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 🙂

Trolls!

In the past, the word troll would conjure up an image of a childhood toy with bright-coloured hair that stood on end – a little odd-looking, cute at a push but certainly not offensive.  As I got a little older, I discovered J.R.R Tolkien and trolls became scarier.  But, the new wave of trolls are the worst yet.

The new wave of trolls used to be unseen.  They hid behind computers and tapped out comments designed to offend others but these trolls became bolder and no longer feel the need to be anonymous.  Perhaps it is the thirst for fame.  A lot of people fancy themselves as a model or a comedian or both but does it have to come at the expense of human decency?  Would these people say aloud the things they type?  Trolls are now in the spotlight.  What are they looking for?  Notoriety?  Or is it possible they just don’t think about the impact of their actions?

Glasgow experienced a tragedy on 22 December.  A bin lorry careered out of control and mowed down several shoppers, leaving six people dead and eight people injured.  This was an unfortunate freak accident, the cause of which is yet to be announced, and has impacted on the lives of all involved and the people of Glasgow and throughout Scotland.

A troll from Sunderland (who I won’t name to deny him any further publicity) thought it would be funny to make light of this tragedy in an offensive, vaguely racist joke on Twitter.  He was arrested on suspicion of making a malicious communication.  I think it’s great that the police are cracking down on this kind of thing.  In a way it kind of makes a mockery of freedom of speech but why should people be allowed to spread hatred and hurt with their words?

Katie Hopkins, a so-called celebrity, has been getting away with this for too long.  She regularly appears on television show This Morning and has upset viewers with her snobbish views about children’s names, ginger babies and overweight people.  Almost daily, she posts something on Twitter that someone finds offensive.  While I realise that everyone is entitled to an opinion and we have freedom of speech in Britain, I don’t think her latest set of tweets are acceptable and fall into the same category as the troll from Sunderland – malicious communication.  Her comments were not about the bin lorry crash in Glasgow but about the news that a nurse from Glasgow had contracted Ebola and was being transferred to London for treatment.  I’m loathe to repeat her tweet and give her any more attention than she is already attracting but here is what was said:

Not only is she being disrespectful to Scottish people but she is being disrespectful to our health service (of which I’m sure she has no first hand experience or knowledge) and the people who work within it.  I believe she is trying to incite hatred between England and Scotland, off the back of the recent independence referendum.

This can be further emphasised by this:

and the fact that she is trying to rile our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon:

” Dear small woman, the people of England would like a thank you for the health care we are providing for your ebola victim.”

Surely this goes beyond freedom of speech.  She has been reported to police for a hate crime against overweight people and others feel it is time she was charged for her hateful comments about Scotland.  Please see link to Change.org link below and if you agree, please sign.

http://chn.ge/1xvuU6M

The petition is to be sent to Police Scotland and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to action.  With a bit of luck, Katie Hopkins will be charged and will perhaps think before spreading any more poison.

With regards to the ongoing battle against trolls, the internet is a difficult place to police but I believe good will prevail.  It’s up to the people with common decency to keep the peace.  Look out trolls, we’re after you!