Bookish Thoughts: Bully Authors



Well I’ve done something that swore I would never do.  I redacted a review.  Not because I wanted to, but because an unhappy author sent an email to my place of employment in what I can only assume was an attempt to have me fired.  After responding back, which I shouldn’t have, with the comments that I am one small opinion, authors should not contact reviewers it is unprofessional, and that all reviews help sell books even the negative ones.  I decided to pull my reviews and lower the star rating to one and add the reason for redacting my review.  I was bullied, the author attempted to make me feel guilty for my review, which I don’t, but since she knows where I work and has already contacted me there I felt I had no other choice but to pull the review.  I can’t afford to lose my job right now.

I have taken the following steps to help ensure my safety in the future.  I have removed all remaining connections between my job and my reviews through my user profiles.  I have reported the author to their publisher and Amazon.  I have blocked all emails from this author.  I will be taking the same steps in future cases of harassment from authors.  I am also considering no longer posting my reviews to Amazon at all for any author.  They should not have been able to contact me at work!  Authors should not be able to read personal information, like locations, of those reviewing their books.

Needless to say I am feeling pretty angry and frustrated and scared.  The review wasn’t even that awful, and I pointed out what worked for me and what didn’t.  It was a fair expression of my opinion of their book.  I’m not ready to give up reviewing yet, but if this starts happening regularly I will give it up.   This was very unprofessional behavior by an author writing with a major publishing house and that has won awards.  Has her book never been criticized?

Just for future referenced I will not back down from a review again.  EVER.  I will also be contacting your publisher to report bad behavior.

Have you ever been contacted negatively over a review?  What did you do about it?


Update 10/25/15:  I can see this post is starting to make the rounds and striking a chord with many people, good and bad.  I have completely pulled my redacted review from everywhere because I do not wish for backlash against any author.  Yes, her behavior was unprofessional and wrong, but two wrongs do not make a right.  So I will continue to protect the identity of the author, or start now…  so they do not fall victim to bullying themselves.

I would also like to defend my reviews a bit.  I write honest personal opinions of what I read.  I have always strive to do that as nicely as possible, but anyone can take offence for anything in this world and when it is something you pour your heart and soul into it can be painful when others reject it.  I have reread the original review several times and still stand by it.  It was a fair opinion of this authors work.  Sometimes thought honesty is not what people want to hear.  I had the right to critique her book how I saw fit to share with my peers and she had the right to not like it.  She did not have the right to contact me at my place of employment though.  That is where she is wrong.


26 thoughts on “Bookish Thoughts: Bully Authors

  1. Oh wow! I hope everything works out okay for you. What a horrible situation! The nerve of this author to do what they did is appalling. Reviews are meant to be an opinion of the reader and the fact that they are attacking you for your opinion is completely ridiculous and inappropriate.


  2. Seriously, I can’t believe that an author would actually do this. (not saying I don’t believe you, just shocked that it happened.) Wow, how unprofessional. If that happened to me, I am not sure that I would want to read anything by that author again.


    1. I was shocked and then scared and now I’m angry. Her unsolicited contact was very unprofessional and I won’t be reading or recommending anything they wrote. I would have been alright if they had contacted the blog email, but my work. That was unacceptable.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. No it hasn’t but I must say you are being very professional about it. I’m afraid I would be saying who and what in my angry blog so I have to commend you for keeping it together and being the grown up. What the author did is downright childish.


    1. Thanks for the support. I didn’t totally take the high road though. I did leave a negative rating and comments as to why I pulled the review. I felt thought that other reviewers of the book should be warned about the actions the author took though.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Reblogged this on Just read and commented:
    Hey guys you know how we’ve all been talking about bad reviews…well a fellow blogger posted this as I was floored. I think it’s crazy unprofessional (she’s a librarian by the way, so she literally helps people get books daily) and I think the blogger is much nicer than I would be but what do you think? Let me know!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so sorry this happened to you, that’s awful. Who does that author think she is that it’s okay to contact you in such a way?! Ridiculous. Frankly, I’d love to know who it was so that I can stay away from her books, if you wouldn’t mind sending me an email? Anyone who treats a reader/reviewer like that doesn’t deserve my money and time.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Good lord! This is terrible. Instead of blaming you for the less than stellar review she should take what you have said and maybe try to improve her writing. If her skin is that thin then she is in for one tough ride.
    But how could you be fired from your job for a book review?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks John. Because this is a book I read for work and I am representing the library. Essentially she made herself an unhappy patron along with her author status. I don’t think I would be fired, but I don’t want to take that chance in today’s job market. I thought I had kept the two worlds separate enough, but she still managed to find me. In the future I will no longer be reviewing books I read for work.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Have I ever been contacted by an angry writer over a bad review? You bet I have! The author contacted by employer, phoned by editor, and complained like crazy. Usually my employer stands by what I write, but in this instance it was judged best just to pull the review altogether, since nobody was going to read this self-published turkey anyhow. Knowing I would be doing many more reviews, I just let this one pass.
    One encounters horror stories of loony authors contacting the reviewer and pretending to be a lawyer, threatening to sue unless the negative review is taken down and replaced by a positive one.
    One needs the solid common sense to know that no court in its right mind would ever trouble itself to hear such a case.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I knew they are out there(loony authors), and I’ve even been emailed before, but this one was just a tad out of my comfort zone when she contacted me outside of my blog network. I pulled the review in this case because I don’t want it reflect negatively on public libraries, I read the book for work. In the future though I’m going to fight a little harder and stand by my reviews. Thanks for sharing! I can see this was a pretty mild case of invasion of privacy. Makes one wonder why bother reviewing at all…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This author told my editor, “I wrote this book for my therapy, and he’s trying to undermine my therapy!” Like, I was supposed to know that?
        I try to review each book solely on what I perceive as its merits or demerits as a book. It’s only fair to the reader.

        Liked by 3 people

  8. I hope you never have an experience like that again. I think you did everything within your power to protect the rest of us by reporting the author to Amazon, publisher, etc.. I understand that no one wants a negative review, but honest is honest, right? I’m not sure why the author believed she had the right to attempt to intimidate you. Would you email me who the author is? I will be sure to avoid her books.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I wasn’t contacted negatively over a review, but I had a local author ask me to read and review their books. I really didn’t like their most recent ones, so I asked if they wanted me to write a negative review or not to write anything. They said it was ok to write a negative one, but then asked me what I didn’t like about it. From there I ended up in an argument over email with the author after giving my honest criticism (which they had asked me for). I tried to get out of the conversation but they kept pursuing it; luckily I have not received any further emails after my second attempt to end the argument. I was super hurt about the whole incident – this was someone who approached me to review their books.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I saw this post over on Just Read, and I have to say, I’m completely baffled by this type of response. I’m not an active book reviewer, I’m really just an indie author, and I know how attached I can get to my stories and the characters in them. Slaving away over it every day for a period of around 6 months, polishing and hammering out kinks really gets that attachment going strong, too. But there is definitely a professional way to react to a negative review, and it certainly does *not* involve contacting the reviewer at a place of work for *any* reason whatsoever. That kind of behavior shouldn’t fly, especially not with a publishing house who’s contracted an author.

      I just … wow. It really blows my mind to hear this, and I’m sorry you had to deal with it. Here’s hoping that wherever you go moving forward, nothing like this happens again and you can continue being an honest reviewer!

      Liked by 2 people

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