I wasn’t going to make this public…

…but then the author did it for me. This is exactly why you should NOT EVER snap back at a reviewer. There just is no way to do it without looking like you’re throwing a fit.

My review (which I absolutely stand behind):

“…She needed a man. Hell, maybe if she bothered to drop down below 220 lbs she might find one. That, and she’d have to not talk. Basically she’d have to become an anorexic mute and then she could possibly attract the attention of a blind man with no sense of smell.”

Want another excerpt?

“Oh, and this book is self published, so there will be typos. Oh yes, there will be typos. Think of them as easter eggs. Happy hunting!”

Under is the tale of two bad tempered middle aged office workers who are one small town’s only defense against cannibal creatures who are getting ready for a feast. Quinn tells the truth, there are plenty of typos to “hunt” for, mixed in with formatting errors, like words printed on top of each other. (Note: This refers to the original edition. In the revised edition these are supposedly fixed.) There’s plenty of violence and profanity, along with sexist and racist comments and female characters who are lined up like pigs for a slaughter.

Jacob, the lead character, is very hard to relate to, and framing him not with some kind of amateur knowledge that saves the day, but instead with a load of cops and state troopers who are bumbling idiots and jerks leads to this book feeling like a poorly spun Rambo fantasy. The lack of editing, the -ist jokes and complete stereotyping of every character who isn’t the hero leads to Under reading like a first draft, or first novel attempt that’s not quite there.

Horror is no longer and excuse for sexism, racism and homophobia and self publishing isn’t an excuse for typos and a complete lack of consideration for the money readers might spend on a book. Take your chances on this one, if you wish, but be forewarned it doesn’t have much to offer.

And the public response from the author from GoodReads, available here (behind the cut):

Seriously….you’re just going after me on Twitter and Good Reads now after savaging me on DarkScribe?

what is your problem with me?

the typos are LONG gone and the book has all been re-edited. That verison hasn’t been available for almost a year. I sent you that copy a year ago…you JUST got to it.

enough with the typo thing.

and can you not see that your hyper interest in woman studies and equality are tainting your ability to review a book with an even hand?

Jeesh…if you hate my characters because some are sexist or bigots…what kind of books DO you like?

and for every character you mention that is a “weak woman” or ” idiot cop” there are others to balance them out…yet you don’t even mention them.

You are the first person who has absolutely hated my book. That’s fine. If i wrote a horror novel that EVERYONE liked…i’m doing something wrong.

it’s just that your hate is coming from the wrong places.

anyway…you’ve blasted me enough. Shut up and movo on.

I can’t help but wonder if you’re pissed because the character “Janice” in my book…the one you posted an excerpt about:

“…She needed a man. Hell, maybe if she bothered to drop down below 220 lbs she might find one. That, and she’d have to not talk. Basically she’d have to become an anorexic mute and then she could possibly attract the attention of a blind man with no sense of smell.”

…Hits a little too close to home. Don’t take that out on me.

Others on good reads like my book, even with the old typos (see Monster Librarian member on here- they put Under on thier best of 2009 list…up with many published authors.)

Your opinion is fine….but don’t pretend your hate comes purely from my book….your self loathing is creeping in far more than any typos.

but hey…that’s just my opinion.

how about we both just forget about each other, okay?

 

12 Comments

  1. Kaolin Fire says:

    Horror writers seem to be the worst at taking a review in stride. There are plenty of good ones out there, plenty of good people that are horror writers, but it always seems that it’s their bad seeds that are the most vocal.

    I doubt the book raised anything near “hate” in you. But of course they don’t think it’s about the book–they think it’s about them. And so they try to make it about you (seriously WTF).

  2. I’m a little flabbergasted at this response from the author. They make themselves look so bad that I’m going to remember the author’s name for all of the wrong reasons.

    • Michele Lee says:

      Same here. I’ve given bad reviews before, but no one has ever attacked me like this. In fact most have come back for a review of their new project and have tried to up their game based on some of my comments. Total pros, those folks, whether they succeed or not.

  3. Michele Lee says:

    Horror writers also, in my experience, are more likely to use sexism, racism, violence, abuse and gore as substitutes for a good story. I don’t think anyone should tolerate that.

    Of course I didn’t hate the book. I just didn’t see how serious the author took himself and his work to release it in such shape. And how serious he took his craft when he used some of the storytelling devices he did.

  4. L. A. Grabenstetter says:

    I enjoy a candid reviewer, particularly one who’s willing to take an author to task for sexism, racism, and general vapidness.
    Thank you for that. Your review let me know exactly as much as I needed to about the book in question, and his response let me know that any improvement is far too much to hope for.

