Friday, May 23, 2008


Last night I was reading and for some reason, I looked at the reviews for the book on

The book, which I love, got a lot of bad reviews. A lot.

People said it was trite. Stupid. Boring and disappointing. "Her writing has declined dramatically".

I know, I know. Everyone has their own views on what is good and what is bad. I noticed that some of the same readers who gave this book a 1-star review were the same readers who had given rave reviews to other books I wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole. Different strokes for different folks. Or whatever.

But still. It made me think.

I've been pretty fortunate on this blog, I think. I get some comments that say I'm not funny. Some people have emailed me to tell me how much I suck. Some people come here, read it once, say "That's not my cuppa" and never come back.

That's okay.

But if you publish something or, rather, if someone publishes something that you have written and people spend money on it and then think it sucks? Well. I don't know. That seems kind of bad.

Maybe there is no difference. I don't know.

I wonder if those writers ever read those reviews. I wonder if they hurt or if they are able to just say, "Who cares?". I wonder if they just keep moving on, because clearly, someone likes their books...they keep getting published.

So much to learn. So much.


Jenski said...

It's like movie reviews. If it's a cheesy romantic comedy, I'll probably like it. The reviewers don't like that crap though. I am going with the people have different tastes idea and saying if it gets published, it's because the editors think someone will read it!

Lily's Mommy said...

I joined a book club once and hated virtually every book chosen. I read the first chapter of Cold Mountain, saw where it was heading and said, no thank you. I've read other award winning books and wondered if they were the only book in the voting category.

It's definitely personal taste. I'm a sci-fi/fantasy chick. Actually, not so much into sci-fi but if I just say fantasy, people look at me weird....

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I've received comments that I'm an "idiot" and/or a "moron". Kinda wish they'd quit coming back to repeat themselves.

Angie said...

I've often thought that I'd like to review books for a living. I'm sure it pays well (ha!) and I love to read.

But, it's all so subjective. We (speaking collectively for your readers) love everything you do. But, if I'm having a bad day, or if I'm in a rush, I don't necessarily leave a glowing comment. And when that happens, often I feel bad about it.

And, conversely, these faceless reviewers probably don't have any "relationship" with the author, and therefore can be more "objective" (or obnoxious) in their comments.

I guess it's like anonymous commenters on blogs. When you don't think anyone knows who you are, you can be rude, crude and socially unacceptable without repercussion.

Wow, I've left one heckuva long comment, eh?

Don't let this discourage you in your quest to write. I still say you've got talent!

Anonymous said...

I think writer's reviews are very much like actor's reviews, or musicians reviews. Anyone in the public eye, really. Putting themselves out them to receive criticism. When it's negative, regardless how seasoned a professional, it's got to sting. I'm sure that's why so many actors say they never read their reviews... Negativity will ultimately penetrate even the thickest of skin. (At least in my opinion...)

I think you should read this...

It's Kanye West's reaction to a negative concert review... I think it's the attitude you should take, at least for self preservation if nothing else.

Amanda said...

Interesting post.

I just read a review in the May 26 People magazine about James Frey's new book Bright Shiny Morning. Frey's the author that Oprah ripped into when it came out that his autobiography had been embellished.

If her opinion can send a book soaring on a best-seller list, I would have her ill opinion could have caused an author to be banished from the list altogether. Instead of being discouraged, however, Frey took a break and went right back to writing. His current book was just given 4 stars.

Even people who "know what they're talking about" sometimes have no clue.

Doug said...

So, did you write your own review of the book for Amazon?

You should, because a good review, written in your normal writing style, that's gonna counter a whole ton of bad reviews by those other folks.

'cause you know you're kinda a big deal.