On some of my groups, and on Amazon.com romance forum, I have seen a common issue: author bashing. I don't want to be a hypocrit and act like I love every author I've ever read. That would be wrong. I have authors that just don't do it for me. So I don't read them. If asked, I will say, I'm not a fan of that author, or I don't read his/her books. But I have noticed that some people are just rude about it. They don't just say, I don't like the author or the book. They say things like this author sucks, or that the author can't write his/her way out of a paper bag. Truly, some of the comments I have heard made my feelings hurt for the author.
Let's face it. I think that there's a little bit of envy there. After all, this person has gotten a book published. At least a moderate amount of the disgruntled readers probably hasn't. That's neither here nor there, but my point is, I think that fundamentally, a writer should be respected, if just for this one thing: That person set down and put words on a page, and was brave enough to submit it for publication. That person was brave enough to submit their writing for the future ridicule of others. So as a reader, I do have to afford a modicum of respect to that author.
I say this as a person who truly loves the written word. I have been a reader since I was four years old. My relationship with books and reading has been the longest relationship I've had in my life (other than blood familial relationships). Reading has gotten me through some of the deepest, darkest moments of my life when I thought was going to lose my sanity, and possibly my life. I've been sick as a dog, but still mustered enough energy to open a book and read it. For that reason, I respect books, and thus I have to respect authors.
As such, I make a commitment not to say cruel things about an author's writing or lack of writing skills. Instead I will say why I don't like a book, or why it doesn't work for me, or that an author is not a favorite of mine and clearly elucidate why. We are all entitled to our opinions. That does not give us license to descend into levels of cruelty where we demean another person by putting down something they poured their effort into. Again, I am not trying to be a hypocrite. This is a commitment I will make to myself to think twice before I say something mean about an author or her/his book.