Wednesday, May 6, 2015

On Bad Behavior and Author Tantrums: Why It's Bad for the Indie Writer Community (or I Bet You Think This Post Is About You) (an IWSG post)

I live with a fairly harsh critic. Food critic, that is. She's hard to please when it comes to what she wants to eat. She's always been that way, my daughter. The boys were always pretty easy, but, when my daughter was a baby, we'd spend an hour, easy, just trying to find something that she was willing to eat when she was hungry. Talk about a nightmare! We were so glad when she learned to talk and could tell us what she wanted.

The problem, these days, is that the dinner selection most nights is pretty narrow. As my wife says, "A hunk of meat and some vegetables." If my daughter was rating dinners at our house, most nights would get one star from her. In response, I work with her as much as possible to make her school lunches interesting for her. [On the other hand, the boys take the same thing every day and are more than happy with it.] It's a small price to pay and works a lot better than me throwing a tantrum at her every night because she doesn't want to eat what I cooked.

I've known those parents, by the way. The ones that yell at their kids if they don't want to eat dinner. "This is perfectly good food, and you will eat it!" Or something like that. It makes the kids scared to voice their opinion... even when asked.

And that goes for readers.

But let's look at book bloggers, first. If you travel around to the blogs of book bloggers and take a look at the ones who will not review indie books (which is most of them), you will find two reasons repeated across most of the blogs:
1. The books aren't very good.
2. If you say the books aren't very good, you get attacked by the authors for saying it.
Basically, an author approaches a book blogger and says, "Hey, would you be willing to review my book."
The blogger says, "Yes, but it will be an honest review."
The author says, "Oh, yes, of course! That's what I want! An honest review!"
When the blogger gives the book a 1- or 2-star rating, the author explodes, "How could you do that to my book? My book is awesome! You're just stupid and didn't get it!"
Sometimes it's not actually the author but a friend of the author "sticking up" for his/her friend, but it amounts to the same thing.

From experience, I'm going to say that this happens a lot. I'm guessing I've done about 40 reviews of indie books at this point (no, I'm not going back to count), and I've had that response at least half a dozen times, now. That's significant. It's even more significant if you reduce the overall number from books I've reviewed to authors I've reviewed, which is a considerably smaller number.

And, then, maybe it makes sense as to why readers tend to stay away from indie books. When the author of the book attacks you for a negative review, it makes sense to stay away from that author. Unfortunately, it also makes sense to stay away from all of those indie authors (because traditionally published authors don't tend to attack reviews in the comment section on Amazon (maybe that's because the publishers keep a rein on the authors and prevent them from doing that, I don't know)); you can't tell which ones haven't grown up enough to not act like a 3rd grader over a negative review.

Of course, the whole thing can be even worse if you are another indie author, because many of these tantrum throwing authors will retaliate for perceived bad reviews by seeking revenge against you through the giving of fake, 1-star reviews, including getting their friends and/or family to join in "the cause" of giving that guy "a taste of his own medicine."

And, yes, this is a situation I'm going through, right now, as you know if you follow my blog. The author in question, along with his sister, have been fairly free about 1-starring everything I've published and bashing the cover art done by the talented Rusty Webb. What we'll call the drama around this situation prompted Tony Laplume to ask me "why?" Why review books at all if it leads to situations like this one? I think that's a very good question, because the whole thing seems... well, let's just say it's a minefield, and there's no way through it without setting some of them off.

I think there are three main reasons why indie authors need to step up and give honest reviews to their fellow indie authors:
  1. It helps to legitimize the field of indie publishing. Right now, the general view from the outside is that indie writers are all busy shining each other's crap and saying how good it is. Basically, we all go around giving each other 5-stars on our books no matter how bad they are, so you can't trust indie writers. [This is, by the way, the point of contention between me and the other author. He believes that all indie authors (or, at least, the ones who are his friends) deserve the automatic 5-star rating because, in his words, "selling books is fucking hard."] However, when indie authors will step and give real, actual, honest reviews, it shows readers they can trust the field in general. Honest reviews are good for everyone.
  2. Following that, it's good for the readers. Your readers deserve to be able to scan through reviews, if they so wish, and use them to reliably choose a book they think they will like. When the reviews are all gushing, fake, 5-star reviews, the reader gets gypped and chooses to not by more indie books. Also, giving the honest review can shine a light on tantrum-throwing authors. Invariably, tantrum-throwing authors attack the reviews in the comments. For readers who use reviews to help choose books, that can serve as a warning of which authors to stay away from. It a lot of ways, it's better for you, as an indie author, to be attacked than an unsuspecting reader.
  3. Finally, it benefits you, as a fellow author. If you review one of your friend's books with a less than stellar review and s/he turns into a green rage machine and unfriends you and... well, it can be all kinds of things that happen after that, you will find out who your friends actually are and who of them are just using you because they think they can weasel some good reviews out of you. You don't need those people. Honestly, you don't.
I'm not going to say this is an easy thing to do. It can be especially difficult to just sit and take it. I mean, I want to go and refute every one of those fake reviews posted by Dilloway's sister. I want to do that. But I'm not going to. It looks bad. As I said, readers need to feel safe, and they need to feel safe to leave negative reviews if they so desire and, even though her reviews are fake, if I go and comment, it will look like I'm one of those authors who will go after people for leaving negative reviews. As indie authors, the best thing we can do is support each other in leaving actual, honest reviews and, more importantly, support each other in taking actual, honest reviews.

