How NOT to Respond to a Bad Book Review

On June 5, 2005, in Authors, by Jody Ewing

Book reviewers BEWARE: of one Sue Eccleston of Windstream Publishing Company. (My bet is she’s been fired by now, though it’s still unclear exactly what her position is – or was.)

Ms. Eccleston contacted Stephanie Perry – a book reviewer with the Reno News & Review – to see if she’d review the book “Leah’s Way,” written by Richard Botelho. Ms. Perry agreed to do so, but made it very clear she couldn’t guarantee a positive review. Turns out Steph wasn’t thrilled with the book, nor was Ms. Eccleston with Steph’s review. (Steph’s Book Reviews – Leah’s Way)

The review set off a maelstrom of angry e-mail responses (now, that’s an understatement!) from Ms. Eccleston, to which Steph — to her credit — responded not only with civility but with consistent professionalism.

Amongst Ms. Eccleston’s more…uh hum…vitriolic attacks:

“You pride yourself on being a critical bitch….you’re a failure in life…and like a typical liberal you are only tolerant of people who think like you do.”

Whoa…isn’t this a Christian publisher? It gets better.

“Liberals are the most intolerant people on the planet, all the while “preaching” tolerance.”

Really? According to “my” dictionary, liberal is defined as: “TOLERANT, open-minded, unbigoted…” just to name a few. (And FYI, TOLERANT was actually capitalized.)

Ms. Eccleston goes on to compare Steph to “a propaganda machine like Goebbels was under Hitler,” and wraps up her final tirade with: “The only good news is that people like you, and you specifically, don’t matter. You’re so inconsequential that it is like you simply don’t exist…Enjoy the rest of your miserable life.”

I tried to find out more about Windstream Publishing, but when you go to what’s supposed to be their webpage ( it just says the “site has been registered.” I did find this info at PMA, The Independent Book Publishers Association. It lists Richard Botelho as the contact person (phone number 925-743-9251), though there’s no e-mail address and it gives the Yet-To-Exist address as the company website. One can’t help but feel a bit sorry for Mr. Bothelho, at least from the standpoint of the sales that Ms. Eccleston has most certainly cost him.

It appears many other sites have taken issue with Ms. Eccleston’s acerbic e-mails to Ms. Perry. See:
Tobias S. Buckell Online
Original article
Citizen’s Rent
Stormed Blue Sands

Okay, I could go on, and on, and on, because there’s plenty more out there. The consensus seems to be the same: THIS type of response from a so-called “Christian” publisher? This is how they spread God’s word?

I’ve reviewed plenty of books in my time, but thank God I never ran into a Sue Eccleston. Then again, I still might. When Beatrice (above) wrote about this very issue, Ms. Eccleston then took it up with her. I’ll be waiting for my e-mail. That’s if my e-mail server doesn’t delete it due to all the (Christian?) expletives from Ms. Eccleston.


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