Is Bullying Disguising as Bad Reviews

Is Bullying Disguising as Bad Reviews?

Recently, while surfing the social media, I chanced upon a post where someone bashed J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series. Then somebody replied to that comment saying, “I’d like to see you do a better job! Write an extraordinary novel, sell more books and gather more fans and if you can do it…then say what you feel!”

As a writer and author, I do share the same sentiment. The guy has a point.

Then I received an email update from a group I joined in GoodReads announcing the change of our group’s moderators. The announcement was so intriguing that I decided to check the group’s Facebook page. And there I learned the whole story.

It all started with a bullying incident on a soon-to-be published author, Lauren Pippa. Lauren was about to release her romance novel, Learning to Love. However, when she decided to post her book on GoodReads (probably to announce its release), she was bombarded with negative reviews that already bordered or has gone beyond cyber-bullying.

Our moderators defended Lauren by posting a discussion thread on GoodReads and on the group’s Facebook page. The moderators showed those hateful posts then suddenly they were removed as moderators (that’s how I read and understood the situation).

Lauren conducted herself professionally and responded to the reviews well. I salute her for that. Although she has decided not to release her book anymore, she said “she has moved on, that she’s shutting herself off from this and living her life”. She deleted her blogs after that.

As an independent author, I feel sorry for Lauren. In an entertainment world we have, negative reviews from legitimate critics and so-called reviews can’t be avoided. Everybody has his own opinion.

I do hope Lauren continues to write and release her novel soon. Not because it will get additional publicity after this incident but because many readers, especially those who prefer the romance genre, would be interested to read it in support primarily of the reading interest and secondly of the author.

On the other hand, critics’ attitude should be more professional and objective. As what the guy had commented earlier, these critics should be writing novels, too, to feel the agony authors feel before, during, and after the writing process. Any author would respect a critic’s opinion if the latter has written something good or has established his credibility in literary criticism, rather than receiving a bashing from a “critic” who hasn’t published a single fiction.

What do you think? Is this considered cyber-bullying?

Issa Bacsa

Filipino freelance writer and author, Gen X mother to a Gen Z daughter, retrogamer, binge-watcher.