Edited: Readers Beware of Unprofessional Authors

Posted February 11, 2011 by Holly in Miscellaneous | 86 Comments

Holly: Today a little birdie sent us a link to this post, Authors Beware of Unprofessional Reviewers (see the title of my post? Clever, right?), in which Sylvia Massara whines about the bad review she received here on our site. I find this extremely amusing because 1) the author already threw a giant hissy fit about the review and 2) she told us she was going to write a blog post to trash our “little blog”. She really showed us, didn’t she?

Look, I understand when authors get angry over bad reviews in which they’re slammed on a personal level. I really do. A book is not its author. So when I see reviews that say things like “this author is a stupid cow” I fully understand the author being pissed. To my knowledge, we have never written one of those reviews here on this site. When we review a book we try to keep it all about the book, not about the author. Even though the authors sometimes make this really hard.

Sylvia Massara contacted us many months ago asking if we’d like to review her book. It sounded like something Rowena would enjoy, so she accepted. Rowena read the book and didn’t care for it. She said so in her review. She explained, in detail, what didn’t work for her and why she was giving it a bad grade. End of story? Apparently not for Sylvia Massara.

I particularly love where she calls us jealous and says we’ve never written anything but a grocery list. First of all, my grocery lists are amazing and beautiful. Y’all would be jealous if I shared them with you. Second, we have written things besides grocery lists..unprofessional reviews. Duh.

I’m not going to continue to justify the review. I don’t think I need to. It pretty much speaks for itself. Unfortunately for her, so do Sylvia Massara’s actions. She’s just made herself look like a giant ass..again. I think it’s probably time for her to move on. Don’t you?

: I’m rubbing my hands together with glee here. I missed telling Sylvia Massara what an ass she made of herself in the comments of Rowena’s review. I have probably read that review ten times and I still can’t see the how it’s unprofessional. In this new post she actually calls the review trashy. Which made me go read the damn review again (sorry Rowena, but it’s hereby declared the damn review) and did not see any of the things that the author claimed. Rowena was objective. She was not malicious. She stated exactly why she didn’t like the book. Her ire wasn’t directed at the author, but at the character. If anything, I thought the damn review was pretty good. Rowena is nothing if not diplomatic. If anything, Sylvia Massara should consider herself lucky that it wasn’t Holly or I that reviewed the book because our damn review would have been a lot worse.

This part of her post made me smile.

This is why I am warning authors to beware of this kind of reviewer. When you offer your book to be reviewed, first take the time to check out the reviewer. Have a read of some of the reviews they wrote in the past. See if they trashed someone else. Make sure they back up their reviews with facts and objective criticism. I learned my lesson the hard way and didn’t do my research first, as I should have done.

She is warning you (authors) to beware of us. We bad. Make sure you check out this page. Or the “About the Blog” on the sidebar where we let you know that we tell it like it is. You saw that right? Or did you just happen to see a review of a Nalini Singh book that we put of the day you skimmed our blog? One more thing…we don’t have to back up our reviews with shit. All we have to do is tell our readers what we think. If we want, we throw in the why.

Holly ETA: The original post Sylvia Massara put up has been heavily edited and the comments deleted. I thought about re-posting them here so you could all have a go at them if you wanted, but to be honest I’m just too lazy. The lovely ladies over at Book Lovers, Inc are, however, much more industrious. They have posted a copy of Massara’s initial post along with the first 100 comments, including Massara’s now infamous ALL CAPS RANT. Thanks ladies!

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86 responses to “Edited: Readers Beware of Unprofessional Authors

  1. Cem

    Oh I love this post. It made me laugh, in a good way. So spot on. Reading the post from the author how the review in question is ‘trashy’ I laughed because it’s a ridiculous post that makes her sound like a brat. And also made sure she lost a whole bunch of potential readers as well. Classy!

    Love the owl too by the way, just perfect!

  2. I want to read one of your grocery lists.

    Srsly, I can remember when there were no romance review sites because the WWW was still a gleam in the eye of a certain Swiss researcher. I subscribed to Romance Times for a year, and discontinued my subscription when I realized that the chance of finding anything but a rave review in that mag was about the chance of me finding a square yard without a fire ant on our place in Texas.