And, you know, stand up to the bullies who will use their power to retaliate against you with 1-star reviews. There are things you can do together to make what they're doing meaningless. But that's another post... or you can just email me to find out what you can do to help.


  1. I was part of an indie-only review blog that started in month one with high hopes and ambitions.... 7 voracious readers excited to dig in.... but month 8 we were all disillusioned, not only because the books submitted either 1) didn't pay attention to the genres we would review, or 2) were subpar... sorry, they just were. :( .... but also because the blog owner, who had to email these people, got tons of flack for us refusing to review a book because we wouldn't post a review under three stars.

    Think about that. We thought we were doing indie authors a favor by not posting a review of anything under three stars (basically everything else sent back to the author as DNF) and we STILL got harassed.

    I'm not surprised a lot of people stop reviewing indie, but it's really sad.

    1. Alex H: It is really sad. The lack of reviews means a lack of readers, because readers don't know what, if any, indie stuff is worth reading. And all of it goes back to the immaturity of a huge percentage of indie authors. Seriously, don't ask what people think if you can't take the response.
      And, when you publish something, you are, by extension, asking what people think about it.

  2. What sucked most when I wrote indy book reviews was that I went out of my way to give a positive spin on some books I would otherwise have stabbed a thousand times with a pointy stick, because there are plenty of readers who are far less discriminating than me, and so I gave them the benefit of the doubt, explaining what was enjoyable and for what kind of reader. I just didn't want to play with fire, going into too much detail about my personal thoughts, and seeing what you've gone through has made this instinct look much, much better. So in some ways, I was a terrible, terrible coward. And I didn't much like thinking about that, either.

    1. Tony: I know and have known plenty of indie reviewers who approach things that way; I just couldn't do it. I understand the urge, though. Because this kind of thing, the kind of thing where some indie author gets all upset that you didn't like something and goes on a rampage, well, it sucks. But it's what I signed on for, I suppose, way back when, when I stated that I was going to do honest reviews. Dilloway blew a gasket at just me saying that before I'd even gotten around to do any reviews.

  3. My publisher warned me early on never to respond to negative reviews. I wouldn't have anyway. Not my nature.
    I think the lines are beginning to blur though. I think most readers don't know the difference between a self-published book and one put out by a publisher. When I'm downloading books, I don't notice. My iPad contains a mixture of both and there have been good and bad books on both sides.

    1. Alex C: That's because small publishers are basically no different from self-publishing. Most of them are just going through the same procedures that someone who is self publishing does, only their keeping some of the money without putting in any real work. It makes it hard to distinguish.

      No one, though, confuses any of that with an actual traditionally published book through one of the big New York houses. If you can go into Wal-Mart or Target and buy it, you know you can say anything you want about it without an author coming after you on some vendetta.

  4. I looked at the reviews and rating for your books on Goodreads. You gave yourself five stars on each one of them (you did not review them though). Also it looked like all of your books were rated by the same three or four people. On Amazon, most of the reviews for your books are glowing and are again rated five stars by the same people (perhaps different from Goodreads, but mostly the same for all of Amazon). I'm not saying you are a bad writer, but I read the first five installments of Shadow Spinner and in my honest opinion that is not five star work. So what I'm saying is "Is it honest for you to give yourself five stars?" and "Are all those glowing five star reviews you received honest?" Perhaps they are.

    I've followed this little drama and have read your previous posts. I'm not going to get into the battle of the reviews on Amazon, but I am going to say something about your "Sad Puppy" post. What you did there was childish and cruel. Your part in dragging this drama onto your blog has sullied the image of Inidie writers and it has sullied your reputation as a human being. If you had ignored the one-star review none but a few would have been aware of it. And you would have come out of it looking like a decent bloke.

