OPINION: Kathleen Hale stalks a very bad reviewer

Trolls! Trolls! Trolls!
Trolls! Trolls! Trolls!

Perhaps I’m being too easy on Kathleen Hale in the lede. If you haven’t already, then read Ms. Hale’s piece “Am I Being Catfished: An author confronts her number one online critic.” I’ll go read some Apex Magazine slush until you finish.

Back? Yes?

So, wow, that’s some crazy stuff amiright? Kathleen Hale did more than ‘confront’ her online critic. This is a scary, flat-out terrifying instance of stalking, harassment, and physical & mental confrontation by an author toward someone critical of her work. Good grief.

I did a quick tour of Hale’s personal website and blog. She has a cute introductory video about her and the new novel. Her blog is fairly clever and harmless. She seems like a nice enough person. She seems like someone you can give the benefit of a doubt to.

And some might say that Blythe (the book reviewer Hale stalked) earned the trouble that befell her. She is a misbehaving book reviewer (at least it seems that way in her treatment of Hale’s novel).  The review supposedly references activities that do not occur in Hale’s novel, and it appears that the negative review was written because Hale handled certain subjects in a way that did not please the reviewer.

And everybody gets that writing is a deeply personal, intimate experience for many authors.


…stalking and harassment of anybody isn’t cool. EVER NEVER EVER.

Being a poor/unfair reviewer should earn you disdain from your peers and from authors. Your critical voice should be ignored and overlooked. If you’re bad enough, people will come to realize your reviews are the equivalent of trolling.

It is frustrating receiving reviews that appear to misunderstand completely aspects of your work. Even in positive reviews of my work, I’ve shaken my head and thought “Where the hell did that happen in my book? It didn’t happen, it ISN’T in the book.” I complained to a friend or two, mumbled to myself for a minute or so, then moved on with life.

There are BIGGER, MORE IMPORTANT things to battle personally and professionally than a bad review. A single one-star review on Goodreads. What is that in the overall scheme of life? That’s nothing. So what some asshole hates on you? Annoying? Yes. Worth your time? No.

And certainly not worth making yourself into a creepazoid stalker over it. I watch Hale’s nice intro video and all I can see is “CRAZY STALKER LADY!”

Think about it, Kathleen Hale. Your time is better spent having a third painting of your mom’s dog commissioned. Or knitting sweaters for the homeless. Or buckling down, writing your next novel, promoting the hell out of your current novel, and proving the critical people wrong with quality work and high sales.

Channel that frustration into motivation!

Because anything is better than being a stalker.

*10/30/14 Edited to Add*

This was pointed out to me in the comments by evfleisher: http://alex-hurst.com/2014/10/21/kathleen-hale-vs-blythe-harris/

The link is to an analysis of the Hale/Harris timeline.


4 responses to “OPINION: Kathleen Hale stalks a very bad reviewer”

  1. Nicole Avatar

    Reviewers should be honest and fair. They shouldn’t say things that could deeply hurt an author. But stalking a reviewer? Really? People are so anxious to be loved and accepted! Hale just couldn’t take the bad I guess.

    1. Jason Sizemore Avatar

      Blythe was being a mega-troll toward Hale. I understand why Hale got so pissed and wanted to do something, but obviously, she crossed the line.

  2. evfleischer Avatar

    Do you have any source outside of Hale’s account for Blythe being a mega-troll? The only thing confirmed is that she gave a book a 1-star review and was undiplomatic about why. Hale’s allegations about a campaign against her are unsubstantiated. The timeline (http://alex-hurst.com/2014/10/21/kathleen-hale-vs-blythe-harris/) shows that at the one time that she communicated with Hale, she had set the book aside.

    So far, not one disparaging tweet, bit of evidence of a concentrated trolling campaign etc has come to light. The only source we have for any of this is Hale’s own, and again she has not supplied a shred of proof.

    1. Jason Sizemore Avatar

      The review is “Fuck this” and Harris goes on to pour out some misguided hate in the review thread. My initial instinct was to view it as yet another troll who hates just to be hating. Maybe not, but ‘Fuck this’ is not a constructive or interesting review from someone who claims to be a book blogger.

      However, I don’t consider that a trolling campaign, and I never said it was. And the fact that she left such an offensive review doesn’t influence how I feel regarding Hale’s actions.

      Thank you for the link to the Alex Hurst post! It definitely does a good job showing just how WRONG Hale behaved. I’m going to edit my post to include it and give you credit. 🙂

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