- "...one of the marks of a really good writer is the ability to take criticism..."
- - Lily, Hashkafah forum
- "...one of the marks of a really good writer is the ability to take criticism..."
Criticism, of both himself and his book, is something which Norman Boutin has demonstrated he is unable to handle in an efficient manner. It is, in fact, one of the very things that has become so infamous about him. What Norman Boutin seems to have never figured out is that one reason his book has attracted so much negative publicity is because of his immature response to criticism, and his apparent need to respond to every single bit of criticism on the internet.
- 1 General Responses
- 2 Logical Fallacies
- 3 "How do I avoid becoming another Norman?"
- 4 References
General Responses[edit | edit source]
Since the publication of the book, Norman Boutin has responded to critics over a wide spectrum of websites.
Catholic Answers[edit | edit source]
A longtime and active member of the Catholic Answers Forum (CAF), Norman Boutin started a thread in the Catholic Authors, Writes, Publishers Group subforum in order to advertise and gain more attention for Empress Theresa. What followed was a series of posts between himself, a female user named Kamaduck, and a male user named RPRPsych. Kamaduck was initially sympathetic and supportive of Norman, while RPRPsych became something of an arch-nemesis, having already written a negative Amazon review and now opposing him directly in the CAF thread. It became especially hilarious when Norman warned Kamaduck that RPRPsych was " playing mind games" with them, and said to her: "Are you exchanging private messages with this guy? Don't do it. Don't let him get in your head."
Eventually, Kamaduck discovered that Norman Boutin had written about Theresa using a figure skating outfit in a sexual manner. In other words, she discovered what many before her had discovered: Norman Boutin's "good little Catholic girl" wasn't that good. Her response was direct:
- This is the first scene you've posted that has personally offended me. I'm 17 and a figure skater- and I've competed multiple times in the same dress, one that just so happens to have a full back, front, loose but full-length sleeves, and a high collar (which, apart from any modesty concerns, are also useful for keeping warm). I can hardly claim to be a shining example of purity, but I can tell you that that whole scene is completely unjustifiable. Is it understandable? Maybe (apart from cutting up a dress on the spot- that's just ridiculous!), but it shows that Theresa has very serious flaws, and little to no respect for Steve and Jack. She's intentionally taunting them, dressing as immodestly as possible, and on top of that, she sees absolutely nothing wrong with her actions.
- Is that seriously what you think of us? That's your model for what a Catholic girl should be?
- Katniss Everdeen, another seventeen-year-old heroine, would never do something like this. She plays up her romance with Peeta because she's trying to save both their lives, but never intentionally tempts him or flaunts her body at him. Does Katniss have flaws? Yeah, absolutely. She also has halfway sensible priorities, which do not involve using her sexuality to taunt men for the fun of it.
- These aren't the actions of a reasonable or moral person. You can call this sort of behavior "exploring her sexuality", but any way you slice it, it's wrong, disrespectful, and unrealistic- again, no girl in her right mind is going to shred her clothes on the spot just to taunt a boy she doesn't care about. Maybe that's harsh criticism, but that's how I feel, and it's how many Catholic girls more faithful than I are going to feel. It's better for you to know about your target audience's reaction from the start.
As he usually does in the face of honest criticism, Norman Boutin simply ignored this, and offered no response. The thread fell into a series of self-advertisements from him.
Norman Boutin is currently banned from CAF, though for what reason is not entirely sure. Apparently, he was suspended five times in 2013, most likely for the way he spoke against non-Catholics and non-Christians.
Writing Forums[edit | edit source]
Norman Boutin signed up for Writing Forums in October of 2012, before he had published Empress Theresa, and claimed that he was there to "find out what people think of it."
In addition to his introduction thread, he started two other threads regarding his book. In one thread, he asked for opinions and shared an excerpt. He received friendly, and helpful critiques regarding his style. As expected, Norman rejected them, and made excuses for his writing. He told some that their opinion was invalid, since they hadn't read the whole book, and yet at the same time refused to share anything substantial. He insulted other posters and their advice, saying about the latter, "Whether they make the story better or worse doesn't seem to be a major concern around here." When Norman exclaimed that he was "disappointed" by what he encountered, one forum member stated: "This forum is about helping each other with writing skills and in the process also learning some writing skills for yourself. Its not a forum were we praise each other until the cows come home." Another member said, "You don't want our advice. You don't like our criticism. So why are you wasting your time here?"
