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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So you got a bad review. Grow the f*ck up and move on!

Dear Jacqueline Howett,

Not too long ago, the publishing world was rocked when bestselling thriller author, Barry Eisler, announced that he turned down a $500,000 book deal from his publisher in order to go Indie. In other words, he decided to self-publish his upcoming thriller, The Detachment, which will be available around Father's Day. As an Indie author with one novel to his name (soon to be two), I found this news to be exciting. With Eisler's move, I had a feeling that the negative stigma that surrounds Indie authors was showing signs of eroding.

And it couldn't have come at a better time because unfortunately, the majority of readers only talk about Indie authors that publish substandard novels. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that all traditionally-published authors put out quality novels. Believe me, I've read one or two NYT Bestselling authors whose novels I couldn't even finish because they were so badly written.

Then you came along with your novel, The Greek Seaman. Truth be told, I never would've heard about your novel. That was until there was so much internet buzz on how you behaved like a complete bitch on Big Al's Books and Pals. And it was because he gave your novel a bad review.

Congratulations. Not only have you ruined your own reputation as an author and an individual, but you have singed the reputations of indie authors worldwide who have worked hard for several years, and continue to do so, in order to be accepted by readers—especially those who dismiss indie authors as amateurs who aren't good enough to get a book deal. And it hurts when I hear someone dismiss me or other indie authors as not being a real authors.

You ought to know that in this businesswhether you are traditionally published or an independantthere are readers that will either like or dislike your novels. That's life. I'll admit that I made the mistake of sending the wrong advance reading copy of my novel to reviewers. Fortunately a few of them alerted me to the problem and I was able to get them the right copy before the novel went on sale. I'm not saying that I'm the best novelist around, because I've already accepted that I'm still learning. And I know that I can and will still improve. That's what being professional is all about.

I didn't bother to comment on BigAl's Books and Pals because at this point it would be pointless. But tell me, wouldn't it have been easier to simply ask the reviewer where the problem areas were? At least you would've known whether you needed to either hire a professional editor and/or fire your old one. Wouldn't it have been easier for you to take advantage of digital publishing where you could easily upload a revised copy to Amazon or any other vendor? Believe it or not, readers still check out books that have negative reviews, and they do so by clicking the Send Sample Now that would allow them to judge the book for themselves. Don't you think that would've been preferable than going Chris Brown on the reviewer? Because as you must know by now, the worst place to have a meltdownespecially when you're wrong (which you were)is the internet.

Way to go! You've singlehandly brought more negative attention to yourself and to your novel in one hour than ten reviewers could've done in a year. You want proof? Look at the number of 1-star reviews you've received. Maybe that's what it'll take for you to know that that's it's high time that you grew the f*ck up.


Russell Brooks
Author of Pandora's Succession and Unsavory Delicacies.

PS. To prove my point on the advantages of digital publishing, I invite every reader of this blog that spots any typos or repeated words to please comment about them so that I may correct them.


  1. I too read about this authors rant and was could not believe how unprofessional she was. If there is one thing I have learned from reading others outburst on the internet its that, in the end, it will only draw more attention to you and its almost always going to be negative. So why bother with it in the first place? Reflect, make changes or not and move on!

    I would also agree that it portrays very badly on the Indie writing world. As a blogger myself, I see that a lot of people don't want to give these Indie authors the time of day and only want to stick with the big name companies. Its not fair but its reality. I am just a needle in a haystack in the blogging community and I can say that of the Indie books I've read they have been as good or even better then a lot of the books I've read published by larger companies and this is why I blog. Because if I can influence just 1 person to pick up a book they normally wouldn't consider otherwise and they love it as much as I did… and who doesn't love sharing what they love???

    Great post Russell!!

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  3. Thanks, Loni. I appreciate everything you do. It's hard enough searching for book bloggers when you're unknown. I'm happy that there are several book bloggers that give us Indies a chance. BTW, I just rewrote a poorly-written sentence in my blog. This just proves how easy it is to fix things when you've gone digital.