When Authors Are Criticised

Authors labour over their work.  Their work becomes a part of them and eventually when they are proud enough of it, they release it into the wild for others to read so I can imagine it stings when someone gives a bad review.  However, surely it’s par for the course?  If you don’t want someone to have an opinion, keep it to yourself.  Opinions, they say, are like assholes – everybody has one.  Note: You may have guessed I have never submitted work for critique this side of high school but I’d like to think I could handle it a little bit better than this screwball:

Teenager gives bad review.  Man feels aggrieved.  Travels over 400 miles to smash a wine bottle over her head while she stacks shelves.  Eek.

It got me thinking about how others react.  There will be some Zen-like people who just let it pass them by, there will be people who are blissfully ignorant of others opinions and then there are others who extract revenge.  The example above is possibly the most extreme example but here are some others:

Richard Ford on his bad review from Alice Hoffman:

Interviewer: Is that a true story that your wife took a pistol and shot a bad review Alice Hoffman gave you?

Ford: Yes, it is a true story. Shot her book. Seemed so good to do. We had another copy so I went out and shot it. I don’t read my reviews anymore.

Stephen Leather argues with Amazon reviewers – see here.  Personally I have never purchased a Stephen Leather book.  He may have some good ones but I downloaded a free book before and it was pretty dire.  I guess that’s the chance you take with a free book though.  His books that were traditionally published and have filtered through a team of professionals are probably more polished and a better read.  Regardless, I think arguing with reviewers is a waste of time.  We all have different taste in books.  You can’t force someone to like your work.

Alice Hoffman argues with a journalist on Twitter and publishes her phone number to encourage fans to call and abuse her.  Wow, seems like she can dish it out but can’t take it.  Remind me to never read an critique an Alice Hoffman book.  See story here.

I’d love to know where you stand on this.  Would you extract revenge for a bad review?  Have you any examples of other cases?  Get in touch!

Di 🙂

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