The Unfortunate Backlash
A few days ago, I made a post about Raani York and her “wishlist” to reviewers. Her post became an instant career killer. This is a prime example of a situation I hate to be right about (not saying I’m right about everything, so let’s not get that twisted.) In fact, it’s kinda scary how predictable the self publishing world has become. Her post went up on January 13th, and within 2 days (2 days!?) her book was torn to shreds. I stand by what I said in the previous post (which you can read here, or just scroll down a bit) but I feel awful for her. Her book went from a 3.89 on Goodreads (which is amazing by GR standards) to a 1.78. The reviews have been mean, cruel, and really fucked up. The sad fact is that she isn’t the first, nor will she be the last author to get massacred for making a mistake.
Because self publishing is being publicized as “so easy,” everyone thinks they can do it. The market is flooded with half-assed, barely cohesive piles of junk. For a long time, reviewers had taken it upon themselves to regulate the market. They helped squash any poorly constructed piece of garbage to help make room for the authors that really gave it their all. This did help a lot for a long time and by the time self-publishing became the “in” thing to do, the reviewers that were trying to help became overwhelmed. Then, the delusional authors entered the scene. These were the authors that thought their book was better than every other book on the market, and they acted that way. They would respond to negative reviews with harsh, almost psychotic responses in an attempt to put the reviewer in their place. These authors helped form STGRB and other psuedo-justice driven websites. They claimed that people who didn’t like their book were either jealous or just mean. One bad review for someone could easily land the reviewer’s personal information out for all of the world to see. Because many reviewers are also authors themselves, that was fuel to the fire. STGRB was/is the leader in continuing to push the hatred, but that’s another topic all together. Because things began to get so out of hand, reviewers started to fight back. If an author started to gripe about negative reviews, or reviewers in general, the masses would descend and a book that was more or less decent would be shredded. That is unfortunately what has happened to countless authors when they even make a peep. Granted, not all authors are innocent (I’m looking at you, Kathleen Hale.) But those that are attempt to speak out about it and get classified with the truly terrible authors. It sucks that it happens this way, but it seems to be the only way to keep the battle on even ground and to keep authors from getting big heads.
But, isn’t there another way? This is more of a rhetorical question than anything, but it’s out there. Shouldn’t authors be allowed to make observations about the community without fear of being ripped to shreds? I decided a long time ago that I was going to remain as neutral as possible, but I was going to say what I felt needed to be said. Of course, I also learned early on what to say and what not to say. I don’t think that I am free from being targeted, I mean, we all are, aren’t we? But, I really think that someone like Raani York, who (after a follow up look at her blog) really meant it as a joke, shouldn’t have been attacked like that. There are tons of authors that do, and their treatment of and behavior in the community are evident of that, someone who has not been known to make waves should be given peace. A wrong move like this from an other wise great author shouldn’t be a career killer. If Ms. York reads this, I truly hope that she continues writing, but she should perhaps stay away from any attempt at direct contact with reviewers in the future. Good luck, Ms. York.