Thursday, January 19, 2012

Authors vs Reviewers

I don't really do posts on authors being professional because if you read my twitter stream, you will see I am a complete goofball. But there are professional lines I know not to cross, and one I have been seeing others talk about a lot recently: Authors behaving badly about reviews.

When someone decides to publish their story - their baby - they know a certain level of criticism will be involved. The story needs to go to editors or beta readers, people who read it with a critical eye and point out flaws. The end result (hopefully) is a flawless book. But we all know no book is perfect. Still, we put our book out into the world in hopes that people will enjoy it.

Not everyone will though, that's a fact of writing life. When reviews start flowing in, not all of them will be glowing and shiny. Some will claim your book was all right, while others say it wasn't for them. Then there are the reviews were a person gives the book one star and completely bashes the book. I dread getting my first one of those. So far, I have been lucky. My low reviews, the reviewers were polite and honest and did not tear me a new one.

Even if the reviewer was mean, saying I am the worst writer in the world and spit on a tissue is better written than my book, I would never think of making a fuss. Sure, I would cry to my hubby and friends. But it would be in a private way, not on twitter or facebook. Because that is the one professional line I know I shouldn't cross. I've seen horror stories where authors have ranted and raged over a bad review. The most recent one the author called the reviewer a bitch! My mouth was hanging open in shock. In what universe did that author thing that was okay? Even if the reviewer gave a scathing review, the author should know better.

It's just one opinion. Why does it matter so much when you have a hundred other three to five star reviews saying your book is good? What caused this lapse in the author's judgement? Sometimes, I'd like to see those authors' sales stats after their meltdowns. I'm curious to how it affects the sale of their book. I know for some, their star rating plummeted.

Reading these stories just reinforces my determination to let a bad review slide off me like water. That person is entitled to their opinion of my book. It doesn't have to agree with the other reviews. It can be the one lonely star in a sea of five stars and that's fine. What's not fine is acting like an idiot because of it.

15 comments:

  1. I've heard so much about this lately, and it's shocking. I can't imagine leaving a nasty comment to anyone; for starters, it's just not in my nature, but there's also the fact that if you're going to survive in this business, you need to learn to develop a thick skin. I don't like negative reviews any more than the next person, but they're a fact of life in the writing world, and I would never dream of berating a person for not liking my book. We're all entitled to our opinions, and something that one person loves, another person might hate, and vice versa. Plain and simple. I think authors (and people in general) need to remember the old rule that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. If someone gives you a negative review, just move on. Hell, even thank that person for taking the time to read and review your book. But to call them out, and even resort to name calling? Pathetic.

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    1. Exactly! Although, I received a 2 star review for my short story and I was a bit torn as to if I should tell the person thanks for giving my story a chance. In the end, I decided to stay quiet.

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  2. I think authors come in all sorts and if they get worked up over nothing (as we all do sometines) they won't really be able to see sense. What will teach them is to make the mistake and suffer the consequences. People generally only learn from their own mistakes (and even then, not always).

    Interesting post. Cheers,
    mood
    Moody Writing
    @mooderino
    The Funnily Enough

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    1. You make a point, but it still baffles me. LOL

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  3. I've received hate email for my reviews....not from the author but from die hard fans that cant understand why I didnt ABSOLUTELY LOVE the book like they did.
    Each to there own and everyone is entitilled to there own opinion and all but dont hate me for a 3 star rating!!!

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    1. I don't get that either. Do people really forget everyone is entitled to their opinion? People confuse me sometimes. LOL

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  4. I hate writing a bad review ... but would fellow readers prefer I sugar coat my opinion? I try very hard to NOT be nasty in a review, but I am honest. I love goodreads.com because there are good and bad reviews for nearly every book. It helps me decide if it's a book I want to read. And, interestingly enough, I have a "bad" review up on my blog today. It makes me sad to write a bad review!

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    1. I think fellow readers definitely want you to be honest. Otherwise, what's the point of sharing your opinion if you're just going to lie to agree w/ the majority?

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  5. I've reviewed books I wasn't pleased with, I think that other readers deserve to know the nature of a book, but I do always try to do it tactfully. That's me as a reader. As a writer, well, my stories have been rejected from magazines often enough that I know a bad review is inevitable and that hopefully I'll take it well. Other than skyping my sister and ranting. She puts up with the author me alot and is totally going into my acknowlegements page.

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    1. My hubby gets to deal with me and I just get whiny. ^^;;

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  6. I also heard about this author and agent and the reaction to bad reviews. I agree it's hard to hear the negative things about your work, but if you need to cry and let off steam, then do, as you say, it privately. We all have different tastes, that's why there is so much choice in the reading world, not everyone will like our work, so I think there needs to be a sense of expectation and preparedness of the negatives when you put your work out there. An excellent example of how not to deal with them.

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  7. In the two+ years I have been a reviewer, I have been lucky that 1) I have read some really good books and have not had to do a bad review 2) my reviews have been received in a positive light. The way I look at it, I am now a writer so who am I to criticize..I review the book for the storytelling and how well it is written/ researched.

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  8. There was this legendary author meltdown a year or so ago. She blew up at a reviewer in her own blog, just went completely crazy. By the time it was done, the post had gotten three hundred or so comments, and she cemented her reputation as someone who would be poison to work with.

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    1. There is one I know of on a blog where the author had a complete meltdown on a book reviewing blog. Later, I looked at her book on amazon and the rating had just plummeted. Even the commenters told her she was acting crazy and it would only hurt her book. She refused to listen.

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