When Authors Attack – or, how not to handle a bad review

I admit it: I don’t always give good reviews. I don’t give a lot of really bad reviews, which I think is partially due to making good choices about what to read. There have also been a few books that I declined to review, usually because I declined to finish reading them. I don’t get paid for this; my payment comes in the books I receive and the fun I have airing my opinions and sharing my reviews. If a books is so bad I don’t finish it, I don’t want to waste any more time on it.

This exchange from Big Al’s Books and Pals is both hilarious and horrifying. Ms. Howett needs to learn a very important lesson: the Internet is FOREVER. I cannot tell you (and would never tell you) the things I have said online that I wish I could take back. But you can’t. People cut and paste and screenshot and there’s the Wayback Machine and there are cached pages and it’s out there. You can’t recall it.

There are some big mistakes here. You can’t demand that a reviewer take down a review because you don’t like it! That’s just crazy! Also, I would suggest that if you are going to deny — loudly and publicly — that there are any problems with your writing and grammar, that you make certain your comments are grammatically correct. Run spell check (“poisenous” is incorrect in both American and British English). Review the various forms of its and your. I know that I have stated here before in reviews that bad grammar and spelling will kick me right out of a story; every penny you spend on an editor is an investment. (I can even make some referrals, for the indies and the self-published.) But most of all, not everyone will love your work. Sometimes, commenting just makes matters worse…but it can be really funny for the rest of us.

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