Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Authors Behaving Badly

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 with 44 comments
This is a topic that’s been on my mind for quite some time. Now I’m not singling out just authors behaving badly; bloggers do some of the same things, sometimes in the name of an author. None of it accomplishes anything except for bitter feelings.

You have the classic responses to bad reviews. That’s the big one that most people think of first when it comes to this subject. It happens and it sucks. I’ve recently dealt with it first hand, but that’s not the kind of behavior Jen and I wanted to discuss today.

As a reader, I enjoy following authors. I love to see what they're working on, and even talk with them on occasion. Sometimes though, I feel like authors get too comfortable. I’m not saying I’m out to get every author who posts something I don’t agree with. Every person is different. Today, we want to talk about some of the unprofessional things we've seen that have affected our book purchases.

Authors Bashing Other Authors

April:  I hate this. I hate it so much. Talking shit about another author's book will not get me to buy yours. I see it all the time and it’s appalling. I saw an author bashing E.L. James for being successful and now I refuse to buy her books. I didn’t like the 50 Shades books. I think they are horribly written. That still doesn’t make it okay for another author to bash her. Be jealous, fine, but don’t use her shitty books to bring attention to yourself.

Jen:  I feel like that, in much the same way that we bloggers like to build each other up, authors should use various platforms to do the same for each other. I haven't seen a lot of author-on-author attacks, but they're always cringe-inducing when they do occur. It's fine to have your own opinion -- and I do think everyone has the right to voice said opinion -- but I don't think it's right to verbally attack another person in a public forum. There's a fine line here between voicing an opinion and verbal sparring, and I think it's to everyone's benefit to tread carefully.

Mixing Personal with Business

April:  I love seeing little snippets of how an author is in real life. It reminds me that they are people, and that they have lives. They aren’t just words on paper. But sometimes too much is too much. I’m going to use an example here. I follow an author of YA and she has an instragram account that posts to all her public author profiles. That’s fine and dandy but most of the pictures shared are of her drinking and partying with friends. That’s cool! She’s young, pretty and having the time of her life. But does it belong on your author Facebook page for a bunch of young teens and tweens to see? Not in my opinion. I recently requested a galley of her new book. I was hesitant, I really was. My whole perception of her is based off the pictures I see her post now. I hate that I let these things determine what books I read, but in this case maybe I should have went with my gut. The book had no plot and was full of underage drinking and partying. Should I have been surprised?

Jen:  I agree...I love to see what an author is like outside of their writing, but at the same time, there's a point of no return, as evidenced by the example you provided, April. I don't think I could ever look at that author the same, either. I've not run into this problem with the authors I follow, not really, anyway, but I do think platforms like Twitter and Instagram make it easier for authors to be more personable and also to showcase their "other" life. Sometimes this makes me like an author even more, but there are cases where a little too much of their personal life is being exposed and it could be detrimental to their careers if it carries on that way.

Whining About Book Sales

April:  I’ve seen this from many authors, self-pubs and traditionally-published. Sometimes your book is going to take off and sometimes it won’t. Maybe work harder to promote it? No one likes a whiner; it’s unbecoming. I actually came across a post once by a self-published author insulting her readers, while complaining that she has minimal sales on a book. I wish I had screen shot of it, because it was hysterical. In a nutshell, she basically said that $2.99 was a great price, that it’s the cost of a coffee, and if we can buy coffee every morning we can buy her book. She said her readers are cheap and that she wasn’t dropping it to $0.99 because she needs to eat. Lol. I have yet to purchase anything from that author now and not because I’m cheap.

Jen:  "No one likes a whiner"...so true. I don't read a lot of self-published novels, but I have seen a similar complaint about dropping prices. I've also seen where an author wasn't so much complaining but simply explaining that another installment in her series might not be forthcoming because of lackluster sales on the previous books. And then the first installment in that series promptly went on sale. I think that's a much better approach to take to the sales issue than simply complaining about it or insulting one's readers.

Being Ungrateful

April:  I don’t see this very often, thank goodness, but I’ve seen it recently from one particular author. It makes me so sad. She started out self-publishing. She constantly complained about not having a publishing deal. She was relentless, and I overlooked it because you know what? Her books are good. I felt she deserved to be published. She did end up getting a deal on her last trilogy and it was awesome. I loved it so much and I was so happy for her. Lately though, I’ve seen her being very negative in her posts. Talking trash about her publisher, not on her author page mind you, just on her personal page. How do I know this? Well, I was friends with her on it along with hundreds of other bloggers. Recently, I saw her post complaining about how they sent her another round of edits to do on one of her books. She said that she was going to send it back to them and just say she looked through it. Um… really? I can’t help but wonder if other bloggers were as shocked as I was when reading this. That's not funny and no where near professional. I was so turned off by that, and I have since removed myself from her personal page. It’s a shame because I love her writing, but I just haven’t had the urge to read any of it lately because of her behavior.

