Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Makes you wonder what's going on in people's heads

J.D. Rhoades's post on Murderati today got me thinking and I felt like my comment there had to be cut short (I can get longwinded, you know?) so here are some more thoughts.

To sum up, and I suggest you just hit the link and look at his post 'cause he's got some great links attached, an author openly bashed a reviewer on Amazon for giving her book a 3 star review. 3 star people, as in middle of the road. The author then claimed that she had hired PI who had tracked the reviewer down and she now had all this person's personal information, knew her family and their names, and knew where they all lived. CREEPY WENCH! I realize this is a totally open forum and just anyone can stumble upon this, but give me a break! I don't even know my horrible neighbor's name and don't care to even after her atrocious behavior towards us. Sure, I mutter names under my breath when I see her outside, but to go to this much trouble against someone who hasn't done anything to hurt you personally - it wasn't even a BAD review that said the book stunk - is, frankly, unprofessional.

I understand that an author pours their heart and soul into a book (or they should, if the effort is not there, it shows). I also understand that a published author, and even a non-published author, is doing something that I have never done and don't know if I ever will. I admire each and every one of them for that. The understanding by getting your name out there on a title people can pick up in the grocery store line, is that you have now opened yourself up to both criticism and praise and you should handle yourself with some decorum. Everyone who reads this knows that I write book reviews. As a reviewer, however I really like a book, I want the review to reflect it and I agonize over every single typo that makes its way in at 2am! When I don't like a book, but can still see that it was written well and that others will like it (which is the case most of the time) I try to say what I didn't like about it and then counter it with something positive. When I absolutely can't stand a book (there have only been 3 in the 2+ years that I've done this) I feel a great sense of disappointment, not just that I could have been reading something better, or that I had hoped it would redeem itself and it didn't, but that I now have to tell people that I didn't like it, on an open forum. I feel guilty about every single bad review that I give. It's hard to write them and this is something that I am trying to overcome so that I can give readers an honest opinion. I like to think that if I have readers who seek out my reviews, that they take my opinion with a grain of salt and understand that it is strictly MY opinion and unless they miraculously have the exact same taste in books as I do, that they will not rely solely on what I say. I know this is not the case after working in retail book sales for over 6 years, but I can hope. Now, to think that an author could get so incensed over one of my reviews that they would even think of tracking me down and coming to get me with their loyal henchmen is kind of ridiculous! But hey, if I disliked their book enough to post a BAD review, I still wouldn't retract it. Let me reiterate, I feel absolutely awful when I can't find anything good to say about a book, but would I really be doing the readers justice by lying? I would lose any credibility that I may have earned if I kept telling people to read clunkers.

My question is this, why oh why, if the author is so up in arms about a review that anyone and everyone can see, why would they counter that review by openly posting the fact that they are a psycho-lunatic on the same forum? I personally, as a reader who looks up to and even reveres some authors, am turned off by such behavior to a point that I will not read this author. If it were behavior shown by someone I happen to be a fan of, I would no longer read their books, either. Why would I want to support the career of someone who would potentially fall off the rails and come after me? Authors rely on people's opinions. Even if you write a BAD book, most readers will give you another shot. If you piss off your readers, though, you can pretty much kiss your career goodbye. Piss off some and you can survive, piss off all of them and who but those that live in a cave without internet are going to buy your next book?

I should probably counter this post by saying I hope I have not offended anyone. I want people to read my blog, I want people to seek out my reviews (except for the ones with blatant typos). I don't want to lose respect in the industry that I am trying so hard to make a career of. Frankly though, I think the above author should be shamed and embarrassed by her actions. I think if she ever were to come across this post (and hunt me down!) that she should at least realize that her actions have caused her to lose at least one potential reader. I don't think that I have written anything here that would cause me to do the same.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

That is just plain crazy that an author would hire a PI because of a review that someone wrote about her book