Bullies and Reviews: A Note to my Reviewers

A note to my reviewers

Cover for The Seraphinians: "Blessed Seraphim Rose" and His Axe-Wielding Western Converts

For a long time I was really mystified by something: I, as an author, had given out numerous review copies of my books, but I received so few reviews, especially positive reviews.

The mystification came to a head more recently, when I had given several books to a novice at a monastery, and he posted at least three or four reviews. Then yesterday I checked, and only one had not been deleted. The others had been posted and then vanished without a trace. The other novice was mystified at why his reviews were not showing.

Standing up to a bully

In The Seraphinians: "Blessed Seraphim Rose" and His Axe-Wielding Western Converts, I stood up to a gang of bullies. I am aware of at least two five-star reviews of that work by complete strangers who contacted me after their reviews vanished.

What it seems to amount to is this: I stood up to a community of bullies and the bullies are doing what they can to get all positive reviews of my work taken down. A few have stuck, but not terribly many, and one of my books can have a glowing editorial review but only two stars offered to the reader who glances at it. Fr. Seraphim's axe-wielding converts are not satisfied at having a majority of one-star reviews to The Seraphinians; they are also working to get positive reviews from preventably staying up for my other works, too.

Why I'm not upset

In Profoundly Gifted Survival Guide, I described myself as having "fame lite:"

I wrote in another blog post that I believed I had experienced what I would call "fame lite." Leonard Nimoy, in I Am Spock talks about how Hollywood has teachers for all kinds of skills they would need to portray that skill in movies: musical instruments, riding a horse, and so on and so forth. However, there was something that no teachers were to be found in Hollywood: dealing with fame. Nimoy learned, for instance, how to enter a restaurant through the kitchen because there would be a public commotion if Spock walked in through the front door. And on that count, I do not obviously suffer the consequences of real fame. I’ve been asked for my autograph, once. I’ve had someone call out publicly, before I entered Orthodoxy, “That’s Jonathan Hayward!”, once. I have repeatedly had pleasant meetings with people who know me through my website. And since then, the only new tarnish to my claim of undeserved “fame lite” is in recent years when a job opportunity was really a cloak for attempted seduction. If that was because of my website or reputation; I am not sure it was.

Often Christians looking at years past see God's Providence in circumstances they did not like and wished were otherwise, and later on they are grateful they did not get the changes in circumstances they so much wanted at the time. I see God's Providence in God limiting my fame to mostly fame lite, and in keeping with a verse in Proverbs, which says:

30:8 Remove far from me vanity and falsehood:
And give me not wealth or poverty;
But appoint me what is needful and sufficient:

I do not have the kind of income I had when working in IT, but I have enough, being retired on disability, and I get a couple of hundred dollars added per month from book sales, perhaps thanks in part to editorial reviews from Donovan's Literary Services. I have enough to buy my choice of supplements, and God has cared for me. Possibly I would have more problems if I were (more) famous and earned more royalties; too much royalties and I might lose my main income.

Two closing comments:

There are a couple of closing comments I wish to give:

  1. If you have ever written a review for one of my books, thank you! I am grateful for every sincere review I've been given, whether positive or negative, whether it is part of the few that stuck or the many that have been approved and then vanished. I may be stopping my hopes of getting good star ratings and customer reviews, but I am grateful for your review whether or not it stuck like you and I wanted it to.

  2. If you are a fan of my website and my books, I would ask you to perhaps quietly tell your friends about https://cjshayward.com/books/, my "best works" bookshelf, and maybe mention that some of my star ratings may have been doctored to be lower. Even if you are unable to post your review and have it stick, you can let your friends know, or give me links or mention on social media, etc. And please leave a candid star rating even if your review would vanish.

And that's it. Thank you to all you who have tried to show me any kindness.

Very Cordially Yours,
C.J.S. Hayward

Author: C.J.S. Hayward

C.J.S. Hayward is an Orthodox author and Renaissance man with master's degrees bridging math and computers (UIUC) and theology and philosophy (Cambridge). His most prized work is what he writes in Eastern Orthodox, Christian theology and apologetics. Readers of apologists like C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton and Peter Kreeft, contemporary Orthodox authors such as Met. KALLISTOS Ware, and classic authors like St. John Chrysostom will find much food for spiritual reflection.