That dreaded, evil one-star

AKA … why are people so mean to me?

bad reviews, Closeup portrait angry young woman, blowing steam coming out of ears, about to have nervous atomic breakdown, isolated black background

If you’ve been in book world long enough, especially romancelandia or the wild and crazy YA world, whether as a reader or writer who hangs out on social media, you’ve probably seen brouhahas over those awful, pesky one star reviews and/or ratings.

Everything from …my book isn’t published yet, how can it have a one star to well, I read your review and it’s obvious you didn’t read the book I wrote. My book is brilliant. BRILLIANT, I TELL YOU!

You can see the spiels run the gamut from the author baring her tender, delicate feelings on twitter, to being an absolute sideshow crazy piece of work like Kathleen Hale, who fricking stalked a reviewer over a review, showing up at the woman’s home. FYI, the link doesn’t go to the author’s site, but to an article by Bustle that details the bullshit.

I’ve talked about the craptastic behavior on the parts of some (almost always new, almost always female and almost always younger) authors who see a one star review or read a less than stellar one and they flip out.

And it’s always the same basic routine….

  • Author sees the review or rating
  • Author freaks out
  • Author goes on a rampage about the one star, sometimes screenshotting or calling the reviewer out directly or just weeping brave silent tears… publicly… so people can see her tribulations
  • Some do rush to pet and stroke and soothe the soul of the poor, wounded author
  • Author continues to devolve and clutch her pearls
  • People tell author she’s being overdramatic at best, an idiot or spoiled diva at worst
  • Author now feels like a victim because people don’t understand how terribly she’s been wronged because somebody didn’t LOVE HER PRECIOUS BABY
  • Author lashes out against those who have pointed out the one star isn’t that big a deal
  • Author digs a deeper hole
  • Clapback gets worse
  • Author goes quiet
  • Very often, author deletes posts or tweets or blogs like nothing ever happened

I mean, this plays out over and over and over…

There was the Kathleen Hale incident that, really, defines a diva author having a tantrum and why you shouldn’t freak out over reviews.

But there are also incidents that led to these posts:

These things never turn out in a positive way for the author(s) involved, because after showing their asses in public in such a fashion, they end up on plenty of NEVER TO BE READ lists.

But…yesterday, I saw one of these boring old one star reviews will ruin me dramas take on a new twist! Much drama! Big Excite!

The tweets from the author ended up getting deleted but, as typical, there were some individuals that rushed to soothe/pet/stroke.

And one had this brilliant (meaning very very stupid) idea…

tweet suggesting that unless readers can prove purchase, they shouldn't be able to review a book.

Seriously. What kind of BS is this?
Seriously. What kind of BS is this?

Naturally, there was some clapback. Somebody asked about libraries or friends borrowing books. And we got this response from the genius.

tweet suggesting that people who borrow books are taking money from authors unless they buy or review the book.

Then it suggests trolls can kill a book dead.
I suspect this writer wannabe is going to have a harder time getting people to review future books.

And then we end up with this…

tweet suggesting authors push for a  'no purchase, no review' rule, with a poll to gauge thoughts of others.  His opinion isn't the popular one.
Suggesting action that unless a reader can prove
PROOF OF PURCHASE…then no review.

Okay, folks. If you made it through all of that… and your eyeballs haven’t rolled out of your head, then you deserve some cookies.

And for the newby writers reading this? Just keep in mind….you’ll get negative reviews. They won’t kill you. We all get them.

Making an ass of yourself, though? Well, bloggers and reviewers and librarians can be a huge ally in this dodgy, crazy world. Or you can bite the hand that feeds you.