WRITING: When authors have crazy meltdowns

I’ve posted before about authors having total meltdowns, temper tantrums, and tearing apart readers/reviewers. It’s just not a good practice. It’s petty, it makes you look insecure, and most of all it’s highly unprofessional.

On Tuesday, my friend Chris brought this amateur author meltdown to my attention. It’s a doozy. The review wasn’t particularly harsh, praising the story but noting that the book was full of errors that distracted from the work. This is an all too common problem with self-published work. (Despite multiple sets of eyes and multiple edits, even Pitched did not escape without typos.) Push a book out without the benefit of an editor and proofreaders and this is to be expected.

The author, however, one Jacqueline Howett, was having none of it. She insisted that the review was “unfair” and proved it by citing positive reviews on Amazon (at least one of which appears to be written by the author herself). The reviewer repeated that the story was good but that passages like this one were confusing and distracting: “Don and Katy watched hypnotically Gino place more coffees out at another table with supreme balance.”

The review makes a good point. That’s unreadable. I get what the author is trying to say, but she doesn’t say it very well.

Didn’t matter. By now the author had circled the wagons. She refused to see that this criticism was valid and constructive, instead insisting:

I’m not in the mood for playing snake with you, what I read above has no flaws. My writing is fine … Simply remove this review as it is in error with you not downloading the fresh copy i insisted. …This is not only discusting and unprofessional on your part, but you really don’t fool me AL.

Who are you any way? Really who are you?
What do we know about you?

Besides if you want to throw crap at authors you should first ask their permission if they want it stuck up on the internet via e-mail. That debate is high among authors.

Your the target not me!
Now get this review off here!

Wow. Okay. And it continues from there, each typo-ridden post getting angrier and more irrational. She builds her way to a quick “Fuck off!” And then she does it again.

As entertaining as this was to read, Miss Howett did herself no favors with her public meltdown. It has since gone viral. It’s popping up on blogs and trending in the Twitter writing community. On Amazon, her book is being bombed with bad reviews. It even made the from page of Fark.com, which means many thousands of people will now see her meltdown.

Yeah, it’s not turning out well for her. That’s why I say to writers who want to rebut criticism of their work, don’t do it. Just don’t. Part of putting your work in front of the public is dealing with criticism. You can’t escape it. No one is above it. You cannot, cannot, cannot please everyone. And if the criticism is constructive, as this review was, it’s best to listen and move on even if you disagree with it. The BEST thing you can do is to suck it up and do better next time. Learn from the experience, grow from it, but most of all SHUT UP ABOUT IT.


  1. Zaki

    Saw this yesterday and couldn't look away…I just had to read each of the 300-some replies. It was like a slow moving car wreck.

  2. Pingback: Writer smashes reviewer with a wine bottle, aka How NOT to handle getting a bad review – Your AWESOME Editor

  3. iamsofiuhh

    Wirklich gut gelungene Abendszene! Hat uns gut gefallen!


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