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Book Reviewing Isn’t Simple – The Dark Truth of Author Bullying

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*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.  😦

The Books…

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.

The Attitude….

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!

The Bullying…

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.

The Solution…

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.


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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

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169 thoughts on “Book Reviewing Isn’t Simple – The Dark Truth of Author Bullying

  1. Sending hugs, since so much of what I’d like to say has been said much better by people above me 🙂
    Do take a break, and try to get off the treadmill which can see us being snowed under with books – and I’m not even a pro-reviewer!
    Good luck – and thanks for doing your best for us indies. :hugs:

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I’m shocked to hear of your experiences. As a writer to has yet to take the plunge into publishing, I had no idea that some authors react so badly to negative reviews. Being on the receiving end of abuse like this would upset me too, so a break is a good idea. I hope that you can put this behind you and come back refreshed, with a vetted pool of authors to review.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Mirymom's Blog and commented:
    If you’re putting yourself out there as a professional writer, you need to develop some professionalism. Creative works are personal, but you have to get a little distance if you’re going to grow as an artist, and that means taking criticism like a grown-up, and recognizing that it might be valid, even when it’s painful. Or, at the very least, reacting with a little poise and grace instead of throwing a tantrum like some kind of toddler.

    I hate that this book reviewer received such vitriol and abuse when she was trying to help. Heck, even if she’d been rude and obnoxious, she didn’t deserve to be attacked in return (she wasn’t, BTW).

    Come on people, what are we? Twelve? Find some big-girl panties and put them on. Nobody wants to change your diapers.

    Like

  4. Well written and honest post. I’m very proud to have been excommunicated from Rosie’s Book Team, for having the audacity to criticise a dreary piece of badly written, sci-fi drivel. My feeling is review the books you buy, don’t bother with the thankless task of reviewing Indie/self pub work, 80 percent of which is utter tripe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow I had no idea anyone was excommunicated from the book team, I thought they all took honest reviews 😮 . Thank you, yes, although some of the indie stuff out there is good, there’s so many books that flood the market and are substandard. :/

      Like

    2. I don’t think you were excommunicated, were you, Alastair? It’s just that you wrote a 1* review and posted it without sending it to Rosie first. She DOES allow critical reviews (many of mine are very critical!), and I’d like to think we’re always honest, but there’s honest and there’s brutal, and the rule is that if you don’t feel you can give 3*, you decline to review, rather than trash a book completely. I’ve declined books that I don’t feel I can say anything postive about, loads of times. My view is that if you put your book up on a site where reviews are allowed then you must take what you get, but if you totally slag off a book that’s been submitted to someone else’s blog, then it’s they who have to deal with the fallout from it, not you.

      As for whether or not 80% of indie/self pub books are utter tripe, I can’t comment, as I haven’t read 80% of them.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thanks for confirming the censorship rules in Rosie’s cosy little club. I stand by the review, always will. That book is utterly unreadable tripe.

        I stand up for free speech, even when it upsets people because guess what? That’s freedom, a precious thing, which writers have always stood up for – well, the good ones anyway.. Those who oppose it invite the tyranny of the mob, or in this case a sad little middle class clique.

        Glad you found the cowardice deep within to censor yourself, and refrain from posting an honest review of several books. Jolly well done. Pick up a virtue signalling badge from Rosie’s gift shop on your way out.

        Like

  5. I admire your bravery to tell it how it is, and the photo summed you up perfectly. I must be one of those rare writers who can take honest feedback, whichever way it comes. We do exist. You say you don’t charge for reviews. Perhaps charging a fee and putting the money into a writing fund to support emerging writers would sift out those trying to pedal their substandard work on another writer’s back. I, for one, would love to see substandard work go by the wayside. The less clogged an inbox, the more chance a good story will get through noticed.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well I am stunned by this! I am an Indie author too, and I know lots of Indie authors, and none of us would behave this way. But I know there are people out there who do, and all I can say, is please have faith in us Indies. We value the work that you and others like you do to support our books. We’re not all like that. There are some very nasty people in the world. This past week has brought that to the forefront of all our minds. But they are a minirity. Take a break, but dont be defeated by them. Us authors also get attacked by trolls, so we know what it’s like. Have faith in yourself, and the rest of us. Hope you’re feeling better soon. Xxx

    Liked by 3 people

      1. You will, I’m sure, especially now. Maybe you can write a guest post for Chris the Story Reading Ape, or Sally Cronin, who both provide services to indie authors and have communities of lovely authors around them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve made friends with some lovely supportive authors that way. I bet they’d be happy to help. 😊 And just remember that most authors are grateful for reviews and feedback. You’ve been unlucky. I’d like to think the rest of us are not like that. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Really sorry to hear of your experiences. Thankfully I haven’t yet been subjected to ‘writer wrath’ but I suppose some people just can’t accept their book isn’t as good as they think it is. I suspect in most cases it’s embarrassment that they aren’t receiving the plaudits they’d hoped for. Not sure how having a rant at a reviewer is going to improve their chances of becoming a successful author though. I would hope that most aspiring authors would take constructive criticism on board and use it in a positive way before they release another book.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t have any advice for you because I rarely accept review requests, but I’m sorry this happened to you. I’ve seen indie authors bullying bloggers publically. They beg us for reviews and then abuse us when we give them reviews. I think authors need to learn that after they publish a book, the book no longer belongs to them. It belongs to the readers. As difficult as it is, authors have to disengage from the work and let readers have their opinions.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. All I can say is sorry on behalf of my fellow writers. There’s no place for such behaviour. Sadly you’re not the only reviewer who has felt this way and stopped reviewing as a result. Authors if you put your work out there you have to take negative reaction at times. If you can’t hack it please only share your work with your mother.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I am genuinely shocked to read this (I must be wearing rose tinted glasses too!). The way I see it, book bloggers are doing authors a HUGE favour and should always be treated with respect and common courtesy. I have often wondered why some reviewers don’t accept self-published books, but after reading this, I can see why. I’m just so annoyed that these people are giving Indie authors such a bad name. You’ve shown a lot of courage writing this and I just want to say, none of this is worth risking your emotional well-being for. Sod the lot of them!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! ‘Sod the lot of them’ – that made me smile, you’re right, it’s not fair on my or anyone else’s emotional health. And book reviewing is usually done for free so it boggles the mind why some authors can be so horrible. Thanks for the advice, might just take it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m sorry to read this, but sadly not surprised. I think this is a sad reflection in some ways of a society in which everyone knows their rights but not eveyone wants to accept the responsibilities that go with it. Where we have an education system that always praises the positive and minimizes the negative. People often can’t and won’t accept they might not be as good as they think they are. You are probably the first person to be honest with them.

