toward Tess, but very likely triggered by the back-and-forth with someone else entirely.

    And still, these are three comments out of how many?

    I think Tess took it on the chin a couple of times–and also got considerable support along with a lot of well-articulated disagreement.

    You and I obviously have a completely different definition of ‘bashing’.

    You’re ‘You won’ comment goes out of line for me. I can’t see the article and the vast majority of the comments on it as people looking to chase Tess away.

    Granted she and I have different sensitivity levels, but jeez, if I pulled in and went away every time someone took a swipe at me on-line, I’d never come out again.

    I wish her the best, sincerely. Just as I sincerely hope she can get a little distance and perspective on all this, and–if she enjoys it as much as it seems–she’ll re-open her blog.

  120. Nora Roberts
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 12:25:04

    Well. If those are quotes from Tess’s blog, she obviously needs to take this break. She’s taking all this much too hard, imo. And that’s probably causing her to seriously exaggerate what’s been said here.

    And, JD, if indeed posters on Tess’s blog have referred to posters here in those derrogatory terms, that’s a hell of a lot more along the lines of my definition of bashing than anything said here.

    No one, that I can remember, called Tess a rude name.

    An author, ANY author, but especially one with a well-read blog, has to be able to suck up some disagreement, some hard words from readers. If I could sit down and have a drink with Tess, I’d tell her exactly that.

  121. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 12:51:36

    I took a look at my local bookstores in Leicester. I know that the British market is different from the American market, but I get the impression that MacGillivray regards both countries as important.

    In one store (W H Smith), I found Tess represented by 13 different books and she was also one of the featured “Artists of the month” although a lot of artists are featured each month. Nora was represented by an even greater number of books (I didn’t count how many) and it’s reasonable to assume that she sometimes gets featured among the “Artists of the month”. Waterstone’s have two stores in Leicester but only one is open on Sundays, but Tess and Nora were both welkl-represented.

    I couldn’t find MacGillivray’s books anywhere although I guess they’d be available to order as they’re listed on Amazon UK. I didn’t ask anybody since I’m not interestred in buying any of them.

  122. Robin
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 12:52:16

    If those are quotes from Tess's blog

    They are.

    if indeed posters on Tess's blog have referred to posters here in those derrogatory terms

    They have — all those terms are direct quotes.

    She's taking all this much too hard, imo. And that's probably causing her to seriously exaggerate what's been said here.

    You’re probably right, because she’s also said this:

    I'm so proud of how visitors here have remained civil, and I think that's the best reflection you could give me -’ that my visitors are great people, who agree to disagree when need be, without torches and pitchforks. And with some darn funny comments on occasion.

    We don't do witch hunts here.

    As for the Dear Author issue, let's all let it sink. Don't engage with them. I urge this out of concern for you all. I don't want trouble to follow any of you home.

    I’m going to go with your theory of extreme distress, because I need to back off my own frustration at all of this.

  123. Shayne
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 13:24:26

    For the love of Pete. If you are that sensitive to other people not liking something you do, you need to get another fricking job. Please.

    I wish these people would get out of my chosen field.

  124. Ann Somerville
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 13:55:18

    Yesterday, I felt it just wasn’t worth continuing a pointless back and forth with Kyle even though he made a statement I badly wanted to address. But since J D Rhoades has come over and essentially started the same crap, let me address that statement:

    I doubt my little opinion will have any affect on her reputation

    Unfortunately, it does. The behaviour of Tess’ supporters reflect on her, as does her tolerance of their behaviour, just the same as DAM’s supporters make her look even more like an evil, bullying witch than we know her to be.

    You know that expression, “Get off my side, you’re making it look stupid?” Tess should be saying that right about now.

    For the record, at least two of the statements J D Rhoades is so incensed about, are by me. So the three he’s chosen are by ony two people. Two people. Tess Gerritsen apparently has to shut down her blog because two whole people think she opened her mouth and inserted foot. Wow. Considering the number of people who’ve gone into it with me over these discussions, I guess by her scale of reaction, I should be in the garage with a hose over the muffler pipe. Well, I’m not, because Tess G, Kyle, J D Rhoades and all the other people who take issue with how I express myself are entitled to their opinion, and so am I.

    The fact that my opinion of Ms Gerritsen is getting lower by the minute, shouldn’t affect her because who the hell am I to her, or her to me? She’s just some loudmouth with a blog, same as me. She has people who like her, and I’m sure I could scrape up a couple if I asked nicely. So what?

    But I tell you, Kyle, J D Rhoades, given the nuttiness we’ve seen from DAM and her ilk, your rabid support is really a little freaky. What next? PIs to drag my real life into this? Can you see where your blind loyalty and your inability to step back and gain some perspective, might start to look a bit like the obsession shown by DAM and her kind?

    It’s the internet. People disagree three times before they have breakfast, and easier than they breathe. Turn the computer off, go outside and hug a puppy. Or steal someone’s cat. Trust me, you’ll see things a lot more calmly.

  125. Shayne
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 14:17:27

    For the record, this is the internet. Please to not being of the taking it so seriously.

    Internet arguments are generally fueled by people who have no impact on each others’ lives. They can’t take your kids, steal your spouse, or hurt you in any physical way. Most often it is indulged by people who are anonymous and probably would never behave that way in real life. Don’t know who this Tess is, don’t want to know. You’re all unknown to me, let’s keep it that way.

    Also remember, when it goes into what DAM did with the info hunting on Reba and threatening, manipulating reviews and ratings, it is no longer an internet argument. DAM pissed off a large number of readers and writers. She and everyone else just have to live with that.

    Tess’ opinion is fine, so is mine. I don’t get upset with any reviews, she gets upset with bad ones. Though fair warning that quite a few readers and authors tend to get just as pissy with authors who don’t know how to take reviews.

  126. Jane
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 16:45:15

    I tendered Ms. Gerritsen an apology for sending her an email. I apologized for emailing her personally but not for my statements because I am not ashamed of what I have said.

    I believed, wrongly, that due to the opinions that she gave that I could respond. I obviously did not measure that correctly. I’ll state for the record, I’ve only ever emailed one other author, that I can think of even the slightest negative email. It’s not something I ordinarily do because I think it is impolite, but I didn’t want to make a big deal out of the anti-DA stuff going on at Gerritsen even though I thought it was unfair.

    So I do apologize for sending Gerritsen a personal email. Clearly, given her sensitive nature, I shouldn’t have done that. I honestly didn’t know she was so sensitive since her blog posts seem very opinionated. I was very frustrated with her laying the blame for ceasing to blog on Dear Author. I think that is unjust.

  127. Ann Somerville
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 19:02:21

    Jane: TG wigged out because you contacted her personally?

    So…she can make offensive statements without any care as to the consequences, send her flying monkeys out whenever she wants, misrepresent to the point of outright falsehood what’s being said here, and explicitly endorse the incoherent rantings of her knights in tarnished armour who came over here and blasted us all for not signing up to the cult of Saint Tess, but you’re not allowed to speak on your own behalf, defend your views or even approach her in email?

    She really needs to get over herself. Although it’s nice to know my first impressions of this woman were correct.

  128. Lizbeth
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 19:20:45

    Ok guys, I have a question. Just who is DAM that she has so much influence, to have so many defend her manipulating the Amazon system while she’s laughing all the way to the bank with the sales she and Amazon have generated from that apparent manipulation. I just don’t understand.

    As I’ve said before, I am merely a reader who, until now, has never been a part of any literary blog, forum, etc. When I looked her up on Amazon, there were only a couple of books there. I thought she must be a new author, hence the generous 3-star rating I gave In Her Bed – I thought is was awful after reading A Restless Knight but I didn’t want to hurt a new author’s feelings too badly. Is she some kind of executive in the publishing industry? What is it?

    The way I see it, she simply set herself up for failure if she encouraged in any way the deletion of all those negative reviews. I bought those books based on those reviews, so I was expecting a lot!! I kept reading and the further I progressed through the stories, the more confused I became. I kept thinking “when is this going to get fabulous and live up to all those reviews?” Obviously, it never did and I turned that final page pissed off and smelling a rat…you don’t dupe people into buying your product and expect them to be happy about it. I only realized the extent of it once my review was deleted, and then I was certain.

    This was in December and I couldn’t find much being written about this. I actually did searches about the deletion of negative reviews of this book but don’t remember coming up with much of anything. One thing I learned while researching this was that you can tell when people are padding their own reviews by looking up the reviewers and seeing what items they have reviewed. I did this back then and bingo, soooo many of DAMs reviews at that time had only her 2 books and maybe 1 or 2 others at most. So I just assumed, rightly or wrongly, that she had come up with a lot of these reviews herself through aliases. I felt my questions regarding DAM had been answered then. It was that easy for me to figure it all out and it should be just as easy for Amazon. They can’t claim ignorance on this one. My review was put back up after a couple of emails and warnings to please check my account and take a look at them number of items I buy from them. I don’t know if that had anything to do with it being put back up and remaining there or not. But, back to my original question, why the influence? She seems so unimportant.

  129. azteclady
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 19:39:11

    Holy cow.

    Wow.

    Words completely fail me right now.

  130. Robin
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 20:21:31

    send her flying monkeys out whenever she wants

    I’m not trying to censor you (or censure you, for that matter), Ann, but you’re cutting against my attempts to illustrate the differences between the name calling over there and its absence over here, lol. Granted, they’re still way ahead on the name-calling . . . ;)

  131. Ann Somerville
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 20:34:12

    Robin: Maybe there’s a cultural disconnect here, but ‘flying monkeys’ isn’t even close to being abusive in the circles I travel in (I travel in circles, it’s so sad.) It’s a pretty common term for rabid supporters. If I’d been trying to be abusive…well, I’ll leave that to your imagination.

    Same as Kyle and J C Rhoades’ hysterical condemnation of my saying Tess was talking out of her arse. That’s really common slang in Britain (where I lived for 17 years so my idiom is as much Brit as Aussie) for someone talking rubbish. It doesn’t come close to being nasty, or as personally abusive as some of the things you quoted from her supporters.

    Maybe I need to have a signature that says ‘Warning: Poster is Australian’ or something.

    But at this point (actually almost from the start) Tess and Co aren’t reacting to the actual comments here, only their interpretation, and then to Tess’ misleading description of what’s being said. The fact she can’t even recognise how offensive Kyle’s comments to you and me were, says it all. No wonder she’s so sensitive to bad reviews – she can’t see there are two or more sides to any dispute. Flouncing off and claiming we drove her to stop blogging is such a ridiculous overreaction, it’s hard to do anything but mock. I’m trying hard not to, but I have very little sympathy with her behaviour.

    How hard would it be to say ‘I misspoke. I fucked up, and shouldn’t have said what I said. I apologise for the offence.’? Certainly easier than writing post after defensive post blaming everyone else for misinterpreting her.

  132. Sara Dennis
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 20:47:43

    “Rabid”, no matter who the term is applied to, has a negative connotation, so I can, yes, see how people would take that as name-calling. In my opinion, I don’t think it helps either side of the discussion when the names come out.

    That said, the fact that Ms. Gerritsen has now made another post claiming that “DA” is calling people flying monkeys makes me shake my head. The Ja(y)nes are no more responsible for Ann’s choice of words than Ms. Gerritsen is responsible for the things the posters on her blog say.

    If she can’t make the distinction between the site as a whole and the people who interact on it, then maybe the internet really isn’t the place for her to spend much time.

  133. azteclady
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 20:54:40

    I’ve recovered my power of speech, and then read the request at Ms Gerritsen’s blog–this is a slugfest?????

    Seriously?

    Words fail me again.

  134. Robin
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 20:55:54

    Ann, I actually wonder if Gerritsen has even read the original post and the comments here, or whether people have been emailing her snippets, liberally interpreted, of course, to which she’s reacting. It’s almost the only explanation I can come up with for some of her statements. Of course if that’s true, that’s a whole ‘nother problem, IMO, and it surprises me a bit that she’s so vocally supportive of the tone of the comments over there. It’s one thing to not moderate comments (as is, for the most part, the case here) and quite another to egg on your commenters, IMO. I’ve made a number of posts on Gerritsen’s blog, which have been received with all the warmth you’d expect, but I can’t help but express my belief that Gerritsen’s representation of the conversation at DA is baldly incorrect, and that a number of the comments just take those representations and run with them, creating a very unfair situation, IMO. Of course, I think it’s grossly unfair — and frankly hard to believe — that one discussion, especially this discussion, would stop someone from blogging. But I’m always surprised and a little taken aback when someone who comes out with really strong opinions claims to shatter like glass when those opinions generate strong dissent.

