Tag Archives: flame wars

If You Can’t Handle the Review, Disengage

There is a new brou-ha-ha in the author blogging world. As often happens, I found out about it on John Scalzi’s Whatever blog. Basically there are accusations of a “YA Mafia” who have the power to prevent authors they don’t like from being published. Both Scalzi and Holly Black have written funny and scathing rebuttals. Basically, authors are too lazy to sabotage other people’s work. Even if they did, the agents and publishers would ignore those types of requests.

Alas, the publishing industry does not, and cannot, protect (online) reviewers from insecure authors.

I’ve seen authors post comments on negative goodreads reviews (and I don’t think I’ve ever seen this go well).
comment by phoebenorth

No Trolls Allowed by hawanjaWORD. A couple years of ago I defended a friend’s bad review on Goodreads. The author in question is very successful and writes books, screenplays, and comic books. Yet bad reviews seemed to shatter his world. I realized that the author had to be extremely insecure. And he had to have the last comment despite claiming that we were the ones who kept the thread alive.

I decided to boycott his work since he is a troll. Unlike other authors I have consciously stopped reading (for various reasons), it has been a bit difficult to avoid giving him any of my money.

Alas, other authors are also trolls, or displaying troll-ish behavior. On this LiveJournal thread, an author* who received a bad review keeps prolonging the negative discussions despite claiming the opposite:

I’m out — I hate internet debate with a fiery passion.

I love Internet debate. I do not love Internet flame wars. There is a difference.

The former can be thoughtful, polite, and enlightening; the latter is like watching talking heads scream at other on a new show. I prefer to not wear asbsetos gloves while reading about books on my laptop.

Reviewers: If an author metamorphoses into a troll on your site, disengage. Stop responding. Whatever you do or say will piss them off, so do nothing. Don’t spend more of your valuable time stoking their neuroses.

Authors: If you are an insecure writer who is not very good at taking criticism (and honestly, I count myself in that camp), disengage. Don’t read the reviews. Don’t respond by attacking or threatening the reviewers. Don’t try to prove your superiority by getting in the last word. Inciting a flame war with people who took the time to write a review of your work is not worth it. You’ll get the responses “ Dude, you’re kind of a prick.”and “Troll!” People following the “discussion”  may stop buying your work. Worse, they may encourage others to do so as well.

Image: No Trolls Allowed by Hawanja on Deviant Art

* I have not read this author’s work, nor had any plans to.  I don’t care if you buy her books or if you enjoyed them.