    I think a short break to regroup would do you good, but don’t let it make you give up something you enjoy. Take the time to read the books you’ve been wanting to read for yourself and review those. Start to use NetGalley as has been suggested, it does remove the personal contact which makes you feel you can be more honest.

    The bulk of my review titles are from NetGalley as it means I can maintain control and for the most part enjoy reading what I would have read anyway, but I do occasionally get it wrong. I do take some indie authors, but I prefer to see some feedback via Goodreads, Amazon or fellow bloggers as to their current or previous output as a gauge. This might not be helpful to fledgling authors but then neither is the treatment you’re receiving.

    Do what you have to do for you, this is supposed to be enjoyable. You’re not paid to do it, you have no responsibility beyond your politeness and decency to fulfill what you have committed to, but abuse and bullying negates that.

    I hope you find a way through this that works for you, and I hope it helps to know you have the support of the majority of authors and your fellow reviewers. Take care, Jill xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your support and your kind words ❤ I will take the advice to both relax and start enjoying the books I read again. I'll get more active with NetGalley too which does have that buffer which is good. Unfortunately it's sometimes hard to tell when a book has reviews whether the author has received those reviews from friends and family or whether people genuinely enjoyed a book. I do hope I'll be able to avoid these silly authors in future . Thank you again ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This is why I turn down requests to review.. I am very happy to share published reviews on Amazon when I am promoting a book with a link to read all the reviews. We have been offering self-publishing for 13 years.. prior to that I self-published my own books since 2000.. Those of us who self-published at that time fought hard to gain the respect of the readers who would turn up their noses at what they called ‘vanity press’ What! you paid to be published, inferring that the book was not good enough for public consumption. Over the years we have sent manuscripts back, despite making it absolutely clear that only fully edited books would be accepted because we wanted to protect our reputation as a service. Some accept graciously and have come back a few months later with a much better quality work.. Others will tell us we are obviously not readers and have no idea of what a good book looks like!
    I do believe that reviewing is a vital part of marketing a book but it should not be undertaken until a book has been presented in such a way as to deserve it. Enjoy your break.. I agree that you should perhaps create a buffer so you have support but do not give up reviewing because of a minority.. they were bullies at school, feel entitled because of the word author that they place before or after their name and they are doing all Indie authors a disservice. Sally

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for the support and advice ❤ I do need a break to clear the fog in my head about this but you are right, I do't want to let them win, it's a horrible bully mentality that I'm sure comes from school and none of us should feel afraid to saw a book is of poor quality. Thank you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Take all the time off you need.
    Could you drop facebook? I only post reviews on there and go, I rarely engage with replies.
    I also remove abusive responses on wordpress or write something like this, “this comment was removed due to its abusive nature” it sends a huge red flag to other readers, they’ll avoid this author and it shows them to be less than favourable.
    You can also get comments from named people blocked on your wordpress, there is a comments blacklist under settings and discussion.
    You can block replies from named members on Goodreads reviews.
    I too have a review policy which clearly states that I’m not a 5* only review service and how unrealistic it is for any author to expect only 5* reviews and that if I’ve taken on a book it will be my choice to post a review. I warn authors that no amount of abuse on social media will help them, only damage them more than me.
    Can you make yourself sound sassy in your policy? Like “some people obviously need this spelling out”, it gives you a strong image.
    Gather your friends and supporters close, don’t be afraid to ask for help before sending off a reply/review.
    Remember this, as much as you love your book blog, the blog is not you, it is an extension of yourself and your love of reading, any attack is just one author who didn’t like the words you wrote as you didn’t like theirs. And that is fine. Be strong my friend.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Wonderful advice from Rosie!! Great practical tips, too. Nothing works better than a nice ‘block’ – I do that straight away, now, with anyone who gives me grief on Twitter.

      Round of applause, R xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was also offered the option of turning off messages on Facebook recently, which I took up, it stopped a rather strange author who tended to “stalk” with random obscure comments, which no doubt he never realised just weren’t appropriate.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you for your support and the advice. I do need to re-write my policy and sound more stern in my submissions. I don’t really spend much time on facebook anyway, since finding twitter I enjoy it more. But I’ll certainly look to blocking more people and keep the abusive comments info to hand. I’ll also take the advice to ask friends for help in replying to some people. Perhaps I could contact you privately too at some point? I’d like to ask you how you manage to avoid the ‘bad’ authors. Thank you for all your support ❤

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  14. I’m so appalled at this that words fail me! These people are like the X Factor contestants whose mums have told them they can sing and who long to be famous, without actually having the talent to make it happen. They appear on TV talent shows and yell and scream when they get told the awful truth – um, you can’t sing. I’m so sorry you’ve been put through this.

    Far, far too many people (and I won’t call them writers, because they’re not) think that all you have to do to produce a book like the ones they enjoy reading is to think of a random story and write it down. Then they stick it up on Amazon and get all their family and friends to write brilliant reviews for it. In this culture of encouragement, no one dares say, ‘this is rubbish and you are nowhere near ready to publish a book’. But instead of ranting at Simon Cowell when they get told they’re delusional, they rant at book bloggers, who don’t get paid anything like X Factor judges, ie, nothing.

    Please don’t give up. And I’ll tell you what to do the next time you start to read a book that’s utterly dreadful. Put it down and forget about it. You don’t owe them anything. They haven’t paid you. I’ve submitted books to reviewers in the past and never heard anything, and a couple of times they’ve taken the book and I’ve still never heard from them again. It’s no big deal. And please don’t let it stop you reading and reviewing. Life is too short to suffer this rubbish. Because that’s all it is, petty rubbish.

    J1818 above might be interested to read this, too – in Rosie’s review team, for which I review, we often find that the worse the writer, the bigger the ego. I, too, don’t bother to read book blogs that only post 4 and 5* reviews. It always makes me wonder how mnay of those 4* would have been 3 or 2* if they allowed themselves to criticise. If you praise everything, you praise nothing, indeed. And, as a writer, I know that if you put the goods out on show, you must expect them to be picked over. All we can hope is that when these people’s books fail to sell or get any more good reviews other than those from friends, they’ll disappear and find another hobby.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, such valid points and you’re right I like the comparison with the x factor :). That’s exactly how they act and there’s whole groups of ‘writers’ who I think tell each other they are great when their work is far from polished. Sometimes I even read in author bios how some of these authors have university degrees and such and it boggles the mind how they could have gotten that if their basic grammar makes no sense. Unless of course they’ve made it all up? I don’t want to give up entirely but do need to take some time off, I don’t like bloggers who won’t rate below a 3, but many authors do and you’re right you have to wonder whether that 3 would really be a 2 or 1 if the author wasn’t in a friendship with the reviewer.

