Wednesday, January 18, 2012

oh boy

It's a good thing that not many people actually READ my posts, because what I'm going to say here probably isn't going to agree with a lot of bloggers, and some authors - well....

The other night I wasted quite a few hours reading some posts about a flame war between authors and bloggers regarding reviews and answers to reviews. I'm not going to post any links, because really - enough has been said. I just feel the need to put in my two cents, for whatever that's worth now (not much, lol) - this is just some things I've noticed over the last few years, and especially the last couple of weeks.

First of all, I know that some authors have gotten very, very nasty in response to some bad reviews. This is - to put it mildly - a bit rude.

Second, I've also read a couple of author responses that I didn't feel were quite so awful, and yet a few responders got a little snarky with them. This is a bit rude on the part of the responders; authors have a right to their opinions also, hopefully they're sane about the way they respond. Although I do agree with some of the sage advice by some wise ones that it's probably, it IS NOT a good idea to respond to volatile posts about your books....some bloggers can handle a well thought out, considerate answer, but if you're responding to an all out crazed review of your book, you are definitely not going to get a sane and considerate response to your comments.

Thirdly - some of the examples of reviews I've read the last few weeks - Jesus! there I was feeling sorry for some of the bloggers about being ripped to shreds by a certain author ....until I read the reviews. The reviews were very sarcastic and...hell - really! what did that person expect? when you write a purposefully volatile, juicy, extremely rude review (warranted or not) you're going to get some flack about it.

Now I've gotten a little snarky a couple of times about a few things in a book, but I've never tried to be rude. I would be horrified to know that I might have actually offended someone's feelings. I'm not talking about feelings regarding their book - but I'm talking about unnecessary roughness while reviewing. I've made my share of fun about a certain Vampire Slayer's author, I admit...and that's the worse I've ever been. No good excuse, but I had my reasons and I think I was much gentler than many have been to this mostly infuriating piece of work - and I've stopped reading that particular series. In my weak defense, I was extremely disappointed after paying lots of cash for ...well, that's enough of that. I'm not proud of everything I've ever written about a certain writer, but I'm not going to personally attack her on Goodreads.

Of the rest of my reviews, I try to be considerate, and while I might make a joke or two about how much blood a character bled in one book (enjoyed the book, but was amazed at the blood loss), or about how much certain body parts throb in some books, but this is not meant to humiliate an author - it's meant to just have a chuckle and move on.

But really - if you're a blogger who makes a point of writing extremely snarky reviews, then don't act all butt-hurt if you get an irritated reply. Don't dish it out if you can't take it.

And if you're an author who is going to write rude things to a blogger - no matter what they said about your book - then don't be surprised and butt-hurt that they slam you in their comments. The strange and contrary thing about human beings (and there are a lot of barely sane humans on the internet) is that we all like to feel like our dignity is intact - no matter how we may have shredded someone else's dignity. Sensible, no - Contrary, yes. Human.

When I read an extremely rude review I don't pay a lot of attention to it. There are some snarky reviews that I get a laugh out of, but that doesn't mean I agree with the reviewer. Those are the posts that remind me of those comedians that totally embarrass an audience - FOR LAUGHS. And when a review excels at snarky reviews without putting down the author - then it's enjoyable. After all - what if (gasp!) the author MEANT to write about a mary-sue type of character who makes silly decisions? You don't have to enjoy it, you don't have to like it. I've stopped reading books because the dialog doesnt match the characters - my perogative (wonder if I spelled that right, but not enought to LOOK it UP, lol), but I'm not going to annihilate the author's feelings and put them down for it. Just not my "cuppa".

But as a blogger - even a not very ambitious blogger - I'm a little ashamed of reading the extremely rude, put down reviews that some reviewers write (both professional and amateur - some of those pros are downright NASTY).

Add in the explosive answers and you really have a mess on your hands. It's entertaining in a trainwreck sort of way, but doesn't make me respect any of the participants - other than the few voices of reason that usually get drowned out in the flame wars.

Even a bad review gives a book some notice, and pleasant or not - as long as the reviewer is not actually personally insulting the writer - has as much validity as a good review. Because with all the different personalities there are out there, there is no way that we're all going to like all the same books for all the same reasons. It's impossible. One man's garbage is another's treasure. One reviewer might just completely hate a book that really speaks to another reader.

There have been times when I've been tempted to just rip into a book that I had to force myself to finish - but in the long run, I don't want to ruin an author's day. I don't want to be the person that made an author feel completely like shit just because i didn't like her/his book. If it's that bad (according to me) I just won't finish it. I might give a reason - but that's all it reason. Which brings to my mind something else that has been getting to me a bit...