    Let’s hear it for non-professional reviews!

  3. What a great and professional response to Sylvia Massara. I heard about her post via twitter and couldn’t believe what I read. Such sour grapes!

    Two things I learned from it though 1) She is not an author whose books I’ll be reading and 2) I found 2 new blogs to follow. Keep up the good work on writing those “trashy” reviews!

  4. I’m slow, so help me out here. Ms. Massara’s take-away from the experience is, basically, advice she should have and didn’t take herself? Namely, don’t send a book to a reviewer you don’t want to review your book. Is that about it?

    Why isn’t the converse true — if you send a book to a reviewer, you asked for the review? Suck it up – you asked for it. If it’s an “unprofessional” review (in any of the many meanings of “unprofessional”) it’s still the review you asked for.

    (Oh, wait — I am assuming that her original request didn’t include the words, “Please would you review favorably this book of mine?”)

  5. Unprofessional… I can’t say anything because it wouldn’t be nice.

    I am glad you aren’t taking this lying down. A review is an opinion and that is all that needs to be said.

    Professional in my book means NOT attacking the writer on a personal level (which I have never seen done on this blog!) Keep up the good work.

    I wonder if this author knows how Unprofessional she is being — for that she is offer my read list for good.

  6. Anonymous

    Two things…

    1) I would like to see your grocery lists. They sound incredible.

    2) As a writer, I get poor, misguided Sylvia’s poor, misguided impulses. It SUCKS to get bad reviews. It SUCKS to get mediocre reviews.

    You want to ask questions, to defend yourself, to make unfounded, wild accusations about the reviewers’ personal lives. But the truth is, someone is going to hate your book. There is always someone who HATES your book. Very likely more than one someone. And damn it, it’s hard, but the very best thing you can do in that case is pour yourself a glass of wine and call your bff and make wild, unfounded accusations about the reviewer’s personal life OFFLINE. Taking it online is bad form…and, more importantly, bad business.

    3) Stupid people piss me off, too.

  7. Hillerous post both by you and the author (even though I don’t think it was meant to be).

    I contacted an author once who really pushed me to review his book which I didn’t like. He sent me back two pages full of curses, many I didn’t hear before (and I was in the military). The moron also published my letter and his profane response on Facebook.

    He scared the hell out of my wife so I just ignored him and let it go.


  8. So let’s see. An author got upset about a bad review and blogged about it. A reviewer got upset about the blog and blogged about it and called the author an ass and an idiot, while saying they don’t say things like that in reviews. But just did in a review of the blog.
    I’m wondering what I’m missing here. I’ve read both blogs and the author didn’t call the reviewer names and seemed relatively level-headed about it. This blog post seems spiteful and superior. I know few authors would dare say that, because, after all, they want good reviews, but as an author who has been around a while, I’m a bit weary of self-appointed experts slamming authors in public and everyone kowtowing to them. Calling an author a “big fat ass” and having a picture saying “I tried to see things your way. You’re still an idiot” isn’t professional. So I think the author probably has a reasonable point to avoid reviewers that would say such things about authors. Because it appears when the shoe is on the other foot and the reviewer gets reviewed, they react even more heatedly than the author. Your blog post confirmed exactly what the author said about you if you look at it quite rationally.

  9. LOL I thought train wrecks were on Thursdays?
    Love the post and the review this post was based on. Now if you will excuse me, this unprofessional reviewer is going to be even more unprofessional and go grocery shopping WITHOUT a list. *gasp*

  10. @Bob Mayer: Your blog post confirmed exactly what the author said about you if you look at it quite rationally. – that was kind of the point of the blog post. It was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. So, it was spot on then?

  11. Bob: But because Sylvia got her panties in a twist because of a the review here on Book Binge, she has the right to call them amateurs? All because they gave her book a not so rah-rah review?

    I left the same comment on Sylvia’s post, but what makes a reviewer an amateur? What if Publishers Weekly or People gave her a scathing review? Would she call those publications amateurs?

