Monday, August 27, 2012

Authors Behaving Awesomely: The Good Guys and Gals

You know, with all of the authors that do things that could and are considered to be awful behavior, we sometimes forget about the ones that show amazing behavior. I thought I'd highlight a few of them, especially the ones that are indie and/or self-published.

I came across Basara years ago via Amazon when he'd sent me a copy of his book Cypress Lake for review. The end result was that while Basara has skill, it was ultimately a book that just wasn't my thing. He was nothing but gracious when it came time for me to tell him this and he encouraged me to post my review. Basara is one of those authors that I really can't recommend enough just based on his personality. If you like surreal works or are familiar with 70s era Florida, you should check Cypress Lake out. 

I'll admit that I've never read his books, but I do remember coming across the author one day when he came into the bookstore I was working in. He was nothing but a gentleman and was genuinely happy to talk about his writing. Unless I've missed something, Konrath has always been a gracious man when it comes to his fans and reviews. 

  • Naomi Clark (Wild)
OK, this one is someone that I know, but the point here still stands that she's an insanely kind person and reacts well with her readers. I remember cringing once when I didn't like one of her books as much as I wanted to. Rather than go off on me (which she could've since we're friends and if you can't go off on your friends, then who can you go off on?), she was incredibly nice about it. Definitely one of the good ones. 

I've had no direct interactions with Kane at all, but I've constantly heard people crow over her books and how good she was about interacting with readers. More specifically, about how she tries not to be one of "those" authors when it comes to negative reviews. It doesn't hurt that she's also spoken out in defense of reviewers.

This is another one that I haven't any direct interaction with, but I heard about her via one of the Goodreads forums. She received a negative review on FfhS and rather than get angry, she was incredibly polite. The reviewer had commented that the book could use a good editor, which Cole took to heart advice-wise. She not only thanked the reviewer but also offered her a free copy of the book once it got through the editing process. I'm closing this list off with her because it's just such an amazing example of awesome author behavior. Not only did she thank the reader for her time, but she took the advice to heart. Cole offering the reader an updated copy later on is just the cherry on top of the awesome sauce sundae. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Authors Behaving Badly: Stealing art

Hi all! This particular post is going to be a little vague because I don't know all that much about it and I'm not aware of the name of the author who stole this artwork.

The story begins with Kate Hawkins, author of the work The Sphinx Project. She's a self-published indie author and as such, knew that she'd have to do a little something extra to appeal to the reader and chose to use an artist from Amazon's kindle boards to give her book a kickass cover. And kickass it is.

Covers can make a huge difference when it comes to independently and self-published books, after all. Hawkins paid for this with her own money and arranged to have exclusive rights to the cover artwork. Pretty straight forward. 

Later on Hawkins got a message asking if she'd gotten exclusive rights to the cover, which lead her to discover that another author was using the artwork for their cover. Hawkins emailed the artist, who assured her that she hadn't given the artwork to anyone else and that Hawkins was the only person who was supposed to use the artwork. Which means one of two things: either the artist lied or the other author stole the artwork. I'm going to go with the theory that the author just saw the artwork and decided to use it, which is also Hawkins's theory. 

Sad enough, this is actually a little common when it comes to book covers and the internet. I remember seeing images used for book covers when they weren't actually the license holders. Sometimes it was the authors who did this, sometimes it was a publisher who figured they just wouldn't get caught. I remember a few years ago one author was told that her fantasy cover was taken from an artist who had not given permission for his work to be used, then hearing that the publisher she was going through was swiping artwork from various sites to use for their books. I wish I could remember the name of the publisher, but it was a very, very small indie "no name" publisher. 

So what to do in this situation? Well, even if we knew the name of the author that stole the artwork there's not much we could do for Hawkins. The legal fight over the artwork will be something she has to go alone, if she chooses to go that route. 

What we can do for her is to spread the word about her book and give her some great hype. 

Hawkins is currently doing a giveaway on Goodreads, so go show your support by adding it to your lists, signing up for the giveaway, and if you like what you see, give the book a read. I'll be linking to some sites that you can purchase the book through at the bottom of this blog as well as to Hawkins's blog.

Further reading:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What to do with Emily Giffin books

I was reading some of the comments on Corey's blog and on various other sites about people who aren't sure what to do with their book. Some mentioned burning them, others mentioned various other things to do to them that fell along the same lines.

Well, here's my opinion on what to do: donate them. Regardless of how badly I think the Giffins might have acted, that's no reason to destroy a perfectly good book. I also recommend against getting rid of them if they're a special edition or a signed copy. Getting rid of something you previously valued in the heat of the moment might be something you regret later even if you know you'll never be able to really like the author the same way again.