  5. I’ve gotten smacked around for a review before. I’m honest and some people can’t handle the truth (to borrow a phrase). They are used to seeing reviews from friends and family who coddle.
    An unfortunate fact is that these are the very same people for whom the self-pub business caters. Sure, there are a few rare shining stars in the murky realm of self-publishing. The book in question is probably not one of those. Let the author sell their nineteen copies and fade back into the zombie army of easy-bake authors.

  6. JF says:

    After reading (and thoroughly enjoying) “Under”, the negative review got me curious: Who would pan it, then get so defensive when the author disagrees with her negative review? It didn’t take long to discover that the backlash was emanating a card carrying member of the LGBT who simply couldn’t stomach Jacob’s (FICTIONAL) viewpoints. And the argument that those views are shared by the author ring hollow. No doubt the reviewer allowed her personal beliefs to cloud her judgment on a work of fiction that doesn’t meld with her orientation & lifestyle. Anyway, Quinn’s responses to the negative critique notwithstanding, the thinly veiled threats to “blacklist” him for disagreeing with those who disagree with him smack of hypocrisy.

    • Michele Lee says:

      Hi JF,

      I’m not sure how my mentioning of the lack of reviewers for self published books, and their dislike of reviewing books of authors who might personally insult them, is a threat to “black list”. Personally I refuse to read and review books by people who have pulled this kind of behavior, but I expect no one to stick to my “rules”.

      My concern isn’t and never has been about the personal insults flung at me, but rather for all my friends and the very fine writers I know in the horror and self publishing fields. These people spend a lot of time making sure their work is quality, period. I have never read a book in the same typo-shape as Under was. Unfortunately I cannot ignore any aspect of a book that either delights or irritates me because it is my job to mention these things. For example refer to my review of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Lost Prince, which I adored, but also called to task for grievous errors.

      When you act as author and publisher you take on responsibility for the story and the presentation. One thing would have changed my assessment of the errors in Under–if the author had noted that this was an “ARC” or copy not yet in final form. However as of the last editing of my review, Saturday February 20th, 2010 the original version was still available for sale through Amazon and therefore I had a responsibility to assess the book as a final product.

      I’m glad you enjoyed Under. I see that a lot of people did. But I did not.

  7. Bradd Quinn says:

    You must find it at least ironic that both your book, Rot, and my book were both selected as top picks of 2009 adult horror by MonsterLibrarian.com
    Funny, eh?
    Regardless of how unfairly I feel I have been represented, and how friends will always come to another friends side to help bash….I do feel I was personally attacked first…backhanded comments about, in reality, ME being a sexist and a bigot, etc. You say it was my book…but it is apparent you feel the author (me) is just using horror to condone such things, or at least use them as easy plot devices. Unfair and cruel. Your beef continues to be not about the story, but about certain words and content that clash with your agenda.
    Look, I know that there is no way an author like myself can possibly look good in this situation. We are expected to never fire back at a review, just sit and take it, or else we are unprofessional. Unfair, but them’s the breaks. I regret that a few of your friends will link my name up with this exchange and never have any respect for me or buy my book or future books- published or self published. I regret that. But I stand by my rebuttal.
    Good luck with Rot. I have it on my list of future reads and have heard great things about it.

    • Michele Lee says:

      This is getting tiring. It is NOT about you, it is about a book. Books are not a literal reflection of their author. You are not Jacob any more that I am any of my lead characters. So this is not about you, it is about a product you manufactured. A job you did.

      You cannot argue with a reviewer and look good because a reviewer is first and foremost a reader. You cannot tell a reader their opinion of your work is wrong without looking bad.

      I have not “blacklisted” you or anything similar. Your behavior, personally insulting me and arguing with me over my opinion has been the black mark. Publishing professionals have no desire to deal with the kind of behavior you’ve displayed.

      Everyone gets bad reviews, but in three years of reviewing you are the first person I’ve given a bad review to to have flung accusation, insults and venom at me. There’s no reason for it. People manage to deal with bad reviews all the time and either dismiss them or use them as fuel to write better.

      I sincerely hope that you write another book that absolutely blows readers away. I hope that you can reevaluate and grow as a writer and and author from this.

  8. Bradd Quinn says:

    “I sincerely hope that you write another book that absolutely blows readers away. I hope that you can reevaluate and grow as a writer and and author from this.”

    Would you consider review my next book or short story? To see if I’ve grown as a writer?

    And I agree, this is tiring and should come to an end now. I would like to bury the hatchet and start fresh with you. Is that possible?

    I’m am sorry for anything I stated that personally made you upset (I felt the same way about parts of your review).

    I don’t want to be “that asshole” and I don’t want to be that “one guy who fired back at me after a bad review”.

    Perhaps we can start fresh sometime. If not, then perhaps just part company and forget this whole ordeal (which includes neither party continuing with posts on any site about this, or bringing it up again.)

    Deal? On any account?

  9. Michele Lee says:

    Absolutely I would consider reading and reviewing your next work. I look forward, truly, to you blowing my mind 🙂