For a writer, there’s nothing like the punch in the gut that comes with our very first one-star review. When that review is grossly malicious? It definitely twists the knife that much deeper. In today’s installment of This Literary Life, author Matt Abraham talks about his first review troll and how he turned the tables on her–sort of.
“My First Review Troll” by Matt Abraham
Author Matt Abraham
For those of you who don’t know I got my first Amazon review troll this week, and subsequently went through the following 3 stages… before exacting revenge. WARNING: this isn’t for the squeamish, and if you’re a follower or a personal friend I hope I don’t lose you, or your respect. But sometimes we got to do what we got to do:
Stage 1: The Reaction
I’ll admit, once I got my first review troll I was excited. But that quickly that turned to rage. Who the hell gives a one star rating without even reading the book? Trolls, that’s who. So I decided not to take this lying down, I was going to hunt my troll. So I went on her Amazon page, and looked at all the things she bought, and I kid you not I found her real name. I found her work place. I found her address, and her email address. I even found a picture (don’t look at me like that, I write detective novels, what did you expect?). Now the only question is, “What would I do with this information?” The answer is scheme.
Stage 2: The Scheming
So as I lay in bed that night, scheming like a champ, I came up with three possible acts of vengeance:
1. Email her and avail myself to her human side, making my case politely, and asking her to take down the unfair trolling review. Maybe I’d quote God or something.
2. Email her and threaten to cook her children if she didn’t take down the unfair trolling review. Maybe I’d quote God or something.
3. Join Ashely Madison and every swinger site there is under her real name, get a good following, then ask for dick pics and porn and give out her work address.
As you can imagine I chose to go with option 3. Does that make me a bad person?
Stage 3: The Execution
So the next morning I hopped back onto my Amazon page, and looked up my troll. It was time to exact some sweet revenge. But here’s the thing; right above her nefarious vitriol sat seven reviews from independent book bloggers, and each one was really kind. And I remembered how they made me feel, and that general happiness outweighed my righteous anger. It also reminded me of the old saw in fiction: everybody’s the main character of their own story. So what kind of main character did I want to be? A villain, or a hero?
I knew the answer. So I put my dreams of revenge aside.
But I still needed closure. And then it hit me, and I smiled as I pressed ‘edit’ and added Dorothy A’s comments to my editorial reviews. So now when you visit Dane Curse’s Amazon page you’ll see this:
“Written with intelligent humor, easy dialogue, and an action-packed story line, Dane Curse is a must-read.” – Please Pass The Books
“Five stars… Filled with lots of action and humour, and will keep you engaged and entertained.” – Jael’s Reviews
“One Star- I didn’t read it…” Dorothy A. (AKA Muffiemae)
Yeah, that just feels right.
And… The Obligatory Moral
I learned a few things from the past few days of self-torment. The first is that if you fight fire with fire you just end up with more fire, and lowering yourself like that won’t make you feel better. The second is that the bullies of the ether should be afraid. It’s getting easier and easier to discover their identities, which lets us show the rest of the world the kind of people they really are. And finally, revenge may be a dish best served cold, but justice served with a smile and a pinch of irony is a hell of a lot more fun to eat.
Matt with his son Kal
“Matt Abraham currently lives in China with his criminally insane cat Durden, his beautiful one month old son Kal, and his supportive wife Jenny. If you’d like more information on his (mostly) critically acclaimed novel Dane Curse you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit him at danecursepi.wordpress.com . Or just write to say hi, he loves that.”