Jen:  Yikes, talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. To be given such an opportunity and then to essentially squander it because of your own pride, laziness, or what have you. Such a shame. I know several other indie authors who've received the same opportunity and really put it to work, so at least it's only a random occurrence. I lump authors who don't appreciate their fans in with this category, and I see that much more often than I'd like to admit. Granted, some fans expect too much from authors and can get greedy, but the same is true of authors. It's all give-and-take, and there's always one side that seems to take more from the relationship, unfortunately.

I also lump authors invading our review spaces into this category because I feel that as the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity. We're doing authors a favor by taking the time to review their books, whether favorably or not. Sometimes, those scathing reviews actually make me want to read a book, but when I see an author attacking another reviewer over their opinion, THEN I resolve not to pick up the book. I refuse to promote or purchase anything even remotely related to that author then.

I thought that maybe with 2013 being such a bad year for blogger/reviewer/author interactions, we'd all endeavor to try harder this year to be courteous and conflict-free, but this year's started out the same way as last. I know this wasn't the point of April's post, but sometimes this community just makes me sad instead of being the happy place it once was.



Those are just a few that have been nagging at us lately. I purposely didn’t mention names because that’s not what this post is supposed to be about. I’m not trying to call out authors and cause waves, I’m just really curious how much of this is just me or if there are others who feel the same? Are any of you turned off buying books based on an authors behavior? And not just when they invade our review spaces?


44 comments:

  1. +JMJ+

    I don't like connecting with authors on social media, so I've missed most of these cases, but I wonder whether the problem is with this PR strategy itself, which turns authors and readers into a dysfunctional community. My personal opinion is that authors should not police readers, but neither should readers police authors. I'm not saying that that is what this post is doing, but inasmuch as it discusses unprofessional practices (which I happen to agree 100% about), it also presumes to educate authors about their own business.

    Last year, I read a post by an author who said she would no longer post negative reviews, no matter how fair or well-reasoned, because she was afraid that hordes of fans of another author would sabotage her own sales in "revenge." The flipside of readers not buying books because of authors' behaviour is authors not writing reviews (or maybe even entire books--who knows?) because of readers' behaviour. This doesn't sound like a very supportive community, and I've thought for some time that it's because the existence of the community isn't natural but engineered.

    Anyway, great post! I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

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    1. We definitely aren't trying to police Authors or educate them in any way with this post. I'm just genuinely really curious how many other readers are swayed by the stuff they see like I am. And it's not to say I wont buy a book buy an author who's been involved in a dispute with a blogger, I recently did just because I really wanted to read them.

      I get what your'e saying though, its a nasty cycle. It's everywhere though, in every business. People boycotting companies because they said or did something. We are fickle creatures.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Only in the last year or so have I really started connecting with authors via social media or email when it wasn't preordained by a tour host or publisher. Honestly, I have had zero bad experiences -- *knocks on wood* -- but it still disappoints me that it happens at all. I agree that policing the community is not the way to go. Everyone deserves the right to express their opinions; it's just the way in which some go about it that causes an uproar.

      I do think that this is and can be a very supportive community. There are just a few bad apples in the bunch that make it seem otherwise. It's the attention that those negative situations get that gives a bad name to the rest of us. I've seen a few authors doing as you've said and deciding not to review any books for fear of the backlash. And I get that, but it also makes me sad because they should be allowed to be normal readers, too. Ideally, we'd all be able to voice our opinions without offending anyone, but we don't live in a perfect world. :(

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    3. +JMJ+

      April -- Oh, I'm definitely swayed by what I think is unprofessional behaviour from authors. Who wants to give an unpleasant person more money, right? On the other hand, it's true that a lot of great writers in the past weren't exactly fun to hang around, and I've been personally disappointed when I learned about the personal life of one author I loved as a child. So I do my best to separate the book from the author. Last year, I proposed a mini reading challenge to bloggers who had been involved in some drama: "Read a book by an author who was a jerk to you." But nobody else seemed to want to do it. =P

      Jen -- Most of the authors I read are dead (LOL!), so I don't really get involved in social media drama. But when it's time to read a living author, I confess that I steer away from those who look like they have enough time on their hands to interact with readers. I'm especially turned off by authors who leave "Thank you" comments on Amazon reviews, even though this isn't a bad thing in itself. I read a book for my own pleasure, not to help the author out, so I don't like the implication that an author considers me a promotional tool for getting other readers. It's like a pyramid scheme. =(