So here's some options for those books that you might not want anymore:

  1. Donate them to soldiers overseas. There are several groups online that send books to soldiers overseas, so you kind of have your pick of what to go through. I know that several churches and groups in any given area do this as well, so you can check through them. I'm listing two of the bigger groups (Books for Soldiers and Operation Paperback) if you want to check through them. I had a boyfriend that was in the military and he assured me that books are very, very appreciated regardless of what genre it is.
  2. Donate them to local nursing homes, hospitals, or palliative care units. 
  3. Give them to a homeless shelter. Homeless people like to read too!
  4. Toss them into the "for sale" section at your local library. The funds from those sales go towards your local library and almost every library is underfunded.
  5. Take them to Goodwill or to a used book store. Not only will they be out of your house, but you can pick up more stuff to read at the same time.

In any case, there's some options as to what to do with your books other than destroying them or chucking them. 

WTF: British charity calls for '50 Shades of Grey' book burning

This just popped up on my Twitter feed and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it. It's for a good cause, but book burning? Part of me just instinctively reacts with a "don't burn books" reaction.

The long and short of this LA Times article is that a British charity that focuses on domestic violence is holding a bonfire where they'll be toasting books on the fire in order to draw attention to the issues of DV. 

I'm a little bothered by this because while I understand their issues with the book and I'm fairly sure that most of this is a way to get media attention (mission accomplished, obviously), I'm disturbed at the idea of destroying a book. At some point this is going to be more of a stunt that will might make the general public see the organization as less serious than they actually want to be and would instead become more about whether or not book burning is right than the more important issue, which is that we need to all try to help those who have suffered from domestic violence, to stop the cycle, and to notice the signs. It's just that whenever someone says "lets's burn books" it immediately brings up images and feelings of intolerance and censorship more than anything else. 

The problem is that a group of DJs have tried to do this in Cleveland in the States and it didn't really accomplish much. Once you make something seem taboo, people want to see it all the more. I just hope that in the end the women's group manages to keep this more about the men, women, and children that suffer from domestic violence and it doesn't turn into a big thing that's more about the book. (And yes, men suffer from domestic violence too, and not from other men.)

Further Reading:

Author/Character Interview & Contest: Dew Pellucid of The Sound and the Echoes‏

Hi everyone! Today I have some happier things to pass along to you, an interview with Dew Pellucid, author of The Sound and the Echoes!

Read on for the interview and as a lovely side bonus I'd also like to announce that Pellucid has also agreed to give away five copies of his book for the kindle! All you have to do is post something below, be it a comment, a song lyric, or just the name of your favorite book! Make sure to leave an email address to contact you through if you've won, but type it emailname at domain dot com so the spammers don't get you!

In one week on August 30th, I'll announce the five lucky winners!!

Dew Pellucid first started writing books so he might have something new to read. Indeed, of the million books at the Orphanage of Castaway Children, there isn't one his watery eyes had not perused; this taking place in less than a decade.
But now, as this old Echo draws near his one-hundredth birthday, his hunt for a good story is only rivaled by his everlasting quest after Cold Fire Mushrooms. For it was as he scrapped the bottom of his crystal ball mushroom container that Dew Pellucid first heard of Fredrick Fingeldy.
Then strange events began to happen in his beloved library. And watching faithfully down every corridor, every garden path, Dew Pellucid witnessed a wonderful story, happening there, right before his eyes (his many Eyes). And, best of all, even he had a part to play in the unfolding tale, which he set down at last in the pages of a book.
"I will make you famous!" he promised the Prince's Sound. And so he has.

If you were to be trapped in a room with someone for a day, who would you most like to be trapped with? Who least to be trapped with? They can be anyone living or dead. (Although of course the dead person would be alive for the duration of the day unless you want to hang out with a dead body, which would be a little morbid.)

Dead or alive…? Quite amusing! Though you’ll have to read The Sound and the Echoes to find out the double meaning here. So who would I gladly join in a solitary prison? Fluid Conway, without a doubt. A Sound with an Echo’s name. Think of him as an inventor-warrior, a cross between Thomas Edison and George Washington. He could tell you stories about Crystilleries that would turn your hair into icicles.
As to least desirable, I’d say Lewis Carroll (author of Alice in Wonderland). I couldn’t abide being outwitted by another for twenty four hours at a stretch.

If I were to make a pizza, what would your favorite topping be?

Blancmange. A fish delicacy, which only Frenchmen and Echoes have the wisdom to savor. Sounds, on the other hand, have been known to dub it fish-puke.

Do you have any news from the author that you’d like to share? (Hopefully something they’d like you to share, anyway.) 

