One star review

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I knew I’d get one sooner or later. A one star review.

No one can write a book that is all things to all people. If one person loves it, another will hate it. That’s the way the world works.

But I’m a little disappointed in this particular one star review. Mainly because I’m pretty sure it’s a fake.

When I first read the review I took it at face value. Someone read my book and didn’t like it. Fair enough.

But when I took a second look I noticed an overabundance of spite and malice. What exactly about my book had made the reviewer so mad? Anger oozed out of every word like puss from an infected cut.

It prompted me to do a little research on the reviewer. What I found surprised me.

There are reviewers who take pleasure in reviewing harshly. They usually seem to think their opinion is worth more than the opinions of others so they review a lot and often. But this one had only one review listed–the one star spiteful attack against my book. In addition, the only person I could find with the same name is a famous scholar and author in France.

Really? What’s the likelihood of that?

That’s when I realized that the one star rant wasn’t aimed at my book. I was the target. Me. Personally.

I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, I know how the Internet works. I’m well aware that masked bandits act very differently than unmasked ones. The mask makes them feel protected, invincible even. No chance of recognition means no responsibility, so they fling good sense and common courtesy to the wind.

My question is, who did I tick off so much that he or she wants to damage my career?

Oh well. There is one positive to all this. At least I’m getting a firsthand taste of cyber harassment, the adult version of cyberbullying!

Let me tell you, it doesn’t taste good!

I think I’ll go brush my teeth.


I just looked at the review and it’s been edited. Some of the more personal comments about me as a writer have been taken out. Could the reviewer be trying to hide the spitefulness, to make the review appear more legitimate and less like an attack?

If he really wants to hide the attack the next step will be to post more reviews. I’m interested to see if he (or it could be a she) will exert that much effort.

Even Later (because I’m not good at letting things go, or so my husband tells me)

I’ve come up with three possible theories to explain this review.

1. A wanna-be superhero read my book and felt compelled by an irresistible force to go through the bother of assuming a secret identity so he/she could post a negative review to save the world from the mundaneness of my writing. (Strange, but it could happen.)

2. Someone became ticked off by something I did, so he/she decided to teach me ‘a lesson’ by assuming a fake name to write a negative review. In this scenario, no one is trying to save the world, only cause damage with a little cyber harassment. (There are bullies everywhere!)

3. A competing author is beginning a campaign to build himself/herself up by knocking other author’s down. If this instance is correct the reviewer will write good reviews for his/her own work and the work of well-known authors, and write nasty reviews for authors who don’t have the backing of large publishing houses with significant marketing budgets. (Extremely unethical, but I’ve heard of it happening more times than you can imagine. I already have another review that I found out was written for this very reason.)


Out of curiosity I looked this morning and the one star review was gone. (Did I mention I have trouble letting things go?) 

I have no clue what the disappearance of the review means.
Will it come back?
Only time will tell.

What do you think?