In the other thread, it was more of the same. A member named amsawtell posted a blunt but honest reaction to Norman's writing and antics:
- It is easy to tell that none of your college degrees has involved a single creative writing course. Several of the members here have attempted to help you with critiques of your work but all you do is become defensive and argue about things.
- It's quite the accomplishment to have finished writing any kind of book but I have to ask, are the characters coming across to us as flat and to you as fully realized because we are unattached to these characters while you are fully involved?
- I know that critiques, even kind ones, can feel like attacks but that is absolutely not what we set out to do here. What many of our members have been trying to do for you is to help you make your book as good as it possibly can be. We can't do that if you don't want to listen or think about our advice.
- Stop trying to sell us on an all-powerful character that is poorly depicted and get to work on making her feel "real" that is all anyone's advice has ever truly been.
- Your continual attempts at selling us on this isn't endearing anyone to try your novel let alone to read it. I like it when a book's writing speaks for itself. And from the excerpts I have read, it doesn't.
Norman responded as he had throughout the entire forum: he quoted a small section and played the "You haven't read the whole book" card (see below), and completely dismissed everything said.
The most curious thing about Norman's antics at this forum was his constant comparison between his own Empress Theresa and Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. One member finally told him: "The difference between Harper Lee and you, is that you aren't Harper Lee."
Eventually, Norman Boutin was banned from the forum, most likely for his attitude towards...well, everyone.
Norman later back talked the members of Writing Forums on Catholic Answers, referring to the site as a "so called" writer's forum, and that the members' suggestions "were worthless," adding that they "did not understand the story." He was shocked that such people would offer their "editorial assistance" (seemingly forgetting that it was he who asked them to offer their advice).
Hashkafah[edit | edit source]
Norman Boutin attempted to advertise Empress Theresa on the Jewish forum Hashkafah. He started a thread and said he was "looking for opinions about whether the Israelis really would evacuate under the circumstances described," referring to an event in the book. As he quickly found out, the forum members were not very fond of the idea. One of the first responses said, "The notion of exchanging our ancestral Homeland and 4000 years of Jewish history for another land is as offensive as swapping wives!" Another commenter asked why, if Theresa has "limitless power in the physical realm," she didn't just "save Israel where it is?"
As expected, Norman Boutin's OP question was entirely baited, and he argued and disagreed with everyone who commented on the thread. A published author attempted to give him advice about making his book feel more real, but Norman Boutin simply made excuses. Finally, someone said, "YOU came here asking for OUR opinion. If you don't value it, then why did you bother asking???"
Amazon[edit | edit source]
Norman Boutin began to respond directly to virtually every single negative review written about his book on Amazon. This eventually drew the attention of others who had either spoken with him on other mediums, or had seen his antics linked to on other websites. Many defended the critics and attempted to make Norman Boutin see reason; both efforts were spurned by Norman, who continued to insult, belittle, dismiss, and defend.
Boutin's comments are routinely deleted by Amazon, generally when he has called other commenters names and made personal remarks about them. He has also gone through comment threads and mass-deleted past comments of his three different times, once in April 2014, again on November 6, 2014, and finally on January 3, 2015.
The first two mass-deletions were done without comment by Boutin, but were apparently an attempt to erase evidence of his bad behavior so that he could call other commenters liars for describing what he had, in fact, done. The January 3, 2015 deletion was occasioned by Boutin's taking a new commenter seriously, albeit misunderstanding what she said. She gave the advice (given often before by many others) that no author should ever "answer" negative reviews. Boutin declared that he would "try" this approach, removed his "answers" from the Empress Theresa website, and deleted most of his past comments from Amazon.
This attempt at good behavior lasted less than a month.
Even after Amazon shut down commenting on one review, Boutin wasn't done. A year later, after some apparent modification to their commenting system, Amazon allowed additional comments to be added. While most of his critics had gone on to other things, content to let the matter lie, Boutin went back on the attack. He claimed he "caught" one of his critics at his website and invited them for a change, which the individual declined, then renewed his defense of Empress Theresa.
When one critic asked why he couldn't leave the discussion and let it go, Norm fired back claiming, "I'm on a mission from God."
The Cancer Incident[edit | edit source]
On February 5, 2015, Norman Boutin gave a terrible revelation concerning his sister, and used it against his critics.
Norman Boutin used his sister's cancer in order to gain sympathy from readers, and to paint the critics of his book as heartless villains. Many of his critics called Norman out on this, and he did not bring up her condition again until months later when she passed away.
