Authors Behaving Badly: How I Pissed Off Legions of Emily Giffin Fans

I am a reader.  I read a LOT.  I read so much that I am in Amazon Vine and I’ve often passed up pretty awesome gadgets and gizmos so that I could get a copy of a favorite authors new book.  One of those such books was Where We Belong by Emily Giffin.  I read this while on vacation and enjoyed the read but didn’t love it.  For me, the works since Something Borrowed/Something Blue have not reached the bar set by those works (especially Something Blue) however I did appreciate that this novel did not glorify cheating, which the majority of her other works do.  I handed the book off to friends to read during the trip and we all agreed that it was a decent beach-esque read.  I now regret urging others to read this novel.

Around the time of the launch of the book, Emily had started posting and tweeting people urging them to buy her book to make her number one.  The first post kind of annoyed me because it made the fans seem like they were not good enough if she couldn’t reach #1, then her follow up post when finding out she was in fact #2 was equally as awful.  She had another post or two lamenting about it on her Facebook and on her Twitter and it frankly annoyed me to the point of commenting to friends that it was pretty diva like behavior and that there seemed to be an epidemic of crying over being second place (the Olympics were taking place at the same time).  It really turned me off and I was already starting to be sorry I had reviewed her book for Amazon and possibly helped even one person decide to purchase this novel.

 

 

 

This week, I noticed in my feed a link pop up to her Facebook talking about her husband being in a comment war against a reviewer on Amazon and how it wasn’t a 5 star review.  I don’t know why, but the whole idea of authors or people acting on their behalf (and I consider a spouse to also represent the author) and attacking reviewers make me ill.  Perhaps it’s because I am a part of Amazon Vine (have been since 2007) but I take reviews seriously.  I’ve thankfully (up until now!) never had to deal with an author attack due to my less than perfect review but I’ve been reading more and more cases of this happening online.  I rolled my eyes and shook my head and continued on with my work.  Then a following post appeared talking about how her husband was still at it, as if the first post didn’t get enough attention.  At this point I decided to head over to see what the heck kind of review could start this kind of nonsense.

Well… that doesn’t seem bad at all, certainly not attacking the author, tearing the book apart or even remotely spiteful.  Not at all what I was expecting to see.  I then continued to read to see what Emily’s husband had been saying and my jaw hit the proverbial floor.

*screen capture thanks to Book Goggles as it’s since been removed by Amazon*

One should note that the initial reply from Giffin’s husband was the same day as the review and the activity on the page was slow at best until Emily posted the below on her Facebook.  She did not link directly to the review (although it was linked in the comments by a few of her fans) but it was pretty easy to find, I did so without difficulty.

*screen capture thanks to Pocketful of Books as it has since been deleted*

Now the claims are that she didn’t know about how awful her fans were being and that she never directed people to Amazon to attack (screen capture of this coming later in the post) but both of these comments got me to go looking for the review as well as many other fans.  Many I should note on her FB page were telling her this wasn’t a good idea and she should delete her posts, so not everyone was raising their proverbial pitchforks against the reviewer but one quick look at the comments on the review showed that an overwhelming amount of people were saying pretty awful things against this legitimate review.

At this point I had had enough.  I couldn’t stand the thought of the fact that my review could even get one person to buy her book so I decided to change the review.  I’ve done so in the past when my mind has changed on a product or book and never have had an issue with this in the least.  I changed my review from 4 to 1 star and stated why I did.  The novel was okay but I couldn’t in good faith support an author whom supports the kind of behavior that was going on with the initial 1 star review.  Since this item was a Vine product, I can’t simply delete the review.  I hit save and figured that while I was only one person, at least I’m not longer supporting an author whom encourages this kind of behavior from her husband and fans.

The first few comments surprised me – I didn’t think about my review being seen but I had forgotten about Emily pointing people to the one starred reviews, which would mean that mine would come up.  Crap.  I then went and looked at the comments on the other low starred reviews and saw that already her fandom was attacking.  I girded my loins and prepared for it to get ugly but initially, the support was mostly positive.  Then someone must have alerted Emily to the post as I was shocked to see my review pop up in my Facebook feed being blasted by Emily.

In the comment section, they were pretty quick to find my review and post it and the shitstorm on my review comment page ensued.  Granted, Emily did sort of attempt to call off the dogs but in the same respect she also pointed out my review and posted her feelings on my changing the rating (again, from 4 not 5 stars) which she is entitled to.  If she didn’t encourage bullying though, she would have deleted my review being linked on her page immediately like she did with any comments that supported her.  By this point there were a few people saying this needed to quit and the comments her fans were leaving were quite horrible.  At this point Emily’s assistant decided to jump in and defend Emily as well leaving quite a few comments that were pretty shocking coming from someone that represents the author on a professional level.

