A few weeks ago I attempted to create better relations between authors and reviewers by writing this post 'Respect the Reviewer 2: How to Contact and Stay on the Good Side of Reviewers' (or see below article for link). This post came about after I suffered some bad experiences with a few authors who didn't treat me very well as a reviewer. Rather than go on about the bad treatment of some authors the post was written as a how-to guide to contacting and getting along with reviewers.
Initial reaction to the post was overwhelmingly positive. The post got rebloged from my own website a number of times. I then decided to show it to a few other people and tweeted is as part of #SundayBlogShare. The result was more than I could have dreamed. Everyone wanted to share my post. It was tweeted so many times I've lost count, shared on facebook a number of times and the post was given special place on two different blogs as guest posts: A Writer's Path and Dan Alatorre-Author, which themselves were reblogged and shared around the net. Authors found value in the post as it gave tips on how to contact book reviewers and even some info on amazon's top, and book reviewers praised the post for pointing out the bad things that they themselves had experienced with some authors. The post was a complete success and I was happy to share whatever knowledge I had with the writing world. But then something happened.
I had joined a facebook group for book lovers and authors. The first time I posted anything in that group I decided to share 'Respect the Reviewer 2'. The comments that came from those that took the time to read it were wonderful, praising the post, saying that it contained some interesting and valuable information. Almost a week passed and my post had lost its interest in the group and so I expected no more comments. I was happy, the post had done what I had intended it to do and I expected everyone to move on. But then someone else chose to comment.
One author took an instant dislike to the blog post. I didn't mind someone disagreeing, it was only my opinion on how to do things but this author didn't choose to stay silent, they chose to voice their opinions on what I had written. The initial comment was rather sarcastic, citing that readers get all the respect and not the authors (the opposite of what my post had explained). This then descended quickly into an argument between a couple of people who were against my post with the rest of the group trying to deflate the anger.
I saw the comments coming in on my post on my phone, but I couldn't deal with it. Such a sudden attack on what was supposed to be a helpful piece of writing was something I didn't want to deal with. The more the argument/discussion went on the worse the negative comments got. At the end it wasn't just my post but my entire 'credo' that was seen as 'offensive' and needed amending. Certain issues were brought up, particularly that reviewers should contribute to the cost of a book they are reviewing and what stung was the comment that stating that writers were better than readers or reviewers, that authors were the most important people in the industry and that no reviewer would ever be as good a writer as an author.
These comments were all said in the heat of the moment which is why I decided to stay quiet. I waited for the storm to end and then would comment a few hours later when everybody had a chance to calm down. But that never happened. I couldn't go back to my post and comment to everyone in turn as I had intended to. Hours after my blog post had been so vehemently attacked, my entire facebook account had become disabled. I blame no individual for this but it left me in shock and I'll be honest I had a wobble about ever being honest online again. I had only ever intended for my blog post to help others, I didn't for one minute expect others to slam it so hard. Maybe I'm naïve, I have always been keen on debating something but I never enjoy people hurling hatful comments my way.
A while after that happened and I'm now in a better place. I've opened a new facebook account and page for my blog and am feeling much better. However it sparked some interesting questions which I asked in this blog post 'Book Reviewers/Book Bloggers - I need you help'. The three main questions were: Should book reviewers pay for the books they are reviewing? Should authors hand over review copies straight away? And who are the most important people in the industry? I posed similar questions to other top reviewers of book on amazon too. Though the results were a bit mixed it was agreed that the review is a form of 'payment' for the author (and in fact some review sites will charge the author to review!), most agreed that you hand over the book right away and although many cited authors as the most important some were happy to recognise it as a collaborative effort between publishers, authors, readers and reviewers.
The whole event was very unpleasant and left a negative air on what was supposed to be a positive thing. Since March I've been treated badly by some authors and I wanted to put an end to it and this was the result of just trying to help. However I won't end on a negative note as my outlook over this is now rather positive.
Through all the bad stuff of the last few months I have managed to get through it and even though I was looking for others to give me more respect I actually have more respect for myself. I no longer let the bad comments get to me and have grown a thicker skin, which is necessary for reviewers, authors and even bloggers I think. I have met lots of wonderful new people who I can call friends and by going through the bad I have found support and know who my true friends are. Rather than turn me away from reviewing and being online, it's made me more sure of how important it is for me to continue providing honest reviews while at the same time it has made me realise how important it is that I look after myself and follow my own path of creativity too. So I really hope this bad chapter is truly over and that this is the very last Respect the Reviewer post I ever have to write. I want to move on to a new chapter of life and my blog and I hope everyone else will respect that and be happy with that too :). I also hope that if anyone ever disagrees with anything I write I hope we can discuss our differences in a civil and adult manner and not resort to being mean. Life's too short to get upset and angry :).
Any thoughts on what happened? Do you disagree with the points raised? Let me know in the comments :). - If you are unable to comment please click on this link which will send you to an identical blog post on my website that allows anyone to comment: https://happymeerkatreviews.wordpress.com/2016/09/11/respect-the-reviewer-3-what-happens-when-a-reviewer-tries-to-get-respect/
If you want to follow my new page on facebook click: Happymeerkatreviews
Or Twitter click: happymeerkatreviews
To read: Respect the Reviewer part 1 (or see below article for link)
To read Respect the Reviewer part 2 (or see below article for link)