The first Hatter Chat: Trolls, drama & more

Let’s talk trolls. And drama. And paid reviews. And bloggers being biased.

It’s what everyone loves right? Getting the tea. Watching a trainwreck. Whipping out your Michael Jackson eating popcorn gifs ready to screenshot away. We all do it. We’ve all at some point laughed about it, showed our friends and ultimately found entertainment in it. And truthfully it’s really no big deal. But parts of the indie book community have become so overrun with the toxicity of it and it’s made people at this point go out hunting for it.

Last night I got a lovely little troll comment on a review I did almost a year ago. It had been days of small little dramas popping up and that little troll comment was the one that just finally made me snap. So I asked the troll why. And I genuinely would like to know. There’s entire groups dedicated to reading books they know they won’t like just to leave reviews bashing the author and book and troll reviews of people who did like it. What makes these people tick? What is it that they get from being hateful behind a keyboard? Is it the thrill? Is it a way to release whatever is hurting them in their lives? Because I truly don’t believe a happy person would even want to waste their time that way. Honestly, if you’re someone who trolls I’d love to know they why of it. I’m genuinely curious.

Annnnnnnywho, so that troll as you can see accused me of being paid for my review. Which I surprisingly hear A LOT from people who aren’t bloggers. “How much do you make writing reviews?” Is probably the most asked question I get from people outside the bubble of the book world. The answer always freaks them the fuck out too. When I say “Nothing” it’s an immediate barrage of questions that can all be summed up with “but why would you do all that for free”. The answer is a complicated and as simple as this, because I love it.

There you have it folks, everyone who’s always wondered if we’re paid that’s your answer. We’re not. The Red Hatter Book Blog is a labor of love that we all pour our hearts into every single day. I’m sure someone out there probably charges authors for their reviews, there are assholes everywhere after all. But as far as us and the many, many amazing bloggers we have met paid reviews are a hard no.

So then comes the “but your reviews are biased right? So you keep getting ARCs?” Once again no. Do we feature a lot of books we love? Yup. Here’s the thing, no one follows a blog to get recommendations of books they won’t read because the blogger says they’re awful. Most people follow our reviews because they want recommendations of books we love and believe in because they’re looking for something they want to read. That combined with when you read up to four books a day you get really good at knowing what appeals to you means we choose (for the most part) to read books we know we’ll love. Could you imagine how much blogging would suck if we chose to read books we knew we wouldn’t like? Just days on end of DNFing. No thanks.

I’m generally a pretty optimistic person I’m also regularly reminded I’m too nice. This entire blog was built from wanting to spread love as far and wide as we could for all the authors whose words and characters have held our hands through good and bad points in our lives. But yesterday between the dramas and trolls I genuinely considered giving up because it’s seems there will never be a point when enough is enough in this community and it is utterly exhausting.But then the other side of the community showed up and reminded me why I won’t throw in the towel. Fellow bloggers reminded me we all have each other’s backs. Book loving friends gave me a ton of love. Authors I admire released books that swept me away into my happy place.

I’m sure some of you clicked on this expecting tea and names and prepared to grab screenshots and this venting was a total let down, sorry. But we do want to chat, what have your experiences been? How do you feel about any of this? If you troll people, why do you?


  1. It’s lack of self-esteem and self-worth. I mean, doesn’t it have to be? Trolls need to puff up their feathers so they can live with themselves day in and day out. There is something missing in their lives that they are unhappy about, be it lack of money, education, a significant other, whatever. They feel less than who they want to be. So, not enjoying a book for a particular reason is an opportunity for them to spew their “expertise” in a nasty, derogatory way that makes them feel notable. Meanwhile, a person happy enough with who they are, regardless of their circumstances, doesn’t have a need to troll. Sure, if a book is littered with typos and is a syntax nightmare, you might want to warn other readers in a review, but it doesn’t have to be done in a nasty way. When faced with a review they disagree with, a person content enough with themselves will simply move on, thinking “I disagree with that review” or perhaps comment in a respectful, non-combative manner. Don’t let them get to you, though. It only makes you feel crappy then. Feel sorry for them instead. They’re in a bad space and trolling is their advertisement of that fact.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve (thankfully) on the whole managed to avoid the trolls, unlike some of my favourite authors. Your reply was absolutely spot on and I’m going to bookmark it so that if ever the need arises I can respond in a similarly eloquent and polite manner. I hate to think that these people are just really horrible, nasty individuals but the other explanations aren’t much better. They are either too stupid or too narrow minded to realise that we all have different tastes – my dad has a saying that one man’s meat is another man’s poison – or they have a hive mind and believe we should all like/say/do the same thing.

    Only a few weeks ago I was part of a discussion about whether reviewers should be paid for reviewing books. My response was ‘hell no’, for two reasons. #1 I wouldn’t trust ANY review that had been paid for, it’s a sure fire way to get a dishonest glowing review. (I’m an arc reader and even I don’t trust a good 50% of arc reviews!) #2 I get a ‘free’ book and the chance to read it early AND share my love of books with others. Actually I buy the vast majority of the books I arc read.

    I’ve also found that most of my reviews are now positive because, like you, I tend to stick with those authors whose work I enjoy. I do take the occasional ‘chance’ and have found some wonderful new authors this way. I’ve also found some I will avoid in future too. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who does this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your dad’s saying! It’s spot on. And I was part of a similar discussion last week. People also miss it entirely violates amazon’s TOS to do paid reviews. And being the arrest retailer that’s a baaaaad plan. I am so glad to hear you’ve been troll free though!

      Liked by 1 person

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