Thursday, July 02, 2009

Twitter Revenge

Your book got a lousy review? Twitter seems to be the tool of choice for hitting back at the reviewer.

Alice Hoffman called Boston Globe critic Roberta Silman a moron for this review (which actually contains plenty that isn't negative!) and demanded to know :
How do some people get to review books? Now any idiot can be a critic.
She then tweeted (is there such a verb, or should that be twote?) Silman's phone number and email address to the world asking her followers to :
... tell her what u think of snarky critics ...
This bordered on harrassment writes Kate Ward at Entertainment Weekly who adds a rather amusing aside :
Thanks to a tipster, we stumbled upon an interview with author Richard Ford, in which he admits to putting a gunshot hole through a book written by a writer who panned one of his books. The reviewer? Alice Hoffman.
UCL's professor of English, John Mullan in The Guardian reckons we can expect more authors sounding off on Twitter because it is a safety valve, but reckons that the best response to a less than good review is a dignified silence. This blogger agrees.

Postscript :

Philip Hensher writes in The Telegraph :
The danger of the internet ... is not so much that anyone can express their opinion – if that is true, everyone is also free to ignore that opinion – but the way it sets a casual statement in stone, and propagates it freely. An author's response to a bad review may be immediate, but the heartfelt expression of your emotional pain is there for as long as anyone chooses to preserve it. ... A comment in conversation, a bad-tempered grunt over breakfast, disappears into thin air; five foul-tempered sentences responding to a blog stay there indefinitely. In former times, what preserved your writing was what came out in hard covers.

16 comments:

animah said...

This puts Alice Hoffman in a bad light, not the reviewer. And to publish his phone number?! That is definitely a breach of privacy and harassment. He could launch a lawsuit against her.
I haven't read her, and this certainly puts me off her, more than any bad review would.

Lyrical Lemongrass said...

One would think that such rants could only originate from juveniles. I agree with you. Silence commands a lot more respect.

Anonymous said...

Now any idiot can be a critic, just like any idiot can be a writer :)

katztales said...

How come Alice Hoffman can't take ordinary criticism? It's just part of the job. If you can't take the heat, don't write!

Anonymous said...

Her amateur outburst will trigger publicity in other media which would be read by many, many more people, rather than The Boston Globe readers only. Can she be any more stupid that that?

Silman should also thank Hoffman for making her famous:)

eyeris said...

funnily enough, this reminds me of a certain rebuttal from a certain author regarding a certain review i wrote some time back. haha.

Elizabeth Tai said...

To eyeris: Yeah I thought about the same thing, lol. And then there's the whole Silverfish thing (cough cough).

Lesson: Don't tweet in anger. ;)

Anonymous said...

Let's not leave out Anne Rice and Patricia Cornwell.

Elizabeth Tai said...

Patricia cornwell too? Wow, how fascinating ... (goes to Google her)

Malaysia Universities Colleges said...

Yes, we agree. Lets not leave out Anne Rice and Patricia Cornwell, gifted writers of the century.

Anonymous said...

It's so common, it's almost a stereotype -- the angsty female writer of pulpy fiction who tolerates no criticism. It comes from being a woman in what is essentially a rough-and-tumble, male-dominated genre. Shame, really.

bibliobibuli said...

*ahen* anon, in our experience the male of the species is a liable to outtwitterbursts as the female. the guardian article i linked to has a nice example of alan de botton tweeting back to his critic.

besides, we all know blokes who have gone off the deep end over a bad revieaw.

Amir Muhammad said...

I invited the writer of the least positive review of NME1 to write for NME2.

BorneoExpatWriter said...

We all want sparkling reviews, but a balanced review is pretty good too. Even a spotty one is better than no review! If a reviewer personally attacks a writer, you wonder what's going on - jealousy, or payback? Same when the reviewee overreacts to a perceived wrong (that no one else seems to see).

Still it's rather childish for both, isn't it, and once it's out there on the Internet, it's out there for the world. Let us all be wise over what we write and think twice before we react. Yes, now and then we all act like two-year olds (I know I do!), and since I have a two year old at home, I'm reminded of that fact every time I see him.

Two year olds, also make you smile, when they're in a smiling mood! Perhaps we should smile more often, and make others smile, too. Tantrums, especially in public, have the opposite effect, and they always backfire! Ask my two year old...

Siege Malvar said...

I believe Sinatra had it right when he said "the best revenge is massive success". Twilight is badly reviewed, but its author is rolling in big bucks right now. (Not that I'm on her side, but just goes to show that the best way to cry over a bad review is on your way to the bank.)

bibliobibuli said...

"the best way to cry over a bad review is on your way to the bank"

really love that, Siege!