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Carlene
07-03-2005, 07:03 PM
Hi all, I need help and but am not sure I'm posting this in the right spot!

I am so angry right now, I could chew nails. Okay, briefly, my second book of the year came out July 1st, so I send out a email to a bunch of people to advertise it. I was in a hurry and misspelled one word - my bad, I know. Okay one of my "friends" wrote back and pointed it out - she also told me there was a typo on the website advertising my book. Did she say she liked the cover? NOOO! Did it sound like an interesting book? NOOOO!! This is the same "friend" who when I published a non-fiction book three years ago only said, "Oh, Carlene - there were SO many errors in that book! Why didn't you let me edit it!" Not one word about the content - everyone else who read the book raved about it. Another writing friend and I went over the book line by line and found ... three errors! Now, what to do? I cannot cut this woman completely out of my life as our husbands are great friends. Yes, I know I should not let one person sour the entire experience but...I'm a writer, I am insecure. Any suggestions? I could shoot her but she's not worth spending the rest of my life in the slammer making hot love with Big Bertha.

Thanks for listening, gang!

Dhewco
07-03-2005, 07:13 PM
Um, you don't have to cut her out of your life, but do stop sending her notices. Don't bring up writing and writing related matters. Talk about other things. Find something else in common. Talk about politics or religion, something less controversial than your writings.

It's been a long time since I've allowed a IRL friend see my writings. Not that they blasted it, but I've learned so much about writing in the last few years and their comments never change. It's always effusive. I have confidence in my writing, but not so much that I can't see flaws.

Whether you have an encouraging friend or disparaging, you can never completely trust their opinion. IMHO. Same goes for family. Just watch American Idol, with the people who are terrible, but have parents who think they're the greatest thing since sliced bread.


Anyway, that's my two cents.

David

Cathy C
07-03-2005, 07:18 PM
Well, perhaps rather than simply wanting to find fault, maybe she's trying to help you make the best impression possible. A website error will turn off a lot of people, after all, and I often point out errors in sites of other author friends without ever commenting on his/her book or cover.

But if you still believe it's malicious (based on other things that have happened), then I'd advise taking the high road. Reply and thank her for being interested enough to take the time to respond, and be happy that she actually opened & read the e-mail long enough to notice the error (instead of clicking it into the trash can as a lot of people would do with a promo).

After all, not everyone around you HAS to like the cover or the book to be a friend.

maestrowork
07-03-2005, 08:13 PM
If she truly wants to help, count her as one of those good friends who'd tell you "you stink" in your face. True friends who'll stand by you even though they'll give you tough love.

If she only does that to be malicious, then I agree -- you don't have to cut her off... just don't send her notice anymore.

Or, you can simply be honest and say, "Hey, I agree with you and appreciate that you point out my grammatical errors, etc. But next time, would you be kind enough to tell me what you think about the book -- content, writing style, characters, etc.?" It's all about communication, pal. If you don't tell the other person what bugs you and what you want, don't expect them to go out of their ways to make you happy...

Carlene
07-03-2005, 08:34 PM
Thanks guys, good suggestions all! I can certainly take criticism - hey I'm a writer! I just always think it's good to temper the bad with the good. I will take the advice to simply not tell her about my writing. She and I used to be in a writing group together, but she never finished anything so I'm afraid a lot of her comments come from envy. I write and do the best I can - that's all any of us can do! Speaking of which - I'm off to write.

Happy Fourth

MarkEsq
07-03-2005, 09:04 PM
And, of course, you could ask sweetly: "What have you had published lately?"*







*Beware - only ask this question if you know the answer is: "Nothing." If your "friend" is J.K. Rowling, do not ask this question. Repeat, if your "friend" is J.K. Rowling, do not ask this question.

maestrowork
07-03-2005, 09:29 PM
*Beware - only ask this question if you know the answer is: "Nothing." If your "friend" is J.K. Rowling, do not ask this question. Repeat, if your "friend" is J.K. Rowling, do not ask this question.

If my friend is Rowling, I'd ask, "Can I have two million dollars? Throw in a recommendation to your agent, please."

reph
07-03-2005, 09:55 PM
Carlene, mistakes bother me. They always have. I seem to have a natural talent for playing "What's Wrong with This Picture?" Maybe your friend is the same way. She notices the good parts but doesn't feel an impulse to comment on them, because they don't need fixing. She calls the bad parts to your attention so you can do something (i.e., correct the e-mail before you send it to anyone else). She isn't thinking about whether she's complimenting or criticizing you as a person. She's thinking about how to help you with your work.