Maybe I'm an idiot, but there are some review catch phrases that I just don't get, either:

"I couldn't connect to the character" - Really? you couldn't connect to a demon slayer/vampire hunter/werewolf/woman turned into -insert being-? Wow. Of course not - because YOU AREN'T ONE OF THOSE BEINGS!

"the actions weren't logical" - yeah - maybe not to you, but to the character who is going through some paranormal shit, or who has grown up in a completely batshit family - yeah, we don't always behave in a logical manner or make logical choices....just look at the world around you. Millions of different brains processing things in a million different scenarios. See a lot of real logic? all the time? I don't. Don't like illogical choices in books? That's okay. It's fine with me, I can read it just for the story, whether I like the actions or not, as long as the narration is good and the dialog works.

"cardboard characters" - I've never understood that phrase. because I've met people who could be those 'cardboard" people.

"I didn't like the main character" - it's a story. Some stories are about unlikeable people. Some stories are about people who aren't goody-two-shoes. Some stories are about downright evil people. And some stories are about people that are probably like you and me, whether we can admit it or not - we're not completely evil or good, just kind of in between. We can be good, but do bad things.....(or is that just me?) Actually - if you didn't like the character that's okay, but how was the book? Was the story interesting? Did interesting things happen? Was the dialog believable?

That's just some of the review phrases that I don't "get". Especially when a book that I think is great gets points taken off because someone couldn't connect with the character, or didn't like the choices....and that brings us back around to - there's many a book out there for everyone, but not every single books is for every single person.

But then I've never tried to say that I'm anything but a reader. I read books. I read books for the story, not for how I think a story should be written, but to experience the story that was written by the person who wrote it. And if there's anything that I've taken away from my extreme disappointment in a certain someone's writing 180 turnaround, it's when to admit that it's okay to walk away from a series, it's okay not to like a series, and it's fine when some series change a bit - keeps it fresh. It's all in how much you might enjoy a particular storyline.

Back to the extremely crazed communications that have gone on back and forth - Shame on all of them - bloggers and writers who both participated and didn't step away from their computers when they were in a snit. Shame. If you wrote an inflammatory review where you totally made fun of the author, the story and then GOT UPSET BECAUSE IT BOTHERED THE AUTHOR - Get a grip, relax, and go read something you like. Let the other shit go. And if an author thought it was a good idea to get on a reviewer's blog and write insults and question their intelligence - shame on you too. Don't be surprised when everyone on the the site attacks you.

You get what you put in.

To all the authors who take good and bad reviews in stride - congratulations. For all of you who work so hard at putting out a book, who understand that not everyone is going to like that book - Good for you. For those of you who read both the bad and the good reviews and simply thank the reader for giving it a try - You are an amazing person. There are people who respect and enjoy your work as well as your graciousness (even if secretly you're butt-hurt)

For all of the bloggers who write insightful reviews, even if some of it might contain some snark without being hurtful - thanks for your reviews, it's good to get another opinion, even if it doesn't agree with my opinion.

And if you're one of the bloggers who write snarky yet fun reviews, and can take it when someone disagrees with you - WONDERFUL! It's good to read from mature people

haha - after all, you can't help it if you're wrong!


I just wish that people would remember that no matter what - there are so many things wrong with the world, why are we adding to the over all stress? I'm not perfect by any stretch of the imagination - but I'm trying to make an effort to be considerate in my daily life and that includes complete strangers on blogs.


  1. I got a review recently that wasn't horrible but wasn't great. I thanked the author, checked back a little later and found... gasp... someone was interested in reading the book who hadn't heard of it yet :) Yay! It was a fair, three star review, and still it got some attention.

    Honestly, my opinion is, walk away if you can't be nice about something. Even bad reviews, yeah, they hurt, but starting a flame war is going to hurt more.


  2. LOL - I've never had anything reviewed that I produced, but even a three star review means they liked it a little. They didn't LOVE it, or like it a lot, but it's still way better than a one star review. Of course, I haven't read that particular review. I still think you're way better than a lot of already published authors, and wait until your sequel comes out.

    I've also read not so excited reviews of books that I still want to read, and I've bought books that have five star reviews all over the place and was bored by the books, so go figure. We all have different tastes.

    You're right - they should just walk away.

  3. I have stayed away from a lot of this (mostly because it seems to be from the YA crowd and I don't read a lot of YA)---however that being said, you are very much allowed your opinion! Don't ever let someone tell you aren't---ever!

    (can you tell all your posts came through my blog reader at the same time LOL)