Professional is as Professional Does

There seems to be something the water in the YA camp this last few weeks, with several very public meltdowns that have done nothing for the reputations of those concerned.

At the start of the week it was Leigh Fallon, author of Carrier of the Mark, who was in the firing line, after an email attacking a reviewer was circulated though the Goodreads community. In it Fallon called for her readers to manipulate the voting systems in order to ‘bury this horrible toe rag ‘

Sadly, as it likely to happen when you send an email to your entire address book, it will eventually end up public, which was what happened here.

Now, having read the review in question I couldn’t see any point where the reviewer was nasty or snarky. She gave an honest review. She didn’t like the book and took care to point out why.

But the call to vote down the review seems to have had the opposite effect, with readers swarming en masse to vote up the review, so it appears at the top of each listing. Readers, it seems, don’t like to be told what to do, and they don’t like manipulation.

Sadly, it’s not just writers who have been displaying dubious behaviour this week.

Most recently agent Elana Roth, from Caren Johnson Agency and her client, Kiera Cass, author of The Selection,  have been involved in some less than professional behaviour following a so-so review from Wendy Darling.

Again, the reviewer took care to explain what she liked and what she didn’t, and  gave very detailed reasons. In all, it was actually a great and very detailed review.

However, within 24 hours of the review going live, Elana Roth took to her Twitter feed to attack the reviewer, calling her a ‘bitch’ and again calling for her followers to manipulate the voting systems.

You can read the original review and the Twitter screenshots yourself here:

Now, in this situation most professionals would apologise, but no, Roth took a further jab, this time at readers:

Her comment about ‘unpublished writers’ is both incredibly patronising to readers and incredibly inaccurate. There are many published writers and many non-writers who are equally disappointed. But it’s the suggestion that anyone who finds her behaviour unacceptable is somehow motivated by jealousy that is truly pathetic.

What shocks me in these sort of instances is the apparent ignorance of the way they reflect on the individual, and those associated with them. In this instance not only does it show Roth to be very unprofessional, but it also reflects badly on the agency she works for.

And that’s something anyone who uses social media needs to realise – you are on show for the whole world to see and potential clients and employers are looking at that and judging you. THINK before you post, and ALWAYS keep your rants to yourself.

Sadly, for me at least, that’s a couple more books I won’t be picking up, regardless of how good they might be.

Remember, before you respond to anything, close your eyes and count to ten. And if you can’t trust yourself to manage a professional Twitter, Facebook or Goodreads account, then you probably shouldn’t have one.

Until tomorrow.




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5 responses to “Professional is as Professional Does

  1. I just found Wendy’s review and all the drama on Goodreads. I understand voting good reviews up. The author probably does actually like them, and if I wrote a review that the author then liked, I would probably be happy. But admitting you’re liking reviews only to hide criticism is foolish. The worst move, however, was Roth’s failure to apologize properly and to continue taking jabs at reviewers. At what point does she realize she’s only decreasing sales?

  2. The sad thing is that after she posted all of these angry missives, Roth was talking about how she wasn’t invited to a publishing cocktail party. Did she ever stop to think that she wasn’t invited because of unprofessional behavior like this?

    I agree- if she was just voting the reviews up because they were positive and she was happy to get them, that wouldn’t be seen as bad. But voting them up because you want to hide the bad reviews and manipulate the system? Not good. I’m especially horrified that Roth was going to try to ask her other clients to vote for the reviews. That’s incredibly awkward and unprofessional because the other clients might not necessary agree with the positive reviews or even what Roth would be asking them to do, but would vote them up anyway because they were afraid that if they didn’t, Roth would treat them badly or sabotage their careers as a result. They’d be voting the reviews up out of fear, not because they necessarily agreed with anything that was said.

    Great blog entry!!!

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