Anne Rice to Pen Book on Author Bullying

Gall10_10[1]Author and expert on bullying Anne Rice took to her Facebook page this weekend to announce her latest project: She’s writing a book on author bullying.

No, not a book on her bad behavior, but the bullying of reviewers and readers against authors. I could not make this up if I tried.

In what is truly a case of the pot calling the kettle black, Rice will pen a tome which which expresses her understanding of the motivations and actions of the bullies that torment her and other authors so terribly.

Some time in 2015, I hope to complete a substantial pamphlet or booklet about my experience with the notorious gangster bullies who abuse customers and authors online. My focus will be primarily abuse on Amazon — of young writers, indie writers, and self published writers who are most vulnerable to concerted bully attacks. I will not be naming names, using screenshots, and the like — but describing in clear terms the results of my years of research in the Amazon Discussion Forums with these people, and what it is I believe that they do, and why, and what authors and readers need to know about their abuses. If you have experienced bullying as an author or a reviewer or a customer and want to share your experience, I welcome your email and assure you of confidentiality. I will never name names in reporting the fruits of my research unless I have explicit permission to do so or I am referring to a published blog. I have received a number of such emails in the past. One author shared that she came under fire from the bullies because she unwittingly reviewed a book by an author whom they had targeted. Another author wrote that she made an innocent remark on her own FB page which resulted in their collective wrath. I think stories like this are instructive. So again, do email me (email under About) if you have an experience you want to share. I am doing this because I believe the gangster bully situation is an unjust one, and I think authors of reputation (who are largely immune to the “power” of these bullies) have to stick up for those who are vulnerable. It is my hope that my essay on this, in booklet form, may encourage people to report bullying when they see it, and make people aware of the dishonesty and complex patterns of abuse involved. The Book World is really a great place, a bright place made up of countless writers and readers, and countless honest reviewers, and it does not deserve the small, dark undercurrent of internet bullying that has developed in recent years. I’d like to add that I myself love the Amazon reviewing system and review there frequently. As a customer of Amazon I support them and what they make possible. The system, as I’ve known it, has been 99.99% good. And I myself have not been significantly harmed by bullies. This is not about me personally. It’s about those who have been hurt, and what I can do to see that it does not happen to others. Maybe my booklet will inspire others to address it.


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. puzzled10 February, 2015

    First, we should send her to a class to learn about paragraphs.

    1. CJJ10 February, 2015

      You are obviously a bully. I must be as well because I laughed out loud at your comment.

      1. Nate Hoffelder10 February, 2015

        Authors are delicate flowers which are unable to withstand the slightest criticism, you meanie.

  2. Michael W. Perry10 February, 2015

    I agree that bullying authors is a serious problem and that Amazon’s review section gives these bullies a much larger platform than they would have otherwise. That is unfortunate.

    But we also need to keep in mind just what sort of person a bully is. Generally, he or she is a loser. They can’t write, so they attack those who can. They have narrow (and today typically secular) dogmas, so they hate those who challenge what, in them, passes for thinking. They’re cowards, so they pick on those with enough decency not to retaliate in kind. We must learn to devalue their criticism and fret less about those who fall for it.

    I don’t have the exact quote in front of me, but J. R. R. Tolkien had perhaps the best response to such critics. He simply stated that he had the same negative attitudes toward the books that his nastier critics liked as they had about his. Even more important, he did so without expressing any direct criticism of those books, that being beneath him.

    In his case, he was referring to those who liked crass and often tawdry ‘realism’ over his own heroic romanticism and fantasy. Think of the difference between those who like Fifty Shades of Grey and those who like The Lord of the Rings. Quite different aren’t they? If you write like Tolkien, do your really need to answer critics who think all books should be like Fifty Shades? Not really.

    It may seem a distant analogy, but during the age of sail, the captain of a warship was expected to stand upright on an open and exposed quarterdeck while the battle raged about him. In part, that was because that gave him the best vantage point. But it was also true that, as his men serviced the guns sheltered behind two feet of stout oak, they could look up and draw courage from his courage.

    In the same fashion, people can draw confidence from our calm confidence in the face of criticism. Years ago, an unusual series of events placed me, with no more than an EMT’s training, on the nursing staff of the Hem-Onc unit at a top children’s hospital in the dead of night when staff expertise was at its minimum. With about 100 hours of medical training I was expected to care for some of the sickest kids in the hospital outside the ICU. One mistake and a child could die.

    Only three months later, a series of blunders placed me under newly graduated nurses who were less than capable. At report time at the start of shift, I began to get the impression that the evening nurse was addressing her remarks to me, saying by implication, don’t let this nurse kill one of these children. In much the same fashion, the parents of those child (most had leukemia) began to cling to me. I was, after all, the only one not making dreadful mistakes.

    To say that was stressful was an understatement. The children I was caring for were in desperate situations, and yet I not only could not make any mistakes of my own, I had to catch any mistakes those ill-prepared nurses might make.

    I pulled it off—just barely. I reassured those frightened parents and catch two life-threatening nursing mistakes just in time. I also came out of that ordeal with an ability to remain confident no matter what, a confidence that, if I tried hard enough, I could do my job well.

    That’s what an author needs to radiate under fire—the quiet confidence that says, “I’m doing my best and will make sure that it is good enough.”

    It might also help, under such circumstances, to read Rudyard Kipling’s marvelous poem “If,” particularly lines such as these:

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:


    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:


    That’s what a writer must do when the words they’ve spoken are twisted and slandered. Stoop down, pick up their tools, and begin to write again. Life isn’t always easy.

