Friday, April 11, 2008

Authors behaving badly...again [SIGH]

I find it sad that I've come across so much material for my periodic 'How to Ruin your Writing Career in Ten Days [or less]' posts.

I've already talked about the young author who lifted whole passages from someone else's book and garnered herself a hefty advance for a book that's now been recalled by the publisher. I've mentioned the author who slammed not only the work but the morality of erotic romance writers everywhere, and the well-known author accused of plagiarizing from a journalist.

The next schoolyard scandal is about a writer not only taking a reader to task for a less-than-perfect review, but apparently harrassing the reader and getting other authors or friends to do it as well.

Again, I won't name names because publicity is publicity and I don't want to be responsible for helping this author sell more books. All I'll say is: Bad Form.

We all get less than stellar reviews from time to time. I've read a few reviews of my own work that left me cold and a bit annoyed and wondering what book the reviewer actually read, and I've read some reviews of my work that have made me dance around the house feeling like a million bucks.

Getting bad reviews, or sometimes worse, lackluster reviews, is part and parcel of being a writer. Just like getting rejections, you have to learn to suck it up and move on. Not everyone is going to love your book. Some people will plunk down their hard earned money and discover you named a character after their ex-boyfriend which irritates the crap out of them and so they hate your book. You may have written a scene or used a phrase that grates on their nerves, challenges their sensiblities or creeps them out. You may not have ended the book the way they imagined you should have. So rather than chaining you to a bed and breaking your foot, they write a bad review.

If given the choice of a broken foot a bad review, I'll take the review, thanks.

Here's a few things to remember:

Sometimes bad reviews sell books too.

A bad review is only one person's opinion.

You don't have to justify yourself or your book to a reviewer.

Arguing with someone about their OPINION will not change said OPINION 99.9% of the time.

When in doubt, take the high road.

Swallowing the frustration you feel when someone trashes your work, or even just seems not to have enjoyed your work, isn't easy. There's a satisfaction to be had in telling someone off, we all know that. But do yourself a favor and suck it up. You'll be happier in the long run and so will your many readers.

1 comment:

Jen said...

Well said!