If she saw a food stain on your shirt and wanted to alert you to dab at it or change shirts, would you be offended if she said "Ooh, look at your front, you've got a spot there" instead of "Nice outfit, but you've got a spot on your front"?

maestrowork
07-03-2005, 10:34 PM
Reph, I think we all expect a little sugar to help the medicine go down... Some people are not "diplomatic" to understand that. It doesn't make them bad people, but just may a tad "tactless." ;)

And yes, I'd rather my friend say to me, "Great shirt, but you've a stain on the front."

What I can't stand is for a friend to either 1) not say anything at all or 2) say "Nice shirt" but not tell me about the stain.

Carlene
07-03-2005, 10:41 PM
Of course I want to hear about my mistake so I can correct them. This gal NEVER compliments - only criticises - that's the point I guess I was trying to make. I am far from perfect and do make mistakes, like most folks. I just think there's a way of pointing them out that's helpful, and one that's down right mean.

aadams73
07-04-2005, 12:19 AM
How does she treat you when she's not critiquing your work?

Carlene
07-04-2005, 12:27 AM
With a rather superior attitude which is why I don't spend a lot of time with her. Her husband is a retired airline pilot and she used to sign her Christmas cards, "Captain and Mrs...." Yes, it's proper but so snooty. One of my other friends who knows her always askes, "How's the lady of the manner these days?" I think that says it all!

Carlene

"You say psycho like it's a bad thing."

Fern
07-04-2005, 12:52 AM
Carlene, why not just say "Honey, I already know what you think of my spelling/grammar. But tell me what you think about the book cover. Did you enjoy the book? I'd love to hear any marketing ideas you might have." Only ask that if it you really want to know what she thinks. Otherwise, simply remove her from your list of persons who receive the "advertising" email.

I learned a while back that many times when people (supposedly friends) act this way, it comes from a feeling of inferiority. The only way they can make themselves feel "as good as" or a part of something is to put their negative 2 cents worth in.

The girl who made me realize this was bossy, know it all and none of the other parents of the organization we were all in could stand her. She was a teacher's aid at our local school. One day I overheard her telling someone else that she was a teacher. She also had told me what an excellent job her sister had and it was something that most people would consider a good job, but certainly nothing out of the ordinary. I finally realized her act of "knowing everything" was just that, an act. She had came so far from her rough upbringing to get where she was that she was continually fighting to make others think she was "as good as them". No one realized what was going on and she just sounded like a know it all to everyone. Anyway, just a thought that what you see may be coming from her feelings of insecurity.

eldragon
07-04-2005, 01:02 AM
Take it from an avid reader, many books that are professionally edited have a mistake or two.


If your book, which I am assuming is self published, has 3 errors....that's not bad at all.


The Captain's wife was looking for errors. She wasn't looking at the cover, or reading the story.

It doesn't matter what she thinks of your book. Even if she liked it, she wouldn't tell you.

I agree with the others who said just don't tell her about your new books.

Why invite criticism?

brinkett
07-04-2005, 01:05 AM
She notices the good parts but doesn't feel an impulse to comment on them, because they don't need fixing.
The best critiques point out the good and bad. Saying what worked is as valuable as saying what didn't. A balanced and helpful critique will do both.



I learned a while back that many times when people (supposedly friends) act this way, it comes from a feeling of inferiority. The only way they can make themselves feel "as good as" or a part of something is to put their negative 2 cents worth in.

Jealousy sprang to mind when I read Carlene's post, which can also be due to feelings of inferiority so we're on the same wavelength... :)

reph
07-04-2005, 01:46 AM
With a rather superior attitude which is why I don't spend a lot of time with her....One of my other friends who knows her always askes, "How's the lady of the manner these days?"
Then there's more going on than the personality difference I tried to describe. By the way, that's "lady of the manor." Let me make clear that I say this, not because I'm envious, but to save you the embarrassment of getting the wrong word if you write it in a context where it makes a difference.


