Thursday, October 2, 2008

Readers' Comments

I've had a bad day, and once I'm finally home, I check my email. There it is...a lovely email from a reader who's enjoying the series!! Suddenly, my day hasn't been so bad after all! Or I'm having a bad day, go online and there's a crappy review posted on Amazon...or someone wrote about the series on their blog and they weren't exactly complimentary. You know what? My day just got worse! (I know this makes it sound like I'm continually trolling cyberspace to learn what people are saying-I'm not. I've signed up for this nifty little thing called "Google Alert." It let's me know whenever my name or the series is mentioned online. A good tool to garner new online reviews that I might want to use in my marketing!)

Is my ego tied up in all of this?? To be honest-a little. Every author I know works really hard on their manuscript, and once it's published, it's like sending a child out of the nest, the book either succeeds or fails. It's hard not to take the knocks personally when it's something one's expended so much effort on to complete. I also know that one can't please everyone, not everyone likes the same thing. And that's a good thing...the world would be a boring place if we all had the same tastes.

Words have power, and I guess what gets to me the most is the negativity that I see contained in some of these comments. And I'm not just talking about the stuff I've read in my reviews, but in other authors, too. Stuff like, "I'll never read this series again." "Worst book I've ever read. Don't bother to buy it." "I threw it in the garbage." "This book is beyond bad." "There is little to admire, like, or even care about in this book." (The last comments were taken from reviews of New York Times best sellers. I hope those authors are laughing about it all the way to the bank!)

My question is...what are the above reviewers trying to accomplish? Did they hate the book so much that they don't want anyone else to read it? (obviously they failed in the above mentioned cases.) Or are they just venting? Are they trying to help or hurt? The Internet is a faceless place, and I know people will say things online that they would never say to someone in person. But should that make a difference?

I don't know...what do you think? Does anyone pay attention to this negativity?


BTW-I'm on my way to St. Louis for an event at the McClay Library in St Charles, MO, then Archcon 32!!! My partner in crime at Archcon 32?? Our own Angie Fox!! Check back next week for our tales of daring-do!


Angie Fox said...

I can't WAIT to see you this weekend, Shirley. We're going to have a blast at Archon. Between the two of us, we're presenting what? About eight workshops? I know I'm doing four and you have at least that many. And of course we must attend the parties for, erm, networking purposes. That sounds official, right? I hear the vendors are really good this year too. Because shopping fits into writing...somehow.

And I hear you on reviews. I'm hosting our book club this month and get to choose the book. I assigned Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning and popped onto Amazon to filch a review to post to the group. Yow. The number of scathing reviews shocked me. This is a great book, people. But I think sometimes when a book is powerful, you either love it or you hate it. I hope KMM isn't reading any of the naysayers, because really, books are like ice cream. Everybody likes a different flavor.

Brandy said...

I will post a review or at least my thoughts on a book that I enjoy. BUT, I will NEVER tear down an author. I have respect and admiration for those who put words down and entertain others with their stories.

Kimberly B. said...

I tend to think that good reviews are meaningless unless people who honestly dislike certain books can express their opinions as well. And people who are paid to review books owe me an honest opinion whether positive or negative. That said, I really hate reviews that are unflinchingly negative and don't provide a reason or specifics (always avoiding spoilers, of course). Something that really annoys one reader someone else might not care about or even notice. If you say "this book was a waste of money" without explaining your reasons, how do I know I'll agree? Similarly if you say "OMG you have to buy this book" and don't say why, chances are I won't.
I enjoy reviewing books on Goodreads and Librarything, and try to follow these same guidelines. But I admit I'm much less likely to post a review of a book I truly disliked; it feels too mean, and once you've put that kind of negativity out there, it's hard to retract.

Stargazer said...

Have Fun in St. Louis! I live in hannibal not too far away.
I would never tell an author her or his book sucked. I know the hours it takes to writes one. I do like to write to the authors that I liked thier books. Praise is always Good. smiles*

Amberkatze said...

I review alot of books and there will always be ones I don't like! However I always try to write about the good parts and the bad parts. Also I have to admit that most of the time I write that I am sure others will love it but it just isn't me.

I can't wait for your next book. I am missing Abby and Ophelia so much!

Cindy Dy said...

I like the way on how you put up your blogs. Wonderful and awesome. Hope to read more post from you in the future. Goodluck. Happy blogging!