Sunday, 7 June 2015

How Not to Respond to a Negative Review

I was directed to this Goodreads thread by author Sam Sykes on Twitter, and it's the funniest thing I've read in ages. For that reason, I'm going to dissect the whole thing bit by bit, so that you can get the good stuff too. 

Background: a girl called Cait posted a short one-star review of The Boy and the Peddler of Death by indie author Dylan Saccoccio. Here it is in its entirety, so you can see how civil and reasonable it is.

This was unnecessarily wordy and pretentious. I just did not enjoy it at all. Which makes me sad because the summary says it's for fans of Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and World of Warcraft. Aka three of my favorite things. So how did I loathe this so entirely from page one? I don't know.

Five sentences. Would've been totally ignored by Goodreads if the author hadn't been a huge idiot and gone in all guns blazing. I'm only going to quote excerpts now because he's essentially writing novels in the comments. 

I work over 100 hours a week to get my books to succeed so that I don't have to be a slave anymore.

That's a line from his first reply. Bit melodramatic and it's a bad idea to engage with negative reviews at all, but not the worst. Then Cait replied, saying the book just wasn't for her and she's perfectly within her rights to leave a negative review ... And then the novel starts. 

Leaving a 1 star review on a book says much more about what kind of person does such a thing, and then attacks it for being "pretentious," which is an erroneous statement that is defamation at best. 

I'm happy I could be your Ego's stepping stone.

Fierce! As a later commenter said, it's obvious what Cait meant when she said his prose was wordy. 

Do you have empathy? Do you know what it's like to make something for a living? Are you human? Or do you just look at other people like they're automatons that you can slander as though your actions don't manifest consequences?

"Are you human?" really makes this for me. Wonderful. And that's just the start of the overreaction. 

But you left a 1 Star review on someone's life's work, someone who is trying to warn people what's going on in this world so that they can protect themselves and help others, and think that is a moral action. 400,000 children go missing each year in the US alone. Do you know where they're going? Do you know who's behind it? Do you know why the media is silent about it? Do you know how much a person risks to confront the evil that's running amok in this world? YOU don't know right from wrong. And that's what a review like this says about the person that wrote it. 

Aaaaand here we have it, folks: a conspiracy theorist. Cait's four-sentence review proves she doesn't know right from wrong, apparently. 

For someone to leave such a toxic review on a book that contains so much gnosis, that people had to die in order to learn in the past, is an utter disgrace to the human condition.

Now we know for a fact that the guy is both pretentious and delusional. Using "gnosis" instead of knowledge is one of the most pretentious, passive-aggressive phrasings I've ever seen in my life. And Cait leaving an honest review is a "disgrace to the human condition". Right. 

Other people then told the guy he's an asshat (not in those exact words) and defended Cait and the right to leave reviews, saying that every author gets some negative reviews. 

Dylan then said this:

I'm not embarrassed at all. And all of you who are taking Cait S's side, what you're doing in the bigger picture is waging war on the consciousness of humanity. The end.

What bothers me is when people that operated at a low level of consciousness defame the work of people that are trying to help humanity, and no one helps humanity better than artists. 

I'm sticking up for my work that I create, and defending it against those who try to suppress the consciousness of humanity, which is exactly what you're doing right now.

You're immoral for defending this 1 star review. 

(The paragraphing is mine. He was mostly too enraged to do that.) This whole thing just cracks me up. People defending Cait are "waging war on the consciousness of humanity". Do you see how often he repeats that word, consciousness? It's like he's proud of being able to spell it. He's also deluded enough to think he's trying to help humanity through his art.

He then said that leaving a one star review on someone you've never met is (in caps) the measure of a bad person. I don't think he understands that she's reviewing his work, not him. He also called Cait "unraised". No idea what that means.

To another commenter, he says "Condemnation without investigation is the epitome of human ignorance." You just know this guy is a meninist. He says this immediately after insulting the commenter's name. 