Logical Fallacies[edit | edit source]
In his response to critics, Norman Boutin employs a number of logical fallacies, especially when pressed into a corner or called out on his illogical reasoning. These tactics do not prove Empress Theresa is a good book (as he assumes); they merely serve to further reveal Norman Boutin's immaturity.
Straw Man[edit | edit source]
A straw man is when a person attacks a misunderstanding or intentional misrepresentation of another position, in order to respond to that instead of the person's actual position.
One major example is seen on his website, where he cites the supposed religious message he wants Empress Theresa to convey. He then mentions his critics, claims they oppose this message, and compares them to the devil. However, regardless of the personal religious beliefs of his individual critics, none of them have attacked any specific religious belief - rather, they have attacked how bad his book is, and how badly he behaves towards his critics. Therefore, Norman Boutin's contention that they're targeting his religious message is just a straw man, and one made in order to badmouth his critics.
Shifting the Goalposts[edit | edit source]
Shifting the goalposts is when someone changes their main argument a bit to try to accommodate for a refutation or correction they've received. In Norman Boutin's case, shifting the goalposts occurs when he encounters people publicly criticizing his book. The following tactic is then employed:
- He will tell potential readers to read the sample chapters on his website, or on Amazon, and "decide for yourself."
- If a reader does this, and still dislikes the book, then Norman Boutin will simply dismiss their argument because they didn't read the whole thing.
He can be seen doing this on many occasions in his conversations on Amazon. Many of the negative reviews of his book are confirmed purchases - meaning the person actually spent their hard earned cash on the book - but Norman Boutin will dismiss them if they say they didn't read the whole book...even though he's been telling people for months now to give the book at least a fighting chance with a sample chapter or two. The issue is not that the person didn't read the entire book, but the simple fact that they didn't like the book enough not to finish it. At that point, Norman Boutin has to change his standards.
One stark example of this occurred when Boutin challenged his critics thus:
"Any no talent people can do that. Try creating something. Good luck with that."
This caused one of the people he was challenging to respond with a link to his own novella, saying:
"Whoops, there goes your delusion. Sorry about that."
Boutin then changed the terms he had set from "creating something" to "creating something of which Norman Boutin would approve":
Red Herring[edit | edit source]
A red herring is when a person responds to an argument by bringing up a semi-related topic in an effort to divert the flow of logic into a realm where the person feels more comfortable.
Ad Hominem[edit | edit source]
Ad hominem is a Latin phrase which means "against the man," and refers to an argument which attacks a personal trait about a person, rather than their actual position. This can include blatant insults (eg., "You're wrong because of x, y, and z." / "Oh yeah? Well you're ugly!"), but it can also mean pointing out something personal about the person and attempting to refute it simply based on that (eg., "You're wrong about Islam because of x, y, and z." / "Yeah but you're Muslim, so of course you'll say that.").
One example, since deleted by Boutin, involved a critic's other reviews. This critic had said he stopped 90-pages in; Norman Boutin cited another review the critic had done, only of a 90-page book, and snidely suggested that 90-pages was all the critic could read, as if his attention span was low (for the record, the critic has since reviewed other books, many of them well beyond 90-pages). This comment was deleted by Amazon, for obvious reasons.
Norman Boutin has also been known to make reference to the works of authors critical to him, and attack their work in order to validate his own. For example, when attacking TL Knighton on his blog, Norman cited Knighton's being a published writer in The Albany Journal by saying his work was put in "a dying newspaper out of print and put in on the internet," snidely calling it a "great accomplishment." He added later:
- That’s not the kind of wording a newspaper editor should use. Even if it’s only an online website in Albany, >>>GEORGIA <<<, not the politically important Albany, New York where two or three legislators might glance at your "shitty little editorials" one time before returning to the New York Times print edition. Couldn't make it in the big state, hunh? That explains a lot. I know you now.
Another example was on Catholic Answers Forum, where Norman said to RPRPsych, "I glanced at your amateurish story 'King For A Day'. Terrible, terrible, terrible," and proceeded to call all his writing "garbage." He made a similar comment to an Amazon critic: "I just looked at your activity page to see what you're interested in. It's all junk. I'm glad you don't like me or my book."
