Crossing The Line: Questioning One’s Integrity

Source: apebbleonthebeach.com

Greetings, everyone!
Have you ever walked the fine line between talking about something and just letting it go?  Did you ever think to yourself if it is even worth the headache?
At one point, I was willing to just let it go, and I would have gladly done that.  
Unfortunately, this particular person didn’t want to do that and went beyond what I would deem professional decorum.  Therefore, I proceed for the following reasons:
1.       I do feel that I was attacked on a personal level in response to what I was professionally doing.
2.       This person has a type of vindictive energy that doesn’t sit well with me and has made it apparent through his actions.
3.       I feel as if others have a right to know about this.
As most of you have picked up on, my duties extend far beyond just publishing my own stuff.  I also do reviews for my own site, The Review Board, as well as assist others as part of their Read and Review Boards.  I used to be part of two, but one of them I did resign from.  
The full details can be found here: My Integrity is Not For Sale
The other review board I’m a part of is headed by AuthorY Correa .  There are two other ladies in addition to myself who make up the team.
Although The Review Board and Y Correa’s Read and Review have differences, there are two things which we have in common:
1.       We cover all genres.
2.       We promise honest reviews.
The reason why The Review Board has adopted not to censor any genres from submission is because Mr. Controversy and I are open to reading different genres, even if it is not the primary genre that we read.  
For me, as long as something is written well, I don’t care what genre is in, nor do I discriminate on the type of genre.  
Plus, there are quite a few review sites set up that are genre specific, so why not have one that isn’t?
The second statement dates back to the reason I set up The Review Board in the first place.  
In my observations, some sites which do reviews will say they like or dislike something but don’t go into great detail about what they like or what they think needs improving.  How can the writer know what he needs to continue to do or what he needs to improve on if no one is being specific with him?  
Then, we have reviewers that may not like a book but since they don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings, they give the person a five star review.  It doesn’t do the writer any favors.  Plus, one never knows if the person got the book based on a five star review when the book wasn’t that stellar. 
Those scenarios made me set up The Review Board.  We do in-depth, honest reviews, whether they are popular or not.  No amount of persuasion or intimidation will make us take down the review.  All of that is covered in The Review Board guidelines.
All right people!  Here’s the T.  When I get an assignment from Y’s R&R, I do the review and submit it to Y prior to posting.  Once the approval is given (all parties have done their takes on it), I not only post an abbreviated version of the review to Goodreads and Amazon, the works gets double exposure by being placed on The Review Board.  I just note that it originated from Y’s R&R.
 On August 6th, Y gave the group the book Best Laid Plans by James McAllister.  It’s a futuristic sci-fi novel, and yes, I don’t have a lot of experience with reading sci-fi, but I’m an equal opportunity reader.  
Y is very active in the writing community and was still finishing up prior commitments; therefore, she asked if the remaining members could read and review the book.  We agreed.
One of the reviewers got a copy of the book that was illegible via improper conversion, which left only one other person and me to do the book.
Side Note:  I do confess to NOT going on Goodreads immediately to inform people that I’m starting (or have started) reading their book.  I tend to wait until the end, after I have done the extended copy, to go on Goodreads to post the shorter version.  I’m more focused on getting the read done and the review out that getting persnickety with dates.
Keep this in mind as you read further.
Around the weekend, I checked in with Y and let her know the story was a bit difficult for me to follow.  The other reviewer felt the same way.  At the time, we were both dedicated to push through it.
On Monday, Y had some free time and decided to pick up the book.  She was getting the same feeling that I was: excessive technobabble and instances with detailing.  (more of her thoughts on it here
Since Y had already given her review on his other work (his short story collection, which she really liked), she felt that her “not leaving a bad review” was more than fair.
On Tuesday, she touched base with the other lady and me.  We are both still struggling.  Y gives us a choice: either we could move forward with the read and give a review or to set it aside and move on to the next book.
I got to thinking about it.  I had gotten pretty far and was close to completion.  The constant back and forth in the time frame (from past to present); the lack of back story with the people plotting his assassination attempt:  all of it was a bit dizzying.  Could I go this far just to not say anything?
The other reviewer opted to set the read aside.  I opted to press on.  I wrote my review, stating the things I thought were lacking and offered constructive critique.  I let Y take a look at, and she backed my posting the review.
I finalized the extended version  (link to my review highlighted) on The Review Board first, then proceeded to go to Goodreads and Amazon. 
I do confess that it looks like I read the book quickly due to the fact that I didn’t mark Goodreads when I initially got the story. (however, I did start the story two days after I received it (August 8th) and finished it August 14th).  However, the amount of detail I went into about the review definitely shows that I went past Chapter One.
Yet, it was the very Goodreads marking which caused Mr. McAllister to go into a rage.  He not only accuses me of “just skimming through the book.”  He proceeds to throw salt at me, inferring that my review could not be “credible because I’m not a fan of the science fiction genre.”  He places his rants on the TRB, which I responded back in kind.
Then, he proceeds to go to Y on Goodreads and proceeds to insult the integrity of Y’s R&R.  He accused Y of purposely giving his book to me knowing I wasn’t “a fan of sci-fi” and that I personally insulted him.
No, I gave professional and constructive criticismtowards the writing.  Not once did I ever refer to him as “unethical”, like he went on to do later when he hit up the All Authors Support Group in various rants and raves. 
It’s one thing to not like the review.  

It’s another to go out of one’s way to attack someone personally.  
I was only doing what I was told: reading and giving my thoughts on someone’s work.  I made the decision to press forward, thinking this author would be open to what I had to say and would at least be appreciative that I would take the time to read his work (despite not being a bonafide sci-fi buff).  
Instead, he disrespected me.
His actions say a lot about him as a person.  Is he going to get this defensive if he’s getting less than a 4 or 5 star each and every time?  
On Amazon, another person gave him a 3 just like I did, citing some of the very things I found wrong with his work.  Did that person “not read the book” as well?  Does that person’s thoughts get dismissed because sci-fi may not be his first genre of choice to read?
If I totally hated it, I would have given it a one.  The things I liked about it were the action and the components of the blurb: I just believed the presentation needed to be tied together. 
If he hadn’t been in such a blind rage, he would have seen that instead of going for my jugular.
In conclusion:  If you find fault with one of my reviews, address me professionally.  Don’t act childlike and go after me personally.  I take attacks on my integrity and my work ethic very seriously.  I always try to respect a person because writing is a hard business and opening one’s self to reviews is always a risk.  Yet, if you disrespect me, all bets are off.

If you don’t want constructive criticism, don’t submit to The Review Board.  We don’t do the ego stroke, and I have said that from Day One even before Mr. Controversy came on board.  The submission guidelines are out there; it’s the writer’s responsibility to read the submission guidelines.  
That doesn’t just go for TRB or Y’s R&R but for any site that a writer wants to submit work to.  If the writer has certain requests (like “Please give my work to someone who’s a fan of sci-fi”), then you can hear back before the work even gets reviewed if the site can honor your request.  
If you don’t and you submit to a site (especially if they accept all genres), then you can’t get insulted, make demands afterwards, and attack a reviewer or group personally based on a professional opinion you don’t agree with.
Peace.
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Poet, short story writer, and aspiring novelist. This blog details my writing journey and everything in between: supporting other writers, doing a feature column and serving as editor-in-chief for All Authors Magazine Online.

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