The Case of Authors Behaving Badly

Posted May 28, 2018 by Zeee in Discussions16 Comments

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The Case of Authors Behaving Badly

Let’s talk about anything bookish!


Hello, Wormies! A lot has happened in the reading community and as much as I wanted to weigh in on all the brouhaha, I have mostly remained silent on social media. Yesterday, I caved and wrote a longish statement on my personal Facebook wall. But that’s not what my post is all about. Today, I want to talk about authors behaving badly.

There have probably been quite a few incidents in the past that have caused uproars in the bookish community as a whole. Clearly, it has become increasingly prevalent because of social media and how news travels well, quickly. I will not name names, and will not link articles but just do a general discussion of these behaviors. You are more than welcome to google those incidents and read about it, but I will not name those authors.


Bad Behavior #1: Plagiarism

There have been multiple authors accused of plagiarism throughout the years. This is not good behavior authors! We know that ideas and plots can be similar but blatant plagiarism is a no-no.

The thing about this issue is, the ones that got caught are actually reputable authors with multiple bestseller titles! Whatever their reasons may be, plagiarism is just wrong.

As a reader, I expect my authors to give me original content.


Bad Behavior #2: Author Stalker

A few years ago, an author bragged in an article how she “catfished” someone. This caused quite an uproar because the author was quite fixated on a book blogger that gave a negative review to her book. Her fixation went as far as getting the bloggers home address (lying to get it), actually driving to the blogger’s house, and even stood on the blogger’s front door! THAT is stalker behavior and I should think against the law, right?

There was also an author who assaulted a reader/reviewer at a grocery store because of a fake review! Crazy, right?

Authors, please. Book reviews are not for you and should not be viewed as an attack on your person. Although, there are book reviewers who personally attack authors (this is another beast, altogether).


Bad Behavior #3: Authors Bashing Reviewers

When book blogging blew up a number of years ago, a lot of non-professional reviewers started reviewing books. On Amazon (and other sites), anybody and your uncle can review a book. Lo and behold, a very popular bestselling author was not having any of it! Apparently, a number of bad reviews popped up on her books and this author threw a fit. I read some of this author’s rants on the Amazon boards years ago and it was not nice. She went as far as insulting non-professional readers claiming that their reviews should be deleted from Amazon. Let’s just say that I am never reading that author again.

This is also not the first time an author has bashed reviewers or sicced their fans to reviewers who wrote negative reviews on their books. Believe me, there are a bunch of these authors, some traditionally published, and some indie published that did this over the years. SMH

While I haven’t gotten attacked by the authors and their fans for writing a negative review of their book/s, I know this is a reality.

I’m also not including reviewers who intentionally write one-star or negative reviewers and/or attack the authors on a personal level.

See above behavior #2 for.


Bad Behavior #4: Trademark Trolling

This behavior is perhaps the one that has been blowing up in the book community right at this moment.

This behavior happens when an author trademarks common and descriptive words. In this case, this authors’ trademark was approved by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This author then sent cease and desist letters to other authors using the Trademarked word. Unfortunately, some authors were threatened and as a result, changed their titles. This would have gone under the radar if someone didn’t share it on the internet and it blew up.

The author has since done questionable things to try to excuse her actions, blaming everyone but herself. It looks like this author is not willing to back down. This is a developing story that I am following.


Bad Behavior #5: Gaming the System

Remember that time when the New York Times sent a correction for the NYT Best Seller list? Remember that author who gamed the system to show up on the #1 spot of said list? I do and man, this was one big scandal in the bookish community.

Apparently, this was the author’s debut book and it was also published by an unknown publisher. What’s more, no hype/reviews/promotions were done for this book and it triggered a flag. A question was asked on social media and bam! The full story came out.

There have also been cases where authors game Amazon’s algorithms and book stuffing. I’m not going to talk more about this only to say that it IS gaming the system.


These bad behaviors will automatically make me add these authors in my DO NOT TOUCH WITH A TEN-FOOT POLE list. Really. No. Just. No.


What other author behaviors have made you go WTF?! Have you experienced being bullied by authors and/or their fans?

Share your experiences below. Please share your thoughts and let’s discuss. But be respectful. Please.

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16 responses to “The Case of Authors Behaving Badly

    • Thanks! Yeah, there have been a lot of these throughout the years. Plus, there’s another scandal that blew up in the last couple of weeks! Ugh!

