Friday, May 11

Posting Thoughts Here... ** edited **

I decided to post some thoughts about today's RTB post here instead, since the column is directed to published authors and not *grin* lowly readers. So go over and read it, I'll wait... *tapping fingers on desk*

Are you back?

"I hated this book. Seriously, when the book ended I needed Tylenol and therapy.”

“Pure crap. I’ll never read this author again. I want my money and my time back. The author’s head on a platter would be nice, too. What an idiot!”

“This book was terrible. There isn’t one nice thing I can say about it.”
So what do you think, are these quotes real?

And if so are they from Amazon/B&N or part of a review giving reasons why "I hated this book...", "Pure crap..." or "This book was terrible..." If they're Amazon reviews, does anyone take these seriously? And I still haven't come across a blogger review that doesn't explain why. Some may be harsh, but they inevitably share all the painful details.

Ms. Showalter doesn't qualify where they came from and the context, but then I guess if I was on the receiving end of these context may not matter. But, what if the reader did "...hate this book..." or think it "Pure crap..." or "This book was terrible..."?

The bad review, the invisible and sometimes not so invisible line between reader and author.

Edited to add...
But if I just say - “this is crap” what do they get out of that? Even when I give my oh-so-carefully constructed advice they probably don’t care but at least I didn’t just say it was crap.
"...oh-so-carefully constructed advice"???? For crying out loud why is it so hard to realize reviews aren't for the author, they're for READERS.

13 comments:

Bev (BB) said...

I saw that post, sort of rolled my eyes and kept right on going. Just didn't have time for it then. So you get the full load. :D

Part of my reasons for postings the reader "suggestions" I put up on my blog recently is that I'm absolutely fed up, er, just plain tired of everyone always saying that people say all these things but never linking to the reviews/commentaries where the things are actually said that irk them.

IMMEDIATELLY.

We have brains. We CAN judge for ourselves. Let us do so if the words are that bad and we could be the authors best friends and not in the rabid way.

That's the thing that I just don't get. Truly. I really would be upset if an author was attacked personally and unnecessarilly but I have yet to see it happen where I could read it and comment in a timely manner. It always seems to be all these general and vague references of "Well it did happen three years ago. Once or twice. Maybe."

Uh, not to disparage anyone's opinions, but that doesn't really help. Plus then there's the flip side of feeling manipulated all over the place. Out of all the reviews that get posted, we're wasting all this discission energy, pro and con, on only one or two "maybe" bad ones from years ago?

Oye doesn't even cover it. Get some perspectiive, people. Or give me something specific to work with. I don't do generalities. Specifics, though, I can have fun with them. ;p

The big question is, can they truly produce the specifics, ain't it?

Tara Marie said...

Bev--I knew you would appreciate that post--LOL. It's annoying when they post vague "negative" reviews and then can't or won't back them up or even point to detailed reviews but only focus on what is subjective instead of the rest of what is most likely an objective review.

Oh well, it's not going to change :D

Wendy said...

I'm currently sitting on my hands. One commenter got my blood up when she posted that she was a part time reviewer and her job was to "help the author not put them down."

Honey, stop reviewing. Like yesterday.

Reviews are not for authors. They've never been for authors. They're for readers. And if you're reviewing for some other reason than that you need to stop. Now. Please for the love of God, stop!

Kat O+ said...

To be fair, the post says "reader comments" and I can think of a few blogs where the comments have ended up sounding like those quotes. But...so what? They're blogs. Blog comments are like that. They're not meant to be critical essays.

I also find it irritating that people can't seem to separate a critical review from a reaction/opinion. There are sites/blogs that go out of their way to give constructive criticism. Some go to very lengthy explanations on what worked or didn't work for the blogger/reader/reviewer. And some bloggers/commenters/Amazon "reviewers" just want to rant or give a 2-sentence response to something they read. That's not a review. There's no point getting worked up over it.

It's not logical to lump those quotes in isolation with a half-page review or even a full page rant. They're totally different, IMHO.

And while I'm on a rant *lol* I don't consider the line "the author's head on a platter" to be a personal attack. To me, that's just rhetoric. Personal is revealing something true or perceived about the author's life and then using that to cite reasons for liking/not liking the book. Although I notice it's perfectly OK to be "personal" if you're saying good things about a book.

Tara Marie said...

