We all want to hear good things about our writing, but if a reviewer has a nitpick or two about our work. here is how not to respond to it:
The author in question has obviously picked up some naval language in the course of her research.
Personally, I love it when authors respond to my review of their book by saying "Thank you" (or something more when it's a very positive review), and I'm glad none of these flamewars has occured on my blog so far. I love it when they leave a comment, but email is fine as well. Some authors do both, and that leaves me extremely happy! :)
Mrs. Howett can be certain that I'll never even touch one of her novels, let alone read it. Although her comments were highly entertaining and amusing, I prefer not to deal with childish people.
Howett has now made the pages of a British national newspaper:
I've seen meltdowns like this on Amazon too (now sadly deleted). The only right response to a review is "thank you". Even if you have to say it between gritted teeth.
OMG!!!!! I started to read the comments to this review, and I couldn't believe Howett's responses!!! I have to agree with the reviewer's thoughts on the book. The sample sentences he posted are not only awkwardly written, but not even standard English! They are, in fact, incredibly BAD. I have to go back and read the entire thing in detail, since I only skimmed the comments to the review. However, it became clear right away that Ms. Howett is not only unable to accept constructive criticism, but is even vindictive toward any reviewer who dares to point out any errors in her writing. This despite the fact that Al, the reviewer in question, also mentioned some positive things about the book in his review.
This author's behavior is deplorable! I wouldn't read her work anyway, if it's published in e-book format. I only read printed books, and don't even own a Kindle (nor do I want to). If she has published in printed book format, I will definitely avoid her work like the plague!
One more thing: Big Al could have avoided Howett's meltdown if he had enabled comment moderation on his blog. I think this is essential for every blogger, not just those of us who blog exclusively about books. Some people might think this is not very democratic, and will therefore allow any comments, both positive and negative, on their blogs. This sounds fine in principle, but it doesn't work in practice. I would be more than willing to allow negative comments on my blog, if they were to remain civil. Unfortunately, they rarely do. I can tell, when I get a comment up for moderation, if I should post a negative comment or not. If I think there's even the slightest chance that a negative comment might turn into a flame war between me and the commenter, I simply don't publish it. I don't want any unpleasantness on my blog -- whether mine or a visitor's. Blogs are supposed to stimulate interesting conversations in the blogospherre. There's enough rudeness and bad behavior out there in the real world; we don't need that on a blog.
To Big Al's credit, he has been able to remain composed and civil, in the face of Howett's attacks. I would have blocked her a LOOONNNG time ago!
Hi, Pat! I'm up late --- I don't sleep well Sunday nights. Lol.
Anyway....the thing about free speech is, too many people use it as an excuse to offend and verbally abuse others. But especially on a blog, which is, after all, the blog owner's creation, people should not presume to have the right to say whatever vindictive, hitting-below-the-belt comment they want to say! So yes, I strongly believe in comment moderation! I have it on my page here at Book Blogs, too. After all, once a comment is posted, the harm is done, even if the author decides to delete it right away!
What this woman did is totally inexcusable! I suppose Big Al tolerated it because he had nothing at all to apologize for. But you know, if he had the comment moderation enabled, this crazy lady wouldn't have been able to drop "the F-bomb", which she did, TWICE! Gotta hand it to him, though -- he handled the irate b***h with a LOT of class!!
Hi, Patricia! I agree with you, too.
There's a fairly popular blogger I know of who doesn't moderate comments but reserves the right to delete published ones. And when people object to his "blocking" their "free speech," he explains that one's blog is like one's living room. Would you really walk into someone's house and start spouting foul language or insults in his living room? And if you did, would you be surprised if he threw you out?
I had a rather unpleasant little experience on Goodreads a while back. I have some stories posted on my profile page, one of them being Twilight fan fiction. Well, a female member posted a pretty objectionable comment -- "That book s**** a d***o"!! She was obviously not a Twilight fan, lol. I can laugh about it now, but at the time, I was pretty upset, especially when I found out that there was no "delete" button available on the page this obnoxious comment was posted on!
I joined the Goodreads Feedback group, and started a discussion about this. Long story short, a staff member realized that such a button should exist, and promptly put one in. Thank goodness!
I also sent an e-mail to the member in question. I was polite, but very firm, telling her that I was upset by the comment, and asking her to remove it. Thank goodness, again! She not only removed it, but apologized profusely, and asked to join my friends list. Since she admitted that she had acted in a very ungracious fashion, and apologized very sincerely, I told her to forget the whole thing, and we did become friends. She's a very young teen. I guess this type of thing is normal for their age group....sigh.....
Well, I'm glad that this little incident had a happy ending!
Yeah, she probably just intended it as a drive-by joke and it is probably normal for her age group. =P
I'm glad there was a happy ending. Thanks for sharing the story!
I would have found that upsetting too - but also remember how long it took me to realize that what might be funny in my head won't necessarily play the same in cold hard print.
Glad it worked out OK in the end Maria.