    Ya, I know you won't like this comment and you will have a scathing reply. I also know this is the kind of thing you enjoy But I don't care. This is my honest opinion of your part in this drama.

    1. Anne: I know you have good intentions (actually, I know that you don't; I've seen the things you've been saying about me in other venues), but, honestly, you don't know what you're talking about.

      None of this is about the silly revenge rating Pat gave me. Do you see any response to that anywhere? Or to any of the ones he prompted his sister to leave? No...
      What you're missing is that -after- I didn't respond to his rating attack, he began harassing me across multiple platforms (Amazon, goodreads, my blog) and, THEN, wrote a post on IWM maligning me over the review I did of a book by someone not him. That post is still there, by the way, so feel free to go read it. It was only after that post that I felt I needed to respond because he accused me of a number of things that just weren't true.

      None of that is to mention the HUNDREDS of comments he's made on my blog that do nothing but call me names or various of commenters names. If you need verification, check with Arlee Bird. Pat has attacked him multiple times at this point. Actually, I could put all of those comments back onto my blog just so you could see what this is really all about, but it's hardly worth my time to put them back then take them down again.

      Next time, maybe, check your facts before you get involved.

    2. I took the time to go back and read every bit of that. I followed from your initial review of a fellow writer (I think it was fair and not unlike your normal reviews) and went forward. I did read his post at IWM as well. And I went back to the post you directed people to where he left you loads of comments. You even mentioned this in a comment on ABFTS just so he would see it.

      And none of that is what I'm talking about. It doesn't matter what he said about you anywhere. And it doesn't matter what he's said about other people. I'm not addressing any of that (which I made clear). What I'm saying is that the Sad Puppy post was a horrid and cruel thing to do. There are no valid excuses for it. And your justification of "well he said this" and "he said that" puts you on the level of a 12 year old.

      Wasn't dealing with the issue one time on your blog enough? As it stands your blog is like a reality television show.

    3. Let me clarify. I've been lurking since this whole thing began and have followed as it happened. I followed the links in your other posts when you gave them and read it all. So I know what happened and the order it happened in. It was the Sad Puppy post that crosses the line of decency.

    4. Anne: You still have your facts mixed up, which makes your whole comment suspect. I never made a comment about Pat anywhere else unless you want to count the Amazon thread where he kept calling me stupid and I said he was funny. If you can't keep your stories straight and know the actual chain events, your comment is actually meaningless.

      Personally, I think the Sad Puppy post is valid and it didn't single anyone out. It was talking about a behavior issue. I think you probably also missed the part where a great deal of the post was talking about Vox Day and I was quoting someone else's response to that person.

      All of that said, how is that I crossed some line and Pat did not when he has been aggressively calling me names across platforms? And not just me but anyone associated with me. Yet, you seem all chummy with him and okay with his behavior? That seems more than a little odd to me and has a flavor of your own vindictiveness since I offended you in whatever way that I did which you would never explain. Since you're already offended at me, it makes Pat's excessive and abusive behavior okay.

      That, Anne, is the definition of hypocrisy.

    5. I've read all of the comments on all of these posts along the way. You brought up the comment you left at ABFTS and made it clear the reason you did it. Also, the quote Bryan Pedas was about Vox Day. However you continued on to say that the quote summed up Dilloway perfectly. So no, it was directed at Pat and it was horrid.

      Again you're deflecting by talking about Pat's behaviour and my comment. You're skating the actual issue and justifying your actions.

      As for being a hypocrite, here you are writing a blog about author tantrums and honesty. Yet, I go to Goodreads and see you give yourself a five star rating. How is that honest? And as for tantrums. what else have you been doing for the last couple of weeks.

      Now I'm done.

    6. Anne: I'm sorry, but you don't know what you're talking about. That thing that you think you're talking about had NOTHING to do with Pat. And, unless you have subscribed to every comment thread I've had in the last month, you have not SEEN all of the harassing comments that Pat has left, because I have stored them.

      And, yes, I compared that quote about Day to Pat because it was appropriate to his behavior. But, then, you DID NOT SEE those comments, either, because he made them on Amazon, and Amazon removed them because they were offensive.

      AGAIN, you do not know what you're talking about. Get your facts before you start mouthing off.

      Now, tell me, how exactly is it dishonest for me to say that I like my work? Seriously, you're going there? You find one author for me who has rated his own work poorly and, maybe, we'll talk. So, yes, those are HONEST ratings, because they are how I feel about MY work.
      Just like Pat has given all of his work 5-stars, too, but, then, I don't see you getting on Pat for being dishonest about his views on his own work.