Ms. Boldo invented me as her pen name for an excellent reason. Being shy and dull (like many writers), she needed a witty, charming old man to speak for her. When no one’s listening, she carries on conversations with her dogs (mimicking funny voices as the dogs reply). But if this should be considered news from the author (or a mark of insanity), is not for me to say.

A million book library? You uh, wouldn’t happen to have a spare key to the library lying around anywhere. No reason, just um… asking. For safety purposes. Totally not planning on trying to break into your library and read everything I can get my hands on… (I promise I won’t break any spines! That’s sacrilege!) 

Wise Sound, you do strike me as a sensible person despite your warm-blooded origins. I only wish others at the Orphanage of Castaway Children were half as promising as you. Last week I stumbled on a “corrected” book cover. Harry Snotter! How amusing… But what can I do? My library is open to all. Almost all, that is… almost all my library. But very few Sounds have discovered that for themselves, and I’m certainly not going to say anymore on the subject. Not a word! No!

What do you do when you get writer’s block, the bane of any writer’s existence? 

It’s a sad day when one has to take advice from Pooh Bear. But A. A. Milne was quite a sensible philosopher. “Think, think, think,” Pooh Bear mumbles to himself in a quandary. And so do I. With the same results. Nothing happens. Then I take the afternoon off and drive to the sea. The sight of flowing water washes over my empty thoughts like a soothing caress. 

Other than yourself, who would you say is your favorite author? Are there any specific authors that inspired you along the way?

In the realm of Children’s Stories, I’ve listed my favorite books on GoodReads. As to inspiration, I’ll allow Ms. Boldo to answer, as she invented me along with the Echoes, and I could hardly have inspired my own birth.

She (Ms. Boldo) informs me that it were Plato (the ancient Greek philosopher) and J. K. Rowling (the wonderful late 20th Century Children’s author) who inspired her to write The Sound and the Echoes. All snowflakes and nonsense, of course. Writers think they invent us. But of course, we actually exist in another realm. The realm where fiction is real.

Since you write so many books for yourself, have you ever put anything from your real life into your writings?

Once upon a time there was an old Echo who sat by a desk all day and read books. The end! No, I’m afraid my life’s story is about as exciting as a still-life painting. But (with an author’s license) I have woven myself into The Sound and the Echoes. But which character I am, you’ll have to find out for yourself, by turning page after page in my story.


The Sound and the Echoes 

A see-through world. A reflection of ours. An echo to our sounds.

The Sound and the Echoes is a high-concept, fantasy adventure for middle grade and young adult readers, with 27 illustrations.

Imagine that everyone around you has a mirror image living somewhere else. Your world is like a sound, which produced that other world of echoes. And in this land men are governed by a terrible law—no Echo is allowed to live after his Sound dies.

One Sound especially must die. The Prince’s Sound. The Fate Sealers and Fortune Tellers will make sure of that! Because after this Sound dies, the Echo Prince will have to die too.

Now, twelve-year-old Will Cleary is about to discover that he is the Sound the Echoes are hunting. And so begins his perilous adventure into a see-through, sparkling world, filled with spying crystal balls, an eerie fortress of castaway children, a hunt for clues in an ancient book of riddles, and a last-chance escape through a frozen gem-studded lake into a secret land that holds the key to placing the Prince on the throne and returning freedom to the Echoes.

Dew Pellucid  is the pen-name of Tal Boldo. Ms. Boldo is a freelance writer on Yahoo! Finance among other sites. Her short story, Vera Icon, won first place in Spider Thief Publication’s anthology competition (out of print). The Sound and the Echoes is her debut young adult novel, self-published as an e-book and paperback.

Book Links

Amazon Page
Book Website     
Book Blog
Book Twitter Page  
Book Facebook Page:
GoodReads Page
Shelfari Book Page

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Author Behaving Badly: Emily Giffin

Seriously authors, what is it about negative reviews that draw you to them like kittens to catnip flavored milk? Ignore them. There is no good aftermath to reacting to negative reviews.

Today's ABB is actually a husband behaving badly. Maybe not "Candace Sams is calling the FBI bad", but it's pretty abhorrent behavior for any author, let alone a professional one.

Author Emily Giffin recently received a one star rating on her book Where We Belong, which released last month. The review read as follows: (click here to go straight to the review)

This book was so disappointing. I have read all of Emily Giffin's books, and have found that her last few books are getting worse and worse. Where We Belong had the ability to be a great story. However, telling the story from two points of view, Marianne and Kirby, led there to be little depth to either character. Also I found both characters to be very unlikable. The story was trite and unbelievable. I also found that Giffin put a very negative spin on adoption. Giffin's last books have been a disappointment and this one was no different.

