I'm a goodreads refugee. I read horror, classics, literary, science fiction, YA, weird, regency romances, historical fiction, history, science, fantasy and random bits and pieces of every genre, it seems like. I don't do as much reading and reviewing as I used to, but I'm trying to get back into the swing of things.
I was going to write up a whole post about this incident, but Book-a-holics did a great job. So I'm just linking to their much more indepth coverage of it and I'll just highlight what happened below.
In response to a criticism of the use of slurs in the book (r-word and the f-word for gay people), author Kathleen Hale made this subtweet.
When confronted by several people, including Kara, Hale deleted these tweets, and has since remained silent about this issue (as far as I have seen).
While I think it's very human for authors to be upset with reviews that challenge their choices and execution of their writing, I think it's foolish to do so (even in a subtweet) on social media. It's never going to reflected positively on the author, who ends up looking extremely unprofessional, but even worse it can instigate their fans/readers to harass the reviewer.
In this case the backlash was felt by Hale, who received an onslaught of tweets, and retweets (of her subtweet) from people coming to Kara's defense. Resulting in an explosion of negative publicity, and many bloggers and readers deciding to take her book off their reading lists.
While, Hale's silence points to her having realized the consequences of her actions, it was a lesson hard earned and one that shouldn't have had to happen at all.
I think authors really need to have a safe space, among either friends or peers, where they can vent their frustrations about reviews or anything. It is reasonable to not deal well with criticism, but it isn't a good idea from a business standpoint to do so publicly.
It is neither the job of the reviewer or the author's readers to console or help them process their frustration over negative or critical reviewers.
Still I think it's important for authors to have an ability to process the feelings. I suggest an offline (or members only) writing group, or an email group with trusted friends and/or fellow authors. The most important part is to separate the space where they vent frustration from the place where they do their work.
Like the old saying goes, don't shit where you eat.