Norman also portrays a kind of "genre snobbery" in regards to writers and critics alike. For example, he mocked the advice of people from Writing Forums because many of the members who offered him friendly advice had written "vampire, zombie or witchcraft stories." In Norman's mind, such people cannot offer great advice, simply because they belong to certain genres or niches which he considers to be below him. He even said to one critic: "Go back to your galactic war sci/fi stories, Tom. You will never understand a book like Empress Theresa." Norman even said regarding publishing on Kindle that he saw "a lot of stories about vampires, zombies and witches," as well as "romances and mysteries which are all alike," and decided that there "doesn't look like much competition."
More often than not, he'll simply question the intelligence of the person critiquing his book. Some examples:
- You're full of hot air and other stuff, Tom.
- He's arrested at the spoiled, rotten 12 year old kid level. No matter how old he gets, he'll always behave at the 12 year old level.
- I keep getting brief, poorly thought out remarks from three disgruntled people, probably kids from the sound of them...
Norman Boutin's most popular ad hominem is to call any critic a troll. Even on the comment page for this wiki, Norman Boutin's post can be seen stating "fourteen internet trolls have written bad reviews about Empress Theresa on Amazon." If you oppose him and Empress Theresa, and are open about it on the internet, he will most likely label you a troll. The problem with Norman Boutin's ad hominem here is two-fold:
First, he is writing off every single person who critiqued his book as a troll, yet he does not substantiate this. Many of the people who wrote reviews were simply giving an honest critique of the book, which included reasons and explanations for their position. Norman Boutin may not like what they had to say, but not liking what someone has to say does not alone make them an internet troll.
Second, the definition of an internet troll includes the fact that they post things to provoke an emotional response from someone else. Therefore, by his responding to every single criticism, Norman Boutin is in essence "feeding the trolls," and therefore is giving the trolls exactly what they want. This is Internet No-No Rule #1, which makes Norman Boutin look even more foolish. The entire exchange between Norman and his "trolls" is a lot like an exchange from the movie 12 Angry Men:
- Juror #3: That business before when that tall guy, what's-his-name, was trying to bait me? That doesn't prove anything. I'm a pretty excitable person. I mean, where does he come off calling me a public avenger, sadist and everything? Anyone in his right mind would blow his stack. He was just trying to bait me.
- Juror #4: He did an excellent job.
Boutin also blithely delights in how people react to his own trolling: "I'm gratified that people hang onto my every word. Great writers have that effect on people." And "Five replies in fifteen minutes! How people hang on my words!"
Tu Quoque[edit | edit source]
The tu quoque fallacy is a form of the ad hominem fallacy, with the Latin phrase literally translating into "you too." This fallacy happens when someone responds to a criticism or argument by asserting a supposed or real inconsistency in the opponent's position. For example, if someone says, "You should cut back on your diet," and the second person replies, "But I saw you have a lot of pizza yesterday"; the contention made by the second person does not dismiss or negate the statement made by the first person. That person might be a supposed hypocrite does not mean they are necessarily wrong.
Norman Boutin will often employ this tactic in order to attempt to find a guilt in the person critiquing him, or to divert criticism of his book.
Norman Boutin has also used this to try to defend mistakes in his book. For example, when people pointed out the (hundreds of) typos, he replied that he came across copies of Pride and Prejudice and JP Morgan's biography which contained typos.
The "You haven't read the whole book" Card[edit | edit source]
One of Norman Boutin's most used responses against critics who couldn't finish Empress Theresa is to tell them that, since they haven't read the whole book, their opinion doesn't matter. He claims that they can't judge characters, plot, how good a story is, etc., because they haven't seen the full scope of what happens.
Is this argument valid? Not at all, and for a few reasons:
- Norman often tells people to read the sample chapters on his website or on Amazon and tells them to "judge for themselves." On writing forums he'll post samples and ask people for their opinion. If people follow his request, and still don't like what they read, he'll use the "You haven't read the whole book" card. As previously stated, this is the shifting the goalposts fallacy (see above).
- Many times the critics who say they couldn't finish the book say it's because it was boring, went on too long, or was just poorly written. When Norman opines that they didn't see what happens at the end, he seems to have completely missed the point: they don't want to get to the end, because his book is so badly written. If a movie has the best climax ever, but has two hours of needless and poorly done filler before then, no one is going to stay for the climax. Likewise, if a book is badly written, no one is going to continue reading it.
