Books Magazine

Authors Behaving Badly #8

By Pocketfulofbooks @PocketfulofBooks

Authors Behaving Badly: When Authors React Badly to Negative Reviews and Criticism!  
Or: How NOT to Handle Bad Reviews!


When an author puts a book out into the world they must know it's not going to get completely positive feedback. All books, throughout history, from Hamlet to The Da Vinci Code, have people who love them and people who hate them. And most authors handle the negative reviews pretty well (even if they're crying inside).
Authors Behaving Badly #8However, some authors decide that they want to fight their critics. Some get personal. Some get downright nasty. Did someone say car crash?
I was originally going to post one article on this but so many authors have behaved badly that I thought I would make it a weekly feature! I bringz you all the drama every Thursday from authors who have been a little naughty.
8. Alice Hoffman gets in a
Who Is She: Alice Hoffman, published author of Adult and YA books.
Authors Behaving Badly #8
What She Responded Badly To: a review of her novel 'The Story Sisters' by Roberta Silman for the Boston Globe.
Authors Behaving Badly #8

What Made the Fur Fly: So, Roberta Silman writes an 'mehh take it or leave it' kinda review about Hoffman's novel 'The Story Sisters'. While she doesn't exactly praise the novel to the skies, she doesn't completely slate it either:

Authors Behaving Badly #8

However, Alice Hoffman really takes umbridge at this review. She takes SEROUS UMBRIDGE. She takes the matter to (where else) Twitter and posts a string of rants insulting Silman, her hometown and ALL reviewers in one fell swoop:

Authors Behaving Badly #8
Authors Behaving Badly #8
Authors Behaving Badly #8
Authors Behaving Badly #8
Authors Behaving Badly #8
Authors Behaving Badly #8 (Source of Tweets)

While these tweets are annoying, they do not reach the level of malice that the next one does. She decides to disclose Silman's personal contact information and encourages her followers to 'tell her off':
Authors Behaving Badly #8 Not cool. Luckily, there wasn't too much damage done. Silman issued a statement later describing what had actually happened post meltdown.

"...there have been nine emails to me, all in support of my review and/or my right to review and all apologizing for Alice Hoffman's perplexing behavior," she wrote to Jacket Copy in an e-mail. "I wouldn't change anything about my review. I have written many reviews for The Globe and say what I believe, and, in this case, I praised her earlier work, which was clearly better. I'm sorry Alice could not take pride in the good things I said, and perhaps mull a little on the criticism. That is what I have always tried to do when professional people have criticized my work." (Source)

 Hoffman got the number wrong. Paha. Let us end on the half hearted apology from Hoffman that was issued later which manages to never actually get round to the apologising bit:

I feel this whole situation has been completely blown out of proportion. Of course I was dismayed by Roberta Silman's review which gave away the plot of the novel, and in the heat of the moment I responded strongly and I wish I hadn't. I'm sorry if I offended anyone. Reviewers are entitled to their opinions and that's the name of the game in publishing. I hope my readers understand that I didn't mean to hurt anyone and I'm truly sorry if I did. Best,
Alice Hoffman

 And the world was right again.

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