*screen capture thanks to Pocketful of Books as it has since been deleted*

This is just one of many comments that Katie left on my review (all she or Amazon has deleted).  However, at this point there were still quite a few people thinking that it was pretty crappy what was going on and supporting me and my right to my opinion on the book.  Then more crap hit Emily’s Facebook.

*screen capture thanks to Pocketful of Books as it has since been deleted*

Personally there is no way that a 1 star review falls under my category of “most unfair things” but I guess that she should consider herself blessed for leading such a charmed life.  Here Emily directly is linking to my review with her assistants plea for fans to comment and defend her against “these” attacks.  Personally, I don’t view my review as attacking the author so much as stating my opinion but I gather that is subjective so I’ll take the “attack” hit.  However, the initial review by AvidReader does not remotely come close to attacking Emily in the least.  With a battle cry like this, Emily’s fans got even more rabid in their attacks against me and her assistant (CrimznTider) continued to do battle.  Most of these have been deleted by Amazon.

So now I’m a stalker, bigot and an infant.  There’s more mudslinging but I think this gives you the overall tone of the kind of comments that I was receiving from the fans of Ms. Giffin after she posted on her Facebook a link to my review. There was also tweets from her account as well regarding this.

 *screen capture thanks to Pocketful of Books as it has since been deleted*

Finally about 2 or so hours after this whole debacle started, Emily finally attempted to call the dogs off on Facebook.

In short order her husband also offered up his apology to me on my review, I did not see this placed on AvidReader’s review however and she’s the one that truly deserves it.

FINALLY!  Although the apology is not perfect but I appreciated him finally apologizing and it did seem to slow (NOT STOP) the attacks on Amazon.  At this time Emily’s assistant finally stopped her postings as well.  Around 11:00PM I received 3 different calls, all blocked, with one leaving a “delete your review!” voicemail and the second stating that I should just kill myself for being such a miserable person for attacking poor Emily.   REALLY?  And yes, I’m talking with the cops about this already.  I mean that’s Misery kind of fan territory.  Not long after I heard a loud bang on my deck and I was legitimately scared that it was a gunshot.  Far fetched maybe but this was quickly sinking into WTF territory.

I went to bed last night shaking my head and completely baffled and amazed at what a turn this whole day took.   When I woke up I decided to check Emily’s Facebook page to see if she’d posted any sort of apology or whatnot but I found this instead.

I just… I don’t… WHAT?  She has also deleted all of her postings regarding the reviews, which is probably a good thing on her end.  I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed this remotely and it’s pretty unfathomable that you would even begin to entertain the idea that someone would ENJOY the shitstorm I’ve endured over the past day.  For the record, Emily posted a link to my review directly asking for people to come support the attack against her.  That’s not saying gang up but it was all but spelled out

Here’s hoping this dies a quiet death.  I for one will never read another Giffin novel and I am happy to hear that others are doing the same.

UPDATE:

Pipe dreams, they are lovely things to have aren’t they?  The only apology I have received from her camp is on my review, she has not reached out to me other than on that platform and that was her husband, not her, unless the account really is hers.  Again, I don’t deserve what happened to me because I dared to change a review.  I also will not be bullied into changing or deleting my review because that’s what Emily thinks is best.  If she didn’t want the drama to continue, she would stop making posts such as these. Sure, I’m adding to the fire now by posting these screen caps but damnit, I’m furious.  I think most would be too if they were in my shoes.

UPDATE #2:

I started getting negative comments on this blog post and low and behold, Emily is making vaguebook status updates.  It’s interesting how I am always able to figure it out when things have hit her Facebook when there is an uptick in negative feedback.

Also for those asking, yes I have been to the police station today regarding the voice mails and cyber bullying.

UPDATE #3

After thinking on this whole disaster this evening, I wondered how I could turn this into something positive.  I wished there was a charity for me to donate books to children that are bullied as a child I always lost myself in books when I was bullied in school.  I still do it as an escape from reality.  Since such a charity doesn’t exist (anyone want to start one?) I’m donating to the Megan Meier Foundation instead.  Megan Meier is the girl who killed herself after being cyber bullied on MySpace, a story which still saddens me.  I donated $614: a dollar for every downvote I received (278 – is that a record?) as well as AvidReader (78) and another dollar for every comment on the review (201 for me, 57 for AvidReader).  Granted, not every comment was bullying but I don’t care to go in and figure it all out as reliving those comments is not an ideal way to spend my evening.