  135. Ann Somerville
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 20:58:09

    Sara: I didn’t *use* the word ‘rabid’, except in clarification to Robin. I’m getting a little tired of people trying to emasculate the conversation by pretending every strongly worded sentiment is a deadly insult and intended to grind the other person into the dust. I’m a bloody writer. Language is my tool. Metaphor and analogy and similes and vivid images are part of what English is about.

    If Ms Gerritsen has a problem with my opinion of her, she can email me (Hi Tess, nice to know you’re still keeping up.) My opinion and words are my own, thanks. I don’t know the Ja(y)nes in the slightest, and I have no connection with their blog at all, except to follow the discussions. They haven’t endorsed my views the way you have, say, young Kyle’s, and can have no responsibility for that.

    This is getting utterly ridiculous. I need to go write some angel porn and stop wasting brain power on the terminally sensitive.

  136. Robin
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 21:03:10

    That said, the fact that Ms. Gerritsen has now made another post claiming that “DA” is calling people flying monkeys makes me shake my head. The Ja(y)nes are no more responsible for Ann's choice of words than Ms. Gerritsen is responsible for the things the posters on her blog say.

    Hey, at least she’s still blogging, right? ;)

  137. Sara Dennis
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 21:12:08

    Ann: I’m not trying to emasculate anything. As regards “flying monkeys”, you wrote:

    It's a pretty common term for rabid supporters.

    That’s what I referenced. I didn’t change your words, nor did I change the meaning of what you wrote, by your own quoted definition. I did not mention deadly insults intended to grind people into dust.

    I understand that you’re frustrated. At this point in the conversation, I would be too. However, in this case, I think you’re treating my comment exactly the same way you don’t want yours to be treated.

    Just a thought.

  138. Robin
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 21:18:15

    I know I’m frustrated. I’ve been trying to stand up for the blog and the discussion here, and really, given the circumstances, I think the comments here have been fair and fairly offered. We’re all getting testy at this point, because it is so damned frustrating, but all we can do, IMO, is let the public record speak for itself.

  139. Lance
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 23:08:08

    What is the deal with Tess? I know she made some tongue-in-cheek comment about DAM but my goodness do we need to throttle her and throw her under a bus for voicing her opinion on the matter? She’s a very nice person and thanks to all of this I’m sure she’d rather take a public beating than endure anymore of this hogwash. I’m kind of late in the game here, so don’t throttle me either, I support Tess because she’s a GOOD WRITER, I don’t really give a damn what she says about her colleagues, to me that’s her prerogative. Just like I wouldn’t bash or throttle Nora Roberts because she’s a GOOD WRITER (great actually, I’m in love with the Key Trilogy right now!) If you like the author then great, if you don’t that’s great also, but just remember what comes around goes around and authors are still people!

  140. Ann Somerville
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 23:17:02

    I support Tess because she's a GOOD WRITER

    Oh boy.

    [that dull thudding noise you hear right now? My head, wooden desk, over and over and over....]

  141. Lance
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 23:32:17

    Anne…oh so banging your head on your wooden desk is how you generate all that homo porn is it? That’s what you Brits are writing nowadays? You really do need to read something good…but I like your spunk, no pun intended.

  142. Robin
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 23:42:35

    Anne…oh so banging your head on your wooden desk is how you generate all that homo porn is it? That's what you Brits are writing nowadays? You really do need to read something good…but I like your spunk, no pun intended.

    If your incredibly offensive and derogatory slur against Somervile and the topic of her writing is intended to ratchet up the discussion to the point of nasty and rude, you’re making incredible progress. I can’t imagine that Gerritsen would want this kind of comment to stand in her defense.

  143. Ann Somerville
    Apr 20, 2008 @ 23:52:23

    It’s okay, Robin. Lots of people mistake me for being a British. I’ve learned to live with the pain.

    Oh – he was trying to insult me with the ‘homo porn’ thing?

    He’ll have to try harder then. Around these parts, that’s something to be proud of.

    And hey, it’s always useful to have a real live wanker to observe. Can’t say I’m enamoured of his spunk but then money shots have never been a turn on for me.

    Lance, baby, can you jerk off a little harder, make some really good noises next time? I need a proper toss-off for this scene I’m writing. But don’t talk. You spoil things when you talk. Just grunt and shoot, like you’ve been doing. There’s a lamb.

  144. Karen Scott
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 02:39:32

    I know she made some tongue-in-cheek comment about DAM but my goodness do we need to throttle her and throw her under a bus for voicing her opinion on the matter?

    Hey, which one of you buggers threw Tess Gerritsen under a bus? Don’t you know it’s far more polite to ‘vote the bitch down’ and get her personal details in order to threaten her? You people need to keep up.

    Anne…oh so banging your head on your wooden desk is how you generate all that homo porn is it? That's what you Brits are writing nowadays? You really do need to read something good…but I like your spunk, no pun intended.

    I’m sure Tess would be so proud of having you as one of her supporters right now. I’m sure your words brought a tear or two to her eyes.

    Seriously, you should quit while you’re behind. You just make her look worse.

  145. Lance
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 05:14:13

    EEEEk sorry sorry okay I retract everything. I didn’t mean to step on anybody’s toes!!! And that homo stuff isn’t anything to be proud of per se, but it’s alright to write about it, I thought the cover of your new book on your website Ann was neat. Sorry!!!!

  146. MissKitty
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 06:28:53

    guys, let´s try to be nice to each other ;)

  147. Brenna
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 07:34:26

    I have to confess that haven’t heard of Tess Gerritsen before so I went to Amazon to look at her books and noticed that almost all of her books are averaging 4 stars. If I hadn’t learned about the DAM cheating thing (another author I haven’t heard of before), I would probably be very impressed. But, given what I know now, I find that I look at each 4- 5 star reviews with jaundiced eyes. I’m not saying that TG is doing the same thing as DAM, though her tut tutting about what happened and her other statement

    “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”

    made me feel very uneasy. But DAM’s actions certainly got me thinking of things that hasn’t even occurred to me before and made me a bit cynical regarding 4-5 star reviews. It doesn’t seem fair to think that way about other authors but somehow, the seed has been planted and it will always be there, lurking somewhere in my mind.

  148. Michelle
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 07:45:45

    Anyone else thinking that with “friends/fans” like these who needs enemies? This is not helping her side at all, she really needs to take a minute and think that alienating readers/reviewers is not a good idea. She has a lot more to lose (future readers/income) than Dear Author does when in comes to a pissing match. Remember the saying about pick your battles?

  149. Sheila
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 07:46:58

    For the record, I think Tess G. made an irresponsibly light-hearted statement about a chilling, creepy situation. Maybe she wasn’t talking about the DAM thing at all, but as far I understand it, she has not said this. Certainly, the timing of her comments was tactless and insensitive.

    Tess, you made a mistake. All this carrying on now is because you will not admit it was a mistake. I’m sure it was just a moment of random folly, but what it demonstrated was your refusal to feel the legitimate pain of the person who was the victim. Instead, you sympathized with the criminal.

    You may indeed be a lovely person, as your defenders on this forum claim. Good people make mistakes and own up to them. Instead, after being called to account for your callous words, you have shown yourself to be hurt. That you apparently have your own gang of people willing to start fights one your behalf (with or without your permission) does you no favors.

    It may not be easy to retract foolishly-spoken words. But it’s the honorable thing to do. Even if you really didn’t mean them the way they were taken.

  150. Nora Roberts
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 07:49:24

    I don’t want to comment on Tess’s blog as it feels off somehow. I’ve never commented there before, and it doesn’t feel like the time. But I wouldn’t object if one of her regular posters passes this on.

    The content of her last entry hits me as very unfair. It was not the DA blog that used the term ‘flying monkeys’–as she stated–but one commenter. One.

    When someone is sincerely trying to calm things down, she doesn’t punch in a term that could incite, and then cite it incorrectly.

    I can only assume she’s feeling very beat up and not a little angry. While I honestly can’t see this blog or the majority of the comments swiping at her, certainly can’t see this as a ‘slugfest’, I’ll allow that she and I have different levels.

    I glanced through some comments on her blog. Yes, plenty of name-calling. I believe it was JD–who came here to point out the bashing–who used the term (prior to his visit) ‘little yappy chihauhuas’ when responding to Tess’s blog about this situation. I don’t hold Tess responsible for JD’s comment. And if it wasn’t for JD’s visit here, claiming bashing, I wouldn’t think much about the comment either.

    But one shouldn’t swipe then complain about swipes, imo.

    I’ve been smacked around here, on the SBs, and pretty much anywhere I’ve been by some posters. I wouldn’t then feel–and certainly wouldn’t post on a blog that DA smacked me around.

    It’s obvious the regular posters on Tess’s blog are very loyal to her and hold her in affection. That’s to her credit. It’s a natural response to leap to the defense of someone you hold in affection. But, it doesn’t make it right to take shots, make harsh comments–especially if you then turn around and shake your fist about comments on another blog.

    Now someone, here or there, please tell me why–for example–’flying monkeys’ is so mean, and ‘little yappy chihauhaus’ is acceptible?

    If we can agree these are in the same ballpark, maybe we can stop pointing fingers over there, and they can stop pointing them over here.

  151. Ann Somerville
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 08:01:03

    Now someone, here or there, please tell me why-for example-'flying monkeys' is so mean, and ‘little yappy chihauhaus' is acceptible?

    I’m just going to point out that ‘flying monkeys’ is such a common expression that there are 370,000 hits on Google when you look up the phrase. “little yappy chihuahuas” gets you 11.

    So if my use of ‘flying monkeys’ is going to get me strung up, I am going to plead in my defense that I had no damn idea that it was considered to be a hanging level insult.

    Ms Gerritsen, please get your facts correct. I was referring to your little friends Kyle and J C Rhoades as ‘flying monkeys’ (in the sense of ‘letting loose the flying monkeys’), not you. And I am not Dear Author, or anything to do with them. If you are going to conflate me with the Ja(y)nes, then I am going to assume that you and Lance ‘Gosh, ma’am, din’t mean no offence with my homo porn remark’ are the same person. Which I know you’re not, so can you knock that off?

    I like monkeys better than dogs anyway.

    [PS - I'd make this reply over on TG's blog but you have to register to comment. Given the lack of proportion demonstrated by TG and her supporters, I have to reluctantly conclude that my personal information just isn't something I want them to have. Since she's also apparently hostile to email contact, there's not much else left to me.]

  152. Nora Roberts
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 08:16:34

    I’d just like to say–in the spirit of goodwill–that if I were a monkey I’d really like to fly. And if I were a dog I’d rather be a Golden Retriever.

  153. Tess Gerritsen
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 08:17:51

    Nora, you are right — I mentioned that we’d been called “flying monkeys” because, quite honestly, the image is pretty darn funny, not because I was offended by it. But clearly, once again, my sense of humor has gotten me into trouble.

    I truly regret how all of this has come down. You hit the nail on the head — I’m feeling beat-up. I apologized yesterday for my original post about DAM over on my blog — perhaps no one has seen it. The words “major foolishness was getting caught” were probably the five worst words I’ve ever written on the fly, and I’ve caught flak for it, most of all here.

    What this has done has made me realize that I simply shouldn’t be blogging. When Jane emailed me that I have written offensive and demeaning posts on my blog, that pretty much clinched my decision. I know when it’s time to close up shop.

    I don’t blame DA for shutting me down — only I can shut myself down. The reactions here to those five words words have simply told me that I have no business blogging. I’m not a person who seeks out conflict, nor enjoys it, so I think this is the right decision.

    I do hope you’ll all feel comfortable posting comments over at the site. Although I don’t expect to be adding any new blog entries myself, the mystery-writing crowd (who are the folks who usually hang out there) are an interesting group. I try to enforce rules of civility but when I’m not watching, things sometimes go amiss, so I’m not always successful.

  154. Brenna
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 08:42:16

    I've been smacked around here, on the SBs, and pretty much anywhere I've been by some posters.