    And please don’t say it’s because someone gets paid to review. That’s not a valid reason.

    Book Binge has been reviewing for years with their great insight and are far from amateurs.

    But what do I know? I’ve been reviewing for 4 years, reviewed hundred of books and have been blurbed in books, just like Book Binge has.

    Does that make them, myself and all the other book blogs who sacrifice their time and energy to review to be called amateurs? Did they deserve the amateurish response from Sylvia?

  12. Lordy. You really only need one response to a review, if you feel the need to respond at all: “Thanks for your opinion, I appreciate your taking the time to read my work.” Even that is pushing it.

    But really I think the problem the author has may just be lack of internet savviness. Everyone really should know by now that the “only writers should review writers” type of dynamic is just dead because on the web anybody can review anything. Also, that no argument has ever been won in any discussion thread, ever…and most importantly, that anonymice and sock puppets fool no one.

  13. I am surprised the writer wanted you to “quantify” rather than “qualify” your argument. Were you supposed to count the number of predictable things, measure reactions through galvanic skin tests, conduct a survey?

    It sounds as if you did qualify the reasons for your review.

    And, you are correct, we may be professional bloggers but we generally don’t say we are professional critics–no more than people who have a book club think they’re discussing books on a talk show.

    I have begun to turn away independent authors, many do not read my policies before offering a book. There are some things that aren’t published for good reasons.

    If another writer or blogger refers them then I will consider it, but I always retain the right no neither read or review a book.

    My responsibility as a blogger is to the people who follow my blog. They follow and read b/c they like what I say. Thus, what I say must resonate on some level. My only responsibility to a writer is honesty.

    Having someone actually try to blacklist you by warning writers away, and by naming you specifically, is more than tacky; it’s unethical.

    Writers need thick skin. So do we.
    Someone asked the President the other day if it bothered him that people hate him. He said that as they don’t really know him, no he doesn’t. Good answer!

    Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust
    email: steph@fangswandsandfairydust.com
    Twitter: @fangswandsfairy

  14. I apologize that you received backlash from a review. As a writer…I’m embarrassed that it happened. Feedback is crucial if our motivation in writing is really the enjoyment of readers.

    Critism should challenge us to do better next time. Someone who reads a book and gives honest feedback is a person to be valued and respected. How are we to become better writers without honest feedback? How can we say we care about our reader’s enjoyment if we discount their opinions?

  15. I didn’t call anyone an amateur. I have no idea what makes one a professional reviewer. I just didn’t think the name-calling was professional. Tongue-in-cheek is hard to pull off. For me, as an author, it didn’t work. Humor is one of the most difficult things to write. I’m sure it worked for others. It’s called opinion.
    My point is, the defensiveness of this post, and some of the comments, aren’t that much different than the blog that was commented on.
    And, yes, Sylvia has a right to call them amateurs. That’s her opinion just like a review is an opinion. Am I the only one missing the logic flaw to these arguments on both sides? You can ignore her just as much as she should have ignored your review.

  16. Anonymous

    “I’ve read both blogs and the author didn’t call the reviewer names and seemed relatively level-headed about it.”

    I saw nothing level-headed about an author calling someone trashy and unprofessional.

    Insults aside, the author post offended me because she treats her genre AND readers as worthy of her scorn. Nothing level-headed about that, either.

  17. Sylvia is essentially name calling by labeling a specific blog as amateurs because she didn’t like what they said about her book. That’s the issue and calling Book Binge and the other blog mentioned in her post unprofessional.

    Yes, it’s her opinion, but she should have took a step back and thought before posting her thoughts because it was bound to raise more than a few book review bloggers’ ire.

  18. Who better to review books than those avid readers? I think she’s gone a step too far and she’s not done herself any favors.

  19. I think you said you argument well. I also feel this whole thing should have never started. What Sylvia posted was unprofessional, while your review, yes I read it, was very well done. I feel this is all just sour grapes.

  20. @Bob Mayer While Holly’s part of the post was tongue-in-cheek, mine certainly was not. I considered Sylvia Massara’s behavior then and now quite appalling for an author that came to us.