      Like

      1. Rosie doesn’t allow below a 3* – if we can’t give 3* we decline to review. I don’t mind this, because it means I don’t have to read books that are really bad! And you can do a lot with a 3* – it’s a mixture of bad and good. I don’t know if you’ve ever read any of my 3*, but they’re certainly not glowing!!! I don’t take books for review if I know the author, because it saves the embarrassment if you don’t like it!

        As for the bios, I am SURE some of them lie. I’ve seen claims of national journalism, from writers who can’t even punctuate 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I personally prefer to review any stars but don’t feel good if I have togive less than 3 and am still trying to weed out requests I know would result in three. Yes, a 3 stars is generally neutral, but should be seen as a bad rating by an author either (some of them do see it as bad :/ )

        Like

  15. This is scary stuff. There are many trolls out there. Certainly nobody likes their work criticized, but if we’re going to write books and not have them edited, we deserve what’s coming in reviews. I too don’t like to give bad reviews on books, and to avoid bad blood, I’d rather not review books that aren’t up to par for same reasons. It’s too bad we can’t feel free to give constructive criticism if it’s warranted. I don’t blame you for taking a pass.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your support. It’s certainly opened up my eyes to how some people are. I had no idea people could be so nasty and it’s such a shame it makes the good authors look bad under the whole ‘indie’ umbrella 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So true. And it’s equally uncomfortable for authors to receive unjust bad reviews from those who prefer to tear authors apart personally than to constructively critique.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I had no idea people could act this way either :/ It’s certainly behaviour you’d think people would have left in the classroom back at school. I just hope I don’t encounter any more of these people again. Thank you for commenting ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Darn it. How disappointing that a few writers/authors are quick to bully someone involved is such a demanding task as book reviewing. I’ve worked too long on my manuscript to ask someone for a bunch of flattery. I want honesty. To succeed in the craft of writing I cherish all comments. They provide a perspective from which to choose how to improve the story. Honesty helps you grow. If writers don’t want honesty, they are in the wrong business. Book reviews are a part of the publishing process. Accept it’s guidelines. Act like a professional.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for commenting. I agree completely, I would want honesty from people too, I can only imagine that these authors either have had little feedback before sending a request for review to me or perhaps they have had their friends and family tell them they are great, either way it does not work and if I don’t say something negative then another person will still pick up on the negative that I might and it could be a byer of the book that leaves a review pointing out something negative. I only hope to no longer deal with these sorts of authors. Glad to hear you are a true professional ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  17. I can’t like the post, because I don’t like the way you are being treated.
    To put it shortly and simply, bullying will never go away, no matter what we do (as in, if there is punishment or not and similar). The only thing we control is what we do, and I say Don’t allow the bullying.
    All of us are trying to be nice, considerate, and have understanding for the troubles others face, but some people simply abuse that and put us into a situation where we feel unable to perform our daily activities, full of crippling doubts and fears. This is why i say do not allow it, even if it makes you look like you are cruel or pompous. People cannot muster a proper greeting? Their loss. because you know, the world is not here to serve them, and neither are you. Reviewing, writing, art, friendship, should be to mutual benefit, no matter what that benefit might be., If the only thing you are feeling and getting is bereavement, there is not need to accept it.
    You make great reviews, and there siwll always be people who will genuinely want to hear your opinion AND advice. Those who don’t, you owe them nothing/.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for your support and comment. I agree with the fact the ‘like’ button often sounds wrong if someone’s posting something that’s not ‘likeable’. As for the bullying you are of course right, it will never ever go away, and give nthe way people are with plenty of friends and others to tell them they are great they won’t learn either that it’s wrong and sadly won’t improve their writing either. I think this whole saga has really opened up my eyes to how disturbing and terrible some people are. I always wore the rose glasses of hoping and thinking that if I’m nice others will be too but the world isn’t like that and I have to be very forceful with others about my standards for reviews and more importantly my standards for treatment of myself. Thank you for saying that ❤ I don't want to stop reviewing altogether but I'm going to take a break and return back to it slowly, and I think I should be careful about who I review for in future, vet people in a sense, as the current open-to-all-submissions clearly isn't working. I haven't cried at the end of all this, I was bullied at school so I don't give the bullies now the satisfaction of seeing me truly distressed, I'm just exhausted more than anything with the whole behaviour which I really thought we all saw the end of at school. Thank you for being such a great friend ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I went through something similar a few years ago. Reviewing books became so stressful, I no longer enjoyed reading. It felt like a chore. The sheer number of requests was overwhelming. A few times, I agreed to review a book, only to find out the author was not going to give me a review copy – they expected me to buy it on Amazon!

    It was the attitudes of entitlement and the rudeness that finally got to me. Even after I posted a notice on my blog stating that I was no longer accepting unsolicited review requests, I still received emails that were more in the line with demand letters than actual requests. If I didn’t reply right away to let the authors know I was no longer reviewing, I often received second requests or “reminders.” Some authors sent their books to me in their initial email and expected me to review – it wasn’t a request at all.

    I have to say that most authors I’ve dealt with over the years have been very professional. I’ve been luckier than some people I know. There have been numerous cases of bullying, abuse, and even stalking.

