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.