A little light, but overall it's not some angry missive where the reviewer is just slinging bile. It's one of the more mild negative reviews I've seen out there and I've seen some reviews that completely rip a novel to shreds and use it as kitty litter. (Not that those kinds of reviews are wrong, just that people can and have been more harsh in their criticisms of things.) The reviewer did at least try to state why they didn't like the book.

That's where Giffin's husband stepped in. I'm posting the following exchange "as is".

Initial post: Aug 13, 2012 3:06:35 PM PDT
Really? An "avid reader" that has written one review in their entire existence on amazon. Beware people. Psycho alert.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2012 9:46:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 19, 2012 9:56:49 PM PDT
UES says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Hide post again.]
What an incredibly petty and mean comment, Emily Giffin. And you must have forgotten that by clicking on "a reader from ATL" we see your signed diatribe against another author who's unfortunate enough to share your name. And now you're calling someone a "psycho" simply because she didn't like your book? Jeez. What a horrible human being you seem to be.

Since you'll probably delete your comment once you realize you've been caught insulting a reader who didn't like your book, I'll do others a favor and post your comment here:

"a reader from ATL says:
Really? An "avid reader" that has written one review in their entire existence on amazon. Beware people. Psycho alert."

Classy, huh?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2012 6:31:01 PM PDT
UES, I'm not Emily Giffin. I'm her husband. I see the link you're referring to and I suppose when that issue came up Emily responded from my computer. My issue is this - anybody is entitled to express their opinion and I don't want to ever discourage that. But I get sick of seeing these posts by jokers who have never reviewed a book and write a one line, one star review because they have some other issue. You, in fact, use some pretty hateful language yourself. I was merely sticking up for my wife who, as a matter of course, doesn't read the reviews on here. If somebody hates the book then fine but some of these are not objective reviews.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2012 6:53:47 PM PDT
K. Seri says:
I truly am an "avid reader" of Emily Giffin (love her books!) but I am also the daughter of a restaurant owner. On behalf of my father, I check reviews daily, and oftentimes find myself wanting to reply in defense. Of course I agree that everyone is entitled to an opinion; however, it's extremely frustrating to read reviews from people who review out of spite, hatred, or some other personal reason rather than write an educated, unbiased review. Props to Emily's husband for recognizing a lame reviewer and sticking up for his wife! :)

Posted on Aug 21, 2012 7:18:34 PM PDT
C. Flores says:
I've read all of Emily Giffin's books and love them all. My only complaint (or rather, wish) is that she has more books published!

Posted on Aug 21, 2012 7:20:39 PM PDT
Ash says:
Can I just point out that "avid reader" did not even spell the main character's name right?? Further proof he/she did not read it. After seeing her name so many times on the pages that mistake stuck out to me like a sore thumb! And good for you, Mr. Giffin, I love to see a husband stick up for his wife and I truly believe it was warranted!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 21, 2012 7:30:50 PM PDT
Alicia Brown says:
Bravo to you, Emilys Husband, for sticking up for your Wife!:) I have not had the privilege of reading this one, but if anything like her others, then I'm sure it's wonderful!:)

Posted on Aug 21, 2012 7:38:06 PM PDT
A. Albert says:
I too think it's wonderful that you're sticking up for your wife Mr. Giffin :) and like the others have said before me; unbiased reviews are hard to come by. I am an avid reviewer of all life experiences. I haven't yet had a chance to read WWB yet but I plan to, because I've read and love all of Emily's other books. Sometimes reviews have to be taken with a grain of salt and it's a shame that people take the time out of their lives to be so negative and hurtful. Karma is a b****.

Posted on Aug 21, 2012 7:41:52 PM PDT
Did you read the same book? Negative spin on adoption? Unlikable characters? It was believable to me! I loved it, I just wish there was more for us to read! Part 2 please?! :-)

Posted on Aug 21, 2012 8:11:15 PM PDT
"UES" why all the hostility? I also read Emily's response to finding her name associated with the "erotica" writings of the other Emily Giffin, and I thought her response was intelligent, appropriate, and free from the harsh spin that you have put on your review - hardly a "diatribe", as it is not insluting, harsh, or even negative at all. Perhaps its time to start reading the dictionary.

Classy, huh?

To "Mr. Giffin" kudos to you. I am also one of Emily's facebook friends who is here to support her. I loved the alternating points of view - only hoping to see one from Conrad along the way. I found the story believable, as one of my sisters gave a baby up for adoption at 16, and another one of my sisters has two beautiful adopted daughters. My third sister is EXACTLY the type of person to take someone shopping as a way of calming herself, and feeling like she is in her own elementas she tries to will an awkward or uncomfortable situation away.

