from the hate mailbag

Just a taste of some of the not-so-nice mail we authors get: 

Ms. Gerritsen
What a waste of talent,time and paper, to write a book such as The Sinner. This is the first of your novels I have read and half way through it, I tossed it the garbage where it belongs.
Hal K.

I don’t even know the man.  But he felt p.o.’ed enough to hunt down my email address and send nasty thoughts my way.  

Who are these people?

This, by the way, is one of the mild ones.  I can’t count the number of times readers have told me I’m going straight to hell.

37 replies
  1. Craig
    Craig says:

    You know, Tess, it would seem to me if the reader were to read the jacket flap or back cover of the paperback he would get a general idea of what he was getting himself in for. Basically my fellow customers at my bookstore are marvelous caring people–they’re my second family–but there are a few nuts. Attacking someone via e-mail is the height of cowardice; you can take a cheap shot at someone while hiding. If you want me to tell you who they are I can. Cowards!!!!

  2. Trace_ZBullet
    Trace_ZBullet says:

    Some people are horrible, what can I say? Just try to keep in mind that for every moron who thinks they can go around insulting other people’s writing (probably without ever taking a stab at writing a novel and finishing one in their lives) there are at least three other people that think the book rocked. If all readers knew how hard it is to write a “good book” let alone get one published, I’m not so sure there would be so much hate mail.
    Certainly your books, of all of them, do not deserve such criticism. So what if some think it’s contriversial? To me, they’re some of the best books I’ve ever read.
    Alas, the whip cracks and I better get back to writing 😉

  3. aut
    aut says:

    i think that the man is just bored. plain bored. ignore him. all of us know how much tension gripping moments you delieved to us. we’ll support you!!!

    ignore that silly man!!

  4. BA
    BA says:

    As a physician, you have studied and even experienced displaced anger. Hell (!) we all do, on the road, in stores, everywhere. It is not us they’re mad at, but someone they cannot attack. And whatever is is in the right place at the wrong time, and will likely not retaliate (like a doctor or author) will get the brunt of that. Next time you think about considering a whacko’s comments, look at the NYT Best Seller list after a TG release!

  5. NewMexicanAnn
    NewMexicanAnn says:

    Oh, yeah, and there are also people (like my brother, unfortunately) who are just eternal b****ers. Those are the kinds of folks who need to take a happy pill with a generous helping of coconut rum. (For those whom I love, do not try that at home. Too dangerous.)

  6. JA Konrath
    JA Konrath says:

    A few days ago I had a speaker phone conference with a book club in Ohio who’d read Bloody Mary. They hated it, and were verbal in their hatred. It’s not easy talking with a bunch of readers who think you’re the anti-christ.

    Just remember that the only opinion that matters is mine, and I think you’re aces.

  7. John
    John says:

    Tess, as a family doctor here in the UK, I found that one of the hardest things to come to terms with was receiving complaints and/or negative feedback. It took me some years to realise that in actual fact, the vast majority of my patients, colleagues and peers think I’m a good doctor. My wife loves me and my 2 daughters adore me (and I them!) That’s what matters. Nothing else. I listen to critiscism/complaints (there’ll always be some), I analyse them, take onboard any useful lessons which may or may not have been highlighted, and then I move on. As a younger man I’d have taken them home. I’d have stewed over them. I’d have lain awake at night doubting myself and my abilities. “Am I in the right profession?” Now I know what I’m good at, I know where my weaknesses are but I think I do a good job thankyou. I leave the (sometimes) plain daft complaints (and the legitimate ones)and the negativity in the surgery at 6pm and go home a happy chappy! I, Ms Gerritsen, think you are an outstanding writer. I think you are a fantastic teller of stories. Your books are some of the most enjoyable I’ve ever read. So far as I can see your main weaknesses are you’re far too modest, far too insecure and you give eejits like Hal K too much heed.
    In the words of Kathy Bates,
    Your greatest fan
    (always sounds spooky that, doesn’t it?)

  8. Susan Stehle
    Susan Stehle says:

    This sounds like a guy who has no business browsing the suspense section. Having worked in an indie bookstore for three years, I know this type of reader. It’s one who doesn’t know the genre and one who will never learn to like it, either.

  9. april
    april says:

    I would never write an e-mail like that to anyone, but I’m also not very quick to send praise either which holds greater power.

    I would even go so far as to say that person isn’t a true booklover. Love or hate a book, but you don’t throw it in the trash. How disrespectful! That should be more worthy of Hell than writing a book a select few (nuts) disagree with.

  10. wendy roberts
    wendy roberts says:

    Something to consider … I know an author friend who keeps a jar next to her computer and tosses in a couple dollars every time she gets a nasty email. When the jar’s full she buys herself something nice and thanks all the jerks for buying it for her. 🙂

  11. joe bernstein
    joe bernstein says:

    tess-i wouldn’t be surprised to find out most of your hate mail concerns anger over some perceived slight to religious beliefs-you probably got little or no hate mail for “Gravity”-or am i on the wrong track here?

  12. wordworker
    wordworker says:

    Oh, Tess! I’m sorry that you get such letters as that one. Remember this if it helps – tension and conflict are necessary for a story to come alive and some folks just can’t deal with it. There are so many people out there with very narrow minds! I can really sympathize with you when you say you get letters from people who tell you that you are going to hell. My own mother thinks the same of me because I write science fiction. You write great stories, Tess. The problem here sounds like it belongs to the writers of such letters. That said – I’m sorry for the upset that it can bring to receive such things. I, and many others, happen to think you are fabulous!

