Authorfail, Humanfail

I have just been reading a post that’s been “enviralised” around the intertube today, regarding a particular self-published author’s response to a review. Let’s not make any bones about it; the author’s response is appalling, paranoid and ranting. The reviewer’s response is reasoned and generous.


I don’t have anything positive to say about the author’s response to what was actually a pretty reasonable review. And yes, I laughed.


And yet. And yet…


By the time I made it all the way to the end of the comments, there was a bad taste in my mouth, and it wasn’t from the author’s comments.


The pervasive sense of enjoyment that permeates the comments, the sense of self-righteous judgement and animosity, just doesn’t sit well with me. I’m sure not all the commenters had that intent, and as I said above, I laughed too at first. But piled together, on top of one another, it’s hard not to feel that the response verges on being a kind of bullying. That feeling isn’t helped by the number of negative reviews suddenly springing up on the author’s amazon site.


You know, the author’s comments are foolish and ill-advised. But I don’t wish her ill; I hope she learns from the experience. I certainly don’t think she deserves to be blacklisted, tarred for life with this mistake. Life is about learning, and although I’ve never done what this author did, I am certainly glad that my opinions as an eighteen or twenty-one year old are not preserved in carbonite for future generations.


If the internet is incapable of forgetting, we need at least to teach it to be forgiving. And pile-ups are never a good look, even, if not especially, when we are in the right.


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4 Responses to Authorfail, Humanfail

  1. Julia says:

    I agree to an extent. I had to laugh at her comments, because she was like those people on Idol who think they can sing but are just put on for the oh.god factor – absolutely no self-awareness.

    But by the time I got to the last comment, I just felt bad for her. Her writing needs work, but hey, so does mine. She had a tantrum – I do that a lot too. But now she’s stuck living down the “I’m the crazy self-published woman who told a reviewer on a B-Grade blog to fuck off” image.

    At the same time though, I don’t put up my first drafts on Amazon and ask people to pay cash monies for them…

  2. Thoraiya says:

    Yeah, I don’t know that many of the commenters had already read the 300-odd comments that came before them. That’s why they were saying the same things towards the tail of the comments as they were at the beginning, eg. “Jaq, don’t post any more responses on this thread Mmkay” (when she clearly had stopped posting already).

    It’s hard to be sympathetic towards someone purporting to be a writer who thinks that “Don and Katy watched hypnotically Gino place more coffees out at another table with supreme balance” is flawless.

    Also, she accuses the reviewer of abuse quite early on in the piece. Now she knows what real abuse is. Maybe she’ll give nice guys like that reviewer a break in future. The fact you feel bad puts you in the nice guy category, too. Closing the comments was a good idea, not because I think she was being bullied, but because they seem pointless in the face of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

  3. My thoughts exactly – started laughing, shaking my head, mentally telling her to pull her head in. By the end – I was starting to feel sorry for her.

    Sure, she made a mistake – many of us do – and hers might have long-lasting consequences for her dream of being a successful author. But to have all those people slamming her – that she did not deserve.

  4. Pingback: How not to respond to someone being wrong on the interwebs « Kirstyn McDermott

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