    LOL Nora, that’s so true. And even on the reviews, didn’t Creation In Death get a C review here? Yet, I really enjoyed reading the discussion that ensued after that, whether it was negative or positive. And you showed that you can take criticisms gracefully when it comes to your books.

  155. Jane
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 08:44:16

    Ms. Gerritsen – I emailed you my personal feelings and never intended them to be made public until you referred to them in your comments and blog posts. What I said was that I felt you had been demeaning and offensive to readers in the past. You actually had to delete a whole comment thread due to outraged readers feeling the same thing. I never blogged about that because I felt like that was probably the opinion of a lot of authors and it wasn’t something I wanted to make any deal out of. But I did think that those comments were very harsh for readers. I know that you read it differently.

    But I do wish you would stop blaming my blog and my one email for your decision to close shop.

    While I appreciate you coming to DA which you believe to be hostile to you (although, if you would look through the comments, you’ve also had support), it seems disingenuous to state that you “enforce rules of civility” when you’ve blogged three times about this issue and thanked people in the comment threads for standing up for you.

    I am sorry that you feel hunted and beaten up over what I understand you are now saying as careless words and I am sorry that Dear Author is the decision making factor, in your mind, for closing down your blog. You obviously have a very loyal audience who will sorely miss you. As I stated in my email to you, I don’t think that you are a nasty person (as you had self characterized my opinion) nor do I think you acted with any personal animus. As I’ve also stated in my email to you, I would continue to read you because I think you are an interesting writer.

    But again, I am sorry that I emailed you personally. I rarely do so but I didn’t want to make a situation that was bad worse but I see my own actions obviously affected you in a very adverse way and I am sorry for that.

  156. JDRhoades
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 08:46:43

    But one shouldn't swipe then complain about swipes, imo.

    Y’all can take as many swipes and call me all the names you want. I’m a liberal newspaper columnist in one of the most solidly red areas of a red state. I’m used to it.

    And, in fact, I’m founding a Rabid Flying Monkeys chapter of the Tess Fan CLub. We’re going to have funny hats and little red and gold vests and everything.

    But my complaint was about swipes at Tess.

    It’s more than a little hypocritical of posters here, BTW, to protest that “that’s just one or two posters, that’s not DA” and then insist that my or Kyle or Lance’s comments reflect on Tess, eg. :

    Seriously, you should quit while you're behind. You just make her look worse.

    and:

    This is not helping her side at all, she really needs to take a minute and think that alienating readers/reviewers is not a good idea. She has a lot more to lose (future readers/income) than Dear Author does when in comes to a pissing match.

  157. Meriam
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 08:55:28

    It's more than a little hypocritical of posters here, BTW, to protest that “that's just one or two posters, that's not DA” and then insist that my or Kyle or Lance's comments reflect on Tess.

    Unh. The point is, the flying monkeys no more reflect on DA than the doggies do on Tess. What.ev. already!

    ETA: Okay, I just read what Ann wrote. I don’t know. I haven’t been following Tess’ blog. What a twisted relationship some writers have with their readers. I think as soon as you make the decision to sell your ‘baby’ you need to take a step back and allow the people who have bought your baby the opportunity to express their opinion. If you cannot do that, maybe you should simply keep your baby.

    btw, I hate the baby analogy.

  158. Ann Somerville
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 09:00:26

    JDR: Tess explicitly endorsed Kyle’s comments:

    (And Kyle, thank you for trying to stick up for me. You tried your best, but I think you saw what it's like.)

    No commenter here has been endorsed by the owners of this blog or Jane, the person who made this post.

    Since Tess is doing her best to deflate the tension, I will just say that I sympathise with her feeling of being overwhelmed and under attack, and I hope some time away from blogging, if that’s what she chooses, gives her some peace. She’s not the only one to find herself in the middle of a shitstorm without any warning, and not the only one to wish the whole internet would just go away. I hope she will reflect on her success, her friends, her supporters and her writing, and realise this is unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Because it is.

    Enjoy your fan club.

  159. JDRhoades
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 09:09:50

    Ann: she’s also asked:

    Please, if you will, no bashing in the comments section.

    Can you explain why you chose to ignore that?

  160. Nora Roberts
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 09:10:56

    Tess, I hope you’ll take a few days and smooth out some.

    I suspect blogging can be a minefield, especially for an author. Some will agree–and sometimes a bit too passionately–with whatever we say. Some will disagree. And some will just get pissed off.

    I also suspect (and I don’t blog so can only speculate) that the majority of comments on an author’s blog are going to be positive or at least courteous to the author. Mostly fans would be reading, I’d think.

    A reader board like this is a different thing entirely. Readers aren’t coming into our home, as they could be said to do when on our blog, but we are coming into theirs. So some of the comments may not be so positive, and not always courteous.

    For me, I find boards like this interesting not only because of the topics, but because of the variety of reader opinion. From reading the last several posts on your blog, I understand we have very different comfort levels.

    I really hope you find your comfort again.

  161. Ann Somerville
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 09:14:07

    JDR: Let it go, will you? I’m not going to get into this with you. I know people are sick and tired of my input on this discussion, and so am I. Tess wants to end this, so why don’t you respect her wishes and leave it be.

  162. JDRhoades
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 09:16:04

    No explanation then? Thought so. Have a nice day.

  163. Nora Roberts
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 09:21:38

    JD, if you’re going to quote back one of my comments, then you should use that quote to speak to what I said. And that was, very specifically that your comments weren’t Tess’s responsibility.

    You took swipes at posters here at the same time you were complaining about posters here taking them. I did not call you any names in my comment regarding this.

    The reality is that when when someone defends another by using insults and hard words, some of that can and does rub off on the person being defended in some people’s minds. It’s not fair, but it happens.

    I made a very deliberate point that this shouldn’t be–and you used part of my post to springboard another attack.

    I don’t appreciate it. And that’s from another liberal in conservative country.

  164. Lance
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 09:22:25

    I’ve apologized, I was stupid for putting that flaming remark about Ann earlier and if she still feels the need to punish me then so be it, but I’m sorry. I do support Tess and I don’t want her to have any flack from any of her supporters’ comments.

  165. Michelle
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 09:25:19

    Ann well said. I hesitate to post because I do not wish to fan the flames but since JDRhoades seems to not understand my point I will clarify.

    Tess Gerritsen is an author, I would presume that her goals in writing and publishing are to obtain and keep readers and be financially rewarded for her hard work. She needs to seriously consider actions that work against her goals. Everyone has a right to their opinion but if they decide to blog others besides their diehard fans will read and comment on their words. Once disagreement occurs praising your fans for defending you does denote endorsement. Also by deciding to stop blogging while mentioning white flags and bullies in your blog does reek of the old “mean girl” argument. As if everything should be roses/kittens and puppies in Romanceland and no one should ever be critical of authors or their works.

    I do not think Jane/Dear Author is financially dependent on their blog, quite the contrary they spend money on their site in which they do because of their love of the genre.

    Also there have been several discussions regarding fans/rabid fans/fangirls/boys. It is very easy for a “rabid” fan to reflect poorly on their author. Maybe it isn’t fair but it does happen.

  166. JDRhoades
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 09:28:37

    I see a lot of people talking about how unfair it is to blame an author for the actions of their rabid fans, even as people here do just that. Odd.

  167. azteclady
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 09:42:43

    Odd, indeed, how some don’t get it.

    On second thought, not odd at all.

    Michelle, this,

    Tess Gerritsen is an author, I would presume that her goals in writing and publishing are to obtain and keep readers and be financially rewarded for her hard work. She needs to seriously consider actions that work against her goals. Everyone has a right to their opinion but if they decide to blog others besides their diehard fans will read and comment on their words. Once disagreement occurs praising your fans for defending you does denote endorsement. Also by deciding to stop blogging while mentioning white flags and bullies in your blog does reek of the old “mean girl” argument. As if everything should be roses/kittens and puppies in Romanceland and no one should ever be critical of authors or their works.

    is spot on. Thank you for articulating it so well.

  168. Shayne Carmichael
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 10:01:45

    Wow, I sure missed a lot by going to bed. What part of internet arguments are not serious did everybody miss?

    Directly to Tess, you know when you state you are being honest about your opinion, honesty does require that you stand by what you say. I tried to tell you earlier that it was fair warning that your opinion would piss off some readers and authors.

    Odds are next week I, or some poster here, might say something to piss off the blogosphere. If you’re going to hang out your opinion, be prepared for it to piss somebody off. If you can’t handle it, then it is best you close your blog. You never fricking know what you’ll say next week that will piss everybody off. *shrugs*

    Quite often the attacks are unfair, based on something someone says in a rant. Just as you did. I’ve seen it happen many times. I’m not going to sit here and say it’s right or wrong. But like I said fair warning, you never know when what you say will piss off the blogosphere.

    Oh and JDRhoades, everybody knows its unfair as much as everybody knows everybody does it. Call it human nature at its worst.

    Won’t comment to Lance since I write that homo stuff that he speaks so disparagingly about.

  169. JDRhoades
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 10:24:23

    Call it human nature at its worst.

    Don’t worry, I do.

  170. Nora Roberts
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 10:40:40

    JD, I consider your chihauhau comment human nature, too. Since you also fell into that mire, don’t you think it’s becoming pointless for you to keep slinging?

    Some posters here said harsh things, and that has–on Tess’s blog–reflected on DA. Some posters on Tess’s blog said harsh things and that has–here–reflected on Tess.

    You are among the ones who said harsh things that lumped everyone here together.

    In neither case is this fair. In neither case is it particularly surprising given that human nature.

    Since most of us would undoubtedly agree on that, could you let this one go?

  171. Shayne Carmichael
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 10:44:49

    Heh, and as Nora has pointed out–everybody indulges in it. Time to take a break, read a comic and laugh. This isn’t life. It really isn’t. It’s a facsimile. One I generally believe I conjured in my imagination, which makes you all figments of my imagination.

  172. Robin
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 10:55:08

    It's more than a little hypocritical of posters here, BTW, to protest that “that's just one or two posters, that's not DA” and then insist that my or Kyle or Lance's comments reflect on Tess

    I see a lot of people talking about how unfair it is to blame an author for the actions of their rabid fans, even as people here do just that. Odd.

    JDR:

    I’m guessing that you understand perfectly well that there’s a difference between

    1) saying a remark doesn’t really act as good support of another and plastering the comment of one onto a whole group. In the one case, you are suggesting that someone’s comments aren’t *reflecting* well (as people have done here), and in the other you’re *conflating* one comment with a whole group (or *projecting* one onto a group — your choice — as Gerritsen has done on her blog). Totally different things.

    2) letting commenters speak for themselves without any indication of endorsement or dissent (as Jane does over here), and publicly thanking, endorsing, and otherwise verbally embracing comments that include no small number of nasty-grams (as Gerritsen did on her blog). In the first instance, commenters know they speak as independent, self-representative voices, and in the second, it’s not so clear, perhaps, whether her commenters are to see themselves agents or independent contractors, as Gerritsen’s words could be viewed by them as imbuing apparent authority in their attempts at supporting her. Regardless, there have been public declarations of support for Gerritsen’s commenters, by Gerritsen. Jane has endorsed no commenter in that fashion, or anywhere near it.

  173. Tess Gerritsen
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 11:00:37

    But I do wish you would stop blaming my blog and my one email for your decision to close shop.

    Jane, it’s not “blame” but revelation that I got from your blog and email. When you perceive that my blog is offensive and demeaning, it’s not your fault — it’s mine. Communication, I feel, is primarily the responsibility of the person who puts out the message, and in that way, I realize that I’m not coming across in the ways I hoped to. So yeah, it’s made me depressed, but it’s also made me understand that people now perceive me as something I’m not (e.g, an internet stalker along the lines of DAM. Or a felon. Or whatever.) I don’t like people feeling that way about me. Which is what precipitated my shut-down.

    Some of us are just not constitutionally capable of handling this sort of stress, and I’m one of them. I’m a wimp, I admit it. While I have used sarcasm on my blog, I’ve tried not to use it against any particular individuals, because I know I wouldn’t like to be targeted by it.

