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.

Book Reviews Given & Book Reviews Sought

A couple of weeks ago, Amazon.com prevented me from posting a book review because I hadn’t purchased $50.00 worth of products (I’m not sure if this just means books or other things) from them. Fair enough. It’s their rules and I have no issue with that. Amazon’s been battling with fake reviews, paid reviews, and writers’ trading positive reviews for years, so I guess they’re clamping down and attempting to improve credibility.

By the way, see Anne Allen’s insightful blog about a host of other Amazon measures to clamp down on other types of cheating. Unfortunately, innocent authors are getting caught in the net, and Anne explains it clearly HERE:

Usually, I buy ebooks because they are cheaper and delivered instantly. As a Canadian, I would pay 30% more for a paperback from amazon.com. But what frustrates me and many other Canadian authors is that because I have a Canadian account, I’m not allowed to buy ebooks on amazon.com either. In other words, their restrictions (we’re not allowed to even gift books on amazon.ca) won’t let me abide by their reviewing rules. Needless to say, I’ll be sticking with amazon.ca and Goodreads, and might even start posting reviews here on my blog.

As an author, I might have an even harder time getting reviews on .com from Canadian reviewers, but I’ll keep trying! In fact, I am indeed looking for reviewers from any country for my 5th Casey Holland mystery, Knock Knock, published in Nov. 2017. If anyone’s interested, please let me know at debra_kong@telus.net. Here’s a short blurb:

cropped-knock-knock-front-coverA series of violent home invasions is terrorizing Vancouver seniors. When the latest invasion kills Elsie Englehart, security officer Casey Holland is devastated. Determined to protect other seniors on her watch, Casey escorts an elderly man home only to find herself ambushed by a knife-wielding assailant. Healing from serious injuries, Casey struggles to regain control of her life. She needs to get back on the job and finish preparations for her upcoming wedding before everything falls apart and more people die.

The back cover blurb is posted on the home page of my website at www.debrapurdykong.com

I can send an epub. PDF, or mobi version. Thanks!