    I had to go back to the damn review again because it seemed to me that it was posted quite some time ago. November 13th, 2010 to be exact. An anonymous commenter-who may or may not have been the author (though I go with the former) seemed to have gotten all her thoughts and feelings out there.

    My question is this…why now? Why three months later? This should have been laid to rest months ago. We don’t have the professional status that Sylvia Massara has, but we don’t need to. We just need to inform our readers of Authors Behaving Badly.

  21. *giggles*
    You girls are good!!

    I’ve read a ton of reviews here, I’ve never found them trashy in the least.

    As your reader, so long as you explain why you’re giving it the rate based on your own tastes and who you are as a reviewer, I’m perfectly okay with an honest review that tells me “Well this book wasn’t for me because of this and this, I didn’t like it.”

    Many times in my own blog I’ve done this, I’ve done this with ARCs, I’ve done this with books other reviewers have given glowing reviews, why? because it’s my blog and its my own personal taste and though I appreciate the time and effort that takes to write a book, I owe it to myself and the people who read me to be honest.

    OK, I won’t get pissed off.

    But seriously, I’ve read Rowena’s reviews, tons of them, she’s so diplomatic and thoughtful that it’s just not fair what Sylvia Massara said.

  22. I cannot believe how unprofessional SHE is being. I think that all she has accomplished here is hurt her own image. It is normal to feel hurt and angry, but it really is best to keep those thoughts to yourself. Nothing good comes from something like this.

  23. For an author, bad reviews can be hard to take. I have no problem with an author going out and perhaps complaining about the review. It’s the authors opinion that the reviewer could perhaps be wrong. It’s the reviewer’s opinion that the book didn’t live up their standard or expectation. Both things are fair and reasonable.

    What I am having a hard time with is the name calling, on both sides. A few of the comments here disturb me. If you believe the author is being unprofessional, then perhaps its best not to do the exact same thing you are saying the author is doing. Name calling to combat name calling is still name calling.

  24. Geez. I’ve been on both sides – the author and the reviewer – so I think I can speak from experience….

    When authors submit books for review, they should do so knowing full well that the reviewer might not like it. They’re taking that risk. And if you do wind up with a bad review, you ignore it. You NEVER link back to it. You move on, which is exactly what didn’t happen in this case. All this author has done is draw twice the amount of negative attention to her book. It’s sad and frustrating when authors make this mistake.

  25. The difference is, Bob, only one of the two are actual professionals. Right? The author is the person who is paid for her work – writing is her profession.

    By contrast, most READER REVIEW blogs are NOT professional. By that I mean, they’re not paid to review books. Many folks have full time jobs and also set up reader blogs that review because they like talking about books. The two situations are vastly different.

    In other words, the burden regarding standards of behavior of professionalism should relate to the party who is the actual professional – in this case, the author.

    I’m not going to debate whether this is “fair” or not. It’s the truth and as such, you can deal with it or you can lie to yourself, but it doesn’t change reality either way.

    Bottom line: there is nothing rational or professional about calling out READERS who didn’t like your book. There is nothing levelheaded in using insults like trashy over commonly used review terms like one-dimensional or predictable.

    In the end, the responsibility for your behavior lies with no one else but you. Own it. Don’t read websites that make you feel bad for goodness sake! I don’t love every review I get either. That’s why I have friends I can call to vent to.

  26. I found both posts via Twitter and I have to say that I see nothing wrong with what was posted on your site. If you can’t express your opinion on a book you didn’t enjoy, what is the point of reviewing? I’m now a follower. She did draw attention your way, but I don’t think in the way she wanted.

  27. Kim

    What a great post. If Sylvia is taking Stephen King’s advice to heart and writing for herself, then why does the review still bother her?

  28. Great post! There’s nothing more important than honest reviews and being able to feel however you want to about any given book.

    Great labels too btw. πŸ˜‰

  29. I mean, authors don’t call us bloggers ‘amature’ and ‘mediocre’ when we’re praising their books and calling it 5 different types of great. There’s not an issue of a blogger being too inane or not objective enough when we like the book. But it’s a problem when the script gets flipped.

