Positive Takeaways From an Ugly Experience

The Latin Quarter, Paris, FranceIn ten years of book reviewing, now topping over 500 reviews, I have to say that it’s been a rewarding experience. I love reading and reviewing books. It’s amazing when I come across an author I’ve never heard of and find a story that I just love.

I read both famous and new, unknown authors. I read almost everything and draw on both self-published and traditionally published books. Basically, I choose whatever intrigues me on any given day. I also like to help and support other authors. So when I answered someone’s review request in the fall of 2016, I gave a balanced, honest review of a book that had some major grammatical, spelling, and typo flaws, but which also had a good plot and characters. I wound up giving it a 3-star interview on Amazon, (2-stars on Goodreads).

The author didn’t like my review and also wanted me to tell her where all the typos were. I told her about two of them and pointed out that it was her job to find the rest. That’s when she began ranting at me on Twitter. She emailed me a couple of times, but I didn’t respond. What was the point? I felt no need to defend or justify my review, and still don’t.

So imagine my surprise when I learned this past Sunday that she had posted a scathing rant on Facebook about me, warning her Friends about my “malicious” review. Oh yes, apparently, I was “stupid and ugly” too.

Honestly, I’d forgotten all about her because the review was posted well over two years ago. Clearly, she hadn’t forgotten about me. What happened next was what really shocked me. Within an hour of the woman’s post, I had 23 people who had called her on it, told her it was wrong to attack a reviewer, and who then asked to “Friend” me as a means of offering support, so I did. Many felt that the woman’s remarks were uncalled for and that I didn’t deserve this treatment.

My expanding social network is still expanding as I write this. More people know who I am, what I write, and that I approach my reviews with integrity. I could make a number of points about this experience, but I want to focus on two that are most important to me.

One: The writing community is filled with wonderful supportive people who will not put up with bullying, abusive behavior.

Two: Honesty and integrity not only matter, but are appreciated.

It does my heart good to know this, and I will continue writing reviews because I still enjoy it. I’m not afraid of the occasional unprofessional rant about my work, whether it’s over reviews, blogs, or my books. The positive feedback far outweighs the negative and for that I’m grateful.

Author: debrapurdykong

I'm a British Columbia author who's been writing for over 30 years. My volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and various jobs, inspired me to write mysteries set in BC’s Lower Mainland. Employment as a campus security patrol and communications officer provide the background for my my Casey Holland transit security novels. I'm also a part-time facilitator in Creative Writing Workshops through Port Moody's Recreation program. Feel free to contact me at dpurdykong@gmail.com

9 thoughts on “Positive Takeaways From an Ugly Experience”

    1. Thanks, JP. It’s turned out to be quite a positive experience. I’ve gained new readers and someone wants to offer me a free promo package. Who knew? My understanding is that the woman has now taken down her original post.

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  1. Debra, first congratulations on ten years of reviewing over 500 books! That is an incredible feat and takes dedication. The incident with the lady and her comments on FB are out of order and I feel for you! Just imagine she has had this burning inside her for over two years. As I was reading I was heartened by the support you received from so many others and glad this hasn’t dissuaded you from continuing to share books with us all! 😀❤️

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  2. Reviews are such treacherous waters… especially if you don’t like the work for one reason or another… But just reading some calls for editorial bids online was shocking to me — the amount of writers who did not make it clear what they wanted because they were too busy telling potential editors that really, their work was mostly fine and did not need much fixing… Makes me think we are too often trying to publish way too quickly. And cheaply. “Review” doesn’t mean “talk nice about”… it is a judgment based on opinion. Sounds to me like there is little wrong with your judgment…

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