      The truth is that you came over here with your own unrelated vendetta (which I am completely clueless as to the origins, but you have been offensive like this every time you've chose to comment for at least a year) and have chosen Pat's revenge odyssey as some sort of vessel to get in your own shots.

      And, hey, that's fine. But, if you're going to do that, GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT.
      Because, Anne, you don't have the first clue as to what you are talking about.

      And, good, be done. That's how it should be.

  5. I'm with Tony. I have read books by indie authors that would have received a less-than-stellar review from me and then decided not to post anything because, as an author, I didn't want to cause that kind of heartache. I know how it would (will) feel when I get a negative review. So where is my loyalty? To the author I know through blogging or their potential unknown readers? Right now, it's with the author. Buyer beware and everything's subjective. However, if I'm asked to review something prior to publication, I go in with guns blazing.

    I'd recommend authors and readers check out Virtual Unreality by Charles Seife. I found the chapters about false followers and purchased reviews very interesting. A writer friend of mine told me he automatically discounts the first five to seven reviews on books because he believes they are padded with family and friends' 5-star reviews. (Ironically, the first review on one of my short stories was unsolicited and 5-stars, so who know?)

    As for feeding daughters, holy cow! My eldest got an ear-infection and started oral antibiotics at the exact same time we introduced rice cereal when she was an infant. Since then, feeding that kid has been a constant challenge. Now that she's about to turn 11 (not that anyone would believe that since she's tiny), she is finally starting to try things other than pizza, pasta, chicken fingers. There may be hope!

    1. Tamara: Once an author has published something, they have removed themselves from getting sympathy. Think about it like this:
      What if you were buying a chair. The maker of the chair and all the reviews of the chair talked about how beautiful the chair was, and the picture looked great. So you ordered the chair. And, yes, it was beautiful. So you went to sit down in it... and it fell apart under you because it was made of balsa wood. How would you feel if everyone knew that it was made of balsa wood but no one told you because they didn't want to make the carpenter feel bad about his choice in wood? I'm guessing you'r be pretty pissed about landing on your ass, getting splinters in your butt, and at having spent money on a product that wasn't useful.

      One someone is trying to get other people to spend money on it, all they are deserved is honesty about the product. Period. By publishing a book, the author is saying, "This is ready. I can take it." Period.

    2. Well said, but I still don't feel comfortable being negative with authors in my blogging circles. They haven't removed themselves from my sympathy. Also, the books in question belonged to genres that I don't typically read, therefore, chances were I was going to have a harder time "getting into them", if you know what I mean.

      Now there was a book I bought for research that turned out to be a real nightmare. It took less than 20 minutes to finish and read like an unedited journal. That's worth a negative review, but guess what? The topic was bullying and it was written by someone with a learning disability. How ironic. I had the same thought as you: if someone puts something out there for sale, using a disability to excuse the bad quality of the product (which they actually did in the acknowledgments!) doesn't cut it. Could I compose a constructive criticism of this book that didn't come off as being a bully? Probably. Do I want my name associated with this (potential) minefield? Not really.

      "By publishing a book, the author is saying, "This is ready. I can take it." That's what an author should be saying, but according to your own article here, that's not the case with the tantrum-throwing ones.

      In any case, I do commend you for lobbying for honest reviews and regret that you have to deal with the petty payback described in this blog.

    3. Tamara: I think it is what the author is saying; some authors just don't believe that or understand it. The problem is that they want your "honest" opinion to be that the book is great. So, sure, I get that there are a lot of authors out there that, to put it bluntly, don't have their shit together, but, then, it's not our responsibility, nor should we even want to, to coddle them so they don't get their little feelings hurt.

      As for the disabled person:
      1. There are always exceptions.
      2. But, if the person was able to get it together enough to self-publish a book, s/he should be able to get it together enough to get some help in making sure it's ready to go out to the market.

  6. If I read a book and would give it 1-2 stars, I won't leave a review. A lot of times, I won't even finish the book. I never do review swaps, b/c we all know how well that will turn out! When it comes to food, boys are way less picky than girls!

    1. Jennifer: I can understand not reviewing something you didn't finish, but do you think it's fair to potential readers to allow them to spend their money on something that you couldn't even force yourself to finish?

  7. The line certainly is blurred when authors publish reviews. I just blogged about some insecurities regarding this as well, as I'll be publishing a book in the next 6-9 months, which puts me out of the realm of reader to author/reader (I'm still a reader!).