    I hope you’ll take as long as you need to recover. You don’t owe anyone a good review, or any review at all. You don’t anyone your time either. All the best to you!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank oyou so much for your support and for what you have said. I too have dealt with an author who thought reviewers should buy a copy of a book as it was ‘the least a reviewer could do’. It was a very unpleasant experience with that author and unfortuanately I’ve questioned more than once whether I should abandon this blog. I don’t really want to but when I started I reviewed only traditionally published books and I feel like I have to go back to that otherwise it might not work. I really hope I don’t get any review requests when I’ve stated I’ve shut my submissions although I did just get one today, not only did they not bother to read the fact I am closed but they expect me to review a genre I have little interest in :(. Stalking is the reason I’m very wary of possibly continuing this ‘open submissions’ policy. The last few weeks and months have really made me dislike reading and almost dislike blogging which is completely wrong and the fault of such authors. I can only hope they’ll leave me alone from now on. Thank you for the advice and you are right, I don’t owe anyone anything – something I need to remind myself ❤ 🙂

      Like

  19. I understand and am sorry you are having to deal with this. It is hard to imagine that anyone would be so immature as to attack you for doing what they asked you to do. If they are not liking your honesty, then perhaps they need to grow up and ask them selves whether there is more work to do on their book to make it better.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, your card readings have certainly helped me decide somethings both in personal life and about this, such as closing myself off from certain peopleor groups of people in order to move onto something new. It is very immature and behaviour I really thought I’d seen the last of at school. I think there’s no hope for some people though and better to forget about reviewing for them than holding on to and trying to please people, which in the end just ruins me and my health, both physically, mentally and spiritually. Thank you ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. I am glad that you are finding some help in the Daily Draw. This is why I do it. You do need to distance yourself from the negativity. You don’t need it and you deserve to be treated better. Do you have any kind of contract with the people you review for? I know you are doing it without a fee attached but if you had some kind of contract, you could put in writing that your review is an unbiased opinion and meant to be used as a tool for the author to make any needed changes to their work prior to going to press. It could also state that as the reviewer you will do A, B and C and the author can not in any way take offence to the review or the reviewer or attack you in any way. This way if they come back all butt hurt because they didn’t like what you said, you have a signed document stating the ground rules. A signed legal agreement is protection for you. They would know that if they did anything you have a document that would be used in court against them. You might not actually take them to court, but they don’t need to know that! Thank you again for the validation. I appreciate it ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Unfortunately there’s not real contract, just a verbal (or email one) where I say I’ll review the book. I do tell people I won’t guarantee a positive review, that they could get a negative one, but I guess most people just don’t really hear that, in their minds their work is flawless and deserves 5 stars. I’m certainly going to stay away from reviewing for authors for a little while, get down the reading list I have and then perhaps with the help and advice of others come up with a submissions policy that will sort of ‘scare’ people into knowing I’m serious about my honest reviews, but in the meantime I think I just want to take it easy and enjoy reading again. There’s certainly no place for negativity, I’ve had a lot of it in my life and now, to use a well known phrase, life is too short to waste on these people and negativity ❤ :). Thank you again ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  20. I think you’re very brave to tackle this subject. Unfortunately, there are some ‘authors’ who think just because they wrote a book they are somehow magically endowed with talent. I have turned down several review requests on the grounds of crap writing, but I try to be positive when explaining to authors why I’m not going to post a review. Mostly, I’ve found them to be understanding and in many cases they already know, or suspect, what the issues are, but I’m happy to say the worst responses I’ve had are that the writer just doesn’t bother to reply.

    I’ve become much more choosy about what I agree to review these days, but you’re right about how the beginning of a book can sometimes be misleading in that it looks fine for the first few pages, but then turns to crap. If an author has several books out, I always look at their other work too, and occasionally this has highlighted a general lack of writing ability.

    Luckily, there are plenty of indie authors out there who are smart enough to take criticism in the spirit it’s intended. As the Osmonds used to say: one bad apple don’t spoil the whole bunch. (Of course, as you and I know, it should be: doesn’t spoil the whole bunch…)

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for your comment I do think it’s important to be nice to authors about their work, unfortunately some just haven’t taken it well at all. I think I’ll have to be extremely choosy from now on too as to who I will review for although for now I am going to be taking a bit of a break to get myself back to feeling better. Thank you so much for your words though, and good adviceabout check out the authors other books

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I am having a hard time reading this because I am so angry. How dare you get bullied and harassed and picked on because you give your time up to give an honest review. omg, those people shouldn’t be an author if they can’t take honest criticism. I think taking a break is a good idea, but don’t give up please, don’t let these bullies win. xx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much for your support. No I don’t want to give up either, I’ve faced bullying before in my life but rather than crying I just feel exhausted, it’s the sort of behaviour I thought we all stopped seeing in the school playground. Thank you again, I am going to take a break and shut my submissions for a while and I will get back to reviewing, I just think I’ll take it slowly at first. ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Sorry to hear you’re going through this. My two cent advice, go back to reading for the love of it, return to blogging your reads only when ready, as much as possible don’t engage with the response to the reviews, take care of yourself – no one deserves abuse.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Reblogged this on Wadadli Pen and commented:
    A good review is not guaranteed. Bad reviews hurt (like a particularly bad burn) but reviewer abuse is not cool. I have been a reviewer and have struggled at the point where a bad review is inevitable. These days though I don’t solicit nor particularly accept books for review, and choosing to talk about only the books I want to talk about has been an immense stress relief (so usually if I’m writing about a book in my Blogger on Books series, it’s because I like it or found it interesting enough that I want to tell my readers about it even when this means telling what I assess doesn’t work well in it).

    As a writer, I encourage reader, blogger, and professional critical engagement with my work knowing I might not like what I read (steeling myself to receive it). I’ve received poor rating and bad review – I put that in the singular because thankfully this hasn’t been plentiful. It isn’t fortune. I work hard on craft and crafting, and because I’m traditionally published my books also go through the ringer; and even then, apart from picking excerpts for presentation, I don’t usually read the books after they’ve been published because I know I’ll find something to nit pick about, some copy editing miss. I try to move on to the next book; I try to keep growing as a writer. I do read the reviews because part of my promotional model is using the positive reviews – including the reader reviews to push the work. But I never respond to the reviews though I have been invited to (by the publication), because, having been on both sides of this, I believe a reviewer should be free to engage with the work honestly and critically without the author looking over his/her shoulder. You’ve written the book, if you choose to engage with the review at all, and you don’t have to, read it, take it in, pick sense from nonsense, glean some insight, agree, don’t agree, dismiss – that’s our prerogative – but for the sake of all that is literary, leave the reviewer alone. You might think the reviewer is sub-par (doesn’t have the literary skills and tools needed to engage critically with the work) and it might even be true; I mean if writing/books can be sub-par, it follows that reviewers can be too – we are all human works-in-progress after all. But no reviewer has to read our work, whether paid to do so by a publication or doing so freely on their blog or wherever for the love of books. Give thanks. Keep it moving. Do not stalk, threaten, write a long diatribe explaining to the reviewer why they’re wrong – or if you do that, do it in private, cathartically, and then burn it. The note, not the reviewer. Repeat after me, do not burn your reviewers.

