The Great War of Jacqueline Howett

Authors Behaving Badly, Readers Behaving Badly, Unbelievable

The fighting is now one-sided, and modern combatants are left asking why it even began. Jacqueline Howett’s novel, The Greek Seaman, was self-published. She was an unknown author. In 2011, a likewise unknown book review blog called “Big Al’s Books and Pals,” gave the book a negative review and brought about the theater of war. The following verbal battle remains legendary, and continues even today.

Pliny should’ve been there to chronicle the carnage. Howett voiced her displeasure towards “Al” in the comments section. Site visitors then attacked Howett. Big Al’s site had only been hosting reviews about three months at that time. Even when blog administration disabled comments, visitors took the conversations to social media, and continued the onslaught.

There were no victors in this great battle. One author’s meltdown cast a poor shadow over other authors, and a group of readers continue to disparage said author even today, five years later. Soon, everyone had to get on the bandwagon to display their hate and disgust towards an author who “attacked a reviewer.” Even publications as reputable as The Guardian, Forbes, and Salon, covered the fallout and vilified an unheard-of author.

It is unclear as to why a simple disagreement between two relatively unknown people was taken to such extremes. The ongoing lesson: be very careful of what you say to reviewers, even if you don’t believe their site has many visitors. Major newspapers, large publishing house representatives, as well as other big names in the publishing industry, all came out against Howett, for nothing more than an amateur’s mistake. The most glaring element of this story is the overwhelming overkill exhibited towards the writer. Murderers receive less hate.

There are even discussions among readers to have Howett BLACKLISTED. The outrage for her lack of professionalism is understandable, but we don’t go full NAZI. You never go full Nazi.

List of authors banned in Nazi Germany.

It appears Seaman has been removed from Amazon.

So, what do you think?