I hope this is the end of this, I really do.

UPDATE #4

My review has been removed from the book page of Where We Belong.  You can still access it by clicking on the direct link but it is “gone” for all intents and purposes.  I did not do this, it was on Amazon’s end of things.

UPDATE #5 (December 30, 2012)

Ha, you thought it was all done.  Well, it is but I thought that instead of a new blog post, I’d finish up the “resolution” to this whole debacle as well as finally answer the question of what happened to AvidReader.

• Amazon took down my review of Where We Belong completely, however it still counts toward my Vine reviews so I didn’t have to review it again to stay under my percentage goals.  Huzzah.  Although, reviewing it again could have been interesting as I’m sorry but there’s no way on earth that my debacle wouldn’t have influenced my views in the least.  I know some don’t approve but in the same regards I tend to give authors I adore a kinder/better review based on my love of them so IMHO it can go both ways.

• I never had a direct apology in any form from Emily.  The only apology I got was from her publicist, whom did eventually contact me but it wasn’t on her behalf, more or less was trying to get me to take down this blog.  I refused and he was polite about my refusal.  They did release a somewhat public apology in The Atlantic.

• Despite accusations to the contrary, AvidReader is *not* some stalker of Emily Giffin’s, nor a psycho.  Instead she is a college student who used an email she doesn’t check during the school year for her Amazon profile.  When she got home for the holidays and checked her not-often-read email, she was surprised to see what kind of fuss became of her review.  She contacted me to thank me for supporting her and was glad that she missed all of the drama.  I’m SO glad to hear from her and know she is OK.  I was concerned but hoped something like this was the case.

• Finally I want to say a huge thank you to the authors and fellow reviewers that reached out to me during this mess.  I was stunned, surprised and humbled by your overwhelming support.  I’ve gained a lot of respect for you all and I’m glad to know that some of my favorite authors are on my team and I’ve also discovered a few new ones that I want to support.  It was a crazy ordeal and I couldn’t have asked for kinder people to be in my corner.

You may also like

358 Comments

  1. I left a comment via FB but I’d rather do it this way…I’ll try to delete the other one so that I am not repeating…

    I just spent about an hour reading through your blog post and I am appalled. I feel so bad for you! I feel so bad for the other reviewer, too. I will never pick up one of her books again. Her attitude alone regarding the bestseller list was enough to do it for me.

    I wanted to add another perspective, though…

    I make homemade cleaning products. I am also a professional ghostwriter. I’ve had a few books released under my own name but mostly their under other people’s. Anyway, I make the cleaning products and sell them at farmer’s markets and festivals. A lot of people ask for my recipes so I decided to make a little 63 page book that I could sell along with the products, just in case people wanted to make their own. It’s a small book and it’s just recipes. You can find most of them online if you want to take the time to look. I self-published it and put it on Amazon as a print book and ebook. I enrolled in KDP Select and made the ebook free. The print book is priced at about $3. (I can’t really remember. I sell them in person for $5.)

    The ebook was downloaded around 900 times for free. I got one review. That one review was a 1 star and scathing. Oh, it was terrible. Their biggest complaint was that it didn’t have a Table of Contents. (It was supposed to…something got lost in translation I guess.) The reviewer said that they didn’t finish it.

    But…

    The reviewer then said that they visited my website. They proceeded to copy and paste my professional services and education into the review. Where they proceeded to make fun of it. Take into consideration that my book was a recipe book on homemade cleaning supplies. They accused me of making up the fact that I am a professional writer and THEN mentioned my husband and criticized him. His name was NOT associated with the book at all. They got it from my website where he is mentioned as an occasional partner in my writing services. He actually teaches at a university.

    I was concerned for my professional sake, and my husband’s. I was mostly concerned that future clients might google me and find that review and then wonder if perhaps I was making up my past experiences. I was also nervous that people might be led there because of my husband’s name. (Remember, his name was not on the book or mentioned anywhere on my end…she just dragged him in from out of nowhere.)

    So what happened? My husband commented. Bless his heart, he tried. He shouldn’t have. I also commented. I thanked her for the review but then said that there wasn’t any need to mention him.

    The reviewer went crazy. (A click on her name showed that her behavior was a pattern. She seemed to revel in name calling and belittling, often admitting that she hadn’t read the books she was rating.)

    I went back in and fixed my TOC and then went to my original comment to her and edited that comment. I wrote “ETA: Thanks for pointing out the lack of a table of contents. That has been fixed.” Or something like that. I was polite.

    She commented again and berated me for doing that and for writing “ETA” instead of “edited to add.”

