I have read a number of articles dealing with personal attacks on authors. However I had not, until recently been subjected to such an attack. Before proceeding further I want to define clearly what I mean by the term “personal attack”. By personal attack I do not mean someone saying that they do not like my work when such views are expressed in a reasoned and measured manner. I don’t like all the books which pass through my hands. I have, however never criticised and/or insulted the author. The comments accompanying the below post do, in my view cross a line, http://newauthoronline.com/2013/10/12/bemused/#comments.
What I find particularly galling about the views expressed is the implied criticism of my books by a person who has not bothered to read them. If a reader dislikes my work after having read it then I must, of course respect their opinion even if I disagree with the assessment of the reviewer. The reviewer has taken the trouble to read my work rather than making sweeping statements about my “pretentsions to literary merit” without having opened my books.
Freedom of expression is vitally important, however I can not respect the views of a commenter who comments on my ability as a writer without having read any of the books written by me.