Over at the website Dear Author, there’s a lot of tut-tutting about author Deborah McGillivray (whom I don’t know, and don’t believe I’ve ever met) and how she handled certain nasty reader reviews on Amazon.com.Â This topic has also been mentioned over at Galleycat, where the story is summed up as follows:
Highland Press co-publisher and Kensington author Deborah MacGillivray is evidently harassing an Amazon reviewer that goes by the handle Reba. Dearauthor.com reprinted an email from Macgillivray to Reba (who gave her book a 3 star review) and admonishing her for not getting it right. According to Dearauthor.com Reba “has since deleted the review, but not before it came to light that MacGillivray uses yahoogroups and author groups to encourage, browbeat, or by other means, individuals into taking down negative reviews by reporting that the review is a) not helpful and b) abuse. MacGillivray also appears to have taken even further steps to ascertain personal information about Reba.” In an frightening amazon romance forum post by MacGillivray entitled “vote down this bitch please” she states “Well, thanks to XXXXXX our PI , we now have her name, her husband’s name, her chidrens’ names, her grannies and great grannies name. Her address phone number and email lol… quite interesting.” (and in my opinion, quite creepy!)
Her actions have led to a Backlash on the Amazon romance forum with many readers stating outright that they’ll never read her works.
The responses in the comments section at Dear Author have tended to be along the lines of “What a dumb thing to do,” “What was she thinking?” and “I am so angry about this, I’ll never buy another one of her books.”Â The commentsÂ come from both readers and writers.Â Everyone seems to agree that the author should know better and of course they themselves would never stoop so low as to hunt down the identities of people who’ve posted bad reviews ofÂ their books and harass them.
My first reaction to this story was: “What?Â I can getÂ the bad reviews taken offÂ my Amazon pages?Â How do I do that?”Â Because I didn’t know an author could do that.Â I thought you just had to live with them and suffer heartburn every time you scroll past them.
My second reaction was: “There but for the grace of better self-control go I.”
Because, let’s be honest here.Â Really.Â Is there an author alive who hasn’t wanted to hunt down the identities of thoseÂ who’ve written bad Amazon reviews of our books?Â Is there an author alive who hasn’t harbored fantasies ofÂ revenge, even if itÂ only involves sticking a few pins in a voodoo doll?Â Â Is there an author alive who hasn’t wanted to fire back a response along the lines of “what could you possibly know about good writing, you illiterate slut?” (helpful link for those who don’t understand the cultural reference behind this wordplay)
Â If you haven’t harbored such fantasies, then you’re a far better person than I am.
Now, I’m not saying that Ms. MacGillivray wasn’t out of line here.Â But her (other) major foolishnessÂ was that she got caught at it.Â