  174. Jane
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 11:05:44

    Ms. Gerritsen-

    I don’t think anyone ANYONE thinks that you are an internet stalker along the lines of DAM or a felon. If that is what you took away then I’m sorry for that. It’s clear to me that we are two individuals who have problems communicating with one another. That happens. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

  175. Sandra Ruttan
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 11:14:22

    I must admit, I’m nervous about posting.

    The reality is, we all say things offhandedly that sometimes come off the wrong way. On blogs, forums and listserves we’re prone to doing that, because they are often viewed as conversational. Adding a blog post, or even a comment to a blog, isn’t like writing a term paper, where your thoughts have to be completely expressed. How many of us who blog have had to add something at one time or another in the comments to clarify a point, or give some context to a statement? Or yes, apologize for a poor choice of words? I’d guess all of us.

    When I’m upset I have a tendency to jump to conclusions, to see red before I hear someone out. It’s human nature, but that’s no excuse. It means sometimes I shoot off my mouth and have to apologize later.

    I am deeply bothered by the actions to original author took against a reader-reviewer. This is a very serious situation, and I’m also glad that many people have stood up and defended this reader-reviewer. I have no tolerance for bullying, or threatening someone’s children.

    That said, in addition to being an author I’m also a reviewer. Reviews are for readers, but that doesn’t mean that authors don’t sometimes benefit from insights gleaned in a review. I know I’ve learned about craft from reading reviews of my work. I also know I’ve been lectured that that is inappropriate and not the purpose of a review. Can I call it a fringe benefit then? Or should I deny all possible learning potential from any commentary? Would I not then be accused of not listening to my critics?

    So, as much as I’ll agree that reviews are first and foremost for readers, authors do read them, for all sorts of reasons… from ego-stroking to learning.

    As for our books being like our children, I don’t think this is meant as literally as some have taken it. Our work is very personal to us. We put a lot of ourselves in it, and our characters are real to us. Nobody wants to be told they have an ugly baby, and in the same way, we hope people will like our work. I understand that. Think of how you’d feel if someone followed you around all day, every day at work, critiquing every thing about your performance, from how you hold your pen to how you walk, etc. Being an author means criticism is part of the package, and it is very personal. When I used to scoop ice cream cones I didn’t worry if one was lumpier and shorter than the next that was tall and lean, as long as both were edible and the ice cream wasn’t falling off. I didn’t lose sleep over it. But responses to our writing? I’ve lost sleep over that. It’s more personal to me, and that’s a good thing. I hope it means I do my best each time I sit down to write… Which is impossible, but it’s the goal to strive for.

    I also understand that not every book is for every reader, and I’d be mortified if anyone dictated to me what I could and could not enjoy.

    I’ll readily admit that, in the midst of divorce, moving and my own forthcoming book release, I don’t have time to read all that’s been posted on this topic. I also don’t have the emotional energy. Honestly, I just find this whole thing sad. What the first author did was criminal, and shocking. I’ve read Tess’s blog for a long time, and in the context of her and her blog, my feeling is that her intent has been misconstrued and misrepresented. I may not have fully agreed with her first post on the topic, but that doesn’t make her evil or anti-reader. This has also spilled over to other author blogs, with disturbing correspondence posted on a few different sites that I’ve now seen.

    Nobody wins from these battles, but a lot of people get caught in the crossfire. I can only hope each of us who’d like to be afforded the benefit of the doubt when we speak in haste or anger will afford the same benefit of the doubt to others.

    From one who’s slung her share of mud in the past, and had to eat crow from time to time,
    Sandra

  176. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 11:42:04

    Please, Tess

    Just use this whole experience – the blogging and the whole MacGillivray saga – to inspire one of your future novels. I’m sure that a novelist of your quality can get a few good ideas from this whole sorry mess.

  177. Robin
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 11:59:23

    So yeah, it's made me depressed, but it's also made me understand that people now perceive me as something I'm not (e.g, an internet stalker along the lines of DAM. Or a felon. Or whatever.) I don't like people feeling that way about me. Which is what precipitated my shut-down.

    I really, really don’t think anyone here thinks anything like that of you, nor did anyone say they did. Did some of us disagree really strongly with what you said? Yes, absolutely.

    I hope that Nora Roberts is correct and that if you take a break you will get a different perspective on all of this. Because I know you see the irony in Jane’s comments about your blog — that she reads it regularly. In fact, here’s a piece in which she mentions you as an author who writes “smart heroines.” Here’s another where she cites some of your industry knowledge. Here’s another one where she uses something she read on your blog to help her create a book experiment. Now you may not have seen all those, but at the very least I think they reflect no uniform judgment on *you* by Jane at all. And if you have read all the comments in this thread, I hope you can see the same thing.

    Now I know that one negative comment will often eclipse 20 positive ones — isn’t it always that one person’s approval we continue to seek, even though there are 20 others who already accept us? When I was younger and foolish over a jerky guy, a friend of mine said to me, something like this: “why are you so dependent on what that jerk thinks of you when the rest of us over here care about you and accept you? What does that say about *our* opinion — why don’t we matter more?” Which is, I think, some of what your fans are telling you on your blog, albeit not directly.

    Sometimes I wish there was some sort of button people could lead with that indicates their level of sensitivity, because their words don’t always correspond. And saying controversial stuff often ignites, you know, controversy.

    Anyway, I’m appreciative that you clarified your comments about stepping back from blogging and hope it provides you with what you seek.

  178. Kyle K.
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 12:19:30

    I left this forum because I did not feel the discussion was being productive. Jane was able to have a civil conversation with me, yet Robin and Ann decided to jump on me for my comments. I find it shocking and ridiculous that my name popped up so many times after I left, and for things I couldn't remember doing or saying. Imagine that. So, since you, Ann, are so keen on quotes, let’s point out a few, shall we?

    The fact she can't even recognise how offensive Kyle's comments to you and me were, says it all.

    I’m going to requote all of my posts here and ask you to pull out what exactly you thought I said that was so offensive:

    I have to admit that I really am appalled by the reaction to Tess's comments. I have been reading her blog for almost a year and a half, and I find her candidness and honesty refreshing. So she doesn't like to read bad reviews, who would? She never ONCE condoned what Deborah Anne MacGillivray did, and only said that she could understand the urge of wanting to find out who was trashing her… that's all.

    Jane, I wonder how you would react in a similar situation in your own profession? Would you just be happy to take criticism, or would you feel burned by it and want to know who said it? Would you ever go to the lengths that DAM did? Of course you wouldn't, and neither would Tess. But you can't honestly tell me you don't understand where she was coming from? I think anyone who says otherwise is lying.

    I applaud Tess for having the courage to say what she thinks, and I hope she continues to do so in the future.

    Jane,

    Thank you for responding!

    Those are very good points, but I don't think Tess was necessarily referring to DAM's reaction to the three star review, but to the stinging reviews one can get from people who have only spent a few hours reading the book when she has spent a year writing it. It would be the same for anyone who spent a large amount of time on a project, whatever the field, to get such a review/critique. Was DAM out of line, absolutely. Did she overreact? 100%. But Tess was not condoning what she did, only stating her understanding behind the actions.

    I think that your quote of hers above is being taken out of context as well. As Nora wrote several times in the comments above, you have to take what each person says as an opinion, because one person might dislike a book for the very reason someone else will like it. Why would anyone take advice about something they are working on from someone who does not understand the workings behind it? That's what she's saying. A doctor wouldn't follow advice from a patient, much the same way a writer wouldn't follow the advice of a reader. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, but the ones we choose to take and learn from should be left completely up to us. There are critiques that hold more weight than others, and those are from the people who understand the craft and the work that goes into writing a book-’or an opera, or performing a surgery… it's all the same. You, as a reader, are very much entitled to your opinion, but Tess, or any writer for that matter, does not have to put store behind it if they choose not to… kind of like how you take criticisms with a grain of salt in your own life.

    Jane,

    But I do think that if I choose to exercise my right to freely speak my mind in disagreement, I should not be accused of causing someone else to stop voicing her opinion. That doesn't seem very honest and truthful to me.

    I think there might be a miscommunication somewhere, because that is the very opposite of what I was saying. It is the right to freely express opinion that I am for, though all I'm asking is that you look more closely at what Tess is saying. She never condoned what DAM did, but understands the emotions behind it. That's all. And, to suggest otherwise, is defamation. Everyone is entitled to their opinion-’you, Tess, myself, and everyone commenting on this topic as well… no one is arguing that point. But to suggest malicious intent behind her words is wrong.

    I just find it interesting that Tess's comments would leave your mouth agape just as much as DAM's actions left the blogosphere's collective mouth agape. There seems to be a disconnect somewhere there that I'm not completely understanding.

    Jane – Okay. In the spirit of our agreement that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, we'll just have to agree to disagree on the meaning behind Tess's words.

    Robin – I'm saying that I can understand the emotion behind the actions, which is exactly what Tess was saying from the very beginning. No, none of us would ever do what DAM did, nor do I think that what she did was in any way reasonable or condonable. DAM crossed some serious boundaries, and delved into an area she should never have gone. If you had read my previous comment, I expressed my belief that Tess was not talking about this three-star review in particular, but in any particularly biting review. I have not talked to Tess about this personally, this is my interpretation of her words, so do not mistake what I am saying for what Tess is saying. Nor should you put words in my mouth. I have been very clear that I do not stand behind DAM. She absolutely, 100% overreacted to the situation, and should NEVER have done what she did. No one is arguing that here. You should pay a little more attention to what people actually SAY before JUMPING TO YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS. If you're the Robin from Tess's blog, I suggest you get in contact with me in the way I suggested to have a civilized conversation about the topic.

    Ann – I was having a discussion with Jane, and then Robin decided to comment based on that conversation. I also believe she is the “redrobinreader” who is lashing out at people on Tess's own blog, where we were already having a disagreement and I told her that she needed to handle it privately and gave her a way to get in contact with me. If anything, SHE is the one who was “leap[ing] all over me” in this situation, not the other way around. I, on the other have, have leapt on no one, but expressed my opinion in a mature, discussion-focused format. My use of CAPITALIZATION to get my point across was just a mirror of how Robin chose to talk to me in her comment. Why, then, is SHE not being chastised for “leaping all over” people?

    I DO agree that Tess's choice of words there is regrettable, but you have to have been a fan of her blog and her as a person to get the humor behind that comment, which I am and you so pointedly say you are not. There are a lot of people jumping down her throat on this page (and, on the same note, many are not), but I thought another side of the argument was required so that Tess's image wasn't tarnished over the misinterpretation of a few words. Tess is a very humble person and should be commended for her candidness and honesty behind her sensitivities to bad reviews, even as successful an author as she is. We should all take a page from her book and admit that we all have feelings, too. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    Regardless, I'm not interested in promoting a hagiographical approach to anyone. You think the sun shines out of her arse, and I think she spoke out of it. I don't think there will be a meeting of minds on this one.

    It's amazing how quickly one reverts to insults. I don't have some ideological view of Tess. You're right, there won't be a meeting of minds on this topic. You are basing your opinion on a few words rather than the context of the words themselves. Now there's an attitude I would never want to imitate.

    I've been very clear about my position, and my belief in Tess's words. This is becoming childish, and I feel people are arguing for the sake of arguing now.

    Ann,

    Your translation is wrong. What I'm calling childish are the insults and the playground antics that are being used. I am fully capable of having a mature discussion about a topic, yet you and Robin seem unable to do so. Jane was able to do so, and I respect her for it, and her opinion. You are doing yourself and your argument a disservice by acting in such a manner.

    P.S. Per Dictionary.com:

    hag•i•og•ra•phy (hāg'ē-ŏg'rə-fē, hā'jē-)
    1. Biography of saints.
    2. A worshipful or idealizing biography.

    I don't worship Tess, or have an “ideological view” of her, as I said. Look up your own word.

    Thank you for correcting me on my improper word usage. I pray the Literary Gods will forgive me one day. Then again, we already know what a stickler for words you are.

    And I think this stopped being about Tess a few comments ago. At least for you it did. Besides, my opinion != hers; I'm arguing for myself. I doubt my little opinion will have any affect on her reputation, arse rays and all.

    Never once did I insult. Never once did I resort to playground mudslinging. Where in there did I offend anyone? I agree, my tone got a little snippy towards the end, but no more snippy than yours, Ann. You can go back through the discussion (comments 95-110) to see Jane, Robin and your half of the conversation.