Wendy, I decided to post here rather than sit on my hands there, and I'm with you regarding the "reviewer"--LOL

Kat, Oooo, I agree about the rhetoric. I find myself rather tired of the "bad review/bad reviewer" complaining.

Jane said...

I noted that one commenter (Kimber An aka Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez) said that

"I ran into a negative review of Rumble On the Bayou by Jana Deleon once. :shock: I was floored! :shock: How could anyone not get the humor? :shock: I, then, reminded myself that the reviewer had never set foot in a small town before and Rumble is set in a small town. I grew up in a small town and I swear Maylene is a second cousin once removed! :lol: I laughed my head off from cover to cover! :lol: Well, except for in the serious parts, of course. Such is life. :wink: Nevertheless, I take it personally when people dis my favorite authors. :mad: I haven’t been back to that site since."

This is the comment she left at my blog on the B-!!!! review of Rumble on th Bayou:

Didn’t get the humor? Do you have any small town experience? Well, I do and I laughed my fool head off! This was my favorite book of 2006. It scored an A+ with me! I can’t wait for Jana’s next book, UNLUCKY, due out in the Autumn. Readers should visit her blog. She responds to people who comment in personable good humor. She also has a picture of the new cover and I think it’s fantastic.

My review gave it a B-!! How is that freaking negative? Or that I am "dis"sing the "author". (um, no, that was a comment about the book). And I love how she assumes that "I never stepped foot into a small town" having grown up in one that was comprised of less than 3,000 people. Sheesh. Ad hominem attack much? We bloggers say something akin to that crap and we are upbraided up and down for being "mean" and "attacking the author" and not sticking with the "book."

Next time I write a review, I am going to mention something wildly speculative about the author's personal background to justify her poor taste and see where that gets me.

Tara Marie said...

Jane, I've noticed Kimber An is a little obsessed by that book and author--LOL. She uses it as an example all the time. I didn't realize it was your review she was talking about--LOL I guess she doesn't realize a B- is a good grade, I can't imagine her reaction if it had been a D- instead. :D

Kat O+ said...

Reminds me of some of dooce's posts where she talks about wanting to be valedictorian of everything (even, apparently, life insurance *lol*).

I also notice that the comment thread on RTB has predictably gone back to the same-old, same-old rather than staying on topic: So what methods do you use to cope with bad reviews? Just goes to show that sometimes it's easier to whinge--whether you're an author or a reader. ;-)

Suisan said...

Again?

We have to do this AGAIN?

Jeez. Is there nothing else to write about? How about a post about overreacting to the good reviews, thinking that the ones who liked your books are your BFF? Surely that happens somewhere.

Considering how personally the authors who posted in comments take their negative reviews, surely someone overreacts to the positive ones.

(And I keep coming back to: Good Grief! When _I_ screw up it goes on the front page of my local newspaper; and it gets discussed on the internet; and sometimes a particularly irate citizen will report me to the District Attorney, requesting that he investigate my actions and words. I've been reported three times now. Three times for actions I didn't take and for words I didn't say. I've got a group of people out there who _seriously_ don't like me and are trying to get me kicked out of an elected position. You're getting this twisted about a review for a Romance Novel? No sympathy, ladies. Sorry.)

Tara Marie said...

Kat, RTB is very predictable in that authors are very protective of the review process and have a tendency to band together when the subject is brought up.

Suisan, this subject is my achilles heel. As much as I try to avoid it, it's going to get my goat every single time. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't read reviews usually, but I used to review books. I found most of them pretty bad, and I said it. I got a note from the review site saying I had to be more positive. I think the last straw was when I reviewed a truly, truly awful book (The Thin Red Line) and couldn't find one redeeming thing to say about it. I decided to stop reviewing because I realized that I wasn't helping anyone by spouting off My taste in books.

Reviewers review books so READERS can find books they might like.

I learned that:
Reviewers who put thir personal feelings forth (like me and Mrs. Giggles) are no good for readers looking for books. That said,
reviewers who go over the top gushing how much they love the book are suspicious - are they friends with the author? Vitrolic reviewers are useless because one person's poison is another person's cup of tea.

Everyone has different taste. I think that's the bottom line.

Sam (for some reason I can't sign in today!)

Rosie said...

I also find it irritating that people can't seem to separate a critical review from a reaction/opinion.

This is an opinion I share. Well said KatO+.

Kate R said...

the READERS? The reviews are for the READERS? Damn! I'm cancelling my contest.
:-)