No Black Static story today, alas.
I’d planned to do one. Even had one picked out to read last night, but then somebody pointed me in the direction of this train wreck and I spent the time rubbernecking and in stunned disbelief that any writer could be so stupid, and ever since then I’ve been sulking because nobody ever forms a lynch mob when disgruntled writers turn up to tear me a new one, which doesn’t happen often, but more often than it should, which is never.
I quite like the paintings on Jacqueline Howett’s blog, albeit some are a bit derivative (echoes of Matisse, Miro etc). Perhaps she should concentrate on art, as it seems to be where her talent lies.
Oh, my…the two-word response to a review, eh…!
Well, to be fair, she did try to reason with the reviewer first, before frustration drove her to dualism 🙂
You always seem to handle it so well on your own, Peter – comment from anyone else would be redundant!
It is my impression that there is a bit of a double standard – women seem much more likely to have the internet fall on their head for complaining about reviews, while men are more likely to get a slap on the back for standing up for themselves.
For example I remember one (female) blogger posting about what an idiot Candace Sams was (and of course she was), only a week or two after approvingly tweeting about a big-name male author similarly ripping apart a review.
I reckon that if a female author were to have a go at you the response would be quite different.
I agree with you up to a point (we seem to expect women to behave ‘better’ than men), though there are examples of male writers who have overstepped the mark and had it bite them, such as Stel Pavlou’s hissy fit over a James Lovegrove review on The Alien Online (ancient history now), or a guy whose name I forget who had a go at the editor of a “Best Gay” fiction antho who’d been dismissive about his story – that one in particular was very nasty and got plenty of blog coverage.
The usual advice for writers is to not respond to negative reviews, and in general I think it’s good advice for reviewers too, though there are occasions when more is required. Years ago some guy who’d objected to a review I did for Whispers turned up on TTA to have a go, and some other people got into it with him, at which point I didn’t feel I could let them fight my corner for me, particularly as the guy was getting very obnoxious. Afterwards I had an email from D saying ‘Remind me never to get on your wrong side’. I can be a real hardass when I need to 🙂
The worst criticism I’ve had of one of my reviews was from my lady wife. She said, looking at a draft version, “It might be a fair review of the book, but you need to rewrite it a bit because it makes you seem utterly inhuman.” Still struggling with that one.
One thing I see a lot is that writers look for a reason for the bad review, for a motive, for an agenda, and if you think about everyday life that kind of makes sense. If you see an ugly baby you would rarely say to the parents, “That baby is ugly.” Saying stuff like that in everyday life is rude, and so it seems to some people getting bad reviews. Like there’s a barrier of politeness, and you wouldn’t crossed it without a reason.
Having grown up in Keighley, a place where complete strangers will stop you in the street to say what they think of your haircut, I don’t have that tact. (I remember at our antenatal classes a successful graduate of the class brought in her baby to show us, and wasn’t impressed by my comment about its huge nostrils.) It’s maybe a useful tool for me as a reviewer, even while it’s terrible for my relationships.
I don’t think it’s a matter of rudeness, so much as honesty being a requirement of the job, and if reviewers do nothing but give praise then in my mind that praise is devalued.
One of the nicest things a writer has said to me, is that if he got a good review from me he felt it was earned, whereas with a lot of other reviewers it was something he could take for granted. Of course, he’d figured out how susceptible I am to flattery.
The irony is that especially vitriolic or bad reviews are every bit as much a selling point as good ones. Readers are fair minded and/or enjoy trainwrecks. Several people said they were going to check out Jacqueline Howett’s book, until she turned up and ruined it all by acting out. One of the times I really put the boot into a book, calling it ‘a load of old horror wank’, several people got in touch to tell me they’d been motivated to buy the book. They also said that I’d been right, but that’s beside the point 🙂
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