Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bloggers, Authors, Reviewers & Other Things that Thumper Didn't Anticipate

by Mindy McGinnis

Oh my.

I won't link to anything because by the time I do that there'll be a newer, bloodier author/reviewer battle to take the place of the one I linked to. Let's just say that there continues to be an epic clash of name-calling—peppered with the occasional well-informed and succinctly delivered opinion—in regards to the interaction between authors and reviewers who give them bad reviews.

But here's the thing, guys—it's not even about books anymore. It's not about authors, it's not about reviewers. It's not even close to being related to the publishing industry in some cases. It's about people who don't like each other saying mean things to one another in a public forum where their family, friends, and perfect strangers can chime in. And then when someone new gets insulted they get their feelings hurt and tell their friends, who valiantly swoop in to insult the person who insulted their friend, and pretty soon we've got a book-based Bloods and Crips situation going on that is debasing to everyone involved.

Good Lord. It kills me. It really kills me, because all of this is under the guise of literary endeavor, which automatically includes you, me, and anyone who puts pen to paper or fingertips to keys.

And there's nothing to be done about it. Engaging is the equivalent of borrowing the Olympic torch and dousing yourself in rocket fuel. There are plenty of even heads and well-placed comments that have attempted to stem the tide on any random debacle, but the voice of reason tends to go unheeded.

And why is that?

Because it's fun to have a tantrum. No really, it totally is. I'm a big proponent of adult tantrums when executed in private where you can't have a negative impact on others. Get mad. Throw things. Say mean shit to blank walls. Hell, lie down and scream and pound your fists on the ground if that's what helps you get your nasty out. But don't do it on the internet, because remember—the internet is forever.

Mindy McGinnis is a YA author and librarian. Her debut dystopian, Not a Drop to Drink, will be available from Katherine Tegen / Harper Collins Fall 2013. She blogs at Writer, Writer Pants on Fire. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.


JeffO said...

It's been a ridiculous couple of weeks, hasn't it?

Jemi Fraser said...

Have your temper tantrums in private = GREAT advice. It's crazy how some of these things can escalate.

Sophie Perinot said...

It’s forever alright and if you are an author your number one priority should be cultivating sales not being right (even when you are right). So, as Mom told you when you were 5, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”—at least if you are an author. Doesn’t seem fair does it, that reviewers can depart from reviewing your actual book and get personal (or publically wax wane on the book they would have written if they were you) and writers have to abstain from responding? But the world is not fair and in business (and if you are published this IS business) you don’t gain new customers by castigating old ones.

Michelle 4 Laughs said...

Maybe if others didn't try and calm the fire, it would die down sooner. Maybe.

There doesn't seem to be an answer to people acting badly. It's everywhere these days.

robertatrahan said...

Oh, this is so timely for me. Thanks for posting, Mindy. I am a debut author who received a less that stellar PW review this week. The reviewer clearly didn't "get" my book -but whose fault is that? Like it or not, it's mine. The only appropriate response to bad reviews, if I thought it was at all appropriate to respond at all (which I don't) would be "thank you very much for taking the time to read my book". As my husband likes to remind me when I get all weepy about my bad reviews - "hey, you asked for it". It's true, I did. I put the work out there and invited the whole world to respond. That's not to say criticism doesn't hurt, but you have to be prepared to take the salt right along with the sugar in this business. Engaging a reviewer who has panned your book is a surefire career killer. Your publisher will NOT thank you for it, to be sure.

Jean Oram said...

People were given 4 cheeks for a reason. Oh look at me, I'm so witty tonight. ;)

Mindy McGinnis said...

Jeff - ugh. It's just been... well, it's been downright ludicrous. If there *are* aliens and they pick up on this shit they will never visit us.

Jemi - private temper tantrums hurt no one! Rule of thumb. (broken thumbs, actually)

Sophie - agreed completely.

Michelle - When people step in and try to calm the fire (in the comments section, usually, of the flammable site / review) they're the ones that get burned. That's why I'm yelling common sense from a distance :)

Roberta - A less than stellar PW review is a rite of passage (or so I hear). And yes, we do put ourselves out there, and cannot expect everyone to love us.

Jean - Oh you funny.

Debra McKellan said...

Man! I want to know what happened! LOL I'm that one person who's never around when something goes down. -_-