Good e-Reader has been closely following the recent events surrounding author bullying and reviewer bashing. While dozens of articles on the subject have been posted over the course of the last few weeks, there has yet to be any clear rationalization for the animosity between some authors and some book reviewers. Even as sites like Amazon and Goodreads take steps to try to control the furor, they are only capable of so much.
In this week’s look at the so-called bullying, it’s important to reference a post on this subject from earlier this week. Katherine from BookPromotion.com posted a piece called, “Hate As A Marketing Tool,” which doesn’t actually tout the benefits of venomous reviews, but does offer authors who’ve received negative critiques at least a glimmer of hope as to why negative reviews actually benefit an author.
In her piece, Katherine references (but does not link to in order to avoid helping the blogger with traffic to her site, as Good e-Reader likewise will not) an article that circulated almost virally last weekend, a piece that named thirty prominent, best-selling self-published authors; while specifically targeting author Melissa Foster, who is now pursuing legal action against the blogger, the post by someone who claims to have spent two years “working undercover” at Fiverr names authors Hugh Howey, Blake Crouch, Amanda Hocking, and several others as those who purchased bulk book reviews.
Hugh Howey initially was not going to respond to the post, but reader outrage over the supposedly-outed authors prompted him to post on his blog and to state what many reader fans are now calling the “Jolie Pledge,” a statement Howey made asserting that he had never bought a book review and good-naturedly pledged it on his dog’s life. Interestingly, Howey’s post begins with an assertion that this kind of post would never be given any credence if authors had not actually been known to purchase book reviews.
For the authors named in the post, outpouring of support has come from their longtime fans as well as from readers who had not picked up their books but who were incensed over the lack of proof offered in the post. Fiverr has reportedly responded as well, stating that no one had worked undercover in their offices and that they were sorry for the authors who had been hurt. While this form of abuse and threat against a writer’s career is actually quite serious, it can actually be beneficial for authors are, in fact, blameless and who take the high road in their responses.