Not All Authors Are Trolls

Have you been following the Goodreads negative review kerfluffle? The Guardian has a nice round-up. There are two things I want to say in response:

1) Not all authors are trolls. We’re a diverse group of people with diverse, mostly sane, reactions to reviews.

2) If you wrote a negative review of ASHFALL, thank you. Thank you for the one-star reviews. Thank you for the two-star reviews. Those of you who stuck the book out even though you didn’t enjoy it and took the time to write a review did me a huge favor, and I’m grateful. I know reviews are for the reader, and you didn’t write the one-star review for me, but still, thank you. All reviews help sales, even one-star reviews. For a full discussion of why, see this blog post.

Yes, this. (Image via Zazzle)

28 thoughts on “Not All Authors Are Trolls

  1. Honestly, if someone tells me a book is bad, I’m more likely to read it because I really want to prove them wrong πŸ™‚

    I have had Ashfall on my to-read list for a while now and I really need to get around to reading it!

  2. Yes, read ASHFALL and write a scathing one-star review, would you? Preferably one that generates a HUGE controversy and links in The Guardian.

    I often read books based on negative reviews. It depends on what the reviewer says, though. Things that make the reviewer dislike a book might make me salivate to read it.

  3. Well said. I usually don’t blog about a book I don’t like, but with so many books on my TBR list, I don’t usually stick out a book that doesn’t hold my attention. Except twice, and one turned out better than I thought, the other stunk. Oh well. Everyone likes different things, and that is what makes the world great. Diversity in all things. : )

  4. NO kidding, my favorite review was from a person who gave me 3 stars and said my book didn’t make any sense! In fact I was planning on blogging about it this week. πŸ˜‰

  5. I usually don’t talk about books I don’t like either. But I hope that any of you who dislike ASHFALL will talk about that on your blogs and Goodreads. Negative reviews are helpful to readers, and sometimes I learn something from them, too.

  6. Ashfall sounds like a great book. I just watched a show on NatGeo about the supervolcano of Yellowstone. I’m adding this book to my TBR list!

  7. Well, I don’t mind if someone has read my book and doesn’t like it. That is fair. But last night when I logged into my goodreads account I saw no review but a rating of 3! And my book is’t out yet! And I know no review copies have been sent. So my FB friends did some investigating and found out who did it and I don’t even know the girl. I asked her how she got a copy of my book and my FB friends asked her the same thing. This morning her rating was deleted! Some people are strange. Why would you take the time to give a book you haven’t read, a bad rating? That is just distasteful. And goodreads should not allow people to rate books they haven’t read.

    • It’s possible that she just clicked on the rating button to add a book to her shelf, or made a mistake. Almost a year ago I got a two-star rating for ASHEN WINTER, and I sent the person a nice note saying it wasn’t written yet and I was going to do my darndest to write at least a three star book. She was really nice about it–it was just a mistake. We’re all human.

  8. Tiffany, I see many unreleased books with ratings and I admit, it makes no sense to me. I don’t understand that logic.

    Mike, I agree. Most authors, in fact, are not trolls but decent people. I’ve written less than glowing reviews and a few very negative reviews. Whatever the authors felt about my reviews, they had the good sense not to say it in public. One author posted a polite thank you on a review that was negative. Classy, and definitely not trollish.

    I admit, the reviews responsible for a kerfuffle make me more inclined to check out the book for myself and see if it’s worth all of the fuss. Usually, in my experience, they’re not.

    • I’m just going why oh why couldn’t this have happened to ASHFALL instead of The Tempest? I know it’s a heartache for the author, but dang… all this publicity is really going to help.

  9. LOL Mike. Tell you what, I’ll revise my review, call ASHFALL the worst excuse for a book ever written then you get all nasty and we’ll both get lots of PR. πŸ˜›

    • Awesome! Let’s do it! I briefly thought about launching a blog site called authors trashing authors, where we’d pair authors off to read and trash each other’s books. It would be a parody of the common practice of trading reviews. But then I realized it would be a lot of work and drank another beer instead.