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    4. bahaha!! I just snort laughed at the opening line to your response for Jen. I would totally do that mini reading challenge, but I don't really have any authors who have been a jerk to me. Well except maybe one. I will read books by authors who have just been jerks! Now that I've been blogging for a few years I can appreciate keeping that author/reader relationship separate. It seems like you have that one down, since most of them are dead and all. lol. You crack me up. :)

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  2. I haven't really encountered any of these issues. Then again, I haven't been book blogging for that long. I do agree though. In any of those instances, I'd definitely look at the author, and unfortunately the author's work as well, in a different way. I'd be hesitant to read and support that author. I love getting to know authors, but in public space, such as the internet, you still need to be professional, especially if you're trying to promote yourself as a writer. Nice discussion!

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    1. It's tough because when I first became a blogger I didn't notice this stuff either. but now that I have piles on piles of books I want to buy, I've become more selective. So when I'm narrowing down my choices and I remember, oh this author was bashing their publisher vs another book I want to read, well the decision becomes easier.

      And I used examples because I wanted everyone to see that I'm not being nit picky over stupid things, it's the wtf stuff that sways my decision. Not what dinner they had that night. lol

      And thank you!! :)

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    2. I personally haven't encountered any of these issues either, so I try to be a neutral body and let the work speak for itself. But sometimes authors (and publicists!) make that really difficult. I do wish that people -- authors, bloggers, everyone -- would take an extra second to re-read what they wrote and guess at how it might be perceived before hitting that publish button.

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  3. Hmmmm... I guess that's the one good thing about having such little free time that I don't get to network much. I spend most of my free time reading, very little time on Twitter, etc. I think seeing an author behave such as you mentioned above would definitely turn me off to their work and I wouldn't even want to give them the time of day. I love reading books and reviewing them to help good authors get their books out there. But authors that are behaving badly... not worth my time. Great post, ladies! :)

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    1. It's probably a combination of not having as much time to network and just not involving myself in the community as much, but I've never experienced any of this first-hand either. I agree, it does make me think twice about giving my money to an author who can't behave professionally, but I do try to do a little research before I make unfair assumptions. There's always two sides to every story, though more often than not, it is what it is, unfortunately. I miss the way things used to be when I first started blogging. :(

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  4. I love this post. Luckily, with a fairly new blog, I have not had to deal with many negative interactions. But I respect authors so much when they respond to negative reviews with grace. It makes a huge difference to me! I think a lot of the issue here points to the way some people behave on the internet in general. If people would just be nice, it would make the internet community so much more positive!

    -Rachel

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    1. That is a really good point...some people just aren't very conscious of their online presence at all, and they say anything and everything, regardless of how it will be perceived. You're absolutely right, if we all lived by The Golden Rule on the interwebz, it would be a much happier place, indeed. =)

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  5. Great post girls!
    The one that bugs me the most is when authors talk shit about other authors. It's fine if you don't like authors but be smart and don't do it on twitter or facebook!
    I remember last year when a shit ton of NA authors were getting publishing deals and I was shocked at the amount of published YA authors (haper teen, penguin, simon) that were talking shit about these authors and the genre. I've seen at least two of those authors release their own NA books since then. Ummmm...awkward!
    The complaining about your publisher thing bugs me too. Again, don't do it online!
    While I don't think an author should ever criticize a blogger or reader that gives them a negative review, I hate it even more when a group of bloggers go on a lynch mob tirade against the author. Are you really any better than the author now? Do you really have to stir up more drama and starts stupid shelfs on GR? Just don't read the book and unfollow the author. I don't see the need to stir up more drama.

    Luckily, I don't have a facebook and I'm rarely on twitter so I stay away from most of the drama. I am on GR a lot and it sucks that it's full of drama now.

    I also miss the way blogging was two years ago when I first started. Now it's drama and cliques and popularity...

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    1. I have to say, I'm rather appalled at the way some authors handle and present themselves in online forums, but I'm glad those are the minority. I do remember that issue with the NA authors and I've witnessed the same as you: those same naysayers branching into that genre themselves. Talk about being hypocrites.

      I also agree that some bloggers tend to make a bad situation worse by going on a tirade in support of a fellow blogger who has been wronged. You said it exactly: how is that any better than the author who said something in the first place? I try to get both sides before I decide if I'm going to boycott a book or author. I like to be fair, if at all possible.

