11 June 2015

Reviews & Entitlement: or, how to look like a tool.

Original image licensed by Stock Unlimited,
Firefly font by Sean Coady. This image (c) KEB.
Two things popped up on my FB feed at around the same time today: this marvelous forum war over a simple one-star review; and this post where a reviewer receives a subtle response from an author when she declines his book review request.

Five days ago, Author Dylan Saccoccio totally lost it over a single poor review on Goodreads, despite the fact the book overall nabbed four stars from the public.

His initial argument is summed up as, I'm a self-published author and I've only marketed my books through social media and I've spent "over 100 hours a week" [his words] promoting my book and your 1-star review is hurting my business so you should take it down. Because, logic.

After a spirited game of ping-pong between the reviewer, the author, and other Goodreads members, Saccoccio's argument spiraled into, "Someone that leaves 1 star reviews on someone's work who didn't wrong them, who they've never met, that's IS [sic] THE MEASURE OF A BAD PERSON." Because, logic...and righteousness!!

...And now he's internet-famous for something incredibly stupid.

While Saccoccio's story is blowing up the book blogs, The Mad Reviewer's post from two years ago has also resurfaced. Even though it's from two years ago, it's another case where an author's bad behavior can come back to haunt you.

Carrie Slager, who writes as The Mad Reviewer, declined to review a book by author Robin Wyatt Dunn because he ignored her status ("currently closed") as well as her submissions policy.

Slager included links to this information in her rejection email to Dunn, and his response was a classy, "Here for my answer to your answer: http://www.ign.com/boards/threads/whats-a-cheap-quick-and-painless-way-to-kill-yourself.189242754/." Immortalized on the internet (and in his Google results) foreverrrr.


While many are saying the lesson from all of the craziness is for authors to never directly respond to reviews or rejections of any kindI think perhaps another key point to make is

No one owes an author a review.

Readers do not owe authors positive or negative reviews, regardless of the work involved on the author's part, regardless of the skill (or lack thereof) of the writing itself. Just because a reader possesses a book does not actually require him to read it; just because she reads the book, she's not required to review it. These things are gifts, not entitlements.

Authors should never forget that readers are what makes a work successful or unsuccessful (not "bad" or "good"--that's on the writer). It never works out in the author's favor to slam, belittle, or intimidate those who are so essential to a writer's prosperity.

The North Remembers; The Internet Never Forgets!

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