Talk About Timing…

So, yesterday I published a post all about how I had a hard time biting my tongue and leaving alone the review of a rather excellent book that was (IMHO) unfairly criticized by another reader. Today, I discovered the story of Kathleen Hale…trad-pubbed writer who went nuts after a bad review. I’m so tempted to remove my previous post, but I won’t for the following reason:

I never said it was right to respond to a negative review. In fact, I chastised myself for even wanting to. Readers can be jerks, yes, but we are entitled to our opinions. No one – not author or reader – should attack us for it. They sure as hell shouldn’t stalk us for it. If I write a review of The Long Walk citing “too much sex,” or “too many female characters,” that makes me an idiot. It doesn’t give Stephen King the right to track down my address and show up at my door.

There are reasons I don’t FB or Tweet or visit any social network site aside from Goodreads. I want a little distance from the psychos out there. I want to be able to talk about books, and authors, and characters without fear. Standard concerns involve indie authors, assumed to be running wild, ready to attack any reader for less than 5 stars, but Ms. Hale is not in indie. She’s a traditionally published author someone should have hired a keeper for.

Sound harsh? This woman STALKED a reader both online and IN PERSON. She showed up at the front door of her house!Any sympathy I had for this writer (and I DID sympathize with her, at first) was completely gone the moment I read that. I stopped caring about the reader’s questionable behavior. The only thing that mattered was the image I can’t get out of my head of every author I’ve ever given a negative review to peeking in through my windows.

Liars will lie, and bullies will bully. It isn’t fair, and it sucks. I won’t argue that wrongs were committed on both sides. They were. But only one of these people took an ugly fight from the internet to the streets…and that’s what Ms. Hale will be remembered for.

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2 thoughts on “Talk About Timing…

  1. I’m a reader and an honest reviewer and I have no intention of changing the way I do those things. This current situation makes reviewers like myself think about what we do. Its straight intimidation – Am I safe? Will some crazy author start stalking me? I am not intimidated and neither should any other honest reviewer be intimidated. I’m pissed off and if anything I will make an even more devoted effort to keep on doing what I’m doing. I will not run from social media or change my name. I won’t hide under my bed because some spoiled arrogant author has decided I don’t have the right to express my honest opinion about her book.

    I will keep going for the hard-working honest authors out there who understand one opinion is just one opinion. I will keep reviewing so these authors get the reviews that help sell their books. Keep in mind Ms. Hale represents a very tiny minority and the vast majority of writers appreciate what reviewers do and are on our side. Honestly speaking – An occasional 1* review lends credibility to the 5* reviews.

    Do reviewers get it wrong sometimes – Do they get facts incorrect. Sure they do. They’re human and they observe from their personal point of view, (To some people one word translates to explicit sex) but it’s still only one review and most readers know when they are reading a badly done review.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s true, Christine. Most readers can cut through the bull on their own. I’m glad you aren’t letting intimidation tactics dissuade you from honestly reviewing any book! It’s a service to every reader out there!

      Liked by 1 person

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