Saturday, March 24, 2012

Authors behaving badly: Katherine Govier

That's right guys, there's another author behaving badly. This episode of ABB is brought to you by Katherine Govier, author of The Printmaker's Daughter.

Recently Goodreads reviewer Jessie of Ageless Pages Reviews left Govier a three star review on TPD. The review is reproduced below: (Click here to go to the original review on Goodreads)

Three stars and a 'read' tag because I made it almost to 60%; it just shouldn't require this much effort to read. As is indicated by the three stars instead of a 1 or a 2 as I was tempted, there are several redeeming aspects to The Printmaker's Daughter. The relationship between Hokusai and Oei is more important and complex than any other in the novel (in fact, she defines herself by him/his work as is hinted at in the title), the city of Edo itself is vibrantly drawn and realized, from the Corner Tamaya bordellos to the markets. But on the other hand are the weird and somewhat random accents and 1990's California-valleygirl speech patterns of 1800s courtesans, the interminable stretches where nothing happens, and awkward, jarring transitions between third and first-person narration. I wanted to love this; I'm halfway there thanks to the cover alone. I may try this one again, in the final version, but the ARC I had wasn't working for me. I was entranced for 50 pages, then bored for 220 before calling it quits. Longer, disappointed diatribe to follow.

As you can see, it's really not that bad. It's not positive, but it's not a negative review that you'd think was unfair or callous. I do admit that sometimes there are reviews out there that go above and beyond the point of being "just an opinion", but this is not one of those reviews.

A little under a month later, Jessie posted this as a status update:

And I've received an email from an author unhappy with how I reviewed her book. Apparently I didn't like it (thought I gave it 3 stars...) because it was "beyond my reading level" or I was "having a bad day. " Will someone let these authors know that it's NOT okay to harass reviewers? For fuck's sake! (Click here for the original post)

There is absolutely no excuse for an author harassing a reviewer like this. I do have to say that at least Govier didn't post a diatribe on the review itself, but the point still stands that Govier shouldn't have complained to the reviewer in the first place. Stuff like this will eventually get out. Even if Jessie hadn't complained, odds are that if Govier had complained to another reviewer, that reviewer would have gone public instead.

Seriously authors, STOP. Don't email reviewers with harassing emails where you insult them by saying that your writing is too complex or that they're not smart enough to comprehend it. That type of thing will only end up hurting YOU in the long run when you come across someone who isn't going to put up with your prima donna antics. When you put something out for public consumption it will get reviews you don't like. That's life. You don't have to like it, but you do have to learn how to put up with this sort of thing with grace and tact, lest you be seen as an unprofessional Authorzilla.

I can honestly say that I'll never read anything by Govier now. Personally insulting a reviewer and insinuating that they're too stupid to understand your book is quite possibly one of the most repulsive actions I've seen an author do. (I don't know all of what the email said, but saying a YA book was "beyond the reading level" of a college student is akin to calling them stupid.)


  1. My gosh, another one. It may not have been a public temper tantrum, like some, but this is still unacceptable behavior. Even bestsellers get negative reviews. It comes with the territory.

  2. Authors should know better. It'll always come back and bite you in the ass.

    Carole Bellacera
    LILY OF THE SPRINGS, March 2012

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