So this post came about because I was able to read an analysis on Kathleen Hale’s Catfish Essay (thank you so much to Bookish in the Skye for such a detailed and well thought out post). For those of you that don’t know the situation of Hale and her reaction to a negative review by Book Blogger Blythe, I suggest reading Skye’s post.
It seems like there’s a reason why I’m seeing Hale on my WordPress feed today, as I came across another post from Siobhan’s Novelties with some updated information on Hale and apparently the news of an upcoming book. Go check out that post for more info.
For a very brief overview on the situation, Hale saw a really negative review on one of her books by a reviewer that goes by Blythe. She stalked and harassed her because of it and wrote an essay on that experience, among others. Now, it seems like Book Press had an interview with her about another book she will be releasing, and that’s where we are today.
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the point of this post. How should an author react to a negative review of their novel? Well, definitely don’t react the same way that Hale did. I’ve said on both posts that I linked on this post, and I will say it here: she escalated the situation so much, and I do not feel like she was in the right to do this. I understand that she felt bad about getting such a low score from a reviewer, but we are all entitled to our opinions on a book. Not everyone will like your book, not everyone will love it, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to get to the point where you go out of your way to pick this blogger for a giveaway so you can get a hold of her physical address, go to her house in an attempt to confront her, and then find out where she works and call her accusing her of purposely leaving a bad review of your book for fun or whatever.
If you read the interview from Book Press, you’ll also see that she somehow has no remorse for what she did, how what she did was pretty much illegal, and honestly she should have been charged with stalking, harassment, and probably libel as well. I’m not an expert on legal charges, but she should not have gotten away with this, and she should not have been able to get another publishing deal after the cloud that followed her. I don’t think she can handle getting any more negative reviews on her books, and the book community has pretty much banded together to not support her work – past, present, or future.
I also understand that by doing this, this would have a negative impact to her livelihood if she doesn’t have another career or source of income, but should that matter to us as consumers that do not want to support her? Should we as bloggers have to fear for our reputation and sanity when we write a negative review that has nothing to do with the author personally, but the book itself? What would you do?
I don’t know Blythe personally, but I could only imagine how she felt answering that phone call at her day job, being accused of something so ridiculous and trivial and having to deal with an author like Hale. I’m one of the possibly few bloggers that actually uses my real name in literally everything. I think I’ve even said where I’m at, because I never thought I’d have to worry about an author or publicist ever trying to find me for something I’ve written. That thought actually never occurred to me, and it’s not like I can go back and say “just kidding, none of that is true. It’s an alias.” But should I even have to fear that, being the small time blogger that I am? Should anybody?
What do you guys think of this situation? I’d love to hear more of your thoughts, and definitely educate me if I messed something up. I feel like I’m at a loss now with this.