    Hurtful adjectives aren’t circumstancial. Either I write honest reviews, or they blow chunks. it’s not contingent on whether I say ‘good book’ ‘bad book’.

    If I am an amature, I am an amature. And proud of it, but not because I didn’t like your stupid book.

    /On the flip side, I can see how an author must get pissed when people put up bad reviews when the writing warrants better. But don’t make mountains our of non-existing mole hills.

    And one last thing: Team Book Binge all the way! One of the best sites around for honest and well-written reviews, in my opinion. And I am not just saying that. I’ve agreed whole-heartedly with some reviews and disagreed with some as well, but I know I always appreciate the time and effort the reviewer puts into outlining their grievences or praise and giving me as a reader The Real Deal.

  30. According to your logic, Lauren, then these book reviewers ARE amateurs and what was taken with offense that the author wrote was true? This thing is all over the place. I really don’t care one way or the other–I think both sides got in a tiff over something both should have ignored. Perhaps I mistook the tone of the blog here. It apparently was supposed to be snarky. I guess a lot of people got that and I failed when I read fat ass and idiot toward a writer. I’ve written some snark and I didn’t find it snarky. As Dorothy Parker says: Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is calisthenics with words.

    The snake is eating its own tail here.

    And now I will take my own advice and ignore it as logic has failed and continues to fail. And I guess never get reviewed.

  31. I am completely on Casee’s camp: the ranting “anon” in the comment thread of that damn review (sorry, Rowena!) is almost certainly the author, Ms Massara herself.

    If that be the case, then I call for c*ckpuppets! (evidently not safe for work, folks)

  32. Yes, Bob – the person who needs to be a professional is the actual professional – in this case the author.

    There’s no all over the place. The first step is to resist getting involved in some sort of back and forth who is nicer thing. It doesn’t matter.

    1. Author asked for review.
    2. Author got review.
    3. Instead of shining it on when she got offended, she argued.
    4. Six weeks later author writes a blog post calling this blog and another out specifically, including insulting the writing skills of the reviewers and calling them trashy.

    This is what happened. It’s unnecessary to get into who used worse words because this is between an adult professional and a reader review blog. The author needs to keep it together in public. That’s part of her job. It’s not my job to do it for her. Nor is it the job of random strangers at review blogs.

    So back to the actual point: The burden for professional behavior falls to the professional – the author in this case. She did not act as such.

    We can only control what WE do.

  33. LOL love the “Stupid people piss me of” bahahaha, she has just messed up big-time and come on it was so obvious she was anonymous. Are you kidding me? I thought the review was well written, you were sure kinder than I would have been had I not liked it. Meh Can’t believe she dissed all bloggers and called you trashy poor thing obviously didn’t know that you do not fuck with bloggers.

  34. Bob,

    Sylvia Massara didn’t just say these people were “amateurs” in the sense of unpaid. She said they were trashy and gave out unsubstantiated opinions, and that likely, they’d never written anything but a grocery list.

    This is not a case of two people stating their opinions and disagreeing. Some of the things Sylvia said simply cannot be characterized as statements of opinion; they are statements of fact, and as such, they can be proven or disproven.

    For instance, when Massara says that the Book Binge is amateurish because “they don’t back up their comments with facts,” this is no longer an opinion. It is a stated fact about the nature of the review, that it does not back up the comments.

    Contrast with the actual review, where Rowena says that the main character does not act as if she is 40, and gives three specific plot points that explain why, along with two quotations from the text.

    Massara says “the people who set up these kinds of blogs have never written a thing in their lives, except maybe a grocery list.” This is a statement of fact, not an opinion. It is also easily disproven, as Rowena has written many, many excellent blog posts.

    Contrast that with this post from the Book Binge. The things you call out are things like, “She’s just made herself look like a giant ass.” This is an opinion, not a fact, and so it doesn’t need to be subject to proof. Even so, I think 99% of those who have read Massara’s post agree with the characterization.

    I completely agree with Lauren Dane–the author, as a professional, has an obligation to be gracious even when she’s only expressing her own opinions about her book.

