More than a place--it's a writer's muse.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Drag out your hooker boots, girlfriends, because it's Wylde Wednesday here Between The Sheets! (Hey you, yeah you! Put those fuzzy cuffs away. Only police issue here!)

I was going to talk about rejection, but the girls at Writers Gone Wild beat me to it. But take a drink of your vodka gimlets. Maybe two, I'll wait. We're going to talk about negative reviews and what to do about them as an author. Yeah, okay, one more drink. You'll need it.

1. Not everyone is going to like what you write even if you win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Be prepared.

2. Not all of the crit that you get will be constructive. I wish it was, but it doesn't work that way.

3. Some of the people who don't like your work will leave reviews that read like a second grader with a really big, red crayon scribbled all over a newspaper where your Malamute took a steaming pile after raiding the trashcan on chili night.

Now, does it suck? Sure. But what do you do? Think back to the many recent debacles of writer meltdowns. I'm not going to name any, but if you think really hard, I'm sure a few will come to you. And you get embarrassed for these authors don't you? You don't want that to be you. As a writer, you're in the public eye and in a sense, you are "always on". Anything that you say on the internet is always there. Even if you take it down, it can be found.

So someone tells you that the book sucked rashed up donkey balls. Well, that's hurtful and made of douche that they would put it that way, but it's their honest opinion and they are entitled to it. Freedom of speech applies not just to the stuff we like to hear. Rather than let it poke you in your soft places, ask what about it sucked. If they can't tell you, chuck it like used toilet paper and move on. Say that you're sorry they didn't like it, but thanks for reading.

If they have specific things that they didn't like, thank them for pointing it out and again, "Sorry that you didn't like it, but thanks for reading."

Anything else and you're going to alienate your readers. Sure, you write for yourself, but you sell for the market and that's the readers.

There's been a movement in the publishing world recently and it seems like it's authors against readers. Reviewers are being lit up like Roman candles for expressing their honest opinions- authors freaking out on Amazon and Goodreads for a one star review. We have to remember that these are the people who pay us to write. Have all the creative angst you like, but keep it to yourself and your support system. Will one bad review ruin your career? No. Will one meltdown? Maybe.

After a certain author's freakout over a review, as a reader, I quit buying her work. She struck me as a self-righteous prima donna bitch and I refuse to ever give her any more of my money. She could write the next batch of Commandments, God's lips right to her ear and I wouldn't spit on her if she was on fire.If she'd just left that review alone, I probably would have thought nothing more about it and went on about the business of reading her work.

On the other hand, readers/reviewers, being made of bitch is nothing but bad behavior. So, you didn't like it. Okay, it happens. I've read plenty of books I didn't care for. Did I write the author and flay off enough skin to make a Snuggy? No. Could I? Yes. I've got a tongue with more venom than the deadliest snake. If you want the author to write to your expectations of excellence, you have to make it clear what those are. "You suck my ass" doesn't exactly help anyone. Leave an honest review, or crit, but tell us why you didn't like it. Otherwise, you just look like a troll.

This business, like any other, is full of angels and devils. You decide which one you want to be and stick with it. We've got to support each other, but we can't expect a gold star just for showing up. That's not how it works. No lie that it hurts, sometimes it feels like you just got cored out like the new guy on the cell block. I've been there, we all have. You just have to keep believing in your work, and build a strong support system.

As an editor, I've read some horrible tripe. Stuff I thought was too bad to line my cat's litter box. Would I ever phrase it that way? Certainly not. Honest, yes. Cruel, no. I try to treat all the authors I've worked with as I'd like to be treated. Even when I feel personally offended that something so awful would ever see the light of day.

*grin* As a writer, some of my early work was horrible. I can admit that freely. There are some reviews to prove it. And you know what, I want to improve my craft and I think I have. But we're always learning, or we should be and I tried to learn from my reviews. Even when they burned like The Inquisition.

And last, but not least, don't forget that opinions are like buttholes. Everyone has one. In the end, (hehee, more butt humor) the people that are nasty look like the trolls that they are, the honest readers are just that, and you, you'll be smelling like a rose and those readers who may not have liked your first book, they're going to be willing to give something else you wrote a shot because you're gracious and classy.

Of course, this is all just my opinion. *wink*

12 comments:

cmkempe said...

Good! I totally agree. I think authors have to be Jane Bennett in public and Elizabeth *only* in private. Internet ≠ private!

Jennifer L Hart said...

We are so on the same wave length today me sister-in-snark ;-) I bow to your wisdom, this is why you are destined for greatness!

Liane Gentry Skye said...

Nobody loves a diva whose gotten too big for her ostrich feather boa and Jimmy Choo stilettos. Unless, of course, she's a textnovel diva. ;)

All butt humor aside, a timely and well thought out post!

SarannaDeWylde said...

CM, I really like that comparison!

SarannaDeWylde said...

Jennifer- Thank you, doll!

SarannaDeWylde said...

Liane-

Exactly. That's a great description too.

Courtney Sheets said...

Excellent post, Amazon Goddess.
I recently struggled with this very thing the other day. I was reviewing a book written by a relatively popular author who had received great glowing reviews already.
The book was set in Hawaii...which fits for me :)..except as I was going along I found errors. Not stuff the average non-Hawaiian would find, but still stuff that could have been googled for verification(which I did to check lol)
Writing the review took longer then any other I had written so far, because I didn't want to be mean and bitchy but I wanted to call her out for these errors.
Will she ever read my reivew, maybe, maybe not, but I feel better not caving and writing it truthfully.
Was I nasty, I don't think so...but she might see it that way.

SarannaDeWylde said...

Courtney,

I haven't read your review yet, but I can't imagine that your review was filled with any sort of nastiness or anything unproffesional.

A truthful review is a good tool for other readers and the writer herself.

If a writer thinks that you're nasty for being honest, then he/she should consider another career.

There is a difference between honesty and nastiness. :)

Anonymous said...

You know, just once I'd like to read something you write without laughing hard enough for my family to look at me strange.

Who am I kidding! Don't change a thing!

Rejection, and bad reviews, and witchiness...oh my. You covered it well Saranna, as always.

Let the dung thrown slide off, and remember you are an artist! What you create will never please everyone, but holding yourself to a higher standard will always benefit in the end.

And hey, there's always a writing partner, co-worker, family memeber, or pillow you can vent to when a bad review gets you down. Then yu just have to get back on the horse, do it all over again until you prove them wrong.

Candi!

SarannaDeWylde said...

Thanks, Candi! I'm glad I could be the home entertainment tonight. I'll be here all week. *g*

But you're right. Always back on the horse. Never give up. :)

C.J. Ellisson said...

Excellent post! And I'm so out of it I have no idea which writer you refer to in you post! Can you dm me on twitter and share? I feel like I missed out on some awesome NYT bestseller gossip!

Wishing you the best tomorrow and no matter which one of us takes a fall I hope it's not with a kick as well.

SarannaDeWylde said...

Thanks, CJ. Good luck to you, too! And thanks for stopping by the blog!

 
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