    Another quote:

    Tess explicitly endorsed Kyle's comments:

    (And Kyle, thank you for trying to stick up for me. You tried your best, but I think you saw what it's like.)

    No commenter here has been endorsed by the owners of this blog or Jane, the person who made this post.

    I would have done the same. I had a mature discussion, and gave mature answers. I even thanked Jane for responding!

    From Robin:

    I guess what I'm not understanding is how the comments on Gerritsen's blog the past two days are okay, when the comments here are not. DA commenters have been admonished that we need to “get a life” (from Kyle, as well as someone else), called, among other things, “narrow-minded,” “bullies and bitches,” “trolls,” and “plain jealous,” as “pitchfork raising” and “torch poking,” as well as the very vivid “vicious in a pirhana spikey teeth kind of way,” a comment ending with this phrase: “I guess that baby in India's not the only one with two faces.”

    I did indeed say three of those things. Mine are the “get a life”, “pitchfork raising” and “torch making” quotes in there. The second two were made AFTER I was attacked here for my opinion by Robin and Ann.

    Which makes this next quote quite interesting:

    Considering the number of people who've gone into it with me over these discussions, I guess by her scale of reaction, I should be in the garage with a hose over the muffler pipe. Well, I'm not, because Tess G, Kyle, J D Rhoades and all the other people who take issue with how I express myself are entitled to their opinion, and so am I.

    That was from Ann.

    How about one more from her:

    Same as Kyle and J C Rhoades' hysterical condemnation of my saying Tess was talking out of her arse. That's really common slang in Britain (where I lived for 17 years so my idiom is as much Brit as Aussie) for someone talking rubbish. It doesn't come close to being nasty, or as personally abusive as some of the things you quoted from her supporters.

    Wow, an extreme overreaction to a misunderstanding of one of your quotes? That sounds oddly familiar to me. Oh, yes, aren’t you condemning Tess for making an offhand comment that your taking out of context? Fascinating.

    Oh, I can’t help myself… Let’s get a few more of those quotes going:

    I'd make this reply over on TG's blog but you have to register to comment. Given the lack of proportion demonstrated by TG and her supporters, I have to reluctantly conclude that my personal information just isn't something I want them to have.

    Is that because you think this is possible?:

    But I tell you, Kyle, J D Rhoades, given the nuttiness we've seen from DAM and her ilk, your rabid support is really a little freaky. What next? PIs to drag my real life into this? Can you see where your blind loyalty and your inability to step back and gain some perspective, might start to look a bit like the obsession shown by DAM and her kind?

    I thought we were having a civil, adult conversation here? Why so hostile, Ann? How, pray tell, is having a simple discussion relatable to DAM and her people?

    So…she can make offensive statements without any care as to the consequences, send her flying monkeys out whenever she wants, misrepresent to the point of outright falsehood what's being said here, and explicitly endorse the incoherent rantings of her knights in tarnished armour who came over here and blasted us all for not signing up to the cult of Saint Tess, but you're not allowed to speak on your own behalf, defend your views or even approach her in email?

    She really needs to get over herself. Although it's nice to know my first impressions of this woman were correct.

    1) Harsh. 2) I don’t remember blasting anyone for “not signing up to the cult of Saint Tess”. (Seems someone can’t keep away from the hagiographical references here!) 3) Yes, it is nice to know things, though, on this occasion, you would be wrong.

    I could go on, but I think my point is made. I don’t like being attacked for something that I didn’t do. Never once did I insult, never once did I offend. You talk about Tess “misrepresent[ing] to the point of outright falsehood what's being said here”, yet, as I’ve just pointed out, you have been doing that yourself, Ann; you've been doing it to me.

    “Young Kyle” I might be, but this youngin’ has respect enough for others and himself not to dip down to your level of “discussion”.

    I want to thank Jane for having a mature, adult conversation with me… which I’d like to extend to posters like Nora and all of the others who were able to argue their points without exaggeration or insult. I'd happily engage in lively debate with any of you again.

  179. Robin
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 12:29:50

    Kyle: I don’t really know what to say to you that’s not going to be construed as “jumping all over you,” just as I feel you’ve been swiping at me, both here and at Gerritsen’s blog. So I’ll just say that I’m sorry you thought I was doing that, because all I was really trying to do was take issue with what you said and explain why I found your comments, here and at Gerritsen’s blog, offensive.

  180. stephanie feagan
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 12:58:14

    Hey, Tess, welcome to the Wimp Club. I’m a card carrying member who shut down my blog last year, after something I said – wholly with the intent of being helpful – blew up in my face and I was accused of using my position on the board of directors of RWA to threaten people’s careers. It f’ing blew my mind. I didn’t sleep all night, sent private emails to apologize for offending the people who posted on my blog – people I’d never heard of before they showed up to rip me a new one.

    I decided it was so not worth it – the angst, the bad rep, any of it. I loved that there were people who visited, posted, had a good time, but like so much else in life, nice, pleasant things get ruined by a few who believe they can say whatever they like, make whatever accusations they want, and suffer no consequence. I will think to myself, every now and again, gee, I should blog about that. But no, I can’t – and won’t.

    In the end, it’s not such a bad thing. I come here, and over to Smart Bitches, and get my blog fixes. They do all the work, and I can pop on and say my two cents worth. Stick around – I’ll buy you a cuppa and we can discuss WimpVille at length. :)

  181. Kyle K.
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 13:14:30

    Robin – Thank you, I appreciate it. And I apologize for any offense I may have given you.

    As far as my comments to you on Tess’s blog, let me explain. As someone said above (I’m not going to go through all of that for quotes again!), this is a discussion board and her blog is like her own little home on the internet. While it’s fully within your-and anyone’s-right to have a differing view of opinion there, I just didn’t agree that you kept commenting on other people’s posts. Whether or not what she said was right is not what I’m arguing here, just that those people were there to support her, on her own site. I would have reacted the same way to any other person if there had been a similar situation on another author’s blog. It had nothing to do with you. So, again, I apologize for being a little insensitive over there.

  182. Robin
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 13:24:52

    Thanks, Kyle. And we’ll just have to agree to disagree on my rights (or anyone’s for that matter) to comment on a public blog. As I did on Gerritsen’s and you did here.

  183. Kyle K.
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 13:57:01

    :D Agreed.

  184. the left room » Amazon, MacGillivray, Tess Gerritsen, etc
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 14:21:44

    [...] yet. Following the massive ker-fuffle mentioned above, Tess Gerritsen has made the decision to stop blogging. If nothing else, this tells [...]

  185. Shayne
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 15:39:46

    Another internet kerfuffle. Who will it be next week? Well now, that depends on what you all say on your blogs, who brings it to the notice of one of the bigger blogs, and how many bandwagon people are around.

    And this is how serious to take it. *shrugs* Just few people get that. DAM was serious, Tess was opinion. Yeah, I see the irony, who else does?

  186. Lleeo
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 17:08:27

    I, for one, am personally insulted by your posts, anon, because you've come in here and made blanket generalizations about the majority of posters on this issue which are completely untrue and not to mention insulting.

    But didn't those accusations come in the ironic context of complaining about baseless accusations? I'm only surprised that it took a while for the nasty grams to start arriving, and I'm not surprised at their direction, because they're similar, IMO, to the stuff that was being said about those of us who were outraged at the Cassie Edwards situation, too (and DAM was waving that flag with righteous vigor, IIRC). That some people might be doing whatever on Amazon is probably inevitable, but I know it's not something that the vast majority of us here have advocated or participated in, because, hey, if that's the path we felt comfortable taking, we could have skipped all the public discourse -’ like, you know, DAM and her friends have (except for the public and semi-public threats and pleas, of course) -’ and gone for the subterfuge.

    I’m a little confused about your point, here, Robin. Do you mean that it’s ironic that I accused ‘a reader’ and ‘a 2nd reader’ of making baseless accusations against the majority of posters on this topic when we originally had no hard evidence of DAM’s corrupt behaviour? I agree that I do see the irony in this. But in this case I do feel that I have a basis for my accusation because in my eyes, and the eyes of many of the people posting on this topic, real evidence proving DAM’s vile and petty behaviour has been found and posted on here. And from what I remember from Dear Author’s first post about this, people were quick to condemn this kind of behaviour but the general consensus was that we needed real proof if we were going to bring this to the attention of Amazon and the authorities.

    Sorry, the last part of that paragraph was more directed at ‘a reader’ and ‘a 2nd reader,’ along with anyone else who has insulted the majority of posters in these discussions and called the entire group of us a brainless mob who delight in tearing apart the reputations of authors etc. for fun/without any evidence. I absolutely agree with the rest of your paragraph, though. I can understand loyal readers and friends trying to defend Cassie Edwards against unnecessarily malicious threats and insults but condoning her behaviour just because they like her as a person or a writer? That’s just wrong, in my opinion. Have they no moral compass? If I was ever caught red-handed doing something unprofessional or unethical, I would be mortified if my family and/or friends and/or fans tried to justify or defend what I’d done wrong if I had no real excuse for it. The fact that they so virulently attacked the reasonable outrage that emerged after it was revealed that CE had extensively plagarized many of her books is ridiculous and petty in the extreme.

    I really can’t believe that Tess Gerriston is so upset about the comments that have been posted in this discussion in disagreement with her post. Like Nora pointed out, the majority of us have been very reasonable and never once resorted to personal attacks. The consensus on here seems to be that threatening a reader’s family is sick and is no laughing matter. Calling a negative reviewer “illiterate” is also interesting to me because of course there are atrocious spellers out there who really can’t put together a grammatically correct sentence but that doesn’t mean the majority of readers and reviewers aren’t trying to make an honest and thoughtful point. Of course there are drive-by haters and gushing fangirls but a lot of readers who have spent their hard-earned money on a book and actually take the time to write a review about it are people who were affected by the book enough that they want to give other readers their honest assessment of the book

    And if you’re sensitive to negative reviews, like many on here have pointed out, don’t read reviews, period. Having respect for the honest opinions of your readers is just good business.

  187. Robin
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 17:20:42

    I'm a little confused about your point, here, Robin. Do you mean that it's ironic that I accused ‘a reader' and ‘a 2nd reader' of making baseless accusations against the majority of posters on this topic when we originally had no hard evidence of DAM's corrupt behaviour?

    No, no, no, Lleeo; I was only referring to the irony of the anon railing against baseless accusations while making them him/herself. Kind of as a way of suggesting that maybe there wasn’t a valid point in anon’s post to be taken seriously and rebutted. Anyway, I wasn’t criticizing your comment, and I’m sorry that wasn’t clearer.

  188. Lleeo
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 17:31:51

    No, no, no, Lleeo; I was only referring to the irony of the anon railing against baseless accusations while making them him/herself. Kind of as a way of suggesting that maybe there wasn't a valid point in anon's post to be taken seriously and rebutted. Anyway, I wasn't criticizing your comment, and I'm sorry that wasn't clearer.

    Haha, no I think that’s just me being slow today. ^_~ And you do make an excellent point–now that I have it–about the irony in the anon’s accusations. That’s probably why they didn’t come back; there were too many holes in their own argument. Jeez, looking back at that post I just left, I’m really fond of those run-on sentences, aren’t I? Heh, I shall have to look for those when I finish writing this essay. :x

  189. Jody W.
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 17:40:26

    Nonsequitor, but has anyone else experienced a massive explosion of spam since signing the Amazon IPetition?? I verily have. It started right after IPetition sent me an acknowledgement that I’d participated. Might be a coincidence, might not. I’ve commented in a few blogs in the past couple days, too, but I’ve never had trouble with that creating spam.

  190. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 18:33:15

    spam

    <>

    No, but my ISP assured me when I signed up that they have a good spam-blocker and so far, it’s worked. The only genuine spam that’s got through was one Viagra e-mail, but that seems to have been an isolated case. Still, if you’ve been getting spam, it proves that I’m well protected.

    Solution – either get a spam-blocker to install yourself, or contact your ISP to see if they can protect you. It may cost a little more, but if they take the responsibility, you won’t have to worry about upgrades.

