May 1, 2011

The slope was extra slippery from the get go

At what point, in defending his/her self against a not at all unkind book review does the author arrive on a slippery slope of which there can never ever be a return to dignified silence or graceful appreciation for the attention paid by someone who went to the trouble of reading the book?

If you're Jacqueline Howett, the slope commences steep and extra slippery, and things only get worse.  Ms Howett has published her book for electronic consumption (Kindle).  Her first effort was reviewed, quite generously, but with a two star conclusion, by blogger Big Al. 

Ms Howett's histrionic and hysterical defence of her own fine writing was the very first comment posted:
"My Amazon readers/reviewers give it 5 stars and 4 stars and they say they really enjoyed The Greek Seaman and thought it was well written. Maybe its just my style and being English is what you don't get. Sorry it wasn't your cup of tea, but I think I will stick to my five star and four star reviews thanks."
Anyone resorting to Amazon reader ratings is already on a losing streak.  She followed up her first comment by posting numerous of said Amazon reviews.

Sad and embarrassing.

Big Al provided a politely restrained response, which reads, in part:
I'll also point out that in the first two chapters alone I found in excess of twenty errors that ideally would have been caught in editing and proofing. Some were minor, but all have the potential of disrupting an enjoyable reading experience, depending on the specific reader and their sensitivity to such things.

Here are a couple sample sentences from the first two chapters that gave me pause and are representative of what I found difficult while reading.

"She carried her stocky build carefully back down the stairs."

"Don and Katy watched hypnotically Gino place more coffees out at another table with supreme balance."

I understand what both are probably saying. I do question the sentence construction.

However, I should point out that the review does say the story, which is the most important part of a book, is good. The effort of extracting the story through the errors and, at least to me, sometimes convoluted sounding language, made doing so much too difficult, IMO.

I would encourage anyone who thinks the story sounds interesting to sample the book. Read the first few chapters and decide for yourself. 
This only infuriated the huffing and foaming Ms Howett even more.
Look AL, I'm not in the mood for playing snake with you, what I read above has no flaws. My writing is fine. You were told to download a new copy for format problems the very next day while they were free at Smashwords, so you could choose any format you wanted to read it in and if their were any spelling mistakes they were corrected. Simply remove this review as it is in error with you not downloading the fresh copy i insisted. Why review my book after being told to do this, and more annoying why have you never ever responded to any of my e-mails?

And please follow up now from e-mail.
This is not only discusting and unprofessional on your part, but you really don't fool me AL.

Who are you any way? Really who are you?
What do we know about you?

You never downloaded another copy you liar!
You never ever returned to me an e-mail

Besides if you want to throw crap at authors you should first ask their permission if they want it stuck up on the internet via e-mail. That debate is high among authors.

Your the target not me!
Now get this review off here! 
And then worse.
The book is out there doing well without your comments. My first book is great! and I intend to promote now without your ball. Face it AL, you did a booboo, and you can't correct it!

I know its you AL talking, stop hiding and stand up and be a man!

I want this review removed or its just considered abuse.

Hmm never did get involved in your forum for reasons, now I know why. 
Someone called Anonymous eventually chimed in with a lovely summary of the thread to date:
The best part is that even your comments, Jacqueline, are full of misspellings, awkward phrasing, grammatical errors, and typos. So I'm certain those creep into your writing. And if you didn't have a good editor (or even an editor at all), then it's not hard to believe what the reviewer is saying.

It's almost like you're proving Al's point for him just by your own writing in the comments. 
To which Ms Howett offered:
Fuck off! 
Naturally, the blog post went viral quickly (a month ago).

The thread - Big Al's brief and polite review of The Greek Seaman by Jacqueline Howett


  1. Hahahaha!!! Just how deliciously funny is that??!!

    Clearly the woman can't write for shit; just as clearly she can write shit.

    I'm not lining up to read it...

  2. She's provided a classic "how not to ..." Mike. She became an instant legend, for all the wrong reasons. Evey time you thought she couldn't make it worse for herself, damn it, she did! Gold!