Tuesday, May 29, 2012

When feedback isn't constructive...

As a reader, I totally fail all the authors I follow and love. The reason I fail them is I don't normally write reviews. I really should. I have read some spectacular books in the recent weeks. Why don't I write a review expressing what I liked about the book? I really don't know. I think it comes from the fact that I feel my opinion doesn't matter. If I really like the book, someone else will too! It could be laziness. It could be that life get so crazy, I just don't think about it, but the fact of the matter is that good reviews and comments do matter.

Over the weekend, on my SCP author's loop, a writer wrote an apology. She wrote about how her "terrible" book brought "shame" upon the whole publishing house. At first, in normal "Marie" fashion, I thought "how dramatic" then I decided to go over and read the review that she was apologizing for. What I read basically felt like a kick in the gut to any writer and I felt is as if it had been dealt to my own writing. When writers puts all of their blood, sweat, tears, time with the family, into writing a book, it's the scariest, most wonderful feeling out there. At first, you hope for a contract and if the universe shines upon you, it comes in your inbox and you are living in the clouds for days. Then the real nervousness starts when you become consumed with the reality of how will people like or dislike the book. No author thinks that everyone is going to like their book, and I know in the back of our minds we even know that some people are going to hate it (It pains me to write this but I know deep inside it's true.). This reviewer not only expressed how much she hated this book but absolutely skewered the book, the author's writing, and the whole publishing house. It wasn't a review but a hatchet job. No wonder this author was apologizing, I probably would be hiding under the bed after I set fire to my laptop.

My question is, what did the writer of the review really mean to get out of such a poisonous, scathing review? So, you didn't like it but come on. Isn't there a way to express your displeasure by telling people the author and everyone at the publishing house "must be  hitting the crack pipe too hard"? How was that constructive? Maybe, I've worked with children too long but my attitude has always been if I'm going to say something negative, it's going to be in a way to help someone become better at something. Am I naive? Maybe but that's how I live my life and wouldn't trade that for anyone or anything.  Have I read the book in question? No. Could the reviewer have some points? Yes. Could the  reviewer wrote her points in a respectful manner? Absolutely!

Authors are readers too! We have our likes and dislikes but most of all we have feelings too.

Peace out,


  1. I just believe there are a lot of hateful readers out there...mostly wannabe writers. I feel those are the reviewers that rip writer's apart because they can't get a contract.
    I used to be a reviewer. If I didn't like a book I would highlight the positives IF there were any. If there weren't I'd only say this book wasn't for me.
    THAT was before I became a writer. It was and is who I am. I'm not going to trash someone who I know put blood sweat and tears into publishing.
    I recently read a self-pubbed book and it was riddled with mistakes. My only thought? Geez, I wish she'd gotten a good editor to proof the book. Otherwise the book was a very good read.
    I'm sorry for this author because it's hard as a writer to hear negative words about our work, it's devastating to be ripped to shreds. I hope the writer's banned together and lifted her spirits because harsh words can drive a writer without thick skin right out of the business.

  2. I don't understand negative people, I don't think I ever will. The only thing I can guess is that they feel they need to put everyone else down to make themselves feel better. It just seems so selfish and petty.

    But I DO understand the need to apologize after a bad review. I've read some reviews about my own work where I feel like I needed to apologize to everyone in my life because they had to be associated with someone so obviously as terrible as I must be. It's not a lovely feeling. And it's just as bad as physical battery if you ask me.

    I agree with Amber too, I hope you guys can lift her spirits and make her feel better.