Emails we get surprisingly often look something like this:
Hey I need help. I’ve had an author comment on a review I’ve written. What should I do?
Having your first author run-in or serious troll/flammer can be scary, intimidating, infuriating. After you process it, you have to decide what to do, how to respond, if you respond at all. This page is a tool to give you some advice, perspective and information from vast experience in dealing with these matters.
If you read nothing else – at least read this:
Depending on each individual circumstance, you will need to tailor your response. But there are some basic things you should always do, no matter how it happens.
-Screen cap everything
Even if you don’t ever want to respond to the author or attacker, it’s still important to have permanent documentation of the run in. This can be useful if that person is attacking someone else in the future and proof of their repetitive harassment is needed. Many author-trolls in particular will eventually delete incriminating posts or comments after the damage to the reviewer is done. Screencapping is the only way to prove or verify what has happened to you. For your own sake, and the sake of others, always screen cap. If you don’t know how – here is an excellent website for you!
-Keep your cool
You may want to lash out and attack – and nobody is stopping you. However, it will be harder to justify your reaction if the drama becomes bigger. Launching a cool, logical, confident argument is hard in the heat of the moment, but you will be grateful later when you have no ramifications for outraged words or actions.
-Learn when to step away
Sometimes a battle with an author or a troll never seems to stop. But the good thing is that, since they’ve come to you, you are often in a position of power. Rather like a siege on a castle, there are inherent benefits to being the one attacked.
Most social networks let you delete comments on your pages or block the member. If their attacks are too heated or prolonged for you, then you always have the option to end the argument. This will usually result in claims of censorship. Your best option is to leave comments (that are not outright name-calling and abuse) that are already up, post a final comment that the discussion is over and state your intent to delete further attempts to engage. The important thing about this is that you follow through. If you reply to some comments or allow any abusers to stay then they will keep trying.
If the abuse is happening on your blog then blocking their IPs is especially helpful.
Amazon does not allow you to delete comments from your own review and thus:
-Look to the Book Reviewing community for support
If the attacks get too much to handle, if they are persistent and you feel as though you can’t cope then it’s probably time to look to the community for assistance. As a reviewer, even if your review is harsh and critical you have a right to your space without fear of reprisal or censorship – so long as you are not violating the TOS for the site you are on.
The community is there to support and, when contacted, can provide backup and camaraderie. Speak up, ask for help and lean on others to help provide a strong voice of resistance against hostile attacks. They can’t always make the abuse go away, but it helps to have people standing at your side, taking some of the brunt and providing another strong voice of resistance.
The Cuddlebuggery Endorsed Troll Response Method
How you have been attacked shapes how you can respond. An author harassing you via email can be ignored but a public attack is harder to do so. We have responding down to a fine art here at Cuddlebuggery.
1. Screen cap! (If you take away anything today – it’s to screencap!)
2. Ignore or respond back depending on your confidence level.
If the troll is an author, and you wish to express your dissatisfaction with their interaction with you, you can:
3. Shelve their books on a Do Not Read shelf on Goodreads.
4. Explain in the comments why you have chosen not to read the book.
In the comments section, explain what happened and use the evidence you have collected – be it links or screen caps. This protects both you and the author. In this regard, with screen caps you provide a clear testimony and evidence as to your grievance. Thus people coming upon your story can make up their own minds based on the facts. Without screencapped evidence then you can only provide your impression of the discussion – which may unfairly defame an author.
We do not endorse starring books as a retaliatory action against authors. We also don’t endorse writing reviews based on your bad experience with the author since these are usually removed, on request, by GR admins.
Consider connecting to other victims of author attacks. Sometimes people think they’re the only ones or alone. They don’t realize that harrassment from authors and trolls happens to a lot of people. Reaching out to them and sharing your experiences, providing support and backing them up against an attack is a good way to contribute to the community.
Things to remember:
You are always justified to write a critical review or a book or blog about your reading experience.
You are not alone.
There is no 100% right way to “get” a book. Even if the author disagrees with your interpretation, they can not control how people read their books.
Don’t be chased away from book discussion and book reviewing. When you remove or change your review out of shame – then the troll has won.
Try to remember that, no matter how big the drama or event, it will eventually settle down.