That Time When I Was a Bully Without Meaning To: Authors Pay Heed

There’s been some new marketing advice going around the Indie publishing scene. Authors are advised to take their bad reviews and use them to sell their work.

Bad review says too much sex?

Use it.

Bad review says they don’t like X,Y, Z trope?

Use it.

There are readers who want fast burns. There are readers who want X, Y, Z tropes.

The idea is to reach readers who wouldn’t have considered your books. You catch their eye with the nastiness of whatever review is used and hopefully intrigue them.

Seems like not a big deal, right?


I suggested it on my favorite author’s group. I looked through her reviews and there were some funny ones, ones that highlight what we love about her books.

Her PA shut that down real fast. She pointed out that this equates to making fun of a reviewer who took their time to write what they felt was an honest review – it would be bullying. We NEVER want to make people uncomfortable so they don’t feel like they can review.

I hadn’t considered that angle.


I asked if she wanted me to take down the post, and she said no, it was fine. The comments made me cringe, and every one of them was right to call me on it.

I had NOT intended to bully folks, but that’s what this type of marketing equates to.

Authors, this may look like a clever new marketing gimmick.

It’s NOT.

Please don’t use this gimmick.