Yesterday the writing world saw just what NOT to do when receiving constructive criticism through a review. I won't mention any names since the said person has already been put through the ringer. (I'm sure most of us know who I speak of.) When I first heard and read about the "train wreck", as many people are calling it, I was dismayed. It was extremely unprofessional and downright arrogant. We all know this. I was sucked into the drama of all of the responses on Al's "Books and Pal's" Blog. I was furious that another indie author did this. All of us indie authors already have so much stigma we have to overcome and when someone pulls a stunt like this it makes that huge mountain even steeper.
What got me the most about it all was how many people dog piled the blog and Amazon where the book is published. One star reviews came in quick. Not one of the reviews had a "verified purchase" attached to it. They all claim to have read the sample and based their review on that. I guess it's easy to say that but there's no way of proving it. I downloaded the sample. I have all faith in Al's review but I'm the type of person who looks when people tell me not to. I have to admit that the writing was very poor quality and I found myself struggling to even make it through the second chapter. There were mistakes that a basic editor would have caught right off. However, it still does not give people the right to go onto the book page and SLAM her with one star review after one star review. Yeah, she made a complete fool of herself on the internet -- the worst place to throw a fit.... but kicking her when she's already down is about as unprofessional as her replies to her review were.
As a student of psychology I can't help but sit back and look at this all from a broad perspective. I know many people out there have had temper tantrums and rants. The most recent and well known would be Charlie Sheen. We all get angry. It's human nature and we deal with it in our own ways. For me, I go running or listen to my music. Some sleep. Some eat. In general, we all have pretty "normal" responses to things that anger us. Her reaction didn't seem "normal" to me at all, even when normal is relative. She appears to show some mental instability. We all get our hot headed moments but usually back away and realize that we were in the heat of the moment and it wasn't wise. However, her comments were over the course of a few days when she did have ample time to cool off.
Maybe I am overanalyzing this. I am in no way condoning what this author did. She could have handled it in a much better way and it wouldn't have killed the future of her book(s). But then I still have to wonder if there is some mental barrier getting in the way of her judgment. I guess I'll never truly know. As already stated, I really hope readers don't group us all into the chaos that one indie author has caused. Not all of us will respond to reviews that way and the majority of us do edit our work before publishing. It stinks that one bad seed can really mess things up for the rest of us.
As for the people who are piling up the false one star reviews... to me that is stooping right down to her level of unprofessionalism. I really hope people sit back and realize how hurtful it is and eventually take their reviews down. The main point of all of this is to be more empathetic to other people. Put yourself in their shoes. All of us are battling something in life and we never know what that one thing is that will trigger our anger to extreme levels.