    I'm conflicted about rating friends' books as well because what if it's good but not 5 stars? I'm sparing with my 5 stars, but rarely ever do 2 or 1. It's 3 or 4 usually. I wouldn't expect someone to automatically give me a 5 star rating, but it does feel difficult to assign a truly honest rating to another writer's work when the assumption is we should be supporting one another. For now I've decided maybe writing a review without a starred rating can suffice. Goodreads lets you do that but Amazon and B&N might force a star rating--not sure.

    1. Stephsco: I look at it like doctors referring other doctors. It's a thing, and it's a necessary thing. If you have something that you're doctor can't help you with, you don't want him, especially if you trust him, to tell you, "Well, I'd refer you to someone else, but I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. They're all 5-stars in my book!"

      And, yes, I am a reader for way longer than I've been a writer.

      On Amazon, you cannot write a review without a rating, and your rating will not be visible without a review.
      I'm not sure you can still do a review on goodreads without a rating. The review option, as far as I know, doesn't become available until you have left a rating. That didn't used to be the case, but it is now.

  8. I'm not sure what to say. I enjoy editing for indie authors. I think of myself as a writing coach more than an editor. I hope my indie authors will improve their writing skills long term with the help of my comments. As for reviews, I saw a lovely friend's book (I didn't edit it) torn to pieces by a group of people who were angry with her so they said terrible things about her book. Some of them even admitted they hadn't finished reading the book. This behavior is ridiculous. We need to at least pretend we are adults.


    1. Janie: It's even possible that if we pretend hard enough that we might start to believe it and act like it.

  9. I think it might be hard to change the whole "if you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all" mentality because it seems like a lot of people are doing it. Not that you shouldn't do it, of course. Just be prepared for an uphill battle.

    1. Jeanne: I'm rather used to uphill, losing battles, as my racism series pretty much shows. Still, there does seem to be being some backlash against it, finally.

  10. Re: meals. I cooked one meal. If the kids didn't like it, they knew where the bread and peanut butter was. In many ways it's the same with books. If you don't like it, move one. I have too many books in my TBR pile I don't have time to waste on something that isn't to my liking. Obviously someone liked it (if only the author). My attitude toward reviewing a book is that I don't stomp on someone's dream.

    1. Diane: I agree with not stomping on dreams... but not at the expense of ripping people off. That's just wrong. So, fine, you move on from a book you don't like, but you don't go give it 5-stars because it's the author's dream to not get bad reviews.

      Does that make sense?

  11. I pretty much agree with Diane Burton. I guess everyone has their own way of dealing with kids not liking what's cooked, or reviewing other authors' books. Depending on your approach, there's going to be fallout, which is fine if you accept it. I never comment on reviews of my work. You can't please everyone.

    1. Lexa: It's true; you can't please everyone.
      Most people try, which is part of the culture of not giving people honest reviews.

  12. I've seen a lot of book reviewers say this too. It makes me sad. A few times on my blog I've posted about it with a promise that I will not flip out on reviewers for not liking my book. The last reviewer I emailed I thanked her for whatever her opinion was, good or bad before I even saw the review. (Which was 2.5 I think, but she loved the cover so =D) It really is up to us indie authors to stand up and say "Flipping out at book reviews is bad."

    1. Patricia: Maybe it's only people who have had to deal with the issue with book reviewers who understand how destructive this "you can only say good things about my book" attitude really is.
      And, yes, it is up to us to say, "It's enough. Grow up."

  13. had one experience with an author... After I read the book I gave an honest review, she requested that I email it to her before publishing... She did not say much, just asked : "how many stars you were considering, as three I would take as a disaster". yeah. SO much for an honest review request... sigh.

    1. emilia.m: There's this movie line:
      "I want you to tell me the truth; I want you to tell me this is the first time you've done this."
      "Do you want me to tell you the truth or do you want me to tell you this is the first time I've done this?"

      That's how a lot of authors are: "I want you to tell me the truth; I want you to tell me this is 5-stars."

  14. Good for you bringing this to light. It is sad that readers who happen to be authors cannot post their "honest opinion" of a book. I have reviewed very few stranger indie books because you just never know what they will do if you don't rave how good the book is. I post my reasoning for a rating, no matter what it is. My reviews are not really for the author anyhow, they are for future readers.

    Yes, some author's (usually indie authors) need to grow up. Kids, on the other hand, eventually do "grow up" and then we miss their little antics. Especially if they are replaced with more serious rebellions. Grandchildren can be the perfect revenge, even if you never say to your kids "pay back . . ."

    1. dolorah: Unfortunately, it doesn't always matter if you know the person or not. But, then, some people get too used to being patted on the back by everyone around them because everyone is too scared to say what they really feel.

