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Thread: Authors should really stop telling readers how to give reviews

  1. #1001
    Tyrant King jeffo20's Avatar
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    Elle Lothlorien had followed up her initial post on responding to bad reviews here, with her "case study" here.

    While I actually understand what she's driving at here (and no, I don't condone it), maybe I'm just stuck in some old view of all this. I read a book by a best-selling author. I thought it was poorly written and edited, full of continuity errors galore, leaps of logic, etc. If I wrote reviews, I would have left a one star review. If this author had responded, sure, I might have gotten a good impression of her as a person. I might have told people she's very gracious in the face of negative reviews, and I liked her personally. It might have made me feel warm and fuzzy that this big shot author took the time to reach out to me, acknowledged my feelings, and all that, but it would not make me want to recommend that book to anyone, nor would it make me likely to read her other books. I'd still remember all the problems with that book and be less likely to give her another chance, no matter how nice she was.

    I also wonder about this: how much weight do we give these reviews as readers? I personally don't pay that much attention to them. I don't scour Amazon and Goodreads and the NYTimes book review to decide if I'm going to like a book or not. And if I do look, a handful of bad reviews mixed amongst the good are not going to sway me. Maybe I'm unusual in this regard.
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  2. #1002
    Whatever I did, I didn't do it. Phaeal's Avatar
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    A good one from this week's NYT Book Review:

    Not all writers are as equable in the face of bad reviews. When Colson Whitehead criticized Richard Ford’s story collection “A Multitude of Sins” in the Book Review in 2002, Ford held a grudge; at a publishing party two years later, he took the opportunity to spit on Whitehead. “I would like to warn the many other people who panned the book that they might want to get a rain poncho, in case of inclement Ford,” Whitehead said later. At least there were no guns involved. After Alice Hoffman — who’s had her own troubles with critics — wrote a disappointed review of Ford’s 1986 novel “The Sportswriter,” Ford and his wife blew off steam by putting bullets through one of Hoffman’s books. “I don’t read my reviews anymore,” Ford told the literary journalist Robert Birnbaum in 2002. Birnbaum responded: “Well, that might save you on ammunition.”
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  3. #1003
    A bit of a wallflower absitinvidia's Avatar
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    I just want to say: I admire reviewers who admit they didn't finish a book. It's a refreshing bit of honesty. And I don't see the point of authors getting upset about it and saying it somehow invalidates the review. If I get up and walk out of a movie because it's just that bad, that somehow means that my opinion of the movie is invalid? If I take a sip of milk, realize it's sour, and pour the rest down the sink, does the fact I didn't finish the glass make the milk any less spoiled? It becomes absurd at some point.

    How arrogant is it for an author to think that a reader's time has so little value?

  4. #1004
    Avid reader and lover of fiction Lexxie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by absitinvidia View Post
    I just want to say: I admire reviewers who admit they didn't finish a book. It's a refreshing bit of honesty. And I don't see the point of authors getting upset about it and saying it somehow invalidates the review. If I get up and walk out of a movie because it's just that bad, that somehow means that my opinion of the movie is invalid? If I take a sip of milk, realize it's sour, and pour the rest down the sink, does the fact I didn't finish the glass make the milk any less spoiled? It becomes absurd at some point.

    How arrogant is it for an author to think that a reader's time has so little value?
    I especially like your milk example! The author in the link I provided on the last page ended up telling the reviewer that he had started editing again, and that he'll send a free new edition to the reviewer though, and it ended up being completely drama free, which was refreshing
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  5. #1005
    The cake is a lie. But still cake. shaldna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lexxie View Post
    I especially like your milk example! The author in the link I provided on the last page ended up telling the reviewer that he had started editing again, and that he'll send a free new edition to the reviewer though, and it ended up being completely drama free, which was refreshing
    The author in that link also reviewed his own book too. 5 stars no less.
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  6. #1006
    It's time for another link to John Scalzi telling other authors how to behave like grown-ups.

  7. #1007
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Yeah, well Scalzi is sheer class. He's right too.




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  8. #1008
    Avid reader and lover of fiction Lexxie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaldna View Post
    The author in that link also reviewed his own book too. 5 stars no less.
    I have seen a few authors rating their own books, and I don't really agree with that. However, it struck me as a lot more weird when an author on amazon rated his own book with 4 stars... if the author isn't in love with his own book, how can readers be?
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  9. #1009
    "We're all mad here" - Cheshire Cat Silver-Midnight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lexxie View Post
    I have seen a few authors rating their own books, and I don't really agree with that. However, it struck me as a lot more weird when an author on amazon rated his own book with 4 stars... if the author isn't in love with his own book, how can readers be?
    Maybe they wanted it look less suspicious? *shrug*

  10. #1010
    Tyrant King jeffo20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lexxie View Post
    I have seen a few authors rating their own books, and I don't really agree with that. However, it struck me as a lot more weird when an author on amazon rated his own book with 4 stars... if the author isn't in love with his own book, how can readers be?
    You know, I can see this where you're being interviewed by someone many years later, in the midst of a long career. "Well, give us an assessment of this book", and saying, "honestly, looking back, this and that and that, I'd give it a 4". That's a lot different than going on Amazon or Goodreads and rating it yourself. Hey, can I write my own review for Kirkus or Publishers' Weekly or the New York Times?
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  11. #1011
    Sophipygian AW Moderator Alessandra Kelley's Avatar
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    Wendy Darling (pseud.), the really talented, funny and fair Goodreads reviewer who got attacked for her review of "The Selection" by Kiera Cass last January, including a really savage attack from Melissa Douthit where WD's real name, photo, name of husband, and address were posted online, hasn't posted anything on Goodreads or her blog since the end of May.

