BigAl vs. Jacqueline Howett – Craziness in the Book Blogging World

Maybe you’ve all heard this story already, but if not it’s a pretty interesting one.  BigAl’s Books and Pals is a small book blog (50-ish hits a day, 200 followers) focusing on independent authors with an emphasis on Kindle publications.  On March 16, BigAl published this review of The Greek Seaman by Jacqueline Howett.  The review said mostly positive things about the story but criticized its grammar, spelling and poor writing, ultimately concluding that most readers will never make it through this book because it’s so poorly written.

The author commented immediately, first accusing BigAl of not reading the right reviewer copy, and then accusing him of not understanding her because she’s English.  She goes on to copy and paste numerous positive Amazon  reviews in the comments section of his blog — because if these anonymous Amazon reviewers love her book so much, BigAl’s review must be wrong.  BigAl refutes her arguments but at this point the word has spread about this angry and unprofessional author.  His readers start forwarding his review, Tweeting it, etc.  His blog now has about 996 followers and at one point was receiving 194,000 hits a day.  The madness relating to this woman’s book has spilled over to Amazon — she now has 75 one-star reviews — and whether all this publicity is helping or hurting her, I can’t say.

BigAl has written about the experience but also gone back to writing his reviews.  I wonder how this explosion of followers (we should all be so lucky, right?) will affect how he writes his blog. He’s indicated some changes already, like bringing in guest reviewers to help with the hundreds of books that are now submitted for his review.

I haven’t been blogging very long, and would be thrilled and pretty darn nervous to have an author comment on one of my posts.  I’d love to hear if this has happened to other book bloggers. Have you had an author comment on your blog?   Do you actively seek the input of the authors you review, or at least share your posts with them?

BigAl seems like a pretty thoughtful guy and it’s nice to see such an outpouring of support for what seems to be a fair and reasonable book review.  It’s a fascinating story about how our little blogs can go BIG in a real hurry.


3 Comments on “BigAl vs. Jacqueline Howett – Craziness in the Book Blogging World

  1. I had an author comment one time on my blog – I am guessing that for some publishers this is standard procedure when they are providing review copies, to pass the blog links on so there’s some sort of interaction between author & reviewer. The whole thing that happened at Big Al’s site seems so freaky to me, and I bet it wouldn’t have happened if the writer worked for a publisher. (I mean, her book would have had to go through some sort of quality control, but also she wouldn’t have the freedom to cuss people out on the interwebs.) And yeah, weird how one post can blow up like this.

  2. I usually only blog about books that I like (I review ones I don’t enjoy other places, but my blog is more for books I’d actually recommend to others) and every once in a while I get an author commenting on the review. I’m always flattered that they took the time to visit my blog (and leave a comment!), especially if it’s an author I really admire!

  3. I’ve had authors comment on my blog. I do get all happy and giddy because they took the time to come and read my reviews.

    Not sure if I would like my blog to explode at such epic proportions though then I’d feel the pressure. I’m actually happy getting at least 50 hits 😀

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