Authors vs Book Bloggers: It’s Getting Ugly

“Your audience is as smart as you allow them to be.”

That’s a quote from Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladiono in response to a suggestion that her show needed to be dumbed down. One of the hallmarks of Gilmore Girls was the dialogue. It was witty, loaded with pop-culture references and so original that every DVD set came with a Gilmore-isms guide. The scripts were actually more pages than the average TV script because so much dialogue was packed in each episode. It was thought that the audience wasn’t getting it and maybe the show needed to slow down. The show never changed, in that respect, and the above quote is why.

Authors and book bloggers should adopt this policy.

Author Behaving Badly is on the rise and, I suppose, it was inevitable. More people are self-pubbing than a few years ago, which means more books being reviewed and more chances for an author to get a bad one. Most people can handle a bad review and move on, but there’s always one guy who can’t. This author will explain to the blogger and her audience why their book deserves a better review. This author has underestimated the intelligence of the audience.

Sometimes the blogger is attacked personally for a negative review and then jumps in to explain to the author why he’s wrong. Great points are made, but I didn’t need the clarification. I get the desire to stand up for yourself, but it just adds more fuel to the fire. In every case I’ve read, no matter how long the thread went, the author stands by his book and the blogger stands by her review. So, what was the point?

There was story this week about movie critic, Marshall Fine, getting death threats because of his negative review of Dark Knight Rises. Fans went nuts, so much so, that the comments were turned off. You know whose comment wasn’t in the thread? Yeah, no Christian Bale or Chris Nolan. They never thought to explain to Fine what he missed with their movie. And supposing one of them lost their mind and did comment? I doubt Fine would’ve got into an argument with them.

There’s a lesson to be learned.

Writers have to transfer feelings into words and that talent doesn’t come cheap. We tend to take negativity hard because we want readers to be as moved by our stories as we are. Unfortunately, not everyone will, so leave the book blogger alone. Most of the time, the review is not completely negative. And things the blogger didn’t like might be what the reader does.

Moral for authors: Let your work speak for itself.

Book bloggers are awesome. They read and review tons of books simply because they love to do it. It has to suck when they get yelled at by an author because of their opinion, but rather than respond, they should ignore it. In fact, it might be a good idea to not respond to any comments on a review, good or bad. In that forum I think the comments are more for the blog readers. Let them discuss, agree or disagree.

Moral for book bloggers: Let your review speak for itself.

Think anything will change or is it destined to get worse?

3 comments on “Authors vs Book Bloggers: It’s Getting Ugly

  1. You make a great point. Sadly, I think it will get worse – on both sides.

    With the increase in the attitude of entitlement, fewer people (particularly those that could probably USE a little critique) seem able to handle feedback that isn’t praise. And in the generation of snarkiness, some reviewers seem to enjoy cruelly ripping the work of others’ to shreds.

    You are exactly right for both sides – let your work/review speak for yourself.

    And authors? A bad review isn’t always a bad thing. Snarky reviews can drive someone to read your book. They won’t give in to that urge if they see you setting fire to the comments. 🙂

  2. I would have never even known about this craziness if I hadn’t read Zoe Winters’ blog yesterday. Apparently, most of my Twitter friends have better things to do than rant and rave because I saw nothing on my Twitter feed about it.

    It’s so awful that things come to this. I was reading comments on a YouTube video by Cheap Trick today, and I was appalled at how ugly the comments were getting and what people were CALLING each other. What is going on in this crazy world? Or is it just the haters that do so much of the talking on the internet and normal people keep quiet?

    If writers would just write and stop worrying so much about reviews, there would be much less stress. I used to be one of those authors who read reviews every day. In fact, when I was a complete newbie, I actually responded to a bad review. I thought my response was intelligent and logical. Now, when I think of my response, I cringe. New authors should take the advice of some of us who’ve been doing this awhile. Don’t respond to reviews! (I know you said this, Andrew, but it’s so important, I wanted to emphasize it. LOL)

    I’ve actually bought books BECAUSE of bad reviews just to see what was so bad. And I ended up liking the books. Reviews are subjective. Unless the reviewer talks about something I really don’t like in a book, I usually ignore the review anyway.

  3. Wise words! It doesn’t seem that different to being in business and the old adage ‘the customer is always right’. Even if they’re not, it doesn’t really help a service provider to defend their actions against a customer’s experience of them. So, whenever it is I am in a position to receive reviews, whether good or bad, I will definitely make an effort to remember your advice and be thankful someone cares enough to have an opinion 🙂

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