      I don't spend much time on Facebook or Twitter either, so I haven't been affected myself. Though I, too, see a good amount of drama go down on GR. :( I just try to keep my head down and do my own thing, and it's paid off so far.

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  6. I've been thinking about author drama lately, too. The attacking reviewers about their reviews is my biggest pet peeve. I just don't understand why they would ever think that it is ok. The author who was talking bad about her publisher is unbelievable! I would be so turned off if I saw that. There are so many authors who would kill to have a publisher--and it sounds like she should know if she used to be self-published. I know it can be easy to take for granted what we have in life, but that's extreme. Great post, ladies! Lots to think about.

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    1. Authors attacking reviewers is horrible. I hate it. I recently had an author respond to a tweet where I shared a review of her book. I didn't tag her, but she saw it and responded just by saying "Brutal" Which doesn't seem like much, but that was basically pointing a finger at me for all her fans to see. One of which personally confronted me about it. It's crazy. I'm still going to share my honest opinions and stand by my words though.

      And Exactly on the author with her publisher. I felt like all this time I was rooting for her, then she finally has her dreams come true and she trash talks it like crazy. And that's only one instance, it was all the time, but that was my last straw, I couldn't read it anymore.

      Thank you for stopping in! :)

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    2. It's one of my biggest pet peeves in this community, too. If you can't take some constructive criticism, you're probably in the wrong line of work. And when April first told me about the self-pubbed author who finally got her big break and then proceeded to complain about it, I was astonished. I mean, to have your dream finally realized and then be so negative about it...it just doesn't make a lot of sense, especially when so many others would kill to be in your position.

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  7. I haven't seen much of this but it is a bummer when it happens. I know of just a couple instances one was by a publisher and the other an author. I think both got a bit out of hand. I liked both of their books though and I will continue to read them because I enjoy them. It makes the enjoyment a bit harder though. great post.

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    1. It's a major bummer, but I'm glad it's not the norm. Things can get out of hand, especially the more people that get involved, but I try to stay impartial. I do stand by my fellow bloggers when they've been wronged, but I don't take it upon myself to personally attack the other party. I'm glad you haven't had to deal with this much.

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  8. Yes. Just yes, to every single point you mentioned. I'm not very "big" or anything in the blogosphere, but I'm very emotionally involved (oops!) in my blogging and reading. So when I see authors BASH other authors? I. freak. out! I'm so disgusted and horrified that they'd do that. Like, I only saw it on FB the other day but I don't know how old it is, but some author (hadn't heard of her before) was telling JK Rowling to stop writing... It made me so angry. And also authors self-promo-ing themselves all over the place. BEGGING for reviews. I hate that. They say, "Heeeeelp me, please, and buy my book! Oh and don't forget to leave a review." I can understand that if they're giving away their books in exchange for reviews. But they're not! Readers don't owe authors anything! (At least, in my opinion, we don't.)
    I'm in quite a few writing groups too, and I've decided not to buy a lot of writer's books because of the horrible things they've said about successful and traditionally published authors. Sure, have an opinion. But shut up about it in public. GAH. Okay...sorry. ;) XD

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    1. lol, no need to be sorry. We feel your frustrations!! :o)

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  9. You got it girls. You summed up my entire thoughts on this topic. It's upsets me a lot when authors whine and I am so turned off their books if they start promoting it in random places like Goodreads. I'm quite lucky I guess because I personally have never had trouble with authors bashing (erm sorry I can't think of a better word) me over a negative review or anything. I am pretty careful though and I hope you guys haven't either. Great post by the way!

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    1. Thank you! it's been nice to see everyone chime in and see that we are not alone in our thoughts.

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  10. It's so sad to see authors behaving badly. I've also seen it and it is one of the reasons it makes it hard for me to blog really. Blogging has almost lost it's appeal. Granted, my blog isn't popular enough to really get any negativity but when a fellow blogger or friend gets bashed for writing a honest review, it just sucks. I love your discussions on your blog! It's great to see that I'm not alone in a lot of thoughts that happen in my brain. LOL
    Good work ladies <3

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    1. lol you are always the first one to get a screen shot and text saying "WTF?" whenever I see something whack! <3

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  11. The one time I came across an author-reviewer feud was, of course, on Goodreads. The reviewer was harsh but she was honest. I'd read other reviews she'd done; her brutal honesty wasn't designated for this particular author at all. The online fight that escalated was both horrifying and amusing. I wanted to ask the author if she realized the damage she was doing to herself by attacking the reviewer who--drum roll please--had apparently received the book to review from the author. Now explain that one to me!

