Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bad Press

How not to respond to a bad review...

Big Al (see above link) gives a mildly critical review of a self-published novel called, for some wildly un-circumspect reason, The Greek Seaman (no [more] puns please), in which he says he likes the essential story, but was distracted by the number of typos and/or spelling errors. He also has some issues with the author's grammar and (later in the comment section) some awkward sentence construction.

Now, go and check the rest of the long comments section.

OK - you couldn't be bothered? Let me precis it here.

The author, Jacqueline Howitt, responds to this 2-star review by cutting and pasting some 4-star and 5-star reviews she had on Amazon, in order to prove to Big Al that he is wrong! She insists that she is a good writer! He must have downloaded the wrong version! He however, counter-insists that his was the correct and latest version, and that it was indeed full of errors.

Then some other people chip in and chide her for being petty, unprofessional and overly-sensitive...

And she bites back, bites back again, and yet again... And the chides keep coming in, only now they are because she is biting back against these chiders. They keep telling her that she is only making matters worse, but she refuses to apologize or to acknowledge the inappropriateness of her responses and back down. She is obviously not reading what people are saying and has gone limbic.

Eventually she descends to such a level of incoherent rage and paranoid frustration at these people she sees as attacking her (which they are, but not for the reasons she seems to think) that all she can scream is, "Fuck off"!

Twice. Charming! The right thing to say to her audience of potential customers? No.

As one commenter observes: "Incredible. Absolutely, positively, inanely and asininely incredible. Utterly and inexplicably self-destructive, as well. That's one author I know I'll never waste time reading. Thanks for the heads-up, Big Al. You've done an incalculable service to readers everywhere."

Now no-one wants to read her damned book.* If she had just shut the fuck up and taken it on the chin...


I waded accidentally into this quagmire from a link on Mercer Machine's blog -- it was a post at TheWorstBookEver. There, Aaron analyses the issues much less aggressively than I have here, and suggests the following:

Here is the correct response: Thank you for the review, I will look into the formatting errors and have it re-edited. I am so glad you liked the main story and I hope once it has been worked through you can review it again and maybe we can move the 2 stars up to 5.


* The bunfight continues at Amazon.


Michael McClung said...

As I commented on another bolg, it is a train wreck with pirhanas and toxic waste and sharks with lasers on their heads. And Richard Simmons. You want to look away, but really, you just. Can't.

Jude said...

She needs a proofreader.

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