There is no excuse for coming on and attacking a reviewer like this, calling them a "psycho" because they only have one review to their name. All that could mean is that this reader felt so strongly about this book that they decided to leave a review. It's fairly common and guess what? It means that at one point that reader was such a big fan of Giffin's work that the letdown to them was that much more of an impact. It doesn't make her "psycho" at all.

Now you'll notice that there's a huge lag time between responses. Why is that? It's because about three hours ago (8/21/12) Giffin posted about the review on her facebook account, bragging about her husband's actions on facebook.

She pretty much acknowledges that her husband went onto Amazon and then attacked a negative review. She then posts a link to the Amazon entry with a comment about where the review is located on her facebook page, which pretty much sends out the message of "go downvote this review and comment yourself". This is why most of the comments are so recent. 

Now if this had been a particularly venomous review, I could almost understand the temptation to post. It's hard to see someone talk smack about something someone you know or love wrote. But this wasn't a bad review. The reviewer said nothing about the author, just that they were disappointed with the book and had been disappointed with the books for a while. And they got attacked because of it and labeled a "psycho" because they dared voice their opinions and was a new reviewer to Amazon. 

His statement of "not wanting to discourage opinions" is pretty invalid considering that he took to Amazon to insult someone who was simply voicing their own opinion in a free forum of their choosing. His only justification is that the reviewer didn't have a five paragraph review and a twenty page history of product plugs. Where's his indignation for the positive reviewers who posted a 1-3 sentence brief five star review and not much (if any) of a purchase history on Amazon? Why isn't he angry that people are taking to Amazon to post reviews that are more skimpy than the negative one? (And yes, there are reviewers who left positive reviews prior to the negative one's posting that have just a few sentences and have only reviewed this one book.) 

What's even worse are the people on facebook and on the Amazon review defending Giffin's husband's actions. Why is it that posting a negative review is "psycho" but someone searching out reviews, insulting reviewers, and then sending out a cattle call for everyone to go gawk at the negative review (thus ensuring they'll downvote and bully the reviewer) isn't? I do acknowledge that Giffin only tells people to read the review, but come on... what does she expect them to do? They want to support their author and keep her happy, so they do what they think she'd like them to do: attack and downvote the review. I'm sure that Giffin would probably deny this, but she didn't get to where she is in the world by being an idiot. She knows full well what happens when authors send their readers to negative reviews. There's been enough stories about the aftermath of this, after all. Besides, a follow up post shows her husband grinning over the review's bombardment on Amazon, so again- she is probably fairly aware of what the end result of such actions are, even if she didn't personally read any of the comments. 

So seriously authors, don't do this. I wasn't a fan of Giffin to begin with, but this pretty much cements that I'll never pick up one of her books again and I won't be buying any as gifts for anyone else. I'm not going to tell you not to read her books, but I will warn you that if you post a negative review you'll run the risk of being insulted by her husband or Giffin for your troubles. 

Now they'll probably consider me psycho for posting screencaps of all of this, but stuff like this has a tendency to disappear from the internet when the authors and family members realize that not everyone is so approving of the whole "sling a reviewer, hold them up to your fans for target practice" thing. I know that this is Giffin's husband that attacked the reviewer, but Giffin's actions show that she's fairly aware of what's going on. And again, with all of the author fiascoes going on with both well known and indie authors, there's no way that she could be so clueless as to not be aware of how badly this would be received in the general literary world. 


I did a quick Twitter check and sure enough, she posted it to Twitter as well. Seriously Giffin, bad move. That is a tasteless, classless thing to do to someone who took the time out of their daily life to read your books. It might hurt that they didn't like it, but you and your husband should have taken the high road and simply not responded at all. That you decided to brag about your husband's bad behavior, ensuring that more people would know about it and hound the reviewer (and thus drawing attention to said bad behavior by your husband) is pretty much encouraging bullying. I honestly thought you better than that. 

So authors, if you see someone you know (husband, friend, etc) posting on Amazon or any other review forum in response to a negative review, your reaction should be to snatch the keyboard out of their hands and try to do damage control as quickly as possible. If possible, delete the comments and stay away from the kerfuffle. And above all else, do NOT post about it on your facebook page with glowing comments about your husband attacking a reviewer. (And make no bones about it, what your husband did was an attack. The reader purchased your book via Amazon, didn't like it, then posted a review. It's valid and he had no business calling them names and accusing their review of being a slight against you as an author.) You know full well that it's just endorsing an attack on the review. Negative reviews happen. Sometimes they can get incredibly personal and insulting. This was not one of them.