    –Michael W. Perry, author of:
    My Nights with Leukemia: Caring for Children with Cancer
    Hospital Gowns and Other Embarrassments: A Teen Girl’s Guide to Hospitals
    and co-author of:
    Lily’s Ride: Rescuing her Father from the Ku Klux Klan (A courageous teen girl must ride a powerful thoroughbred horse over Klan-infested roads at night to warn her father that he is about to be murdered by the Klan. Adapted from a bestselling 1879 novel by an eyewitness to Klan violence.)

    1. Rick Carufel10 February, 2015

      Rice is trying to bully reviewers into never leaving 1 or 2 star reviews and using her fan base as a weapon to do it.

    2. puzzled10 February, 2015

      Michael, you’re in serious need of an editor.

      Hmmm…is this an example of author bullying?

      And I agree, bullying authors ARE a serious problem.

  3. Greg Stranberg10 February, 2015

    I hope I’m never this full of myself.

  4. Rick Carufel10 February, 2015

    Rice is doing nothing more that directing her fans from her Facebook page to attack the Amazon Forums because the people there are not her fans and will not tolerate being talked down to as she does to fans on her FB page. The Amazon Forum members don’t genuflect in her presence and she’s out to change that. She also ruthlessly censors her FB page so any condescension with her opinion is gone in a flash and the member blocked. She is a ruthless dictator and is attacking those who won’t buy it. Just another stalker troll with delusions of importance, superiority, authority and expertise try to dictate the opinions, comments and behavior of others.

    This latest crusade basically breaks down to her view that books shouldn’t get 1 or 2 star reviews, even if they are poorly written, and those who disagree with her delusions about reviews. This is a first in as much it is the first time I’ve seen a famous author use their fan base as a weapon to launch an attack from one website on another.

    Worse, she has associated herself with the biggest stalker troll website online, Possibly the death knell for her career.

  5. George12 February, 2015

    The meat of the problem is that Anne Rice is no longer getting a warm reception from many members of the forums, and she fails to see it is a result largely due to her own antics. The forums discuss many hot topics, including religion and politics. They often get heated. As of late she is now one of the many hot topics being discussed in the forums and she wants it to stop by forcing these particular members out. To be more clear, a few people are talking about her on the forums without giving her praise and air kisses, they are challenging her public opinions on topics such as removing anonymity in the forums and greatly revising the reviewing guidelines, and she wants to squelch these conversations.

    I’ve been following the forums since last year when I first read about it on Anne Rice’s FB page. I went to them fully expecting to see some virtual hair-pulling fights or worse, but what I found was quite different. The forums do get a bit heated with people’s opinions and snark, it is after all a community for people to chat on a wide range of topics including hot button topics, yet I was pleasantly surprised to find the overwhelming majority of the forums were quite friendly and enjoyable.

    My conclusion is I don’t feel Anne Rice is being completely truthful with us. She has been posting in the forums for several years, and I noticed she participated in many conversations where strong opinions emerged. She enjoys topics such as religion and the endless debate of how Amazon should fix their review system. She herself has a tendency to get quite forceful with her opinions. She has made it quite clear to others that she believes they are wrong when they don’t agree with her. In other cases she will simply ignore requests to dignify her responses with more details. In other words, while she is most pleasant most of the time, she too can become quite rude and insulting to members of the forums.

    So is this a case of the pot calling the kettle black? Yes, I do believe it is, but her campaigns of late makes her the bigger ‘bully’ (for lack of a better word) on Amazon forums.

    Anne Rice publicly declared war on these forums this week when she swore to write a tell all book about her experience being abused by its members. Just last year she declared no one in these forums should be allowed to have a pseudonym name because she found it offensive. She continually upsets the harmony of these forums, and while she may believe she’s trying to make things better I personally see her making things worse. But that is just my opinion.

    There is no hiding the fact that over the years Anne Rice has rightfully earned a reputation for being ‘anti-reviewer’, as she has made several public blunders such as attacking her negative reviewers and stating quite publicly her opinions on how the review system should be changed in favor the authors and not necessarily the readers.

    Her latest blunder of starting a petition demanding that the millions of Amazon members not be allowed to post unless using their real life identity, simply because she believes thirty or so members abuse their anonymity, was preposterous to swallow. To no ones surprise but Anne, it wasn’t well received by the members. The overwhelming feeling by the Amazon members is that Rice must believe her problems are more important than anyone else. She wants to strip millions of members their right of privacy simply because she wants to face and confront those who dare speak ill of her.

    This boils down to a famous authors trying to force her control over the voice of the Amazon members and reviewers on a platform in which she simply cannot control.

    As an aspiring author I have learned a great deal by lurking through the many conversations on the Amazon forums. There are some trouble makers, but it is not as Anne Rice would have to world believe.

  6. David VanDyke1 March, 2015

    Classic passive-aggressive behavior. Any criticism of Rice’s self-indulgent ranting is characterized as bullying. “Mommie, she hit me,” is the refrain sung by the child who badgered and teased and instigated until she finally drew a perhaps-justified violent reaction.

    Except “bullying” is IMO nearly impossible when the target is invulnerable – or only as vulnerable as she makes herself. Who can hurt Ann Rice, really? All this publicity doesn’t hurt her income stream. The only loss of face or respect has been brought about by her leaping straight into the mud pit with her critics – and you know the old adage: “When you wrestle with pigs, you get filthy and the pigs have fun.”

    No sympathy here, and she seems more pathetic and irrelevant with every disingenuous dissimulation, and all of her wounds self-inflicted.


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