- Norman seems to forget that, in order for a book to be published, it has to be submitted to an editor, and this editor has to decide whether or not to publish the book from a sample. This is why authors and editors stress how important it is to present a good opening for your book. If his sample chapters fail to catch an editor's interest, then his book is going to be rejected, regardless of what might happen later. If your first few chapters, let alone 100 pages, impel a writer to continue, the issue is not on the reader, but the author.
The last part is especially important. Norman does not seem to comprehend that book samples are supposed to make a person want to read the book. If a book is well written and well done, a person is going to keep reading. If a book somehow grabs a person, they're going to continue on to the end. If something is wrong with the book, it is going to prevent the person from continuing to read - and that is the author's doing, not the reader. This is especially true with reading samples, or samples given to editors and literary officials. Norman, however, does not understand this - if you didn't read the whole book, you can't comment. This makes about as much sense as someone at a restaurant finding the first few bites of their food tasting terrible, and yet not being allowed to say the food is nasty unless they finish their entire serving.
No greater example of this came about than in one exchange between Norman and a high school English teacher whose department chair received a letter from Norman, along with a sample.
Note, again, Norman shifted goal posts: he sent a sample, which he expected to win the person over...then, after the person rejected the book, he rejected their opinion since they hadn't gone to his website nor read the entire book (which wasn't anywhere demanded in his original letter). Note, also, that Norman seems to forget that this sample was what was sent by him. This wasn't a subjective selection chosen by a critic or a random person on the internet, but this was a sample chosen by Norman Boutin himself to showcase how awesome his book is. If people didn't like his sample, that's his fault, not the reader's. His sample, which is meant to showcase how interesting the rest of the book is, failed in its job. It doesn't matter if the department chair didn't read the entire book - the sample is meant to demonstrate how great the rest of the book is.
An important fact to note is that Norman is completely inconsistent in how he handles this excuse. While he use it against critics of his own book, he completely forgoes it in regards to other authors. For example, Norman attacked Mike Ingram, one of the hosts of the Book Fight Podcast, and said, "Can you find anything interesting? A writer who can't write a single line that will interest anybody is a poor writer. " However, did Norman read all of Mike Ingram's work? Did he read a single one of his literary works from start to finish? If not, what right does he have to say whether or not it's really that interesting? By Norman's own standards, he has absolutely no right to say whether or not Mike Ingram's work is good or bad.
Appeal to emotion[edit | edit source]
Boutin attempted to make critics feel bad about themselves by stating that his sister got a fatal cancer.
To begin with, Boutin states a few false premises.
- Premise 1: Empress Theresa is destined to become a huge success. Considering the extensive negative opinions about the work, reportedly so boring that many people did not even finish it, it is impossible for ET to become a famous novel. Unless ET undergoes extensive editing, which Boutin will not allow, it will be universally rejected for publication.
- Premise 2: Boutin's sister will enjoy Premise 1 coming true. Assuming that her psyche is not as deranged as Boutin's, this is false. Her sister is of similar age to Boutin, a demographic that does not generally enjoy poorly-written science-fiction.
- Premise 3: Negative reviews delay the success of one's work. Reviews are necessary for good or bad, because even the most excellent novel will not jump into fame until critics read it. If Boutin were more mature, he might understand that taking into account constructive criticism is what facilitates a novel to become popular. Many works of fiction started out as concepts that are utterly different from what they are known for today.
And has a hidden premise.
- My work does not deserve to be criticized if I am suffering. The author's pain does not elevate the value of his or her work. Novels are valued for their originality, believable or relatable characters and their capability to elicit emotions on the reader.
- Accepting this premise is problematic. We might imagine a hypothetical situation whereby two writers, A and B, independently come up with the exact same story, word-by-word. If then we are told that B has a terminal illness, while A has recently won the lottery, we find ourselves in the paradoxical situation where B's story is better than A's, even though they tell the same story.
From these premises, Boutin concludes
- Critics are despisable.
"How do I avoid becoming another Norman?"[edit | edit source]
Some indie writers, or writers in general, have looked at Norman's antics, and worried that they may become another source of mockery and ridicule. They're worried that a large group of people might flock to their published works and collectively point and laugh at their mistakes.
Below are four tips on how to avoid becoming another Norman Boutin:
1) Look for constructive criticism and feedback.
Many authors have their work reviewed by friends or industry associates for typos, spelling errors, and the like. Many authors hire professional editors to review their story flow and consistency. Many authors likewise seek the use of "beta readers" to give them initial feedback on how the story is feeling, and offer advice if anything needs to be changed with the plot or the characters.
