There are some really messed up people in this world. Apparently, a few of them are writers. Months after the Kathleen Hale stalked a negative reviewer and Richard Brittain stalked and assaulted a negative reviewer, Andrea Smith and Eva LeNoir have decided to take on the ignoble task of publicly shaming a negative reviewer. This time, it’s being done in literary form. Their book Black Balled has the following description currently:
Two dominant males, two worthy adversaries, in a business that takes no prisoners, will soon learn that fate refuses to be ignored . . .
Black Balled is a story of two people, destined to hate one another for very different reasons–but will something happen to change all of that? A harsh reviewer with deep secrets and fears; a cocky Indie author that takes the bait and ultimately ends up breaking the Cardinal Rule, but what price will he end up paying for that?
Situations are not always what they seem; one of them is in deep denial,and the other is hell-bent on finding something–anything to distract him from his insecurities and the pain he is feeling because of personal tragedy and loss… toss a vindictive ex in the mix, and what you have is explosive and quite . . . epic.
Can they both survive one other?
Get ready for a magical carpet ride with this one!
Babu is one letter off of the name of reviewer Baba, who left a negative (2-star) review on Diamond Girl, a book by Smith. As critical as the review was, it ended with “Give it a try and maybe you’ll love it.” That’s nicer than a lot of people are2 when it comes to critical reviews. So, writing a book as a response? Holy fuckballs! That’s nuts.
But Smith says it isn’t about Baba and that Baba is full of herself. No, really, she did. Smith also seems “surprised” that there was drama over the book and seems to be in total denial that she is to blame for it. She also seems to be in denial that the “buzz”3 is pretty much all negative.
This also isn’t the first time that Smith has behaved childishly45 when critiqued. This is pretty indicative that she has a problem. If you can’t handle reviews that are 1 or 2 stars, then maybe you shouldn’t publish your work. At the very least, you shouldn’t read the reviews. And if you’re reacting this poorly to the reviews, then get help that you definitely need. This should not be the way any person reacts to this sort of situation.
I’ve received criticism in the past on various things and reacted negatively from it. I’ve also worked on not letting it get to me. Maybe the writers who end up obsessing over, stalking, shaming, and assaulting their critics should do the same. If they don’t want to try therapy, then maybe they can listen to music or meditate or paint or do something. But this sort of behavior is just messed up. It seriously reminds me of the wise words of Mary Cooper on The Big Bang Theory:
Oh, lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it’s creepy.
Except that it’s not just creepy. It is absolutely 100% fucked up. Reviewers shouldn’t have to worry about their personal safety because some writers can’t handle a negative review. And it’s becoming increasingly more obvious that that’s something reviewers are going to have to consider. I wouldn’t be surprised if this sort of act or the acts of other authors leads some people who write reviews to back away from doing so in the future. I also wouldn’t be surprised if it makes reading in general less enjoyable for some. And that not only hurts Smith and LeNoir, it hurts the whole industry, reviewers, and people who just read as a hobby.
I don’t think there is any way that Smith and LeNoir could repair the damage to their careers that they have done with this book, but it would be nice if they would admit that their behavior is reprehensible. It would be nice if they would actually step up, put their grown up panties on, and apologize.