author meltdown

My dear friend Laura Manivong wrote a blog that gave me the push to post this evening.

Seems there was an extreme melt-down today on BigAl’s blog when a self-published author did not like a review she got. Not only did she argue with the reviewer, she argued with commenters, defending grammar and syntax that were obviously sub-par. She ended by hurling four-letter words.

The blog owner reacted calmly. In fact, the original review said the story was good. He answered the author’s objections a few times and then left the scene. But the author hung around to engage with the public, and she was no match.

I admit I tweeted what was going on as a lesson in what not to do when you get a bad review. But then I saw the pile-on that happened.

Holy Moses.

You would have thought she’d run over a puppy or something.

The poison people spewed on her, I couldn’t believe.

So I went to see her profile. Part of it reads:

In 2001 my English father, an artist visited me in the USA. Prior to that I hadn’t seen him for twenty years. My parents divorced when I was twelve. My Greek Mother was still traveling to Greece for short visits and visiting me here in America before she passed.

I wonder how stable things have been for her. I wonder how much of a struggle her life has been. I wonder why we think it’s okay for us to do any more than give a brief review of her book and let it go.

I don’t think this will ever happen to me, because I don’t have the energy to go ape-shit like this author did. But I tried to brainstorm what I would do if I created such a mess for myself. Problem is, once it’s on the internet, it NEVER, EVER GOES AWAY. Think twice, type once, and all that.

So help me, guys. What in the world do you think this girl could do to repair her situation?





About Lisha Cauthen

Lisha Cauthen writes YA novels for guys that girls like to read too.

Posted on March 29, 2011, in blogging and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. I think that, at this point, there really isn’t anything that she can do to repair the situation. It seems that, initially, she felt the reviewer was being unfair due to some sort of confusion over which version of the novella he critiqued. If this was the case it should have been dealt with through private messages and not on a public forum.

    She was wrong to air her grievances in the manner that she did and I think that the majority of people who initially linked to the blog did so with the sincere intention to educate others on what not to do when confronted with a bad review.

    Unfortunately, as we know, many people took this as an opportunity to bash the author who, after the review, was already feeling pretty bad. It was an unfortunate experience all around.

    That being said I don’t think the solution is to bring up her personal life. If people are viscious enough to continue attacking a person long after she has left the conversation I don’t think it’s going to stop simply because her bad childhoos came to light. I also don’t like the idea of allowing a sense of pity to affect artistic opinions. We should treat her as a human, of course, but this is something that should have been done from the beginning. For it to happen after the discovery of a less than perfect life rings incredibly false.

    I hope the author, and everyone else involved, is able to learn from this experience. In the meantime, if you and Laura are concerned with her, you should sttempt to reach out to her personally. I’m sure that she would appreciate your support.

  2. Yeah, bashing not needed. I think when people start bashing a lot it may be a sign of their own security and that’s how they make themselves feel better.

  3. You’re right, Becca, she should be treated as a human being from the beginning.

    And Sue, that’s a good point. Maybe people join in as a way of proving that they know better than to commit the mistakes the author has made.

    But what if we DO make these mistakes? What would you do to correct them? Apologize? Change your name? Quit writing altogether?

  4. Hey, there…

    In answer to your questions, I would:

    1. Apologize. Many wrongs could have been forgiven with a simple “I’m sorry.” America might have forgiven President Nixon if he’d just apologized, and he wouldn’t have had to resign from office! Who knows?

    2. There isn’t a need to change her name, unless she’s experimenting like King did writing as Richard B… People might buy her books (or sample) just to see if she has improved. Her sales won’t increase under a pseudonym. Her Kindle sales probably rose after the publicity.

    3. Several people mentioned in BigAl’s blog that the storyline was intriguing (maybe not their word), but it was filled with grammar and basic-English-writing errors. Bestselling novels come from great storytellers. An editor can easily clean up the manuscript for publishing. Write away! Just don’t melt down with a less-than-five-star review…

  5. Starting with an apology sounds good, Larry. Where would you do it? On her blog? On BigAl’s? In an email? Amazon? Skywriting?

  6. Skywriting, definitely.

  7. *puts Becca Coal in skywriting column*

  8. Sorry I missed your followup question – and hoping it isn’t a moot point by now:

    The author should have made an apology on BigAl’s blog, I believe. Personally, I believe heartfelt apologies are like water on fire.

    It is too late for her there, though. The blog-topic had been closed by the time I saw it.

    She has an Amazon page (curiosity got the best of me), where a concise and deftly worded note could reach a lot of people – should she have a change of heart from her previous stance.

    There are studies and books about responses to public relations nightmares (Bhopal, Tylenol, etc), and each one I’ve seen says – the quicker the response in owning up, the better.

  9. Ah, the scary, scary reach of Amazon, Larry. That’s probably where the greatest number of people have heard about her in the first place. Good point. And I hadn’t thought about likening this to the Tylenol and Bhopal fiascoes. Obviously on a much smaller scale–and nobody died–but good case studies in public relations.

    Very smart. Must go press your rss button.

  10. Hi, I also found the news to this via a tweet.

    From what I read, it seemed like a major case of miscommunication. Seems sad that a author wannabe is sliding down just because of a big case of miscommunication.

    Nonetheless, I think the lessons learned here would be Professionalism at all times. After all, how you do anything, is how you do everything.

    There is a chinese saying, “Ten years to grow a tree, but a hundred years to cultivate a man”

    While it takes forever to build one’s branding, all it takes is to lose control, and everything will start to crash.

    Perhaps we should all learn to control our fingers… just like how we should learn to control our tongue.

  11. Thanks for this, Mark.

    “…how you do anything, is how you do everything.”

    I’m going to quote that to my kids when they’re looking for spouses.

    But I must admit I believe in second chances. Just not third, fourth and fifth chances.

  12. Wow, what a interesting post. I’m going to say public apology perhaps.

  13. I’ve enjoyed the convo in the comments, Melissa. Lots of people seem to think an apology carries a lot of weight.

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