I'm sure many of you have at least heard about the "Author attacks reviewer" debacle going on. If not, here's a link: http://booksandpals.blogspot.com/2011/03/greek-seaman-jacqueline-howett.html
Look, when I read the blog post, I was totally shocked at Ms. Howett's behavior. She was unprofessional, rude, childish, and frankly out of control. But there has been a reaction on Amazon that has me deeply troubled.
Starting yesterday, Ms. Howett's book has received 42 one star reviews. (And the number is climbing.) Many of them admit they heard about the book only because of all the buzz. Some reviews only comment on the author's behavior. But almost all of them freely call the book "trash," "crap," and various other hyperbolic insults.
Many claim they read the sample (which is free to download on a Kindle,) "to be fair." But I don't think that was quite the intent. I think they read or claimed to read the sample as a way of justifying their review. When the fact is the vast majority of them came to Amazon straight from the blog with the express intent to give Ms. Howett what's coming to her.
Here is one review, titled "Because you will learn" :
"Without consequences, mankind is doomed to repeat its mistakes for all of eternity.
Look at that, right off the top of my head. No forethought or planning!
But I digress, let's get back onto the meat. I lol'd at the reviews, but the support reviews really got to me. Many people claiming she should be spared the public flogging, simply because "she's human" and "everyone makes mistakes". That sounds like commie talk to me. Howett has to be publically punished and ridiculed for her actions.
It's the only way she'll learn. Bet she won't make that mistake again. "
Really? I mean, really?
Here's the thing, don't you think Ms. Howett probably feels about like a pile of crap right now? Her own actions (or rather, reactions) have done a perfectly adequate job of condemning her. Does she really need dozens of people to kick her while she's down? She has almost 50 one star reviews. Isn't that enough of a slap on the wrist? Do potential future customers really need more proof that the book is bad?
I'll be honest,there's an unsettling glee in those one star reviews. It smacks of bullying.
So back to my original question, what happened to "being nice?"
Ms. Howett had a hissy fit online. She reacted poorly. But guess what? She's a human being. And probably a perfectly normal, decent person. I say, lesson learned. Time to put away the pitchforks. Time to "be nice."
(You have now experienced a rare Renee Rant. Hope you enjoyed. ;) Please feel free to discuss in the comments section.)