Monday, June 20, 2011

On getting a snotty review . . .

FYI: writing isn't always fun. Once the project is done, you (the author) remembers the triumphs, but are more likely to be bogged down by the never-ending torture of trying to come up with that perfect phrase, the plot that works, and finding ways for your characters to grow.

Note to readers: On certain days, it's absolute TORTURE to write a book or short story. It may not be as physically demanding as hauling bricks, but man, it can be mentally excruciating. And then the absolute worst comes some 18-24 months later when the work sees publication and someone writes a snotty review and says, "I didn't like the book because it didn't exceed my expectations. Because a character acted like a REAL HUMAN BEING WITH PROBLEMS AND EMOTIONS instead of being a light and fluffy read," or words to that effect.


(Okay, got that out of my system.)

As authors, the only person we really have to please with any writing project is . . . ourselves. (Okay, aside from our editors.) We LOVE it when readers get what we're doing and thank goodness the majority do, but for those who don't, please STOP READING AND REVIEWING the work of authors you really don't like. It's not fair to them or their potential readers. I read a LOT of reviews and I often see a common thread. "I didn't like this author's last book, and I don't like this one, and you shouldn't either."


And then come the personal attacks.  "The author is obviously BORED with her characters."  Or "Because she writes more than one series, she rushed through this book."  or the worst yet, "This book only got five-star reviews because the author had her friends write the reviews."

No to all three. 

A book review should be one thing:  a review of the work you read, not speculating on the author's state of mind, his/her lifestyle, or your personal opinions about the author.  A review should be about the work, the work, and only the work.

There's a reason Amazon includes a button for readers to tell them if a review is INAPPROPRIATE.

Okay, now stepping off my soap box.