Saturday, April 2, 2011

How Not To Respond To a Negative Review

As I’m sure most of you already know, there was a war of words this week between a book blog reviewer and a self-published author. No, that’s not exactly accurate, considering that it was basically a one-sided fight.
Jacqueline Howett wrote and published a book called The Greek Seaman. She then submitted her book for review at Big Al’s Books and Pals. Like any other book blogger, Big Al took the time to read it, for free, and then he wrote a very fair review of Ms. Howett’s work. He stated that while it had a good storyline/plot, it contained many grammatical and spelling errors so he only gave it 2 stars.
When Ms. Howett read his review she, apparently, proceeded to lose her mind! She insisted that Big Al was at fault for the bad review because he failed to read the correct version of her book (she had sent him two different copies). Turns out that Big Al actually did read the correct version and still found it to be littered with mistakes. When he tried to explain this to her she called him a liar. By now other commenters started to chime in, mostly defending Big Al, at which time Ms. Howett sunk to a new low by telling them to F**k Off! Twice! She tried to convince Big Al and his followers that The Greek Seaman really was, in fact, a great piece of work by pointing out other reviewers who had given it 5 stars. Unfortunately, all the other reviews she quoted from were written by members of her family. She also demanded that Big Al take down his review and then chastised him for not letting her read it first so that she could decide whether or not she wanted to grant him permission to post it on his blog. The list of idiocy goes on and on…
For me, this whole episode was borderline scary. I haven’t been blogging for very long and I had no idea that some authors would actually verbally attack book bloggers if they didn’t post a glowing review of their work. I never thought that someone would act so unprofessionally, in such a public setting. Talk about career suicide! But even worse is the fear I feel wondering if something like this could happen to me. Reviews are the honest opinions of the readers and we should not be bullied into giving good ones!
Obviously, I’m a somewhat biased judge of this situation. I instantly took Big Al’s side and was utterly disgusted by the vile remarks Ms. Howett made towards him and his followers. His review was respectful and courteous and he rightfully refused to lower himself to Ms. Howett’s level. I do feel for her though. She desperately needs help and support to overcome her anger management issues.
So what can we learn from all this? Big Al showed amazing grace under pressure and he has been rewarded with a slew of new followers who love his blog and reviews. He’s an internet sensation. We should all remember his example if something like this ever happens to us. As for Ms. Jacqueline Howett…well, let’s hope her train wreck has taught writers everywhere how NOT to respond to a negative review!
To read Big Al’s review of Jacqueline Howett’s The Greek Seaman, please click here. 


  1. Great post :) It's such a mindboggling turn of events really, for me authors are.. demigods hehe, those who do good can downright change your life with a fantastic tale. It seems so horribly wrong for an author to do what she did. She was hysterical and childlike and, like you, I worry if I'll ever experience what Big Al did.

  2. Thanks, noiashui, for the kind comment!

    This whole fiasco seems to have really hit a nerve with a lot of people and I think it's because were all worried about this happening to us. Oh yeah, and the mutual disgust we all feel regarding the harrassment of Big Al.

    Have a great weekend and I hope the weather's being kind to you...wherever you are!

  3. I took Big Al's side too. As an author I found Howett's behavior painfully embarrassing.


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