The best critiques point out the good and bad. Saying what worked is as valuable as saying what didn't. A balanced and helpful critique will do both.
Yes, but it was just a comment on an e-mail. It wasn't a critique of the book. If Carlene's snotty friend-in-law had sent an unsolicited list of negative comments about the book, that'd be different.

brinkett
07-04-2005, 01:51 AM
Yes, but it was just a comment on an e-mail. It wasn't a critique of the book. If Carlene's snotty friend-in-law had sent an unsolicited list of negative comments about the book, that'd be different.
Right, but I was responding to your post, not to Carlene's situation. But that's okay. I think we're on the same page.

stormie
07-04-2005, 03:37 AM
Hi Carlene,

I had a friend who thought that's what friends were for--to knock you down when you were flying high. As I said, "had" a certain friend. Kind of late for your friend to be telling you about mistakes made in the book, after it's been published. As for mistakes on the web site, yeah, it's good she pointed it out. It doesn't seem, though, that she ever has anything positive to say. I don't like surrounding myself with such negativity. As in anything, people should state at least one positive thing before the negative, like, "Wow, cool cover. Hey, did you know your website has a few mistakes you might want to fix?"

Jamesaritchie
07-04-2005, 04:11 AM
I suspect the best response is to just say, "Oh, thanks for pointing that out."

As an editor, errors tend to jump out at me. It really bugs me to find errors in a published book, or on a website for a book. I don't have to look for errors, they jump right off the page.

I know many such errors are the fault of a copyeditor, rather than the writer, but ultimately, errors are the fault of the writer, simply because any novelist should get to see a copyedited version of the manuscript before it goes to press.

If someone points them out, you can get them corrected before the next printing. Sugar or no sugar, they need pointed out and fixed.

I don't think grownups should expect sugar with the medicine. If you really can't take her behavior, cross her off your friend list. But taking criticism means taking criticism, not needing a layer of sugar on top to make it go down easier.

SRHowen
07-04-2005, 06:26 AM
It sounds to me like she has had some sort of personal management training--urgh, of which I have had to much.

In truth it doesnít help the bad go down when you add sugar. In a crit we want to be diplomatic--but it is best to keep good and bad separate--according to the pyhc people anyway.

There is one way communication: a note that says hey you have spelling errors, but no response is required.

Two way effective communication: Joe, you have a spelling error can we discuss this? Where return communication is expected. This is effective. When you add a compliment--wow Joe great book cover--but I found two spelling errors. It takes away from the compliment--all the person focuses on is the mistake.

And two way conversational communication: I just got your notice about your book--fantastic cover. Response from the other person, Thanks I think they did a great job. You might want to fix a spelling error I found in your e-mail. This is a friendly conversation, the kind you have before an interview or with buds at a bowling ally. Pal to pal, just talk.

There is also motivational feedback. Wow, Joe, great job on the book! The cover looks good. No mention is made of errors so the positive feedback doesnít lose any feedback.

Then there is corrective feedback, given to correct and error before it happens again. Joe, I just read the notice about your new book. On the first page of the announcement you have a spelling error--you might want to fix that so people donít get the wrong impression. No sugar added--itís a straight up do this to improve so the focus in only on what the giver sees as needing to improve.

If she has had some training in this area she may be responding in the way she thinks is best to give you a chance to fix the errors and improve the work.

Ask--So is there anything you liked about the book? If she just gives you positive with no negative in response itís a good bet sheís had the lovely PM training. If not and she just says well, I would have liked it if it didnít have those spelling errors! Then you may want to consider if it is sour grapes--

clara bow
07-04-2005, 06:56 AM
Sigh. I'd give anything to have a book published so someone could point out a spelling error. Being guilty of writer's envy myself, then I would understand, and mayhaps it would be an opportunity to help alleviate that person's writing envy.

Carlene
07-04-2005, 07:18 AM
Yes, I suspect envy more than anything. I got a giggle out of SRHowen - no, she has NOT had managment training! The highest she went in school was high school! She has said more than once she wishes she had gone on to school and I always say - do it now! I started college after high school, dropped out and went back at age 38 to get my AA. Would have continued but we moved, started a business, yadda, yadda, boring. I would go back in a heart beat if there was something I wanted to learn. I'm glad I started this thread as I think it's been very interesting.

Sassenach
07-05-2005, 08:58 PM
she also told me there was a typo on the website advertising my book. Did she say she liked the cover? NOOO! Did it sound like an interesting book!