      We've been trying to figure out a way to make our kids stop growing for a while, now, but, when we need to, we remind them that they, too, will one day have children.
      heh heh heh

  15. You probably already know what I think about this, so what I say is not for you, but anyone else reading this.

    When you, as an author, publish your work - be it through self publishing, or a small publisher, or through a Big Six publisher that releases millions of books - it is now officially out into the world to be judged. And you have no right to complain whatsoever when people judge it. If you don't want it judged, then write it for yourself and shove it in a closet. You have the same satisfaction without any of the feedback.

    Also, there's a difference between an honest review and stomping someone's dream into the ground. Dream stomping = "This book was stupid, don't quit your day job, go kill yourself." Honest review = "This didn't work for me, the writing needs improvement, here's what I think this book is lacking/needing."

    As a writer, your writing always needs improving. You will never one day wake up and think "Yep, this is as good as it's going to get. I can never outdo this." So instead of taking criticism personally, reflect on it. You may actually learn something.

    Also, there's a difference between giving out an honest review and going on a crusade to destroy bad books. If you're scouring Amazon for every Indie title you can find and slamming it, you're an asshole. But if a friend or fellow blogger publishes their book, asks for reviews, and you give an honest review (even a bad one) that's not being an asshole. That's being honest.

    Being an author isn't special. Everyone works hard at their creative passions. So if you make fun of bad movies and bad music but think no one should hurt an Indie author's feelings, you're a hypocrite. Because someone worked their ass off, just as hard as you if not more, to make that bad movie or song. Hell, if you make fun of books like Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey for being bad but think you shouldn't make fun of an Indie author, you're definitely a hypocrite. And if you laugh at something like Simon Cowell telling a singing contestant that they're the worst thing he's ever come across, but you think someone saying that in an Amazon review to an Indie author is cruel and unacceptable, then you're a hypocrite.

    Either you judge everyone or you judge no one. There's no special treatment.

    Lastly, and this is the thing most authors just don't seem to get, is that you need to have thick skin as an author. One star reviews will happen. Not everyone will think you shit gold. If you don't believe me, go look at your absolute favorite book on Amazon. I guarantee it has one star reviews, no matter what it is.

    Stephen King - The Stand. An old favorite of mine. That book has exactly 150 one and two star reviews. That book has more bad reviews than most Indie authors get of reviews, total. Do you think Stephen King cries himself to sleep at night over the few meanies that are trying to crush his dreams? Or that he's terribly upset that 150 people just didn't like one of his best pieces of work that others would consider a 5 star masterpiece?

    No. Because he's a professional author. And if you want to be able to put 'professional' in your name, you can't throw a tantrum when a reader doesn't like your work - your work that you intentionally put out into the public to be bought, shared, and critiqued.

    1. Beer, I hardly think when someone accuses you of "middle school problems" and you explain why the "problems" indicated are not actually problems counts as a "tantrum." I'd say writing 5 blog entries because you're mad at someone is a lot closer to a tantrum.

      This post will self-destruct as soon as Andrew Leon deletes it...and then says he doesn't delete comments.

    2. Pat - that comment wasn't directed at you. It's directed at everyone, which is why I said it's for anyone reading this. I know way too many authors that get hung up over bad reviews like it's the end of the world, and then in turn, make the claim that you shouldn't ever leave a bad (honest) review for Indie authors, like their feelings are somehow more important than those of other artists who we criticize on a daily basis. A part of being an author is realizing that no matter what you write, there will always be people that don't like it. Sometimes it's just better to accept that and move on than to argue and dwell.

      That's all I'm saying, and it's not aimed directly at you like some kind of attack. Believe it or not, not everyone is out to get you.

    3. Pat: Also, this post was not directed at you or really about you (hence the title). This post was an answer to Tony's question. Period. It's not my fault that you serve as such a good example for what I'm talking about. Also, you have an odd idea of what tantrum means considering you have actually written 4 or 5 posts now specifically talking about what a horrible person I am AND talked about me on FB AND flamed me on goodreads AND attacked me on Amazon AND spent a month spamming my blog with insults. Not conversation, insults. Which is why they are invisible (nothing has been deleted). I've written a total of one post about you, two if you want to count the review of your book as being about you since you seem to consider your books an extension of your actual flesh. I have not spoken about you publicly anywhere but my own blog, which is my space. I have not retaliated against your work nor have I prompted people to go and attack your work. So...
      Andrew=pointing out Pat's tantrum
      Because people should be aware of authors who have tantrums any time something negative gets said about their books.