    Finally, I engage with books as an editor, which means I’ve seen many books in their messy stage. I am honest with the author (not brutally honest – honesty doesn’t require cruelty but it does require candor). That’s what they pay me for, an honest assessment of the work, prescriptive advice re what could make the work better if it is at all possible. I’m not doing my job if I tell them “nice, nice” and let them put out something that simply isn’t ready (or should not at all be) in the public marketplace. That marketplace is a cruel space and the books that show up there better be at their best. So, I always respect the indie authors who take the time to get it right; and do my best to do right by the ones who trust me to edit their work. Where a publishing house outsources editing of a manuscript to me, I give it the same meticulous treatment.

    When push comes to shove, whether wearing my editor, reviewer, or writer hat, I am a reader first and all I really want is a quality book, a story well told. And isn’t that what we all want?

    Liked by 5 people

  24. As one of the indie authors who strives to write and publish books that are as good as, if not better than, traditionally published works, I’m sorry this has happened to you, especially the author bullying. It’s outrageous and totally unacceptable, yet sadly, happens. The only advice I could offer is to get your books through a service like Netgalley. It’s free for book bloggers to join, and the service provides a buffer between you and the author or publisher.

    Authors need good book bloggers–we rely on them, and the tougher the reviewer, the more credible it is. As an author, I find even the negative reviews have value, as they help steer readers away who won’t like issues brought up in the “bad” review, while others may decide those issues aren’t important (or might even be appealing–this has been my experience since I cover some dark, controversial topics). In other words, the good and bad reviews together help an author or publisher define the book’s market.

    So after you take a break from blogging, I hope you return to it, because authors need reviewers like you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your support and advice. I do want to return to blogging and reviewing but you are right I should go with NetGalley more, I’ve joined but haven’t taken many books but that buffer between author and reviewer keeps everything civil and easy to deal with, this is perhaps what might be the problem regarding the authors who don’t take criticism well, there’s no buffer for them to attack a reviewer directly and that’s not fair. I agree with you in that ‘bad’ reviews don’t acutally stop me buying books either, sometimes the bad reviews I’ve read on a book seem to be written by people who didn’t enjoy a particular genre or didn’t ‘get’ something in the book, it certainly doesn’t stop me or many others from reading it. Just a shame so many authors don’t see that point of view.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. This post is so fascinating, I say please don’t give up your blog, nor be too long away from it! Perhaps it is a call to arms that you set boundaries by issuing a disclaimer! You can turn this dynamic to your advantage by simply announcing that in no way will you bend the truth of your opinion in your review. You can, therefore, put the onus on the submitter; ask them to submit at their own peril! I think it all starts with you declaring your high standards. This way, when you do write a good review, your followers will know it is a book of great merit!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your advice. I think you are right, although I’ve stated I give honest reviews I haven’t emphasised just how I won’t tolerate certain things and that’s what I should do. I will take a break but I don’t think I’ll be away too long either. I think a gradual and slow pace of blogging for a while would help and temporarily closing all submissions until I re-write them and am confident to accept new ones is what I need to do. Thank you again so much for commenting and for all the advice and support ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I feel your pain. As a book author, I’ve learned to use Beta’s since editors are so expensive. They’ve helped a lot. But as a book review blogger before I ever wrote my own books, I ran into more and more indies that were publishing their own stuff. Back then, 5-6 years ago, I’d have them send me paperbacks because those that bothered to produce books on paper – I thought – would have done a better job. Some did, some didn’t. The ones with really bad books were the ones that were most adament for reviews. It was horrible. After two years I just dropped the blog. It wasn’t worth the grief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your support and your comment. This is the thing that’s bothered me, I’ve felt like shutting down this blog on more than one occasion because of this behaviour. It’s not worth it to review books if all you get is bugged by people who have no respect for the reviewer. Unfortunately the paperbacks verses digital seems to have nothing to do with the quality of the books although I did originally think the same thing and didn’t care much for digital books. I’m glad to hear that beta readers are as good as having an editor, I know they can be expensive but as long as your betas are good at pointing out anything then that’s a great thing. Best of luck with your work 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  27. When I was open for reviews I seemed to get contacted by authors of tedious so-called romances. These days I choose the ones I want and only accept recommendations from authors/reviewers I consider have high standards.

    Get yourself a tough reputation. When people worry about your opinion of their work, and are over the moon with four stars instead of sulking and demanding five, life gets a lot easier!

    Sorry you’ve had the flak though. Chill out, take time out, and relax.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, I do need some time out ❤ I have had it on my submissions for a while that I give honest reviews no matter whether it's a 5 star or 1, but either authors don't read my submissions or seem to ignore that feature :/ Thank you again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Or similar. Depends on your choice of good books.

        Five stars to me means:
        I am blown away
        I can’t even open another book
        I can’t stop thinking about brilliant characters
        What if the plot had turned out differently
        There are no errors

        That is five stars and what people should be aiming for. Not the tat that is turned out. Soz /rant!

        Liked by 4 people

      2. No need to apologise for the rant. I do think it’s a great idea and one I’ll put in place but for now I think I’ll take down my submissions and close for a while until I’m feeling better able to manage opening back up. Thank you again ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  28. There seems to be a lot of bullying going around these days. My first boss hardened me to it and that was years ago. I’ve developed a psychological “shell”. I just take the attitude that the bully is not worth my getting upset. In other words, I consider the source. Some people never truly “grow up”. In my mind I see a small child throwing a tantrum. Some may even be mentally ill. There are a lot of good, kind people out there and we have to ignore the others. Some authors are not objective about their book “babies”. They’ve never grown up as authors and may never improve. I pity them rather than hate them. In hating, you hurt yourself and I refuse to do that. I totally understand why you need a break and I’d say take as long as you need. You’re a bit like a fighter whose been in the front lines of a battle. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you ❤ Yes I've been bullied before and that's why rather than breaking down I just feel exhausted instead. You are right it is like throwing a tantrum, these authors don't realise that one reviewer's response to their work might be echoed by buyers at a later date. One review I did a long while ago, wasn't negative but more neutral, the author took a real dislike to it and chose to cease all communications with me. Several months later I see the book on goodreads has received around the same overall rating I gave it before it had any reviews. Thank you again for your support and comment here, I do need to take a break, I don't want to stop reviewing, I've always enjoyed doing this but I certainly need a break from these authors and need to figure out what to do next with this blog and my submissions. Nobody should have to go through any such abuse, no matter what it's about or what the age.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I’m sorry things are no better for you. It’s a good idea to step back from reviewing for a while. Enjoy reading the books you want to read without the stress of reviewing them. You are certainly not alone in coming up against writers with bad attitudes. I think most reviewers have to face this. I know some will not post a review which is less than three stars and write privately to the author to tell them why.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your support and you are right I think taking time off and just reading for pleasure will help ❤ :). I have tried telling authors privately about their work and why I didn't want to review it. I've been met by a mix of responses from the nice thank yous to people ignoring my emails and to others complaining that I did get their book, it's that last section which worries me as some can be very cruel I their moment of anger when writing to me. Nobody should have to deal with it, it's unprofessional and doesn't help any authors or readers in the long run. Thank you again ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this and for your support <3. Since talking to you just a few days ago I got more comments and requests from almost unreadable work which is why I wrote this. It puts such a bad light on the whole industry which just isn't fair on all those great and professional authors out there.