  10. I generally try to stay away from the drama, but I’d heard about this. It makes me sad when a community as a whole lashes out-whether it be authors OR bloggers. I believe firmly that authors are people too, and sometimes they respond like people do. I hear people say they’ll never read a certain author’s books because of a bad reaction and that makes me sad. It’s like saying that someone won’t be friends with me because this one time I made a faux pas. I rather like to live by the sentiment that I’ll be judged by whatever judgment I choose to pass on people…I’m definitely in the ‘benefit of the doubt’ camp.

    In my experience, 100% of the authors I’ve worked with have been absolutely gracious and wonderful. I am grateful for my interactions with them and for the friendships I’ve made with them over the last couple of years.

    (and btw, I read Ashfall and really enjoyed it. I live about an hour south of Yellowstone Park, so it caught my interest with the blurb. I thought it was incredibly well-done and I enjoyed every bit. I reviewed it back in December and had several friends pick it up!)

    • Darn it! I’ll make sure the sequel sucks, so you can write a negative review and we’ll both get lots of publicity. Foiled by my good book, blargh! πŸ™‚

      Seriously, thanks for spending some of your precious reading time with ASHFALL and posting a review. I appreciate it.

      My theory is this: in any bin of mixed nuts, there’re going to be 1-2% wingnuts. That goes for authors and bloggers. I’m not addressing the wingnuts with this post, I’m addressing the 98% of authors and bloggers who are awesome! (That sound so fanboi. Puke. Oh well. Hopefully you get the idea.)

  11. I’m sorry Mike – I wrote a glowing review of Ashfall — I guess I’ll team up with Bea and we can tag team a bad review, post it all over twitter, get into a flame and the like and drum up some controversy for you. It seems like anything drama spurs sales. Maybe that is all this is? Marketing ploys taken right from the Kardashian Marketing Guide Book. Thanks for being sane.

    • Yes, let’s do that! You can write a scathing denunciation of the prevalence of potty issues in ASHFALL, complete with insinuations that I have the mentality of a two-year-old. (Sadly, somewhat true.) I’ll mock the color choices on your blog or something. Sound good? I guess if we’re taking a page from the Kardashians we should have a huge fake wedding, right? Let me check with my wife . . . um, she says no, sorry about that.

    • What a great attitude to have, Mike. Perhaps I need to revise my rating of ASHFALL. Throw in a few more GIFs and tweet it like it’s no tomorrow? Add a bunch of snarky sarcasm?

  12. Great post! I have been watching everything unfold on the sidelines but it is getting out of control. If I were an author I would much prefer an honest review as apposed to a fluff review just to appease the author. Everyone is different and not everyone is going to like the same thing. Any idea where they sell that shirt?

  13. I totally agree with you Mike, as long as a review is done honestly, bad or good, I am thankful for it because it is feedback.

    Bad reviews done out of spite or just ot bash an author I do not agree with. That’s wrong. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this happen over and over again.

    • “Done out of spite” or “just to bash an author” imply some kind of knowledge of the reviewer’s intention. As authors, we usually don’t have that. What a reviewer sees as fun and snarky and author might take as spiteful. That’s why I try–and encourage other authors–to be thankful for all reviews. The only exception are those that include hate speech, threats, completely personal stuff (a novelist’s weight, e.g.), or misogyny. Those should be reported to the site hosting them, in my opinion.

    • Mike, critical reviews are good and necessary but I’ve seen reviewers actually state that they were writing bad reviews just because they hated an author. Also, I’ve seen reviews so offensive, I couldn’t finish reading them – reviews where they talk about how much they hate the author or want to do bodily harm to them or even want to sue them. These kinds of reviews are a big no-no. I’ve seen things on both sides, the authors and reviewers, get really out of hand. The bullying happening online is terrible, IMHO. It is why I don’t get involved anymore. Spiteful bullying is not my thing.

    • Yes, I agree, Melissa. If a reviewer is criticizing the author instead of the book, she’s doing a disservice to her readers. If she’s threatening an author, she’s clear over the line to crazyland. But a review that focuses on the work is okay in my view even if it is extremely critical.

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