Of course every author thinks they have a five star book, otherwise what would be the point of publishing it? Some authors take criticism better than others. This particular author felt the need to defend her writing. She felt my review was "mean spirited" and an "unfair assessment" of her writing. She went on to imply I either had a "bad day" or an "agenda". Really? Here is the initial email sent to me by the author:
"Hi, Cynthia! I just saw your review. Thanks for reading it and doing a review. Appreciate your taking the time to do it. Sorry you did not enjoy it. The review was brutal and, in part, I feel it was a pretty unfair assessment of my writing. I can accept that you did not like it, although I wish you had expressed your opinion in a less mean-spirited and hurtful way. But that aside, I'm hoping that you did not intend to spoil the story for others (it is a suspense after all) by putting in all the spoilers you did in your review and giving away various plot twists. As I said, I don't think you meant to do that and I don't believe you have/had any other agenda/intention other than to do a review. Sorry if the tone of this email seems negative, but when someone stomps on you and your work, it's pretty upsetting. Can't say that I understand where you're coming from. Bad day today perhaps? I can understand that. We all have them.
I ask that you reconsider removing all the spoilers at least.
So, I decide to reply to this as best I can, after all, this is the first author ever to email me about a negative review. Here is my reply:
I'm sorry you were upset by my review of your book. I know it's hard to be an author and put your work "out there" for others to basically judge. Not every reader is going to have the same experience with an author's book. I pride myself on being very honest with my reviews and experiences whether I loved, just liked, or didn't like a particular book at all. My reviews have never and will never be motivated to hurt an author, or any means of having an "agenda" to do so. Had I loved your book, I would have absolutely raved about it and encouraged others to buy, but unfortunately with this particular book I could not. With every book comes positive and negative reviews whether you are a "big name" author or a self-published author--no one is immune.
I have added a spoiler alert warning to the top of the review on all sites it was submitted to. With that said, I do stand behind all reviews that I write. I wish you luck with your future works.
I thought I handled that pretty well with my reply. Apparently that wasn't enough to appease this author. She replies back:
"There's a difference between offering a thoughtful, honest opinion in a way that does no harm and writing in a no holds barred manner. Spoiler alerts don' t do anything to prevent to the story from being spoiled They're just a means the system created to justify the spoiling and people feel even more compelled to read them. Perhaps you can do me the courtesy of removing the review altogether then. I guess it certainly serves me right asking for assistance in my email that if you enjoyed the book, if could you help me out by letting others know about it. Figured if you did not like it and couldn't in good conscience offer any assistance, you'd just do nothing or decline privately. ** hits self in head ** Thanks."
So, she only wanted positive reviews?? That certainly sounds like what she's asking for and just using the spoiler issue to press me to remove my review. Not everyone is going to enjoy your book. If you can't handle criticism, maybe you should second guess your profession. Like I've said before, I've never had an author to email me and basically freak out over a review. My review was honest and that is the bottom line. And yes, I did reply to the above email:
"You really need to adapt a better attitude toward criticism. Use it to better your writing, not take it as a PERSONAL attack. If you prefer not to have honest reviews maybe you should state BEFORE giving your book away *Please write only positive reviews*. Reviews ARE personal opinions and my review was my HONEST opinion."
At this point, I could feel my ears start to steam. I sent the above reply this morning. Hopefully the author will choose not to contact me again and use this as a learning experience about negative reviews. You have to take the good with the bad and move on. I can only assume this author has not had much experience with negative reviews being a fairly new author. I can not express enough how critical it is for authors to NOT reply to negative reviews. It doesn't make you look good at all.
Has anyone else had this happen before with an author? How did you handle it?