  191. Vicky
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 18:40:07

    Hey Jody,

    I’m getting a ton of spam too and was wondering where the heck it was coming from. I don’t what IPetition’s privacy policy is but it seems like too much of a coincidence…

  192. Vicky
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 21:01:16

    I guess those of us with Gmail etc are SOL. At least it goes into the Spam folder *sigh*

  193. Josephine Damian
    Apr 21, 2008 @ 22:23:06

    Any author who can’t handle stress or take honest criticism is in the wrong business.

    It’s a shame Tess did not follow her own advice…. Here’s a copy and paste from a post she did back in Feb.

    The Writer's Guide to Staying Sane

    Tuesday, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 06:27 pm

    The publishing business is already enough to drive a writer crazy, so why should we make things even worse for ourselves? Here are some sanity-sparing suggestions that I myself am trying to stick to:

    STOP CHECKING YOUR AMAZON INDEX

    Yep, that means you. Unless you're checking the effectiveness of a particular promotional tool (in which case you may want to see how the index responds) you really shouldn't be looking at yourself on Amazon at all. In particular, avoid looking at the reader reviews of your books. Some of those readers are nasty, vicious people, and why do you want to torture yourself by reading a lousy review of your latest book? Sure, you may find a really great review, and that'll make you feel good … for about an hour. But a lousy review will leave you feeling miserable for a week. You wouldn't volunteer to get your fingernails wrenched off with pliers, would you? So why let anonymous readers torture you on Amazon?

    STOP GOOGLING YOURSELF

    For the same reason I told you not to look up your own books on Amazon. Sure, maybe you'll find a website that says nice things about you. But you might also find a site that calls you the spawn of Satan. So don't even look. Because ignorance truly is bliss.

    LEARN TO SAY NO

    Writers are often told to jump at every chance to promote ourselves. So we accept every invitation to speak at libraries, schools and writers' conferences. We'll travel a thousand a miles, take three days off from our writing, to smile at a gathering and sell only thirty books. When you're starting off and still trying to establish your name, these are probably good investments of your time. But you have to learn when enough is enough. Don't let the gigs take over your calendar. Don't let them eat too deeply into your writing time. As Sue Grafton once said to me, “Don't be a literary slut.”

    EXERCISE

    Last autumn, I sprained my knee while hiking down a mountain. For two months I could barely walk, much less hike. Stuck at home, I got grumpy and flabby. Then winter set in, and the roads got icy, prolonging my inactivity. Finally I got fed up with how listless I felt and made one of the best investments of my life: I bought a treadmill. It sits right here in my office and it's my new best friend. First thing in the morning, I turn on National Public Radio, climb onto the treadmill, and take a brisk uphill walk for half an hour. When I'm done, I feel pumped and ready to dive into my writing. And I can stop feeling guilty about my sedentary job.

    CHASE OTHER INTERESTS

    Indulge your hobbies. Feed your curiosity. Life isn't just about meeting deadlines and seeing another one of your books on the stands; life is also about doing and learning cool stuff. We get about eight decades on this earth. That seems like a lot of time, but as I get older, I realize how precious little time that really is. Although I spend most of the year racing to meet my book deadlines, I'm also learning how to read ancient Greek. I'm trying to read through my copy of Herodotus, which sits on my nightstand. I'm trying to memorize a Chopin Ballade on the piano. Probably none of these hobbies will end up being used in a book, but why does everything have to be about the writing?

  194. People Are Idiots -- The Nameless Horror
    Apr 22, 2008 @ 06:42:48

    [...] but for the grace of god’ piece of musing of her own, whereupon a bunch of people in the romance world responded. Starting (mostly) reasonably sanely and largely concentrating on the issue of the original Amazon [...]

  195. Allison Brennan
    Apr 22, 2008 @ 12:05:31

    I’m a day late and a dollar short, but frankly I think this whole thing has been blown out of proportion. When I read Tess Gerritsen’s original blog post about the amazon author thing, I totally saw that she was being tongue-in-cheek. She has a subtle and sly sense of humor that often is self-deprecating, but I know that because I’m a regular reader of her blog and am used to her “voice.” I guess I’m just surprised that so many people took her literally. Humor is hard to communicate via the Internet because we don’t have facial expressions or rolling eyes or body language other visual cues. This is why I make liberal use of :) and ;) and :/ and other Internet shorthand so people know I’m making a joke (normally I’m not funny.) However, I generally give authors, readers and bloggers the benefit of the doubt if something comes off a little weird in the translation. Comedy is often harder to write than tragedies because humor is so subjective. I love George Carlin; yet sometimes his jokes fall completely flat, and my mom can’t stand him.

    I’ve been a fan of Tess Gerritsen for years, and I’m still a fan. I haven’t read every comment here, but I’ve read enough to know that there are definite opinions on both sides of whether Tess was inappropriate for seeing the black humor in the situation. I read the original DA thread (and I may have even posted a comment, I can’t remember) and just shook my head MacGillivray idiocy; then I read Tess’s blog and smiled because in her humor, she again highlighted MacGillivray’s idiocy.

    As far as the whole Amazon fiasco–I have a thick skin. You have to in this business. Not everyone is going to love my books. I get that. I have had a review taken down when the same reviewer posted three almost identical reviews on the same book. I asked amazon to take down two of them. They did. I had another review taken down that gave away the entire story, including the killer, every major plot point, and the resolution. I feel that crosses the line from review to spoiler. (I actually asked them to only remove the spoiler paragraphs, not the whole review, but they took the whole review down. Maybe they have a policy not to edit.) I’ve never asked anyone to post a review for me, and I’ve never posted a review. I have people who’ve said nasty things, fine. I have people who love my books. Great. Do bad reviews hurt? Of course. I’m not an emotionless robot. I love all my books and I’m proud of them. If it’s personal, I call my best pal to vent for five minutes, she tells me stop being an idiot and stop reading reviews, and I’m over it. I think it was Nora or someone else above who said reviews are for readers, not writers, and I wholeheartedly agree.

  196. TurtleGirl
    Apr 22, 2008 @ 12:18:00

    I have a more positive story to relate. Once upon a time I wrote a positive review for a Joan Hess mystery novel. Now I can’t even remember which one, but this was around ’98/’99/’00, I believe. Apparently other people had written less-than-kind reviews, or perhaps a critic had done so. I can’t remember. At any rate, a few days later I received an email from Joan Hess herself thanking me for my *kind words* and she invited me to a book signing. I was completely floored and thrilled (yes, I’m that much of a book-geek).
    I guess my point is while it’s inevitable that authors will read (and take to heart) the reviews that we, the general public, write, some choose to act/react positively (and in a classy manner). I still read every JH book to hit the shelves regardless of what others may write about the books.

  197. Cheryl C.
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 08:23:32

    Although I am extremely disappointed in Tess Gerritsen’s choice of words (even jokingly), I will give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she is one of the many people who don’t realize that the tone of the written message (especially on the internet) is not always interpretted as the writer intended. Sarcasm often does not translate.

    So, while I think that it wasn’t a smart thing to say even jokingly, I don’t think that she actually condones DAMs behavior. She did apologize on her blog saying that she was kidding and did not actually believe that DAM was in the right. On the flip side of that, she is a writer. I agree with those that have said (on other forums) that she doesn’t seem to have truly accepted the fact that it was not the readers’ interpretation of her words that was the problem. It was the way that she wrote them. If, as a writer, she cannot grasp that fact, then she is correct and perhaps she should not be blogging. She will just continue to be “misunderstood”.

    I also think that she was listening to what people were telling her was on the DA board and not actually coming over here and reading it for herself – a huge mistake on her part. Because, while some were very suprised and disappointed in what Tess wrote – and said so – she had several supporters who said that she probably was joking. So, my biggest disappointment with TG is that she encouraged the DA name calling, etc. on her blog, but didn’t seem to read the posts for herself before doing so. Then, she criticized DA (and the posters here) for their behavior while the TG bloggers were much worse and very insulting.

    Honestly, I think that TG needs a thicker skin if she is going to be able to stand up to criticism as a writer. You just can’t make everyone happy and she admits that she takes every negative criticism very personally (an understatement – “illiterate slut”? come on now, get a grip). Also, she has stated that readers aren’t qualified to review books, which I think is a load of horse-hooey. I may not be as eloquent as a professional reviewer in my review of a book, but I can express very clearly what I did and did not like for another potential reader. Who does she write for? Other writers and professional reviewers? Or readers/consumers/people who pay their good money for her books?

    I agree with the statement that someone made on DA: “Reviews are for readers, not writers.” Ah well, just add it to the drama. :)

    Personally, I am most disappointed in the way that people on the Amazon Romance Forum have gotten so hostile on DAM’s behalf. Saying that the people speaking up against her actions and behavior are a “lynch mob”, etc. Give me a break. We are the readers, the consumers. We should be horrified that someone would treat one of us this way. I mean, I have given MUCH harsher reviews than the one that Reba Belle gave DAM, I would be utterly offended if my review was tampered with or removed. If the author had decided to respond with an insult or be condecending as DAM and Victoria Laurie did, I would never buy another of their books. If the author decided to stalk and harass me, threaten my family and get her cronies in on the act, I would get the authorities involved as Reba Belle did and then I would shout it from the roof-tops. Who can defend that kind of behavior, bad review or not?

    (((OT – As a side note, am I the only one not able to post on the DAM Harasses Reader thread?)))

  198. Jane
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 08:30:55

    Cheryl, thanks for your comments. I actually closed the comment thread on DAM Harasses Reader since there were three threads devoted to the same thing and it was getting so slow to load with all the comments. This certainly a thread for you to express your comments on the DAM thing.

  199. Cheryl C.
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 08:35:54

    Thanks, Jane.

  200. In re: the Moderation of Posts and the Endorsement of Comments | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 11:01:03

    [...] readers and bloggers do not operate with one hive mind, as evidenced in the thread that discussed Gerritsen’s post about the Deborah Anne MacGillivray’s actions of [...]

  201. morgan saylor jones
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 11:34:03

    Don’t mean to hijack the thread, but after reading all the posts on this and the other blog entries on the subject of DAM, Tess Gerritsen, Reba Belle, and the horror that is the Amazon book review process, I just have to say –

    Nora Roberts is a class act.

  202. Just A Reader
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 14:43:43

    Catching up on a lot today, so there are several things I wanted to comment on:

    #1) Re: Tess Gerritsen’s blog posts:
    I said something on the Deb Mac thread (can’t recall everything atm) to the effect that I was offended by what she said, but…
    Ok, she said it on her blog. Not that it made it appear any less rude & condescending to my eyes, but she is (or rather was) in her comfort zone, and I would imagine she thought she was primarily posting to her readership. I’d think this would make her less careful about being clearly understood by everyone in general, and I was more irked with the “DAM’s foolishness was in getting caught” comment anyway.
    I don’t see how it could fall into the same “black humor/tongue in cheek comment” category as what appeared (to me) to be an elitist attitude toward reader reviews, and the very poorly chosen “illiterate slut” remark.
    Anyway, it’s not of supreme importance to me at this point, and I think the focus needs to stay on DAM and her cronies as much as possible, so that’s fine, I’m through commenting on it as of now.

    #2) Just on reader reviews in general:
    As usual, Nora Roberts summed it up so well when she said that readers write reviews for other readers.
    I’ve written several, but mostly for fellow romance readers who post & read on the Paperback Swap Love & Romance forum. I usually just post them in the L&R forum (not the database). We all read and exchange opinions, offer recommendations and so forth, and even those of us with consistently similar tastes will have drastically different opinions from time to time, so we mostly consider all of this more information sharing than anything else.
    I have more than once called a book a “stinkburger” (never in a book database review, btw:P), which I could sorta see an author getting a little bit tetchy about:P
    Then again, I’m not writing reviews for Publishers Weekly, I’m writing them for my girlfriends. And I guess I should add the disclaimer that I’m not trying to keep anyone from buying certain books when I do that – it’s just my personal opinion of a book. Most of us are romance junkies and we read a LOT. A lot of us are on book budgets because our addiction can be a tad expensive, and we’re just helping each other to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were.
    Our reviews are not intended to be personal attacks on the author or to hurt their feelings, and I’d never tell any writer that their baby was a stinkburger either:P
    And of course, I’m not emailing or writing to an author with an “if only” list; as somebody pointed out, even constructive criticism doesn’t really help much after the book has been released:P

    #3) On a reader’s comments:
    Amazon bans with one hand for spamming, while condoning voting manipulation, fraud and customer stalking with the other. If you want to play by that set of “rules”, I suggest you go forth and lap it up.
    I doubt your views on the veracity of reba belle’s claims are of any interest to those who have been on the receiving end of MacGillivray’s venom spewing. Likewise, Amazon’s apparent reluctance to do anything about a writer who has been exploiting their system and Amazon customers for the last six years indicates a certain level of casual disregard for their customers, perhaps even duplicity on their part. Not what I’d call a sound basis for putting a lot of faith in them and the way they do business.

