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.
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.
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