It all started with a tweet.
The question, “Where did you get it!?!” Led a Goodreads user to think Rachel Vincent had been accusing her of piracy.
Her course of action was to give a one star rating and refuse to review the book. She made a comment in the review about the author being rude.
Rachel Vincent commented on the review stating her shock that she was misinterpreted that way and trying to explain herself. Her comment:
The thread blew up, Rachel Vincent lamented on Twitter.
Eventually, the reviewer removed her star rating and slightly altered her review.
This incident is unique for us because it is the first time Steph and I have witnessed author/reviewer drama and been conflicted over who was in the right.
On our page, Break Glass in Case of Trolling for our Blogger Support Network, we define trolling as:
“Trolling in the book review community is not always synonymous with the term in a general context. In general, what members of the book community often refer to as trolling is often just flaming.
Trolling refers to deliberately targeting someone for fun by starting an argument with them, pranking them, tricking them into clicking inappropriate links etc. However the term is used widely on Goodreads, Amazon and other reviewing locations for people who post inflammatory remarks on reviews with the intention of censuring them and bullying them into removing or altering the content of the review.”
And we also provide a list of common ways one can be trolled:
“There are several different methods and all of them are wrong. The most obvious is comments being posted on your review verbally attacking both yourself or your review. Emails or private messages from authors or people attacking your review is also inappropriate. If you are on Amazon, your review may be the target of an organized effort to downvote that review. People do this because, with enough downvotes, a review is automatically deleted by Amazon – thus this is an excellent way for author to raise their stats. People can also be trolled by having their reviews tweeted about or blogged by an author in order to encourage their fans to go and attack on their behalf. If you are experiencing a high quantity of trolls on a particular review, this may be the cause of it.”
For book bloggers being trolled, Cuddlebuggery is team Blogger/Reviewer. We believe in a free space where reviewers and bloggers can express their opinions about the books they read without fear of reprisal or the need to be censored in an effort to “be nice”.
But this situation is slightly more complicated.
After all, it was a misunderstanding in the first place and the author certainly meant no harm and had no prior (known) history of attacking reviewers.
The reviewer chose not to review the book because they were offended by the interaction – something that is completely justifiable. They expressed why they weren’t reading the book – also justified. Unless violating the TOS of Goodreads, reviewers can use their review space as they wish.
I am no stranger to experiencing rude interactions with authors. When I inquired of one of my all-time favourite authors as to when her book would be available in Australia and was brusquely told, “Let me sort out the UK first” I was not overtly impressed at the brush off.
A range of understandable options are open:
a) Forgive and forget – understanding that authors can be people too.
b) Discontinue fanstatus – fuck them – it was a simple question!
c) Remove positive reviews of books – I shan’t make sales for you anymore!
d) Rate their books one star and tell everyone what an asshole they are – Bwhahaha! Revenge is mine!
You are free to do any of the above as long as it remains in the TOS of the site you’re on. But option D is not an option that we endorse at Cuddlebuggery. We believe that books earn their star status and we try not to link that to author behaviour.
In that spirit, over the next week Cuddlebuggery will be providing detailed resources for bloggers, based on our own experience, for dealing with author disagreements. These include step-by-step guides on suggested actions for reviewers, bloggers, and authors to take; ethical behaviour guides, answers to frequently asked questions, and ways for both bloggers/reviewers to protect themselves against attack.
But as always, when in doubt seek advice from Ryan!
“Hey Girl, blogging drama getting you down? Don’t worry. You can review me ANY time. I won’t get mad.”
Five stars, Ryan! XD