    But Sylvia Massara also lies. And that is contemptible.

  35. Right on, you guys! When I read that post I was like, “What the heck do you think a review is? An OPINION!” If someone has a bad opinion of your book, you don’t freak out and call them “trashy”. You move on. Massara completely overreacted.

  36. Suzan

    Bob, the status of whether or not the book blogs were professional reviewers was never in question. It was the behavior of which that was challenged. Massara was unprofessional calling out what she thought was “trashy”. And editing the post and trying to back pedal will not fix the mean-spirited things she said about the book blogging community or the romance community. A well-meaning apology will, but I doubt that will ever happen. But if it does, I’ll be pleasantly surprised, though I doubt I will ever buy a book by her.

  37. The last lines said it all. We can do what the hell we want with our blog. There ain’t no book blogging laws out there that force us to adhere to some review formula. We make our own rules and state our own opinions. We bad, alright.

    P.S. LOL @ your grocery list! I am so curious. My lists are pretty awesome, too. πŸ˜€

  38. Very well said girls!!! I’ve spent most of the day first in shock she would make those stupid comments, then laughing as it spiraled. I remember the drama when the review was first posted. How awesome she just can’t let it go! (not)

  39. Tabitha

    And Sylvia Massara is a professional author? I’ve never heard of her before but now I have…and I will NEVER read a book by her even if I find it used in the book bin at the flea market for 4 for $1.

    Great response here. And please share your grocery list!

  40. It’s hard to believe someone who takes negative reviews so poorly is a published author. Any writer should know how to take criticism, even when s/he doesn’t think it’s warranted. It’s a part of learning how to write and well, being a writer. You write something and suddenly everyone feels entitled to tell you what they think – that’s publishing. That’s writing. It is hard to take when someone thinks your writing is crap. The trick is to be confident that no matter what others think you want to improve your skills, so you take what you can get from comments and move on.

  41. teenyann

    If you are not prepared to accept negative feedback as well as positive, be careful what you ask for.

  42. Well, Ladies & Gentlemen, I have read all the comments after reading the posting. As a guest blogger on TBB and having reviewed several hundreds of posts here, I was really shocked and saddened about the necessity of even having to deal with such a responses. While I am not a professional author, I deal with public presentations and words all the time as my livelihood, and the most difficult aspect of my profession is handling criticism. I know that there have been times when I not only felt that criticism was unfair or unjust, but there were other times when my feelings were hurt. NEVERTHELESS, the only response I think I could have made or can make at any such time is “What Can I Learn From This?” I can do a rationalization by responding back in a critical manner–and I have done that in past years to my injury and hurt–or I can process the hurt feelings or whatever my response may be and try to recognize that in my presentation I “put it out there” and I have to leave people’s responses alone. As a “professional” speaker I don’t think I can do anything else.

    As an “amateur” reviewer I believe I have an obligation to any author to process their work from my own perspective and experience, both as a reader and one who has live a whole lot of years. I have, for the most part, received optimistic responses from most authors but I have been chastised by one or two. All of those exchanges have been instructive and, I think, all exchanges have been respectful. I have deeply appreciated an author taking the time to express responses to the reviews. That this particular author decided to respond in such hurtful language helps no one and discredits the fragile link between author and reviewer, no matter who that might be.

    All the ladies here on TBB are bright, witty, and observant about human life and experience. The fact that they have such a very healthy relationship with so many authors of note should relay to any author that they and their guest reviewers have held their own in the time they have been on the web. And, after all, it’s their blog–if they want to be tongue-in-cheek or snarky, that’s their privilege. I, for one, am delighted to be a frequent guest on this blog and the entire exchange just makes me sad. Sort of takes some of the joy out of the whole process, doesn’t it?

    Oh well . . . some of us will continue to have “fun” no matter what!! Thanks for letting me share . . . ravereviewer@gmx.com

  43. I’m still confused about the “objective review” part. Amateur? Yes, that would be my middle name. But since she asked for a review from an “amateur” reviewer, she asked for a personal opinion. which is subjective. What did she expect? An analysis o the symbols in the book? no, she wanted an opinion! And just because one person doesn’t like your book doesn’t mean NO ONE will like it.

