When wannabe authors attack!

Mar 29 2011 Published by under Book Review

HINT: It isn't pretty.

I spent the morning reading just one review of one book and the comment thread that it inspired. In short, this train wreck of a comment thread is a great example of the reasons that I refuse to review self-published books: the bad punctuation/grammar, the horrible sentence construction, the astonishing inability to correctly use the English language, and yes, the aggressive bullying by the so-called "writers" themselves. Predictably, this blog entry has gone viral: it's now mirrored on loads of facebook accounts, it's all over twitter, and the book's Amazon comment thread has linked to it, too. For wannabe authors, it's a wonderful blow-by-blow account of how to destroy your career before it even gets started.

The review of the book itself is mild -- kind, in fact -- compared to the comment thread, where the author immediately jumps in to attack the reviewer. This snowballs quickly so the comment thread rapidly fills up with comments from the author as well as from literary agents, book editors and publishers and from the reading public. These comments are both vicious and hilarious in a sad, car-wreck sort of way. This comment, for example, is priceless:

At least her "F*** off" comments are spelled correctly. None of the rest of them are. I think that tells us something very informative about where exactly on the scale of literacy the "author" falls, which is about the same place that sucking Cheez Whiz out of a can falls on the scale of fine dining. So sad.

Lest you believe that the reviewer might have been (just a wee bit) mean in his review, here's just one cringe-worthy sentence from this erm, novel:

"She carried her stocky build carefully back down the stairs."

I wish I could say this is the only awkward sentence, but alas, it's one of literally thousands of similar sentences, except that quoted example lacks misspellings, which run rampant like escaped horses through the portions of the book I've read.

But I think the most amazing aspect of this book review is the fact that the reviewer somehow waded through the entire novel. The numerous grammatic, semantic and spelling errors would have stopped me cold at the end of the first chapter -- if I had even made it that far. As another commenter said, it's surprising that the author didn't misspell the title of her own book; The Greek Seaman.

11 responses so far

  • The Founding Mothers says:

    Maybe she did. Is it a history of an electronics company in the Aegean?

  • grrlscientist says:

    no. from what i could see, it's a naughty tale of a newly married woman trapped on a greek merchant marine vessel with her husband. if i interpreted the author's synopsis correctly, the ship's captain and some of his crew dabble in human trafficking and it would seem that the newlywed woman is lovely and a talented ballet dancer. i suppose you can surmise where the author is (probably?) going with this ...

  • Speaking as a wannabe author who does self publish, I think there are a whole lot of lessons here. Editing is very important. Do the editing before you release, not after. Never tell a book reviewer to f*** off in a professional context. Finally, when you're in a hole, stop digging.

    • grrlscientist says:

      well, joseph, if you ever want an honest opinion of your writing (pre-publication), i'd be happy to read your work. but i would never review your writing on teh blarg or elsewhere because i think it's dishonest to review friends' writing in public.

      it amazes me to think that this wannabe be writer doesn't know that editors talk amongst themselves about their writers ... and troublesome, mentally unstable prima donnas are quickly identified as such behind-the-scenes. even i know this and i haven't even published a book (although i've written one and started writing several others, which, mercifully, i've had the good sense to destroy before they ever saw the light of day!)

  • WhizBANG! says:

    What a train wreck! Not quite to the Charlie Sheen level (although I wouldn't be surprised to find the author claiming Dragon Blood somewhere down the line), but it's really hard to look away.

    • grrlscientist says:

      i kinda wonder if the blog author has been moderating the book author's comments? either that, or her friends have tied her up and placed her into a small, wifi-free padded cell, erm, room.

  • Gloria says:

    OK, it's a self-deluded train wreck and I looked at the Amazon page and then her blog. Her website is full of typos too. At the very least, she should have noticed the little red and green squiggly lines. Perhaps the book was a very secret solo effort and Big Al was the first reviewer who was unrelated and outside of her circle of supportive friends? Maybe it's hard for me to sympathize with her since I get to have someone (actually, five someones) evaluate my work fairly regularly...as I'd imagine anyone with a job or an editor would.

  • Sara says:

    Comments were disabled on the thread. I think though that Hackett finally realized her ship was sunk and just swam away.

    (I love the comment about the Cheez Whiz. Somehow I missed it when I read through, lol.)

  • brooksphd says:

    I saw that this morning (HT @EdYong209). LOLtastic and slightly depressing. By some accounts the Amazon reviews were either self-referential or family reviews.

    The icing on the cake was when a real life editor in NYC (I think) advises her to chill out and she responds with an "F U"

    career suicide...

  • DNLee says:

    I don't read self-published books, either. They suck, all of them (sorry to say that); but everyone I've ever read is HORRIBLE for all of the reasons you mention.

    It says alot that you can't get a publishing house with people who write and edit and market literature as their craft to take you on. You obviously are not ready, yet.

  • physioprof says:

    HAHAHAH! Thatte's fucken hilarious! Thank fucken godde there are plenty of people so fucken abjectly mindblowingly oblivious to their own suckitude and thatte they show uppe on the Internetz!!!!!!!!!!!