Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thunderstorms and Tiaras - A Few Thoughts on Reviews

Did you ever wonder what kind of dark cloud some people must live under?

Let me clarify. The other day a dear friend of mine, who happens to be one hell of a well respected romance author, got a one star review for one of her books. Now this in and of itself is nothing new. As writers we all get the nasty review from time to time. I`ve had folks condemn me for using big words, like timorously. I`ve also had folks tell me to purchase a thesaurus.

It is a bitter pill to swallow, but over time you start to realize that you cannot please every reader. But this review of my friend`s book just felt different to me. So I took a few minutes to check out the other reviews that this reader had left on Amazon. Now here is where I begin to wonder what fickle finger of fate this poor, poor person has jabbing them in the spine all day long.

In going through this reader`s review history, it came up that she/he had the misfortune to rent a movie that was so appalling she/he couldn`t watch it, so he/she gave it a one star rating. As if that funky movie wasn`t bad enough, then the poor soul read five or six books that were so ghastly, miserable, terrible, and plain old rotten that they, as well, had to be given one star ratings.

Wow. Talk about a tragic life. I personally can count the books that I`ve read that I would call one star reads on one hand. No. Let me narrow that down. One finger. This sad wretch has read five or six in rapid succession. Tragic. Simply tragic.

Yes, I`m being a tiny bit sarcastic about this, but it`s an interesting situation, don`t you think? It made me wonder why some people hand out one star reviews like I do Halloween candy every October 31st. I`m not saying that a book shouldn`t be given a bad review if the reader feels that it`s a stinker of a book. What I`m stymied about is the growing number of readers/reviewers that consistently use the anonymity of the internet to slam authors.

Of course, this review mess goes both ways. Over the past week I have seen authors breaking my number one review rule, and not in a shy fashion either. My rule for reviews was passed along to me by a media coach. You want to know my #1 review rule?

Never interact with a reviewer. Ever. In any way. Ever. Never. Ever. Never. For any reason. Never.

You want to know why this is such an important rule? Because if you get into a fight with a reviewer it will be you, the author, who ends up looking bad. So guys and gals, stop. Stop it now. Stop engaging people online who say your book is doody. Stop posting images of trolls on social media sites then linking back to the negative review. Stop directing your fans to get into spats with reviewers. Stop. Stop. Please stop. You are never going to come out looking good. Even to other authors who can sympathize with how much it hurts to be called talentless, you are going to look bad. Stop engaging reviewers. Just stop. Or, for you hip young authors out there, stahp.

Let them have their say. It is, after all, their opinion. They are entitled to it. Let them voice their thoughts. We, as authors, need to stop letting those anonymous haters make us look like buffoons. We need to lift our chins up, dab the venom off our cheeks, and return to our keyboards. My mother used to tell me that a lady never lowered herself to the level of the person being mean. That also applies to being a gentleman for our male writers. Audrey Hepburn, folks. When you want to throw muck back at that faceless reviewer, simply think of  Audrey Hepburn.

 Style. Class. Sophistication. Grace. Those attributes will get you far. They will set you high and above the small people who can only enjoy things when they are tearing them apart.

Hold up that head as if a dictionary sits upon it. I myself will be using a thesaurus since someone out there seems to think I need one. Spines straight? Good. 

Now, let`s show the world how damned classy we are.


Cathy Brockman said...

Great post I loved the photos and I agree authors should never interact!

V.L. Locey said...

Thanks, Cathy. It seems like a recipe for disaster to engage a reviewer, yet I see authors doing it all the time.

Iris B said...

Well said !

V.L. Locey said...

Thank you, Iris. Others may feel differently about this subject of course.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post!
I totally agree with you. I'm glad I'm getting around to the TT posts late, so that I had a chance to read this one too.

V.L. Locey said...

Many thanks Writerszen.

I`ve seen quite a lot of this of late, and just wished to spout off about it on my little corner of the interwebz.

Jillian said...

totally agree. Never engage. Never!