  44. Yep, the author has deleted the comments now. Supposedly it’s because some of the comments were “attacking” innocent people not involved. I really didn’t see that. Can someone tell me the name of the other review site? I only got to see the blog post after she edited the links out. I want to start reading their blog too! You guys are awesome! Also, it was so insulting how she said that readers aren’t qualified to review books. Then who is qualified?!

  45. myrandaroyann the other blog was chicklitplus.com and Samantha’s review can be found here: http://chicklitplus.com/other-boyfriend-sylvia-massara/

    Massara also went after Samantha on Facebook under her posting of her review: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chick-Lit-Plus/322804510150
    Massara writes:
    “I’ve read the word “predictable” and “one-dimensional” too many times in too many book reviews, including blockbusters like “Bridget Jones’s Diary”. Would you care to explain, in your professional opinion, what you actually mean by these cliches? Frankly, I’m intrigued. Also, network marketing is network marketing, but I guess not every one understands it. One last thing: the book was edited by a professional editor and was published in paperback by a publisher. I guess they must have liked something about the story. I’m sorry you didn’t, but as Stephen King says: you cannot please every reader with your writing, so write to please yourself. And that is exactly what I’ve done. Thank you for sharing.”

  46. Well said, Dr. J.

    @Bitchlitblog – I hadn’t seen the comments on Facebook. The poor woman just stews over these things, doesn’t she?

  47. This is crazy that it has even happened!
    This post made me laugh in a good way and it’s great how you have took all this and not let it get to you all!
    Keep the reviews coming =)

  48. Lori

    I <3 you lawyer authors. Yes, you. Lauren Dane and Courtney Milan. You rock. Spell it out. State the facts.

    Bottom line is that as a READER I would never pick up a book by this author, because I can’t value a book by an author who so vocally doesn’t value my opinion as a reader.

  49. Anonymous

    A while back, the whole family was visiting my MIL, and she made a big stink about someone having left water in her bathtub. I made a joke about “the Mystery of the Water in the Bathtub!” and my son and I now often talk about “The Mystery of the Food in the Refrigerator!” or “the Mystery of the Socks Left in the Shoes!”

    I now add to this: “the Mystery of the Subjective Book Review!” — willaful

  50. Anonymous

    I didn’t realize that only “professionals” could express an opinion about a book.

    She sounds like a real piece of work.

  51. I have seen a number of posts about this subject and the more I read the more angry I get! I just recently started a book blog and had no idea what an incredible community there is out there! I love that there are so many people out there that I can connect with and talk about books. I also find all kinds of books that I otherwise would never have read. So, instead of some authors trashing bloggers they should be thanking all of you for helping to sell their books! (And of course I know most authors do.)

    The other whole part of this that makes me furious is saying that bloggers don’t know how to write. Well, first of all, we are READERS not the WRITERS so get over it. And second, I know that many of the bloggers I read have a lot of experience WRITING. Many are librarians or editors or aspiring authors themselves. I myself studied English for 4 years in college and have worked as a professional technical WRITER for the last 5. Though we all are not novelists, we still have the right to express ourselves no matter what our writing level is.
    (OK, I’m done ranting! But thanks for your post! You were very “professional” IMO)

  52. I edited the post to include a link to a transcript of the original post Massara put up along with the first 100 comments, including hers.

    Hope that helps those of you who missed it the first time.

  53. Wow she really is trying to save face by heavily editing her original post. Doesn’t she know she’s already sunk her own ship?

  54. She really destroyed her reputation. I guess she has turned herself from the entire book blogging community.

    I would LOVE to see this author’s grocery list. Because if she thought that it’s such a big insult to write about you only ever having writing experience doing grocery lists, then hers is probably horrible. Oops! I shouldn’t have said that. But really, if she did not want to have a negative review in the first place, she should have just asked close friends and family to review the book for her and be done with it. Don’t go asking for other blogger’s opinion on your book if you’re not going to have an open mind about it.

    Brush Up On Your Reading

  55. I read the original review twice and couldn’t figure out why the author was so offended, as it was well written and even gave examples of what didn’t work.

