Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Do you think authors can be vindictive?

I know some authors choose not to read reviews of their work. I thrive on them...probably because they've all been good. But I know a bad review will come and it will probably sting, but I am mature enough to understand that not every story is for everyone.

My debut, A Bitch Named Karma, has a pretty good rating on Goodreads, about 4-1/4 stars. Most rate it 3, 4, or 5. I know not every book can appeal to every person and I am completely open to critisism. I expect bad ratings now and again. But it irks me when someone gives it a low rating and no explanation.

There is one particular rating- only one star. The reader is a fellow author. Today I was on Goodreads and for the heck of it, checked when she had given me the rating. was after I read and rated her short story. I did not enjoy it, it had almost no plot, and it just didn't make much sense to me. But in my review, I tried to be as courteous as possible.

Do you think she could have read the review and without even reading my story, gave it a bad review?? I know bad reviews sting, but should an author be vindictive like that?? I have no way of knowing if my theory is correct...she could have read my book, disliked it, and then rated it poorly. But she gave no reason as to why there was such a low rating.

I have since deleted my review of her book, but I may go back in and write something to explain my reason for the low rating. And BTW, the book has only a 2-1/2 star rating I'm not the only one who didn't like it.

Has anyone else experienced anything like this???


  1. Sometimes it is not even worth over thinking. if you are proud of your work, and the reviews are overall pretty good, there is no sense in dwelling on the reasoning as to why one individual may have "not liked" your work.

  2. I agree....and if someone legitimately didn't like my work, I am fine with that. But if it was done vindictively to lower my rating..well, that doesn't sit well with me.

  3. Some people are vindictive, no matter their profession. And yes, some authors can be real babies about their work. I mean -- bad reviews sting -- but it's part of what you sign up for when you publish.

    Here's my worst experience: I reviewed a book and gave it 4 stars. Somebody I met on the Amazon Vine discussion board bought the book based on my review and hated it. This other reviewer bashed the book and then bashed me for liking it. Then the author emailed me to complain that my good review attracted this buyer who wrote a bad review. THEN, the two of them proceeded to have a flame war on Amazon, dragging my name in occasionally.

    I blocked the author's emails, quit the Amazon Vine program and hope never to hear from either of them again. Somebody went through all the Amazon reviews I'd ever written and rated them unhelpful. My own book had not been released yet, so it emerged unscathed, surprisingly enough.

    Two big babies. But luckily with short attention spans.

  4. Okay, Dianne... HOLY COW!! That is a nightmare scenario!! I can't believe people can be such babies... and have such time on their hands to waste in such stupid vindictive ways!!

    As for Stephanie - I'd just leave it alone. You DO NOT need to apologize for what you rated a book, or explain it. Don't assume she rated your book badly because you rated hers that way, but also don't assume she read and hated it either. As easy as it is to get wrapped up in it all, letting it go is the best answer - and you come out looking the best.

    The thing is, great books are rated poorly all the time. Best-sellers like the Twilight books and Harry Potter get one-stars and scathing reviews. I think real readers understand that it happens. And if I'm looking at reviews, I completely ignore the ones that say nothing, because then I have no idea why they didn't like it. I just chalk it up to someone who may have a different opinion than me.

    Don't let some random person get you upset. You almost have to laugh at the patheticness of someone who would do that.

  5. Okay - I meant the patheticness of someone who would give you a low rating because you gave them one, and NOT that you are pathetic because you let it upset you!!! :)

  6. I would like to say that obviously she didn't like it because if her short story is any indication, you're not on the same wave length. I would like to say that, but I can't.

    It does sounds like she was vindictive. If someone didn't like my book (if I were published), I wouldn't read their book right away. I would wait to read it when emotions aren't flaring and then rate it based on how I felt about the BOOK and not on how hurt I was at her low rating of my book. Like you said, not everyone is going to like your book. That's why it's a subjective industry. :)

  7. I'm not yet at that stage of my book journey. I'm bracing myself for reader reviews. Can someone wake me up when it's over?

  8. LOL Samantha!! I love reviews...when they're good, anyway! It's such a high. The bad ones are few and far between, so the good ones more than make up for them.

  9. A similar situation is exactly why I don't review books much anymore - unless it's an author who I *know* isn't going to read/rate mine or if it's a close friend who already knows I like their books & they like mine. There's just too much potential for misunderstandings and hard feelings. Not worth it, IMO. I leave most of the reviewing to the "reader-not-writer" crowd. :-)