In 2003, Barbara Streisand sued a photographer for posting pictures of her beachfront home on the internet without her permission.
The photo was part of a 12,000 photograph collection, meant for the purpose of detailing shoreline erosion in California. It was small, obscure, and nobody cared about it. Yet in her zealous defense of her privacy, Ms. Streisand took this company to court anyways.
The result? Well, everyone on the internet saw the photograph. As soon as she drew that much attention to it, it became famous, and public record. The very thing she was trying to prevent not only happened, but happened in a much larger and more spectacular way than had she just left it alone.
This gave a name to the phenomenon. The Streisand Effect is now a recognized term. Don’t believe me? Well, it is. I’m not usually one to cite to Wikipedia, but I can at least do that much to prove that this is a thing.
Why in the hell am I talking about this? Well, that has to do with a mistake I see indie authors making far too often.
Dylan Saccoccio didn’t like his review. He then went to the reviewer’s Goodreads page to rant about it. Clearly, the reviewer was out to financially ruin him. It couldn’t be that someone didn’t like his book. So off he went, picking a fight with his reviewer, Amy’s Baking Company-style. The result? Well, it got so preposterous that it’s now linked around the internet. Now Mr. Saccoccio is branded in my head as not only someone whose books I have no interest in picking up, but also as someone who I have no interest in meeting. I don’t want to be on a panel with this guy; I wouldn’t want to talk to him at a con, and if I were a publisher I wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole. He’s radioactive, now, and that’s that.
And all because he didn’t like a review.
If he had let the thing slide, it would have been a single bad review. Not great, but we all get them. Not every person is going to like any given book. If he had let the thing slide, it would have simply sat there. Now that he has fought the thing, put extra effort into showing us all what an ass he truly is, he has managed to do what the review itself could not.
The reviewer was not trying to ruin you, Mr. Saccoccio. You did that to yourself. Time to pick up another pseudonym; this one’s done.