An Open Letter To Online Book Reviewers & Bloggers

An Open Letter To Online Book Reviewers & Bloggers

Figure 1. oh sweet suffering jesus

Figure 1. oh sweet suffering jesus


Dear Book Readers & Reviewers:

I’m not going to bother to link to The Incident(s) because we all know what prompted this.

I would like to share with you, however, what happens to me when I get a bad/meh review. MY PROCESS, if you will. I hope this might be a source of comfort? Reassurance? Perspective?


1) Read bad/meh review. Because I am a weak woman who cannot control herself.

2) Send bad/meh review to Cabal of Friends Who I Love and Trust (including Editor).  Say something like “lookit this? Fucking hell! Goddammit, I knew I shoulda done this/that/the other! This person isn’t right, right? They are dumb/bad/wrong, right?”

3) Engage in Personal Soothing Behaviors* which include but are not limited to:
Eat chocolate.
Eat nachos.
Go to thrift store.
Pet dog.
Look at latest Zulilly sales.
Check for new Norman Reedus images available online.

4) Read replies from Cabal of Friends. These will say some version of, “You are wonderful!” & “Don’t listen to them!” & “Your book is excellent!” & “For the last time, get the hell off GoodReads!”

5) Thank Cabal of Friends for being so nice. Change topic to something else that’s fun or noteworthy to gossip about or discuss.

And…that’s about it.

It’s kind of like having a bad day at the office. You come home, you bitch about it, you pop open a beer or make a cocktail, you see what’s on the television, you curse out whom or whatever upset you, you put on your yoga pants and take a load off. Then you wake up again and live to fight another day.

When writers share their words with the world, what often happens is that some people don’t like those words.  And it’s upsetting, yes, but it’s part of the game. If a writer doesn’t want to share, he or she needs to get a diary, not a book deal.

Bloggers and reviewers, I am very sorry that you feel fear about the work you do with reading and reviewing. I want to believe that The Incident(s) are isolated outliers. We need a book reviewing community and we need it whether we agree with the reviewers or not. We are lucky so many of you do this and do it for no compensation. I understand, though, if this prompts you to hang up your blogging hat and call it a day. I also think changing your identifying details online is probably a smart move, as well.

I am sure other authors feel demeaned and shocked by this kind of behavior.

I’m sure they also have their own little Bad/Meh Review Response Process (which I hope they’ll share so as to maybe reassure the reviewing community a little).

Also, this post from The Perpetual Page Turner is a good one.

Be Well, Stay Safe, I’m Sorry, Thank You For Reading —



*This stage is one that much time is spent in; sometimes, the actions listed here occur throughout the other stages of The Process as well as during normal times of happiness and good reviews. 






  • Jolene Perry on Oct 20, 2014 Reply

    This is why every time someone who is just getting into writing seriously asks me my advice I tell them to find a support system.

    Also. This was fab.

  • Kristin on Oct 20, 2014 Reply

    It sounds like the writers version of the Kubler Ross stages of grief.

  • Matthew MacNish on Oct 20, 2014 Reply


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