Friday, August 24, 2012

The conversation continues...

**This was super long and I had edited this out, but now I want to put it back in-- this post is NOT commenting on professional reviews. Thoughtful responses to scathing, professional reviews is a whole other matter and can be done very well, and, I think, is perfectly acceptable and should not be a mark against an author. The difference is that the power is equal (or closer to it)-- both are arguing from public platforms and at least some degree of fame. No author is going to embarrass a professional reviewer or make them too uncomfortable to review honestly again.

I've been thinking more about a convo in the comments of my last post between me and my friend, Jaimes, and I wanted to clarify a little. The post I made was more about how I related what happened with the author to an incident at work that day-- that sick feeling that I had gone too far in defending against what was ultimately someone else's opinion and how that is magnified when you're on the internet and well known.

I don't believe the author should be crucified in reviews of a book. Go ahead and discuss and/or blog about the bad behavior-- otherwise, how do you stop it? That and don't buy his or her book. Because without some kind of rebuttal to such behavior, the power isn't equal.The author in this case was calling on her fans to dog-pile on the reviewer, which is unacceptable. You cannot use your power as a well known author to shut up readers who don't like your book.

I probably won't pick up a book if I hear of an author behaving very childishly. I really want to "like" you before I give you the very precious time away from family and work that it will take to read your words, and it's hard to do that if I think you're small. I assume you're all right up until you prove you're not. (side note: I could not care less if we share political or religious views-- ha, I'd read much less fiction, listen to less music, and enjoy less art, if I took that stance!) You might be a great person, but the internet leaves a big impression that can last a long time that may only showcase a small part of you. If nothing else, I'm going to question your intelligence-- we've seen so many times that this doesn't go well, so why are you doing it?

But I would NEVER give an author a bad review or one star on a book based solely on that author's behavior. That isn't honest. Salinger wasn't a people-person, but the man could write. Do we penalize him for being a hermit, give ugly reviews because he wouldn't sign books or shake hands? Would you want to deprive others of his words because you were offended by his actions or an interview he gave? And where do we draw the line? What's rude behavior to you might not be to me.

But the responding-to-a-bad-review-harshly thing seems to be universally reviled and only detrimental to you, dear author. So please, step away from the keyboard... better yet, don't even click on those one star reviews on Amazon, and just walk away...

p.s. lively discussion on actual issues in a book is a whole other matter for a whole other post that I probably won't write. ;)


  1. Yes, I agree with all of this. The "I'm changing my review to 1-star" is totally reactionary and makes no sense to me.


      This was just posted. Interesting that this phenomenon seems to be on the rise in professional venues too. Makes one want to take ten years to write a novel... I'm right on schedule.


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