Wednesday, January 18, 2012

No Winner in This War

Who wins in the war between publishers, agents and readers? Probably no one. Who loses? Probably the author. Apparently in England there’s a war going on between reader/bloggers and authors and publishers. The “war” seems to have started on Goodreads and moved to Twitter.

According to The Guardian, when:
 award-winning children's writer Anthony McGowan caused a stir with his "scorching" Guardian review of Blood Red Road by Costa winner Moira Young, the Goodreads flame war flared across Twitter, sparked by writers and agents who seemed to be stamping on negative reviews.
I linked over to the review. It is rather uncomplimentary:
At its worst it is a risible collection of clichés strung together by a barely coherent plot. … Although it's undoubtedly packed with incident, too much happens that is purely for narrative convenience.
There’s more if you want to read it. About the only good thing said in the review was:
My nine-year-old daughter got hold of my review copy and was so entranced that I had to machete it into sections so we could both carry on reading it. Yes, this is the perfect apocalypse for pre-teens.
I’m on both Goodreads and Twitter -- and I totally missed the whole war. Did any of you get involved?


  1. I try my best to stay out of the flame-thrower wars. But, I've seen this happenning more lately. It seems that it is now a strategy throw nasty reviews at authors. The reviews usually come from other authors.

    Its growing to epidemic levels in the independent world right now, and especially on Goodreads.

  2. What War? Very interesting, but at the end of the day it's all down to the readers who buy the books.

  3. Haha--"get involved"? That seems like a recipe for self-destruction. A lot of feelings have been stomped on over the past few weeks--there have been multiple situations involving several authors and at least two agents, and I believe some concrete harm was done to the author's careers as a result of their behavior. Sure, it's possible to recover, but the whole thing has been so unpleasant. As a writer, I'm steering clear and keeping my head down.

  4. You and me both Sarah. I guess I'm old school and remember the saying, if you can't say something good, keep your mouth shut. be fair, the reviewer in this case did say it was the perfect apocalypse for teens. Wowsers, I do hope no one ever flames me like what happened here.

  5. Amen, Helen to your last comment here. I don't do Twitter or Goodreads, so I missed this one, but I have to say I am not a fan of negative reviews.

  6. I avoid all flames and fights like this. I too believe it can do serious damage to an author's rep.

  7. I wasn't aware of this debacle - how can anyone win from it? Nasty.

  8. I tend to stay out of flame of words war. I wasn't really aware of the war, to be honest.

    I'm not a big proponent of personally attacking authors, and many of these type of reviews are just that.

    I'm old school too. Have I tried to read some review books that were really bad? Oh yah. I just won't write a review and I'll tell the publisher why. Even then I'm not scathing. What's the point?


  9. I've heard about it but haven't seen any of the scuffles.

  10. I missed it but it's nothing new. We know the infamous tales of bygone days involving rude reviewers, publishers, movie directors, etc. The difference now is the internet, where the cutting remarks can reach millions.

    The sad thing to me is the author involved. The article mentioned she was gracious and yet I believe she will be decorated by the rude behavior of her publisher and agent. It makes me even more thankful that I am indie. The poison arrows may wound me but no one else will know, since I was taught not to respond.

  11. Like most things on (and off) the 'net, I have no idea what is going on ... I swear I was tying my shoes one day and heard a noise above me ... whooosh ... what was that? I learned later that it was only the secret of life streaking by ... on its one and only pass. Annnyway, as to the flame throwing, I say there is no such thing as bad publicity ... heck, I'd welcome a review of any kind ... even a crappy one. Bring on the flame thrower ... I'm wearing asbestos undies.

  12. Old fashioned to be courteous and polite? Sad indeed. What happened to 'Don't say anything you wouldn't say to the person's face?'

    I've got less and less interest in wasting time reading someone's bitter tirades wherever they're posted and whatever they're about. You can twist anything to make it sound poorly written ... and vice-versa!


  13. Yep, Helen, I missed it! Actually, I'm glad I did. Not much into war these days--of any kind. :-)

    I certainly agree with you, Sue -- waste of time to read online tirades. I say, "take it outside."

  14. I've only just heard about it now, and had no idea it was going on, either. There have been a couple of posts about it on my LJ reading list (aside from yours, that is) so I'm playing catch-up right now.

    I'm not sure what to make of it, really, based on my limited knowledge of the situation. The only thing I think is truly unfair is when a reviewer scores down a book because of an Amazon fault that was completley out of the author's hands (like a book arriving later than the suggested delivery date/damaged packaging, etc.).

  15. Somehow, authors have to develop thick skin if we want to survive. I haven't done it yet, but we all have to.

  16. I am growing a thick skin prior to being published! There are a few meanies out there that are hell-bent on bringing down authors. Review with a positive, keep quiet with a negative, is my motto. I missed the war in my homeland...dang!

  17. Hi Helen .. I'm afraid I missed it - but maybe it'll appear in my non-read magazine - The Week. I'll keep an eye out - but I too can't take bickering ...

    I do as Glynis does .. review with the positive, keep quiet with the negative ..

    I keep up to date with blogging friends whose posts I value!!

    Cheers Hilary

  18. Glynis and Hilary, I'm with you both.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...