I've seen where a reviewer (Corey A Doyle) on Amazon has changed their review rating because of how the whole Giffin scenario affected them. I'm a little leery of this this since you've always got to be incredibly careful of changing ratings after the fact as well as talking about the whole author thing in the review, as talking about authors in review spaces sort of paints a tempting target on your back. In any case, I see where Giffin's assistant has commented on Corey's review. (Click here to go to the review.)  I'm posting this verbatim from Amazon:

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 22, 2012 1:56:04 PM PDT
CrimznTider says:
I'm Emily's assistant, Kate. Shame on you for changing your review from FIVE STARS to ONE STAR b/c of something personal. As a vine reviewer, you know that isn't even allowed by Amazon. If your review was FIVE stars when you read the book, why should it be ONE now b/c you don't like something she or her husband did??? Her husband was defending her against an unfair, personal attack, like the ones above. Her husband is human and gets upset when people upset her...

As for the rest of your accusations, you are just plain wrong. Emily is a wonderful person--she shared with you how she felt about not reaching her goal to be #1 in on facebook. It was a sweet, heartfelt, honest post... Here it is:

"On my way to Naperville for my hometown signing. I have to admit to you guys--I'm really, really disappointed and sad not to have broken the Buffalo Bills spell... especially because I believed that based on the numbers/sales figures all week, that this book would be #1.... That said, i also want to say that I would rather have your support and love and kind words than a dozen number ones...."

So clearly, she never blamed anyone or criticized another author. Why can't she be honest about her feelings ON HER OWN FACEBOOK PAGE? In addition, she has been told by hundreds of girls and every manager at every bookstore she has ever visited how kind she is. She came back from an exhausting tour and did everything she could to be nice to so many. She has sent literally hundreds of free things to people on her own dime.... How dare you all say these personal things about her?? This is her passion and her career and she doesn't deserve to have your unfair thoughts about her reflect on her work.

I can see where one could argue that the #1 post wasn't that bad. I can understand complaining about that to a degree, as I'm sure that it is fairly disappointing to get so close to the first spot and not achieve it. That I'm not really going to criticize any as that's not really behaving bad as much as it's an overachiever thing.

What bothers me is that the assistant saw the original review, the one that started all of this, as a personal attack and that the husband was justified. It was not a personal attack against the author. I can't stress this enough. The review was just an ordinary, average reviewer stating his or her reasons as to why they disliked the book and that they'd been disappointed with the books for a while. That is not a personal attack. A personal attack would be if the reviewer had said something along the lines of "Giffin is just stuck up and thinks she's too good to eat her vegetables, she's the anti-christ" or something like that. That's a personal attack and if the original reviewer (AvidReader) had said something like that in their review, I'd agree whole heartedly that it would be an attack. But they didn't state anything like this.

I also don't think that charity work excuses awful behavior or condoning her husband going on line and picking at reviewers. She could have given a kidney to a sick child, but that doesn't mean that she or her husband have the right to attack reviews. That's just not appropriate and being an otherwise good person does not mean that after you give out 100 books your husband gets to call a reviewer names while you extol his virtues online and brag about it. That's like saying that after I finish feeding the homeless I get to swipe a dollar from the offering plate at church.

The assistant also claims that Giffin never slammed another author. That's nice and I encourage Giffin to not slam another author. But this is different. This is Giffin's husband slamming a reviewer and Giffin indirectly encouraging her fans to go titter at the remarks and downvote the review. I say indirectly, but any time you link to a negative review you're pretty much full on endorsing an attack on a negative review. There's no getting around this fact and it doesn't take a genius to figure out that you're painting a target on a person who is not a professional, bought your book with their own money, and then decided to take their time to write a review. This is actually a little worse than slamming another author because this was a comment to one of your fans. You know, the people who buy your books, pay your salary, and put you where you were? That's biting the hand that feeds you and regardless of how many hands you have coming your way, it's incredibly nasty to accuse someone of being a psycho just because they wrote a negative review.


I was just informed in the comments that Corey has received harassing phone calls, getting one where someone told her to go kill herself.

Seriously, what is wrong with some people? I don't know if anyone who called her has or is reading this, but seriously, that's not cool. Now if we want to bandy about the term "psycho" then this is a situation where it would apply. Corey changed her vote rating based upon her personal feelings. I might not necessarily be 100% comfortable with it, but it's her personal freedom and right to do as she pleases with her review. It's her review and she can do whatever she wants with it. If she wants to recite the National Anthem backwards then that's her prerogative to do so. It might not be what I'd write, but guess what? It's not my review and I have no right to tell her what she can or can't say. Neither, might I add, does anyone else, regardless of what your personal feelings might be.

Where the line gets drawn is when you have someone taking the time to track down someone's personal information, call them, and tell them to go kill themselves. Let me repeat that: someone feels that Corey should die because she *gasp* changed her mind on a review and gave it one star. Not because she's done a Casey Anthony or because she stole from a million orphans, but because she wrote a review that someone didn't agree with.

