Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Give Peace a Chance

By now everyone has probably heard of the author who didn't like the review given her book at BigAl's Books and Pals.  If not go over and check it out. It's a classic example of how not to react.  The author blames the reviewer, demands the review be taken down, and eventually resorts to name calling and swearing.

I've never had a piece published outside of my high school literary magazine, (Hey I had to start somewhere, and it was nationally recognized) but I can imagine the heartbreak at seeing something you love and have slaved over belittled.  Though I'm more of the hide in my closet and cry person than the lash out at everyone person.

A few weeks ago an another blog I saw a commenter ream the blogger, calling her naive and condescending, her post misinformed and elitist and telling her she had no business writing.  Now I don't know what the blogger did in private, cry, yell, rant, we didn't see it.  The blogger's response was along the lines of: thanks for reminding me things don't always come across as I mean them too.  I'll try to be more precise next time and remember not everyone sees things the way I do.  What easily could have denigrated into name calling and crudity was diffused by the blogger's professionalism.

Most of the time writing is a solitary pursuit.  We interact with other writers on twitter, blogs, websites and crit groups but much of that is on the computer.  It's easy to forget there is another person on the other end of the connection.  That person deserves respect and politeness.  Not just because we're professionals and this is our job, though that is true, but because we're all human and it's the right thing to do. 

What do you think about bad reviews, professionalism, and author/reviewer relationships?


  1. I read the post and the comments (not all of them. I stopped after the first page) .. but it really was like watching a train wreck. After the second 'f**k off' comment I almost expected one to pop up after ever five or six comments.

    Perhaps a discourse on the concept of respect is in order in this 'wild west frontier' mentality that has blossomed in tandem with e-publishing technology.

    And ... It seems that we've shifted the concept of respect from the issue at hand, to the personality, either our own or the personality, or what we perceive the personality to be, of whoever has got up our nose.

    i.e. "You're stupid!", rather than, "I disagree with what you just said/did."
    The first one attacks the person and the second one focuses on Self and the issue. It's easier to attack rather than offer a thoughtful opinion or response.

    .. umm ... what was the question? .. Oh yes...

    Bad reviews - read 'em once. If there's anything valid then suck it up, otherwise into the recycling bin they go.

    Prefessionalism - Writing is a Profession, don't doubt that. It's kinda like the apprenticeships of yore. It takes years of dedicated hard work (and a startling amount of luck) to evolve oneself into a creditable writer. Treat Self and others with the respect that that merits.

    Author/reviewer relationships - see 'prefessionalism' above - and never, never, never, almost never, get friends or family to publicly review your work. Only get people whose opinions you respect, not necessarily like, that are topic/genre specific to do a review.

  2. Great comments. For some reason it went into my spam file and it took me a little while to find it.

    I often wonder if the people who react like this on the computer would do the same to someone's face. Does anyone count to ten anymore before opening their mouth (hitting post) so they don't regret their actions? In the viral world we live in it doesn't take long for everyone to know what we say, think, believe or feel.

    Some have said that ruining her career is just rewards for her action but I can't help feeling sorry for her.

    Oh, and don't feel obligated to answer the question, any discussion is good. :)

  3. S'funny, your comment on my blog went into my spam folder as well... **frowny face** it's another glitch in the wordpress/blogspot battle for blogsite supremacy!

    I feel for her too... maybe she can try again when the fireworks die down, but probably under another name ... the memories of some folk is long and unforgiving.