Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Negative Review? Do Not Engage! #reviews

I was asked to write this post. I'm not sure it'll make any difference, being as the thing I'm blogging about happens at least a couple of times a year that I'm aware of. Maybe more. I suppose in a pre-internet world, maybe it happened just as often but we didn't get to hear about it.

So, again this week I 'heard' about another author meltdown on Goodreads. I went and read it. Ai! I'm not going to link to it because there's plenty of info about it out there already if you know where to look. Suffice to say, yet another author took affront to the fact that somebody didn't like their book. And that's all it was. Not one of those super snarky reviews with epilepsy-inducing flashy gifs, or the world's most acid critic. A simple one star, didn't like it, wasn't for me.

But the author couldn't accept this and asked that the reviewer TAKE IT DOWN. When the reviewer offered to rewrite it, being more specific about what they didn't like (and by no means was this reviewer in any way obliged to do so, and I certainly wouldn't have), the author took umbrage even at that. Accused the reviewer of trying to destroy their career, of having no empathy by trying to sabotage his efforts to make a living, and of being too stupid to appreciate his art.

*face palm* Of course, the only one destroying his career at this point was the author himself. The thread escalated, spread, and I've seen numerous tweets, blog posts, comments etc throughout the internet. He got his fifteen minutes of fame, probably more. Frankly, I'd rather not be that famous. The author was even removed from Goodreads (I've no evidence that they did remove him or he left of his own accord, but it's been said he was removed), and his 1* reviews have had many babies. Oddly, the reportedly low ratings on Amazon have been deleted (no idea how that was achieved). It's not a new story, but I really wish it was an old or extinct one.

Because this doesn't just damage the author concerned - it damages ALL authors. It damages author/reviewer relationships. Aside from feeling embarrassed at seeing another author meltdown like this, the resulting comments from reviewers saying they didn't feel safe to review, or refusing to ever review self pubbed authors (it isn't exclusive to SP authors, though it does seem more common. As a now almost fully self pubbed author, of course this upsets me) is terrible for publishing as a whole.

But it has led me to change my number one piece of advice to aspiring/new authors. DO. NOT. ENGAGE! Ever!! It doesn't matter how diplomatically you word your response, how reasonable you think you're being, responding to a negative review will always, always be seen as a bad thing. It will only be seen as you being a special snowflake who can't take a bit of criticism. Yes, some reviews and reviewers are downright nasty. There's a particular one on Amazon who delights in giving nothing but 1* reviews (over 300 of them, and no other ratings! Makes you wonder why they read at all), and those that delight in the snark. Some reviewers do get personal. But if you cannot take honest criticism of your work, then maybe you shouldn't be published at all. Because no matter what you do, what you write, what qualifications you have or awards you've won, at least ONE person in the world will absolutely hate your work. And there is nothing you can do about that.

Except for one thing, and I'll say it again for all the good it'll do.


Status Update

Keir's Fall is with my editor (woo hoo!), and this week I finished revising the side story (which is scheduled for edits in October) and a second Venus Ascendant novella, which I haven't scheduled at all...yet. I'm hoping early 2016. At the moment I have one superhero romance short and potentially three SFR shorts scheduled for July's Camp NaNoWriMo. Er, yeah. At probably the 60K mark, I think I'm setting myself up for a fail there...

Happenings

On a more fun note, the SFR Brigade Summer Cafe is now into its third week, and it's dishing up Dystopia! Go check out the authors taking part and the prize bundle HERE.

Next week I'll be swapping days and blogging on the Monday for week four of the Cafe - Androids and Aliens! I'll be offering some goodies on my post as well as contributing to the prize bundle for that week.

The print giveaway for Keir is still running until the end of June, and if you're a NetGalley member, it's also available to read and review for free HERE


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Keir by Pippa Jay

Keir

by Pippa Jay

Giveaway ends June 30, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to Win

4 comments:

  1. Good reminder! It can be really hard sometimes, especially when they're clearly just being nasty and not trying to engage in an honest critical dialogue. But those are the ones you have to stay the farthest away from -- as you point out, no matter what you say it will come back and bite you.

    I confess I responded ONE time to a negative review on a popular review site. It was to thank the reviewer for her time and say I was sorry the book wasn't for her. And I do feel like it helped to change the tone in the comments, where folks who hadn't read the book were starting to pile on.

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    1. Problem is, I've even seen that blow up in an author's face, so I just wouldn't do it. I don't even correct errors (I've had a couple mispell names or even switch the characters' names around). I've just seen too many even innocent responses lead to dramas.

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  2. Don't engage even if it's a nice review. Then the author is seen as sucking up, or the reviewer is eyed with suspicion. As you say, Pippa, the author cannot win. We have to either grow cast iron skin, or do what I do - don't read the reviews.

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    Replies
    1. That too, though I won't deny I Like or click the thumbs up on positive reviews.

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