  13. J.W.
    J.W. says:

    the ones who send the hate mail…..are the ones who probably wouldn’t know how to create a story…..let alone bring characters to life.
    I for one personally understand how hard it is to get an idea…..and roll with it…..and finish it.
    other readers need to realize how hard it is……and so what if u happen to have a book that isn’t as good as ur others…….nobody can be on the bestsellers list ALL THE TIME. although I’m sure u are.

  14. bob k
    bob k says:

    Hmmmm…so someone buys a book that they don’t like…and they attack the AUTHOR. What ever happened to personal responsibility? There are a heck of a lot of books in a bookstore…and in the rare case that I buy one I don’t like – I am more than willing to accept that this dislike has much more to do with me than with the author.

    For nearly any book, I can read the jacket…I can go online and read reviews of the book…and the authors other books. There is very little reason to ever buy a book that you will dislike so much you would need to tell the author about it.

    Oh sure, not every book by an author is their best work…but let’s get real here…a Tess Gerritsen medical thriller (or whatever the correct genre is…) will be enjoyable whether it is her best work or not!! (And Tess…in my opinion, your books just keep improving.)

    I have never purchased a book that I did not like without being aware when I purchased it that it was possible I wouldn’t like it. In those cases, it is either recommended by a trusted friend…or is a popular author that everyone is talking about but I know doesn’t seem to fit my tastes, or there is some detail about the author or story that piqued my interest when I heard it – that tips the scale toward a book purchase I otherwise would not make. We all have to branch out and try new reading sometimes…and sometimes it doesn’t work. But should I blame the author? I wouldn’t think so.

  15. Charissa
    Charissa says:

    Who are these people?

    Well one things fairly obvious. They don’t have a life! Why else would they send hate-mail? I would never send hate-mail. If I like something, I’ll tell the person. If I don’t, then I don’t say anything at all! Jeez.

  16. Meike
    Meike says:

    And you just know he’ll read his e-mail over here and start complaining that you mentioned him.

    Honestly, this is why does so well. Let him rage somewhere else.

  17. ellenmeister
    ellenmeister says:

    It’s when you’ve touched a nerve that you know you’ve done something right.

    Thing is, we all want to be universally loved, even though we know it’s not possible. Eliciting a response like this is the next best thing.

    That’s what I tell myself, anyway. 🙂

  18. knaster
    knaster says:

    Hi Tess,

    It’s Abe. Even though you were upset, which you have every right to be, your TRUE fans know the truth. You’re #1 in our books, too!

  19. struggler
    struggler says:

    Tess, as I’m sure you know, there have been other books with the same title as Thew Sinner – could be your latest fan read one of them. Or maybe he read Thinner by Stephen King, only he suffers from a lisp…..

    or should that be lithp?

  20. Gabriele
    Gabriele says:

    When I look at those who told me or people I like we’ll go to hell, I can only say, it will the better place. Heaven must be boring with all those self righteous anal orifices stuck there – if Petrus lets them in; I’m not sure about that. 😀

  21. Craig
    Craig says:

    mbraun, that is so true. When I read the Divine Comedy I found hell far more interesting than Purgatory or Heaven. Granted the latter is more preferable but the former is far more entertaining–as long as it happens to someone else.

  22. huisi
    huisi says:

    hey! havent been here for some time. hope that mad guy’s comment will spur you on to prove him wrong! GIRL POWER!! you know the rest of us here love you and your darling, books ((:

  23. JA Konrath
    JA Konrath says:

    I got this one this morning:

    Dear Sir:

    I find your Book, Rusty Nail, despicable! You must be a very sick person to think up such garbage! Why would you think anyone would want to read such? The cover of your book, and the fly-leaf, give NO indication of such filth inside.

    Your publisher should be ashamed to be that hard up for something to publish! He’s as bad as O.J. Simpson’s publisher!

    Barnes and Noble should be ashamed to offer such a book for sale, and your publisher, and Barnes and Noble, should , at the VERY least, warn readers of the content!

    With great regret! Carol A.


    For what it’s worth, the jacket and cover flap use the words “thrills” six times, “chills” twice, as well as “shivers” “snuff videos” “serial killers” “pulse-pounding” “trail of death” “nailbiting” “violent” “creepy”
    “twisted” “suspense” and “gritty.” What did she think she was buying, a cat mystery?

  24. Craig
    Craig says:

    Well, Mr. Konrath, as far as I’m concerned you’re three for three. When’s the next one. You’re correct when you say that the dust jacket flap does give more than a clue. You’re books aren’t for sissies, sir, ninnies maybe, but not sissies. 🙂

  25. AudreyLynn
    AudreyLynn says:

    Tess, I really enjoyed reading The Mephisto club and can’t wait until i can read more books by you. I also saw that you are from Maine and i was wondering where as I am from MAine as well. I was born in Ellsworth.I wouldn’t worry to much on who likes your novels so much cause they have no idea what it takes to even get a book written let alone published. So keep smiling and keep writing. Oh and have a Happy Thanksgiving with your family!

  26. struggler
    struggler says:

    Memo to JA Konrath:-

    I thought Rusty nail and the images it portrayed so revolting, sickening, shocking, ghastly and so full of gratuitous, mindless violence and puerile humour that I read it all the way to the end, went straight to and gave it five stars together with a review that recommended your style of writing to the world at large. I loved it and want more of the same from you. There can be no question that you have a sick and depraved imagination and I want to read every book you ever write.

  27. Tess
    Tess says:

    if I got the kind of stuff you get in your hate mailbag, I think I’d hang up this blog forever. Some of us don’t have thick enough skin to survive the rough and tumble that seems to be out there.

  28. Jules777
    Jules777 says:

    Wow…that person doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

    For what it’s worth, that was the book that got me hooked on your writing!

    I happened to love to book, so I guess my comment cancels out his! 🙂


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