  30. So sad. I’m so sorry you’ve been so abused. You’d think they’d want to improve. I recently had someone review an article I was going to submit to a magazine. I think my first, quick response is natural of having a quick ‘What?!” moment. I was protective of the work. But that passed quickly and I learned a lot from the changes and was so blessed to have received the review of the work. I’m sure you’re not hateful in any way. People just want what they want and have no idea that the world doesn’t revolve around them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I can understand the crushing feeling if someone doesn’t like something you’ve taken a long time to create. But these authors need to act like you did, have an immediate reaction but don’t act on it and maybe take a step away and read what the review is saying. Sometimes reviews that are negative (like mine) actually state a bunch of positives too but only a good author will see that. Just a shame that these ‘bad’ authors can’t learn to behave in that way. Thank you for your comment and support ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  31. First, I’m so sorry this has happened to you. As an indie author who takes great pride in my work, it disheartens me to hear how little regard ‘authors’ have for quality writing. I’ve been in this business for a long time now and am bewildered by how to proceed. The market is flooded with indie releases. My books are lost in the sea of, frankly, terrible indie releases. I have no idea how to reach readers, especially since reviewers like you are throwing in the towel over bad behavior and bad books. It’s sad on every level. So many seem to think they can write a book without any thought to spending years and years on craft, as I have. Furthermore, the bloggers and book reviewers out there are doing writers a favor, indie or traditional, by reviewing our work. Book reviewers should be respected, whether they love your book or not.

    As a reader, I agree that often the first few chapters of a book are decent, and it goes down hill from there. There are just tons and tons of awful books, and no reader wants to spend their hard-earned money on a piece of nonsense. And, don’t even get me started on the grammar. A writer should know the basics. That means grammar, people. Then, they must master story arc and description and….the list goes on. Those of us who have spent the better part of twenty years learning this craft just roll our eyes in despair. No wonder new readers won’t take a chance on my books. As a reader, I feel the same way!

    Like you, I’m at a loss as to what to do. I don’t like the idea of gatekeepers in the traditional publishing world because they keep good work from getting out to readers. There are many examples of amazing work that would never have found readership if it were up to the big publishers. In addition, I like to run my writing career as a business without anyone dictating to me about when and what to write. However, this system is surely not working either. Good work should be rewarded and discovered. With all the noise, it’s impossible.

    Anyway, I mostly wanted to say I’m so sorry on behalf of the good indie writers out here who have been given careers because of decent, hard-working book bloggers. Good for you for taking a step back. Nothing is worth being abused. Sending you a big hug and a large glass of wine from my desk here in Seattle. xo

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I have read most of the comments here. It is so sad for the writer who prides in crafting a beautiful piece. For the reviewer who wants to be sincere.

      I don’t classify myself a writer. I dream about it. I researched it some what and concluded , may be this is not for me. It is a shame all round. It is an eye opener for me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much for all your support <3. You are a writer, by nature of writing a blog you are a writer though and an author of your posts. As far a writing a book you shouldn't let all this deter you. But it's not for everyone and certainly Ii'm beginning to think reviewing is not for everyone either. I'm not sure if I should continue it or at least only continue traditionally published books, ones where I can feel comfortable giving a low mark (if I need to) without facing a barrage of abuse. It's nothing that anyone should experience at any age and I am only thankful that I have such a large support network both here and offline. I'm not sure I would be able to cope otherwise. Thank you again ❤ ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you so much for your support 🙂 ❤ ❤ I'm not sure how the system can continue either. I can understand disliking the gatekeepers in the traditional publishing route, you can't even approach a publisher individually these days without having to go through a literary agent in a lot of cases. But I think a gatekeeper of sorts might be needed for reviewers. As horrible as it is to say, these bad authors really do let the side down and so many reviewers before warned me about accepting indie requests. I think the people who do the worst out of author interaction are those reviewers who are prepared to be brutally honest about a review and state what's wrong with it, but that has led to so many reviewers just abandoning indie author requests and so there's a real dilemma in how to continue.
      Something definitely has to be brought forward though, this system isn't fair on indie authors who write well either. The flood of bad books and the chances of a new reader of indies to pick up a bad book is high and many times a reader has been burned and gone off indie books all because of one badly published one. I'm not sure what the solution is but I hope somehow one finds itself because it's not fair on either one of us and any other good an decent person. Thank you so much again and best of luck with your books. ❤

      Like

  32. Bad writing has become quite popular. With the rise of the self-publishing market, I think people have jumped onto the bandwagon of write something and publish in a way of making money. To give a negative or less than stellar review would affect their profits so doesn’t go down well. The very fact that the first few chapters (the ones you see for free on the Look Inside) are perfect and the rest isn’t shows to me it’s about money. Cus once you’ve bought it, they have their cash.

    Others just don’t understand that “writing a book” takes more than actually writing and that it’s not an easy or fast process. I’ve seen “authors” brag about how they wrote their book in a month and are publishing the next. All that says to me is “avoid!”

    I am very careful when selecting books from Indie authors. Even ones that had potential still seem to make some glaring errors that should have been picked up in edits/beta reading. There is so much dross out there you have to wade through.

    As to the bullying, that comes across as very childish. How typical that these people who don’t write well, can’t express themselves more eloquently without having to resort to bitchy nasty comments.

    My advice – treat it as a business. Maybe don’t review for friends, instead suggest another reviewer. Have a set of replies ready for people. That are clear, professional and courteous. Something like “unfortunately I have a high standard requirement when it comes to reviewing books. A brief pass over your work reveals that there are some basic issues in spelling, grammar and punctuation that should be rectified before you put your work for review. Due to this I will not be reviewing your book.” and any reply they come back with, just repeat the message as an auto message.

