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Do Not Threaten to Report Your Negative Reviewers to the FBI, Or On Dealing With Criticism

By JK Evanczuk on Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - Comments Off

negative criticism2009 has been a busy year for aggrieved authors.

This summer, Alice Hoffman infamously lashed out on Twitter at Boston Globe critic Robert Silman, who had given her novel a lukewarm review. Hoffman called Silman “a moron,” and added, “Now any idiot can be a critic.”

A few weeks later, Alain de Botton responded to a negative review by commenting on the reviewer’s blog: “I will hate you till the day I die and wish you nothing but ill will in every career move you make.”

In October, Maurie Sendak, responding to concerns that Where the Wild Things Are may be too scary for children, told worried parents to “go to hell.”

And last month, a kerfuffle erupted on the Amazon page for romance author Candace Sams’ novel, Electra Galaxy’s Mr. Interstellar Feller. Negative reviewers were attacked by a user called NiteflyrOne, who was soon exposed to be Candace Sams herself. After 15 pages of back-and-forth rancor (most of which has been deleted by Amazon), Sams threatened to report everyone to the FBI.

Although these sort of sophomoric responses baffle me–as writers, aren’t we trained to communicate our thoughts rationally, preferably after many revisions?–I can understand where they’re coming from. Read more »

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