And as my work is being assaulted, and now me, you are allowing it to happen, and could not care less. You are condoning it. Just like all of the other evil in this world. And the best part about it, is that is EXACTLY what The Tale of Onora is about. All the evil that runs amok and the "good" people that do NOTHING to stop it. That's your karma. Not mine. I understand the principles of Non-Aggression and Self-Defense.

What a Grade A conspiracy nut. These commenters, defending Cait, are apparently condoning all the evil in the world. Then the random capitals really got started as he began (I like to imagine) frothing at the mouth.

NO. I don't want you to do anything because you're immoral. Leave this up so that every person henceforth can see ALL OF YOU for what YOU ARE. DESTRUCTIVE to consciousness and humanity. What you've done to me, you do to YOURSELF, because if you KNEW anything about anything, you'd know we were all connected to each other, and instead of destroying each other's work, you'd be supporting each other, which is why I will NEVER behave like ANY of you immoral people, and I won't go seeing what you've written or done in the world so I can destroy that. No, I will only defend my work against EVIL. 

And today, all of you see why EVIL IS KICKING HUMANITY'S ASS, and why the human condition is SLAVERY. 

THAT'S what The Tale of Onora is about, and if you can't grasp that, then BE GONE! 

I just posted that in its entirety because it's perfect. The ravings of a madman. The human condition is slavery, it seems, and this guy's condition is emotional instability. He really has an obsession with evil, saying the other commenters are "Absolutely the worst that humanity has to offer, the type of people that look the other way when evil runs amok". 

SotheTem, another commenter, says at this point that Dylan is clearly a "frothing at the mouth psycho", which is true.

More random capitals, and an excerpt from an awful book:

"To you, that you may awaken to understand that the whole universe is a dance of energy, and that energy is God, and that energy is you. You are something that the whole universe is doing, that God is doing, just as a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing. The real you, the energy, the soul, is not a puppet that life pushes around. The real you is the whole universe. The real you is God, destined to follow no one, destined to ignite the ether and experience life from an individual perspective and take part in the creation. So this is for you, my fellow creators, my fellow gods, and my fellow selves, that coincidence may never disguise itself with the mask of fate and torment you, that every moment be meaningful, and that no experience be lost." 

What I stand for, what The Tale of Onora stands for, and what the people that read it on every continent represent is SELF-EVIDENT and needs NO defense. What you stand for is all that is IMMORAL, HARMFUL, and WRONG. 

Valerie then said something I love: "Wait, maybe I should start TYPING random WORDS in all CAPS and maybe that'll help you understand CAIT DID NOTHING WRONG. "

There are three more pages of the thread, but here's the link to it again if you want to read it. He continues to say that 1-star reviews are left in an attempt to destroy his work, and in general be a babbling idiot.



  1. I love your style and this post is pretty awesome. 'Other people then told the guy he's an asshat' ahh yis. My only concern is calling him a nutter and other such wording which is a bit insulting to people with mental health issues and to be more specific, delusions. Otherwise, I love your style and I would definitely read more

    1. Thank you! Hm, I meant as in "conspiracy nut", someone who's really into conspiracies. As well as that, there are different types of delusions - his are of grandeur. I'll edit to clarify though :) Cheers.

  2. Yeah, he's an asshat, all right. He thinks he's a special snowflake. I normally stay out of GR for this kind of bullcrap, but as an author, _I_ was personally offended that this douche thought he had the right to order a reviewer to remove a perfectly valid review.

    Oh, he's also an actor with an IMDB page. I think the narcissism is strong in that one.

    1. Narcissism all over. It's really biting him back now.

  3. Oh, I feel so guilty for indulging in this train wreck, but it's hard to look away. Full disclosure, I'm an author and I can't for the life of me figure out what was going through this guy's head. This isn't the first meltdown I've witnessed either. I just can't wrap my head around why other authors keep doing this.

    1. Egotism? God complexes? Desperation?