    Be very clear upfront that you are strict about spelling, grammar, punctuation, character development and plot. That your reviews are honest but fair and will be published at your discretion. If you have a nice person would could do with a little heads up, fine. A bad person? Just publish it. After all a review is for the readers not the writer and as a reader I would want to know about a bad review.

    Getting knarky at you is pointless, because in the end some other reader will come along, buy the book and leave a scathing review anyway.

    This is business for an author and if these people can’t cope with some negativity or some bloody truth, then they aren’t ready to be authors.

    I personally think the issue is many indie authors end up with a following of yes-men who just sing their praises whether the work is good or bad. They are friends who wouldn’t dare tell them the truth.

    Take care of yourself, don’t let idiots get you down and stop worrying about upsetting them. Stick to your guns and be honest. Sounds like they do enough to upset you. Authors can be sensitive and we all hate criticism but as writers we need it and we need to toughen up, otherwise we’ll never make it.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you so much for all your support ❤ ❤ . I think I take the whole thing to heart a little too much myself. I've naively expected all the authors to deal with me with the same courtesy I give them but you're right I should be more business like. I think I'll shut down my submissions for a while as it is and concentrate on looking after myself and reading what I love. Unfortunately in regards to upsetting them I've read a few horror stories online while searching for other articles to see if anyone else has suffered this sort of abuse and the truth is there are some very crazy authors out there, possibly mentally unstable which makes me question whether it's even 'safe' to review for people I haven't had recommended.
      You've sad exactly what I've been thinking, I think some authors do have that 'yes-men' following and so many people either follow and tell them their work is great because they just like them as friends or admire them, or perhaps their friends/followers are just as ignorant of their poor writing as they are. It's really a shame because some really top quality authors and books get mixed among the haze of slush that seems to be flooding the market.
      I'll certainly take on board the ideas you've sad and if I do open up again I like the idea of turning down someone with a generic response 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  33. I’m so sorry to hear this. Definitely take a step back on blogging. Reading is one of the purest pleasures in life, so don’t let this affect that. I blog and am an author too. I know I think my books are brilliant, but respect others may not! I have read a few poorly punctuated books myself and do feel that they let the side down on the indie scene. Some of the authors have a large self belief in their work they do become nasty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There does seem to be some connection between the authors and book quality, it does seem to be that the worse the book the more aggressive the author. All the great indie authors I’ve read already have a great respect, like you, for the fact that someone may not like their work and it’s always been reassuring and pleasant to deal with people with a professional manner but some of the people (and most of them I don’t see on wordpress to be honest) have a bizarre attitude. Thank you so much for your support ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Oh Cat, I am so sorry that this is still going on! I have no idea what you can do about it. WordPress with Akismet, has a spam detector. Do other sites like Facebook have similar facilities? If they did I suspect you’d have to pay for the privilege! Many sites like Tumblr and WordPress have forums where you can report trolling and bullying. Maybe a WordPress forum could suggest something? I think that you are sensible in deciding to step back from blogging and reviewing for a while. I’ll miss you, but your health and happiness is most important. Decent authors will understand and will be willing to wait until you are ready to review their books. Take care my dear xxxx ❤ xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I don’t want to disappear entirely but I might just put out the odd review when I’m ready, but I’ll spend a bit more time offline and get back to visiting blogs and stuff slowly. I think I’ll re-think submissions too, I might have to focus on authors who Ive had recommended to me by friends rather than an open policy. Though I’m just throwing ideas around. Either way I don’t want to deal with such horrible individuals again. When I started this blog I met so many lovely people like you through it, I don’t want to feel it’s tainted by these nasty individuals. Thank you ❤ ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  35. I hate this is happening to you. I rarely accept unsolicited requests. I’ve had a couple of pushy indie writers, but I just ignore them. It is so much easier just dealing with the publisher or their marketing department. No matter who you are there is never a reason to brow beat someone over a review. I guess what I’m saying is we’ve got your back. And heck yes, let us know who those authors are. Much love to you and I looki forward to hearing more of your reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your support ❤ . You're right it's much easier to deal with publishers as there's no odd behaviour and they accept both positive and negative reviews. I'm taking a bit of time offline but I will get back to the reviewing and think about what to do about my submissions. Probably a good idea to state which authors it is but would it lead to more anger from them? :/

      Liked by 1 person

  36. That’s so disappointing to read, sorry that you feel the need to take a step back from reviewing and blogging.

    Perhaps a disclaimer or review policy? Apologies if you already have one. If you do, maybe some wording clearly stating how your reviews work, and also if you are subject to any abusive remarks or bullying of any sorts, you reserve the right to name and shame them publically through your platform. An Indie Author to Avoid List maybe. Perhaps the threat of sharing their work and name in this way may deter them from being the way they are? It could also encourage the book review community to collaborate on the list of offenders, so the risk to the author is far greater than just one reviewer (as it were) Just a thought – hope it helps!

    All the best.

    B.M

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, it’s certainly an idea and it would be good to put some authors on a list, if nothing else then to warn other reviewers and bloggers to steer clear. However I’m not sure if it wouldn’t just aggrevate the situation more. Thank you for your support and for commenting. I do have a policy on my submissions but I think some authors just don’t bother reading it despite the fact I’ve put it in bold writing and often in capital letters. I think a step back and some time away from the reviewing, or at least a slow down of it will help in the meantime while I think about what to do. 🙂

      Like

  37. Perhaps it’s time to create a Wall of Shame that lists the names of all these authors who have been behaving badly. Maybe not an ideal solution, but at least a list like that would warn other reviewers that these authors have not had the decency to approach this business professionally.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s certainly one good thought, although I could see some of those authors listed getting really angry and maybe trying to find out who put them on a list which makes it difficult to do. I’ve spent some time online reading other articles online where people have been stalked by authors who are probably mentally disturbed 😮 😦

      1. Maybe, like “Anonymous”, we can figure out a way to call out those authors. If their names were put on a blacklist, so to speak, then other reviewers would be aware they were toxic and stay away from them. I think you’re correct though and that these people are toxic and should be avoided at all costs.

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  38. I’m really sorry that you’re going through this again, it seems to be quite the saga that I’ve been following on your posts about this for the last few months, must be awful for you.

    One of the fantasy bloggers I know posted in a FB group a few days ago how jaded they were with social media and author attitudes and how they come across and that for every group of decent authors there’s one who isn’t lurking around making a bad name for themselves.