So guys, that's not cool. Actually, I'm fairly sure that there's probably harassment laws created specifically against this sort of thing. You are not being a good fan by calling Casey and telling her to "go kill herself". If you really want to support Giffin despite the actions of her and her husband, then do so with your wallet. Buy her books. If you enjoyed them, leave her positive reviews. That's how you support an author. Not by calling people and harassing them. Not by bombarding reviews and saying nasty things to them like "you only read Harlequins, this book must be too advanced for you" or insinuating that they're in any way defective for having an opposing opinion to yours. The only thing you're doing is further dragging your author's name through the mud. That's not being a good fan.

Negative reviews will always exist. Some of them you might agree with even if you loved the book. Some of them might seem personal. Some of them might be so short you wonder if it can count as a review at all. They will always exist and regardless of how you personally feel about them, attacking them is not the answer. Ignore them. If you're the author or just a particularly devoted fan, rant privately to yourself and move on. Nothing good has ever come from commenting on a negative review. If Giffin's husband had ignored the original review to begin with, nobody would have blinked at this review. If anything, the average shopper probably would've just slid their eyes over it and moved on to the next review without really giving it a thought. It's not that in-depth of a review. It states why the reviewer didn't like it, but it's not like it goes into such detail that it'd stick out in your mind. Unless the reviewer dramatically edited their review down, which I very much doubt, there was nothing in the review that would constitute a personal attack on the author. Being a new reviewer and stating that the recent books have disappointed you does not mean that they're doing this to slight the author in the least.


I just found an apology written by the author's husband. (Click here to go straight to it) Like the last time I posted his words, I'm posting them straight from the source "as is":

Posted on Aug 22, 2012 6:37:08 PM PDT
Hello all. This is Emily's husband. i just want to officially go on record as apologizing to "avid reader", Corey Doyle and anyone else I offended by commenting on a review. This is not an excuse for my actions, but only an explanation: For weeks Emily has been harassed by one person on the internet. When I looked up "avid reader" and saw that he had only ever reviewed ONE book in his life--and it was a one star of WHERE WE BELONG--i jumped to a conclusion that this was the same person and acted in hasty emotion. Although I regret the post and the language I used, I'm sure any of you who love someone and feel protective of them might understand my actions. She put two years and her heart in this book, and I hate to think that anyone would review her work based on anything other the merits. I also hate to think that my ill-conceived defense of Emily would hurt her further. Also, for the record, Emily had no idea the actual content of the exchange when she posted on Facebook. She doesn't read Amazon reviews, and she thought this was harmless banter because that is how i presented it to her. And because I'm not on Facebook, I didn't know what she had posted. Please accept my apology. You can continue to discuss if you wish, but I am bowing out, along with Kate, Emily's assistant who was also just trying to defend a good person. We encourage everyone to post honest reviews of the book, whether good, bad or the ever-insightful mixed.
I do understand to a degree. I also want to say that if someone has been badgering the author and extremely harassing the author beyond the usual internet chatter, that's not cool. I'm not sure if Mr. Giffin's idea of harassment is the same as mine, but if they were going around from place to place with the intent of hurting the author emotionally or physically then I can understand being a little jumpy. (On a side note, I do believe that people can discuss an author's merits or the lack thereof in their work on multiple forums without that actually constituting harassment. I also don't think that posting reviews in multiple places is harassment either. I don't know what was being done, but I wanted to be a little clear on what I don't consider harassment. If you want to see what I do consider harassment, just google "Christian Weston Chandler" and you'll see true harassment of an individual.)

In any case, we can keep talking about how the husband should have known better, how his public persona can damage his wife's rep as much as her actions could, how nobody would've known about the review if he'd never posted on the review in the first place or if Giffin herself had decided not to comment on it three days later, or any number of things. It's done at this point and we can't really change it. I can only hope that the Giffins have learned a lesson from this, that it's never a good idea to go off on a reviewer. It doesn't matter what slights you think they might have done or if you think that the reviewer is someone who has been harassing you. There are very, very few situations where an author will come out of a situation like this looking good. I know it might not seem fair that authors don't have as much freedom to respond to negative reviews of any type, but they also have more to lose from responding because it's so easy for responses to be taken so many different ways and end up costing you reputation or fans. If the person writing the review truly is being inappropriate, report the review. (And be aware that just as your response can be interpreted differently by others, you might be interpreting the review in a different light than the reviewer intended.) If a person truly is trying to sling barbs or harass you, the worst and I repeat worst thing you can do is give them the attention they're seeking. None of the reviews I've seen so far were written to harass or slander, so I don't want people thinking that I view any of these reviews as bad. I'm just giving general advice for anyone that might read this. Sometimes the best thing to do is just walk away and take the high road.