    I removed the ebook, thinking it would help stop the drama.

    She commented again and made fun of THAT.

    She berated my other book, too, and warned people against it-especially since my cleaning supplies book was so awful. She hadn’t read it. That book is a non-fiction account of my child’s death.

    Clearly, there was no way to win this war.

    Another reviewer commented and liked it. That helped.

    I feel emotionally scarred by the whole thing. It was a simple recipe book. Just something for fun that I was giving away for FREE.

    I have learned my lesson, though. It almost never helps to comment back. I won’t do it again. This was my first time at having to deal with anything like that.

  2. Emily is Darcy before Darcy moved to England and reconnected with Ethan. Period.

  3. Wow, just wow … I think I’ll never buy one of her books. It’s so sad to see how some authors get detached (from reality) and can’t even appreciate that their book makes #2 on the NYT Bestseller List. Thank you for detailed blog post and don’t ever take it down! 🙂

  4. I’m glad this has resolved itself as much as it can and that you turned it into a positive, Corey Ann. I followed some of this a bit late, but I can assure you, given her attack on you OVER A REVIEW basically made sure I will never purchase any of her books in the future.

    There are too many books, and too many really NICE authors to read!

    Keep up the good fight. : )

  5. Oh give me a break. So you are allowed to express your opinion on how you don’t like her but no-one is allowed to defend her. I will go out and by every book twice just to make up for the loss of revenue she will be getting from any of you judgemental people. You want to talk about bullying? How about the fact that you bullied her for her honest opinions on her aspiration to be number 1 on the NYT bestsellers. There is nothing wrong with being disappointed with second place. Especially after she specifically remarks that she would take the love of her fans over first place any day.

    1. Lol you go do that. Unfortunately for you this site is like the fifth website on google search when you search for “Emily Giffin”. This will mar her reputation forever.

      Emily Giffin is the ultimate evil bully so even if people here are “bullying” her, she dishes it out so she can take it.

      I used to like her but then I found out she has a LAW DEGREE and she believes in tabloid rumors. She’s strangely obsessed with Angelina Jolie & Jennifer Aniston. Like she talks about how evil Jolie is for supposedly spreading rumors that Jennifer didn’t want kids and I’m like wait…why are you just parroting what the tabloids are saying? You have a law degree, you should know better than to take tabloids for face value.

  6. As a writer myself, I appreciate all feedback on my writing, including bad reviews. That is how you learn and grow and better yourself as a writer. What she did, to blast a person who actually took the time to read her work is inexcusable.

    I agree completely with your original review of the novel. I just finished it myself today and went to Google to find out if there would be a sequel because of how it ended. The best of the characters was barely in it! And no one changed. In a fictional novel, the character goes through an event which evolves them. There is none of that in this novel. I found this blog through the Google search and am just flabbergasted as to how this author acted.

    As I said, I am a writer. Or really, aspiring to be one. I would KILL to even just be published, let alone be on the NYT best sellers list. I would probably die on the spot if I wrote the very last book on the list. Just to make a living as a writer is the ultimate dream, so for someone to beg to be in the number one spot and then get pissy when they are not is beyond disgusting. And then to trash a less than stellar review is ridiculous. When I ask someone to read something of mine, and they tell me they don’t like it, I ask them why and find out what a reader would like to see. You can’t just please yourself if you want to be number one, you have to please your audience as well.

  7. So this whole thing came up again on an Amazon thread and even though it happened a while ago, it’s good to be reminded of behaviour like this, for which a ‘real’ apology was not extended. Will never, ever buy Giffin’s books or even read for free. She (and her hubby) screwed themselves. Period.

  8. Just wow. I just read about this on a random Twitter thread.

    It looks like her husband or Emily Giffin herself stalks Amazon reviews, because the detail she was able to provide once I read through your thread is astonishing. The fact that she posted it on her FB page and then acted like she wasn’t complicit goes way over the line.

    This flashes back to my school days when I was bullied by some girls who could torment me psychologically. Coreyann, you are brave, and by taking a stand (and screenshots) you make the rest of us stronger who have been bullied on the Internet or otherwise. You didn’t let them stream roll over you.

    As you can see you have a lot of admirers and people who have your back, girlfriend!

  9. What a turn off! I stumbled upon this while looking for a new book of hers to read. Needless to say, I’ve ended my search. This is all so ridiculous! Makes me feel like her books are just a commodity and all she wants is more fans for more money.

  10. You did a great job with this blog post, laying out exactly what happened and having Emily’s own posts contradict themselves (and outright lie). Wow. I’m so sorry you went through this. Just ugly and wrong.