    I always remember when I reviewed a book and it was poor, I got it from a publisher though and apologised to the publisher when I sent them the review link as I felt bad that I hadn’t enjoyed the book, the publicist told me it was fine and that bad and good reviews are both needed as long as they are honest and it made me think back then and it’s true now still that the publisher/publicist is a filter and indie authors lack that filter when you have a bad review, etc as you have to deal with them personally.

    I’ve never had any issues luckily and it’s a shame that you and others have unfortunately no matter the profession there are horrible people out there who choose to attack others.

    I’m sarcastic, it comes across in my comments and I’m the same in real life, I make comments and laugh and joke around but it’s only ever banter, I often get lamented that work is boring when I’m not there as I’m funny, unless I’m having a down day and am quite then people know I’m unhappy. Point is, bullying isn’t right, you mentioned play ground, I was bullied as a kid at times and it’s something I abhor, it shouldn’t be tolerated in today’s day and age but unfortunately still happens.

    You’ve wrote a really thorough article here in eloquent fashion and need to be praised for that and also bringing the issue to peoples attention, I don’t think I’d be able to have done the same, fact I know I wouldn’t. It’s one thing leaving strange blog comments, I guess it comes under you had issues with the book and they have issues with the review but when it gets personal and is through personal channels then I wouldn’t stand for it and at the risk of coming across bad and giving my blog a bad name I wouldn’t stand for personal attacks, there is no place for it and I’d rip them a new one in a post, I have a vitriolic way with words when I want.lol

    It’s a shame that the few give the many a bad name at times, freedom of speech and all that means we are allowed our opinion and while we respect the effort and time put into the author writing a book maybe they shouldn’t be an author if they can’t handle criticism, yes, the book is their masterpiece but nothing is a valid reason for personal attacks on a blogger, we review honestly and honesty is a valued trait, should be respected and sorry but even simple small bloggers like myself have standards and won’t give a book a higher rating just to please an author, honest reviews authors, that’s what bloggers should and mainly do give and if anyone wants to discuss with me why my opinion on a book isn’t valid then have at it! Bloggers are readers and book lovers, don’t ruin our love of books by being horrible when it’s uncalled for and undeserved.

    Can’t offer advice, would say close submissions for a while and just read books you have and authors you know and have a good relationship with.

    Taking a step back from blogging is perhaps a good idea to.

    I won’t say don’t let it all get to you as I myself suffer from unhappiness at times and know that you do let things get to and affect you, you do take things to heart, it’s just how it sadly is but know this. You’re a great blogger and lots of people think so, you’ve got good relationships with bloggers and authors and while some have shown themselves to be horrible know that the majority of people aren’t like that and think you do a great job! 🙂

    Depression sucks, something I know, hence we both write dark poetry!lol but, if you ever want to message know there’s both bloggers and authors there for you. 🙂

    Well, I’ve on rambled enough.😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. It means a lot to me to have support especially from fellow book blogger. I’ve been bullied back when I was at school too and you’re absolutely right, it’s a disgusting behaviour and I really thought some people grew up out of it, you can almost understand teens and younger being immature but adults bullying over something which in the end is really trivial is ridiculous. I’m thicker skinned though and haven’t exactly cried it’s more a feeling of complete exhaustion and depressed over what to do. It’s not a nice place to be and you’re right again it’s why we write dark poetry, but that seems to be a great outlet for emotions and I hope you get as much release from it as I do. 🙂
      I think you’re right about needing a filter. When I get books from a publisher or from NetGalley (which is publishers too) they are that filter between us and the authors. If a book is terrible publishers aren’t too phased by bad reviews and I don’t hear from the authors at all so it feels more freeing to write the review and post it. I think as far as submissions goes I’m realy thinking of dropping new authors altogether. I’d keep the few professional ones that I know can handle bad reviews and are nice, but it’s too much hassle and I prefer ealing with publishers. If I have to go with authors again then maybe I’ll just go with ones recommended by friends. But I can see now why so many reviewers have shut their submissions to authors – it’s just too much hassle.
      Thank you I really appreciate everything you’ve said, it’s good to know I have friends and I hope if you ever want to chat privately you’ll be happy to contact me too 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I get release from poetry, it’s a surprisingly good way to purge the dark thoughts.

        Publishers like bad reviews, well not like them but they want honest feedback and are happy to accept it be it good or bad. Dealing with publishers is great as are the mailing lists and surprise book mail, it’s true about seeing why bloggers don’t review indie books to, it’s hassle and unfortunately not every book can be a 5 star masterpiece. No shame in dropping new indie authors though if you do choose to, with the experiences you have had no one could or would blame you.😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s when a publisher you’ve reviewed for before or are on the mailing list for sends you a book through the post that you haven’t enquired/asked about reviewing, hence, it’s a surprise (if it happens you don’t need to review it, there’s no obligation).😀

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is. But regardless of whether a reviewer posts a positive or negative the author should be able to handle it. That’s the risk in handing over a book and it shows true professionalism. I could understand an author getting upset if most of their reviews were negative, but in most cases the positives outweigh the negatives and the odd bad review doesn’t always stop people being interested. I’ve read blog posts where people are intrigued to try books with negative reviews lol. Thank you for commenting and best of luck with your book/future book 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  39. Sadly, more and more authors seem to feel that reviewers should only give (or at least only post) glowing reviewers. I’ve been e-accosted by authors as well, and even though I or my guest reviewer was kind about the negative feedback the authors are angry when you post anything less than a 2-star review. To me, if everyone gets an “A”, it degrades the value of the “A”.
    Personally, if a blogger only gives four and five star reviewers, I’m less likely to trust their opinion.
    I’ve started telling requesters upfront that I will post an honest review regardless of the rating.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes authors seem to forget that once their work is out there people are free to rate it however they please and crucially a book isn’t like a piece of mechanical equipment which could be rated as either good (working) or bad (breaking). Books are subjective and there’s never a guarantee that everyone will like it. The issue I’ve had is that even though I’ve told these authors my reviews are honest and they should be ready for anything from 1 to 5, they still seem to believe I’l give them a high rating. Thank you for commenting, I just wish this mentality of entitlement to 5 stars would stop :/

      Liked by 3 people

  40. I’m so sorry that some authors are treating you so poorly. Unfortunately, I’m not surprised by their behavior because I’ve seen way too much of it, myself.
    I don’t have a solution for you, but do hope that you can recenter, decide what is good for you, then tell others what you want/
    Have a great day.

    Liked by 3 people

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