  203. Another Reader
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 15:20:14

    How many writers are so obsessed with their rankings they have screen shots of their Barnes and Noble rankings? Apparently DAM is that obsessive.

    http://www.bebo.com/PhotoAlbumBig.jsp?PageNbr=1&MemberId=3895302933&PhotoAlbumId=4759592338&PhotoId=4759705088

    I read somewhere that one writer, to manipulate their ratings, had all their friends buy their book one day and that put them number one. Looking at this makes me wonder. One of those books had been out over a year.

    Here is Writer’s Weekly story on how this is done.

    http://www.writersweekly.com/the_latest_from_angelahoycom/002841_07272005.html

  204. Another Reader
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 15:58:12

    (Sorry, I hit the enter before I intended and can’t figure out how to add onto my last message.) What I wanted to say in conclusion was I found the ratings suspicious. That a book that had been out was in such a high position made no sense. That she posts screenshots of Barnes and Noble – weird (I didnt take the time to look for more, one set was creepy enough but I am sure the game is afoot at Amazon too). It just confirms for me this is an obessive type person who stalks the internet.

    The ipetition is over 500. Amazon needs to know this issue isnt going away until they address it and Reba is very much the victim, more so with each day this is not rectified.

  205. M Porter's Deja Vu
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 16:15:11

    Amazon reported sales in North America rose 31 percent to $2.13 billion from a year ago. International sales grew 44 percent to $2.01 billion, and accounted for 49 percent of total revenue, up from 46 percent last year.

    That is $4,140,000,000. Just how much did you spend in the first quarter? 1% is $41 million. I guess I’m grateful for any customer service at all.

  206. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 16:51:23

    screen shots of their Barnes and Noble rankings? Apparently DAM is that obsessive.

    With any luck, Barnes and Noble will take appropriate action if any manipulation can be proved.

    Amazon’s sales rankings are even stranger than their reviewer rankings. While the top sellers have their rankings adjusted hourly, less popular books have their rankings adjusted at different intervals – daily, weekly or monthly – according to their popularity. But I’ve never studied them in depth, though I’m not surprised that some authors have, and that they’ve found a way to manipulate the system.

  207. Volsfan
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 16:57:59

    Gaming ratings at Amazon and Barnes and Noble is nothing new. The Wall Street Journal did a good job explaining how it works and why it is unethical. http://blogs.wsj.com/numbersguy/cracking-amazoncoms-best-seller-list-66/ That wouldn\’t stop someone like DAM, but if she is so vested, it does explain why she freaked out when Reba interfeared in her sandbox. Once again, like the reviews that disappeared, the numbers are very fishy. I hope gambling ratings is not where the money from that fundraiser went. I suppose anything is possible.

  208. Julia Sullivan
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 18:57:50

    Gosh, I’m sure Ms. Gerritsen will survive without the pleasure of my company, just as she has for the past few decades. I’m fun and all, and I make delicious cookies, but there are billions of people who don’t interact with me every single day of the year.

    And I’ll still buy and enjoy Ms. Gerritsen’s books.

    As for J.D. Rhoades’s characterization of my comment as “bashing”–let me assure you that that was not bashing. If I was bashing someone, everyone on the thread would know it.

    My point was “I found this post really off-putting, to a degree where it made me less comfortable with the writer.” It was hardly a call for all Right-Thinking People to ostracize Ms. Gerritsen, or anything of the sort.

  209. Just A Reader
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 21:44:55

    I’m becoming less concerned at this point exactly how far DAM has been able to cheat her books up the romance sub-category lists at either Amazon or B&N. The thing about it is, her name is mud in the romance blogosphere right now, and for someone who has basically created this artificial celebrity via the internet, that’s going to wind up biting her in the ass a lot sooner than she imagines. All romance readers with internet access will sooner or later start reading the romance blogs for reviews and other information – if they don’t already. Most romance readers who are shopping Amazon and B&N will randomly google authors as well. Readers aren’t dumb, we do a lot of web searching in the interest of finding good books to read.
    The last time I checked, the Dear Author entry “Author Deborah Anne MacGillivray Harasses Amazon Reader” was the #7 google hit for a search on Deborah MacGillivray. Gotta wonder how that compares exposure-wise to having your lousy book at #33,812 on the “Bestsellers in Books” list at Amazon.com:P
    She’s not even showing up on the Bestsellers in Books > Romance > Authors A-Z lists at all.

  210. Amber Rose
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 03:15:19

    Hey all. Firstly, I’d just like to thank EVERYONE who has posted on this issue (and of course, the Ja(y)nes for hosting). I am a college student who is paying my own way through school-meaning I don’t have a lot of extra money to be throwing around after garbage. Now I don’t know if I would have ever read DAM’s books, because I don’t like that sub-genre of romance very much, but as someone who spends quite a lot of money on books, knowing that when I graduate next year I’ll have about $30K in student loans to repay, this strikes me as wrong. I read some free, online stuff, and that author does feel free to reply to bad reviews…and I can’t say I care, because he IS providing his work for free. But for a published author to behave in such a way is beyond appalling, IMO. If I buy something, no matter *what* it is, I have a right to my opinion and a right to review said product. This is just beyond the pale. I’ve read a lot about this with DAM, but I keep seeing refereces to Janet Daily and Cassie Edwards to do with plagarism, but I somehow missed all that when it first happened. Could someone direct me to something substantial that mentions the five w’s, please? Thanks!

    I’ve been reading all the dialogue on here for about 4 hours now…I can’t stop, it’s like a trainwreck, but I do find it enlightening, because like so many others, I am an aspiring writer, though I hadn’t considered submitting to an epublisher. But had I decided to do so, I might very well have fallen into the very same trap that some of the others who have posted. Boy am I glad I missed that pitfall.

    As far as I’m concerned, HP is out with me, and usually I don’t like to tar a whole group with the crazy minority, but I can’t condone sharing my hard earned dollars with the (insert creative adjective here) in charge at that publishing house. And that is sad, because I usually like to give new authors a chance.

    And THAT being said, I am TOTALLY geeking out over writing something that others will read in the same general vicinity as my VERY FAVORITE author! I can’t wait to tell my grandmother that I posted on a blog that NR reads and posts on. La Nora was my *very first* romance novel. Prior to reading that book, my opinion of romance was “ewwww, *romance novels*” in the most obnoxious 14 year old way possible. Now, as a seasoned 22 year old, I can say that romance is definitely 99.8% of my leisure reading. So, thanks Nora.

    And thanks again to the Jan(y)nes and the posters here, because you all have tuned me into something of vital importance. As a bored political science major, this might very well turn into my “Unsafe at any Speed” a la Ralph Nader, if it is shown to involve more authors with publishers and retailers turning a blind eye. What happened to consumer advocacy? Because if I need to, I will take this to facebook and myspace, and I don’t know how many of you are on those networking sites, but people will sign stuff or join stuff just to say they did, without knowing why. And I’m not above trolling for siggys. Normally, I would consider that dirty pool, but I guess I’m small potatoes in this racket.

  211. DS
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 05:01:48

    It seems that DAM’s misbehavior is spreading outside of the romance blogs. My Google Mail alert this morning contained this url:

    http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/04/when_criticism_calls_for_direc.html

    She gets mentioned alongside Norman Mailer who also had a problem accepting criticism.

  212. Amber Rose
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 09:06:27

    THE REVOLUTION IS STARTING!!!

    AaAaaaahaHA!

    Okay, I’m done….but seriously, sometimes I think I was born in the wrong generation-people won’t organize or, like, start a movement. They wouldn’t, even if their lives depended on it…which, IMO, it *does*

    Anyway. It’s only a matter of time before this moves out of our little circle, romance readers make up a large percentage of book-buyers over all. And if there is one thing people care about, it’s their money. And *maybe* customer service, but mostly their money. So if people start thinking they can’t trust Amazon….hooo doggy. Like I said:

    THE REVOLUTION HAS STARTED!

  213. Just A Reader
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 09:39:11

    This is a stupid story, but it’s been running through my head for days & days and I had to share…

    Anybody remember The Gong Show?
    People would get on stage and do bad talent shows, and semi-celebrities on the panel of judges would get up and bang on this huge gong when they couldn’t take it anymore.
    Anyway… I remember this review/article on that show that ran in the local paper here – I think it was by Bob Hill (he went on to write the true crime book Double Jeopardy) – and he was mentioning the “celebrity” judges, and he said of one of the judges, actress Jaye P. Morgan (remember her? No?) that she was “well known for her well known-ness”. I still remember that line and laugh about it – and I can’t help but think of it whenever I think of DAM.
    Deborah Anne MacGillivray, well known for her well known-ness – lol.
    Oh crap, did I just plagiarize? Oops… Begging pardons, I was “under a lot of stress…”:P

  214. Julia Sullivan
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 11:04:59

    Actually, Jaye P. Morgan was a singer who had two hit records in the 1950s. She was quite talented.

    But, yeah, more well-known for her well-knownness, like many other game-show staples in the 1970s–Nipsey Russell comes to mind.

  215. Just A Reader
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 12:04:33

    Well there ya go.
    I didn’t even think of singer, which just goes to show ya…
    I was thinking actress because I remember her being on The Loveboat once – after she became well known… due to The Gong Show, of course:P
    I looked her up in IMDb, and she actually has quite a few TV credits to her name. Some of the appearances I should recall, but don’t.

    Anyway, sorry for the derailing. Back to your regularly scheduled programming…

  216. S Andrew Swann
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 20:17:43

    Hi from the SF Blogosphere. . .

    This DAM thing has definitively left the romance sandbox. John Scalzi over at Whatever has what is IMHO the most hilarious postmodern reaction to her rampant psychopathy–

    He’s challenging authors to post their one-star Amazon reviews. (Can you just see her head ‘splode?) I went and cherry-picked some of my own gems, and found it strangely empowering ;)

  217. Amber Rose
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 20:53:57

    Ha! I like that idea…especially if a lot of authors pick up on it, not only will it chap DAM’s ass, but it will also get the story out so
    a) people will know and hopefully avoid like the plague DAM;
    and b) so people will hopefully find there way to some forum (like this one) that is telling about how AMAZON treated Reba as well, so we can get more signatures on the petition to Amazon.

    P.S. Thanks to all the sweet as sh*t authors who post on this site, I might actually start branching out from romance and the VERY FEW sci-fi fantasy authors I read.

  218. Caro Townsend
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 23:18:22

    I’m not going to sign the petition because of the nastiness in this thread, especially towards Tess Gerritsen.

    Oh, and Somerville? Yeah, I don’t think you need to worry about coming anywhere close to Nora Roberts. (Just think of that as a negative review.)

  219. Ann Somerville
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 23:38:16

    Townsend: I’ll certainly give your opinion of my talent the consideration it deserves.

    Remind me who you are again?

  220. The Clash of Cultures « Internationale Krimis
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 00:00:45

    [...] die Leute bei Dear Autor und es entwickelt sich ein Ping Pong Spiel zwischen den Kommentaren bei Dear Autor und jenen bei Tess Gerritsen (-> hier, -> hier, -> hier, -> [...]

  221. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 04:31:22

    To Caro Townsend

    the nastiness in this thread

    Whatever happened in this thread is minor compared to the nastiness of DAM’s actions and threats towaards Reba Belle.

    coming anywhere close to Nora Roberts

    I don’t suppose you looked at the signatures, but Nora Roberts was one of the first to sign the petition. If you have so much respect for Nora, and if you agree that Amazon have been unfair to Reba, then you should sign.

  222. azteclady
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 06:56:17

    I'm not going to sign the petition because of the nastiness in this thread, especially towards Tess Gerritsen.

    Way to keep an eye on the big picture.

