Paula looks at unprofessional behaviour.
As writers we
have to take the bad reviews with the good. There seems to be an unwritten code
of conduct that authors should not comment on or argue with any bad reviews. Maybe
at times we would like to respond, especially to what we perceive as an unjust
comment, but we have to accept the fact that not everyone will like our books.
Earlier this week, I came across an example of a well-known
author taking to Facebook to complain about a one-star review for her recently
published novella. She named the reviewer and, worse still, called her an
idiot. I considered that very unprofessional.
It seems the author’s many fans then swung into action and (I
assume, although I did not actually see this on Amazon) proceeded to criticise
the reviewer or maybe they complained to Amazon, with the result that the
review was deleted, either by the reviewer herself or by Amazon.
The author then proceeded to thank her fans for their support in getting the
I read the actual review before it was removed because the
author provided a screen shot on Facebook. It was actually more of a general
criticism of novellas in general (which is fair enough, since some people like
them, and some don’t). Her opinion was that they were too long to be called
short stories, but tended to take a long time to ‘get going’ and then ended
abruptly, and that this also applied to this novel. She also said she had read
other books by this author and had enjoyed them, but called this a ‘half-assed
job.’ While I admit she could have been more polite, I have seen far more
critical reviews than this one.
It certainly didn’t warrant the rude reaction by the author,
and I admit I was shocked that any author would publicly name a reviewer who
gave a one-star review, let alone call her an idiot. As authors, I believe we
should remain professional at all times, and perhaps even more so on any social
Interestingly, a couple of days later, both the author’s original
post on FB about the review, and her later thanks to her fans for getting the review removed appear to have 'disappeared' from Facebook.
I’m now wondering if someone (her agent, maybe, or her publisher?) took her to
task for her posts?
Should authors maintain a professional silence, or should
they bite back if they find a review they don't like? What do you think?