Honest reviewers are the backbone of the community. They are a vital resource. Our community would not as vibrant without them. And at the end of the day, publishing, the book community is a *business*. Any savvy businessperson will tell you that honest reviews are an invaluable tool for consumers when deciding to buy your product.
Negative reviews are just as important as positive reviews because no one is going to buy a product that has nothing but 5-star reviews.
You would think Authors (who are small business owners themselves) would realize that this.
There is a growing trend of authors who are so afraid of any criticism that they will attack any reviewer who gives them a critical review. Not only that, they often direct their stans to do the same. As a result, reviewers who most offer a free service simply because they just love books leave the book community altogether.
And the stain of this behavior on the author themselves is very hard to wash away and sometimes will tank your entire writing career.
There is no better example in this than Yvonthia Leland, aka Yvonthia Meredith Leland. In the course of only a few days, Yvonthia killed her burgeoning writing career because of her own fragile ego.
Yvonthia Leland got her start while she was attending Washington State University to get her degree in science and sociology with a minor in history. At the time, she was developing story ideas for novels, but by the time she graduated, Yvonthia was determined to be a professional author.
According to Yvonthia , her aim was to:
“To write characters who are good influences, especially for teenagers and young adults.”
Typically, that would be admirable. I can get into a long rant about YA they market books towards grown-ass adults and forget that genre is supposed to be targeted towards teenagers.
Unfortunately, this dream would never happen because what happened a week before Christmas in 2019 would effectively kill those dreams before they even could be fully realized.
Cover of The Wrythe and the Reckoning by vonthia Meredith Leland
Let it be known for the record that I can’t stand Historical novels and I barely tolerate them on a good day. For me to enjoy a
book, it has to be firmly in the here or now. I prefer Contemporary and Urban Fantasy novels.
No shade to the people who do love those books. It’s just not my jam. With all that in mind, “The Wrythe and the Reckoning” were not on my radar at all.
However, my bias aside, I read the blurb for Yvonthia ‘s debut novel, and my god the initial reviews were right: It is boring and poorly written.
So, in hindsight, it was no surprise that when Yvonthia Leland a week before Christmas uploaded her HALF-FINISHED MANUSCRIPT (more about that later) to NetGalley that it was going to get some negative reviews.
What you are supposed to do when you are author is just to read them, go to your friends, rant a bit, and then keep it moving! What are you not supposed to do is to go on Goodreads and leave an angry reply?
This decision would blow up in her face and spill into a twitter discourse that would go on for days after.
Before I start, I would like to say something for those authors new to the world of publishing. I said it before, but it bears repeating: REVIEWS ARE NOT FOR AUTHORS. THEY ARE FOR READERS!
So, when one day in February 2019, when a reviewer of an ‘Advanced Reader Copy’ posted a review of Yvonthia’s debut novel ‘ The Wrythe and the Reckoning’. I sure they weren’t expecting almost nine months later that Yvonthia would reply.
We can never know what exactly set Yvonthia off or why she waited so long after the initials reviews to come after the book reviewers with both barrels, but on December 19, 2019, she went on the attack.
The thing is her doorstopper of a book (It was 800 pages but now at the time of final publishing it was 750 pages) wasn’t even finished when she posted it to NetGalley. Also, NetGalley is freaking expensive. The starting price for a six-month membership is $399.
It makes no sense to me she would spend all that money to publish a half-done manuscript. Also, it’s clear Yvonthia did zero research on the standards of ARC copies because those copies are supposed to be finished.
Buckle up buttercups! It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Yes, some authors tweak or change the manuscript before the final publishing date, but they never submit half of it and call it a good old day! Also, Yvonthia never read the rules of NetGalley and was apparently outraged that people would give reviews for books they don’t finish.
Again, Yvonthia either didn’t do a lick of research into the publishing process before she wrote her book or was arrogant enough to think she was above the rules.
Yet, I digress. Let’s get back to the drama, shall we?
The first time I heard about this was on twitter and by a subtweet by a reviewer. No names were named, but I found the behavior of the author disgusting. Then there were a series of vague subtweets.
It would have probably stayed a subtweet, but until Yvonthia Mereth Leland, debut novelist decided that it was a good idea to OUT HER FUCKING SELF.
You heard me right. Yvonthia like the fool, she outed herself and the shit really hit the fan.
There were a lot of members of the book community (me included) that went immediately for her throat. We told her outright in the replies she was a fucking clown. However, they were some authors who took pity on this newbie and patiently explained to her she needed to stop because Yvonthia destroying her career.
Did she listen?
Nope! Yvonthia not only doubled down whining about the “Goodreads Mob” and how both she and her book were done dirty. Yvonthia especially cried about it was unethical to post a review for a book you didn’t finish like the brand new noob she is. Also, the reviewer who stated Yvonthia ‘s book was, “boring as hell” was dead wrong because she has tons of 4 and 5-star reviews.
It’s not the mistake that gets you, but the doubling down that does.
Her whineathon went on all day. Then when she realized that she was the laughingstock of the book community, Yvonthia decided that she needed someone in her corner. So, she switched to another sock puppet account to defend herself.
Apparently, Yvonthia can’t keep a secret for shit and shortly ended up revealing that account as one of her sock puppet accounts.
Fortunately for her, a few days later the RWA scandal broke and her little temper tantrum had faded away under the pressing news of the most respected romance author trade organization in the world self-destructing.
After that, Yvontha stops tweeting altogether. Her twitter account is still up, but apparently, she is more active on Instagram now. Yvonthia was published as of December 4, 2019, a few weeks before she attacked those reviewers. Apparently, a sequel is planned by I have yet to hear that Yvontha is working on it.
Not too shortly after that, Yvonthia changed her name to Yvonthia Meredith Leland and her book cover states that the author is Ymerah Leland. I have a feeling that Yvonthia is keeping her head down and trying to rebrand under an unfamiliar name so she can come back into the fold.
However, she is going to be waiting a long time because the book community has a long memory and we don’t forget or forgive easily