    Also, I am incredibly offended by the insult to grocery list writers everywhere, but grateful to Sylvia as I’ve found an awesome new blog to follow! πŸ˜‰

  56. I havent read the review or the rant. But I must say this post was very well written with a touch of humor.

    If only professionals could express an opinion about a book, that would be a sad thing. There are more non-professionals than profess and I think a lot more readers recommend books than reviewers.

    And yes, the author made an ass of herself. She should have just kept her mouth shut and no one would have thought ill of her; now they do.

  57. I am a book blogger and reviewer. I haven’t ran into this before but I have hear of authors doing this to a few other book bloggers.

    That’s why when an author is wanting me to review their books I am very up front with them. I tell them flat out that just because they are supplying me with a free book that it doesn’t buy a good review. I explain that I will give my honest opinion and if I don’t like the book I will still write a review and I will write it with grace.

    Just because I don’t like someones book doesn’t mean another person will not just love it. It’s just like ice cream – I love chocolate and I think it is the bomb. My husband on the other hand thinks it is the worst flavor of ice cream ever made. Does that mean we need to stop buying ice cream I don’t think so… an opinion is just that.

    I think that the author should of been able to take the good with the bad. I know these books are like their children to their authors but even the best child gets grounded for being bad once in a while.

    I have always given a book a chance even if it doesn’t get the best reviews because everyone’s tastes are not the same. I myself have like books that others have given a not so high review.

    I review books I have received free, Books that I have gotten from the Library, Books I have purchased (and I buy a lot of books for my family of 7) and I buy a lot of books threw out the year for gifts to friends. Even though I love to review books I have gotten free – I’m not just a blogger out after free books.. Because for every free book I receive I bet I spend the cost of that book back in other books. So I find it very offensive for the author to say what she did about us bloggers in it for just the free books.

    The only thing this author accomplished with me is for me to write her name down on all of my grocery lists so I don’t accidentally purchase one of her books.

    I am glad their are bloggers out there willing to write honest reviews good or bad… Keep on blogging.

  58. I can’t believe this issue is still alive. If the author had said, “Thanks for the review”. I would have way more respect for her & more chance that I will check out the book anyway. Many authors have said they’d rather be reviewed than ignored. No one will google you if you are invisible.
    Thank you for making yourself abundantly clear where your talents lie & I mean lie.

    BTW my verification word is “vershole” LOL.

  59. I missed all the controversy so I’m just now catching up. I am grateful that Massara named you guys in her hissy fit, otherwise I might never have found your blog. Keep up the good and honest reviews!

  60. Ems

    Fellow book blogger here, firmly on Team Book Binge. I read the original review (the damn review-hah!) and didn’t find anything at all unprofessional or objectionable.

    Keep up the fantastic work!

  61. Anonymous

    so do I read a book by a middle aged brat acting like a 14 yo who isn’t allowed to go to the party or continue to read well written blogs that know how to state their opinions…

    such a hard choice. πŸ™‚

  62. wow so much drama…seriously I would love to see your grocery list πŸ˜›

    I guess the people who read her book are not entitled to an opinion hmm last time reviews are just that an opinion good or bad.

    Well after all this I’ll be staying away from her books and reviews.

  63. Wow. I’m so glad that none of my “bad” reviews have gotten this kind of attention! Although, maybe the drama would do good things for my blog popularity. πŸ™‚

  64. I know this post is like a month old, but it’s awesome! This is only making me want you guys to review my book more! I can’t wait to see what you guys say about it… 1 start or 5 stars, I want to hear it!

  65. I’m sorry that happened to you. Sometimes it feels like for certain authors an honest review means “only say positive things.”

    I offer book reviews too on my blog and encountered an author who disagreed with what I wrote. He told me to take my 3 star review off of Amazon and Goodreads. For every negative I pointed out, he told me I was wrong and asked me to explain myself.

    I wrote a post about it b/c I was fed up: http://yawattahosby.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/authors-exhibiting-unprofessional-behavior-tsk-tsk-tsk

    Keep smiling,

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