I noticed I made STGRB. I was wondering when that'd happen. In any case, the one thing I want to specify from that site is that I never specifically said that Giffin told her fans to downvote anyone. I just said that she's intelligent enough to know what would inevitably happen if she pointed out any negative review or her husband's actions online. Let's put it this way: if you put a piece of candy next to a hungry, candy-loving toddler, the toddler will eat the candy. We'd all like to think that the toddler would leave the candy alone and would simply look at it, but the kid just wouldn't be able to help themselves and they'd assume that your whole reason for leaving the candy next to them was because you wanted them to eat it, regardless of whether or not you said anything. The same premise applies here. If your husband comments on a negative review and you make a post on facebook that even remotely looks like you're putting his comment in a positive light, people are going to assume that not only did you feel like his actions are OK, but that the best way to get your approval is to downvote and post comments themselves. Even if Giffin did only intend for people to look, past events with other authors and similar scenarios have shown that fans will go after anything they feel is an attack against an author or anything that the author or their people feel is an attack. At some point you can't cry ignorance over this because so many of these scenarios have been so incredibly public and very, very painful for pretty much all of the people involved.

It was bad manners for Giffin's husband to post what he did. But it was incredibly foolish for Giffin to post about that review on various social media sites. She's not a silly woman. Giffin has graduated with a law degree and has traveled the world. As such, I'd imagine that she's fairly aware of what her actions could lead to in any given situation and I don't think this situation is much different. If she truly and completely never intended for any of her fans to go out and harass someone, then I do apologize for saying anything different. But I just don't entirely believe that. That's my personal opinion on the matter and not fact, but you've got to figure that with all of the various fusses over authors replying to public reviews and news sites of varying degrees of importance reporting on this over the years, she'd know better and know what could happen in a situation like this. I'd just really like to believe that someone who went through law school, represented various people in court, and writes about "real life" situations would have more common sense than this. But since I can't prove this, again I'll state that this is just my personal opinion. There was just no point to her posting about the negative review and given that her husband had posted on the review about two to three days before she ever put a post on facebook about it, there was plenty of time for the comment to have been removed and for Giffin to look into what he was writing. (Hint: if anyone tells you that they're doing battle in your defense and you're a very public figure, ALWAYS look to see what they're writing because in the end it's your reputation that gets ruined.)

All I know is that she will likely never do this again. We can all only hope that maybe we won't have another author/reviewer drama from anyone on our hands for quite some time. I'd much rather post nice little blogs about various author successes than dramas.

Update #(dunno):

I was just given this screencap by Corey. Previously I'd said that Giffin had never actually posted anything that told people to comment or down vote reviews. Then I was showed this image. Most of the post was written by the assistant, but in the end she's still posting a comment that's telling people to go to the reviews and "defend her". That is a fairly loaded statement, to be honest. The only reason I'd heard about this in the first place was because a few other people had heard about this via her facebook page and saw that people were going over to attack Avid Reader. Maybe they just meant to go over and have a civil conversation, but considering that at this point the reading community was starting to implode on itself over the comments that were previously left, posting this is really not helping anything. Neither is consistently refusing to go and read what's going on. At this point with all of the things that have been said for her and about her, it'd probably be a good idea to know what's being said about her rather than hearing it all secondhand. You can't properly defend yourself if you don't know what's going on, after all.

I'll just say that after reading this, I'm actually starting to believe that Giffin is probably clueless enough to where she didn't think anyone would do anything other than read the review. Either she's being insanely passive aggressive or she's just insanely naive. I'm honestly not sure which would be worse. In either case, I really really recommend that she go through her agent or publicist as far as comments go because in one scenario she's passive aggressively sending people over to fight her battles. In the other she's being so clueless that she's almost a danger to herself. Either way, going through her agent or publicist for advice would probably have kept things from getting so pear shaped.

In any case, the above post is deleted off of the facebook account so hopefully things will eventually die down. Again, if anyone that wants to support Giffin is reading this and disagrees with any of what I've posted here or with any of the reviews, getting angry and nasty with the reviewers is not the answer. Support her by purchasing her books and leaving positive reviews for the books of hers that you've read. Post them in any venue you can find, whether it's Amazon, Goodreads, or wherever. That's how you support an author or at least how you should support an author. Not by calling and harassing people or leaving snippy comments in reviews, but by purchasing their stuff.

Update: The Final Frontier

Hi all! I just wanted to let you know that Corey has written up a blog post about her experiences with this, so I wanted to post this here and direct you all over there to read her experiences. She's pretty comprehensive about it all, so if you want another take on the matter and all of what's happened to her in such a short period of time, I definitely recommend reading it.