      ABftS: Exactly. Well said. There's not even anything I can say to elaborate on it.

    4. 4 or 5 posts? Learn to count, buddy. You're on post 5 now. Anyway, my "tantrum" didn't contain any bad language or anything like that. If you had actually read it and processed it, you would have learned something about literature. Such as that a book written like a memoir can be more "omniscient." I even recommended some books for you to read. But you'd rather just run back here to lie and delete comments. Pretty bad attitude for a teacher. Your classroom must be a lot of fun.

    5. As I said, Pat, this post is not about you. Neither was the last. Stop thinking so highly of yourself.

      As for my attitudes as a teacher, you're right. If a student in my class was saying to another student, "Well, you're just stupid and if you had half a brain, you'd see that," I'd tell that student to stop, because that's the kind of evil I am. And, if that student continued, I'd send that student to the office, because that's the kind of small-minded dictator I am.

      If however, the student said, "Well, I didn't like this particular story by Pat," I would say, "Really? Why not? Give me the reasons you didn't like it." Or if a student said, "I really loved this story by Andrew," I would say, "Really? Why is that. Tell me why you liked it." Because that's the kind of thing I do.

  16. Andrew, you should realize I keep copies of my reviews. LOL.

    1. Pat: Laugh all you want, buddy, but I had nothing to do with your disappearing review(s). That was all Amazon and, I'm sure, based on your behavior in all of this. It's not the only thing of yours they've deleted. I notice they also made you get rid of the "BJ" handle and go by one of your author names.

      At any rate, I'm glad your review of House is back; it's like an old friend and this point and, truthfully, one of my favorite reviews.

    2. Nobody "made" me do anything. Where do you come up with these paranoid theories about Amazon and I making each other do things? One minute I'm having Amazon pull Knox Kingston's comments and the next they're having me change my name and pulling reviews.

    3. And now we're back to deleting comments. Honestly you have the thinnest skin of anyone I know.

    4. Pat: So, first, you accuse me of being responsible for your missing review, then you tell me you chose for it to go missing? Only one of those things can be the truth.

      And, Pat, I am not the one who explodes if someone says they don't like what I've written. I just have an objection to pointless name-calling. So learn to actually participate in discourse without name-calling, and we can have a conversation. However, "You're just an idiot with half a brain" is not conversation.

    5. "Pat: So, first, you accuse me of being responsible for your missing review, then you tell me you chose for it to go missing? Only one of those things can be the truth."

      I didn't say I chose for it to go missing. I was referring to your ridiculous assertion that Amazon forced me to change my name. And you made it pretty obvious in the last paragraph of your post that you're responsible for having that review pulled. Why else would they care about a review from 2011 unless someone called attention to it?

    6. Pat: I didn't call attention to anything. I have not contacted Amazon about any reviews, so that's got to be all on you, especially since they pulled your sisters' phony reviews from that book, too. I was quite surprised to see the review missing, in fact. As I said, seeing that they have deleted so many of your other comments (especially the ones calling people idiots), I can only assume that Amazon is now watching you.

      Also, Tony was not referring to the review of your book when he said that. Maybe try reading.

    7. Oh, and Pat, as long as your sister keeps it up, I will not stop talking about this. The fact that she is now spreading herself across my goodreads stuff is just a proxy for you. You know it, and I know it.

      Oh, and I see that Amazon has again pulled your reviews. If nothing else tells you anything, that ought to.

  17. I am pretty much an expert in the recipient of vicious one star reviews field, based on personal attack and having nothing to do with the book. My advice and my publishers advice- Do not respond to any negative review, ever. Readers are not stupid and can immediately spot a personal attack.
    As far as reviewing books. I will read any book and I will review it if I have something positive to say about the book and or the writing. If the book hasn't been professionally edited or is just horrible in my opinion I will decline to do the review.

    1. Doreen: I think pointing out a lack of editing is the easiest of all negative things to say. A writer can tell a great story without actually having the technical skills to put it together well. I always differentiate that point.

  18. I have been trying not to comment on this, but I just have to ask…when is the madness going to stop?

    First of all, it’s unprofessional to review an author that is an associate/friend. Even if it’s a good review, it’s still not professional. That way you don’t end up with problems like this one or others saying that the review came from a friend. It’s also not professional to comment on reviews either, but if the review is just a revenge review then what difference does it make if Patrick comments on it because being professional is out the window at that point. Also I happened to notice a successful Indie author commenting on reviews, not only on Amazon, but on Goodreads. On both good and bad reviews. His name is Hugh Howey.