  12. #1012
    Avid reader and lover of fiction Lexxie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alessandra Kelley View Post
    Wendy Darling (pseud.), the really talented, funny and fair Goodreads reviewer who got attacked for her review of "The Selection" by Kiera Cass last January, including a really savage attack from Melissa Douthit where WD's real name, photo, name of husband, and address were posted online, hasn't posted anything on Goodreads or her blog since the end of May.
    Yeah, and she hasn't blogged since then either I miss her! And I miss her book recs, I have read quite a few books I discovered thanks to her - whether she liked them or not, she brought them to my notice.
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  13. #1013
    practical experience, FTW Kewii's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alessandra Kelley View Post
    Wendy Darling (pseud.), the really talented, funny and fair Goodreads reviewer who got attacked for her review of "The Selection" by Kiera Cass last January, including a really savage attack from Melissa Douthit where WD's real name, photo, name of husband, and address were posted online, hasn't posted anything on Goodreads or her blog since the end of May.
    Wow. I hadn't heard about that before you posted this. That is just disgusting.
    It was just a bad review. The author and agent made it so much worse by the way they spoke about it. Authors and agents need to always take the high ground. Clearly, the opposite happened here.
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  14. #1014
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    author john simpson is quite eloquent in a response to a review. LOL

    http://www.goodreads.com/review/show...mment_52808069

    John
    Erastes, you're just a cow.....the facts are indeed correct and it has received 5 star reviews everywhere, bot of course you. You don't like me, I don't like you. I expect nothing out of you but a one star. Hate my writing so much, don't fucking read it. BTW, the book is being made into a screenplay and will end up on the big screen eventually. You better check your facts again heifer.
    this comment is proceeded by many more gems from yours truly, john simpson.

    He uses gender slurs a lot against her.

  15. #1015
    Shiny new cover! AW Moderator Calla Lily's Avatar
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    I continue to be astonished at the number of authors who seem to think that people are not permitted to dislike their books.


  16. #1016
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    After reading all these "classy" responses from authors, I think I will curl up with some of those nice ghost fiction anthologies I bought in the wee hours las night -- M. R. James and some of his followers.

    I can't imagine M. R. James or that sort of writer calling someone names because they didn't like one of their stories. And even if I were to post a negative review, most of them are long dead, so they can't complain. Although if the bed sheets start to move after I post that review...

    Gulp! :eeek: On second thought, I don't think I'll post a negative review of the M. R. James anthology after all. I'm sure I will enjoy it very much...
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  17. #1017
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireluxlou View Post
    author john simpson is quite eloquent in a response to a review. LOL

    http://www.goodreads.com/review/show...mment_52808069


    That is the only way to properly describe my reaction.

  18. #1018
    The cake is a lie. But still cake. shaldna's Avatar
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    And there's one more author to add to my 'will never read' pile.
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  19. #1019
    practical experience, FTW firedrake's Avatar
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    I saw this last night.

    Wow. What an eejit.

    Having just read the opening pages, I'm impressed that the reviewer stuck with it.

  20. #1020
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    I found another one this morning on Amazon by Nick Brown:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R2KKM2UV7AF2DG/ref=cm_cr_pr_cmt?ie=UTF8&ASIN=1444714856&nodeID=&t ag=&linkCode=#wasThisHelpful

    I highly regard the reviewer, as he reviews a lot of historical novels, and he's quite balanced - and very informative. His criticisms of historical accuracy are correct. It also looks though as he has posted other responses, but thought better of it.

    I do have the book on my 'to read pile,' it's a library book so I will read it, if only to post a review.
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  21. #1021
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaldna View Post
    And there's one more author to add to my 'will never read' pile.
    Sadly, I realized why the name sounded familiar. I bought two of his ebooks at Fictionwise a couple of years ago. Yeah, I'm really in a hurry to read them now. (Anyway, I bought the one about the openly gay pope on a whim to see how he could pull that one off...)

    Guess I'll be reading more of those nice, quiet long dead authors today.
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  22. #1022
    Outside the box, with the bunnehz KimJo's Avatar
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    I just don't comprehend reactions like that. I really don't.

    Yeah, okay, a one-star review might sting. But it's freaking WORDS, people, not an assassination attempt.

    Honestly, I'm just happy when my books get reviewed, even if the review isn't completely positive... I like knowing people are reading my books. Readers are allowed not to like my stuff.
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  23. #1023
    practical experience, FTW firedrake's Avatar
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    What I find really sad about this whole business is the dogpiling. Yes, he was well out of order and stupid and arrogant, but it's the way everyone else has to swoop down and drop more crap on him. Like sodding vultures to a corpse. Some of them fellow authors.

    Just so bloody tired of the mob mentality.

  24. #1024
    Quote Originally Posted by firedrake View Post
    What I find really sad about this whole business is the dogpiling. Yes, he was well out of order and stupid and arrogant, but it's the way everyone else has to swoop down and drop more crap on him. Like sodding vultures to a corpse. Some of them fellow authors.

    Just so bloody tired of the mob mentality.

    He asked for it. It's not like he was minding his own business posting things on his own blog and the Internet decided to jump down his throat. He behaved horribly and unprofessionally and he's being punished for it. More authors should learn this lesson.

  25. #1025
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    The dipshittery just never seems to end.

    As a side note, I've read a lot of positive reviews of Orlando Figes's latest book and it's the type of thing I'd normally jump to read, but his past behaviour of trolling other people's work means I will never pick it up.

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