I'd thank someone who found a typo like that.

reph
07-06-2005, 02:59 AM
See, Sassenach, that's the way I think it should go. Sometimes it does. A sign painter who was lettering high up on a gas-station wall thanked me, a pedestrian, for telling him he'd left the dot off an I in an area of text that looked finished otherwise. If no one had noticed it until later, he might have had to come back to the client site, bring the right color paint, put up the ladder again, and all that. But some people just feel criticized when you tell them of a mistake.

Sheryl Nantus
07-06-2005, 04:39 AM
what's the book, anyway???

Carlene
07-06-2005, 07:04 AM
The book is "Stormy Love" at www.whiskeycreekpress.com (http://www.whiskeycreekpress.com). The typo was on my bio and has been fixed. A word was mistakenly made singular instead of plural. I certainly do want to hear about mistakes so they can be fixed. All I'm saying is there is a nice way and a not so nice way. I'd rather have someone say, "Did you know there's a typo in your bio?" than, "Did you know there's a HUGE mistake on the website with your book!!!" I almost went into cardiac arrest! Kind of like the difference between saying, "My your child is unusual looking" and "Boy, what an ugly kid."

Sassenach
07-06-2005, 08:23 PM
If she's a casual "friend", then take your own advice and don't let one person sour your experience.

aadams73
07-06-2005, 10:35 PM
With a rather superior attitude which is why I don't spend a lot of time with her. Her husband is a retired airline pilot and she used to sign her Christmas cards, "Captain and Mrs...." Yes, it's proper but so snooty. One of my other friends who knows her always askes, "How's the lady of the manner these days?" I think that says it all!



Sounds like she isn't well meaning or a friend. It also sounds like she is touched with the jealousy bug, because it sure sounds to me like you've taken advantages of lots of opportunites that she hasn't.

Keep her at arms length as much as possible since she's as snotty in other ways.

PattiTheWicked
07-07-2005, 08:09 AM
I'm one of those people who is honest almost to a fault. If I see a mistake, I let someone know about it. Admittedly, I try to do it with some degreee of tact, but I do tell them. You've got a couple of options here.

You can thank her for pointing out the mistake (which I would, because if it were me, I'd want to know). Then if you really need the gratification of some positive feedback from her, ask her what she liked about the book.

However, you don't seem to have a terribly high opinion of her -- and that's okay, but it makes me wonder why her opinion is so important to you? You say she's snooty, and always critical -- so why expect anything else from her? If if really bothers you, your best bet is to probably remove her from your mailing list. Otherwise, you might consider letting her know that while you value her opinion, you'd like to get some constructive criticism in addition to having typos pointed out. If you don't tell her what you're looking for, she won't know.

Frankly, though, if I ever have a mistake in my author bio I want someone to tell me, so I don't humiliate myself later on.

ramis
07-22-2005, 06:30 AM
when i was talking to another writer about my problems getting published, she said, "It's easy to get published. Let me look at it--I'll rewrite it and get it published for you." Yikes!

Susie
07-22-2005, 07:50 AM
Ramis, if she thinks it's so easy to get published tell her to get her own writing, rewrite it and then send it out to be published! Easy? No way!

Greenwolf103
07-22-2005, 11:55 PM
And yes, I'd rather my friend say to me, "Great shirt, but you've a stain on the front."

What I can't stand is for a friend to either 1) not say anything at all or 2) say "Nice shirt" but not tell me about the stain.

Amen to that, Ray.

And I have to agree with Susie on her post. Easy?? HAH!

Carlene, I'd agree with the others on taking her off your mailing list. If all she doles out is criticism and negativity, it doesn't sound like she's being very "well-meaning" at all. It just sounds like jealousy, envy and a holier-than-thou attitude. I don't know this "friend" of yours but from what you say about her, it could be all 3 of those things.

Don't let the negativity get to you. Take the criticism for what it's worth but don't let it determine how you feel or what you do.

And congrats on your book! :) I think, typos or no, a congrats is still in order.

MadScientistMatt
07-23-2005, 05:20 AM
Ramis, if she thinks it's so easy to get published tell her to get her own writing, rewrite it and then send it out to be published! Easy? No way!

Either that, or she'll wind up with a certain publisher in Maryland. :wag: Might be an amusing thing to wish on her unless she starts telling everyone else how to get published.