    Anyway, by posting this you are keeping the ugliness going. Patrick is no angel either, but I tend to agree with him on this issue. I have a writing group and without any prompting to sway them I asked the question is it okay to give bad reviews to friends. I didn’t tell them the situation here at all. They all agreed that NO it would be wrong to do. There was no way your Indie Monthly group was not going to go down in flames after that. How could you not realize what would happen? It’s just not logical to think that any author is going to be okay with a bad review posted by a friend for all the public to see. Writers put a lot of time into their books. I mean…a book is like their baby to most authors. Maybe some writers would not admit that, but when it comes down to it we’re all human.

    If an author is a friend, why not just tell them in private? Why not give them good advice so perhaps they can fix it? Books can be fixed even after they are published. This is called being a friend. Of course, you’re not going to agree, but you saw the end result. It was inevitable that someone would retaliate and it will probably happen again.

    The thing about you (as far as I can tell) is that you’ve never received a real bad review and a lot of your reviews are from friends and blog buddies. I don’t think any of them are from people you don’t know. So you don’t really know what it’s like to get a real bad review. These ones from Patrick and his sister don’t count. Why don’t you do a giveaway at Library Thing and get some real reviews from readers rather than playing it safe? Put yourself out there rather than staying perched on your thrown of judgement.

    Lastly, YOU ALL need to remove those 1 star reviews and stop talking about this mess!

    1. Cindy: Actually, with the exception of two reviews for House, none of the reviews for it came from people I knew or knew well at the time. I came to know some of them AFTER. Many of the reviews for Tiberius are from people I don't know along with the ratings on goodreads. I don't seek out friends to give me good reviews.

      There is nothing professional or not in giving reviews to people you know. It is part of the practice in publishing, in fact, or do you think those authors they get blurbs from for books are not acquainted with which other? That's a ridiculous assertion.

      By the way, the IWM group had already been closed out at the end of last year. If you notice, until Pat posted there to call me names over the Lyon's review, there had been no post since December. That was on purpose. The group was NOT active. Pat chose to post on IWM because he was trying to hit MY audience, because he knew that none of the people he wanted to slam me in front of read his blog.

      Now, do you see me over in the comments on his blog going on and on about this or calling him names. (Yes, I commented on one post in April, probably ill-advised, but it was in the middle of his, "I never did that, oh, no, I did but it's justified," and, yes, I was pissed. Which I still am, because HE WON'T STOP.

      I have over 300 stored comments from him calling me names.

      By the way, back when I first started receiving review requests, I did attempt talking to the authors when I knew the review was going to bad. I learned very quickly that, on the whole, that was a worthless endeavor. It's better to just do the review, because the other option is to sit on the review and how is that fair to the people who are going to spend money on it? It's not.

      So, if you've put your stuff out in the public, it is asking to be judged. Period. Friend or foe or whatever. The work, though, is asking to be judged. For instance, I think Orson Scott Card is a pretty worthless human, but I wouldn't give Ender's Game a bad review because of how I feel about him. And I think very highly of John Scalzi, but I didn't much like Old Man's War. Whether the person is your friend DOESN'T matter.

      Books are NOT babies.

      so, as to when all this will end, ask Pat. He is the one who keeps taking this to places where it shouldn't be. Seriously, I was finished until he got his sister to go over and start 1-starring everything I've published. He keeps escalating the situation.

      And, just to be clear, the issue of honest reviews is NOT something I am only now talking about because of Pat. This has, kind of, been my platform for YEARS. Look back through my posts and see how many times I've done posts on this subject. I'm sure I will do more posts on this subject in the future.

      But, right now, there is a guy who is trying to bully me and extort me to pull down a review because he doesn't happen to agree with it. If you need it, I can pull the quote for you. Pat needs to stop raging all over the Internet about me and, actually, telling falsehoods and misrepresenting things. So do you. I've seen the things you've said about me, too, and whether I am fit to be around kids and, honestly, you are the close to the last one who should be saying anything about this.

    2. Well Andrew, You are the one who has lied. You lied to Patrick about that Knox Kingston who is really a sock puppet that reviews his own books and he's reviewed a lot of yours too. BUT...You will be glad to know I'm not going to talk about it anymore on any blog. I'm done with it. You are one of those people who will never admit they are wrong about anything. I am not checking back on your blog ever again so don't bother responding. Good luck feeding this monster.

    3. Cindy: That's the funniest joke I've heard all day. And it's just proof that you, also, have no clue as to what you're talking about. That you believe Pat about anything is proof of a deep gullibility.

      Just to be clear, Kingston is his own person.

      Unlike Pat, I do not operate under multiple aliases so that I can manipulate things.