  11. This behavior by Emily Giffin attacking a reviewer (or um, excuse me “her husband”) is beyond….just beyond acceptable. It looks like we certainly know who the psycho is…hmmm?

    I’m so glad you stuck up for yourself Coreyann. Good lord, she needs to get a grip on herself. I had never heard of her, (looked this up after an Amazon thread) but will NEVER buy any of her books. She is the frenemy you want to avoid both in high school, and college.

    Take care of yourself, Coreyann. And rest assured, there are a lot of us that feel the same way—that this is unconscionable. Puhleeze! Who cares!

  12. I completele support your decision not to buy or read books from emily giffin. There seems to an air of supuperioritybin her writing, which nauseates me…… Good for. You for standing up to someone whose true colors have bee revealed to the world. I will be avoiding anything she writes or says. There are a lot of decent people inthis world who find. Her husbands bullying disgusting, maybe he’s obsessed with her money.

  13. How are you doing now after all of this? Do you still receive threats and nasty comments? Did you ever receive an apology?

    1. All is quiet for the most part. I get the lingering hater comment but not too much. I never did receive an apology from Emily however her publicist did reach out and apologize.

  14. Please do yourself and favor and read the June edition of Redbook magazine that was released this week! Read it asap. Emily discusses being catfished by fans again. Funny because her and her husband catfished readers on Amazon with fake profiles. I noticed she accused AvidReader in your Amazon situation here of being a fake profile. Then you proved that AvidReader is a real person. In the magazine article She mentions a girl who confided in her but was pretending to be ill. Then she talked about a girl who pretended to be raped. These girls couldn’t have lied. It sounds an awful lot like her accusing AvidReader of being fake too. Isn’t that awful? Who would out people like that in a magazine? There are so many other ways to handle things in life.

    1. Nothing much really – one of the calls came from a phone that the parents said were for their underage daughter. I figured as much so I didn’t press charges.

  15. I’m disgusted by what happened to you and equally disgusted by Giffin’s response – basically saying “but she started it with a negative book review!” to news of someone receiving death threats?? What planet is she on?! No way will I be reading any more of her books – I enjoyed quite a few of them but then was made to feel very uncomfortable by a subplot in her latest book which dealt with a rape victim’s experience being dismissed. After reading this post, I’m now more than happy to leave her work well alone!

  16. I know this post is from awhile ago but I just read it and felt compelled to chime in and thank you for writing this.

    The original one-star review by the college student was fair and reasonable. It was her honest opinion and that’s what reviews are for. To think that such an innocuous post set off that kind of behavior from adults is appalling! I know that people make mistakes and sometimes say things they don’t mean, but I think this entire situation is probably indicative of Emily Giffin and her husband’s true character. I’m glad you captured the incident in this post. Thank you again.

  17. I was initially harassed by Buddy Blaha, Emily’s husband and honestly, harassed wasn’t even the word I should use. He was just annoying. I had written a post on her facebook page about The One and Only – first I complimented her, but then told her that I wasn’t comfortable with the direction of the story line. My comments were deleted. This upset me because I wasn’t rude, I was simply expressing my opinion and my opinions don’t matter to Emily apparently. Anyway, I found her assistant’s name on Emily’s website, so I wrote to Kate, but Kate had Buddy write to me instead. Buddy’s explanation was that they didn’t want to upset other readers by posting “”negative” comments, but mine were NOT negative, which baffles me! Buddy was laying on the “poor Emily” theme, which didn’t get him anywhere and he wanted to talk to me on the phone; I declined. Why would I want to talk to him- did he secretly write the book and she’s taking credit? Anyway, it has been over a month and I’ve yet to get any type of a form of communication from Emily and I won’t hold my breath. Clearly she is so self-absorbed and doesn’t respect the time, energy, money and comments that we the readers put into her books, so rest assured, I will NEVER read another one of her books and hope that I can recruit a few of you to do the same. She doesn’t appreciate ANY/ALL comments – only what makes Emily happy and sadly, my life doesn’t revolve around her and there are many, many other authors who would be grateful for constructive feedback. This probably set Emily back a bit and is now jacking up her face again or her breasts. Whatever…she’s a loser and so is her husband!

  18. Hey Corey – I have read some of Emily’s books and thought they were so-so. However, the best thing I did was buy them used….she didn’t make any money off of them – at least from me.
    She won’t either…..

  19. I used to follow her on facebook. I remember when all this happened, and I stopped following her because of it. I haven’t been happy with one of her books since Heart of the Matter. I was just looking to see if she was coming out with anything new and considering giving it one more chance, but after reading whole thing from start to finish, I don’t think I’ll bother.