*Ok, I’m honestly a little scared of posting this as I don’t want any more harassment from the wrong people…
The above picture pretty much sums up how I feel today. I’m exhausted and drained from all the horrible things that have happened recently. I’ve faced cold distant treatment, attacks on facebook and now I’ve been bullied privately, all because I wanted to be honest and help out an author.
Back in October I wrote this post A Tough Decision – Don’t blame the Book Blogger Blame Your Fellow Indies 😦 after facing a load of abuse from some indie authors. In the post I talked about my tough decision to stop reviewing indie books, but several weeks later, after having only good communications, I took back my ‘no-indie’ policy and started receiving indie requests again. BEFORE I go on I must point out that this post isn’t talking about all the wonderful indie authors who are kind, deal with reviewers in a fair and pleasant manner and who take time and diligence in publishing books that are of top quality. Those authors are the ones I had hoped to review for….But there’s a large amount of indie authors out there who aren’t nice, professional and release books with horrible errors and many of these authors have taken to attacking me. 😦
First I’ll talk about the books and then about the attitude. In the last few months I’ve faced an ever increasing pile of requests to review books which are of poor quality. I’m not talking about books where the story feels a little weak or uninteresting to me, I’m talking about books written by people with such poor grammar, spelling and punctuation that I wonder if they can even speak English properly. I’ve been actively refusing a large amount of review requests. Now this doesn’t mean that every refusal has been on the grounds of poor quality, in the last few weeks I’ve refused on the grounds that I just don’t have the time to read any more books. But the amount of poor quality books appearing on offer for review is…well honestly shocking and I’m getting more of them the longer I seem to leave my submissions open.
Some of the books I’ve taken for review have seemed okay from the ‘look inside’ feature on amazon. The first chapter or two seem flawless and so if the story interests me I’ve taken it. But many books seem to fail past the start, they get increasingly worse as you read on. One book I read recently was so bad, the grammar was out the window and the story itself ended with no actual ending (it basically didn’t make sense) that at the end of reading it I felt like throwing my ereader against the wall. It actually made me upset and a little angry that this book was considered on an equal par with other indie books by decent authors who work hard to edit, re-edit and produce top quality books.
This has been something I’ve struggled to cope with and if you read on you’ll hear just how bad it’s gotten. I’ve read quite a few terrible books from cover to cover. At first, with the help and advice of a friend, I approached the authors kindly and pointed out little errors or in some cases bigger ones. I never put down their book, in fact in most cases the story was good but the writing let it down, so I’d let authors know that there were grammar errors and such but word it in a vey kind way (a bit like my reviews still list positives along with the negatives).
At first I deal with authors whose attitude was professional. Thanking me for telling them and in some cases giving me the go ahead to publish the review anyway. But I now realise this was RARE. In fact many of the authors I’ve contacted privately have been angry and nasty, criticising me and ‘how dare I’ say such things about their books. Their attitudes have been so nasty and hateful that I’ve taken the easy route out (the route so many amazon top reviewers use) I simply started telling people: Sorry, I didn’t get along with your work so I can’t review it.
Not every book has been terrible. Sometimes I just didn’t enjoy a book and I tell the author and don’t review it, but most of the times I’ve told authors this it’s been for the reasons that their books were so bad….And yes, I chickened out of telling them why because of how cruel some of them have been.
*And so you know, many other amazon top reviewers I’ve spoken to over the last few months do the same – tell indies they can’t review the book as they ‘didn’t get along with it’ and most now refuse indies point blank!
So now comes the ugly stuff. I’m not going to go into great detail over what has been said and I’m certainly not going to name names but the truth is that I’ve spent the last few weeks in an ever growing depression due to the way I’ve been treated. I’m not the type of person to openly admit I’m struggling, when I do finally tell people I’m usually at breaking point. The other day when I wrote this powerful poem You Do Not Want The Truth (even if you don’t like poetry please read the words) I was trying to deal with all the abuse I’ve faced recently. Not only have I faced authors who have used me, befriended me and then blanked me; and authors who have attacked me via facebook and some who have left ‘odd’ comments on my reviews and posts both here on my blog and amazon. But now I am facing personal attacks via personal messages and email.
These messages are ugly, bullying put downs that I’ve only ever seen the likes of in the school playground. Indie authors who don’t like to hear that their books aren’t the best 5 start thing in the world. When I’ve told them I refuse to review it because I don’t feel it’s good enough to award a positive review, I get a barrage of comments, nasty comments that are so cruel and nasty that it makes me question why I’m doing this reviewing ‘job’ at all.
I review books for free. I’ve never made money from this and I’m doing all authors a favour in reading their books and reviewing them. It wastes my time to both read and have to write about a book that is terrible. And no, it’s not a matter of taste – we all have books we may not like, but it’s not those books I’m talking about. I’m talking about books where the English grammar, spelling and punctuation looks like it took a holiday. It’s not fair on me, or indeed any reader, to even have to read such books, and it’s not fair to place these indie books alongside others by professional authors whose books are a quality standard equivalent of traditionally published authors.
I don’t have one. No yet. But I am going to take a break from this blog and reviewing. I’m not going to disappear completely, but I can’t commit as much time as before…not until I feel better. I know I have a backlog of books to review but I only hope authors can be patient with me as I’ll take my time doing these reviews.
As for the solution to what to do about the bullying. Please tell me as I’m at a loss. It’s certainly something that many good indie authors don’t want to talk about, either through fear, ignorance or maybe because you don’t want to antagonise or talk about the negatives. But the truth is that many authors…not some…MANY have a bad attitude towards reviewers and anyone who says their books aren’t good. It’s giving all indies a bad name and that’s not fair.
So many authors ask me to give my honest opinion, but when I am honest and write a review from a readers/buyers perspective I get hounded and abused online. It’s not fair on anyone. It’s not fair on me and this whole process and the way I am feeling right now makes me wonder if it’s worth continuing to review books if I get such hatred for being honest. 😦
*Again I feel the need to emphasise that a large proportion of authors are good and civil and very professional in dealing with me as a reviewer and in creating flawlessly written and edited books. But the amount of the authors with a bad attitude that I’ve met seems to be increasing
If you have any comments please discuss but keep comments civil please.
Please follow on Facebook
Please follow on Twitter
Please follow on Google+
Please follow on Bloglovin’
Please follow on StumbleUpon
Book Reviewing Isn’t Simple – The Dark Truth of Author Bullying Daily prompt written by C the happymeerkat on Happymeerkatreviews. Conveniently links with today’s daily prompt word: simple