  223. Just A Reader
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 07:57:56

    Tess Gerritsen didn’t shoot the Pope.
    She made a few ill-chosen comments and got called on the carpet by some people who were offended by them. That’s how it works when you’re something of a public figure. You don’t get to go back to being anonymous John Q. Citizen expounding your views, and expecting to remain relatively free of commentary or criticism from people who don’t agree with you. This is life. Feedback doesn’t always read like a love letter.
    Honestly, I read things like the article Nora Roberts wrote for Ninc about her ordeal with the Janet Dailey plagiarism thing, and some of the public comments she has stepped up and made about other nastiness inside the industry, and I wonder why anybody else would fuss about being criticised for their public statements. You don’t have to do too much reading between the lines to realize that she took a lot of flak from various sources for speaking her mind, and look how she conducts herself. Like a lady and a role model – no defensiveness, no “poor me” whining. She says what she thinks, responds politely to commentary, and gets on with her life. She has her sh@! so together, you have to wonder why all writers can’t be like her.

    I think, when it comes to writing and having your work/public statements criticized by anybody, people in that position need to develop some pretty thick skin, because sooner or later, somebody is going to have something to say about them or their words that won’t sit too well.
    And I have no problem with people sticking up for their favorite writers. There’s nothing wrong with having supportive, dedicated fans. As long as they keep the thoughts and opinions of others in perspective, and they themselves don’t resort to the same defensive “nastiness” they accuse others of.
    Look what DAM’s support group has done on her behalf. In some ways, they’ve almost behaved worse than she did.

  224. Shayne
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 17:22:27

    Caro,

    You accuse people on this thread of nastiness, yet indulge in your own. You’re just as human as everybody else here.

  225. Volsfan
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 18:06:15

    DAM announced on her blog that A Restless Knight is going into its 3rd printing with Kensington. Guess its all about money. http://deborahmacgillivray.blogspot.com/2008/04/3rd-printing-for-restless-knight.html

  226. Volsfan
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 18:08:59

    DAM has just announced on her blog that

    “My editor, Hilary Sares, just informed me A Restless Knight, just went into a third print run! Challon just doesn’t know the meaning of quit! lol”

    Guess its all about money.

  227. Reba Belle
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 18:16:58

    Good Evening,

    Under normal circumstances I would be shocked at the mudslinging going on–right now–under my book review, but I can only shake my head and say, “I’m not surprised.”

    Please consider giving Caitrina Hunter’s/DAM’s comments the attention she deserves. I certainly did. Nothing.

    I am NOT posting on Amazon (I’ve been banned from posting comments) and if I were it would be under my screen name “Reba Belle.” In addition, anywhere that I go to talk about this mess I will use “Reba Belle” because to do anything less would be beneath me.

    I thank everyone for helping me in this horrendous situation and I hope that the other issues involving DAM and the fund-raiser, DAM and “her” publishing business, DAM and threatening other authors, will meet with some type of resolution soon.

    You are all in my prayers,

    Reba

  228. Sara Dennis
    Apr 26, 2008 @ 00:46:00

    To follow up with the raffle thing, I talked to the friend who participated and won a read from Hilary Sares. I mentioned that there was question about where the funds had gone, and she stated that she got a letter from Dawn’s sister, thanking her for participating, and explaining where some of the funds went.

    So the raffle may not be something those investigating need to worry about.

  229. Lizbeth
    Apr 26, 2008 @ 01:30:45

    DAM has just announced on her blog that

    “My editor, Hilary Sares, just informed me A Restless Knight, just went into a third print run! Challon just doesn't know the meaning of quit! lol”

    Not surprising with all those manipulated reviews….they duped me. The thing about it is that it won’t happen a second time. I actually liked A Restless Knight but In Her Bed was just a darn duplicate. Seemed like they just wanted to get another book in print as quickly as possible without regard to content. That, combined with the manipulated reviews and DAM’s treatment of Reba Belle mean I will never buy another book by that DAM woman again….bet I’m not the only one. She should enjoy her boast and her self-toast while she still can.

  230. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 26, 2008 @ 05:56:58

    Caitrina Hunter’s latest rant in her Amazon profile page

    “I enjoy targeting reviews and comments for deletion from Amazon.com. My methods are secret and known to no one. I hope to soon expand this talent and delete offending books, music, tv shows, movies, and commercials from my world.

    If you believe any of this then please report to the nearest alien portal (generally located in Starbucks) for transportation back to your home planet.”

    ————————————————-

    The above comments replace her previous rant that said

    “This for the people who post on the discussion boards. I’n NOT Deborah MacGillivay. I’m me and while things may have changed in my life – it is none of your business.

    Jersey Girl was mean and vicious and mocking the death of my daughter. I didn’t even to the funeral. My daughter’s future is green grass and a marble headstone. You are squandering yours.

    Steve Hedge, Jersey Girl , Peter what’s his name and the others can all go frolic on the beach like the children you are.

    I don’t know a damned thing about Reba Belle and don’t care now. She made her bed so let her lie in it. I once thought she might be an interesting person because of her damned peacocks. She’ll probably murdered them because I like them.

    I see you as a bunch of Stepford Reviewers following Reba and Peter. Fine.

    Have a nice life but keep your stuff out of my life.

    My opinion is my opinion. I’m entitled to the same 1st Amendment rights as you are and I’m not a target for your amusement. I will report it again to Amazon.”

  231. Steve Hedge
    Apr 26, 2008 @ 07:20:46

    That is hysterical, PD. ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!! What happened to her everyone has a right to his or her opinion and long live the 1st Amendment proclamations? Now, it’s anything I don’t like I will use my secret weapon to destroy. I have rarely seen such lunacy posted for all the public to see than this case. I just have to wonder now if she is faking being crazy or really is at this point.

  232. S Andrew Swann
    Apr 26, 2008 @ 11:00:41

    FYI – SF author Charlie Stross jumped on Scalzi’s one-star bandwagon.

  233. Lynette Rees
    Apr 26, 2008 @ 14:31:39

    I love Tess Gerritsen’s books and her blog. She’s entitled to her opinion.

    Nowadays, we have to be so careful, walking around on eggshells for fear of upsetting people with our words. Everyone gets offended so easily.

    It’s a shame that Tess now feels the need to close her blog down — I for one shall miss it. I never found anything she had to say offensive.

    Tess, in my opinion, has the last laugh … all the way to the bank.

    Don’t let them grind you down, Tess.

    Reviews personally don’t bother me. They don’t sell books though half as much as word-of-mouth does. In fact if someone’s book gets a stinking review it makes me want to read it more!

  234. Rae
    Apr 27, 2008 @ 14:49:35

    I have been following this off and on at Amazon and it has got out of hand. I came to the conclusion that people are just being petty and the old saying GET A LIFE AND MOVE ON. It got to the point to where I did not want to go to the boards I have complained to Amazon myself about some of the posters carrying it to far to where it borders on harassment to all parties. I will NOT sign the petiton

  235. Rae
    Apr 27, 2008 @ 15:08:53

    OMG I cannot believe how childlike some people are! Now you are attacking Tess Gerritsen – everyone is intitled to an opinion just because the opinion does not align with yours is no reason to be nasty (Anne). No I have never read a book by TG.

  236. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 27, 2008 @ 16:36:49

    To Rae

    You came to the conclusion that people are just being petty. Obviously you didn’t understand the gravity of the situation. If you’d been threatened the way that Reba Belle has been threatened, you wouldn’t think it was petty. You say that you will not sign the petiton. Maybe if you look at the threats to Reba, you will reconsider.

    As to Tess Gerritsen, she made a bad choice of words originally, giving the impression (wrongly, as she subsequently made clear) that MacGillivray made a bigger mistake in getting caught than doing the nasty deeds she was caught for. Personally, I never thought Tess really meant it to be interpreted that way and I am sad that she decided to cease blogging, but it should teach us all a lesson that we have to be very careful what we write on the internet.

  237. Meeka
    Apr 27, 2008 @ 21:32:39

    I will not sign the Ipetition either. I have read Tess Gerritsen’s books and I read her blog. Lynette Rees I agree with you all the way.

    I think Tess Gerritsen is a remarkable Author and the people who take offence to her blogs obviously haven’t read her work on there from start to finish and actually taken it all in.

  238. azteclady
    Apr 27, 2008 @ 21:40:08

    Meeka, you say,

    obviously haven't read her work on there from start to finish and actually taken it all in.

    By the same token, you (and a few others) obviously haven’t read all the issues surrounding the petition.

    Otherwise, you would see that it has pretty much nothing all to do with your idol Ms Gerritsen, and a helluva lot to do with fraud (on the readers who rely on reviews from amazon to purchase books and other items there), to threats against innocent children and other family members of Reba Belle–whom you (and others) apparently don’t consider important enough to even mention.

    Go figure, what with truth and honesty and all that being so important to Ms Gerritsen and her fans.

  239. Meeka
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 00:54:08

    Azteclady, I’m not condoning at all that what DAM has done is right or the norm for an Author.

    But I just dont see how dragging Tess Gerritsens name through the mud for giving her opinion or her views on the subject on her blog.(which last time I checked everyone has a right to voice their opinions and views freely)

  240. Ann Somerville
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 02:52:40

    Meeka: No one has dragged Tess’ name through the mud. People have criticised her views and her (by her own admission) ill-chosen words, and they have disagreed with her stance. They have also disagreed with her supporters coming over here and making a large number of personal attacks in defence of their favourite author. What frustrates me about her fans like you coming over here is that your defence of her right to speak her mind does not seem to go along with a recognition of everyone else’s right to speak their mind, or that the issue of free speech is very much what the Amazon petition is about.

    Reba is being bullied, stalked, and pilloried in an organised fashion because she dared to exercise her right as a consumer and voice her opinion that a book she’d handed good money over for, wasn’t as good as the previous book she’d read from that author. Now, to Deborah MacGillivray, that was the same as ‘dragging her name through the mud’ and she is waging a vicious war to silence the criticism. All it’s doing is making her look worse.

    Tess owned up to her mistakes. No one denied or denies her right to express herself, or is criticising her as a person. However everyone – you, me, her, Nora Roberts, George W. – who expresses a view in public, is likely to attract attention and at times criticism for those views. That’s just part of the job of being a public person, and at her level of success, Tess Geritsen is very much a public person when she offers opinions, especially on something as ragingly controversial as the situation with Amazon reviews.

    I wish you and your fellow fans could see what Deborah MacGillivray cannot – disagreement does not equal personal abuse. I’ve read here and at Tess’ blog outright accusations that those disagreeing with Tess are failures, jealous, frustrated wannabe authors, don’t have a life, want to suppress dissent – and that’s just the polite stuff. There’s no need to make it personal. Tess said something, the commenters here and elsewhere have said their piece. No one is offering to track Tess or her supporters down, track her children and her grandparents down because their opinions are contrary to other people’s – but that’s what is happening to Reba.

    This isn’t about Tess Gerritsen. It’s about fraud, bullying, and unconscionable behaviour by a small number of thuggish authors and their supporters. Tess is undoubtedly ruing the day she stepped into the mess. I for one wish she hadn’t because it’s been a huge distraction from the real issue, has caused her distress and led to massive ill-feeling on both sides. But please, set aside your wish to defend Tess and try to see the big picture. If you don’t condone DAM’s behaviour, then sign the petition. Signing the petition is not supporting Tess’ critics. It’s saying DAM’s kind of bullying behaviour needs to be stopped. That’s all it’s saying.

  241. Peter Durward Harris
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 05:45:24

    Caitrina Hunter’s latest rant in her Amazon profile page

    The truth is not a defense here because there is no truth in Amazon.com. The truth and I are victims of Amazon cyberbullies and cyberterrorists who wear white robes and hoods. I folded my tent having been forced out of Amazon by them.

    ————————————–

    Really? Coming from her?

  242. Nora Roberts
    Apr 28, 2008 @ 06:14:32

    The petition has nothing to do with Tess, Tess’s blog, comments here or comments there about Tess or her blog. Lumping them together is very short-sighted.

    The petition deals with Amazon, DAM’s gaming of their system and her bullying of Reba Belle. That is the issue. Signing it or not is certainly a personal choice. But I’d hope it’s signed or not signed for the right reasons.

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