    I've not encountered author bashing. I don't understand that concept at all. Bashing a fellow author is like bashing the power hitter of the baseball team you play for. Your goal is to win the game. Discord doesn't give you that chance. Author bashing tears down the morale of someone who could become the next Nora Roberts or JR Ward or Stephen King. You're an author. They are an author. Encourage, encourage, encourage. If you can't do that, then sit down and shut the hell up.

    Whining. Ugh. Want some cheese with that whine? Sorry. I'm a sarcastic bitch at times. Sometimes increasing sales is as easy as enlisting the help of readers, reviewers, fellow authors, bloggers, etc., to promote your book. I'm not sure what a traditional publishing house does by way of helping promote their authors' works, but self-publishers often rely on their connections and word of mouth. As a self-pubbed author, I can say that most people have bought my books because I talk about them. But this works for me and, to be honest, I haven't had a reason to complain about my book sales so far. There's a whole bunch of options to help promote your book(s), and most can be found online.

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    1. I remember something like that happening, I don't remember exactly who it was though.. but it was very funny but not funny at the same time. I was pretty horrified as well, and just glad I wasn't a part of it.

      lol, @ cheese with that whine.

      Thanks for stopping by! :)

      Delete
  12. Hi!

    This is the first post I've read of yours as I've just discovered your blog and I loved it! I've seen this happen - not a lot - but very recently I saw an author complaining about fellow authors and just thought that there should be more camaraderie between them. I feel like the way an author perceives themselves on social-media, for example, really does reflect my feelings on their books. I'm so happy to promote the authors that like reviews, and read them for a start. I can say I've only seen two cases where I have been shocked at an author's behaviour. Apart from that, I feel like I've had such a better experience than I thought possible when talking to them on Twitter, as some of the authors that I have spoken to are amazing; and listen to bloggers.

    -Sophie Louise
    http://a-day-dreamers-world.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Hi!! and thank you! :)

      I'm glad you haven't witnessed as much. For the most part, the authors I follow and love act professional, but occasionally I just have to shake my head at things I see. Maybe I'm just extra observant, but some of the stuff like we mention above is constant posts. lol.

      thank you so much for stopping in! :)

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  13. Oh man, aside from the usual bad behavior in regards to being a jerk about reviews (STOP READING THEM, JUST STOP IF YOU CAN'T HANDLE IT), you ladies touch on some really great points about other things I find distasteful, too. I really don't like seeing authors who pick on each other, and it's kind of ironic because some of those same authors complain when reviewers talk about books/authors.

    I also have mixed feelings about the gratitude thing. I understand feeling frustrated or disappointed, but I agree that sometimes it really crosses the line as to what's appropriate to share in public. I mean, everyone uses social media differently and a lot of people sure just seem to use it as their personal diaries, but coming from a PR background I've seen a lot of behaviors that really don't serve any purpose. And when you're a public figure, complaining, being down in the dumps all the time, and flat out not being entertaining at least some portion of the time (fair or not) has an effect on how people perceive you.

    Thanks for the discussion, ladies.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  14. I don't like the oversharing thing either. IMO I think that if you have a Twitter account where it says author and it lists your books, than whatever you say on there is part of your business... whether you like it or not. Therefor I feel like it's really dumb for authors to post about stuff like politics, religion, or hot button issues like abortion or whatever. It's just going to end up turning a group of people off to your books who might have bought and really liked them. Also I can't stand when author bitch about the library. I buy a TON of books... but I also get a bunch from the library. I'm not rich, libraries are there to promote reading and provide a service. Some authors act like it's taking money out of their pockets and that is SUCH a turn-off for me. Don't make me feel guilty for loving my library and not going bankrupt and swallowed by books!!!

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  15. I loved the post! I try my hardest to stay away from all of the drama, but being involved in the blogging community in any role, be it reader or blogger, sometimes you happen across things anyway. If I do run across some badly behaving author or reviewer or blogger or.... what have you, I usually decide what to do on a case by case basis. To read or not to read...... I know it is silly, and it has been said a bajillion times before, but "why can't we all just get along". We all love the same thing. BOOKS! Opinions and tastes vary, but so what. It is the love of books that matters, and it should bring us together. I sound like a Beatles song right now, so my mini-rant is over! I did love and agree with the post!

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  27. I just received a message from an author named Christian Cianci. He sent me a book to review, and I really, really wanted to read it and review it. I was unable to do so in a timely fashion because of my depression.

    So he sent me this,

    "I figured you would do that already...

    Let's be real. You're a cunt bitch with no life and serious man issues. Trust issues and hardcore relationship problems.

    You are unsteady and probably on heavy medication. Thanks for nothing you dumb bitch. "

    ReplyDelete

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