  1. I hadn’t heard about that trademark scandal and its pretty horrible! The Patent Office ought to be sued by those authors who received cease and desist orders!! It’s not right to patent common words… that would be like patenting a recipe!! A huge no, no. I’ll have to try to do a search to learn more about this! ❤️

    The rest of these are totally ones I agree with! Let the bad reviews go!
    Dani @ Perspective of a Writer recently posted…Guest Post // The ULTIMATE list of Graphic Novels from a Teen LibrarianMy Profile

    • You can search for it on twitter. It’s been blowing up for the last few weeks now. A lot of authors and readers and RWA has actually weighed in on this issue. It’s just crazy and fascinating at the same time. There are a lot of blogs that discuss the timeline of events, too.

      I feel like reviews are NOT for authors, but for readers. Sometimes I can’t believe how crazy some authors get, you know?

  2. Its a wonder anyone blogs at all! It can get expensive (host fees, sites, themes, etc) and no one is ever happy with what we do! Either we don’t review enough, we don’t review enough of one author type, or of one genre. Then when we do review, they don’t like HOW we do it or what we say.
    And all the terrible things authors do is maddening. This who TM thing is just insane. I had hoped the author at the center of this would recognize how furious everyone is and back down, but instead she doubled down! And the whole KU manipulation makes me crazy. I did a blog post about that a while back because its a real problem.
    And if anyone illegally obtained my address and showed up at my house bitching about a review I would put that person on blast all over the internet as ‘bat shit crazy’ and I would totally call the cops. Its a book review!! Its not life altering.
    Full disclosure: I have been enjoying all the craziness of late. Its better than TV. Its my guilty pleasure. Honestly though, I hope she gets a major smackdown.
    Samantha recently posted…Shadow Keeper by Christine FeehanMy Profile

    • I KNOW, Sam! I think that’s why the Privacy Policy is a good idea, right? Also, I think that catfish author pretended to ask a blogger for the address because the reviewer “won a contest.” It was crazy when this happened!

      I KNOW! I actually don’t make money on my blog at all. Even if I have Azn affiliate links, nobody really uses it so I don’t get any $$ out of it. The great thing is that I host my own blog, so I don’t have to pay anyone for additional blog maintenance but I have purchased themes and plugins for this blog.

      I just heard about KU and it’s crazy! Also, I never liked any good books on KU so I’ve only done the free trial for it.

  3. Tammy V

    I stopped following/reading one author that on her FB page started pushing her religious beliefs on her followers. If they didn’t like her views, the followers were not personally attacked but rather the views were attacked. I stopped following her and reading anything by her.

    • This one sucks, too! I personally don’t care what the author’s views are (religious or political) but I wish that they won’t post that on their official author page. I want to know book updates and not read about religious or political posts. However, they can do this on their personal Facebook or Twitter feed. It’s always a good idea to separate personal and professional social media accounts.

  4. I totally DON’T understand why authors do such things! I don’t get how they don’t realize how their actions hurt their reputations, and even future book sales. :/ The catfish author (let’s call her that) was a huuuge thing when I was more active in the community, and it made me scared and want to back off. 🙁 Right now, the author I’m iffy at most is this ~one~ POC author who basically claimed that Asians were NOT POC. Said author always uses her color as an excuse for everything, and it just pisses me off so much.
    Aimee (Aimee, Always) recently posted…LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff: A Hot, Overly-Dramatic Mess of Limbs and Robot PartsMy Profile

    • I actually saw this when it all blew up, Aimee! I just can’t believe this author. She has said a bunch of questionable things in the past, too. It’s really disgusting.

  5. That stalking thing is crazy. One bad review isn’t going to ruin an author’s career, but stalking allegations might. I don’t like when authors behave badly on social media. Name-calling and arguing with strangers isn’t professional.
    Aj @ Read All The Things! recently posted…The Sunday Post #148My Profile

    • This is so true! This is why I don’t like to “friend” authors on FB and prefer to like their FB page. I feel like if you are an author, you should act professionally on your professional social media accounts. I seriously have decided not to read authors because of this.

  6. I’m not going to name anyone but I experienced an author demanding, like demanding a review when I already explained to him that life gets me — imagine having a dengue and on top of that you are going to take the professional licensure examination and he couldn’t understand your situation. It feels like I’m obliged to review his book right away.

    • Yeah, I’ve seen this a lot, too! Also, I vaguely saw this on Twitter. It’s very frustrating when authors do this. This is why I normally don’t accept ARCs and reviews when authors offer me a free copy in exchange for a review. I’m a little lucky in that an author hasn’t demanded this of me.