So if you’ve been on Twitter you’ll have most likely seen the #HaleNo hashtag. and already know what it’s all about. If not, I’ll briefly go over what happened.
So there’s and author, Kathleen Hale, and a few bloggers have read her book pre-release. (all normal so far) Some bloggers loved it, some hated it. (as that is how it works) Some negative reviews were posted. One in particular caught KH’s attention and despite knowing she shouldn’t read and interact with negative reviews (good advice for all authors, don’t go there) she decided to. She then went on to stalk the reviewers social networks, research her to the level of obsession on the internet and then get her address under false pretences and WENT TO HER HOUSE, also rang her at work twice! She then published a personal essay all about her stalking in the guardian. (Link here)
Bloggers and reviewers everywhere are appalled and so started the hashtag #HaleNo to show that this is not okay.
You have to understand from the authors point of view and maybe even feel abit sorry for her, I know I did at first. She’s poured her heart and soul into her book and seeing people critique it has got to be painful.
But, that’s where my sympathy ends.
Every book will get negative reviews, every book. And as an author you have to know this. You either have to be strong enough to let them go over your head or just avoid reading them. I mean come on, some people don’t like the Harry Potter books! That’s just life!
Also, remember that when a reviewer dislikes your book (however strongly) it is still your book they’re critiquing, not you. It’s not bullying to say you hated a book, even if you… swear! (oh no dear god no swearing). GASP.
Swearing just helps get your point across, whether I’m saying “this book was fucking awful” or “OMG I FUCKING LOVED THIS BOOK”.
The swearing example really helps show how book reviewing works. You want passionate reviews? Well you have to take the good with the bad. That’s just how it is.
As for responding to bad reviews… The best advice? Don’t. Just don’t do it.
But say you have to, you just have to, or you shall explode, just comment. ONE comment, ‘sorry you didn’t enjoy the book’ maybe ask what they think you could’ve changed to improve it. But the key with this is not to reply again. Just read it and move on, this stops you from getting into an argument. If you’re an author then you must always be professional, writing is your job.
Now, from the reviewers side, they did nothing wrong. Blogging is a hobby, not a job. We are not professional reviewers, we are just people sharing our opinions and passions with eachother. We are readers, the book was written for us and we are allowed to share our opinions (good or bad). We are also entitled to continue our hobby without fear. The reviewer that KH stalked has withdrawn from blogging as she is scared. She posted a negative review, as is her right, and the author turned up at her house and called her at work accusing her of being a catfish. She isn’t a catfish. She uses a pseudonym as many bloggers do.
A catfish is a person who adopts a fictional persona with the intent to lure someone into a relationship of some sort. The reviewer was under no obligation to use her real name. She could be a 50 year old crazy cat lady pretending to be Dan the 15 year old teen fiction addict. She wasn’t hurting anyone just reviewing books with her own opinion under a different name.
What KH did when she rang the reviewers work place pretending to be someone she wasn’t in order to trick info out of her was catfishing. And the way she lied to get ahold of her address was unacceptable, as was actually going to her address. This is stalking and will never be okay no matter how you try to justify it. KH wasn’t a victim of online bullying who tried to unmask her catfish. She is an author who reacted badly to a negative review and made a reviewer feel unsafe doing something they love.
The fact that the guardian published this confession of stalking in shocking especially publishing the reviewers name.
Alot of bloggers and goodreads members have black-listed her, they wont read or review her book or promote her in any way. I think this is an understandable reaction.
Now, I won’t be reading KH’s book. The main reason is because KH hasn’t even apologised or shown any real remorse for her mistake. She has tried to justify her actions and call anyone who disagrees a bully. So I wont be reading her book as a way of me expressing that it’s not acceptable. The book-blogging community wont just roll over and let her get away with it.
Had she done this in a ‘moment of madness’ and immediately apologised and seemed genuinely sorry, I honestly believe my opinion on whether or not to black-list her may have been different.
I wont be black-listing the authors who stood up for her because they’re entitled to their opinion as much as I am to mine. And I am not writing this post to convince you to black-list her or to insult KH in anyway. I’m just explaining and voicing my opinion on a situations that has massively affected bloggers everywhere.
The blogosphere and review communities like goodreads are friendly and loving communities. We come together when awful things like this happen and we really do want to have (and do have in many many cases) good relationships with authors. Share love, be honest and be passionate. Always. Love you guys.
Join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #HaleNo or show your love for authors and bloggers alike with #AuthorYes or #authorbloggerlove
(I particular enjoyed this articles written by Alex Hurst — check it out here)