Authors Under Attack: Let’s Write a Happy Ending

camilla randalls mystery setI have written about bullies before. But when words kill, it doesn’t always happen in the schoolyard. I know a writer who is talented and kind and always tries to do the right thing. She dispenses incredibly useful writing advice on her own blog and I have learned so much from her. Frequently her posts will hit me at the exact time I need them.

For instance, I was writing a scene in my memoir and was stuck on whether I could include a couple of verses from a song. Two days later, her new post hit my inbox:  So You Want to Use Song Lyrics in Your Novel? 5 Steps to Getting Rights to Lyrics.

And just like that, I had my answer.

Anne’s posts are always chock full of gems like that. If you have never read her blog, which she shares with New York Times bestselling author Ruth Harris, you should.

Anne is also generous and friendly (and funny)—and she enriches my twitter and Facebook streams. I am just now jumping into her books. I purchased her three-set box of Camilla Randall stories, labeled as dark, funny mysteries with a touch of romance. The Best Revenge, the first book I read, was full of humor, conflict and fun plot twists. I enjoyed it immensely and as soon my new Kindle arrives (the first one died on me!), I’ll be diving into the other two.

Writers standing together

In this new profession of mine, I have been beyond excited to find that writers, for better or worse, stick together. We celebrate each other’s successes and we commiserate when someone is going through a rough spot. Because we have all been there.

I have been discussing the problem of cyber-bullies lately with a few of my friends. In the self-pulished author’s world, it seems to be reaching epidemic proportions and has even touched goodreads in a significant way. There is a point when “bad reviews” cross over into “just plain mean” territory. They serve no other purpose but to demean authors. As writers, we should not expect all reviews to be glowing, but in the online communities, we are subjected to attacks by “anonymous” reviewers who are not held accountable for what they say.

Anne R Allen AuthorRight now, Anne needs a little help from us. Someone (we think it might be one person) has decided for whatever reason that they don’t like her. They have visited Amazon and left rude, unfair reviews that threaten to do serious damage to her reputation and her book sales. I strongly suspect that this person, reviewing under different names, did not even read Anne’s books.

Read cool books, help us fight the bullies

This is not an attempt to “fluff up” legitimate reviews that may have been negative. It is, instead, a way we writers can stand with a colleague and show the bad guys that they are not going to win. And in the process, we get to experience the pure delight of Anne’s books and her characters’ journeys.

If you feel as strongly about this issue as I do, you can purchase the Camilla Randall Mysteries 3-set here (at very special, limited offer price right now). And the best way you can help Anne is by writing  your own review (just visit Anne’s Amazon page and scroll down, past “Customer Reviews,” until you reach the button that says “Write a customer review). You also can go in and check “not helpful” on the reviews that trashed Anne and her work. Some of them are on the page’s right sidebar.

Anne has given so much to the writing community. Now it’s time to give back. If you are able to share this post on Facebook and/or twitter, all the better.

I am willing to stand up to the bullies. Will you join me?

Make sure you don’t miss a post.


  1. Joan Z. Rough September 4, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    Judy, I don’t understand what makes some people tick and these or that bully is one of them. I will happily stand with you and Anne.



    • Judy Lee Dunn September 8, 2013 at 9:04 am #


      Thanks for the comment. As I explore this issue more, I see that there are strong emotions on each side: the writers and the reader/reviewers. And differing perceptions as to what “bullying” is. I think they need to have more controls in place and hold people accountable for their reviews, which would mean not accepting anonymous reviewers and not allowing people to created multiple accounts, in other words, reviewing the same book more than once. And I don’t know how they would track it, but it would help if people were actually required to read the book before they write a review.


  2. Rosalind Minett September 5, 2013 at 1:44 am #

    It’s hard for some writers to find a happy ending. A memorable one is perhaps ok. Http//


    • Judy Lee Dunn September 8, 2013 at 9:05 am #

      So you were taking my title literally? Not sure I understand your comment. : )


      • Rosalind Minett April 18, 2015 at 4:30 am #

        Judy, I’ve just seen this, pretty well by accident after reading your blog in support of you visiting Me Time Tales. I was interested in the post because I’ve often visited Anne’s site, and included her as super blogger last year on my writing blog, Characterful Writer. I’m glad I did see this. don’t know who this is, but it’s not me! I always have this avatar, Girl Before Word Processor. Now I must track down the culprit. I hope s/he hasn’t done any other damage. Well done for supporting Anne.


  3. Beth Buelow September 6, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    So sad that people can be so heartless. Any writer who has the courage and motivation to publish (self or traditional) deserves thoughtful feedback, not attacks. In Anne’s case, perhaps it’s a fellow writer, and this is a case of “those who can’t do, criticize”? 🙂

    This to me is one of the hardest parts of being a writer: opening yourself up and being incredibly vulnerable to anyone and everyone. I expect constructive criticism, but I have no use for the trolls and refuse to give them any power. Thank you, Judy, for rallying us together in support of Anne and all writers who get dinged by these dingbats.

    (PS: book set purchased, looking forward to reading and reviewing!)


    • Judy Lee Dunn September 8, 2013 at 9:12 am #


      Thanks for sharing this post on twitter. And you are right about the vulnerability factor. I do believe that authors need to develop a thick skin and am all for legitimate reviews, even if the reader didn’t enjoy my book. (Because how could any one book appeal to everyone?) I would, though, like to see these sites have controls in place to catch the abusive behavior. I think this kind of stuff happens more with fiction writers who create for the masses than, say a nonfiction author of a business book. You have made some good points here, my friend. And thanks for supporting Anne!


  4. Steve & Sally Wharton December 5, 2013 at 8:09 am #

    Nice post, Judy. Thanks!

    It is ashamed that the larger websites and online entities such as, Goodreads, Yelp, etc allow such derisive, anonymous attacks without at least requiring the minimum accountability of a “verified purchase” or similar proof of actually experiencing the book, product, or service being vilified. Me thinks that the mere requirement to spend as little as a dollar would send these evil, negative-naysayers scampering for the darkness like so many dirty creepy-crawlies scurrying from the light.

    Of course, such online services and websites could probably not care less about what is actually being posted, or by whom, because their chief concern is traffic and click activity as related to their Google-juice and SERPs placement.

    That said, maybe the current spate of lawsuits involving Yelp(?) and similar online ratings-services might lead to some changes.

    I still get a chuckle out of Slashdot who allow anonymous participation in their spirited commentaries, but the Slashdot moniker attached to such folks is always, “Anonymous Coward.” Ha!

    Thanks for the discounted ebooks tip; they have been purchased, and we will do our best to post appropriate, real Amazon and Goodreads reviews.

    Perhaps (maybe I missed it?) it would also be good to suggest that people give feedback/complaints via the appropriate customer service channels for Amazon and Goodreads about these blatantly bogus and abusive reviews?

    A lot of organized chirping on Twitter and Google Plus (with the appropriate and consistent hashtag such as #AmazonBullying #StopAbusiveReviews or something) might get a response. Companies respond pretty fast to such grassroots noise…such as

    Thanks again for the thoughtful, constructive post. Here’s hoping we can make a difference!


    • Judy Lee Dunn December 9, 2013 at 8:58 am #

      Wow, what a thoughtful comment. I do think that things are starting to change because there is more attention being given to this issue. When we discussed this at a writers’ conference recently, in a session on indie publishing, a few of the professionals on the panel felt like writers should have thick skins (which they should, I agree) and just suck it up when they get bad reviews. But bad legitimate reviews are very different from ones where reviewers have an agenda and a goal to destroy a writer’s reputation.

      Anne will be delighted to know that you have purchased her set. Thanks for that.


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