Whatever you choose to do, don't become one of those people who thinks their own individual look through has completed the editing process, and never become one of those people who thinks "their crap don't stink." Get a second opinion, a third opinion, a fourth opinion, etc. Join a writer's group. Become involved in the indie writing scene. Get to know other authors - especially those who have made a name for themselves. You will grow, and so will your craft.
2) Be open to constructive criticism and feedback.
It is one thing to ask people for their opinion (even Norm's done that) - it is quite another to be willing to accept that opinion, or at least take it to heart. Don't ask for someone's advice or opinion and expect nothing but oohs and awes. If someone says "This doesn't work" or "You need to flesh this part out," they're probably right. If a large number of people complain about something, it's probably a bigger concern than you're aware of. Look at your work with humility, and accept the fact that it probably needs to be changed.
And if someone points out an error, don't attempt to make excuses for it, but rather treat it with grace, and accept the correction. For example, JK Rowling wrote that Hedwig, a snowy owl in her Harry Potter series, hoots, but it was later pointed out to her that snowy owls bark; instead of pulling a Norman Boutin and trying to argue why it makes perfect sense for a snowy owl to hoot, Rowling accepted the correction, and only kept Hedwig hooting in later books to maintain consistency. Point is, even a bestselling author like JK Rowling can admit she made a mistake, and accept correction.
Granted, not every single bit of criticism you receive may be valid. If you write a romance novel set in the 18th century, and someone gets upset with you because there aren't any giant robots destroying whole cities, you should probably ignore them. However, don't become like Norman; don't rebuke or dispute every single bit of criticism your work receives in its feedback. The people giving you feedback are not trolls, and they're not out to destroy your message; let their criticism be a fire to refine your manuscript.
3) Do not respond to critics.
Some authors do respond to critics, but usually in the vein of "Thank you for your feedback!" or "Thanks for pointing that out, I'll look into fixing that in future editions." That shows both a level of maturity and humility, and many times it's won over the heart of the critic, to the point that some have apologize to the author for the tone of their review.
What we mean here is don't feel the need to go into an Amazon review's comment section, or the combox of a blog, and write a long manifesto refuting your critic's post, or defending your work. You'll have to keep in mind that if you become a writer, at least one person out there is going to hate your work. It has happened to every author who has ever lived. Someone thought your book was the worst piece of trash ever concocted in the English language? You aren't the first one to have someone think that about their work, and you won't be the last.
4) Do not go on a crusade against your critics!
One of the primary reasons Norman receives so much attention is that he doesn't know when to quit. He doesn't know when to say, "You know what? I've crossed the line. I need to get my good name back." He just keeps responding to critics. He keeps attempting to "defeat" his enemies. He keeps bragging about his book and declaring how famous it will be, and how shamed all his critics will feel when that day comes. He keeps going and going and going and going and...in the end, this is what he's known for. This is what gets his book so much attention. He is living proof that there is such a thing as bad publicity.
As most indie authors know, part of how you market your books is how you market yourself. Because you're on your own for getting the word out, people are going to look at you and see how you carry yourself, and how you brand your product. If you're conceited and egotistical, and respond to criticism with the maturity of an angry five-year old, then people are going to hate your product. If you show maturity, a respect for the craft, and a love for your readers, then people are going to be interested in what you have to offer.
The mistake Norman Boutin made was he displays a lack of respect for writing (by showing he doesn't believe he can improve), and he shows great disrespect for his readers (by insulting and belittling all who would dare suggest his book is not the greatest). As a result, his persona became his marketing, and became what Empress Theresa was known for. If he had been respectful and kind, Empress Theresa might have never received the attention it did. As it stands, he gave it more hate because he earned it. An article by TL Knighton touched on this issue:
- One of the first rules a writer should adhere to is “Thou Shalt Not Confront Thy Reviewers”. Bad reviews suck. More than that, they hurt. Each one is like a punch in the gut. However, no good generally comes from confronting the reviewer.
- Boutin did. The result? People shared the interaction with others, who then downloaded the samples, then posted their own reviews. In essence, they trolled Norman Boutin because he decided to be such an easy target. They knew they could get a rise out of him, and he proved them right.
If you don't desire a heavy dose of negative attention, do not give readers and reviewers alike a reason to give you negative attention. Look at Norman and his antics and, beside getting a heavy case of schadenfreude, learn and grow from his mistakes.
References[edit | edit source]